By Gary Willis
During this short and incisive booklet, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills tells the tale of the Confessions--what influenced Augustine to dictate it, the way it asks to be learn, and the various methods it's been misinterpret within the one-and-a-half millennia because it was once composed. Following Wills's biography of Augustine and his translation of the Confessions, this can be an exceptional advent to 1 of an important books within the Christian and Western traditions.
Understandably fascinated about the tale of Augustine's lifestyles, smooth readers have mostly succumbed to the temptation to learn the Confessions as autobiography. yet, Wills argues, this can be a mistake. The e-book isn't autobiography yet relatively a protracted prayer, suffused with the language of Scripture and addressed to God, now not guy. Augustine tells the tale of his existence now not for its personal value yet so that it will figure how, as a drama of sin and salvation resulting in God, it suits into sacred historical past. "We need to learn Augustine as we do Dante," Wills writes, "alert to wealthy layer upon layer of Scriptural and theological symbolism." Wills additionally addresses the lengthy afterlife of the e-book, from controversy in its personal time and relative forget throughout the center a long time to a renewed prominence starting within the fourteenth century and persisting to at the present time, whilst the Confessions has develop into an item of curiosity not only for Christians but in addition historians, philosophers, psychiatrists, and literary critics.
With unrivaled readability and talent, Wills strips away the centuries of bewilderment that experience accrued round Augustine's religious vintage.
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Additional resources for Augustine's Confessions: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)
Augustine knew Cicero’s teaching that it is a perversion of friendship to stay with friends even when they are doing wrong (Friendship 42), and Augustine said that Adam’s sin was a perversion of benevolence to a loved one. Adam yielded to Eve in breaking God’s law, not because he believed she was telling the truth, but out of a compulsion to solidarity with her (socialis necessitudo), as male to female, only man to only woman, human to fellow human, man to wife. . He refused to be rent from this special partnership (unicum consortium), even at the cost of joining her in sin.
We are one, One flesh, to lose thee were to lose myself. 952–59 One again, therefore, the text of Confessions is haunted by Genesis, by the story of the first sin. That was almost bound to be the case, given the elements of forbidden fruit, mysterious sin, and solidarity in the sin. Augustine gives us a further clue. 9), he refers to only one pear tree—to make the parallel with Eve’s fatal tree more obvious. Adam’s sin was almost gratuitous—he did not do it for any gain—and it concerned an apparently trivial act, made serious only by the fact that it disobeyed God’s easy command.
29). 1). After leaving Milan, Augustine would never correspond with Ambrose, never dedicate a work to him, or request a book from him. It is clear that Augustine had more immediate access to Neoplatonist thought in the person of Victorinus’s friend than in Ambrose. And Simplician drew him into his philosophical circle, where Augustine met the man he most credited with his changed views at the time—though he is nowhere mentioned in Confessions. Mallius Theodore was a hero to Augustine because he had given up Roman office for a life of philosophy.
Augustine's Confessions: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books) by Gary Willis