Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Confessions of St. Augustine by Saint…

The Confessions of St. Augustine

by Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,96477216 (3.91)318
  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)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 318 mentions

English (68)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
Fabulous feast. Who are you? God only knows, says Augustine reverently. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
Confessions of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (free). Some books are best listened to, particularly ones translated into Elizabethan English from Latin. By listening, I'm able to cover more ground and not get bogged down in word choice, and I'm able to connect the streams of thought more seamlessly.

I'd not read this classic, even though I long intended to "get around to it." Had it not been mentioned by Dallas Willard and Richard Foster as a great source for meditation and devotional (along with City of God which I will now read expediently), then I might not have gotten it done this year. Confessions is one of the first "Western" autobiographies and I was fascinated that it could have been written in the 1800s just as well as 398. Has the same raw quality of pre-20th-century memoirs that haven't been edited for their PC content and revisionism.

Augustine lives somewhat of a privileged boyhood with good schooling, discipline, and a devout mother. He loves to sin, particularly struggling with lust and theft just for the sake of theft. As a teenager, Augustine joins a cult of Manicheans for 9 years. Like any cult, he finds it intellectually stifling-- he's discouraged from asking questions, or trying to use science or reason. The leaders he is under are not as well-educated as himself, and this makes it difficult. Many of the Manichee, like Mormons or JW's today, were devotees to the writings of Mani, but had not read all of his thoughts or understood them. There appear to be some appeals to astrology in Mani's writings, and the people Augustine is around don't really understand all of what they speak of. Among these were Faustus who was supposed to have all the answers, but Augustine finds generally disappointing. Nonetheless, Augustine finds their message liberating-- "it is not I who sin." Manicheans were dualists--Gnostics -- who believed that Jesus did not inhabit a physical body, and that our souls cannot be corrupted by what is done by our flesh. Even after Augustine rejects their teachings, he does not want to choose Scripture as Truth.

So, Augustine remains fairly closely associated with Manichees while himself a professor of rhetoric both in Carthage and in Rome. Meanwhile, his mother is a devout Christian who prays earnestly for his salvation and implores him to repent.

She follows him to Milan, where Augustine encounters Bishop Ambrose (whose own life seems fascinating), who Augustine respects; he attends every Sunday service. (I found some of the description of church life interesting, there appears to have been some struggles with what role wine should play in the life of the believer-- Ambrose apparently being opposed to Augustine's mother's use of wine in an act of worship.) Augustine is a philanderer, has a child by a "concubine" who he loves, but rejects in order to marry at his mother's behest. He generally hates married life and continues a life of adultery.

Augustine converses with Simplicanius, spiritual father of Ambrose, who tells Augustine of Victorinus, a Roman philosopher and respected teacher of rhetoric in Rome, who toward the end of his life forsakes his career (it was illegal for Christians to teach rhetoric) to become a Christian. Augustine had read books translated by Victorinus, and this makes an impression on him.

"But when that man of Thine, Simplicianus, related to me this of Victorinus, I was on fire to imitate him; for for this very end had he related it. But when he had subjoined also, how in the days of the Emperor Julian a law was made, whereby Christians were forbidden to teach the liberal sciences or oratory; and how he, obeying this law, chose rather to give over the wordy school than Thy Word, by which Thou makest eloquent the tongues of the dumb; he seemed to me not more resolute than blessed, in having thus found opportunity to wait on Thee only."

Augustine also hears of Antony Eventually, Augustine has a conversion experience and repents.

"I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: 'Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence.' No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away."

His son is baptised with him. His mother is jubilant, and dies some time afterwards.

Modernly, Augustine's book is also seen as literature, with and it appears from reading around that modern scholars maintain that looking at his work from our modern lenses misses the overall purpose and meaning. Augustine's book is not some confession and testimony of a sinner, but rather his work was intended to convert Manicheans. After all, the biographical part ends in Book 9 and Augustine launches on a range of topics, including memory and the meaning of time. (Physics tells us that all moments in time already exists, and this is what I hear Augustine saying in Book 11.) It's plausible to me that his intended audience are Manichees since they were interested in times, planets, and creation as Augustine spends a great deal of time on these. He engaged in a lifelong battle against the Manichees in Hippo, and this work certainly seems part of his larger writings to that end. Augustine's philosophical musings are still of great interest today. I would like to read Brian Greene's take on his philosophy of time.

Confessions really drives home the importance of Scripture to me; Augustine was 40 when he wrote it and knew the Scriptures well. Augustine took part in important church councils, and my understanding is that by the time of his ascension to Bishop, the accepted Western canon of scripture was already considered closed. I really enjoy how he writes/prays Scriptures when pouring his thoughts out. He prays the prayers of David, Jesus, Paul, etc. in relation to his own life and salvation. Opens every book with a heartfelt prayer/confession. I would like to read books on the theology of Augustine.

It also inspires me to read more church history. People like Simplicanius could probably trace their spiritual lineage back to the Apostles. Christians like Antony were well-known in Augustine's circles, having also published works (Dallas Willard has a nice critique of Antony and the secular-sacred dichotomy that was probably popularized by Augustine's mention). What can we today learn from these and the controversies faced by the authors? Why aren't we Christians today more scholarly about our ancient heritage?

5 stars out of 5, of course. ( )
2 vote justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
The first two thirds of Confessions are largely autobiographical. There is a tendency to think of saints as having been not quite human. Readers who have that impression about Augustine will find themselves mistaken. Among his youthful indiscretions, Augustine recalls playing games with his schoolmates when they were supposed to be studying, disliking his Greek studies, and having a live-in girlfriend with whom he had a child. As a young man, Augustine raised many of the same questions about God and Christianity that are still raised today, such as the nature of God in the Old Testament and inconsistencies between science and the Bible. He describes his surroundings and his daily activities in enough detail that it provides a window into daily life in the Mediterranean world of the 4th century.

After an account of his mother's death, the last third of the book shifts from autobiography to a blend of philosophy and theology. Augustine ponders the nature of memory and time, the mysteries of creation from the Genesis account, and an interpretation of the church through the lens of creation. This is heavy going. Readers more interested in history and biography than in philosophy and theology may choose to stop with chapter 9. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Feb 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
An allegorical interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis (Book XIII)
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]
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.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
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.
Haiku summary

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 11 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.91)
0.5 2
1 28
1.5 7
2 56
2.5 20
3 215
3.5 57
4 326
4.5 37
5 379


6 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044114X, 0141018836, 0143039512, 0143105701

Bridge Logos

An edition of this book was published by Bridge Logos.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,701,654 books! | Top bar: Always visible