Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX

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And yet — as Your handmaid related to me, her son — there had stolen upon her a love of wine. For when she, as being a sober maiden, was as usual bidden by her parents to draw wine from the cask, the vessel being held under the opening, before she poured the wine into the bottle, she would wet the tips of her lips with a little, for more than that her inclination refused. For this she did not from any craving for drink, but out of the overflowing buoyancy of her time of life, which bubbles up with sportiveness, and is, in youthful spirits, wont to be repressed by the gravity of elders.

And so unto that little, adding daily littles for he that despises small things shall fall little by little , she contracted such a habit as, to drink off eagerly her little cup nearly full of wine. Where, then, was the sagacious old woman with her earnest restraint? Could anything prevail against a secret disease if Your medicine, O Lord, did not watch over us? Father, mother, and nurturers absent, Thou present, who hast created, who callest, who also by those who are set over us work some good for the salvation of our souls , what did Thou do at that time, O my God?

How did You heal her? How did You make her whole? Did You not out of another woman's soul evoke a hard and bitter insult, as a surgeon's knife from Your secret store, and with one thrust remove all that putrefaction? For the maidservant who used to accompany her to the cellar, falling out, as it happens, with her little mistress, when she was alone with her, cast in her teeth this vice , with very bitter insult, calling her a wine-bibber.

Stung by this taunt, she perceived her foulness, and immediately condemned and renounced it. Even as friends by their flattery pervert, so do enemies by their taunts often correct us. Yet You render not unto them what You do by them, but what was proposed by them. For she, being angry , desired to irritate her young mistress, not to cure her; and did it in secret, either because the time and place of the dispute found them thus, or perhaps lest she herself should be exposed to danger for disclosing it so late. But You, Lord, Governor of heavenly and earthly things, who convertest to Your purposes the deepest torrents, and disposest the turbulent current of the ages, healest one soul by the unsoundness of another; lest any man, when he remarks this, should attribute it unto his own power if another, whom he wishes to be reformed, is so through a word of his.

Being thus modestly and soberly trained, and rather made subject by You to her parents , than by her parents to You, when she had arrived at a marriageable age, she was given to a husband whom she served as her lord. And she busied herself to gain him to You, preaching You unto him by her behaviour; by which You made her fair, and reverently amiable, and admirable unto her husband.

For she so bore the wronging of her bed as never to have any dissension with her husband on account of it. For she waited for Your mercy upon him, that by believing in You he might become chaste. And besides this, as he was earnest in friendship, so was he violent in anger ; but she had learned that an angry husband should not be resisted, neither in deed, nor even in word. But so soon as he was grown calm and tranquil, and she saw a fitting moment, she would give him a reason for her conduct, should he have been excited without cause.

In short, while many matrons, whose husbands were more gentle, carried the marks of blows on their dishonoured faces, and would in private conversation blame the lives of their husbands, she would blame their tongues, monishing them gravely, as if in jest: That from the hour they heard what are called the matrimonial tablets read to them, they should think of them as instruments whereby they were made servants; so, being always mindful of their condition, they ought not to set themselves in opposition to their lords.

And when they, knowing what a furious husband she endured, marvelled that it had never been reported, nor appeared by any indication, that Patricius had beaten his wife, or that there had been any domestic strife between them, even for a day, and asked her in confidence the reason of this, she taught them her rule, which I have mentioned above.

They who observed it experienced the wisdom of it, and rejoiced; those who observed it not were kept in subjection, and suffered. Her mother-in-law, also, being at first prejudiced against her by the whisperings of evil-disposed servants, she so conquered by submission, persevering in it with patience and meekness, that she voluntarily disclosed to her son the tongues of the meddling servants, whereby the domestic peace between herself and her daughter-in-law had been agitated, begging him to punish them for it. When, therefore, he had — in conformity with his mother's wish, and with a view to the discipline of his family , and to ensure the future harmony of its members — corrected with stripes those discovered, according to the will of her who had discovered them, she promised a similar reward to any who, to please her, should say anything evil to her of her daughter-in-law.

And, none now daring to do so, they lived together with a wonderful sweetness of mutual good-will. This great gift You bestowed also, my God , my mercy, upon that good handmaid of Yours, out of whose womb You created me, even that, whenever she could, she showed herself such a peacemaker between any differing and discordant spirits, that when she had heard on both sides most bitter things, such as swelling and undigested discord is wont to give vent to, when the crudities of enmities are breathed out in bitter speeches to a present friend against an absent enemy, she would disclose nothing about the one unto the other, save what might avail to their reconcilement.

A small good this might seem to me, did I not know to my sorrow countless persons , who, through some horrible and far-spreading infection of sin , not only disclose to enemies mutually enraged the things said in passion against each other, but add some things that were never spoken at all; whereas, to a generous man, it ought to seem a small thing not to incite or increase the enmities of men by ill-speaking, unless he endeavour likewise by kind words to extinguish them.

Such a one was she — Thou, her most intimate Instructor, teaching her in the school of her heart. Finally, her own husband, now towards the end of his earthly existence , did she gain over unto You; and she had not to complain of that in him, as one of the faithful , which, before he became so, she had endured. She was also the servant of Your servants. Whosoever of them knew her, did in her much magnify, honour , and love You; for that through the testimony of the fruits of a holy conversation, they perceived You to be present in her heart.

As the day now approached on which she was to depart this life which day Thou knew , we did not , it fell out — Thou, as I believe , by Your secret ways arranging it — that she and I stood alone, leaning in a certain window, from which the garden of the house we occupied at Ostia could be seen; at which place, removed from the crowd, we were resting ourselves for the voyage, after the fatigues of a long journey.

But yet we opened wide the mouth of our heart, after those supernal streams of Your fountain, the fountain of life, which is with You; that being sprinkled with it according to our capacity, we might in some measure weigh so high a mystery. And what is like Your Word, our Lord, who remains in Himself without becoming old, and makes all things new? We were saying, then, If to any man the tumult of the flesh were silenced — silenced the phantasies of earth, waters, and air — silenced, too, the poles; yea, the very soul be silenced to herself, and go beyond herself by not thinking of herself — silenced fancies and imaginary revelations, every tongue, and every sign, and whatsoever exists by passing away, since, if any could hearken, all these say, We created not ourselves, but were created by Him who abides for ever: If, having uttered this, they now should be silenced, having only quickened our ears to Him who created them, and He alone speak not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His word, not by fleshly tongue, nor angelic voice, nor sound of thunder, nor the obscurity of a similitude, but might hear Him — Him whom in these we love — without these, like as we two now strained ourselves, and with rapid thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which remains over all.

If this could be sustained, and other visions of a far different kind be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and envelope its beholder amid these inward joys, so that his life might be eternally like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after, were not this Enter into the joy of Your Lord? When we shall all rise again; but all shall not be changed. Such things was I saying; and if not after this manner, and in these words, yet, Lord, You know , that in that day when we were talking thus, this world with all its delights grew contemptible to us, even while we spoke.

Then said my mother, Son, for myself, I have no longer any pleasure in anything in this life. What I want here further, and why I am here, I know not, now that my hopes in this world are satisfied. There was indeed one thing for which I wished to tarry a little in this life, and that was that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I died. My God has exceeded this abundantly, so that I see you despising all earthly felicity, made His servant — what do I here? What reply I made unto her to these things I do not well remember.

However, scarcely five days after, or not much more, she was prostrated by fever; and while she was sick, she one day sank into a swoon, and was for a short time unconscious of visible things. We hurried up to her; but she soon regained her senses, and gazing on me and my brother as we stood by her, she said to us inquiringly, Where was I? Then looking intently at us stupefied with grief, Here, says she, shall you bury your mother.

I was silent, and refrained from weeping; but my brother said something, wishing her, as the happier lot, to die in her own country and not abroad. She, when she heard this, with anxious countenance arrested him with her eye, as savouring of such things, and then gazing at me, Behold, says she, what he says; and soon after to us both she says, Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord's altar, wherever you be.

And when she had given forth this opinion in such words as she could, she was silent, being in pain with her increasing sickness. But, as I reflected on Your gifts, O you invisible God , which Thou instillest into the hearts of Your faithful ones, whence such marvellous fruits do spring, I did rejoice and give thanks unto You, calling to mind what I knew before, how she had ever burned with anxiety respecting her burial-place, which she had provided and prepared for herself by the body of her husband.

For as they had lived very peacefully together, her desire had also been so little is the human mind capable of grasping things divine that this should be added to that happiness , and be talked of among men , that after her wandering beyond the sea, it had been granted her that they both, so united on earth, should lie in the same grave. But when this uselessness had, through the bounty of Your goodness, begun to be no longer in her heart, I knew not, and I was full of joy admiring what she had thus disclosed to me; though indeed in that our conversation in the window also, when she said, What do I here any longer?

I heard afterwards, too, that at the time we were at Ostia, with a maternal confidence she one day, when I was absent, was speaking with certain of my friends on the contemning of this life, and the blessing of death; and when they — amazed at the courage which You had given to her, a woman — asked her whether she did not dread leaving her body at such a distance from her own city, she replied, Nothing is far to God ; nor need I fear lest He should be ignorant at the end of the world of the place whence He is to raise me up.

On the ninth day, then, of her sickness, the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the thirty-third of mine, was that religious and devout soul set free from the body. I closed her eyes; and there flowed a great sadness into my heart, and it was passing into tears, when my eyes at the same time, by the violent control of my mind , sucked back the fountain dry, and woe was me in such a struggle! But, as soon as she breathed her last the boy Adeodatus burst out into wailing, but, being checked by us all, he became quiet. In like manner also my own childish feeling, which was, through the youthful voice of my heart, finding escape in tears, was restrained and silenced.

For we did not consider it fitting to celebrate that funeral with tearful plaints and groanings; for on such wise are they who die unhappy, or are altogether dead, wont to be mourned. But she neither died unhappy, nor did she altogether die. What, then, was that which did grievously pain me within, but the newly-made wound, from having that most sweet and dear habit of living together suddenly broken off?

I was full of joy indeed in her testimony, when, in that her last illness, flattering my dutifulness, she called me kind, and recalled, with great affection of love , that she had never heard any harsh or reproachful sound come out of my mouth against her. But yet, O my God , who made us, how can the honour which I paid to her be compared with her slavery for me? As, then, I was left destitute of so great comfort in her, my soul was stricken, and that life torn apart as it were, which, of hers and mine together, had been made but one. The boy then being restrained from weeping, Evodius took up the Psalter, and began to sing — the whole house responding — the Psalm, I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto You, O Lord.

But when they heard what we were doing, many brethren and religious women came together; and while they whose office it was were, according to custom, making ready for the funeral, I, in a part of the house where I conveniently could, together with those who thought that I ought not to be left alone, discoursed on what was suited to the occasion; and by this alleviation of truth mitigated the anguish known unto You — they being unconscious of it, listened intently, and thought me to be devoid of any sense of sorrow.

But in Your ears, where none of them heard, did I blame the softness of my feelings, and restrained the flow of my grief, which yielded a little unto me; but the paroxysm returned again, though not so as to burst forth into tears, nor to a change of countenance, though I knew what I repressed in my heart. And as I was exceedingly annoyed that these human things had such power over me, which in the due order and destiny of our natural condition must of necessity come to pass, with a new sorrow I sorrowed for my sorrow, and was wasted by a twofold sadness.

So, when the body was carried forth, we both went and returned without tears. For neither in those prayers which we poured forth unto You when the sacrifice of our redemption was offered up unto You for her — the dead body being now placed by the side of the grave, as the custom there is, prior to its being laid therein — neither in their prayers did I shed tears; yet was I most grievously sad in secret all the day, and with a troubled mind entreated You, as I was able, to heal my sorrow, but You did not; fixing, I believe , in my memory by this one lesson the power of the bonds of all habit, even upon a mind which now feeds not upon a fallacious word.

Lo, this also I confess unto Your mercy, Father of the fatherless, that I bathed, and felt the same as before I had done so. For the bitterness of my grief exuded not from my heart. Then I slept, and on awaking found my grief not a little mitigated; and as I lay alone upon my bed, there came into my mind those true verses of Your Ambrose, for You are —. Deus creator omnium, Polique rector, vestiens Diem decora lumine, Noctem sopora gratia; Artus solutos ut quies Reddat laboris usui, Mentesque fessas allevet, Luctusque solvat anxios.

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And then little by little did I bring back my former thoughts of Your handmaid, her devout conversation towards You, her holy tenderness and attentiveness towards us, which was suddenly taken away from me; and it was pleasant to me to weep in Your sight, for her and for me, concerning her and concerning myself. And I set free the tears which before I repressed, that they might flow at their will, spreading them beneath my heart; and it rested in them, for Your ears were near me — not those of man , who would have put a scornful interpretation on my weeping.

But now in writing I confess it unto You, O Lord! Read it who will, and interpret how he will; and if he finds me to have sinned in weeping for my mother during so small a part of an hour — that mother who was for a while dead to my eyes, who had for many years wept for me, that I might live in Your eyes — let him not laugh at me, but rather, if he be a man of a noble charity, let him weep for my sins against You, the Father of all the brethren of Your Christ. And although she, having been made alive in Christ even before she was freed from the flesh had so lived as to praise Your name both by her faith and conversation, yet dare I not say that from the time You regenerated her by baptism , no word went forth from her mouth against Your precepts.

What he converted to after his garden epiphany was abstention from sex and worldly ambition. He converted to celibacy, Lane Fox assures us, not Christianity. Augustine next embraces Manichaeism—the gnostic interpretation of Christianity that viewed matter as evil and encouraged its adherents to cultivate the sparks of light within them. Augustine next converts from rhetoric to philosophy, and finally experiences conversions away from worldly ambition and from sex.

Augustine thus converts to wisdom, to philosophy, to humility and to celibacy.

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The only thing he never converts to is Christianity itself. One problem is that his suggestion that a conversion to wisdom or humility is the same as a conversion to Christianity or another religion is highly misleading. Even within my own tradition, evangelical Protestantism, which places particularly strong emphasis on conversion, we recognize that many Christians do not come to faith through a single, definite moment of conversion.

Some may grow up in a Christian family and context, and never know a moment when they did not see themselves as a Christian. Others experience their conversion as a process that includes more than one step and occurs over a period of time. Perhaps Augustine viewed himself as someone who was a Christian from his earliest childhood, as Lane Fox suggests. But Lane Fox clearly believes that he did, as do most other scholars. Although Augustine never became one of the Elect, the highest rank of Manichees, he was a Hearer for roughly a decade and was instrumental in converting others—including his patron Romanianus—to Manichaeism.

A Protestant friend of mine plans to join the Catholic Church this fall. He was a Christian before and he will be a Christian after. But I am quite confident that he will describe the step in the future as a conversion. The Conversion of Augustine. Hagendahl Hagendahl, H. Augustine and the Latin Classics. Hrdlicka Hrdlicka, C. Isnenghi Isnenghi, A. Oxford, Keil Keil, H. Grammatici Latini Leipzig, repr. Hildesheim, Knauer Knauer, G. Psalmenzitate in Augustins Konfessionen. Kunzelmann Kunzelmann, A. Augustinus' , MA 2. Kusch Kusch, H. Recherches de la chronologie augustinienne.

Biblia Augustiniana. Augustine of Hippo and his Monastic Rule. Palermo, LHS Leumann, M. Hofmann, and A. Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik. Munich, Lieu, Manichaeism Lieu, S. Manchester, MA Miscellanea Agostiniana. Madec, Saint Ambroise Madec, G. Saint Ambroise et la philosophie. Mandouze Mandouze, A. Mandouze, Pros. Mandouze, A. Marrou Marrou, H. Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique. Paris 4, Mayer, Zeichen 1 Mayer, C. Die Zeichen in der geistigen Entwicklung und in der Theologie des jungen Augustinus.

Mayer, Zeichen 2 Mayer, C. Die Zeichen in der geistigen Entwicklung und in der Theologie Augustins. Meijering Meijering, E. Leiden, Milne Milne, C. Cambridge, O'Daly O'Daly, G. Augustine's Philosophy of Mind. O'Meara O'Meara, J. The Young Augustine. London, ; corr. Leipzig, ; repr. Pellegrino, Les Confessions Pellegrino, M. Les Confessions de saint Augustin. Perler Perler, O. Les Voyages de saint Augustin. Pincherle, Formazione teologica Pincherle, A. La formazione teologica di Sant' Agostino.

Rome, n. Poque, Le langage symbolique Poque, S. Signum Pietatis: Festgabe. SLA Hensellek, W. Specimina eines Lexicon Augustinianum. Vienna, Sorabji, Time Sorabji, R. Ithaca, Souter Souter, A. A Glossary of Later Latin. TeSelle TeSelle, E. Augustine the Theologian. Testard Testard, M. Saint Augustin et Ciceron. Theiler, P. Theiler, W. Porphyrios und Augustin. Halle, repr. Recherches sur la christologie de saint Augustin.

Fribourg, Suisse, Augustine the Bishop. Verbraken Verbraken, P. Steenbrugge and the Hague, Verheijen, Eloquentia Pedisequa Verheijen, [L. Eloquentia Pedisequa. Nijmegen, Weber, Biblia Sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem Stuttgart, 3 Freiburg, VL alone indicates a reading attributed to pre-Vulgate Latin scripture for a book of scripture not yet treated by Beuron.

Warns Warns, G. I thus refer to several unpublished papers preliminary to a Berlin dissertation that Herr Warns has been kind enough to allow me to see. Weber, Psautier Romain Weber, R. Le Psautier Romain et les autres anciens Psautiers Latins. Zarb Zarb, S. Chronologia operum s. Augustini secundum ordinem Retractationum digesta.

Editions cited by editor's last name except where abbr. Gozaeus and J.

05. St. Augustine's Confessions

Molanus Louvain, Maur. Benedictines of St. Maur Paris, , repr. Gibb and W. Montgomery Cambridge, second edition, , reprinted New York, P. Leipzig, F. Ramorino Rome, P. Solignac Pell. Translations cited by translator's last name : J. Ryan New York, [Image Bks.

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Pusey reprinted in Everyman Library, London, J. Bernhart Munich, ; repr. Boissou R. Warner New York, Vega Madrid, ; see above C. Carena Rome, ; see above. A work such as this is as variously and irremediably in debt at every turn as Mr. I will be content if someone says of me what Gibbon said of Augustine, that my learning is too often borrowed, and my arguments are too often my own. For moral support, encouragement, and scholarly consultation, I thank: J. Fleming, G. Knauer, Henry Chadwick, Carl R. Fischer, Jr. Halporn, Richard Hamilton, Col.

Morton S. Jaffe, James J. John, the late Robert E. Markus, and Amy Richlin. My encounters with Augustine began two decades ago, in an irretrievable place, and remind me at every turn of a friend of whom it can be said, as Augustine said of Nebridius ep. It is a particular pleasure to express my gratitude to Fr. Allan Fitzgerald, O. I have also had the advantage of reading unpublished work on the confessiones by G. Warns of Berlin and by Prof.

Colin Starnes of Dalhousie University. I hope I have been adequately scrupulous in indicating my debts to their work ad loc. The participants in my NEH-sponsored seminar at Glenmede Bryn Mawr College were present at the creation, and will find herein much that is familiar: J. Randal Allen, Vincent J.

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Amato, Herbert E. Anderson, Floyd D. Celapino, James A. Freeman, Kay S. Hodges, Patricia J. Huhn, Brother Joseph R. Kazimir, Kathleen M. Macdonell, Sister Miriam Meskill, V. Porto, M. Walsh, Sister Patricia Welsh, R. President Mary Patterson McPherson of Bryn Mawr College provided the facilities for our seminar, but is also indirectly responsible for my having had the time and leisure to complete this work, and thus deserves double thanks.

Cordy and Hilary Feldman and the remarkable Press they represent never flinched for a moment: no small achievement. English true begins in Germanic as a physical description of the wood at the center of a tree trunk , becomes a moral description of a faithful man - that sense persists as the meaning of German treu , and only eventually becomes a metaphysical or ontological category. German itself borrows verus from Latin and makes it wahr to do duty in our sense of true.

Latin verus cf. These etymologic facts betray a fundamental fault-line in Western thought, between being and discourse, reality and truth. Boissier has the credit for raising this question, and noting the disparity of accounts between the Confessions and the Cassiciacum dialogues, but he did not press those disparities and concluded that the two accounts could be reconciled - as has every major study of the question since with the exception of Alfaric.

The other disturber of the peace was A. The canonization of Boissier and Harnack as archetypal skeptics probably goes back to C. Boyer was a priest in good standing. Courcelle, Recherches sur les Confessions de saint Augustin Paris, ; expanded ed. Auch Contra Academicos und De beata vita verraten nichts Sicheres davon.

Even Plotinus he read in a Latin translation we no longer have and, given the difficulty of Plotinus, any translation must have been a palpably different thing from the original. I have read widely, and profited slightly, from the literary-critical essays of the last generation.

The palm among such essays, many of which make no pretension to scholarly adequacy, must go to R. Herzog, for a venturesome reading of the work as a struggle to establish communication between the confessing voice and the divine source of speech: in K. Stierle et al. Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia London, , The Anglophone reader curious to pursue this localization further may begin with the works of N.

No woman has written a book on the Confessions to my knowledge Prof. Margaret Miles may soon fill that gap ; the closest approach to date is the series of articles in Convivium 25 and 27 by C. Mohrmann a Francophone Catholic. The range and variety of his work is little appreciated: some hints in the memorial notice at Augustinianum 20 , The controversy replicated the earlier battles occasioned by application of scholarly instruments and criteria to biblical texts: literal narrative seemed threatened, and with literal narrative faith itself seemed threatened.

It is not merely that the reaction to Courcelle could only have arisen in certain religious circles, but Courcelle himself would not have written as he did were such a response not inevitable. That is not to say that Courcelle wrote out of spite or in a deliberate attempt to shock, but that his own curiosity and his own sense of what questions mattered had been conditioned by an environment and a history that he shared with his opponents. Not until April did A. The Cassiciacum dialogues come during a frustrating interim, and much of the peculiar character of those works can be traced to that neither-fish-nor-fowl state of A.

Only in retrospect does the garden scene provide the decisive moment: a lapse between August and April would have rewritten the meaning of that scene completely. Even Porphyry's life of Plotinus V. I leave to others to write the history of the psychoanalysis of A. Two neglected studies seem to me of more worth than most of the better-known studies: W.

His hard to find book has a seriousness and an integrity that are, to my taste, almost universally lacking in the later essays in the same vein that I know. Reading Achelis makes clear how many other such essays have been written by students evidently engaged in their own dare one say Oedipal? The other study I commend is thus an interesting exception because it was written by a woman: P.

There is just enough of a hint there in the wording of 3. See also on 5. See commentary for Plotinian echoes - and especially the parallel texts in many other works of Augustine. See on 7. It would be odd for him to have thought highly enough of the system to use it to shape so personal a testament of faith, then let it largely drop away almost at once.

The later works are undeniably less rich in their reflection of Platonic ideas and that is probably one reason for the lack of sympathy they evoke in many scholars: the old Augustine has few friends today.

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The theme is not abandoned, to be sure, and there has even been an attempt to show that it is enriched by contact with a specifically Christian source: see S. It remains astonishing that Courcelle Recherches could believe, e. The belief that Augustine was an inept maker of books is now ex professo disowned cf. There is clear evidence that A. It is tempting to think that there might be some perfect method of textual analysis that would employ these triads to reveal to us at every turn in the Confessions exactly how A.

In many passages, it is true, it is possible to define the direction of his discourse; and this commentary has probably gone further than many would have thought possible and than some will think desirable in making such identifications. But even if we accept that A. Discussions by all sides have followed the same pattern: analysis of the Christological report given at 7.

The assumption is that at 7. This peculiar approach has been possible because in attending to doctrinal questions we have fallen into the modern practice of treating as purely intellectual matters, to be discussed and resolved as such, apart from the exclusively moral considerations that preoccupy the A. How far that silence is an autobiographical datum i. The title is attested in full in three places in A. About the time of the Confessions ep. If Madec is right that Ambrose and A. Ambrose's book attacked those who claimed that Christ had learned from Plato ep.

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For the consistency of Ambrose's positions, worth comparing is the fragment of Ambrose on Isaiah from c. Chadwick] are echoed here, esp. Ambrose by treatise and Martin of Tours by example were taking a new, more demanding stand. Ambrose had a sister who was a consecrated virgin, and he himself at age 35 or more became a bishop without ever having married.

Jovinian reacted in one direction, and Jerome in another and in doing so alienated almost everyone. That policy is responsible for the abundant quotations from Ambrose in A. The tactic was brushed off by Julian: c. On the background and issues involved see best A. Rousselle, Porneia Paris, ; trans.

Oxford, , esp. The curious prestige Julian of Eclanum enjoys among moderns is to be explained only by his usefulness as a club with which to beat Augustine. There is no evidence, after all, that Christianity for Julian ever reached beyond the comfortable upper-class and upper-class clerical circles into which he was born; A. A reading of Augustine's later life and works starting from there would differ on some, but not all, points from that sketched in the next lines of my own argument here.

Some have suggested from time to time that cat. This is at best loosely true it is true, for example, that A. Is gaudens a reasonable adjective for the tone of voice of the Confessions? Alflatt, REAug 20 , , that A. In a tentative reconstruction of the sort offered here, this is probably where the evidence becomes too thinly stretched to admit of much certainty. At any rate, it seems that the first attempts to write about Paul are those of an idealist who still wants to believe that he will achieve ascetic perfection. At some level there is conflict, and ordination as bishop exacerbates the problem; and so in div.

Pincherle cf. Formazione teologica di Sant' Agostino [Rome, n. Augustine: A Reappraisal' , Augustinian Studies , 7 , The eventual conclusion of doctr. Before his ordination as bishop, his longest books were c. By length, mus. By contrast, the Confessions run to 13 books and are about twice as long c. All his other large works were written later longer than the Confessions : civ. See further on 7.

Just as the first half of Bk. A parallel development may be observed in the movement from quant. If any of them survive scrutiny, they may profitably be taken in the sense I suggest here, as fruits of the reassessment, not as distinct echoes of the Milanese period. It remains possible that A. On this text, see du Roy The quest for truth and a righteous life pursued in conventional philosophical terms, the sense of liberation arising from a reading of John 1, and the reorientation of philosophical studies in the wake of that reading - all these are in Hilary, and many of the scriptural texts that A.

Parallels mentioned briefly and incompletely by Courcelle, Les Confessions When A. On the place of anti-Manicheism, Mayer, Zeichen 2. Everything exegetical in A. The negative opinions that are often held privately, and occasionally expressed publicly, about A. We assume that A. But the ancient rhetorician worked, it seems obvious on reflection, in a far more improvisational mode than we do.

If music were the analogy, his idiom was jazz, not classical cf. The earlier adumbration of the structure of the Confessions at lib. It is not absurd to consider conscious and semi-conscious influence of such periodization on a man's life, when a we have textual evidence that he thought of his own life in such categories, and b when we see ourselves measuring our own and others' lives by the twenty-first, fortieth, and sixty-fifth birthdays. The difficulty is that A.

Pizzolato also neglects the alternate scheme for seven ages proposed in vera rel. Tao-sheng, ca. AD cf. They would have understood each other instinctively. If that is not the conventional view of Augustine, then whatever this commentary can do to suggest the possibility is all to the good. That links to the east are not preposterous to suggest at this period, cf. He concentrates on the first passage here, beata v.

See also the passage from lib.

Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX
Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX
Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX
Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX
Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX
Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX Augustine’s Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX

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