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The Confessions of St. Augustine: By St. Augustine : Illustrated & Unabridged (Free Bonus Audiobook)

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The Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between AD 397 and 400. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confe The Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between AD 397 and 400. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles. Its original title was Confessions in Thirteen Books, and it was composed to be read out loud with each book being a complete unit. It is generally considered one of Augustine's most important texts.


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The Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between AD 397 and 400. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confe The Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between AD 397 and 400. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles. Its original title was Confessions in Thirteen Books, and it was composed to be read out loud with each book being a complete unit. It is generally considered one of Augustine's most important texts.

30 review for The Confessions of St. Augustine: By St. Augustine : Illustrated & Unabridged (Free Bonus Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    I never dreamed that one day I would finished reading a 300-page memoir written by a ancient Catholic saint. See, how many saints who lived during the first millennium have written himself a memoir? I twice tried to read The Holy Bible (once in English and once in Tagalog) from cover to cover but failed. I just got distracted by too many details and hard-to-remember names and ancient places and I could not appreciate what were all those characters are doing. Excuses, excuses. They say that readin I never dreamed that one day I would finished reading a 300-page memoir written by a ancient Catholic saint. See, how many saints who lived during the first millennium have written himself a memoir? I twice tried to read The Holy Bible (once in English and once in Tagalog) from cover to cover but failed. I just got distracted by too many details and hard-to-remember names and ancient places and I could not appreciate what were all those characters are doing. Excuses, excuses. They say that reading The Holy Bible needs the Holy Spirit to come to you so that it will be the spirit who will whisper the words to your ears so that you will understand the word of God. Maybe the spirit is still contemplating whether a sinner like me is worth his time and effort. Until I came to this memoir. Written by a self-confessed sinner who is now considered one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity: Saint Augustine (latin word for church father)of Hippo (354-430) It took me more than 4 weeks to finish this book. Not a straight read. It is impossible to do that. The memoir is like a letter of St. Augustine to God and in the letter, he is conversing and confessing. He pours out his thoughts, his doubts, his questions. Some of those are funny (based on what we all know now with the advances in science and technology). He tells Him his weaknesses, what wrongs he has done to others. His sins in thoughts, in words, in actions. Reading it is like uttering a prayer. Read a page or two and you get that feeling that you have achieve your daily quota of prayers. St. Augustine poured his heart out in each page of his memoir. Something that is inspiring for me to ask myself those questions he threw out to God and reflect on those thoughts that he put on the pages. There are so many quotes that I would like to capture here but if I do that, I think I will be quoting half of the book. Most of them are in long and winding sentences but this first paragraph of Book 11 is my favorite: Is it possible, lord, that, since you are in eternity, you are ignorant of what I am saying to you? Or, do you see in time an event at the time it occurs? If not, then why am I recounting such a tale of things to you? Certainly not in order to acquiant you with them through me; but, instead, that through them I may stir up my own love and the love of my readers toward you, so that all may say, "Great is the lord and greatly to be praised." I have said this before and will say it again. For love of your love I do it. So also we pray - and yet truth tells us, "Your father knows want things you need before you ask him." Consequently, we lay bare our feelings before you, so that, through our confessing to you our plight and your mercies towards us, you may go on to free us altogether, as you have already begun; and so that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves and blessed in you - since you have called us to be poor in spirit, meek, mourners, hungering and athirst for righteousness, merciful and pure in heart." Now, I have to give The Holy Bible another try. I could not have finished this whole book and pointed that beautiful part if there was no Holy Spirit upon me. Oh ye of little faith.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Farren

    Are you there God? It's me, St. Augustine. Are you there God? It's me, St. Augustine.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    This experience sufficiently illuminates the truth that free curiosity has greater power to stimulate learning than rigorous coercion. - Augustine, Confessions Sublime and Original I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read Augustine’s Confessions. I might not agree with some of his conclusions (my Christian framework, Mormon*, would be considered a heresy by Augustine), but his influence on Christianity, philosophy, and the West can’t be ignored. I read this book in little bits on Sunday duri This experience sufficiently illuminates the truth that free curiosity has greater power to stimulate learning than rigorous coercion. - Augustine, Confessions Sublime and Original I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read Augustine’s Confessions. I might not agree with some of his conclusions (my Christian framework, Mormon*, would be considered a heresy by Augustine), but his influence on Christianity, philosophy, and the West can’t be ignored. I read this book in little bits on Sunday during Church (specifically Mormon church, more specifically Sacrament meeting). You may notice the math doesn't work I've spent nearly half of the year reading Augustine on Sundays (52/2 = 26; 26x20 = 520; and Confessions is NOT 520 pages). That is easily explained. I have two friends a six-year-old (Cohen) and a ten-year-old (Wes) with autism. They often sit with me when they struggle with the pews at Church and end up being more than their parents can handle. I must confess, I can do amazing things on Sunday with Wes or Cohen (mints or candy help), but Wes + Cohen + Augustine never seems to work out well for Augustine. Thus, my progress has been slowed. I think both God and Augustine would/will understand. I must also confess that I liked the Confessions part of the book, more than the expositions (the last 4 books). * my Mormon framework, Zen Mormon, would also be considered a heresy by most Mormons. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I am going to take my time with this book. It'd be the first time I read this sort of thing just for the joy of it. I'm just a bit familiar with St. Augustine and while I know this can be a hard read due to my personal beliefs, it is always great to read what other people's take on religion, love, hate and the human meaning. I am going to take my time with this book. It'd be the first time I read this sort of thing just for the joy of it. I'm just a bit familiar with St. Augustine and while I know this can be a hard read due to my personal beliefs, it is always great to read what other people's take on religion, love, hate and the human meaning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah McCoy Isaacs

    Chadwick's translation of Augustine's Confessions (note that this is a confession to God, while read by men) is one of the best. It is not costly in a monetary sense; new it is a mere 6.95. However, it is deceptively short. A chapter will take you two hours if you give it the attention it deserves. Augustine is a circular writer. He is not a bad writer - he was known to be a merciless editor, in fact. But he goes around and around, especially later on in the last chapters of the book when he is Chadwick's translation of Augustine's Confessions (note that this is a confession to God, while read by men) is one of the best. It is not costly in a monetary sense; new it is a mere 6.95. However, it is deceptively short. A chapter will take you two hours if you give it the attention it deserves. Augustine is a circular writer. He is not a bad writer - he was known to be a merciless editor, in fact. But he goes around and around, especially later on in the last chapters of the book when he is wondering aloud, in a sense, about more neo-platonic and loftier, metaphysical questions he is asking of God and thinking aloud/reasoning as best he can with his brilliant mind on paper; recognizing that that mind is a gift from God and he is to steward it. It gets hairy. It gets *hard* to stick with. If you can, and you do, you will find yourself perhaps having some of the same reactions I did: a)I always wondered the same thing!, or b)I am not even smart enough to have even thought to have wondered that or possibly even c)I have no idea what he's even talking about anymore. Had I not taken a course solely on The Confessions, when I had to read De Trinitate in a later theology class I most likely would have had a crisis of faith and quit. Because I was used to his style of writing and knew who the Manichees were, what the background was and the Neo-Platonic, socio-historical setting Augustine was situated in, I could confront De Trinitate and later, "for fun," I was brazen enough to take on The City of God. There was nothing Augustine didn't talk about or no issue he didn't confront as Bishop when he was alive, because he was a very prolific writer. He spent his time not in fancy robes as one may imagine, but answering questions of the people - he was an ad hoc theologian. We are still reaping the benefits of that today, for his answers were good ones and are still relevant. Before he became bishop, though, he lived the life he spells out on the pages of the Confessions, which are not tales of endless days skipping carelessly along smooth paths by any stretch of the imagination. He reveals facets of himself not very becoming of a bishop; facets that are human. He was the first to admit to having such personality traits and publish a book about it and turn it back into praise to God when it was previously just material for gossip. Remaining human all the while, he points steadfastly to God, which is why this book is so crucial to know intimately. He speaks of heartbreak and loss in a way that you want to turn to it when you go through it (I did). He speaks of those who will naysay you when you have changed, speaking of who you were and not who you are, and you will again want to turn to his words. It is invaluable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sean Blake

    "Day after day I postponed living in you, but I never put off the death which I died each day in myself. I longed for a life of happiness but I was frightened to approach it in its own domain; and yet, while I fled from it, I still searched for it." Reading Augustine of Hippo's Confessions is like plunging into a deep, dark abyss and seeing a slither of light at the far side of the endless tunnel, unaware of whether you reach it or not; for Confessions is a proto-existentialist work of a man "Day after day I postponed living in you, but I never put off the death which I died each day in myself. I longed for a life of happiness but I was frightened to approach it in its own domain; and yet, while I fled from it, I still searched for it." Reading Augustine of Hippo's Confessions is like plunging into a deep, dark abyss and seeing a slither of light at the far side of the endless tunnel, unaware of whether you reach it or not; for Confessions is a proto-existentialist work of a man attempting to achieve inner perfection in a world of material greed and spiritual emptiness. Sound familiar? Because these themes are universal and timeless in the eternal consciousness of man. Augustine of Hippo is no stranger to this recurring trait of our species, and in the first part of the poetic masterpiece, he bears his fragile soul to all who dare to truly enlighten themselves. This book was his attempt at addressing the painful sins of his aesthetically dangerous past, and trying to rid of them through tortured prayers to God. "But the time had now come when I stood naked before my own eyes, while my conscience upbraided me." It is obvious right from the start that Augustine refuses to give the reader an easy going reading experience. For a religious text, it is heart wrenching at times and, while offering a continually fresh perspective on Christianity and philosophy, he retains a strong hold on the reader as he deconstructs his flawed nature, for his suffering was also his redemption, his enlightenment, his forgiveness. One feels his morally destructive pain in each emotional page; for how can a man attempting to achieve inner perfection and a connection with God live with sorrowful reflections of sleeping with prostitutes—even living with one? He tears himself apart passionately describing a scene from his childhood when he stole some fruit, not out of desperation, but simply because it was wrong. "It is in my own mind, then, that I measure time. I must not allow my mind to insist that time is something objective. I must not let it thwart me because of all the different notions and impressions that are lodged in it." These confessions continue well after his memoir. In part two, he confesses his theological and philosophical beliefs with extended theoretical examinations on the nature of man, the mind, the senses, time, Creation and its relation to God. Augustine delves deep into the mind, in an attempt to understand what gave Moses and Christ such inherently profound knowledge. His dissections into the memory of the rational mind is examined extensively and, upon reflection, his agonizing search for the Truth still provides acute psychological penetration into the human soul over 1,500 years on. His experiments still explain some deep truths in the vast network of human thought. Ironically, however, there was an everlastingly warm presence throughout the book, for Augustine is not only talking to God, he is also talking to us, the reader. Part memoir, part philosophical and theological investigation into the nature of existence, Augustine of Hippo's Confessions is an honest and beautiful work of non-fiction, where the unexplained might not be explained, but the door is opened slightly more to the Truth. That sleep may wearied limbs restore, And fit for toil and use once more... Saint Ambrose

  7. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    As a first-semester college freshman needing an elective, I signed up for a speed-reading class. I never adopted any of the techniques the course touted, although I got an A in it; but the classroom had a paperback rack with various donated books we could practice on, and this was one I read. It turned out to be the most lasting educational benefit of the class, and did make a genuine intellectual impression on me. (Other than Lightfoot's translation of the Apostolic Fathers, which I read a few As a first-semester college freshman needing an elective, I signed up for a speed-reading class. I never adopted any of the techniques the course touted, although I got an A in it; but the classroom had a paperback rack with various donated books we could practice on, and this was one I read. It turned out to be the most lasting educational benefit of the class, and did make a genuine intellectual impression on me. (Other than Lightfoot's translation of the Apostolic Fathers, which I read a few years later, this is the only reading in Patristics that I've ever done.) Augustine (354-430 A.D.) was, of course, one of the major theologians in Christian history, and probably the most influential of the Latin Fathers, at least on the development of the church in the West. This is far from his only writing, and not his most important one; most scholars would give that accolade to The City Of God (which is on my to-read shelf). These two, though, are probably the two most widely read of his works. This one is not extremely long (a bit over 300 pages), and is divided into 13 “books,” each divided in turn into short, numbered chapters with numbered paragraphs. (The chapter numbers were added to the early printed editions of the 1400s and 1500s, and the paragraph numbers in the 17th century.) As the title implies, it's partially autobiographical; the first nine books telling the story of his early life, leading up to his Christian conversion at the age of 31, and continuing through his mother Monica's death a couple of years later, in 388. (By the time he wrote, he had already entered the priesthood and become a bishop, but this book doesn't continue his story that far.) Rather than being autobiographical, the last four books are mostly theological reflections, and so seem somewhat disconnected from the preceding nine. Of course, I read this in English translation, but I no longer remember anything about the edition or the translator. (The copy I'm referring to now is of the 1991 translation by British scholar Henry Chadwick, a well-recognized authority on Augustine, published by Oxford Univ. Press. Besides a short bibliographical note, brief list of important dates in Augustine's life, and a bit over four-page index, it has a 16-page introduction, which would have been very helpful to me if the copy I read had included it.) It should be admitted that at the time of my life that I read this, I wasn't at the optimum place for appreciating it, either intellectually or spiritually (I'd become a Christian in high school, but still had no serious conception of discipleship and wasn't very familiar with the Bible). Also, as an intellectual who both studied and subsequently taught in the schools of that day, where teens and young men learned rhetoric and philosophy, Augustine was well versed in the classical Latin literary style, which can often come across as dry and ponderous, especially in the later “books.” (Then too, a particularly odd stylistic feature here is that the whole book is ostensibly addressed to God, not the reader, as though it were a 300+-page prayer. Though his attitude no doubt was prayerful in places, the fact that he's obviously writing this to be read by others makes the strictly God-ward address seem somewhat dishonest and gimmicky.) Although I did engage with the text, there's a good deal that didn't brand itself on my memory. And the reactions to various parts of the book that I do remember were both positive and negative. One important aspect of the book that struck me is that this is very much a window into the mindset of ancient Platonic philosophy in the Hellenistic world, and its influence in shaping post-apostolic Gentile Christianity in its early centuries. (As I was learning in my early college years, this is a strand of philosophy which has pre-Platonic roots in the thought of Pythagoras, and ultimately in the Hindu worldview of the sages of India, with whom Pythagoras studied as a young man.) This was basically a worldview that glorified the non-corporeal (“spiritual”) and disparaged the physical world and the body. It reached its most extreme form in the Gnostic and Manichean heresies of Augustine's time (though these had precursors already in New Testament times, which Paul and other NT writers warn against), with the idea that the physical world is evil and not of Divine origin at all, and that salvation consists of the soul ridding itself of the evil body. As Augustine frankly discusses here, he was a committed Manichean as a young man; and he explains the reasoning and influences that led him eventually to reject that system, and to embrace Christianity with its belief in God as creator of the world and of Christ as truly incarnate in a human body. But despite his conversion, he didn't wholly jettison all of his Manichean attitudes. In one revealing passage here (chapter 31, paragraph 44 in Book 10), which had me rolling my eyes big-time, he speaks of God teaching him that food should only be taken like medicine, in the quantity just necessary for the sustenance of the body, which is always less than the quantity which would actually give “dangerous” pleasure in eating, which he seriously speaks of as “an insidious trap of uncontrolled desire,”and which he speaks of as a daily struggle against temptation. The contrast of this attitude with Scripture texts like Ecclesiastes 9:7 (“Go, eat your food with gladness....”) couldn't be more marked; we see here a glorification of asceticism that would express itself in things like monasticism, and the whole tradition of the “if you enjoy it, it's a sin!” school of pseudo-spirituality. (Augustine himself would become the founder of a monastic order, the Augustinians.) We can also see Platonic and Manichean roots for the penchant he displays here in a number of places for adopting allegorical interpretations of the Bible rather than straightforward readings of the text. Despite his theoretical deploring of bodily impulses, Augustine is also frank (though never titillating) in his admission that, in his teens, he indulged in quite a bit of promiscuous sex. At the age of 17, he settled down to faithful cohabitation with a lower-class “concubine” (whom he never names, which struck me as sort of dehumanizing!), with whom he lived for about 13 years. (She bore him a son, Adeodatus, though sadly the boy died in his teens.) The year before his conversion, he dumped her in order to get engaged to an upper-class woman who could provide a dowry –though that marriage never took place, since he subsequently broke the engagement when he decided to enter the priesthood. (He kept custody of his son, though it's not explicit in the book whether or not that arrangement was what the boy's mother wanted.) Even granting that the long illicit union wasn't based on love (at least on his part), and that he was not yet at that time a Christian, his treatment of his partner impressed me then, and still does, as shabby. He deplores his own behavior in indulging in unmarried sex, but he never evinces much feeling of guilt about unkindness to a fellow human; and I'm inclined to see that blind spot as also related to his Manichean attitudes. On a more positive note, a major take-away from this book was the insight into the nature of eternity: that God, as the eternal creator, created time itself along with the universe, but Himself exists outside of time, and experiences all time as something like an infinite, omniconscious present, rather than sequentially, the way that we do. As I've recently learned, this idea wasn't original with Augustine; he derived it from Plato (a more constructive contribution than some of the latter's other ideas!). But nonetheless, it makes considerable sense to me and explains some Biblical concepts in a way that I've found immensely helpful. I'm glad to have read the book on that account, even if it hadn't been illuminating in other ways. (There are some other deep philosophical concepts dealt with here as well.) Although Augustine is perhaps best known as the first Christian theologian to explicitly advocate the doctrine (with which I personally disagree vehemently) of unconditional double predestination of humans to either salvation or damnation, with no volition on their part, a view which later greatly influenced John Calvin, he doesn't go into that at all here (at least, not that I can recall). He describes his own conversion and the lead-up to it in considerable detail (and his was a fairly dramatic conversion experience); but as he tells it here, there's no indication that its climax was anything other than a voluntary turning to God through Christ.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    I suspect most people today would not imagine that they have much in common with a Christian saint who lived over 1500 years ago. Remarkably enough however if they read this book I think they'd find much to relate to, just as I did. The Confessions is the famous autobiography of St. Augustine of Hippo, a North African saint. It is in part his life story, but to me it is really his spiritual biography. It is in effect a long letter from himself directed towards God, explaining his path towards th I suspect most people today would not imagine that they have much in common with a Christian saint who lived over 1500 years ago. Remarkably enough however if they read this book I think they'd find much to relate to, just as I did. The Confessions is the famous autobiography of St. Augustine of Hippo, a North African saint. It is in part his life story, but to me it is really his spiritual biography. It is in effect a long letter from himself directed towards God, explaining his path towards the divine. It is the story of how Augustine went from a sinner — someone who in his own words had a restless soul and disordered mind — into the realm of divine knowledge and awareness. It is a familiar story to anyone who has read Ibn Arabi, al-Ghazali or any other individuals who have counseled taking what is often referred to as the spiritual path. What was most notable to me about the book were how "normal" St. Augustine and his thoughts seem by today's standards. He did not want to surrender his bad habits and he did not want to be ridiculed for believing something that he'd (incorrectly) assumed was ridiculous. He wanted real knowledge and the company of his beloved friends and family. He loved his mother and he wanted to do what was right in his life, a life that he knew was inherently transient. The book describes the process of his spiritual awakening, likening it at one part to the resistance one feels to waking up in the morning and the efforts we take to remain asleep even when we know we must get up. He describes the components of existence as being like the words of a sentence, with one dying so the other can live and none but the highest intellect able to see the meaning of the entire sentence. His heart desires to come to a place of rest, rather than being in endless search for a thing that our minds cannot name. The prose is beautiful. This is a book that deserves to be described as timeless, because it deals with the core issues of the human condition: who we are, why we are here and what we must do to be enlightened, peaceful and successful. It is also an advised read for those who incorrectly believe that Christianity is a superficial or intellectually unstimulating religion. This could not be further from the truth. To me St. Augustine was another Ibn Arabi, an earnest seeker of the truth who found his riches by looking within. As long as human beings still exist, this book has something very important to say to them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James

    It was slow, it was dense, and it was militantly Christian. So why is that The Confessions is such an unavoidably fascinating work? Augustine appears here as a fully realized person, with all the good and the bad that that implies; it's as if the book was a conversation with God and a fly-on-the-wall was taking dictation. Since God obviously would have known Augustine's transgressions before they even occurred, Augustine thus has nothing to hide in this personal narrative, or at least makes it a It was slow, it was dense, and it was militantly Christian. So why is that The Confessions is such an unavoidably fascinating work? Augustine appears here as a fully realized person, with all the good and the bad that that implies; it's as if the book was a conversation with God and a fly-on-the-wall was taking dictation. Since God obviously would have known Augustine's transgressions before they even occurred, Augustine thus has nothing to hide in this personal narrative, or at least makes it appear that way. The prose of this translation must be incredibly different from its Latin source, but it's obvious that Augustine has a force of personality that appears through his work that few writer have matched in the centuries that have followed this original Western autobiography. The power and beauty of his writing was no doubt aided by his devotion not only to The Bible, but to Cicero, Plato, and especially Virgil. It's also an incomparably fascinating window into the culture of the time: the Manicheans, Astrologers, Christians, and Pagans are all interesting studies through the eyes of this saint. His contributions to philosophy in this text cannot be ignored even today. Bertrand Russell (not exactly a churchgoer) admired his work on time, and it's still an enlightening experience to read these thoughts. And of course the story of spiritual awakening is an inspiring and beautiful one, a story that is not altogether dissimilar to that of the Buddha centuries before Augustine. Although, especially at the start, it can be slow and cold reading, The Confessions more than justifies its position as one of the most important books ever written.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Greg Garrett

    I used to hate Augustine of Hippo. I found him too anxious, too focused on the sexual sins he was sure he was committing, and too sure about the fallen nature of human beings. The Confessions changed all that for me. It's like how when you meet someone you can't judge them in the same way any more; The Confessions helped me understand that Augustine--like everyone--was trying to understand his life, his place in the world, and his motivations for doing things. Most importantly, The Confessions h I used to hate Augustine of Hippo. I found him too anxious, too focused on the sexual sins he was sure he was committing, and too sure about the fallen nature of human beings. The Confessions changed all that for me. It's like how when you meet someone you can't judge them in the same way any more; The Confessions helped me understand that Augustine--like everyone--was trying to understand his life, his place in the world, and his motivations for doing things. Most importantly, The Confessions helped me understand my own yearning for something bigger than myself, and why placing myself front and center had always been disastrous, and always would be. Augustine has made me a wiser person, surely--I understand God, people, politics, art, and beauty better thanks to him--but he's also made me a better writer and critic, and this is the best place to make his acquaintance (and for some, to finish. Augustine was trained as a classical orator, and he is not an easy read, even in a good translation like this).

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Henderson

    I have read this book several times, both as part of the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the University of Chicago and most recently as one of the monthly selections of a reading group in which I participate. Like all classics it bears rereading and yields new insights each time I read it. But it also is unchanging in ways that struck me when I first read it; for Augustine's Confessions seem almost modern in the telling with a psychological perspective that brings his emotional growth aliv I have read this book several times, both as part of the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the University of Chicago and most recently as one of the monthly selections of a reading group in which I participate. Like all classics it bears rereading and yields new insights each time I read it. But it also is unchanging in ways that struck me when I first read it; for Augustine's Confessions seem almost modern in the telling with a psychological perspective that brings his emotional growth alive across the centuries. From the carnality of his youth to the moment in the Milanese Garden when a spiritual epiphany changes his perspective forever, the story is an earnest and sincere exposition of his personal growth. You do not have to be a Catholic or even a believer to appreciate the impact of events in the life of the young Augustine. His relations with his mother, Monica, are among those that still have impact on the modern reader. The additional philosophical musings, such as his discussion of the nature of time, make this even more compelling to those who appreciate philosophical contemplation. Psychology, philosophy and spirituality combine to make this one of the "Great" books that remind you that true insight into the human condition transcends time and place.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This was a newer translation that completely spoke to me. What I especially enjoyed was that all the scripture that he referenced in his work was noted down. It took me a while to read this one because I read all of the Bible passages noted in the work. I can see way this book has been such an inspiration for people over the years. While reading this I was highlighting like crazy in my Bible app. Word of advice, if you read this edition and want to read all the passages, having a Bible app will m This was a newer translation that completely spoke to me. What I especially enjoyed was that all the scripture that he referenced in his work was noted down. It took me a while to read this one because I read all of the Bible passages noted in the work. I can see way this book has been such an inspiration for people over the years. While reading this I was highlighting like crazy in my Bible app. Word of advice, if you read this edition and want to read all the passages, having a Bible app will make it easier. I was constantly switching between different translations because St. Augustine used the Latin Vulgate when he was writing this. And some of the books he referenced aren’t found in a common translation of the Bible. Reading this book was a very joyful time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    The first nine Books are brilliant, revolutionary, both as a confession and as theology. I wish Augustine had ended it there, and I wish someone could explain why he doesn’t end it there. But given I’m a slacker, I guess I don’t deserve an explanation. I’m sure it’s what I said before: “It probably all relates to the nature of humanity, the nature of God, the nature of His creation, and the nature of sin, all in the context of Augustine's early life and conversion. I just don't understand it...l The first nine Books are brilliant, revolutionary, both as a confession and as theology. I wish Augustine had ended it there, and I wish someone could explain why he doesn’t end it there. But given I’m a slacker, I guess I don’t deserve an explanation. I’m sure it’s what I said before: “It probably all relates to the nature of humanity, the nature of God, the nature of His creation, and the nature of sin, all in the context of Augustine's early life and conversion. I just don't understand it...lol.” The last four books are way too philosophical for me, but I am assured that it ranks with the great philosophers. I do like Kerstin’s final questions. Let me take a crack at them. What did you think of the book overall? Brilliant, difficult, insightful, revolutionary, honest, unlike anything in its day. Finally I think holy. His voice of continuous prayer just exudes holiness. What surprised you? How the entire book was one long, continuous prayer to God. An actual confession. What touched you? His relationship with his mother. We all know how much she loved him through her constant prayer for his conversion, but he apparently had the same love for her, and in his times I’m not sure how common that was. That moment after his conversion and just before she dies where they sit in the garden and contemplate heaven is very striking. And of course his prayer for her soul at the end of chapter nine was most touching. What made you laugh? I don’t know if this is funny (probably not) but a heck of a lot of his friends kept dying from fever. If I ever read Confessions again I’m going to have to count how many. What inspired you? The continuous prayer. His prayerful voice just entered my ear and has stayed there. It’s a wonderful way to speak to God, an almost constant confession, with praise and blessings thrown in.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    St. Augustine’s Confessions is such a lovely and honest book. I’d recommend it to everyone, if people who aren’t remotely religious. It’s one of those works that really manages to encapsulate certain feelings and articulate them in ways that are clear but also sort of startling in their clarity, saying obvious things in ways you’d never quite thought of before. Take this bit from Book 8: “In my heart I kept saying ‘Let it be now, let it be now!’ and merely by saying this I was on the point of ma St. Augustine’s Confessions is such a lovely and honest book. I’d recommend it to everyone, if people who aren’t remotely religious. It’s one of those works that really manages to encapsulate certain feelings and articulate them in ways that are clear but also sort of startling in their clarity, saying obvious things in ways you’d never quite thought of before. Take this bit from Book 8: “In my heart I kept saying ‘Let it be now, let it be now!’ and merely by saying this I was on the point of making the resolution. I was on the point of making it, but I did not succeed. Yet I did not fall back into my old state. I stood on the brink of resolution, waiting to take a fresh breath…And the closer I came to the moment whichw as to mark the great change in me, the more I shrank from it in horror. But it did not drive me back or turn me from my purpose: it merely left me hanging in suspense.” It’s a distinctly theological feeling for Augsustine, but I also think it’s just generally a human one, and that’s what makes this book such a joy to read. Augustine is also just a lovely writer, and he’s honest and inquisitive about himself, his God, and his world. It’s one of the most accessible ways to get a look at the worldview of an early medieval Christian. There are also two sections on memory and time (books 10 and 11) that are just loads of fun.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Guy Austin

    “Why then should I be concerned for human readers to hear my confessions? It is not they who are going to ‘heal my sicknesses’. The human race is inquisitive about other people’s lives, but negligent to correct their own.” I was very excited to read this book; Confessions by St Augustine. Having been an inspiration to so many including John Calvin, Martin Luther and so many others. It is a memoir like few others. One of the first of its kind. In that fact alone my curiosity was peaked. To read of “Why then should I be concerned for human readers to hear my confessions? It is not they who are going to ‘heal my sicknesses’. The human race is inquisitive about other people’s lives, but negligent to correct their own.” I was very excited to read this book; Confessions by St Augustine. Having been an inspiration to so many including John Calvin, Martin Luther and so many others. It is a memoir like few others. One of the first of its kind. In that fact alone my curiosity was peaked. To read of a life from so long ago pulled me. It is so much more than that. It is indeed a confession. I laying out of all his early life filled with doubt and various ideas of the age he grew up in. It is also a great study of philosophy and theology. The result of this work laid out much of the thought of the reformation leading to the protestant faith. It is broken in to thirteen books. Starting with a pouring out of his self and leading us through his earliest memories growing up in North Africa in the 300’s. His relationship with his parents and particularly to his mother’s faith as an early Christian is a big part of his growth. His sins and reflective disgust with his youthful dalliances are not white washed. Including his wanting of woman’s company in his bed. “How stupid man is to be unable to restrain feelings in suffering the human lot! That was my state at that time. So I boiled with anger, sighed, wept, and was at my wits’ end. I found no calmness, no capacity for deliberation. I carried my lacerated and bloody soul when it was unwilling to be carried by me. I found no place where I could put it down. There was no rest in pleasant groves, nor in games or songs, nor in sweet-scented places, nor in exquisite feasts, nor in the pleasures of the bedroom and bed, nor, finally, in books and poetry.” The first half of the book is more or less a memory of his early life into his late 20’s and early 30’s. His relationships with woman and birth of his son out of wedlock, his friends, mentors, and his mother Monica leading to his conversion. The second part of the book get more into philosophical discussions. His discussion on time is both interesting and honestly confusing to me. I found many of his discussions long and winding roads that lead us to his understanding of time. It was at times difficult to follow yet fascinating. His argument for the existence of God who is good and how evil can exist simultaneously is here and all of it is written beautifully. The entire novel is readable and enjoyable regardless if you are a believer or not. There is much here to mine. It is a novel that could be read several times and probably should be to fully grasp all that is in it. I have no doubt most would read and be startled to know how relatable it is to our own individual doubts on the existence of God. The fact that this Saint could have many of the same doubts in his life as me gave me pause. As he lays out many streams of thought I caught myself wondering why I had not thought of that myself. And then there were times I read his thoughts and was lost and found myself rereading parts to try to grasp it all. The entire confession is eye opening and revealing that we are all human. The titles of Bishop and Saint matter not. We all struggle with the same issues. “Give me chastity and continence, but not just yet” I gave it 4 stars only because I enjoyed the first part far more than the second. I struggled with many of the concepts but the writing was beautiful. However I think many would read the second half or the last three of four books and enjoy these pieces more than I. There is much in here to enjoy and think about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I can’t really rate this one but it was certainly interesting... not my favorite though.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jerome Peterson

    "Confessions" is the type of book with a heavy dynamic caliber that it should be read slow, thoughtfully, and with a highlighter. Saint Augustine doe not hold back in his shortcomings. He paints a black, very personal, wicked youth. He confesses all and bares his soul. The passages about his mother were extremely soulful revealing the man as an affectionate son. He writes with hopeful authority; yet in a humble voice and always in a way that I could relate with it in today's hectic pace. His sty "Confessions" is the type of book with a heavy dynamic caliber that it should be read slow, thoughtfully, and with a highlighter. Saint Augustine doe not hold back in his shortcomings. He paints a black, very personal, wicked youth. He confesses all and bares his soul. The passages about his mother were extremely soulful revealing the man as an affectionate son. He writes with hopeful authority; yet in a humble voice and always in a way that I could relate with it in today's hectic pace. His style was unique to me for he included and addressed God as one of his readers not as a truth seeker, such as myself, but as The Almighty. The content itself is woven with scripture in such a way that it drew me in instead of losing me or making me feel like a wretch. The author covers his sinful youth and years of his adult life; pursuit for truth; his faithful mother; his pagan father; even a friend that was addicted to attending gladiatorial shows! He also covers subjects such as invisible nature, memory, and time. Saint Augustine lived A.D. 354-430 and was one of the outstanding figures of the declining Roman Empire. He was a prolific writer of books, letters, and sermons. I highly recommend this book; especially to anyone who is seeking truth and answers about the seen and unseen world around them as well as self-evident mysteries such as memory and time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    The Bible says Elijah was a man like us but that his prayer was miraculously effectual. Confessions is a great way to make the same reconnection with the church fathers and saints who came before us but after the time of the biblical canon. Augustine is candid. He faced the same temptations and rode the same relations we do. He is an honest narrator of his own vicissitudes, and thereby his attestation to the faithfulness of Christ is all the more meaningful. Clearly, he deserves five stars, but my The Bible says Elijah was a man like us but that his prayer was miraculously effectual. Confessions is a great way to make the same reconnection with the church fathers and saints who came before us but after the time of the biblical canon. Augustine is candid. He faced the same temptations and rode the same relations we do. He is an honest narrator of his own vicissitudes, and thereby his attestation to the faithfulness of Christ is all the more meaningful. Clearly, he deserves five stars, but my reading experience was kept from absolute perfection by my inability to maintain interest, and sometimes comprehension, as he talked at some length philosophically about the science of perception.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shyam

    Entrust to the Truth all that you have from the Truth, and you shall lose nothing. The parts of you that are withered shall bloom again, and all your illnesses shall be healed. (4.11.16) Seek what you seek, but it is not where you seek it. You seek a life of blessedness in the land of death; it is not there. How can there be a blessed life in a place where there is not even life itself? (4.12.18) As for those who think there is another life, they are chasing after another joy, and not the true Entrust to the Truth all that you have from the Truth, and you shall lose nothing. The parts of you that are withered shall bloom again, and all your illnesses shall be healed. (4.11.16) Seek what you seek, but it is not where you seek it. You seek a life of blessedness in the land of death; it is not there. How can there be a blessed life in a place where there is not even life itself? (4.12.18) As for those who think there is another life, they are chasing after another joy, and not the true one. (10.22.32) ___________ Going in with most works 'blind' (so to speak) as I like to do, I had no idea that Augustine’s Confessions was so suffused with the former's religious experience. The work is strongly interwoven with Scripture, but apart from this, Augustine muses on many topics such as Beauty, Memory, and Metaphysics. A nice work, and great translation. __________ For as we grow up, we weed such habits out of ourselves and throw them away; but I have never known any wise farmer, when weeding his plot, to throw good plants out with the bad. (1.7.11) And yet we did sin . . . We paid less attention to our books than was expected of us. (1.9.15) Adults have their games, which they dignify by the name of 'business'. (1.9.15) It is but vanity to make a profession of these earthly things . . . (5.5.8) They think they are radiant and exalted as the stars of heaven, when all the while they have fallen headlong to earth, and their heart is darkened in its folly. (5.3.5) The daily ruin of our body is called ‘pleasure’. (10.31.43) As for the reason why I hated the Greek literature in which I was steeped as a boy—for that I have still found no satisfactory explanation. I had fallen in love with Latin literature . . . (1.13.20) I confess I was eager to learn these books, for they were the joy of my wretched life. (1.16.26) But it was not surprising that I was drifting off towards these vanities . . . considering what sort of men were held up to me as examples to imitate. (1.18.28) Around me lay the quagmire of carnal desire, bubbling with the springs of pubescence, and breathing a mist that left my heart fog-bound and benighted; I could no longer tell the clear skies of love from the dark clouds of lust. The two swirled around me in confusion; and in my youthful ignorance I was quickly drawn over the cliffs of desire and sucked down by the eddying currents of vice. (2.2.2) My vanity was so excessive that I longed to be smart and sophisticated. (3.1.1) My studies, too—'The Liberal Arts', as they were called—were leading me in a direction of their own. (3.3.6) In the regular course of study I came to a book by a certain Cicero . . . this book of his contains an exhortation to philosophy; it is called the Hortensius. It was this book that changed my outlook . . . Suddenly all my vain hopes seemed cheap, and I began to lust with a passion scarcely to be believed after the immortality conferred by philosophy . . . It was not in order to hone my tongue that I took it up, nor was it Cicero's manner of speech that swayed me, but what he was saying. (3.4.7) . . . in Cicero's exhortation to philosophy there was one thing that I loved especially, namely that his words aroused me and set me on fire not to be a lover of this or that sect, but of wisdom itself, whatever it may be; to love it and seek it and gain it and keep it, to embrace it with all my strength. (3.4.)8 He will find out for himself from his reading the nature of his mistake . . . (3.12.21) 'What is it that we love except what is beautiful? What, then, is "beautiful"? And what is beauty? What is there in the things we love that charms and attracts us? They could not draw us to themselves unless there were some internal harmony and beauty of form about them.' I looked around and saw that within physical objects there is one sort of beauty that comes, so to speak, from the totality, and another which gives a sense of harmony through the congruence with which it fits in without another object, as part of a body fits in with the whole, or as a shoe fits a foot, and so forth. This thought welled up in the depths of my heart and filled my mind . . . (4.13.20) I sought to know why I thought good the beauty of physical objects, whether in the heavens or on earth, and what it was that helped me judge correctly when I said of mutable objects, 'This thing ought to be such and such, but that thing so and so.' As I asked the question of why I judged thus (seeing that I did judge thus) I had found an eternity of truth, unchangeable and true . . . (7.17.23) From that Beauty these craftsmen that pursue outward beauties take the yardstick by which they perceive what is good, but not the yardstick by which they should use it. (10.34.53) I read by myself all the books on the so-called liberal arts, and understood all that I read . . . (4.16.30) . . . I discovered that this erstwhile master of the liberal arts knew only literature—and had no special knowledge even of that. He had read some of Cicero's speeches, a few books by Seneca, some odds and ends of poetry, and the more literate of the Latin works of his own sect. (5.6.11) I had not yet attained the truth, but had now been rescued from falsehood.(6.1.1) As I passed through a street in Milan, I noticed a pauper begging. I suppose he had already had a skinful, and was now in a happy mood, full of jokes. I groaned, and observed to the friends who were with me how many were the sufferings of our own madness inflicted upon us. In all our strivings, such as those under which I was then labouring as I dragged my burden of unhappiness, driven by the lash of my own desires, making it heavier as I dragged it, we had but one wish: to arrive at a state of happiness and confidence. But that beggar, I said, had beaten us to it, and we would perhaps never reach it. What he had attained with the aid of a few small coins, and begged ones at that, I was approaching by a circuitous route, with many painful twists and turns: namely, the happiness that comes from earthly felicity. It was no true jot that he had; but the joy that I was seeking through my ambitions was far falser. He, at any rate, was cheerful, while I was anxious he was carefree, while I was full of trepidation. If someone had asked me whether I would rather be happy or fearful, I would have said, ‘Happy’. If they had asked again, whether I would rather be like the beggar, or as I then was, I would have chosen to be myself, exhausted though I was with worries and fears. But this is a perverse choice; what of the truth? I should not have regarded my condition as preferable to his because I was more educated, for I had no joy of my education. Instead, I sought to please men with it; not to teach them, but only to please them . . . It does matter, I know, why one is happy; the happiness that comes from faithful hope is incomparably different from my vanity. But even then, there was a difference between us: he was the rapper, not only in that he was drenched with high spirits, whearas I was even up inside with anxieties, but also in that he had got his wine by wishing people good day, whearas I sought to get my vain glory by lying. (6.6.9, 6.6.10) I was not now in that state of vanity; I had transcended it . . . (8.1.2) My will was perverted, and became a lust; I obeyed my lust as a slave, and it became a habit; I failed to resist my habit, and it became a need. (8.5.10) I was in both the flesh and the spirit, but I was more myself in that which I approved in myself, than that which I disapproved in myself. (8.5.11) He was capable of far greater literary activity, if he wished . . . (8.6.13) . . . avoiding in his teaching all that might disturb the quiet of his mind; for that he wished to keep free and unoccupied for as many hours of the day as possible, while he sought to read or hear something concerning wisdom. (8.6.13) All these tasks we endure—where are they taking us? (8.6.15) He read, and was changed within . . . and his mind began to put off the world. For as he read . . . he pondered the shifting tides of his heart . . . he discerned the better course, and resolved upon it. (8.6.15) Merely to seek this wisdom, even if I did not find it, now seemed preferable to difficult treasure houses or kingships of the nations, or an abundance of bodily pleasures that surpasses all my wishes. (8.7.17) To progress toward it—indeed to attain it—was nothing other than the will to progress, but with a will that was strong and whole throughout. (8.8.19) They did not block my path and speak out openly against me, but whispered behind my back and punched furtively at me as I left them behind, to make me look back. Nevertheless, they did delay my progress, and I was slow to tear myself away from them, shake them off, and hasten where I was summoned, as long as Habit, with all its force, said to me, 'Do you think you can do without these?' (8.11.26) For those whose with it is to rejoice in outward things, soon waste away and spend themselves on things visible and temporal, and feed their famished mind by licking at illusions. (9.4.10) . . . honeyed with the honey of heaven, radiant with your radiance. (9.4.11) The scent of your ointments was heavy in the air . . . (9.7.16) . . . scented with costly perfumes. (9.13.36) You cast your fragrance, and I drew breath, yet pant for you; I tasted, yet hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I was on fire for your peace. (10.27.38) The allurements of scents, however, does not bother me too much. When they are absent, I do not feel the need of them; when they are present, I do not reject them. I would even be ready to do without them for ever. Or so I think I would, I may be deceived. (10.32.48) When our conversation reached the point at which no pleasure derived from carnal senses, however great, however illumined by bodily light, seemed in respect of the sweetness of that Life was worthy not only of comparison, but even of mention, then we raised ourselves up in a more ardent longing for the Same, moving step by step through all things corporeal, even the sky itself, from which sun and moon and stars shine upon the earth. Still higher we went, through inward contemplation and discussion and admiration . . . We came to our own minds, and passed beyond them to attain the land of richness unfailing where you feed Israel forever with the food of truth. There, life is the Wisdom through which all things that were and that are to be come into being . . . (9.10.24) I shall therefore, transcend even that innate strength of mine, spending by degrees to him that made me. I shall come to the plains and broad palaces of memory, where there are boards of countless images brought in from the things of all kind that the senses perceive. There is the storehouse of all that we ever contemplate, whether by increasing or by diminishing or by altering in some way the objects that our senses have encountered, and of everything else which is entrusted for safekeeping there and has not yet been swallowed up and buried in oblivion . . . Some things come to hand easily and in unbroken sequence, just as they are requested; those that come first give way to those that follow on from them, and having given way, are stored up , to come forth the net time I want them. All this happens when I relate something from memory. (10.8.12) All these things I do within, in the great hall of my memory. There heaven and earth stand ready for me, with everything in them that I have been able to perceive . . . (10.8.14) Great is the strength of Memory, great indeed, my God; an inner chamber vast and infinite. Who has ever sounded its depths? This strength belongs to my mind and to my nature, yet I myself cannot comprehend all that I am. Is mind, then, too narrow to hold itself? And if so, what is the part of itself that it does not contain? How, then, can it be outside itself rather than inside itself? How, then, can it not contain itself? Great wonder arises within me over this question; bewilderment overwhelms me. (10.8.15) But these are not the only things borne by my memory, with its innumerable capaciousness. In it also are all the elements of the liberal arts that I have acquired and not yet forgotten, as if kept apart in some placeless inner place. (10.9.16) In the countless fields and grots and caverns of my memory, full beyond counting with countless kinds of thing, I range through images, as with all physical objects, through presences, as with the liberal arts, through mental concepts and records, as with my states of mind, which memory retains even when the mind is not undergoing them, though whatever is in the memory is also in the mind. Through all these things I range, flitting this way and that. I go as deep in as I can, and nowhere is there an end . . . (10.17.26) And although I eat and drink for my health’s sake, a dangerous sweetness tags along at our heels and often attempts to go first, to make me do for pleasure’s sake what I say or wish to do for my health’s sake . . . My wretched soul is full of flee at this very uncertainty, and uses it in preparing the case for its defence, rejoicing that it is not clear what is the due amount of food to maintain one’s physical wellbeing, and covering the work of pleasure with the pretext of health. (10.31.44) If I were given the choice of being on the one hand mad or mistaken on all matters and still praised by all men, or on the other hand of being firm in my wits, firmly convinced of the truth, and reviled by all, I know what I would choose. (10.37.61) This is the profit I have of my confessions: that I should confess not what I was, but what I am, and confess it not only before you with secret exultation and trembling, and secret grief and hope, but also in the ears of those children of men who believe. These are my companions in my fellow-pilgrims; those that have gone before me, those that will come after me, those that come with me. (10.4.6) ___________ To Carthage then I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves sang all about mine ears . . . (Virtue Chastises Folly: Allergory of Lust; 3.1.1) ___________ . . . each drop off time is precious to me. (11.2.2) ‘My son, for my part, I no longer take any pleasure in this life. What I am now doing here still, and why I am here, I do not know; my hope in this world is spent. There was one thing for which I used to long to remain a while longer in this life . . . (9.10.26)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    Confession, it is said, is good for the soul; and the Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo are good for any person’s soul, regardless of his or her religious or philosophical beliefs. There is something profoundly compelling in the rigorous, uncompromising manner in which Augustine describes the way he consciously, by an ongoing act of will, worked to bring his magnificent intellect into conformity with the dictates of Christianity – and gave God all the credit for the outcome. Some scholars h Confession, it is said, is good for the soul; and the Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo are good for any person’s soul, regardless of his or her religious or philosophical beliefs. There is something profoundly compelling in the rigorous, uncompromising manner in which Augustine describes the way he consciously, by an ongoing act of will, worked to bring his magnificent intellect into conformity with the dictates of Christianity – and gave God all the credit for the outcome. Some scholars have referred to the Confessions as the first true autobiography, or at least the first spiritual autobiography; and as with other masterpieces of autobiography in later years – Richard Wright’s American Hunger, Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood, the autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Malcolm X – Augustine’s Confessions benefits from the author’s unflinching, warts-and-all portrayal of his life. Among its other benefits, the Confessions does much to put one back in the time of the Roman Empire’s first decades as a Christian state. It was a time when Western Christianity grappled with a great many other strains of thought. Augustine is frank, for example, in setting forth what he once found seductive about Manichaean philosophy, with its belief that, because evil is so different from good, it had to be the subject of a completely different creation, the work of some being other and lesser than God Himself: “Since I still had enough reverence, of some sort, to make it impossible for me to believe that the good God created an evil nature, I posited two masses at odds with each other, both infinite, the bad with limited, the good with broader scope. From this pestiferous origin there followed other blasphemies. If my mind tried to recur to the Catholic faith, I was made to recoil, since the Catholic faith was not what I made it out to be” (pp. 100-01). Here, as elsewhere, I thought that Augustine was being awfully hard on himself; but his conclusions follow logically from his premises. Evil actions proceed from the imperfections of human nature as stained by original sin. For good actions, the glory belongs to God, who is all good and inspires all good action. Augustine is comparably unsparing in condemning himself for the sinful ways of his youth. A chapter on the theft of pears, written perhaps with an eye toward Adam and Eve’s own theft of fruit from the tree of knowledge in Chapter 3 of Genesis, becomes for Augustine a parable for the nature of sin generally; the fruit of the pear tree was “not enticing either in appearance or in taste”, but Augustine and his friends continued to steal, because “Simply what was not allowed allured us” (p. 32). And Augustine is just as tough on himself when it comes to sexual behavior – though he admits that his sins did not go as far as those of his fellows. Moreover, a large part of his sexual life seems to have involved a long-term, monogamous, mutually faithful relationship with a woman who eventually bore Augustine a son. This is not exactly fleshpots-of-Egypt stuff; but nonetheless, Augustine looks back at this part of his life in terms of how it took him away from God. Augustine, who loves God so, nonetheless reserves some of his fondest words of love for his mother Monnica – a devout Christian who never gave up hope while encouraging her son to leave his secular ways and embrace the Christian faith: “Her flesh brought me forth to live in this daylight, as her heart brought me forth to live in eternal light” (p. 196). That process of conversion involved Augustine going from North Africa to Milan, making friends with fellow converts, and eventually receiving baptism and holy orders; and his early training as a rhetorician (he praises Cicero’s Hortensius as a book that “changed my life”) made him a most eloquent, tenacious defender of the Christian faith. Along with describing the process by which he became a Christian – much of it in the second person, addressing God directly – Augustine of Hippo includes some thoughtful theological reflections of the kind that he would eventually build upon further in The City of God. Readers who enjoy close reading and exegesis of Scriptural passages will enjoy those passages of the Confessions in which Augustine looks at the opening passages of Genesis, speculating on the manner in which time came out of God’s timeless eternity, and working to reconcile seeming paradoxes in Genesis regarding references to God alternately in the singular and the plural. Augustine reconciles that seeming contradiction thus: “For you make [humankind] capable of understanding the Trinity of your unity and the unity of your Trinity, from its being said in the plural ‘Let us make,’ followed by the singular ‘and God made man,’ and from its being said in the plural ‘to our pattern,’ followed by the singular ‘to God’s pattern.’” (pp. 337-38) This edition of the Confessions of Saint Augustine is noteworthy in that it was translated by the noted scholar and author Garry Wills, a renowned classicist and devout Catholic who nonetheless has been willing to criticize his beloved church whenever he has felt that, as a human institution, it has erred in its mission of bringing humankind closer to God. Wills also provides a perceptive and helpful introduction, though I can’t help thinking that footnotes of the kind that grace other Penguin Classics books might have helped further. By the time Augustine wrote the Confessions, between 397 and 400 A.D., Christianity had already been made the official religion of the Roman Empire, in accordance with the emperor Theodosius I’s promulgation of the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 A.D. Yet it was still a world in which believers in Christian and pre-Christian religions competed for adherents, proselytes, converts. No one of his time worked on behalf of, or defended, the Christian faith with greater consistency or strength of heart than Saint Augustine of Hippo. His Confessions are inspiring, for that reason alone, to anyone who has ever cared enough about an idea to fight for it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    Augustine's Confessions is a literary masterpiece of world-historical importance, to be sure. There is hardly a subsequent European Christian author for whom his work did not loom as the very paradigm of how doctrine is to be approached, and how it is to illuminate one's individual life and reflection. It forms the acme of moral inventory and autobiographical reflection, and contributes mightily to the European concept of interiority and subjectivity which, in Charles Taylor's sense, provides on Augustine's Confessions is a literary masterpiece of world-historical importance, to be sure. There is hardly a subsequent European Christian author for whom his work did not loom as the very paradigm of how doctrine is to be approached, and how it is to illuminate one's individual life and reflection. It forms the acme of moral inventory and autobiographical reflection, and contributes mightily to the European concept of interiority and subjectivity which, in Charles Taylor's sense, provides one way of answering the question, what is the self? I would not myself take it as an exposition of timeless truth, but I think the author himself would not have it be taken thus, fifteen hundred years after it was set down. Rather, I will follow his own proposed model and allow that what was good for certain people in certain remote ages is not necessarily what is good for us. In my view, this book consists of three principle parts. The first is the autobiographical confession for which this book is principally known; the second is an allegorical interpretation of the beginning of Genesis influenced heavily by his reading of the Neoplatonists; the third is the mysterious conjunction of these two in a single work, which receives little explanation, and which, I think, is intended as a kind of koan, or an enigmatic and edifying puzzle, for the reader's contemplation. I will leave this last mystery to the reader's own imagination and take up the first two, briefly. The story of Augustine's life is well-known - his growth from a precocious, well-educated youth to a Manichaean, his brief foray into Neoplatonism, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity. This journey is presented by the author as a kind of morality tale in which he gradually learns what he needs to learn in order to accept right doctrine, and here his encounter with Neoplatonism was decisive. Although he is clear that its abstract idiom left his compelling existential and soteriological concerns unaddressed, it nevertheless provided him conceptually with the tools he needed to conceive of spiritual matters in abstract terms. An illustration of this paradigm may be seen in his analysis of Genesis. Here I must say that I fundamentally differ from Augustine's moral paradigm, which in my eyes is chiefly concerned with virtue, in the sense of coming to know what is the right thing to do, and doing that thing. My own moral idiom is fundamentally motivated by compassion and care for all beings. Take, for example, the famous story of the pear tree, which Augustine uses as a case study in the depravity of his youth, and the nature of sin in general. As a boy, Augustine conspired with other youths to despoil a neighbor's pear tree, having no need of its fruit, and indeed having their own store of better-quality pears, but they delighted in the act of transgression itself. Augustine unpacks this incident at some length and is disturbed by what he sees as the intrinsic compulsion for people to do wrong for its own sake, and to take a kind of delight in it. It is this "for its own sake" that characterizes his moral concern, while to me what is of even greater concern is the effect this act had on his neighbor, whose pears were robbed, and who may not have been able to easily bear their loss. But this does not occupy Augustine's reflection in the least - what matters to him is the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of the act itself. I take a certain anthropological and psychological interest in walking down this road with Augustine, but I do not agree that whether or not we've got it is the most important thing. I suppose this is a question of whether one follows the Christ of the beatitudes, and take the injunction to love one's neighbor as one's self as pre-eminent, or one follows the Christ of Paul, who takes the assertion of the right creed as redemptive and thus of cardinal importance. For myself, I would rather be wrong and do my neighbor right than the opposite. So I can only go so far along with Augustine in his agonized self-reflection, absorbed as it is with a question of right doctrine, and also convinced of the wickedness of man in a degree that in my mind debases the spiritual reality and potentiality of human life. I would not agree, for example, that a badly-behaved baby is acting sinfully, though for Augustine it is the manifest cruelty of infants that demonstrates the doctrine of original sin. For Augustine, behind every human error lies sin, and I do not see it that way. As a philosopher, I naturally found Augustine's allegorical reading of Genesis rather exciting, though it may leave some readers confused. I was particularly fascinated by his analysis of time, his demonstration that it cannot mean what we normally take it to mean, and his use of that argument to demonstrate that the priority of various acts in the sequence of creation as presented in Genesis cannot be taken to mean a literal, temporal priority, but rather a logical or ontological priority. For God, for whom all time is equally "now," the act of creation is always, and creation is always created and sustained by the act of creation, which seems to our senses to be the play of time. This is clearly one of the most important books in the late classical period, and of colossal importance for understanding the intellectual history of Latin Europe. Fortunately, it is highly readable and often engrossing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Written during the waning of the Roman Empire around 400AD, this account of the early life of a seminal theologian of the Catholic church is a personal perspective on what he regards as his sinful life leading up to his conversion. His writing is surprisingly accessible, almost modern in its approach to weighing the factors that contribute to growing up. His mother was a Christian, but he took a long time to come around. He excelled in school and hungered to elucidate abstract knowledge, eventua Written during the waning of the Roman Empire around 400AD, this account of the early life of a seminal theologian of the Catholic church is a personal perspective on what he regards as his sinful life leading up to his conversion. His writing is surprisingly accessible, almost modern in its approach to weighing the factors that contribute to growing up. His mother was a Christian, but he took a long time to come around. He excelled in school and hungered to elucidate abstract knowledge, eventually becoming a master of rhetoric, like his hero Cicero. Yet from his youth, he cherished sexual and other worldly pleasures while paradoxically aligning himself with the Manicheeism theology that condemned the Christian tenet of a human Christ for not being spiritual enough. His explorations of how he worked his way toward conversion represents an early advance in psychology. He covers well how his character was shaped by maternal nurturing, paternal discipline, peer relations, early loves, positive role models, and personal tragedies. His reflections on the relationship of sensory perception to knowledge, the relativity of perception and emotions, the prime role of memory to consciousness, and constructive capacity of language are refreshing precursors to current perspective. He tries to make sense of the issue of human free will vs. God being part of everything, but doesn't have a compelling solution to me. I enjoyed his musings on the nature of time, logically concluding past, present, and future are all meaningful only from a present perspective (with "now" ultimately infinitesimally short). His struggle to account for creation having a beginning with God existing outside time (and the meaning of the pre-creation "ithout form and void"version of matter) resembles to me the challenge for modern physics of what existed before the Big Bang. On the downside for a non-religious person reading this book today is that he obviously couldn't escape the worldview of dualism between matter/body and spirit/mind/soul. Yet he doesn't come to cast worldly experiences and pleasures as meaningless or evil or speak much of the devil or Hell. For him, the origin of evil lies in being out of God's light or in willful ignorance, not from a separate source. It's a shame that this worldly Christian thinker didn't evolve more to the mystical view of God really being in the world, following the example of Christ for the "Word made flesh".

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Considering that the style of Augie's work is completely and utterly impenetrable, this is actually a pretty decent read. Just come to it expecting circularity, meditation, rapturous theology and self-flagellation, and you'll come away impressed. Don't expect anything linear, and you'll be all the more impressed when he ends up, every now and then, out-Aristotling Aristotle with arguments of the (x-->y)&(y-->z)&(z-->p)&(p-->q); ~x is absurd; therefore q variety. Don't expect any modern 'you are Considering that the style of Augie's work is completely and utterly impenetrable, this is actually a pretty decent read. Just come to it expecting circularity, meditation, rapturous theology and self-flagellation, and you'll come away impressed. Don't expect anything linear, and you'll be all the more impressed when he ends up, every now and then, out-Aristotling Aristotle with arguments of the (x-->y)&(y-->z)&(z-->p)&(p-->q); ~x is absurd; therefore q variety. Don't expect any modern 'you are a unique and special snowflake and your desires are good it's just that your parents/society/upbringing/schoolfriends/economic earning power have stunted you' self-help guff. It'd be nice to read someone more contemporary who's willing to admit that people do things wrong, all the time, and should feel really shitty for doing wrong things. Don't expect Aquinas. This is the hardest bit for me; if someone's going to talk about God I prefer that they be coldly logical about it. Augie goes more for the erotic allegory, self-abasement in the face of the overwhelming eternal kind of thing. No thanks. Finally, be aware that you'll need to think long and hard about what he says and why he says it when he does. Books I-IX are the ones you'll read as autobiography, and books X-XIII will seem like a slog. But it's all autobiography. Sadly for Augie, he doesn't make it easy for us to value the stuff he wants to convince us to value, which is the philosophy and theology of the later books. The structure, as far as I can tell, is to show us first how he got to believing that it was possible for him to even begin thinking about God (that's I-IX). X-XIII shows us how he goes about thinking about God, moving from the external world, to the human self in X and a bit of XI, to the whole of creation in XI and XII, to God himself in XIII. I have no idea if this is what he had in mind, but it roughly works out. That's all very intellectually stimulating, but it's still way more fun to read about his peccadilloes and everyday life in the fourth century.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Silvia Cachia

    I started to read Agustin Confessions in July. It took me six months to read it, and I'm glad I took it slowly. I won't try to give a complete analysis of the book, or get into deep theological questions. My purpose is to give a simple review of how the book related to me as a christian and reader. First I'd like to comment on the translation of the book. I read it in Spanish, translated from the Latin into Spanish. I had tried to read this book in English, but the translation was older, and thoug I started to read Agustin Confessions in July. It took me six months to read it, and I'm glad I took it slowly. I won't try to give a complete analysis of the book, or get into deep theological questions. My purpose is to give a simple review of how the book related to me as a christian and reader. First I'd like to comment on the translation of the book. I read it in Spanish, translated from the Latin into Spanish. I had tried to read this book in English, but the translation was older, and though possibly very beautiful, it was more difficult to me. The translation then worked, and the first books inside the book, the ones that dealt with his life as a sinner, up to his conversion, were on the overall easy to follow. I enjoyed his candor, and I related to many of his conversations and prayers to our Lord, giving Him sovereignty, praising Him, and showing a contrite heart after unmasking his rebellious or prideful attitude in life. Agustin was a Gnostic and he proceeds to tell us about the false doctrines he held to, and how he learned about God's word, which led to his conversion. We come to an intimate part in the book where he talks about how his life changed, and that ends with the passing away of his mother. After, there comes the chapters that are epistemological (?) and theological too, where Agustin talks about our faculties, and how we learn and how we know about the world, and God. The last part that gives the book its title, consists of his confessions. This last part is devoted to explain how it is we sin with our different senses, and what it means to him the pride of life and the lust of the eyes. While I benefited much from Agustin honest thoughts, his life, and his exposition of what he understood to be the christian life, and a true christian attitude, something changed in me while reading the book. I read Surprised by Hope in the middle of reading The Confessions. In Surprised by Hope, the author explains and debunks Gnosticism, and that platonic dualism (flesh and soul) that most of us take for granted since it's come to be part of how we understand christianity. Respectfully, I'd like to end saying that while I totally exhort any and all to read this book, I know I don't hold all Agustin's beliefs as true. While I have no quarrels with talking about the mind, the soul, the flesh, or our intellect, our spiritual life, our bodily functions, etc. (classifying and making distinctions is always useful), ultimately I do disagree with Agustin's portrayal of the senses, and his take on the christian life, on what is sinful and what's noble. I believe that, having lived a very worldly life initially, he swung the pendulum to the opposite direction, resulting in a completely suspicious view of anything that relates to our senses. Again, I don't mean there's no conflict, (Paul tells us so), all I say it's that I see a big chasm, a Platonic view of the body that I don't share. The very disagreements make this book even more important. Reading The Confessions will help you understand the origin of much of what we nowadays hold in our common storage of what we understand by sin, flesh, soul, senses, and the spiritual life. And I cannot thank him enough for allowing me to meet him, for being so honest, and for inciting me to love the Lord, to make introspection, and to strive to be more humble and a better christian.

  25. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    At one point I had four copies of this book, two audio and two paperback. I may have had a hardback version as well, not sure. This is part of the Western canon and used to make up religious as well as non-religious reading programs. Now you often won't find it as required reading in Catholic universities. Tragic! I know very few Catholics personally who have read it. Still I was shocked to discover that here on Goodreads the most popular review was a three star. THREE stars for The Confessions! At one point I had four copies of this book, two audio and two paperback. I may have had a hardback version as well, not sure. This is part of the Western canon and used to make up religious as well as non-religious reading programs. Now you often won't find it as required reading in Catholic universities. Tragic! I know very few Catholics personally who have read it. Still I was shocked to discover that here on Goodreads the most popular review was a three star. THREE stars for The Confessions!?! I wanted to cry! I don't write reviews for likes. I write my reviews according to what I believe and people either agree with me or not, often as not they don't, which is fine. They are entitled to their views just as I am to mine. But in this case, I care tremendously that it be known what an amazing book The Confessions is and that it is every bit a FIVE star book, so I need to reread it and write the best review I know how... At the same I do realize ratings are subjective, just as much as likes are ... but ... but ... 3 stars for the most popular review for The Confessions!? 😰 Oh my, what is this world coming too?! Second reading 12-30 August 2004 I wish I could remember the first time I read Confessions but it was sometime back in the mid-90s and that is the closest I can narrow it down. If I had several hours to kill, I could go digging in my old book logs, and find the exact date. Since I don't have that kind of time at the moment, I'll just settle for the second time I read the book which was when I took a class in Spiritual Classics. It was the first book we read in the class and an excellent introduction to St. Augustine--but it's only the tip of the iceberg! He's a complex man, saint, philosopher, theologian, bishop, doctor of the Church, author, etc. Fascinating book; most highly recommended. Part of the canon of Western Literature!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    In his "Confessions", Augustine tells the story of his early life and ultimate acceptance of a Christian life. Augustine was born in 354 on a farm in Algeria, the son of a Christian mother and a pagan father. He describes his early life, during which time he mastered Latin literature and became a teacher of literature and public speaking. Augustine describes in detail his secular life, marriage of 15 years, as well as his personal spiritual journey from a life of earthly desires towards the accep In his "Confessions", Augustine tells the story of his early life and ultimate acceptance of a Christian life. Augustine was born in 354 on a farm in Algeria, the son of a Christian mother and a pagan father. He describes his early life, during which time he mastered Latin literature and became a teacher of literature and public speaking. Augustine describes in detail his secular life, marriage of 15 years, as well as his personal spiritual journey from a life of earthly desires towards the acceptance of the Christian values that he had learned from his mother. Early in his life, Augustine became interested in Manichee theosophy, but ultimately abandoned Manicheeism for the Neoplatonic mysticism of Plotinus. At the age of 32, after a vision in a Milanese garden, he renounced his secular life and devoted himself to Christianity. The story of Augustine's early life and search for a spiritual philosophy is interesting reading, though not a short story. The "Confessions" can be read as more than just a spiritual journey, but also as a cultural history of the Roman world of the late 4th century. Augustine's descriptions of his friends and family are very real and give a good picture of life at that time in Algeria and Italy. In the last four books of the "Confessions", Augustine moves from a description of his own personal history to a theological discussion of the Christian view of creation and the nature of time, among other topics. For someone not interested in theological hair-splitting, these books can get pretty tedious. As an example, Augustine spends many, many pages discussing exactly what God created when he made the "heavens and the earth" and which he created first. This is quite a bit less compelling to read than his earlier discussions of life in Milan.

  27. 4 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    Feels rather like reading the Psalms. That should tell you it's good. Feels rather like reading the Psalms. That should tell you it's good.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Genni

    What can I say about The Confessions that has not already been said? Not much. So I will just mention my slightly unusual reason for reading it. I recently read the only Latin novel to survive in it's entirety from antiquty, The Golden Ass, translated by P. G. Walsh. In the introduction, Walsh made this statement, "On two occasions Augustine associates him (Apuleius) specifically with the town; it must have been during his brief studies there that he first gained acquaintance with Apuleius' philo What can I say about The Confessions that has not already been said? Not much. So I will just mention my slightly unusual reason for reading it. I recently read the only Latin novel to survive in it's entirety from antiquty, The Golden Ass, translated by P. G. Walsh. In the introduction, Walsh made this statement, "On two occasions Augustine associates him (Apuleius) specifically with the town; it must have been during his brief studies there that he first gained acquaintance with Apuleius' philosophical works and with The Golden Ass, which was to play so large a part in shaping The Confessions." Really? The reference for this statement was a book by Nancy J. Shumate, Phoenix, which I could not find anywhere. So I was curious how the risque Latin novel influenced the saintly Augustine. The most obvious point of similarity is the conversion experiences of Apuleius and Augustine, Apuleius to the Isis cult and Augustine to the God of Christianity. If Augustine really was influenced by The Golden Ass, then what he did in The Confessions was set his conversion experience up as a point of comparison, of course believing that of the two, his was true. Apuleius's conversion did, indeed, leave much to be desired, since he was much the same as he was at the beginning of his journey. Curiosity was his point of weakness and after his conversion it continued to be. Augustine was transformed from the inside out in his experience with his God. The best example of this was the issue of celibacy. Lucius's celibacy was a requirement, Augustine's was an offering. Augustine overcame his desire for sex by means of a spiritual ephinany. Lucius's own vice, curiosity, was the means of overcoming his desires. So one wonders, did Lucius truly experience a metamorphosis? Other, seemingly blatant, references to The Golden Ass: "Free curiosity has greater power to stimulate learning than rigorous coercion. Nevertheless, the free ranging flux of curiosity is channeled by discipline under Your Law.” "My studies which were deemed respectable had the objective of leading me to distinction as an advocate in lawcourts, where one's reputation is high in proportion to one's success in deceiving people." "They do not slay in sacrifice to you what they have made themselves to be. They do not kill their own pride like high- flying birds, their curiosity like 'fishes of the sea', and their sexual indulgence like the 'beasts of the field', so that you, God, who are a devouring fire, may consume their mortal concerns and recreate them for immortality." ".. and you put before me the attractions of Rome to draw me there, using people who love a life of death, committing insane actions in this world, promising vain rewards in the next." The last third of the book was a fascinating journey through Augustine's thoughts. His chapter on memory was very reminiscent of Plato's treatment of recollection. It was a bit different in that he believed ideas existed before, but not in his memory. I still don't know what I think about his allegorical exegesis of Genesis. And now for my confessions: I slept through the first chapter when Augsutine "recalls" his infancy. I slept through the numerous panegyrics on Monica. She is a wonderful picture of every longsuffering, prayerful mother that has ever existed. However, even after mentioning her brief bout with alcoholism, I felt very removed from her. I think his portrayal of her was still too saintly to make her relatable. Overall, the most inspiring aspect of this book is Augustine's humility and love for his God. This will probably be a book that I read and reread through the years. Sidenote: Chadwick's footnotes were helpful, but I noticed that every time Augustine used language even remotely similar to Plotinus or some other middle Platonist he would point this out. It gave me the impression (perhaps incorrectly) that Chadwick did not think Augustine had an original idea in his head. Not having read Plotinus, this is just an observation/question, not an argument.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Haines

    Sometimes I provide lengthy reviews. It is impossible to really provide any type of review of the Confessions which will actually be helpful. This is one of the most important books of human history. Written by a North African Christian theologian who taught in Carthage, Rome, Milan, and finished his life as bishop of Hippo. This book is a book length prayer to God in which Augustine publicly confesses his life, his wanderings, his ups and downs, and so on. It is, at once, a work containing both Sometimes I provide lengthy reviews. It is impossible to really provide any type of review of the Confessions which will actually be helpful. This is one of the most important books of human history. Written by a North African Christian theologian who taught in Carthage, Rome, Milan, and finished his life as bishop of Hippo. This book is a book length prayer to God in which Augustine publicly confesses his life, his wanderings, his ups and downs, and so on. It is, at once, a work containing both deep theological and philosophical reflection (i.e. - the nature of evil, the nature and human experience of time, the nature and wonder of memory, how even pagan philosophers are able to know something of God through nature, and so on), and touching reminders that nobody is perfect (Augustine tells us both of his many evil actions before becoming a Christian and of his many struggles and moral failures as even a mature Christian.) or always right (Augustine, the most important theologian of Christian history, tells us of his many errors, of the lies and errors he accepted as true, and even of many things that he is just unsure about.). If you haven't read this book yet, or recently, you need to read it again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I've read this book twice now, once in seminary in New York for myself and once in graduate school in Chicago for a class on Augustine taught by David Hassel, S.J. Eight years had intervened, so the rereading was not unpleasant. Most of the books of the Confessions are surprisingly accessible. The jaring elements for most moderns would probably be, one, the lengthy excurses about theology in the later books; two, the callous disregard he displays towards the mother of his son (her name is never g I've read this book twice now, once in seminary in New York for myself and once in graduate school in Chicago for a class on Augustine taught by David Hassel, S.J. Eight years had intervened, so the rereading was not unpleasant. Most of the books of the Confessions are surprisingly accessible. The jaring elements for most moderns would probably be, one, the lengthy excurses about theology in the later books; two, the callous disregard he displays towards the mother of his son (her name is never given) even after his conversion; and, three, the extreme scrupulosity displayed otherwise and the sometimes (to us) peculiar emphases of the ancient moral sense. Augustine was, in modern parlance, very neurotic. Still, he is recognizably a whole person engaged in something approaching genuine self-examination. Contrary to some commentators, Augustine's Confessions are not the first western autobiography. About two hundred years earlier another North African, Lucius Apuleius Platonicus (aka Apuleius), wrote a semi-autobiographical religious memoir. Unlike Augustine who became a Christian bishop, his conversion was to become a priest of Isis, the Great Mother of another mystery cult. And while Augustine's work is primarily the description of the inner personal life leading to a metanoia, Apuleius' of the the outer, public life. While Augustine is dreadfully serious, Apuleius is very funny--until, in the end, he, like Augustine, gets caught up entirely in religion.

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