<>As a youth
I had prayed to you for chastity and
said Give me chastity and continence, but not yet
The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Saint Augustine spent his
early years torn between conflicting faiths and worldviews. 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
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 lasting 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
Softbound. 352 pp.