Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism

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Translated with an Introduction and New Preface by Ronald D. Srigley, 168 pages, 6" x 9", Preface, introduction, notes, bibliography, index

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Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism

Camus, Albert

Contemporary scholarship tends to view Albert Camus as a modern, but he himself was conscious of the past and called the transition from Hellenism to Christianity “the true and only turning point in history.” For Camus, modernity was not fully comprehensible without an examination of the aspirations that were first articulated in antiquity and that later received their clearest expression in Christianity. These aspirations amounted to a fundamental reorientation of human life in politics, religious, science, and philosophy.

Understanding the nature and achievement of that reorientation became the central task of Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism. Primarily known through its inclusion in a French omnibus edition, it has remained one of Camus’s least-read works, yet it marks his first attempt to understand the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christianity as he charted the movement from the Gospels through Gnosticism and Plotinus to what he calls Augustine’s “second revelation” of the Christian faith.

Ronald Srigley’s translation of this seminal document helps illuminate these aspects of Camus’ work. His freestanding English edition exposes readers to an important part of Camus’ thought that is often overlooked by those concerned primarily with the book’s literary value and supersedes the extant McBride translation by retaining a greater degree of literalness.

Srigley has fully annotated the book to include nearly all of Camus’ original citations and has tracked down many poorly identified sources. His introduction and new preface places the text in the context of Camus’ better-known later work, explicating its relationship to those mature writings and exploring how its themes were reworked in subsequent books. He included a new preface to highlight Camus’ relationship with Christianity, especially to St. Augustine.

As the only stand-alone English version of this important work – and a long-overdue critical edition – Srigley’s fluent translation is an essential bench-mark in our understanding of Camus and his place in modern thought.