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"Unusually instructive...But he does more than bring us down from the fairy-tale roof of the Duomo of Milan (the usual goal of tourists) to the ruins that now lie hidden beneath the ground. He takes us for a vertiginous drop of almost 1,800 years into a Christianity profoundly different from our own." --New York Review of Books

"Wills shows where Ambrose and Augustine differed from each other in theology, temperament, and even ritual preference. He engagingly offers insight into the religion, politics, and culture of the time." --Library Journal


"A small masterpiece of exposition." --Booklist
"A well-researched and fascinating historical look at Ambrose, Augustine, and the sacrament of baptism." --Publishers Weekly
"Garry Wills is as deft and compelling when he untangles the ideas and politics of the age of Augustine as when he writes about John Wayne or Abraham Lincoln. This is a work of fresh and genuinely original scholarship told with verve and a keen sense of why the issues of fourth-century Milan still matter today."--James J. O'Donnell, Georgetown University
"The font in the Milan baptistery where Ambrose baptized Augustine at Easter 387 provides the setting for Garry Wills's dramatic evocation of the relations between two of the most powerful and influential figures in the early Christian church. He reveals the personal and theological distance that separated them in the years before and after the baptism. Wills's depiction of Augustine's confrontation with Ambrose is like a magnificent diptych in which the figures take on shifting forms and colors as the light changes. This is a nuanced, perceptive, and utterly persuasive account of two great men."--G. W. Bowersock, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"The author's affection for his subjects fills out the human picture...The book surveys the intersection of the lives of two of the Latin patriarchs who left great, if different, marks on the church. It explores theology with narrative flow. It makes serious points with grace."--America
"An interesting and evocative addition to Wills's impressive corpus." --Christian Century
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review by . March 05, 2013
I'm not a theologian so it's difficult to review this book from a strictly religious perspective, for I'm afraid that I'll make a lot of mistakes on the theology side of it. That being said, I must confess (sorry for the pun) that I really enjoyed reading this book and learning an enormous amount about how baptisms were performed in the early Church.      Not being a complete dolt on my religion, I was aware of the fact that the Mass was divided into the Mass …
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Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism (Emblems of Antiquity)
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