Books

Inventing Socrates Cover

2015

Worldwide Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

From the Publisher:

Inventing Socrates is a book about the consequences of knowledge and the coming of age. It is written in knowledge’s Western setting, making allegorical as well as literal use of the event known as the ‘birth of philosophy’ – an event that began in ancient Greece in the 6th-century B.C., when a handful of thinkers first looked at the natural world through the critical eyes of fledgling science.

Very little of concrete fact is known about this first philosophy and its protagonists. Only scant fragments of their writings have survived; and these are nearly always poetical and esoteric, some no more than a single line. They are freighted with meanings that might take one in two different directions at once; and this ambidexterity between ancient and modern has always been their beguiling feature. Altogether these thinkers are known as the Presocratics, because they pioneered the rational methods that Socrates would take to the question of the good life. If Socrates stands today as an icon of Western self-esteem, these pioneers are said to show the emergence of that poise from the fug of myth and religion. Apparently they prove the evolution of Western intelligence and the value of living today – in the secular maturity of its latest, greatest hour. But what if their continuing readability and tactility were actually to become the demonstration against that?

This is not just, then, a book about the foundations of Western thought. It is a book about all that we invest in the ideas of ancient and modern. Left to right is the Western way of learning and growing, but, as Miles Hollingworth shows, the truths of the human condition are subterranean corridors running psychologically and eternally.

Recommendations:

“Anyone who wishes to think beyond our conventional categories of theories of progress, the history of western scientific rationality, the impasse of science vs. religion and philosophy vs. theology, or the contest of global values will find this book exhilarating, stimulating, perplexing, and refreshing — a dazzling anti-history of the tradition of western rationality.” –  Todd Breyfogle, Director of Seminars, The Aspen Institute, USA, and editor of Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern

“This is an engaging and original book that unsettles the received narrative of Early Greek philosophy as the birth of reason. The book’s aim is to remythologize reason right from the quick – relishing the religious impulse of all genuine philosophical reflection. In Hollingworth’s hands the history of ideas becomes a living thing, a love song to the fragile moments of understanding that always open onto that which exceeds us. Perhaps best of all, the book performs its own argument. The reader is left to share the author’s grateful wonder that there is something rather than nothing.” –  Joseph Clair, Director of the William Penn Honors Program and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, George Fox University, USA

“In Plato’s great analogy for education — the analogy of the cave — it is far from clear what would compel a soul, having ascended to a sunlit world of clarity, to return to a place of depths and indetermination. Plato’s Socrates speaks of necessity and suggests the need, if not the desire, for a conversion of all things indeterminate into perfected beauties, like butterflies on pins. Hollingworth adds the framing of the Presocratics and returns us, more explicitly than does Plato, to an invented Socrates, standing, like the concept of invention itself, at the crossroads of science and imagination. Indeed Socrates will have become that crossroads by way of Hollingworth’s fierce and visionary prose. Here is not a crossroads to be left behind, as we either ascend towards an enlightened modernity or regress towards ancient imaginings; Hollingworth exhorts us instead to inhabit a capacious psychology, ever at a crossroads, and take our necessities from there. Inventing Socrates is an unexpected book, a knock at the door from the God within.” –  James Wetzel, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of St. Augustine, Villanova University, USA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hollingworth Cover 300dpi JPG

2013

US Publisher: Oxford University Press // UK Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

From the Publisher:

St. Augustine was undoubtedly one of the great thinkers of the early church. Yet it has long been assumed – and not without reason – that the main lines of his thought have been more or less fixed since his death. That insofar as we should be aware of him in the twenty-first century, he is a figure described, if not circumscribed, by his times.

A major revisionist reading of Augustine’s life and thought, Saint Augustine of Hippo overturns this assumption. In a stimulating and provocative reinterpretation of Augustine’s ideas and their position in the Western intellectual tradition, Miles Hollingworth, though well versed in the latest scholarship, draws his inspiration largely from the actual narrative of Augustine’s life. By this means he reintroduces a cardinal but long-neglected fact to the center of Augustinian studies: that there is a direct line from Augustine’s own early experiences of life to his later commentaries on humanity. Augustine’s new Christianity did not – in blunt assaults of dogma and doctrine – obliterate what had gone before. Instead, it actually caught a subtle and reflective mind at the point when it was despairing of finding the truth. Christianity vindicated a disquiet that Augustine had been feeling all along: he felt that it alone had spoken to his serious rage about man, abandoned to the world and dislocated from all real understanding by haunting glimpses of the Divine.

A significant new treatment of Augustine on all fronts, this superb intellectual biography shines a bright light on a genuinely neglected element in his writings. In so doing it introduces us to Augustine as he emerges from the unique circumstances of his early life, struggling with ironies and inconsistencies that we might just find in our own lives as well.

Recommendation by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

This is a book whose style and feel are really worthy of Augustine himself — humane and probing, full of telling metaphor and seriousness about the strangeness of human experience. It is capable of doing for a new generation a great deal of what Peter Brown’s epochal biography did half a century ago.

Reviews & Publicity

Miles Hollingworth, ‘Benedict XVI, Francis, and St. Augustine of Hippo’OUPblog, March 2013.

Augustine J. Curley, OSB, reviewed in Library Journal, March 2013.

— “Mining many of Augustine’s works, Hollingworth is adept at finding the apt quotation that illustrates his thesis that the thought of the older Augustine has its source in, and is not a radical departure from, the thought of the younger. Hollingworth makes helpful comparisons to modern times and to other philosophers, and is not shy about inserting himself into the discussion… will appeal to those who already know the Saint’s works well and will be intrigued by Hollingworth’s loving but critical dialog with Augustine’s thought.”

‘Pick of the new paperback releases’, The Church of England Newspaper, Book Reviews, England on Sunday, May 2013.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, ‘Confessiones and Retractions’, Literary Review, June 2013.

–“I tried to like this book; but in the end, I couldn’t. It’s always hard to say that, faced with what is clearly a labour of love, and one which is not without merit. Maybe it’s me rather than Hollingworth. I have long observed that theology, being not really one discipline but a suite of them, tends amid its various strands to show the greatest polarity between those who approach it as history and those who come to it as philosophy. It doesn’t signify whether they call themselves respectively historians or philosophers – it’s a matter of temperament. The historians are likely to be pragmatists, interested in the happenstance and untidiness of events; the philosophers are more inclined to look for absolutes, eternal truths, satisfying patterns… This ‘intellectual biography’ sits very much at the philosophical end of the theological playground seesaw. So maybe there are others who will enjoy it; if so, I wish them and the author well.”

Featured in ‘New Statesman Recommends’, Philip Maughan, New Statesman, June 2013.

— “Miles Hollingworth’s new biography emphasises the importance of the African bishop’s life experiences in shaping his views about sin, redemption and divine grace.”

Interviewed (25 mins.) by journalist and presenter Paul O’Doherty on his ‘Bookbound’ programme, Dublin City FM, July 2013.

Ian Gibbs, GoodBookStall.org.uk Review, July 2013.

Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf, ‘The book that Pope Benedict would have wanted to write’, WDTPRS, Fr. Z’s Blog, July 2013.

— “You will be forced, but not against your will, to take your time with this book, to ponder paragraphs, even sentences. In Hollingworth’s biography, Augustine speaks to you, often interrogating you: “This is what I think, what do you think?”. The book is a long conversation with Augustine’s reader. While evading morbidity completely, Hollingworth also focuses his attention on Augustine’s greatest concerns: love and death, which are the lodestones of his thought. These motifs wind through the whole book. In treating these and other intertwining themes, Hollingworth captures the pastoral essence of Augustine’s writings.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum, Reviews in Short, August, 2013.

Invited to author main feature of Church Times 19th July edition 2013: ‘At last for Augustine: Sympathy – Augustine of Hippo’s deep sensitivity calls to us from across the centuries, suggests Miles Hollingworth, 19-20.

Church Times Website

2nd August 2013: Enters the Church Times UK religion bestsellers chart at No. 10.

Joseph Bottum, ‘Augustine’s mission: the right man, at the right time, for Christendom’, Weekly Standard, ‘The Weekly Standard Book Review’, 2nd September 2013, Vol. 18, No. 48.

— “A serious, well-written, provocatively argued book that anyone with even a pretense of interest in intellectual history will want to read.”

Matt Sitman, ‘The Indispensable Saint’, The Dish, August 2013.

Michael Moreland, ‘Hollingworth on Augustine and Civilization’Mirror of Justice, August 2013.

Noted in Book Forum magazine’s ‘Omnivore’ blog bulletin – ‘Vestiges of post-Christianity’, August 2013.

Teresa Morgan, ‘Through an Augustinian lens’, The Tablet, September 2013.

Mark Edwards, ‘Quarrying Augustine’s thought’, Church Times, September 2013.

Paul J. Leithart, reviewed as ‘Augustine’First Things Blog, September 2013.

John Marenbon, (reviewed with Denys Turner’s Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait), ‘Unreliable lives of the Saints’Standpoint, October 2013.

Interviewed (15 mins.) by BBC journalist and broadcaster William Crawley on his BBC Radio Ulster ‘Sunday Sequence’ programme, October 2013.

Cole Moreton, ‘A little in heaven and a little in hell – A passionate work that traces the intellectual growth of St Augustine is worth all the effort’The Daily Telegraph, October 2013.

–“In this book, the saint becomes a man again. The lusty teenager becomes a 76-year-old who has lost a lover and a son and is dying in bed in a town besieged by the Vandals, with the Psalms of David fixed to his walls and his mind still striving. However, the earthly is not all. The brilliance of Augustine then becomes all the more dazzling, as Hollingworth allows us to see inside that mind. To see the whirl of ideas and aspirations, dreams, metaphors, self-loathing and self-confidence, inherited notions and bold leaps of imagination that somehow came together as words that changed the world. We understand ourselves better if we understand this man. Miles Hollingworth’s book is a valuable, enlightening contribution to our understanding of Augustine. You’ll need a little faith at times, to keep going, but you will be rewarded.”

Christopher Kelly, ‘Saints and sinners’BBC History Magazine, October 2013.

–“Hollingworth’s strength lies in his presentation of Augustine’s ideas, imaginatively explored from infancy to old age. This is a rewarding book, to be most enjoyed by those interested in intellectual history. Hollingworth takes the time to explain Augustine’s debt to classical philosophy (especially to Plato, whose insights were then already nearly a millennium old) and to Christian teaching. Most interestingly of all, he frequently pushes further to link these lines of thought to modern philosophical discussions of language, reality and experience.”

Australian Financial Review, ‘Persistence will be rewarded with enlightenment – This book demands your full attention but will pay rich dividends in return’, October 2013.

Reviewed in Hangzhou Daily, October 2013.

Jonathan Wright, ‘Think again – A new book unsettles everything we thought we knew about Augustine’, Catholic Herald, October 2013.

[click on the image below to read the full review]

Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald

–“Bizarre as it may sound, Augustine is still in need of rescue after all these centuries. In his fascinating, nuanced study Hollingworth has accepted and come close to fulfilling this important mission. It is one of the best books about Augustine that I have ever read. This is very much an intellectual biography – you will learn  a huge amount about Augustine’s writings – but it does not neglect the man… Hollingworth is especially good on Augustine and sex. His point of view, needless to say, became that “of the practitioner turned ascetic”, but anyone who thinks it is easy to sum up Augustine’s attitude towards sexuality should read this volume and think again.”

Interviewed by Todd Breyfogle (Aspen Institute) for the OUPblog, ‘Q&A on Saint Augustine of Hippo with Miles Hollingworth’, November 2013.

Lucy Beckett, ‘Strangers in the earthly city’, Times Literary Supplement, December 2013.

–“In revealing the astonishing pertinence of Augustine to our own circumstances, Hollingworth is at his strongest, always aware, as Augustine was, of the depth of the gulf between priorities of the self, self-satisfaction, self-motivation, self-promotion on the one hand, and on the other submission to the reality and the love of God.”

Gerald Bray, ‘Saint Augustine of Hippo’, Themelios, December 2013.

–“[Hollingworth’s] book isn’t a substitute for reading the original texts but an introduction to them, and his great achievement is that his audience goes away with questions that fuel a desire for more.”

William Converse, ‘Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography’, The Montreal Anglican, January 2014.

–“A stimulating and engaging tour de force.”

Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., ‘Divine Doctors’, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2013/14.

–“As the works of Hollingworth, Turner, and Elshtain demonstrate, the Biblical myth of Adam and Eve continues to provide fertile soil for human genius. Compared to the ad hoc myths of Hobbes’s state of nature, Rousseau’s noble savage, and Nietzsche’s superman, Genesis’s paradise yields a lush harvest of philosophical and political wisdom.”

Bishop Michael Dublin & Glendalough, ‘Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography’, Church of Ireland Gazette, February 2014.

[click on the image below to read the full review]

Church of Ireland Gazette JPG

–“The classical tradition has all but gone in contemporary theological education and clerical and lay formation. The past is increasingly seen as a theme park of heritage and irrelevance. While I honestly think Hollingworth is best read in conjunction with Peter Brown, I also think he rightly will not let us away with such a shoddy attitude of self-indulgence to the yesterday in the today for the tomorrow. I think he is quite right in this. He asks us that we engage both seriously and humorously with our theological and intellectual patrimony in the being and the work of God. I ask: Can we be bothered?”

Featured on NRK Norway radio programme ‘Studio Sokrates’, 22nd March 2014.

Karla Pollmann, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 65(2) 2014, 380-381.

Melanie Webb, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2014.04.02.

–“Hollingworth’s biography exercises the reader’s historical, philosophical, psychological, and psychoanalytic imagination – it is at turns invigorating, perplexing, and infuriating.”

Chosen by the President of Union University, Professor David S. Dockery, for his Recommended Reading List for 2014.

Reviewed as part of the St. Louis Public Library Book Challenge, May 2014.

–“There is much in Hollingworth’s wide-ranging account that I found obscure, but the book was littered with minor epiphanies that I will carry with me for a long time to come.”

Gerard O’Daly, The Catholic Historical Review 100(2) Spring 2014, 323-324.

–“The book’s principal theme is central to Augustine’s theology: the human search for the divine and for some form of communion with God. Hollingworth writes eloquently and passionately about this, and it provides the real drama of his vivid account—it makes some sense of his assertion that Augustine often writes like a novelist. But he spoils his narrative by over-earnest appeals to the reader to accept the Christianity that he finds in Augustine as the one ideology that can satisfy all human psychological needs. Nor does it help that he engages in a persistent quasi-postmodernist polemic against the rational elements in historical scholarship.”

John Sehorn, Augustinian Studies 45:1 (2014), 161-166.

–“Hollingworth presents the conversion as a climactic event, but in a somewhat unusual way. The conversion is decisive, not as a point of rupture that begins a brand-new path of transformation, but as the guarantor of maximal, almost seamless continuity between the pre- and postbaptismal Augustine. Hollingworth devotes little attention to Augustine’s life after ordination, but he illustrates his account of the early life with passages drawn from a wide variety of later works. Along with sermons and letters, De Trinitate and De Ciuitate Dei make many appearances less as substantive theological works than as commentaries on the early Augustine, a technique that underscores Hollingworth’s fundamental intuitions about Augustine… This is why the biographical dimension of the book focuses almost exclusively on the formative elements of Augustine’s life before conversion: infancy, parents, education, puberty, rhetorical career, and philosophical/religious odyssey. Hollingworth recognizes and embraces the fact that these aspects of Augustine are only available to us ex post facto conversionis. One could conclude from this what Augustine himself indicates time and again in the Confessions, that his Christianity radiates the light in which the early experiences become intelligible as a narrative. Hollingworth no doubt concedes this, but he is also interested in inverting it: Augustine’s pre-Christian life furnishes all the prepossessing riddles to which he will find aesthetically if not rationally satisfying solutions in Christianity. It is in precisely this way that the man so decisively conditioned by the earthy realia of his social-historical milieu simultaneously and seamlessly floats above it into the ether of The (Western) Human Experience.”

Richard Finn, O.P., Journal of Theological Studies, 65(2) 2014, 751-754.

–“Hollingworth brings out the underlying vision and the lived meaning of Augustine’s thought… This book shares Augustine’s concern to relate his life to the reader’s own, and to require of readers an engagement with their own cultural and personal history. It is at times demanding, even frustrating. Readers will probably vary widely in their judgement of its success or failure, but success or failure must also attend upon the reader’s work, as she or he squares up to Augustine’s vision.”

Lee Gatiss, Churchman, 128(2) 2014.

Nathalie Requin, Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques, 60 2014, 429-431.

Adam Trettel, The Expository Times, 126(2) 2014, 95-96.

–“This biography bears the mark of a clearly gifted stylist (‘Augustine lick[s] his lips at success’ (p. 51), for instance) and a thinker who has the courage to untangle knotty issues (the portion on Augustine’s sexuality in Chapter 8 is interesting, if inconclusive).”

Matthew W. Knotts, Tijdschrift voor Theologie, 2014(2), 204.

–“De ondertitel van H.’s erudiete werk, An Intellectual Biography, is misschien wel intentioneel ambigu. Het kan immers enerzijds verwijzen naar zijn methodologische benadering van Augustinus, maar anderzijds ook naar het algemene aspect vanwaaruit de auteur het leven en werk van Augustinus onderzocht heeft. Dit boek is geen lichte lectuur; het is een verheven, diepzinnig werk: gevuld met indringende en diepgravende reflecties, zeer in de stijl van Augustinus’ eigen Confessiones.”

Margaret Lane, Theology, 118(1) 2015, 68-69.

— “The most striking thing is the author’s style which reminded me of Augustine’s view of Scripture as a many layered text and one containing both plain and more obscure passages. There is indeed some refreshing, straightforward narrative in this book when the events of Augustine’s life are related. It is, though, engagement with the denser and more metaphorical passages which is so rewarding and, in some cases, frankly, transformative…

Hollingworth shows why it is that Augustine has such broad appeal; not just because he finds him surprisingly humane and enlightened about our propensity to sin but because of the positive spin that he puts on the absence of God experience and the hope of meaning that his interpretation of the restless heart gives to those who suffer existential angst and radical doubt.

This is therefore a book for all seekers after the Truth: theist and atheist as well as all lovers of Augustine.”

Joshua Thurow, The Classical Journal, 2015.02.07.

–“[H]is account of Augustine’s thought will engage the scholar, teacher, and ambitious reader of Augustine.”

Sarah Ruden, Books & Culture: A Christian Review, May/June 2015.

Matthew Barrett, ‘Summer reading for Church historians’, Credo Magazine, 15th July, 2015.

Jason Freddi, The Heythrop Journal, 57:2 (2016), 376-377.

–“Hollingworth patiently explains Augustine to the modern reader, imagined as someone in whom a naïve historicism holds sway and in whom Augustine’s claims, such as the damnation of unbaptized infants and the value of virginity, are easily ridiculed. He does so by appeal to the human struggles of a great man. This type of presentation justifies the subtitle, ‘An Intellectual Biography’; it is a study that embeds a person’s ideas within their historical context. One can query this approach and raise issues concerning the historiography, but it brings readers closer to Augustine in all his complexity.”

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Cover

2010

Worldwide Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

From the Publisher:

In this book Miles Hollingworth investigates how Augustine’s understanding of discipleship causes him to resist the normal tendencies of Western political thinkers. On the one hand, he does not attempt to delineate an ideal state in the classical fashion: to his mind, the Garden of Eden can be an archetype for nothing on earth. And on the other hand, he does not seek to achieve an ideological perspective on the proper relations between Church and State. In fact his Pilgrim City is shown to lie beyond utopianism, realism and the normal terms of political discourse. It stands, instead, as a singular challenge to the aspirations of politics in the West; and so standing it calls for a reassessment of his position in the history of political thought. This book will be of interest to theologians as well as historians of political thought. It will also appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of ideas.

Foreword by Dr R. W. Dyson

As Dr Hollingworth points out, St Augustine’s thoughts on the subject of politics are not to be found entire in any one of his many writings. Augustine’s concerns are pastoral, theological, exegetical, controversial. He is not primarily a political thinker; even his enormous critique of the moral and political tradition of Rome, De civitate Dei, is not in any ordinary sense a political treatise or an essay in ‘political philosophy.’ Yet it is hardly possible to overstate his significance as a figure in the history of political thought. This significance lies chiefly in a single, though very complex, fact. More than any earlier Christian author, Augustine grasped the implications of the Christian doctrine of original sin for the political and ethical beliefs of classical antiquity. In doing so, he furnished the culture of the Latin West with what may be called a new kind of political anthropology: an anthropology of fallen man, wholly dependent on divine grace and unable to find redemption by any effort of his own or through any kind of merely human contrivance.

This anthropology, and the various interpretations, misinterpretations and revisions of it that have accrued over the centuries, has been immensely important in terms of its influence on the development of various ideological currents in Western thought; but its importance does not lie solely within the province of the historian. Man, according to the famous dictum of Aristotle, is by nature a political animal. Human beings need to find ways of living in constructive association with one another if they are to meet needs – moral and spiritual needs as well as material ones – that are intrinsic to their nature; yet political and social life is everywhere fraught with difficulty and instability. How is this conundrum to be explained? By what means, if any, can it be resolved? Are kingdoms indeed nothing more than great bands of robbers? Can anything make them otherwise? Questions of this kind are as pertinent now as they were at the first beginnings of political thought, and we are no longer as inclined as we once were to suppose that political philosophy is dead. It may be that Augustine’s reflections on the human condition are especially relevant to the present day, when so many optimistic Enlightenment assumptions about human nature and motivation have come under scrutiny. Dr Hollingworth has produced a comprehensive, learned and thought-provoking analysis of a body of thought that is of much more than antiquarian interest. His book will be a valuable contribution to the long and still fruitful stream of Augustinian scholarship.

Recommendation by Professor Nicholas J. Rengger

This book is one of the most original and penetrating interpretations of Augustine’s political thought for years. Grounded in a profound knowledge of the texts, and written with exemplary care and attention to detail, this will be an important resource for all those interested in Augustine, in Christian thought and the evolving intellectual history of the early middle ages.

Reviews

‘Miles Hollingworth’s The Pilgrim City is a joy to read. His mastery and comfort with the body of Augustine’s work coupled with judicious and illuminating quotes of the primary sources makes Augustine’s political theology come alive to both new and seasoned readers. Hollingworth focuses on the impact Augustine’s thought has had on Western political theory and evaluates the authenticity of the various political theories that claim the Augustinian mantle. He does so by drawing on writers throughout history that parallel or serve as foils to Augustine’s ideas including Dostoyevsky, Rousseau, Luther, Marx, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and others. This is a refreshing approach to Augustinian studies… The Pilgrim City is a strong and unique contribution to Augustinian political theology. It can be used in graduate and upper level undergraduate courses on political theology, history (medieval through early modern), and political science.’ — Mark J. Allman, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theological Society September 2012; vol. 39 (issue 2), 328-9.

‘This book will be of great value to all who have come to rely upon Augustine for insights into political thought and who still ponder the responsibility of Christians in civil society.’ — Samuel K. Roberts, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology January 2012; vol. 66 (no. 1), 100-1.

‘The Pilgrim City is written in an assured and authoritative style and deserves wide attention for its insights and the depth of its scholarship.’ — Edward Dowler, Political Theology June 2012; vol. 13 (no. 3), 371-3.

‘Hollingworth contends that the failure of Augustine to leave behind a work of political theory has exposed the saint to serious misunderstanding… The book is well written, though occasionally obscure, and well researched.’ — Choice

‘In a period of flourishing interest in Augustine’s political thought, Miles Hollingworth’s Pilgrim City is a welcome contribution… wide ranging, impressively researched and provocatively presented… Pilgrim City is full of insight and verve…’ — Gregory W. Lee, Theology July 2011; 114 (4), 292-3.

‘Augustine is a thinker of such significance and complexity that he continues to inspire new books, and this one is worth reading for its engagement with aspects of his thought that have been misunderstood; a dose of realism can be a wonderful antidote to misplaced idealism.’ — John Moorhouse, Journal of Religious History September 2012; vol. 36 (no. 3), 443-444.

‘This is a masterful study that is packed with scholarship and an easy style.’ — Fr Ashley Beck, Pastoral Review November 2013; vol. 9 (6), 92-3.

‘Hollingworth argues that Augustine’s journey of conversion deeply influenced his understanding of politics. In fact, Augustine came to understand his conversion as a political decision: Where is his citizenship? Whom does he love? He needed to relinquish his own self-love and self-will in order to experience the joy and freedom of obedience to
the God who loved him. He found something in this life of loving God that the Earthly City could not supply.
There can be no doubt that Hollingworth admires Augustine and believes him to be saying something very valuable about where the Christian ought to place her hopes. I recommend this book for students of Augustine, political theology or political philosophy. Defenders of Luther, the other reformers, or Elshtain will take issue with Hollingworth’s criticisms, but, in the main, Hollingworth is persuasive in making his case that Augustine stands against the Western political tradition in concluding that politics are inherently irredeemable, and such a counter-intuitive idea is worthy of some reflection.’ — Glenn M. Harden, Reviews in Religion & Theology January 2014; vol. 21 (1), 51-3.

Also:-

John von Heyking, Augustinian Studies 2010; 41 (2), 517-19.

Chad. C. Pecknold, Modern Theology March 2012; 28 (2), 353-6.

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell (Gibraltar in Europe), Church Times 8 June 2012; Issue 7786, p. 6.

Awarded Read of the Month for March 2012 by the Charles F. Curry Library, William Jewel College, Liberty, MO.