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By A Customer
This review is from: The Confessions of St. Augustine (Signet Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
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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