Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval

“Saint Augustine, Confessions

Overview

Saint Augustine’s Confessions, written over 16 centuries ago, remains one of the great books of the Western tradition. In Confessions, Augustine—a master rhetorician and diligent student of philosophy and literature—takes the reader on a prayerful journey of edifying penitence, during which he considers the nature of man and his relationship with God. Interwoven throughout Confessions is a cycle of falling away from and returning to God. This return or ascent to God is the proper end of man, and Augustine, through an examination of his own cyclical journey, exhorts the reader to fulfill the measure of his creation.

Lecture

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Recommended Readings

Discussion Questions

  1. How can Confessions help us understand the relationship between God and man?
  2. What is the significance of the cycle of sin and repentance in Confessions?
  3. What is the role of friendship in Augustine’s sin and later conversion?

Q & A Session

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Jeffrey S. Lehman is an Assistant Professor of Education at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Taylor University, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Dallas.