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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2002
I recently reread "The Confessions of St. Augustine" after many years and am glad that I did. This book, which is often called the first autobiography, is really not an autobiography in the sense that we use the term. It is Augustine's Confession to God, from which we glean many details about Augustine's life.
In this we learn of Augustine's family, his early life, his search for truth and, throughout the book, his teachings on theology. Here we see him move to the gradually larger world, from Tagaste, to Carthage, to Rome, to Milan, where he finally finds Truth. He is then ready to return to his native Africa, his preparation completed for the work which would make him one of the greatest, Christian theologians of all time.
In much of the early book, Augustine tells us of his rejections of God's call. Seeking truth and honors, he searched through many sources and sought out many teachers. He sought wisdom from pagan and Manichean philosophers. His disappointment with the highly touted Manichean bishop, Faustus, whose speech was pleasing but whose answers failed to soothe Augustine's soul, caused him to turn to Catholicism.
Learning from the respected bishop, Ambrose, Augustine came to recognize the truth of Christian, but his slavery to a non-Christian life style long prevented him from following the call of God. This persisted until one day he heard the child's song "Tolle Lege, Tolle, Lege" (the title of my high school newspaper), "Take it and read." Taking this as a divine command to read the first passage of scripture to meet his eyes, he opened the book to the passage, "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." Needing to read no further, his conversion occurred and he was ready for the great work which lay before him.
Throughout much of the book, we are treated to Augustine's teachings on a variety of religious topics. We obtain his guidance on the nature of God, God's relationship with and expectations of man, as well as norms for the interpretation of scripture. This is the book for anyone with an interest in Christian theology or St. Augustine personally. Tolle Lege!
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on 20 November 1997
This book may not seem very ground-breaking to modern readers who have grown up within a western culture influenced by these ideas, however it is one of the foundational works of western thought. Whether or not you agree with Augustine's conclusions and ideals, no argument can be made about early western thought without confronting the influence and presence of this work. If read on an allegorical as well as a surface level, his original combination of christian symbolism and classical philosophy is clearly that of a genius. This melding of ideas began with earlier scholars, but was completely realized in this work. By all means give this work a chance, and be patient through what seems like difficult prose to the modern reader.
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on 12 August 1997
An in depth look at the nature of evil through the personal struggle of the great Augustine of Hippo. The book, written in a prayerful, confessional style (hence the name), reaches to the heights and depths of human emotion and question. A highly recommended read for those searching for clues to some life's endless questions.
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on 3 January 2011
The confessions of Saint Augustine were an interesting historical read. This was my first time to read the confessions and I am glad that I did.
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VINE VOICEon 28 November 2012
Augustines struggle with daily life (and sins) and particularly his manly struggle against lust and its effects are plain in this book. I found his story illuminating and helpful. I recommend this one!!
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on 18 May 1998
The Confessions is a strangely vulnerable and lyrical account on a subject where we would expect dogmatism and grandiosity. Despite the "St." in front of his name Augustine comes across as the kind of slob that we might run across at any time. He reminds us of ourselves. Here we do not find certitude or self-satisfaction only a weird kind of singing, of phrasing, of worship. What we find here is a book of poetry.
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on 3 March 2012
Terrific book of ancient wisdom. A lovely old-English translation (Pusey) that rolls wondrously off the tongue from the opening "Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised.....and Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of thy creation". Spread over 10 good qualilty CDs, broken down into 3 minute snippets. The mature voice of Bernard Mayes has a wonderful theatrical effect, a touch of Charleston Heston. This review is for the audiobook, just to clarify. Well worth!
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on 12 April 2014
Saint Augustine famously prayed 'Make me chaste Lord, but not yet'. Saint Augustine was not always a saint from the beginning
of his life. His life and writings have had a profound influence on the world for over 1500 years.
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on 18 July 2013
An interesting small book. Just shows that even the most 'saintly' were ordinary people with the same concerns as many today.
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on 23 January 2015
Good to read this classic book
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