by the majority of the scholarly world. It is the personalities in the scholarship of the
DSS that has lent so much to the intrigue surrounding these texts. For anyone inter-
ested in these personalities and the ﬂurry of issues surrounding the reception and
interpretation of the DSS and related topics, then Collins’ book is a must read.
Macquarie University Sydney, NSW
: The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Two Cultures.
Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016; pp. 175.
When I say I am a historical theologian, a common response, typical of our racially
charged scholastic milieu, is, “Oh, so you like the dead white guys!” Of course, I
afﬁrm the need to diversify our interlocutors and methods, and to critically name the
historical forces silencing certain voices even today. But after admitting these realities,
I usually retort, “Most of the Church Fathers were not white.”
Justo González’ reading of Augustine through the lens of mestizaje is a refreshing
take on patristics generally and on Augustinian studies speciﬁcally. This cultural
critical move agitates our sedate reception of the North African bishop. To state the
obvious, Augustine, and for that matter most of the Gregories and both Cyrils, were
— being anachronistic here —“brown” and “black.” The Mothers and Fathers, as
González attests, were subtly yet profoundly shaped by their cultural identity.
González’ central claim is simple: to truly understand Augustine, we need to see
him as a mestizo, as a hybrid of Roman and North African cultures, who did “mestizo
theology” (p. 18). The term mestizo/a was originally an epitaph given by Spanish
invaders in the Americas to persons of mixed descent (Amerindian and Iberian). As
González concludes, “his mestizo background helped Augustine in his spiritual and
intellectual pilgrimage and left an imprint on his entire theology” (p. 171). In deploy-
ing this race critical lens, González reveals these impulses, previously overlooked or
underestimated, in Augustine’s life and thought.
González begins his treatment by exploring the socio-political dynamics between
local Punic, Berber, and Libyan peoples and the Roman imperial presence in North
Africa. And in doing so, he brings to the fore the cultural horizon from which we can
reread the mestizo Augustine. This includes a compelling portrait of his African (pos-
sibly Berber) mother Monica, a signiﬁcant inﬂuence on Augustine’s thought. The
author then looks at his earlier ministerial formation as a hybrid of Greco-Roman
philosophical culture (p. 54) and North African monastic-style ethical formation
(pp. 64 ff.). González also highlights the ways Augustine the pastor navigated the
cross-cultural milieu of his parish.
In the following four chapters, González gives sustained attention to Augustine’s
refutations agains the Manichaeans, Donatists, Pelagians, and pagans, all through a
mestizo lens. I will not unpack each chapter here, but only give some highlights. The
author places Augustine’s incorporation of Neoplatonism contra Manichaeism
between his desire for the rational rigor of the Greeks and his African-informed piety.
González’ genius shines when discussing the Donatists. Here, he contrasts the Roman
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