A bit earlier in 2019, I was fortunate enough to have my book proposal accepted by Bloomsbury press, making me a quasi-colleague of fellow Bloomsbury author J.K. Rowling. (Kidding! About that last part, anyway…)
If all goes according to plan, I’ll submit the completed manuscript by the end of this (very busy) summer. The title of the work will be Reading Augustine: On Time, Change, History, and Conversion. As its name implies, it will be part of Bloomsbury’s Reading Augustine series, overseen by the estimable Dr. Miles Hollingworth.
Life in the twenty-first century tends to move at a breakneck pace. As the 24-hour cycle of cable news contracts down to the 24-minute (or 24-second) cycle of social media, most of us are left with the sense that there is never enough time to catch up with our ever-changing world. It would be nice if we could grab hold of time and make it sit still for a while, if only for the chance to catch a better glimpse of our own personal or historical situation. Yet tomorrow’s volatility always arrives to overturn today’s fragile status quo.
These troubles with time are not new, however. Already in late antiquity, as the Western Roman Empire crumbled around him, Augustine of Hippo realized that this disorientation we feel in the face of change is a symptom of a deeper problem: namely, that we don’t really know what time is, even though it conditions every facet of our lives. In On Time, Change, History, and Conversion, the aim is to offer a new interpretation of Augustine’s approach to temporality by contrasting it with contemporary accounts of time drawn from philosophy, political theology, and popular science. Rather than offering us a deceptively simple roadmap forwards, however, Augustine reminds us that, before we try to transform ourselves and our world, we first must face up to the question of time itself.
Wish me luck this summer!