Essay on Confessions

Essay on Confessions

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Saint Augustine’s book Confessions talks about how increasing your knowledge through reading leads you through a “conversion” in which you begin to recall things and their relevance through memory. Socrates stresses the concept of increasing knowledge as a way to grow. Socrates also was the one who wanted to have a “field day” teaching Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine uses his life to display to us the way one’s quest for God should be like. He believed that one must begin their journey by first reading about God through books such as the Bible. Once one believes in God, they will have gone through a conversion in which their memory allows them to remember their readings on God and apply them in their lives. We will be analyzing the relationship between reading, conversion and memory and how they relate to the quest of God using Saint Augustine’s life as an example to follow.
The relationship between reading, conversion and memory is that in order to go through a conversion one must read and be able recall the important information through memory. While Saint Augustine is talking to God he says “For you have granted to man that he should come to self-knowledge through the knowledge of others, and that he should believe many things about himself on the authority of the womenfolk” (p. 7) With this statement, Augustine is showing us that God believes we should learn from each other and the main method of learning from each other is through reading each other’s literary works. He also believes that once you read something it can “convert” or change your way of thinking and looking at things. He displays this belief in the following remark “…which he here reads of me as I recall and confess them of myself, let him not despite me – fo...


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In conclusion, Saint Augustine’s life is a good example of the concept of reading, conversion and memory, which we can use as a guideline for the quest in finding God. As we saw through out the book, Saint Augustine went through many processes of reading, conversion and memory. He not only went through these conversions in an academic way, but also in a religious way. He went from not believing in God to reading the Bible, reading Platonian books and Cicero’s Hortensius. It was after reading these literatures that he began to believe in God and went through a religious journey to understand God and Jesus Christ. It was during this journey to understand God and Jesus Christ that he used his memory to remember things he read and how they relate to what he was trying to figure out at the time.

Augustine, Saint. Confessions. Philadelphia: Westminster P, 1955.

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