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St. Augustine Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
 
 
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St. Augustine Confessions (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Saint Augustine , Henry Chadwick
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)


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Paperback, June 25, 1998 --  
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Book Description

June 25, 1998 0192833723 978-0192833723 Reprint
In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church, Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works of Western literature. In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine relates his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to the edge of the corridors of power at the imperial court in Milan, his struggle against the domination of his sexual nature, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of the faith his mother Monica had taught him during his childhood.
Now, Henry Chadwick, an eminent scholar of early Christianity, has given us the first new English translation in thirty years of this classic spiritual journey. Chadwick renders the details of Augustine's conversion in clear, modern English. We witness the future saint's fascination with astrology and with the Manichees, and then follow him through scepticism and disillusion with pagan myths until he finally reaches Christian faith. There are brilliant philosophical musings about Platonism and the nature of God, and touching portraits of Augustine's beloved mother, of St. Ambrose of Milan, and of other early Christians like Victorinus, who gave up a distinguished career as a rhetorician to adopt the orthodox faith. Augustine's concerns are often strikingly contemporary, yet his work contains many references and allusions that are easily understood only with background information about the ancient social and intellectual setting. To make The Confessions accessible to contemporary readers, Chadwick provides the most complete and informative notes of any recent translation, and includes an introduction to establish the context.
The religious and philosophical value of The Confessions is unquestionable--now modern readers will have easier access to St. Augustine's deeply personal meditations. Chadwick's lucid translation and helpful introduction clear the way for a new experience of this classic.


Editorial Reviews

Review


"An excellent translation."--John Bowlin, University of Tulsa


"A masterly performance by the dean of English-speaking Patristic scholars. Better English than the Penguin and unlike Sheed this has Books X-XIII. The notes hint at hidden depths."--Oliver Nicholson, University of Minnesota


"Chadwick's translation is superb."--Thomas Renna, Saginaw Valley State University


"A beautifully translated, edited, and printed paperback edition."--Francis W. Nichols, St. Louis University


"I am impressed with this translation. It has the poetry and emotive power of the R.S. Pine-Coffin translation for Penguin Books; and it seems much more lucid. The notes are very helpful for my purposes, showing how Augustine wove together Neo-Platonism and Christianity."--David E. Timmer, Central College


"An extremely readable and accessible translation, superior to those of Edward Pusey and F.J. Sheed that we've used in the past."--Helen Moritz, Santa Clara University


"A very competent piece of work....The fact remains that this new translation is the most readable version in modern English."--Manuscripta


"This handsomely bound and printed volume is finely translated and annotated, thus making the Confessions as exciting to read in English as they deserve to be. The informative introduction provides excellent information on Augustine's life and writings."--Gary M. Godfrey, University of Utah


"Fine translation."--P.M. Hess, University of Santa Clara


Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (June 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192833723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192833723
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing February 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I first came across St. Augustine's "Confessions" when I was a freshman in college. It was a monumental experience in terms of both the content of his writing and the freshness and relevance of his writing style. After re-reading them again recently, I am still struck with how contemporary the book feels. Aside from many of its 4th century particularities, the concerns that St. Augustine had and the way he frankly and honestly dealt with them could be lifted from almost any contemporary tell-all autobiography. The biggest exception is the fact that "Confessions" is a quintessentially and irreducibly a religious text, and in an age when religious considerations are largely pushed towards the margins of their life stories, it is refreshing and uplifting to see what would a life look like for someone who took them very seriously and committed himself to reorganizing one's whole life around the idea of serving God wholly and uncompromisingly. "Confessions" is a very accessible text, and for the most part it does not deal with theological and philosophical issues. The exception is the latter part of the book, which are almost exclusively dedicated to those topics. You may want to skip those at the first reading, but I would encourage you to read them nevertheless. Maybe the very inspiring and uplifting story of St. Augustine's conversion to Christianity can lead you into deeper considerations about your faith or the meaning of life in general. I cannot think of a better introduction to those topics than "Confessions," nor of a better guide than St. Augustine.
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270 of 288 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting September 30, 2001
Format:Paperback
St. Augustine is one of the greatest thinkers the West ever produced. Born in North Africa in the waning years of the Roman Empire, his Confessions detail his ultimate conversion to Nicene Christianity after a ten year journey through the various trendy sects of the 4th century C.E. Augustine was a member of the Manichean heresy, a follower of Astrology, and an all around sinner. He enjoyed the barbaric games of the coliseum, was overly proud of his education and teaching positions, and just couldn't bring himself to give up the ladies. He even had a son, Adeodatus, who was born out of wedlock. In short, Augustine loved the things that most people love, and he loved the same things that we love in our decadent age. This is what makes this book so relevant today; it shows how little the human race has come in 1500 years. Augustine's struggles are our struggles.
Two points of interest are worth mentioning here. The first is Augustine's mother, St. Monica. Throughout the book, Monica is an omnipresent figure in Augustine's life. She is a tireless Christian, and she does many things to try and bring Augustine into the faith. She prays incessantly, has visions and dreams from God that promise Augustine's conversion, and she follows her son everywhere he goes. Augustine gives much praise to his mother, but it's important to remember that he was writing this account after his conversion. At the time, Augustine must have been sick to death of some of her antics. He actually lied to her so he could sneak off to Rome without her, although she was soon on a boat so she could catch up with him. I also felt sorry for his father, Patricius. Dad wasn't really into the Christian thing, so Monica put on the pants in the family. Augustine even says that Monica made God the 'true' father in their house.
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93 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peeping into the soul of a man March 24, 2007
Format:Paperback
Translation by Rex Warner (in Signet Classics)

This one is a very good translation, especially for the modern reader. It conveys the immediacy and vividness of a text written more than 1500 years ago. One feels almost as a voyeur peeping into the private confession of a man to his God. The honesty and unembarrassed disclosure of his sins, and fruitless search for worldly wisdom, is something we can personally identify with, even today. It is amazing how vivid the description of life in late 4th century is in this Confessions. What a wonderful way to approach History, places like Carthage, Rome or Milan, thru the eyes of a skilled and intelligent man who pours his heart on these pages for us to benefit from.

St. Augustine's life, however distant in time, is filled with events, desires, and troubles, as common today as in the year 400. We can identify fully with him, and in his longing and weakness we can see our own soul portrayed. He talks about his childhood, his family, his studies and his lifelong pursuit of wisdom and truth, specially since the age of 19. We get immersed in the daily life of people in the 4th Century under the Roman Empire, their daily worries, their intellectual debates, their religious confrontations. We see the social conditions of all classes of people, from the wealthy and idle to the slaves who fight in the Circus. We see people living, talking, traveling, dreaming, and going about their business as if we were present with them. No wonder this book is an authentic classic, one that I should have read long ago.

There are many reasons to read this book.
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