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Analysis of St. Augustine’s Confessions

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St. Augustine’s Confessions


St. Augustine is a man with a rational mind. As a philosopher, scholar, and teacher of rhetoric, he is trained in and practices the art of logical thought and coherent reasoning. The pursuits of his life guide him to seek concrete answers to specific questions. Religion, the practice of which relies primarily on faith—occasionally blind faith—presents itself as unable to be penetrated by any sort of scientific study or inquiry. Yet, like a true scientist and philosopher, one of the first questions St. Augustine poses in his Confessions is: “What, then, is the God I worship” (23)? For a long time, Augustine searches for knowledge about God as a physical body, a particular entity—almost as if the Lord were merely a human being, given the divine right to become the active figurehead of the Christian religion.

Why does St. Augustine seek God? Through his Confessions we come to understand that he struggled a great deal with confusion about his faith, before finally and wholeheartedly accepting God into his life. But we never get a complete or explicit sense of what led Augustine to search for God in the first place. Did he feel a void in his life? Was he experiencing particular problems in other relationships that he thought a relationship with God would solve for him? Or perhaps he sought a sense of security from religion? A closer analysis of the text of St. Augustine’s Confessions will provide some insight into these fundamental questions.

Later, after much study and introspection, Augustine discovers that he has been mistaken in attributing a physical form to God. Yet, he still presses on to reconcile his mind to the true precepts of Christian ideology. But what does he...


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...same time transferring the focus of his text to the glory and wonder of God, causing his readers to shift their focus as well. We don’t finish the Confessions and marvel at the depravity of the young St. Augustine, or even at the incredible mercy of God for taking in such a self-proclaimed sinner. The impression the text leaves us with is that of the immense benefits the Lord can bestow on man, and the great extent to which St. Augustine was able to profit from this. Therefore, what St. Augustine had sought in God, he has found. The inner void is filled, he has a loyal nonjudgmental companion and protector for this life and the next, and he has found a potential scapegoat for all of his possible future mistakes and flaws—as well as someone to pray to and unconditionally praise.
Works Cited

Augustine. Confessions. Trans. Henry Chadwick. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.


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