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Customer Review

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving expose of a divided man who comes to terms, October 12, 2003
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This review is from: St. Augustine Confessions (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
A joy to read! It is personal and readable, near Poetical.
Augustine was on a path to learn truth, find God, and experienced twists and turns of self-doubt and a divided will that, I think, anyone pursuing knowledge might find of interests, or someone a bit delusioned and cynical about life may find solace in. Augustine's message is a passionate one, this passion is the shining attribute of his confession -- his giving himself over to a life of honest endeavor to do God's will. He defines what the spirit of an honest pursuit looks like, and could be somewhat applied to all pursuits of truth. It is a bit cathartic to read about this often divided and quite human of a man, who I can't see how anyone could apply the terms orthodox or evangelical too (an Effort/Endeavor seems more on terms with a Christian's experience), and how he came to terms with the mysteries that are in our world. His description why it is impossible to know truth ultimately, but his conlusions behind the message of the meaning of mysteries is powerful stuff in themselves.
Some interesting themes I found, that Augustine expounded on were:
The mysteries of time and memory and what their being mysteries means.
How the soul and music are akin.
Some differences in exegesis are just quibbles that one should agree to disagree on among sincere souls.
Physical delight needs to be checked by reason (Augustine was coming to terms with lust, apparently, even at the time of this writing).
Don't be overly dependant on the praise of man.
Even contempt of the vain can be a vanity of its own sort.
His descriptions of the third temptations.
His admiration of his mother and his descriptions of the sort of person she was.
The true search is the inner search.
There are things the church does to get people interested that are lower than the true spiritual Christian search
Confession is sacrifice...
Almost every page was interesting.
Augustine was always surrounded by friends and was never in serious wanting of food or such, that I understood anyway. It is just the account of a highly intelligent, but splinterd man in search of God, until he comes to terms with the Christian mysteries of good.
I could hear Shakespeare, Waugh, and Wilde echoing in some of his words. Mr. Chadwich also makes it clear that Augustine barrowed a lot from Neo-Platonist authors, especially Plotinus. The book also provides interesting insights into life in North Africa and Italy at that time, and their cultural differences. Augustine, like Aquinas, was North African.
The book was relatively light reading, and highly accessible -- but deep -- especially taken in its entirety. Chadwick's translation, although I cannot attest to the authenticity of it, as I know no Latin, was near poetical and his notes kept my interest by aiding my understanding, clarifying themes and points, without obfuscating the passion of Augustine's message.
Highly catharctic, enjoyable reading.
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