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The Confessions of St. Augustine

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,928 Ratings  ·  1,230 Reviews
Heartfelt, incisive & timeless, The Confessions has captivated readers for over 1500 years. Retelling the story of his long struggle with faith & ultimate conversion--the first such spiritual memoir ever recorded--Augustine traces a story of sin, regret & redemption that is both deeply personal &, at the same time, universal. Starting with his early life, e ...more
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Published 1900 by International Collectors Library (Garden City, NY) (first published 397)
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K.D. Absolutely
Sep 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoirs)
Shelves: 501, religion
I never dreamed that one day I would finished reading a 300-page memoir written by a ancient Catholic saint. See, how many saints who lived during the first millennium have written himself a memoir?

I twice tried to read The Holy Bible (once in English and once in Tagalog) from cover to cover but failed. I just got distracted by too many details and hard-to-remember names and ancient places and I could not appreciate what were all those characters are doing. Excuses, excuses. They say that readin
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Sarah
Aug 21, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Sarah by: Dr. Harmon
Shelves: theology
Chadwick's translation of Augustine's Confessions (note that this is a confession to God, while read by men) is one of the best. It is not costly in a monetary sense; new it is a mere 6.95. However, it is deceptively short. A chapter will take you two hours if you give it the attention it deserves. Augustine is a circular writer. He is not a bad writer - he was known to be a merciless editor, in fact. But he goes around and around, especially later on in the last chapters of the book when he is ...more
Farren
Are you there God? It's me, St. Augustine.
Sean Wilson
"Day after day I postponed living in you, but I never put off the death which I died each day in myself. I longed for a life of happiness but I was frightened to approach it in its own domain; and yet, while I fled from it, I still searched for it."

Reading Augustine of Hippo's Confessions is like plunging into a deep, dark abyss and seeing a slither of light at the far side of the endless tunnel, unaware of whether you reach it or not; for Confessions is a proto-existentialist work of a man at
...more
James
It was slow, it was dense, and it was militantly Christian. So why is that The Confessions is such an unavoidably fascinating work? Augustine appears here as a fully realized person, with all the good and the bad that that implies; it's as if the book was a conversation with God and a fly-on-the-wall was taking dictation. Since God obviously would have known Augustine's transgressions before they even occurred, Augustine thus has nothing to hide in this personal narrative, or at least makes it a ...more
James
I have read this book several times, both as part of the Basic Program of Liberal Education at the University of Chicago and most recently as one of the monthly selections of a reading group in which I participate. Like all classics it bears rereading and yields new insights each time I read it. But it also is unchanging in ways that struck me when I first read it; for Augustine's Confessions seem almost modern in the telling with a psychological perspective that brings his emotional growth aliv ...more
Greg Garrett
Apr 03, 2012 Greg Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used to hate Augustine of Hippo. I found him too anxious, too focused on the sexual sins he was sure he was committing, and too sure about the fallen nature of human beings. The Confessions changed all that for me. It's like how when you meet someone you can't judge them in the same way any more; The Confessions helped me understand that Augustine--like everyone--was trying to understand his life, his place in the world, and his motivations for doing things. Most importantly, The Confessions h ...more
Jerome Peterson
Sep 03, 2011 Jerome Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Confessions" is the type of book with a heavy dynamic caliber that it should be read slow, thoughtfully, and with a highlighter. Saint Augustine doe not hold back in his shortcomings. He paints a black, very personal, wicked youth. He confesses all and bares his soul. The passages about his mother were extremely soulful revealing the man as an affectionate son. He writes with hopeful authority; yet in a humble voice and always in a way that I could relate with it in today's hectic pace. His sty ...more
حسين إسماعيل
أهملت الفصلين الأخيرين لأنه بدأ يغوص في أعماق بعض العقائد المسيحية، ولكوني غير ملم بالجدل الذي كان يدور حولها فلم أستفد من الخمسين صفحة التي قرأتها منها.

الكتاب كنز عظيم وإثراء لأي قارئ، وترجمة إبراهيم الغربي (عن اللاتينية) بليغة ومميزة جدا. يؤرخ أغسطينس في اعترفاته حياته حتى ما بعد الأربعين بقليل، وهو المولود لأب وثني وأم مسيحية كاثوليكية، ويروي بوصف مطول كيف تغلب على شهواته حين كان شابا حتى الوقت الذي صار مسيحيا فيه، ثم تحول لوصف اطمئنان ذاته للإيمان ومن ثم مناقشة عقيدته بمقاربة فلسفية.

هنا أغسط
...more
Emily
I hate to say it, but I have some bad news about the Penguin Great Ideas series with which I'm so smitten. I'm not sure if you'll find this as shocking as I did, but here it is: some of these books are excerpted. And I say "excerpted" only so as to avoid an uglier word: if pressed, I must admit that this edition of Augustine's Confessions is - I can barely stand to write it - ABRIDGED.

To Penguin's credit, they don't try to hide the abridgment, as some expurgators have done before them. Right on
...more
Katie
St. Augustine’s Confessions is such a lovely and honest book. I’d recommend it to everyone, if people who aren’t remotely religious. It’s one of those works that really manages to encapsulate certain feelings and articulate them in ways that are clear but also sort of startling in their clarity, saying obvious things in ways you’d never quite thought of before.

Take this bit from Book 8: “In my heart I kept saying ‘Let it be now, let it be now!’ and merely by saying this I was on the point of ma
...more
Michael
Written during the waning of the Roman Empire around 400AD, this account of the early life of a seminal theologian of the Catholic church is a personal perspective on what he regards as his sinful life leading up to his conversion. His writing is surprisingly accessible, almost modern in its approach to weighing the factors that contribute to growing up. His mother was a Christian, but he took a long time to come around. He excelled in school and hungered to elucidate abstract knowledge, eventua ...more
Gwen Burrow
Feb 03, 2010 Gwen Burrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Feels rather like reading the Psalms. That should tell you it's good.
Sean
Oct 03, 2013 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In his "Confessions", Augustine tells the story of his early life and ultimate acceptance of a Christian life. Augustine was born in 354 on a farm in Algeria, the son of a Christian mother and a pagan father. He describes his early life, during which time he mastered Latin literature and became a teacher of literature and public speaking.

Augustine describes in detail his secular life, marriage of 15 years, as well as his personal spiritual journey from a life of earthly desires towards the accep
...more
Erik Graff
Jan 14, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Cyril Richardson
Shelves: biography
I've read this book twice now, once in seminary in New York for myself and once in graduate school in Chicago for a class on Augustine taught by David Hassel, S.J. Eight years had intervened, so the rereading was not unpleasant.

Most of the books of the Confessions are surprisingly accessible. The jaring elements for most moderns would probably be, one, the lengthy excurses about theology in the later books; two, the callous disregard he displays towards the mother of his son (her name is never g
...more
Justin Evans
Jun 02, 2011 Justin Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Considering that the style of Augie's work is completely and utterly impenetrable, this is actually a pretty decent read. Just come to it expecting circularity, meditation, rapturous theology and self-flagellation, and you'll come away impressed.
Don't expect anything linear, and you'll be all the more impressed when he ends up, every now and then, out-Aristotling Aristotle with arguments of the (x-->y)&(y-->z)&(z-->p)&(p-->q); ~x is absurd; therefore q variety.
Don't exp
...more
Bryan
Feb 21, 2011 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Christianity, spirituality, philosophy, and theology
Recommended to Bryan by: Mrs. King, my high school English teacher
I went into this book with wary expectations, but by the end of it was fully enthusiastic about Augustine's account of his conversion.

There were two things that always kept me from reading this book: the first was that I read only part of his quote "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet," when I was younger and so it didn't settle with me. I mistakenly thought that "The Confessions" were Augustine's attempts to confess a sin in order that he could keep doing it, and that seemed like a waste of tim
...more
Jeff Miller
Feb 23, 2015 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Been over a decade since I last read this, but still it enraptures me. This time around I noticed just how much scripture was weaved into everything he said. Often he blends St. Paul into whatever he is talking about; especially in the later chapters after the main part of his conversion story.

Also this time I tried an audiobook version for my commute.

The narrator was Bernard Mayes whose voice matched the material. Kind of British professorial.

Didn't know who he was and looked up his Wiki entry.
...more
Fatih Balkış
Aug 22, 2015 Fatih Balkış rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
İtiraflar ilk bakışta yaşam üzerine derinlemesine saptamalar yapılan bir yolculuk kitabı gibi görünse de, çağını kapsayışı düşünüldüğünde, hiç de azımsanmayacak ölçüde bir dil ve kavrayış zenginliği içerir. Yaşamı duyumsayışımız ve bunu dile getirişimizin çeşitli formları olabilir, ancak hiçbiri Augustinus’unki kadar berrak değildir. 354-430 yılları arasında yaşayan, Roma İmparatorluğu’unda yüksek bir gösteri toplumunun yaşandığı dönemde, bu gösterilerin sıkı bir takipçisi olan Augustinus, Hıris ...more
John Doe
Jul 27, 2013 John Doe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Augustine believes in god. Is that possible anymore without quietly smirking? Isn't god dead? Maybe he wasn't dead when Augustine wrote this book. Augustine's faith was a miracle, and he expressed his faith with every line of the book.

I didn't agree with everything. Sometimes he seemed to be too hard on himself. But I am glad I read it. The Confessions are a picture of authentic christian faith.
Annette
Mar 07, 2015 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another 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.
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 v
...more
Jared Henderson
Jan 23, 2013 Jared Henderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
This is the most amazing book I have ever read. It, more than any other book has had a significant impact on my life. This autobiography chronicles the life and religious struggles of Augustine of Hippo from his childhood to his young adult days as a Gnostic, all the way to his final acceptance of Christianity as an older adult. The amazing thing about this books is the intelligent and articulate arguments Augustine conveys both in favor of and against different religious/philosophical ideologie ...more
Julie Davis
I'm reading this for our Catholic women's book club ... it's the November selection so if I begin now I should finish on time.

I have tried reading this book twice before and always gotten bogged down in Augustine's complaints about being beaten by his tutor. This time I am going to just skim or skip those complaints in the interest of seeing what I DO like about the book rather than letting road bumps throw me off track.

It's kind of ironic that Augustine is one of my earliest saint "friends" wh
...more
Stian
"People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering."

An extremely fascinating look at the life of one of the most eminent Christian thinkers. The prose is magnificent (translated by Garry Wills) and that added to making this book a very pleasurable read.

I don't find most of the arguments Augustine makes any good, but t
...more
Karen
Feb 28, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, if you're ever struggling to give up something bad for something better (who isn't)- this book is inspiring! It is full of beautiful imagery about coming closer to God and giving up things to know Him.

I have to many favorite quotes to write, but here are a few of my favorite parts.

St. Augustine was a bit of a sex-addict, from what I read, and he tried to give it up time and time again. He was coming closer to God from his studies, and he felt like two different people. He said, "I, no doubt
...more
Rhonda
Jan 26, 2009 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I read this in high school and remember being highly irritated by it because it seemed modern. Although I wasn't inclined towards God in a good way at that point, and was an adamant agnostic, I was profoundly affected by this book. I never told anyone, of course, and I argued vehemently against Augustine's point of view in my book report, as I recall.

I think I resented this mostly because it was another adult telling me what I should do, something completely opposed to what I WANTED to do. Augu
...more
Patrick Schlabs
Dec 03, 2012 Patrick Schlabs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012


An, obviously seminal book in Christian thought and theology. The first 9 books (chapters) walk through Augustine's searching to find rest and satisfaction in everything under the sun before coming to faith in Christ. The last 4 books unpack his philosophy and theology on memory, time, and Scripture (among other things). The first 9 books were very enjoyable, while a large portion of the last 4 were a bit of a chore to get through. Overall, a very valuable read for any Christian. Would probably
...more
Dkovlak
Apr 28, 2015 Dkovlak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing that this book was written over 1600 years ago. (397 AD) The most amazing part is that the author quotes the same verses that we read in the Bible today. His life is changed as a result, like people's lives are changed today, by becoming a Christian and following the Bible. This proves to me that God is the same today as he was over 1600 years ago and forever. He has never changed and his Word, the Bible, will never change. But it will ALWAYS change lives.

St. Augustine is changed
...more
Ike
Sep 22, 2011 Ike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gus,

Your confessions are laced with wonderfully eloquent words.

But...

sometimes your dualism (leftover from your Manichean days) makes your ideas hard to swallow.


Regards,

IB
Grace
Dec 22, 2015 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Grace by: Rebekah Burcham
Shelves: christian, classics
Guys. Guys, I finished this book. I tend to be a stickler for accuracy so, yes, the dates read for this book are accurate. That being said, judge me and my reading speed, not the quality of this book.

So, this book. It was good, if somewhat of a headache to get through some portions. Augustine got bogged down and belabored his points at times, even seeming to talk himself in circles. And it was strange to read, since aren’t classics supposed to be classics because they’re without fault to a cert
...more
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  • Augustine of Hippo: A Biography
  • The Major Works (World's Classics)
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • On the Apostolic Preaching
  • The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols
  • Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection
  • Summa Theologica, 5 Vols
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • On the Incarnation
  • Interior Castle
  • Apologia Pro Vita Sua (A Defense of One's Life) (Dover Giant Thrift Editions)
  • The First and Second Apologies (Ancient Christian Writers)
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body
  • Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers
  • Athanasius: The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (The Swans Are Not Silent, #2)
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Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, in English Augustine of Hippo, also known as St. Augustine, St. Austin, was bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria). He was a Latin philosopher and theologian from the Africa Province of the Roman Empire and is generally considered as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all times. His writings were very influential in the development of Western C ...more
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“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” 1441 likes
“And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.” 223 likes
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