Augustine's View of Reality [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 19 (3):581-581 (1966)


The essay "Augustine's View of Reality" was originally delivered by Dr. Bourke at St. Louis University as the 1963 Saint Augustine Lecture. To it, he has added here seventy-five pages of bilingual texts from Augustine, in which various metaphysical matters are treated, and four "appendices" in which Dr. Bourke carries out in greater detail the ideas advanced in his lecture. Dr. Bourke intends to explore the specifically metaphysical aspects of Augustine's writings, and in effect compares Augustine's Christian Platonism with Thomistic metaphysics. He discusses Augustine's conception of the relation between being and essence, and his conception of the being of God. In the appendices, Dr. Bourke considers Augustine's approach to the subjects of Participation, Causality, Analogy, and the idipsum of God. While Dr. Bourke acknowledges from the start the extraction of a metaphysical system from the specifically theological writings of St. Augustine cannot do the entirety of those writings justice, it remains doubtful that this comparison of St. Augustine's thought with Thomism on the ground of the latter, is at all a fruitful way of understanding the real religious insights of the bishop of Hippo.—A. W. W.

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