Augustine, Confessions

397 AD

If you're reading the classics, nobody ever asks you a single question about it. But, one of these days, my years of hard work will pay off and someone will ask me what my favorite book I read was: it's the Confessions.

I took detailed notes while reading these texts, but what you're seeing here is a much more cleaned up review. What that leaves out is all the reporting on my emotional processing of these texts. This choice saved me on cringe, but the reader get's to miss the extent of the growth from text to text. I saw from my notes from all of my early reads that I was fighting these books. And not fighting them in any way that could be helpful, but thinking they were dumb, and as a modern woman, I was infinitely wiser than they were.

Confessions were the first text where I felt myself let go. In my notes, I wrote, "I am now starting to understand the smallness and largeness of my place and the authors place in all of this. These are not giants, gods, commanding voices telling me what needs to be so, but individuals trying to make sense of the world by thinking and recording." Approaching a subject like Christianity, that on the surface was as far from my belief system as possible allowed me to read in a more openminded way.

Confessions is the autobiography of the life of St. Augustine. He was born into a Catholic family and led an everyday life filled with confusion, plagued by sin like we all are, until an ecstatic revelation allows him to find God. This man eventually becomes the Pope.

What I find moving about Augustine is how is expresses remorse. He is remorseful of his past actions as a kid and is also remorseful when he doesn't know the answers to the questions he poses: "And I confess unto Thee, O Lord, that I am as yet ignorant as to what time is." This Christian humility is such a stark contrast to the Greek philosophers, who often let their confidence confuse the reason they relied on.


⚖️ Expectations vs Reality

This book changed my life, I don’t know what to say.

🍻 Would I get a beer with the author?

Does Augustine drink beer?