Confession as an Act of Truth (Conf. Book 10)

If the Confessions were a straightforward autobiography, it would not need a book 10 – or the three subsequent books on the meaning of Genesis 1. Augustine could have chosen to end the work at the…

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Augustine Loudly Quits (Conf. Book 9)

At the age of 31, in the summer of 386, Augustine converted to Christianity. And then, at the start of the Vintage holidays (August 22-October 15), he quit his job. Augustine tells us in Book 9 of…

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Questioning the Veracity of Augustine’s Conversion (Conf. Book 8)

In Book 8 of the Confessions, our patience in dealing with Augustine’s doubts, errors, and procrastination is finally rewarded, and we learn about his conversion to Christianity. Augustine’s…

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Augustine’s Rejection of Astrology (Conf. Book 7)

In Book VII of the Confessions, Augustine recalls wrestling with deep philosophical and theological questions in his early thirties. Not quite able to shake off his Manichean sensibilities, he…

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Augustine and Marriage (Conf. Book 6)

As other essays in this series have expounded, Augustine offers many details about his relationships with his mentor Ambrose and friends Alypius and Nebridius in Book 6 of the Confessions. These…

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Augustine on Belief Before Understanding (Conf. Book 5)

“[E]cce pietas est sapientia” (Conf. 5.5.8). In Book 5 of his Confessions, Augustine describes his ongoing struggle for understanding. As he leaves behind his twenties, he is plagued by questions and…

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Augustine’s Pattern of Reticence (Conf. Book 4)

One of the most poignant passages in Book 4 of the Confessions, if not the entire work itself, is Augustine’s description of his grief upon the death of his friend. “Black grief closed over my…

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Augustine on Justice and the Priority of God’s Law (Conf. Book 3)

The middle of book 3 of Augustine’s Confessions contains a somewhat unexpected tangent. Augustine disrupts his narrative of his time at Carthage – his obsession with attending tragic theatrical…

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Augustine, Adam, and Taking Fruit (Conf. Book 2)

Augustine begins Book 2 of the Confessions by recounting the unrelenting hunger and restlessness he felt as an adolescent. Overwhelmed by his pubescent lust and desire to be loved, he describes…

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Augustine’s Tears for Dido (Conf. Book 1)

When I first began reading Augustine’s Confessions at the age of 19, I didn’t know exactly what to make of its beginning. The idea of permanent restlessness fascinated me, but I wasn’t quite sure…

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