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Confessions (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 30, 1961

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Wills] renders Augustine's famous and influential text in direct language with all the spirited wordplay and poetic strength intact."
-Los Angeles Times

"[Wills's] translations . . . are meant to bring Augustine straight into our own minds; and they succeed. Well-known passages, over which my eyes have often gazed, spring to life again from Wills's pages."
-Peter Brown, The New York Review of Books

"Augustine flourishes in Wills's hand."
-James Wood

"A masterful synthesis of classical philosophy and scriptural erudition."
-Chicago Tribune

About the Author

St Augustine of Hippo, the great Doctor of the Latin Church, was born at Thagaste in North Africa, in A.D. 354. He was brought up as a Christian but he was soon converted to the Manichean religion. He also came under the influence of Neoplatonism. However, in 387 he renounced all his unorthodox beliefs and was baptised. His surviving works had a great influence on Christian theology and the psychology and political theology of the West.

R.S. Pine-Coffin is a Roman Catholic and was born in 1917.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Impression edition (November 30, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014044114X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441147
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Buenoslibros.es on 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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295 of 315 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on 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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113 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 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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