The Mystery of Continuity
The Mystery of Continuity: Time and History, Memory and Eternity in the
Thought of Saint Augustine
by Jaroslav Pelikan
Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1986. 177 pages. $14.95
reviewed by John Thompson
“There has, quite literally, been no century of the sixteen centuries since the conversion of Augustine in which he has not been a major intellectual, spiritual, and cultural force.” Coming from the pen of Jaroslav Pelikan, such a statement needs no footnote to support it. In his latest work, the distinguished church historian from Yale University turns his attention to an essential but perhaps less understood aspect of Augustine’s thought. This is what may be called the “principle of continuity.” Throughout his life Augustine had wrestled with the concept of time and its relation to history and eternity. Here Pelikan traces the pivotal notions of time and continuity through the major writings and controversies of Augustine’s life.
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John Thompson is a librarian and professor at Waynesburg University, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
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