When Saint Augustine wrote his Confessions he was facing, and responding to, a growing spread of asceticism in the Roman world. His task was twofold: to explain to himself the significance of his conversion to Christianity, and to do so in terms that would convince his readers that this was indeed the one, true faith. In his attempt to achieve these aims, Saint Augustine produced a masterpiece of intellectual biography. The Confessions are written with an emotional intensity that sets him apart from the academic tradition to which he belonged, and it is this intensity, combined with ferociously self-honest analysis, that has given his work its last appeal. Beautifully written and suffused with philosophical and theological learning, the Confessions are an outstanding account of the search for truth by a sinner who became a great saint.
The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn between conflicting faiths and world views. His Confessions, written when he was in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he came to turn away from his youthful ideas and licentious lifestyle, to become instead a staunch advocate of Christianity and one of its most influential thinkers. A remarkably honest and revealing spiritual autobiography, the Confessions also address fundamental issues of Christian doctrine, and many of the prayers and meditations it includes are still an integral part of the practice of Christianity today.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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.
"[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."
"A masterful synthesis of classical philosophy and scriptural erudition."
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