Item description for The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Augustine...
Overview Reveals the spiritual and ascetical life of Saint Augustine
Heartfelt, incisive, and timeless, "The Confessions of Saint Augustine" has captivated readers for more than fifteen hundred years. Retelling the story of his long struggle with faith and ultimate conversion -- the first such spiritual memoir ever recorded -- Saint Augustine traces a story of sin, regret, and redemption that is both deeply personal and, at the same time, universal. Starting with his early life, education, and youthful indiscretions, and following his ascent to influence as a teacher of rhetoric in Hippo, Rome, and Milan, Augustine is brutally honest about his proud and amibitious youth. In time, his early loves grow cold and the luster of wordly success fades, leaving him filled with a sense of inner absence, until a movement toward Christian faith takes hold, eventually leading to conversion and the flourishing of a new life. Philosophically and theologically brilliant, sincere in its feeling, and both grounded in history and strikingly contemporary in its resonance, "The Confessions of Saint Augustine" is a timeless classic that will persist as long as humanity continues to long for meaning in life and peace of soul.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Augustine has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 80
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.2" Height: 1.3" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Aug 23, 1960
ISBN 0385029551 ISBN13 9780385029551
Availability 0 units.
More About Augustine
Saint Augustine was one of those towering figures who so dominated his age that the age itself bears his name. the Age of Augustine was a time of transition, and Augustine was a genius of such stature that, according to Christopher Dawson, "he was, to a far greater degree than any emperor or general or barbarian war-lord, a maker of history and a builder of the bridge which was to lead him from the old world to the new." He was the ablest religious thinker and controversialist at a period when theological controversy reached a level of intellectual refinement never achieved before or since. He was a tireless preacher and he wrote 118 treatises, including the most famous spiritual autobiography of all time, The Confessions. Of all these works, the one most prized by Augustine was his City of God, a veritable encyclopedia of information on the lives, thoughts and aspirations of ancient and early Christian man.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Confessions of Saint Augustine?
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.