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Confessions (Hardcover Classics) by Saint Augustine (5-Feb-2015)

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    Saint Augustine(Author)

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  • Saint Augustine(Author)
  • Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (5 Feb. 2015) (1600)
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  • 7
  • Religion & Spirituality

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Review Text

  • By alan j. greczynski on March 12, 2016

    Augustine is an interesting person to say the least. Modern readers may have difficulty in understanding Augustine, for his world was very different but very much the same as ours. Augustine begins as a Christian then turns to Manichaeism. Manichaeism, like Gnosticism is competing with "orthodox" Christianity. Augustine is from the breadbasket of the Roman empire, North Africa. Thagaste, in modern day Algiers was a Christian city very different from modern Muslim Algeria. His mother Monica had a strong Christian background and looked to the day Augustine would "come around" back to Christianity. Growing up a "wunderkind" and attending the best schools gave Augustine a sort of "cockiness" to his character. Augustine had a relationship with a woman and a child by her (an almost "modern" relationship). It is in the parallels in our world (American empire) and the late Roman empire that is relevant for us today. Augustine, who is a deep thinker begins to ponder his own life and the life of the empire he lives in. He ponders the nature of sin, time and death. He comes back to Christianity and is baptized with his son. The death of his close friend and then son Adeodatus affect him greatly. These events, along with the "decaying" empire that is around him give rise to his work "City of God." Written in "Books" rather than chapters may seem odd to us moderns. His book Confessions is not an easy read for modern readers, but for those who seek his wisdom it is there.

  • By E. Joyce on September 9, 2016

    While my review pales in comparison to the scholarly essays written in these reviews, I will allow the Holy Spirit to speak through this newborn in the faith. While I cannot comment on the accuracy or style of this translation like others, I can personally reflect. I had a personal connection to Augustine as I have struggled with some of the same sins as he did. Reading how he dealt with it was very helpful. Also when you take into account when this was written it is amazing the similarities of societies then and now, one would think it was a contemporary piece. The first half is an easy read, the later half is difficult and requires slow reading and reflection to understand. This is a must read as it is one of the earliest, non scripture, christian writings.

  • By Froggy on January 24, 2016

    It might seem pointless to write a review of one of the cornerstones of Christian literature, yet I purchased this particular edition after struggling with the first chapter of the less expensive Kindle edition of the Pusey translation. I am glad I did. The grammar of Augustine's Latin Silver Age easily handles stylistic complexities that are not natural to modern English, and this translation by Henry Chadwick renders Augustine's prose brilliantly. It reveals not so much a saint with a tortured past as a passionate and thoughtful young man sustained and drawn by a love for truth, beauty, and friends on a journey in search of the source of them, which Augustine finds in the God preached by the Catholic faith. Unlike Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua," the "Confessions" are not a defense of a life so much as a hymn of praise of the one who led him and gave it meaning. Augustine realizes that nothing was happenstance, but that God walked with him throughout the journey. One could view this story as a journey from alienation to fulfillment, but abstractions sell it short. In many ways, it is a love story in which the protagonist overcomes difficulties to find his true love. In confessing his journey, Augustine reveals an astonishingly modern self-awareness. He understands himself as a person with a personal history, influenced both by social and cultural conditions and inner drives. Readers in our day may well find in him a mentor in their search for meaning in life. This book became a cornerstone of the Western Christian spiritual tradition and remains fundamental reading. I highly recommend this translation.

  • By Robert C Ross on February 12, 2017

    Saint Augustine is always interesting, either for short passages or for more thoughtful contemplation. A free version of his Confessions is a perfect introduction; I can dip into his writing on my iPhone virtually any time.I searched recently for a passage to share with my companion on Valentine's Day, and found this gem:c. 397 / HippoThe Brambles of LustDuring my sixteenth year, the narrow means of my family obliged me to leave school and live idly at home with my parents. The brambles of lust grew high above my head and there was no one to root them out, certainly not my father. One day at the public baths he saw the signs of active virility coming to life in me and this was enough to make him relish the thought of having grandchildren. He was happy to tell my mother about it, for his happiness was due to the intoxication which causes the world to forget you, its Creator, and to love the things you have created instead of loving you, because the world is drunk with the invisible wine of its own perverted, earthbound will. But in my mother’s heart you had already begun to build your temple and laid the foundations of your holy dwelling, while my father was still a catechumen and a new one at that. So, in her piety, she became alarmed and apprehensive, and although I had not yet been baptized, she began to dread that I might follow in the crooked path of those who do not keep their eyes on you but turn their backs instead.How presumptuous it was of me to say that you were silent, my God, when I drifted farther and farther away from you! Can it be true that you said nothing to me at that time? Surely the words which rang in my ears, spoken by your faithful servant, my mother, could have come from none but you? Yet none of them sank into my heart to make me do as you said. I well remember what her wishes were and how she most earnestly warned me not to commit fornication and above all not to seduce any man’s wife. It all seemed womanish advice to me and I should have blushed to accept it. Yet the words were yours, though I did not know it. I thought that you were silent and that she was speaking, but all the while you were speaking to me through her, and when I disregarded her, your handmaid, I was disregarding you, though I was both her son and your servant. But I did this unawares and continued headlong on my way.***Robert C. RossFebruary 2017


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