Augustine as Mentor Augustine's Influence Book Review

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Some of the demonstrations of Augustine's humility, such as his willingness to reconcile with a compatriot who had alternative views on theological issues, are fairly elucidating, and do well to further the author's analysis of Augustine's humility -- particularly when this tendency of his is measured against the eight characteristics of a mentor.

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The most enduring way in which Augustine was able to propagate his efforts at mentorship, of course, was through his writing. Smither takes great pains to demonstrate that this fact was perhaps the most influential means in which Augustine's presence and his theological beliefs would be perpetuated for posterity. The author points out the prudence of Augustine's cataloging of his writings into a formal library (Smither 2009, 256) that have been preserved so that his beliefs could be disseminated. Again, Smith's forte in this regard is his examples of how Augustine's presence was able to influence people throughout the many generations since his physical demise, including during the Middle Ages as well as during the Reformation. Another highly beneficial aspect of Smither' portrayal of the influence of Augustine's writing can be evinced in the fact that he is able to elucidate some of the more eminent theological concepts found in Augustine's writing (Smither 2009, 184), which helps to enlighten the reader as to why the latter was such a prominent mentor. Other good examples that indicate the degree of influence that Augustine was able to exert upon others can be found within his monasteries, particularly the garden monastery at Hippo (Smither 2009, 145-148) when he was able to freely converse with his disciples, who were able to be mentored first hand through Augustine's actions and spoken words.

Book Review on Augustine as Mentor Augustine's Influence Assignment

However, the primary drawback related to the theme of the influential nature of Augustine's theological conceptions as demonstrated through his writing and through his interactions with others at his monasteries is the fact that the author fails to dedicate a substantial amount of insight into a contemporary application of these principles. He duly informs the reader of the importance of such notions during Augustine's time period as well as proves how they were accessible and of use during other periods of history. But the author only dedicates a mere two pages in the final chapter of the work, which are mere allusions to how Augustine's theology could be applied to contemporary issues affecting Christianity and individual and collective Christian leaders today. This particular dearth of information is really the sole lacking point throughout the entire manuscript. It may be argued, of course, that Smither only outlined the particular viewpoints of Augustine and left it up to the discretion of the reader to apply those ideas to contemporary issues of an ecclesiastical nature today. But it certainly would have aided the book if the author had dedicated more attention to this matter -- one that seemingly drives many people to read a manuscript of this nature.

Still, by measuring Augustine's influence through his monastery work and his writing to the eight characteristics of desirable mentorship status, the author is able to produce a highly objective portrait of Augustine's mentorship. His humility is similarly measured against the same standards, which are all the more objective since the author analyzed other mentors by the same standards. The combination of these three themes -- Augustine's humility, his enduring legacy / influence on others, both of which are measured against the eight primary characteristics of mentorship -- definitely provide a great degree of insight into Augustine's prowess as a mentor. With less repetition and more contemporary application, Smither would have left readers wanting nothing.


Smither, Edward. Augustine as a Mentor, A Model fr Preparing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Augustine as Mentor Augustine's Influence.  (2012, February 18).  Retrieved April 14, 2021, from

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"Augustine as Mentor Augustine's Influence."  February 18, 2012.  Accessed April 14, 2021.