Author(s): Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo.)
Augustine's Confessions might be one of the most profound Christian testimonies ever recorded. Not necessarily because Augustine led an unusual life or faced intriguing circumstances which had to be overcome; because, in reality, the actual events of his life were relatively less than extraordinary. Augustine's Confessions serve as such a spectacular testimony because, besides the fact that it was one of the first of its kind in the literary world, of the depth of his introspection and the clarity of his mind. It is a work that has made a permanent mark on Theology as well as Philosophy. For most of the Confessions Augustine systematically examines his life up until what would have then been the present, casting pride aside in an effort to truly understand his struggle in the context of God's will and his own rebellious sinful nature. Amazingly the similarities inherent in the human struggle with the world and self span time without a hitch, making this work just as relevant today as it would have been 1,600 years ago. Once Augustine arrives at his present, he then turns his focus to an analysis of the first few chapters of Genesis, seemingly with the intent to refute several Manichean misconceptions that Augustine himself had become ensnared by. At the same time, however, Augustine sheds some light on a few topics that individuals have struggled with throughout the ages, which are likely open to some interpretation but nonetheless engaging. The conclusion of the Confessions is one which maintains its theme throughout, indicating that the pursuit of knowledge and that of truth should and will arrive at the same conclusion. Confessions certainly lives up to its title as a timeless classic.
"[Wills] renders Augustine's famous and influential text in direct language with all the spirited wordplay and poetic strength intact."-"Los Angeles Times" "[Wills's] translations . . . are meant to bring Augustine straight into our own minds; and they succeed. Well-known passages, over which my eyes have often gazed, spring to life again from Wills's pages."-Peter Brown, "The New York Review of Books" "Augustine flourishes in Wills's hand."-James Wood "A masterful synthesis of classical philosophy and scriptural erudition."-"Chicago Tribune"
St Augustine of Hippo, the great Doctor of the Latin Church, was born at Thagaste in North Africa, in A.D. 354. He was brought up as a Christian but he was soon converted to the Manichean religion. He also came under the influence of Neoplatonism. However, in 387 he renounced all his unorthodox beliefs and was baptised. His surviving works had a great influence on Christian theology and the psychology and political theology of the West. R.S. Pine-Coffin is a Roman Catholic and was born in 1917.