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Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  24,258 ratings  ·  1,088 reviews
In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church, Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works of Western literature. In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine relates his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to the edge of the corridors of power at the imperial c ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press (first published 397)
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K.D. Absolutely
Sep 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Aug 21, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Are you there God? It's me, St. Augustine.
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
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
Jerome Peterson
"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
Greg Garrett
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
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
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
Feels rather like reading the Psalms. That should tell you it's good.
J Frederick
The first half of the book is primarily autobiographical. St. Augustine writes about life as the tormented seeker. He moves from aesthetics to Manicheanism to Christianity, reckoning with questions as to what is the ultimate reality. Augustine eventually finds comfort in the Christian God of his mother Monica, a God that he previously felt was far too mythological, before having the scriptures explicated by St. Ambrose of Milan (This story should be familiar to anyone who has struggled against p ...more
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
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
Erik Graff
Jan 14, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Feb 21, 2011 Bryan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jeff Miller
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.
John Doe
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.
Justin Evans
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
Jared Henderson
Jan 23, 2013 Jared Henderson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Patrick Schlabs

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
Just now I came across this line from N.T. Wright, which prompted me to share my appreciation for Augustine's 'Confessions'. He says of the late C.C. Cranfield, "I think that was the first time I ever spontaneously knelt down and thanked God for an academic article."(1) Thank God Augustine's 'Confessions' are not an academic article! How could they be? Could you imagine? I've yet to come across an academic article like that (I do hope too), but I imagine many share my thanksgiving to God for Aug ...more
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

Your confessions are laced with wonderfully eloquent words.


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


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Something about a pear tree and "Catholic guilt".
I won't pretend that this was easy or even enjoyable all the way through, especially as I have left it till rather late in the day to tackle this thinker but he left me wishing that I had read him earlier and could read his work in Latin to get a feel for the thought process. And what thought: many times I had to re-read, consult commentaries and re-read some more, but Augustine on any really difficult subject (what is evil/why does God permit it; the nature of our memory; and the passing of tim ...more
Second reading 12-30 August 2004

I wish I could remember the first time I read Confessions but it was sometime back in the mid-90s and that is the closest I can narrow it down. If I had several hours to kill, I could go digging in my old book logs, and find the exact date. Since I don't have that kind of time at the moment, I'll just settle for the second time I read the book which was when I took a class in Spiritual Classics. It was the first book we read in the class and an excellent introduct
Bet Roberts
I enjoyed this more than I was expecting to, and it really grew on me the more I read it. Augustine writes absolutely beautifully; there were often times where I would stop to re-read a sentence. His theology is compelling, and his exegesis of Genesis toward the end of the book is intelligent and a delight to read. He never seems like he's talking down to you, but it isn't hard to grasp either. His passion and devotion are moving and even inspiring. It's a book that will make you think, even if ...more
David Withun
Every time I start to get a little down on St. Augustine -- what with his invention of some pretty deplorable doctrines (ie original sin) -- I need to reread his Confessions. In fact, everybody should read his Confessions. It is an absolutely beautiful book! St. Augustine pours out his soul before God and all the world -- confessing his sins and telling the story of how he came to Christ, watching for the subtle movement of the Holy Spirit in all things and seeing God's guiding hand behind every ...more
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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 Christianity. According to his contemporary J ...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.” 236 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.” 176 likes
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