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The Confessions of Saint Augustine Paperback – September 21, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"In plain words--if you can accept them as plain--Christianity is the life and death and resurrection of Christ going on day after day in the souls of individual men and in the heart of society. It is this Christ-life, this incorporation into the Body of Christ, this union with His death and resurrection as a matter of conscious experience, that  St. Augustine wrote of in his Confessions."
--Thomas Merton

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

The greatest spiritual autobiography of all time, this classic work is a literary and theological masterpiece. John K. Ryan's masterful translation brings out the luster of Augustine's unmatched tale of his soul's journey to God. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Image Publications (September 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989312038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989312035
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I love this book because it is an easy read and I have recommended the book to other people.
Graciella Rodriguez
The Confessions of St. Augustine is one of the most important literary and spiritual classics in Western civilization.
Fr. Charles Erlandson
Perhaps God asked him to share his experiences with sin and temptation for the good of others.
John M Nowlan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 172 people found the following review helpful By George Schaefer on March 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I will begin by stating that I am an estranged ex-catholic. But as a philosopher and writer, I always wanted to read The Confessions of St. Augustine. The famed quote of Give me chastity and continence but not yet is one that I have often used out of context with a wicked smile. It was great to read these lines within the intended framework of Augustines writing. This is a beautiful book. Augustines gradual turn toward God is glorious. This book beautifully illustrates the human ability for transformation and transcendence. Along with Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas it gives one a good grasp of the early Christian and Catholic theory. As a cynic I must question what went wrong but my sarcasm should not detract from the sheer beauty and power of St Augustine. It brought me closer to God if not back to my original faith. Like the Bible itself, this is a book that many Christians in general and Catholics in specific really ought to read.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Rouse on July 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Let me just begin by saying that this book is brilliant. Augustine is one of the greatest thinkers that the world has ever known, and it shines through in this book. In this book, Augustine manages to cover an amazing number of topics, and does so in a beautiful way, filled with prayers to God.

I am not sure what the reviewer from June 10, 2005 is talking about. I think that they were reviewing the wrong book. This book is 400 some pages, not 90, and it is the complete version, not an introduction or abridgement.

Normally when I read books I underline quotes or passages that I think are especially good, or that I think I will be able to use in papers in the future. I then write the page numbers of the pages that have underlining on the back page. In this book, however, I ended up writing the pages numbers of pages I DIDN'T underline in on the back, since I underlined something on nearly every page. This book is absolutely filled with wisdom and knowledge of God and how He and the world He created works. This book inspired me to find a copy of The City of God, which I am now just beginning. If it is one-tenth as good as the Confessions, it will be well worth the money.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By gccircle on July 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a Roman Empire era classic, but not for the reader in a hurry. The translation appears to attempt to faithfully follow the original Latin long sentences and has therefore had to deploy advanced literary English to deal with the frequent multiple midsentence clauses. This is one of the reasons I found it slow going from a time perspective, but worth persisting with. One really good addition to the book is the notes section with all the Bible references; this is where having a cleric as the translator is clearly a bonus.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is a combination of St Augustine's personal life and his discussion of theology and philosophy. His personal life details include petty theft of fruit from an orchard, sitting around unemployed, youthful indiscretions, living a few years with his girlfriend until they split up, and his personal spiritual realignment from a heretical sect to the Catholic tradition. The Biblical references are mainly letters from the Apostle Paul, the Genesis story of the creation, and the Psalms, and there is nothing much from the Gospels or the Prophets. The philosophy component includes a review of his personal experiences with sense of time and memory which was no doubt drawn from his experience as a professional teacher of rhetoric and philosophy.

What one gains from all this is a great snapshot of what someone of religious conviction in the fading days of the Roman Empire saw and thought, including the experience of just scraping by to make a living. Overall, recommended for the patient reader!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Lori Duhl on October 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
In The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Augustine concentrates on his powerful and zealous ongoing spiritual questions. His dairy- type book tells of the history of one man's struggle to obtain and maintain a close spiritual walk with God. John K. Ryan translated the book in an attempt to make Augustine's work more reader friendly.

John K. Ryan's translation of "The Confessions of Saint Augustine" is a very easy book to read. His 22-page introduction and notes with Bible scriptures at the back of the book help the reader understand and tie together St. Augustine's work. The scriptures that Ryan provided the reader appeared to come from the King James Bible. With this in mind, I examined the possibility that Ryan was Protestant and not Catholic in his own spiritual ideology. I than questioned if that had tainted his translation. Therefore, I read parts of other translations of the Confession found on the Internet and discovered them all to be like-minded. I concluded that Ryan's translation didn't show any bias, but tried to relay to the reader that Saint Augustine's true desire was to understand God's "Will". Therefore, Augustine was portrayed as a sinner turned saint. The book was organized in a chronological manner, taking the reader from the beginning of Augustine's spiritual journey to being known as a saint and a church father. Ryan's approach to translating "The Confession of Saint Augustine" was a social history because his translations were geared toward the aspects of civil society that show the evolution of social norms, behaviors, and more.
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