chapter  4
34 Pages

A Late Antique Spiritual Lifestyle?

But there is another problem: doesn’t the attribution of intense spiritual expectations to Augustine diminish him? To wait and ask for signs, to leap to spiritual conclusions, to use one’s own conscience as the only ultimate yardstick of their validity – all this might easily suggest a rather superstitious, socially isolated, even delusional gure. Since such an eccentric outlook would seem hard to reconcile with the immense critical standards manifested in his writings it would, amongst other things, hardly serve the cause of historical plausibility. To be truly convincing, we need to show that Augustine’s conversion was just one expression of a way of a life which adhered to a certain normality, not only in the sense that it was sustainable over time, but also in the sense that it tted with the needs of others, and was, perhaps, shared by them.