Friday, 4 February 2011

Confessions of a Saint

The Confessions of St. AugustineThe Confessions of Saint Augustine is a "classic" work, which I think because it is quite old. The book is still in print and new covers of it come out quite regularly which is not bad for a book written sixteen hundred years ago. I doubt anything I ever write will even make it press in the first place.

There are many outlines of this book, wikipedia has a summary of it that you can check out if your interested in it's structure, I'll just comment a few things that come to mind from the book.

Augustine talks about his conversion and the key people who helped him come to be a Christian. In it his mother gets a very long look in and he seems to regret the pain he caused her in his childhood. Even though the book was written in the fourth century, astrology is treated as something that is used to fool people and that it shouldn't be trusted. He confessed himself to be quite a smart man, and his travels (to study and teach) and conversations seemed to indicate that. He got caught up in Manichaeism (I had to look it up) and after meeting one of the top dogs of the religion he became disillusioned as he didn't seem to be able to answer his questions. Augustine was then very cautious about joining another religion but over time he became a Christian. He also struggles with the idea of eternity and time which was interesting to see what their thinking in the fourth century was back then.

But the main thing that anyone should get from reading this book is Augustine's reverence for God. Augustine comes across as someone who is overwhelming grateful to God for saving him from his sins. Although he mentions his intelligence he comes across quite humble and indebted to his mother.

On the down side some chapters in this book go off into some theoretical ideas that don't seem to fit with the rest of the book, kinda like a stream of conscience experiment. I don't really read autobiographies but I guess if you are going to read one, maybe you should read on that isn't written in our own language, country or time period to further your horizons and all that.

Confessions is well past its copyright so you can read it online (in Latin as well), download the pdf, or in epub for mobile devices.


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