I’ve been an Augustine scholar for fifteen years, since my undergraduate days. Was I called to action in some way, as was Augustine upon reading Cicero’s lost Hortensius? No. If my interest in Augustine stemmed from provocation, I was the one with the stick: as a junior at Emory University, I sought to lay at his feet all of the extant problems with embodiment and sexuality I was told originated in him. Instead, Augustine calmed me and taught me a way of philosophy that did not cut my body or my history from my self. Looking for a villain, I found a man, perhaps the most “real-life” philosopher I’ve encountered, though he’s been dead 1500 years or so. Because of the reality of this man, the palpability of his life and historical period, I learned to approach philosophy as someone in time, not outside of time.

Amongst books, trinkets, and pictures, in my office I have a comic strip one of my students drew a few years ago: it is of the Lion/Mouth exchange from The Teacher (De magistro)I often look at this picture, remembering fondly the student but also what fun Augustine shows in lovingly teaching. Augustine certainly provoked Adeodatus that day, and every day I enter the classroom I hope to follow in those confident, teasing footsteps.