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A Brief Biography of the Author
St. Augustine of Hippo was born on November 13, 354, and died in August 430 AD. He became the Bishop of Hippo, a place known as Annaba today in Algeria. He studied Latin and eventually become a philosopher and a celebrated theologian from Africa. He influenced many ideas and concepts about ancient faith. This is the reason he was considered as one of the most influential people towards the development of Western Christianity.
Many people today consider him as one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers on theological matters (Teske 18). He believed that anyone could access the grace of God given through Jesus Christ and be forgiven of their sins unconditionally.
His book, ‘Augustine’s Confessions’, is a great theological work that has continued to touch the hearts of many people and inspire them to think deeper about the issues of religion, sin, creation, human memory, and human existence (Wetzel 36). This makes it one of the greatest works of theology that were ever written and widely read for years. It is therefore acknowledgeable that Augustine of Hippo was an interesting person whose role has had a great impact on the church, many years after his death. Some of his thoughts and ideas have been considered personal and are at times disliked, but they remain outstanding. They help in shedding some light on the knowledge of human faith and Christianity.
An Overview of the Reading
The reading ‘Confessions’ by St. Augustine is one of the masterpieces in the world of theological literature. Being a piece of work written from the introspective point of view and in the first person, this book is famous due to its ability to give a personal glimpse of the soul of man, and how the author related with his creator. The first nine parts of the book present the story of the author’s early life. They discuss the beginning of his life and his early education.
During this time, the book presents the recounts of Augustine’s early lifestyle and the sins connected to it. During the early years of his life, Augustine has enumerated the grief in his mother, who was at pains to pray for him. Notably, the author was far from being a Christian, thus the reason his mother continued to pray hoping that some change would happen for Augustine (St. Augustine 37). In this part of the book, the author has managed to offer his thanksgiving because God sought him until the time he was converted to become a Christian.
From part ten to thirteen, the book offers major issues related to the life of a Christian. In this part of the book, the author has offered an extensive analysis of the mind, human memory, and the consistent nature of the time. This is relevant because it offers a conclusive interpretation of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1. Throughout this part, the author has managed to explore the issue of human nature. This also includes how it relates to mind time.
In this part, Augustine has managed to explore his brilliance and intellect. The igneous part of the book identifies some of the major issues in the creation of the human soul and the major observations that need to be understood about human nature. Throughout these parts of the book, the author has offered enormous insights into the life of Christians and the relevance of understanding the human mind and memory (St. Augustine 56).
The whole book has explored the issue of sin as a major obstacle affecting Christians towards getting closer to their religious goals. The author has explored the idea from a personal point of view, whereby he offers his own life to describe the major issues that are observed throughout the text. The book has explored the history of the author to tell the reader about how sinners can have a chance to have their lives transformed.
He does this with consideration of the teaching of the Bible and the major expectations for Christians. Through this book, the reader is informed of how sinners can be transformed to become righteous individuals through faith. Some people described in the book such as Augustine’s mother were people worth looking up to because of their extraordinary faith, character, and determination (St. Augustine 68).
The book has identified the issue of sin as a major challenge that hinders people from realizing their goals as Christians. The issues discussed throughout the book explore the issue of church discipline and how the journey towards a good and God-fearing life can be realized.
An Evaluation of the Writing as a Historical Document
This book is believed to be one of the greatest works of theology ever written. It examines the life of a sinner who was later transformed to become a great Christian from faith. The book is a critical work that has historical significance towards strengthening the lives of Christians and making them stronger in their faith. The book has also presented the history of St. Augustine, thereby explaining how other people can find glory in the Bible and have their lives transformed towards a life of righteousness. Additionally, the author has explored the issue of sin. This is something that has always troubled man throughout the history of the world.
With this book, the reader is informed about the major challenges that Christians have been facing for many years in history (Wetzel 47). With this understanding, the reader gets the right ideas through which such challenges can be addressed towards a life of contentment and righteousness. Christians and other people can consider the content of this book effective because they offer the necessary incentives and ideas towards a good Christian faith.
The other important thing notable from this book is that it gives an analysis of Christian faith during the time of St. Augustine. As a result, it makes the book a historical material informing the readers about the theological period. This is related to the biblical references, including how past societies have addressed the issue of redemption, sin, and the saving power of the creator. Christians, including other readers to understand the historical developments about the creation of the modern church, can explore the historical context of this book. This includes the major issues that need to be understood. Many readers have used the book as an effective work of history because it explores several subjects and issues that have continued to affect the church for years.
It is also notable from the text that St. Augustine has given much information about the history of the church and its relationship with the imperial Roman world, which had much dominion over the issues of Christian faith. Through this book, the reader understands the historical relevance of the Roman Empire and the impacts it has had on the modern developments of the Christian world (Wetzel 46).
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Some of the divisions in Christianity are explained further using the historical details and discussions presented in the book. For instance, the author examines his relationship with famous people such as St. Ambrose. It is through this that the author has accounted for the theological assault and ordeal between the eastern empire and the western church.
This book has constituted important materials and historical evidence in the years of the early church, thereby making it an effective historical material. Throughout the work, the author has provided a lot of historical information about different developments in the Church. This includes a comparison of other religions such as the Maoism of China and the Buddhism of India. From this book, the reader gets a lot of information about the history of the church, including the major issues that have affected Christians (Teske 57). It also helps the reader to understand that there have been very minimal changes in the issue of faith.
This is the reason why human belief should be considered something meaningful towards a strong Christian foundation. The historical evidence in the book such as the Roman Empire are some of the things that need to be considered by the reader towards understanding the developments of the Church. In conclusion, the book ‘Confessions’ by St. Augustine has presented useful information and ideas that can be adopted by non-Catholics and non-believers towards a world of faith and holiness.
St. Augustine of Hippo. Confessions. New York: Penguin Press, 1961.
Teske, Ronald. Spirituality: A Key Concept in Augustine’s Thought. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, 2009; 64(1), 53–71. Print.
Wetzel, James. Augustine and the Limits of Virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Print.