The Conversion and Therapy of Desire
Augustine’s Theology of Desire in the Cassiciacum Dialogues
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"In this age when 'desire' is defined in ways that are destructive to souls and families, we could hardly do better than to retrieve understandings of the word from Augustine, perhaps the greatest Christian thinker ever. Dr. Boone's fine study is both historically rich and eminently timely."
--Gerald R. McDermott, Anglican Chair of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
"Meticulously researched and well argued, Mark Boone presents a lucid account of the early Augustine's theology of desire. After situating Augustine's moral theory in the context of competing pagan descriptions of the good life, Boone walks the reader through each of the Cassiciacum dialogues to show how, at every turn, Augustine's faith in the Trinitarian and incarnate God has prompted him to adapt and to transform this central moral category."
--Ryan Topping, Fellow of Thomas More College, New Hampshire
"What is a human being? Mark Boone, a courageous young scholar who is leading the way in Augustinian studies, in this fine book also asks this question. Dr. Boone tells us in his investigation of the early Augustine at Cassiciacum shortly after his conversion, the answer to this question--one asked by the 'sweet psalmist of Israel' in Psalm 8:4--what is man? We are lovers. We are people of desire. By God's grace, we all need conversion and a therapy of our desires. Dr. Boone speaks eloquently about Augustine's early (and lifelong) views. We learn about Augustine's perspective of true happiness, and we have an answer to a most puzzling question. Five stars for this volume."
--David Naugle, Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished University Professor, Dallas Baptist University; Author of Reordered Loves, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness (2008)
"Most of the best contemporary theology is being done under the rubric of 'historical theology,' and so all theologians must read Professor Boone's book. He presents the basic options--as true today as in Augustine's time: Epicurean materialism with its attempt to repress hope and moderate desire in the face of everlasting death; Stoic
fatalism or determinism for which desire must be rendered docile to whatever happens; and desire for God according to which humans are created irrepressibly to desire union with the immaterial God who comes to us in Christ Jesus and his Church. Boone makes a superb contribution to the ongoing discussion of Augustine's early writings. Above all, he makes crystal clear how much we could gain by being taught anew by Augustine, how much each of us--and our communities--need him today!"
--Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr. Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"The Cassiciacum dialogues are Augustine's earliest writings on theology and philosophy, but have been overshadowed by his later works. Boone shows the importance of the Cassiciacum texts in their own right--as developing a uniquely Christian account of desire and its satisfaction--and as setting the stage for his later works. No future discussion of the Cassicacum texts will be able to avoid reckoning with this book."
--Brian Harding, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department of Psychology and Philosophy, Texas Woman's University
"In this lucid, accessible, and well-informed study, Mark Boone uses desire as a kind of lens to bring Augustine's early writings into focus. Fully aware of Augustine's philosophical as well as religious background, Boone helps us see young Augustine's fundamental project and the way it opens out into his mature thought."
--Phillip Cary, Author, Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self (Oxford University Press, 2000)