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The first thing to note is that to any reader of the period in which this book was written, the name Augustine St. Clare would immediately evoke St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most famous church fathers and theologians in the history of Christianity. Augustine, whose Confessions originated the genre of spiritual autobiography, was born to a pagan father and Christian mother, and went through phases as a pagan, Platonist, Manichee (during which he fathered an illegitimate child) and finally Christian. He echoes the Platonic view of punishment in arguing that to commit injustice is worse than to suffer it, for the former harms the soul and the latter only external circumstances. Thus too with slavery, where the master is ideologically slaved but only the slave’s body is captive.
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