We Here Read Augustine
The Word of God According to St. Augustine, by A. D. R. Polman (Eerdmans, 1962, 242 pp., $5), is reviewed by Addison H. Leitch, professor of philosophy and religion, Tarkio College, Tarkio, Missouri.

Not since the days of MacKinnon in his volumes on Luther and Calvin have I run into the mastery of mass material which is to be found in Polman’s book. He assures us in his introductory remarks that whatever else we read in the book, we will read Augustine, and this we do. But, in addition to long quotations, we also have Polman’s artistry by which great portions of Augustine are paraphrased or digested. The impact of direct quotation and paraphrase is very impressive.

The Word of God According to St. Augustine is the first volume in Polman’s major work on the theology of St. Augustine and gives us great promise of riches ahead. Other volumes in the proposed series are on the doctrine of God, Christology, and Church and sacrament. Each volume, moreover, is to be complete in its own right; this is certainly true of the present volume.

Augustine’s theology is not systematic (“Augustine frequently corrected his out bursts of zeal,” p. 101), and thus far no one has made a systematic study of his doctrine of Scripture from his unsystematic material. “Significantly enough, though the Word of God took so important a place in St. Augustine’s life and thoughts, no comprehensive study on this subject has been published.… We shall make a point of letting St. Augustine speak for himself” (p. 11). Both of these things the author has done very well. The book is also a rich source of material on some of Augustine’s opponents, the argument with Faustus being a classic portion of this volume.

The strongest chapter is “The Word ...

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