"The reader who has never met Augus-tine before ought to go first of all to the Confessions," reflected the Trappist monk and scholar Thomas Merton. "Augustine lived the theology that he wrote. . . . He experienced the reality of Christ living in his own soul." Saint Augustine, the celebrated theologian who served as Bishop of Hippo from a.d. 396 until his death in a.d. 430, is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in the Western world. Written in the form of a long prayer addressed directly to God, Augustine's Confessions, the remarkable chronicle of his conversion to Christianity, endures as the greatest spiritual autobiography of all time. "Augustine possessed a strong, capacious, argumentative mind," wrote Edward Gibbon. "He boldly sounded the dark abyss of grace, predestination, free-will, and original sin." And the eminent historian Jaroslav Pelikan remarked: "There has, quite literally, been no century of the sixteen centuries since the conversion of Augustine in which he has not been a major intellectual, spiri- tual, and cultural force." From the Hardcover edition.
a fabulous prayer
By George Schaefer - March 12, 2000
I will begin by stating that I am an estranged ex-catholic. But as a philosopher and writer, I always wanted to read The Confessions of St. Augustine. The famed quote of Give me chastity and continence but not yet is one that I have often used out of context with a wicked smile. It was great to read these lines within the intended framework of Augustines writing. This is a beautiful book. Augustines gradual turn toward God is glorious. This book beautifully illustrates the human ability for transformation and transcendence. Along with Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas it gives one a good grasp of the early Christian and Catholic theory. As a cynic I must question what went wrong but my sarcasm should not detract from the sheer beauty and power of St Augustine. It brought me closer to God if not back to my original faith. Like the Bible itself, this is a book that many Christians in general and Catholics in specific really ought to read.
The best book (other than the Bible) that I have read so far
By Jesse Rouse - July 30, 2005
Let me just begin by saying that this book is brilliant. Augustine is one of the greatest thinkers that the world has ever known, and it shines through in this book. In this book, Augustine manages to cover an amazing number of topics, and does so in a beautiful way, filled with prayers to God.
I am not sure what the reviewer from June 10, 2005 is talking about. I think that they were reviewing the wrong book. This book is 400 some pages, not 90, and it is the complete version, not an introduction or abridgement.
Normally when I read books I underline quotes or passages that I think are especially good, or that I think I will be able to use in papers in the future. I then write the page numbers of the pages that have underlining on the back page. In this book, however, I ended up writing the pages numbers of pages I DIDN'T underline in on the back, since I underlined something on nearly every page. This book is absolutely filled with wisdom and knowledge... read more
For the patient reader with plenty of time
By gccircle - July 22, 2004
This book is a Roman Empire era classic, but not for the reader in a hurry. The translation appears to attempt to faithfully follow the original Latin long sentences and has therefore had to deploy advanced literary English to deal with the frequent multiple midsentence clauses. This is one of the reasons I found it slow going from a time perspective, but worth persisting with. One really good addition to the book is the notes section with all the Bible references; this is where having a cleric as the translator is clearly a bonus.
As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is a combination of St Augustine's personal life and his discussion of theology and philosophy. His personal life details include petty theft of fruit from an orchard, sitting around unemployed, youthful indiscretions, living a few years with his girlfriend until they split up, and his personal spiritual realignment from a heretical sect to the Catholic tradition. The Biblical references are mainly... read more
Gustave Flaubert spent his life working on and revising the book he considered his greatest work, before releasing this final version in 1874. Written in a play script form, The Temptation of Saint ...
Confessions is one of the most moving diaries ever recorded of a man's journey to the fountain of God's grace. Writing as a sinner, not a saint, Augustine shares his innermost thoughts and conversion ...