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Bishop Augustine An Analysis Of His Life And Writings From his writings it is clear how this bishop beloved by God lived his life as far as the light of truth was granted him in the faith hope and charity of the catholic church and those who read what he has written about the things of God can profit thereby But I think that those who could hear and see him speaking before them in the church could profit more from him especially those who knew how he lived among men1 So wrote Augustines friend and biographer Possidius not long after the old bishop died 28 August 430 He felt what every reader of Augustine has known the inadequacy of trying to hear the message of this man through the written word alone Every powerful writer is doomed in this way to outlive his own grave and to suffer the transformations and deformations that later generations impose on one who is no longer able to protest aloud For fifteen and a half centuries Augustines words have gone on being read and misread gone on fueling controversy and lending comfort Whatever those words meant in his lifetime and whatever their role in the controversies of the day they have meant more and exercised more influence since their authors death than before The history of Augustines posthumous readership is a part of any attempt to grasp the character of his thought Augustines own last contributions played an important role in shaping and directing posteritys judgment of him Augustine had lived long enough to see optimistic phrases of his youth thrown up in his face by the Pelagians and their allies He felt deeply the gaps that separated past from present and present from future We have seen how the historical part of the Confessions the painstaking archaeological investigation of his own past was meant to put that past to rest and in so doing to
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