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Confessions (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By Augustine of Hippo (Author), R. S. Pine-Coffin (Translator) & R. S. Pine-Coffin (Introduction by)
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Item description for Confessions (Penguin Classics) by Augustine of Hippo & R. S. Pine-Coffin...

Dedicated to truth and the celebration of his individuality, the eighteenth-century French philosopher reexamines his life, ideals, and experiences

Publishers Description

'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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Confessions (Penguin Classics) by Augustine of Hippo & R. S. Pine-Coffin has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Christian Century - 10/21/2008 page 33

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.77" Width: 5.07" Height: 0.86"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 6, 2002
Publisher   Penguin Group USA
Age  18
Series  Penguin Classics  
ISBN  014044114X  
ISBN13  9780140441147  

Availability  114 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 01:45.
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More About Augustine of Hippo & R. S. Pine-Coffin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Augustine, (354-430) was the bishop of Hippo in North Africa and a Father of the Church. Born to a Christian mother and a pagan father, Augustine underwent a profound conversion experience at the age of 32, renouncing his life of sensuality and wordly ambition. Ordained a priest in 391 and made bishop in 396, Augustine was also a pioneer of monasticism and founded a religious rule that is still widely used by men and women in monastic life.
James O'Donnell is provost at Georgetown University and editor of the definitive edition of Augustine's Confessions. He is the author of Augustine: A New Biography (Ecco, 2005).

Augustine of Hippo has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Hardcover Classics
  2. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Foreign Language Books > Latin
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > People, A-Z > ( A ) > Augustine, Saint
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Confessions (Penguin Classics)?

Peeping into the soul of a man  Mar 24, 2007

Translation by Rex Warner (in Signet Classics)

This one is a very good translation, especially for the modern reader. It conveys the immediacy and vividness of a text written more than 1500 years ago. One feels almost as a voyeur peeping into the private confession of a man to his God. The honesty and unembarrassed disclosure of his sins, and fruitless search for worldly wisdom, is something we can personally identify with, even today. It is amazing how vivid the description of life in late 4th century is in this Confessions. What a wonderful way to approach History, places like Carthage, Rome or Milan, thru the eyes of a skilled and intelligent man who pours his heart on these pages for us to benefit from.

St. Augustine's life, however distant in time, is filled with events, desires, and troubles, as common today as in the year 400. We can identify fully with him, and in his longing and weakness we can see our own soul portrayed. He talks about his childhood, his family, his studies and his lifelong pursuit of wisdom and truth, specially since the age of 19. We get immersed in the daily life of people in the 4th Century under the Roman Empire, their daily worries, their intellectual debates, their religious confrontations. We see the social conditions of all classes of people, from the wealthy and idle to the slaves who fight in the Circus. We see people living, talking, traveling, dreaming, and going about their business as if we were present with them. No wonder this book is an authentic classic, one that I should have read long ago.

There are many reasons to read this book. Those interested in History are certainly going to find plenty of information from eye-witness perspective; those who like to read personal memories and autobiographies won't have it easy to find a better one. For those interested in the history of religion and Catholicism, this is a must, a landmark in Christian literature. Whatever you are looking for, this book is certainly one that will satisfy your intellectual curiosity as well as fill you spiritually.

One thing to bear in mind is that the Confessions are not addressed to us, readers, that is why certain things about the author's behavior seem inexplicable: certain things that would seem to us to merit more explaining, being only mentioned briefly (his behavior toward the woman he had a child with, for example), while other issues are given a lot more space. Of course the Lord knew his heart well, but still, one is intrigued at this man.
the best translation I've found  Feb 7, 2007
This Christian classic has touched me deeply. I read it the first time right after college, but recently picked it up again (thirty years later). I didn't remember a thing from the first reading.... I've been a Christian for many years, but find that this book is so fresh, with insights that are truly amazing. For this new read, I bought two different translations so that I could read both and compare when the meaning seemed obscure. I highly recommend the translation by Maria Boulding. It does a great job of staying true to his meaning, while expressing things in a way that speaks to the modern mind.
This bitter sea, the human race  Nov 27, 2006
This is an eminently Catholic book written by a sinner in his young age, becoming a singer of the heavenly pleasures of asceticism, growing older. It is a long masochistic call to God for forgiveness of his previous sins in order to get eternal bliss.

Saint Augustine sees sins everywhere and every time. Every newborn baby receives a stamp `original sin' from his first day on earth, followed immediately by `Was it a sin to cry when I wanted to be feed at the breast?' All organs are sources of sin: the ears, the eye, the smell, taste (eating and drinking) and obsessively, sex (`better a eunuch for love of the kingdom of heaven'). The bodily pleasures leave him so terrified to loose eternal bliss that `Even in my sleep I resist the attractions'!
Other characteristic cardinal Christian rules are: obey all authorities (`In his own kingdom a king has the right to make orders'), censure (`But your law, God, permits the free flow of curiosity to be stemmed'), and deep anti-science sentiments (`futile curiosities masquerade under the name of science and learning. The secrets of nature are irrelevant to our lives.')

One should think that `love thy neighbor' is one of his basic principle. Absolutely not. He is a profound sectarian: `the Manichees, I ought to have disgorged these men like vomit.'
But, why is he so sure that he is right? Because of his faith (`not a clear view'), his faith in God and the Holy Scriptures.
Saint Augustine's Confessions contain also rather childish reflections on the mind, the body-mind dichotomy, memory and, e.g., `the problem of space and God's dimensions'.

But not everything is negative in this book. There is the love for his mother and his young son.
Remarkable is his vision that time didn't exist before the creation of the universe.
As a former sinner, Saint Augustine knows human nature all too well; e.g. `Men love truth when it bathes them in its light; they hate it when it proves them wrong.'
More importantly, he found a religious solution for the problem of evil: if God created everything, he is also responsible for all evil in the world. But God gave all human beings a free will. Every human being is individually responsible for his actions. (This is not the case for Calvin's creed of predestination).
One should in no way underestimate Saint Augustine's influence on Christian and Western morals.
Only for historians and theologians.
Essential classic of world literature  Oct 20, 2006
This is a good translation of St Augustine's 'Confessions', one of the most important works of Christian and also world religious and philosophical thought.

St Augustine's genius needs no advertisment. His brilliant intellect is more or less the founder of Western Christianity as we know it. Between St Paul and Aquinas, he is the most brilliant theological and philosophical mind the medieval period managed to produce. If Western philosphy is a cathedral, then Augustine is one of its capstones.

The Confessions is a personal narrative of Augustine's life, which describes his spiritual and intellectual journey from childhood to adulthood. Augustine is such a brilliant writer he manages to capture countless facets of experience in a book which itself is only about 340 pages long (thirteen books in total) and this work also has immense range and depth, from the strange nature of free will and sin to the inner quest for the indwelling image of the Trinity, to Augustine's mystical experiences, to his dramatic conversion, to his allegorical commentary on Genesis to his ceaseless praise of God's goodness and the beauty of creation.

Augustine is clearly influenced by several sources, especially Neo-Platonic Philosophy. Augustine read the Enneads of Plotinus in translation into Latin (thanks to Marcus Victorius, a Christian convert from Neo-Platonism) and found its concepts of God made more sense to him than that of the sect he was a member of, the Manicheans. The Manicheans, a syncretic sect who blended Buddhism, elements of Christianity, Zorastrianism and Gnosticism, and Platonism captivated Augustine for several years, seeming to provide a satisfying explanation for the baffling problem of evil. Yet Augustine, after reading Plotinus, thought the explanation of evil in terms of non-being made more sense than God making an evil world, or being ruled by an evil principle. In this sense Augustine made a crucial breakthrough in theology, not only by finding God 'within' the depths of his own soul, but also in associating God with the Platonic Good.

Yet Augustine's strongest influence is the Bible. References to the Bible abound far more than references to Plotinus, and for Augustine, pagan thought is mostly useful for articulating truths already main plain by the Word of God. However, Augustine is always too brilliant and original thinker to merely fall into a rigid pattern of dogma he never leaves (in contrast to many more mediocre minds in the Christian tradition) and reworks his theology consistently and constantly in a creative manner.

However the Confessions is too brilliant and profound a work to summarise in one review, and it is best if readers avail themselves to a copy of this work as soon as they can.
Great Masterpiece   Apr 9, 2006
Augustine's _Confessions_ have really had no parallel in the history of biographical writing. This account of his life stands as one of the most beautifully written Latin texts ever. Augustine was a master of prose writing and even in translations his work comes very powerfully forth.
There are many of these translations around but the best so far, in my opinion, is Henry Chadwicks. This translation speaks to the comtemporary reader in a way that is unpretentious and readable.
The content of the book itself is masterfully done. This laying bare of one's soul before God achieves an unimaginable amount of self knowledge and self mastery. Augustine is able to capture the need to find meaning in his life.
The first part of the book is what is most interesting for the general reader since it deals with the biographical part of Augustine's life. The second part is more theological and philosophical in scope. It is readable but it takes more work to get at the meaning Augustine intended.
This book is great for those who are searching for the truth about themselves, if ultimately there is any.

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