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The Confessions, Revised (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Vol. 1) Paperback – February 1, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The latest volume in the series "Augustine for the Twenty-First Century," which will offer the first complete translation of all of Augustine's works into English, adds yet another vision of the Confessions to the many already available. The fourth-century bishop of Hippo in North Africa wrote this extended prayer, the first true autobiography, to confess his sins and God's goodness. It has been a standard of spiritual literature ever since. Boulding (Marked for Life, Abingdon, 1996), a Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey, England, offers us a fine, smooth translation that is a pleasure to read. Hers is also the first English translation to use inclusive language. There is a complete index, which greatly enhances the usefulness of this particular volume. For all readers.?Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

There is certainly no shortage of English translations of Augustine's Confessions; but given its undeniable place as a classic of Christian literature, there is perhaps room for one more. Boulding's translation brings Augustine's extended prayer to life with a sensitivity to his passion and poetry that should make the text more accessible to contemporary English readers. Boulding includes an introduction and a chronology that place Augustine in context and guide readers through the sometimes perplexing structure of the book. There is no doubt that Augustine continues to reach contemporary readers across the 16 centuries that separate them from his writing and its context. This new translation should contribute to the clarity with which that reach is extended. Steve Schroeder --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Vol. 1 (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New City Press (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565481542
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565481541
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fresh and wonderful translation of this Christian classic. Sr Boulding is herself a fine poet capable of touching turns of phrase such as, [Book I,5]

"Who will grant me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you would come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace me my only good?"

Albert Outler (no mean wroughter of words himself) translates this passage in this way,

"Who shall bring me to rest in thee? Who will send thee into my heart so to overwhelm it that my sins shall be blotted out and I may embrace thee, my only good?"

The loss of the "thees" are of course helpful to the modern reader, but the use of "that you would come into my heart and inebriate it," is just, well, stunning.

One final comparison with Outler in the well-known passage in book ten:

Outler: "Belatedly I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, belatedly I loved thee. For see, thou wast within and I was without, and I sought thee out there. Unlovely, I rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made. Thou wast with me, but I was not with thee."

Boulding: "Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you! Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made, I rushed headlong. I, mishappen."

Both use Augustine's marvelous play on the words "formosa" and "deformis" But Sr. Boulding's choice of shapely and misshapen retains Augustine's intentions and poetic voice, it seems to me.

This is a lovely work.
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Format: Paperback
This Christian classic has touched me deeply. I read it the first time right after college, but recently picked it up again (thirty years later). I didn't remember a thing from the first reading.... I've been a Christian for many years, but find that this book is so fresh, with insights that are truly amazing. For this new read, I bought two different translations so that I could read both and compare when the meaning seemed obscure. I highly recommend the translation by Maria Boulding. It does a great job of staying true to his meaning, while expressing things in a way that speaks to the modern mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This translation is used as the basis for the excellent teaching company course on St Augustine. I first read the confessions from my Harvard Classics. The reviewed translation was far better and every page has footnote references to scriptures quoted by St. Augustine. I was very pleased!
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THIS IS NOT THE STUDY EDITION THAT IS ADVERTISED BUT INSTEAD HAS BEEN STRIPPED OF ALL CRITICAL NOTES. There are two editions of this book. This edition is a trade paperback with no notes. The critical edition is much larger (due to notes and a much larger font) and is much, much better. I highly recommend this translation but the notes are important also. To get the critical edition search the following - ISBN-13: 978-1565480841. It costs about 2x as much but is worth every penny. The Confessions are great and the critical edition of this book makes it much more accessible.
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Format: Paperback
Five stars for this translation. The languague is still stately but not pointlessly so, and generally it is pretty smooth and readable. I couldn't get more than ten pages in with the other translations I looked at.

The book itself is also five stars. Humility is probably the most notable quality I get from Augustine, and in most traditions that seems to be the highest of virtues. Sometimes his abstractions are a chore to get through, but rather than attempting to understand them, simply looking into his deeply inquiring mind I believe gives the reader the most value, and I hope it would encourage readers to deeply inquire as did the great saint himself.

This is indeed one of the more important books to read, and we are given a great account of how Augustine observed and revealed his human nature and his own wretchedness. The honesty of the account is remarkable, and should hopefully inspire his readers to be just as sincere.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Okay, all fun aside, this literally is one of the best translations of Augustine's Confessions available to the modern english reader. This was the first translation I read years ago, and profited immensely, that I have downloaded it on kindle as well.
Aside from the fact, that Augustine's Confessions is one of the most revolutionary works of Western Literature, and one of the first psychological-autobriographies we have seen.
It is beautifully written, almost lyrical, and this translation captures it.
You can easily download another edition of the Confessions, with a weaker, and older translation for a tenth the price. I think it is definitely worth paying more for a quality translation.
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Extremely thorough work by a translator, Sister Maria Boulding, with a rich feeling for words. The textual notes amaze the reader with the extent of Augustine's familiarity with biblical and classical Latin literature. Of course, the translator had to match this in order to provide the notes, which are very easy to reference as one reads the Kindle edition.
The first nine books give an account of Augustine's life. It is important however to read as well his philosophical thoughts on Memory, Time and Eternity, Heaven and Earth and Days of Creation. These make it very clear that he was not afraid of asking difficult questions. They show his ability to move between literal and allegorical modes. They also reveal how he faces his critics without attacking their dignity even though they may have attacked his.
Augustine's legendary wrestling with his sexual urges looks like small beer in this age of internet porn, but it is testimony to the effect of persistent mindfulness and reaching out which eventually place repetitively troubling and possibly compulsive behavior at a remove that allows for increasing freedom to choose.
This is a translation that merits more than one reading.
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