(Review) The Confessions of St. Augustine (Modern English Version) by Augustine
Publication Date: 2005. First written between A.D. 397 and 400.
Genre: Memoir, confiteri.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.
Link @ publisher for the 2008 edition.
Aurelius Augustinus was born in Thagaste (Arabic name) or Tagaste (ancient name), North Africa in 354. This city is now modern day Souk Ahras, Algeria.
Baptized by Ambrose in 387.
Bishop of Hippo in 396.
Died in 430.
To read more information about Augustine:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Early Church, a biography
A few reviewers have remarked they felt gypped at not getting the "full works" of The Confessions of St. Augustine. There are thirteen volumes-books of The Confessions of St. Augustine. Most people do not want to read thirteen books of confessions. It seems logical to read an abridged version, unless the reader is working on writing a book, or a term paper, etc.
You are matchless, O Lord.The above is the opening page of The Confessions of St. Augustine.
So our praise of You must rise above our humanity.
Magnificent is Your power.
Your wisdom has no limits.
And we lowly creatures aspire to praise You. What is a human being, but a tiny particle of Your creation? Each human carries within the mark of coming death. That mortality bears witness to human sinfulness. It declares to all that You rebuff the proud.
Yet despite our lowness, human beings aspire to praise You, though we be but a particle of Your creation. You awake in us a delight at praising You. You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds its place of rest in You.
The Confessions of St. Augustine is a sort of journal, but it is much more than this. It is considered a confiteri, meaning "the praise of a soul." In The Confessions of St. Augustine, Augustine shares certain features of his life, but not with the emphasis of documenting pivotal points as in a biography. Instead, he shows God's work in his life and his complete restlessness without God. Further, Augustine pauses on reflecting on his life and glorifies God. In Augustine's early years, he reflects on his immaturity and in chasing after knowledge, pleasure, and reasoning. Augustine's mother was a Christian. He knew she prayed for him and yet he continued living in his prideful existence. Augustine's examination of this period of his life is humbling and moving.
The Confessions of St. Augustine is the second book in a row I've read where I've had to read slowly. Stopping often to think. Turning things over in my head. I am a fast reader, a little slower in a non-fiction book, but still fast. This is not a good habit when reading the Bible, I'll be sharing a little later a new technique I've began that slows me down. Stay tuned for my next Bible Reading Update.
I loved this little study. It is a small (abridged) book. However, it is packed with beautiful language. It is an honest reflection on life. It is difficult, and something most people refuse to do, to reflect back on our life and examine closely: choices, decisions, reactions, consequences, pain, joy, detours, lessons, and growth. I believe it is important that we have a solid healthy reason for reflection. If we are looking back on our life to pity ourselves, this is a poor reason. But if we are looking back on our life to examine God at work and how He has and is actively molding our brief life, then we have matured in our faith. Maturity is costly. It comes about when we have learned several painful lessons that God has brought to our doorstep and into our living room.
While reading The Confessions of St Augustine, it might be a good idea to jot down on paper meaningful quotes from the book. Later, compare your own thoughts of the past against St. Augustine.
I loved it that Augustine will stop at a thought and openly magnify the Lord. Do you do this? Praise God and sing to Him?
"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:1-3. ESV. Scripture link from Bible Gateway.