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The Confessions of St. Augustine

by Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,27680207 (3.91)330
  1. 51
    The Six Enneads by Plotinus (jpers36)
    jpers36: Plotinus was a major influence on Augustine.
  2. 22
    Early Christian Lives (Penguin Classics) by Carolinne White (Anonymous user)
  3. 34
    Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis (2below)
    2below: For anyone interested in exploring spiritual autobiographies, C. S. Lewis' is worth checking out. Unlike Augustine, who covers the entire span of his life from birth to his conversion in adulthood, Lewis focuses on his childhood and young adult years and how his experiences during this time shaped the development of his spiritual life as he got older. I found Lewis' book a much quicker read than Augustine's, though both are very good.… (more)
  4. 02
    Late have I loved thee by Ethel Mannin (lisanicholas)
    lisanicholas: Mannin's novel is modeled on the real-life spiritual autobiography of St Augustine of Hippo. Read the original!
  5. 05
    The Public Hating {short story} by Steve Allen (satanburger)
    satanburger: CONFESSIONS 6.8 (you'll see the similarities)
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I undertook the reading of St. Augustine's Confessions, purely because he is so often cited in works ranging from the Medieval to the contemporary, and as such I came into reading this with the mere expectation that I would be bored to death but still feel more informed for having read it. I was wrong. St. Augustine's Confessions can only be described as a work of a true genius.

The Confessions are split I think, into two parts. The first part is a deeply personal autobiographical account in which Augustine narrates the first thirty three years of his life and accounts how he came to love God after what he considered a life of sin. This part is far more interesting than I had expected it to be, though it can be a little dense and repetitive at times; however it is the second facet of the Confessions which elevate it to a work of genius in my opinion.

The second part of Augustine's Confessions is a great work of theology, with Augustine dissecting such subjects as the forming of the earth, the problem of evil, the omnipotence of God, and the holy trinity. On top of this, there is also in one of his books (the confessions being divided into thirteen chapters, or books) a deeply introspective look at human memory, which strikes me as a work of early psychology. Truly both philosophers and psychologists owe much to this early work of introspection.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is by no means a light read, and it may be slightly dense at times, but it is nevertheless one of the great works of ancient philosophy and spirituality. If you wish to attain a greater understanding of the Christian faith, or simply wish to read an insightful work of formative philosophy, then this book will not leave you disappointed. I am not Christian, or even religious in any sense of the word, but I feel far wiser for having read this book. ( )
  hickey92 | Jan 24, 2016 |
A combination of autobiography, philosophical and theological treatise, and confession of love for God. One of the, if not the, best I've ever read. A book that renews the mind, warms the heart and uplifts the spirit.

Most Accessible and Truly Inspiring

Saint Augustine was an Early Church Father and one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity, and yet his Confessions relate to ordinary people in so many ways. A precocious child who lost his way; an idealistic youth who detested falsehood and sought after beauty and truth; a professor who had a distinguished career but a purposeless life; a passionate man whose heart was torn apart by the death of a most beloved friend; a sensual man who loved the simple pleasures of life, food, music, sexual pleasures and companionship; a wise man with a keen intellect that probed the attributes of God, the cause of evil, the workings of mind and memory, the nature of time and the mystery of creation.

"He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness."

Most autobiographies lead to and end in the authors themselves and nothing higher. St. Augustine poured his heart and mind into this book in the hope that, through his life's story and testimony, readers may recognize God's handiwork and be inspired to seek and love Him also. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. ... Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." In the book, he is in constant communion with God, confessing his love for Him, meditating on His words and works, remembering and recounting His grace and guidance throughout his own life, which is also a microcosm of the world, a history of creation, falling away, redemption, and eternal joy and rest in Him.

(Read full review with quotes at booksontrial.wordpress.com) ( )
  booksontrial | Oct 13, 2015 |
8
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
5
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
Fabulous feast. Who are you? God only knows, says Augustine reverently. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (154 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrois, Georges A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bourke, Vernon J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chadwick, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dolç, MiquelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilkington, J.G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pusey, E. B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheed, F. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, RexTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wijdeveld, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
An allegorical interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis (Book XIII)
Dedication
dedicated to parentibus meis
First words
You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and to your wisdom there is no limit.
You are great, O Lord, and very worthy of praise; mighty is your power and your wisdom is immeasurable.
'Vast are you, Lord, and vast should be your praise' - 'vast what you do; what you know beyond assaying.'
Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised;  great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no number.   [tr. F. J. Sheed]
Quotations
It became clear to me that things which are subject to corruption must be good, for if they were perfect, or not good at all, they could not be corrupted.
Corruption is an agent of harm but if it is not taking away from what is good, it is causing no harm.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church, Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works of Western literature. In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine relates his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to the edge of the corridors of power at the imperial court in Milan, his struggle against the domination of his sexual nature, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of the faith his mother Monica had taught him during his childhood. Now, Henry Chadwick, an eminent scholar of early Christianity, has given us the first new English translation in thirty years of this classic spiritual journey. Chadwick renders the details of Augustine's conversion in clear, modern English. We witness the future saint's fascination with astrology and with the Manichees, and then follow him through scepticism and disillusion with pagan myths until he finally reaches Christian faith. There are brilliant philosophical musings about Platonism and the nature of God, and touching portraits of Augustine's beloved mother, of St. Ambrose of Milan, and of other early Christians like Victorinus, who gave up a distinguished career as a rhetorician to adopt the orthodox faith. Augustine's concerns are often strikingly contemporary, yet his work contains many references and allusions that are easily understood only with background information about the ancient social and intellectual setting. To make The Confessions accessible to contemporary readers, Chadwick provides the most complete and informative notes of any recent translation, and includes an introduction to establish the context. The religious and philosophical value of The Confessions is unquestionable--now modern readers will have easier access to St. Augustine's deeply personal meditations. Chadwick's lucid translation and helpful introduction clear the way for a new experience of this classic.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014044114X, Paperback)

‘As a youth … I had prayed to you for chastity and said “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet”’

The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn between conflicting faiths and worldviews. His Confessions, written when he was in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he came to turn away from his youthful ideas and licentious lifestyle, to become instead a staunch advocate of Christianity and one of its most influential thinkers. A remarkably honest and revealing spiritual autobiography, the Confessions also address fundamental issues of Christian doctrine, and many of the prayers and meditations it includes are still an integral part of the practice of Christianity today.

In his introduction R. S. Pine-Coffin discusses Saint Augustine’s intentions in writing his Confessions and issues of translation. This edition also includes a list of dates of events recorded in the Confessions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Confessions, by St. Augustine, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. One of the first personal histories ever written, The Confessions of St. Augustine offers more than a gripping narrative of one man's battle against doubt. It is also a brilliant work of theology that helped set the foundation for much of modern Christian thought. In a series of thirteen books, Saint Augustine displays a profound and searching intellect as he examines his life: his early memories of growing up in Roman North Africa during the fourth century A.D., his disgusted response to his mother's faith, his agonies and sins as a student, and finally his dramatic conversion in a garden in Milan. Along the way, the Confessions explores with great force and artistry the nature of time, mind, and memory, and lays out Augustine's interpretation of the Book of Genesis. Throughout, Augustine's remarkable depth of thinking is matched only by his elegance of expression, which has powerfully moved readers for more than 1500 years. A timeless classic, the Confessions remains an unforgettable portrait of an individual's struggle for self-definition in the presence of a powerful God. Mark Vessey is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Latin Christian Authors in Late Antiquity and Their Texts and co-editor of Augustine and the Disciplines: Cassiciacum to “Confessions. He has written extensively on the reception of early Christian Latin writings in the Renaissance and later periods.… (more)

    » see all 12 descriptions

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Editions: 014044114X, 0141018836, 0143039512, 0143105701

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