This work is a revised version of my doctoral dissertation, which was accepted in March 2019 by the Faculty of Protestant Theology of the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. I am confident that this book would have never been completed without the unfailing support of Prof. Volker Henning Drecoll. Not only has he been an ideal host for a foreigner, but he has always treated me with the best type of liberality. I have particularly appreciated the complete intellectual freedom to pursue my own ideas and lack of pressure towards intellectual conformity. I would like to thank him for his valued feedback and encouragement during the writing process. I am also thankful to him and Prof. Volker Leppin for final evaluation of the submitted dissertation.
I would like to acknowledge the financial and intellectual support of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 923 “Threatened Order—Societies under Stress,” which allowed for close collaboration with the Lehrstuhl of Prof. Irmgard Männlein-Robert. I was fortunate to benefit from the prior work of Matthias Becker and ongoing work of Christine Hecht on Porphyry in the Sub-Project, of which we were all part, G01: “Platonism and Christianity in Late Antiquity.” The CRC also provided funding for research assistants and I am very grateful for the speed and efficiency with which Christoph Scharr and Max Bohley regularly carried out their work. Finally, the Philipp-Melanchthon-Stiftung was gracious enough to provide financial support while I revised my dissertation.
There are several professors prior to Tübingen who shaped my approach to texts. One of the most influential was Robert Renehan, who unfortunately passed away in Santa Barbara in 2019. In Chicago, David Martinez, Peter White, Michael Allen, and Helma Dik all strongly enriched my ability to interpret ancient texts. Chicago also provided me with two dear friends who have been of constant assistance in all matters personal and professional: Alex Lee and Tobias Joho. In fact, his parents, Erika and Wolfgang Joho, have been an inexhaustible source of aid for many years in Germany.
Tübingen is a particularly pleasant and productive place to work on Augustine. Prof. Drecoll’s openness to working with many types of people and ways of thinking has enabled me to benefit from a diverse and international environment. I am grateful for his collaboration with Prof. Johannes Brachtendorf and would like to thank them both for repeated opportunities to present my work in the framework of the Tübinger Augustinus-Zentrum, as well as for accepting this book in this series. I am also happy for the opportunities I had to participate in the meetings for doctoral students in the Albrecht-Bengel-Haus. It should already be clear that Prof. Drecolls Lehrstuhl itself provided an excellent intellectual home and open, friendly, and international environment, which was nurtured over many years by Frau Sonja Hug. In all these various stations in Tübingen, I was accompanied for many years by Colten Cheuk-Yin Yam. I was privileged to see his family grow as his wife, Simmy, gave birth in Tübingen to two children, to whom this book is dedicated.