I had the privilege of participating in the publication of Carl Trueman’s latest book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution*, published by Crossway (where—full disclosure—I work as an editor). The book is a timely volume for explaining much about where we are in Western culture today and how the road to get here stretches back a lot farther than most of us typically think. While it feels like sexual mores have shifted at an incredibly rapid pace in recent decades, Trueman shows how the groundwork for such shifts were laid even back in the eighteenth century and how they involve much more than merely sex.
Since I was involved in the project myself, it seems better to point readers to others who are giving the book acclaim.
For starters, Trueman’s book received the award for best 2020 book in public theology and current events at the Gospel Coalition. The judges conclude:
Augustine of Hippo is known as one of the greatest theologians in Christian history. His Confessions continues to stand as one of the most influential works in Western culture and literature. It is in The Confessions that we follow Augustine’s remarkable journey seeking meaning, fulfillment, and truth, in which he explores pleasure and the religious ways of the Manichaeans but turns ultimately to the triune God of Christianity.
Augustine would go on to become a key leader in the church
of his day and to bequeath a massive corpus of Christian writings to the church.
Some of his less known and less read volumes are the Cassiciacum dialogues, a
series of philosophical discussions between Augustine and some students and
friends that were written down for publication. The dialogues took place after
Augustine converted to Christianity yet before he was baptized, and thus, in
the Cassiciacum dialogues, we get a rare glimpse of a thirty-two-year-old Augustine—before
he was “of Hippo,” before he was great, and before he was a professional