Augustine's Confessions is one of the most influential and most innovative works of Latin literature. Written in the author's early forties in the last years of the fourth century A.D. and during his first years as a bishop, they reflect on his life and on the activity of remembering and interpreting a life. Books I-IV are concerned with infancy and learning to talk, schooldays, sexual desire and adolescent rebellion, intense friendships and intellectual exploration. Augustine evolves and analyses his past with all the resources of the reading which shaped his mind: Virgil and Cicero, Neoplatonism and the Bible. This volume, which aims to be usable by students who are new to Augustine, alerts readers to the verbal echoes and allusions of Augustine's brilliant and varied Latin, and explains his theological and philosophical questioning of what God is and what it is to be human. The edition is intended for use by students and scholars of Latin literature, theology and Church history.
We are quite agreed. I think, that everything that is the object of our bodily senses is incapable of remaining a single moment in the same state, but is in motion and transition and possesses no actuality, that is, in plain language, has no real existence. In consequence, true, divine philosophy admonishes us to check and mitigate our affection for such things, as being very baneful and productive of detriment, so that even while in control of this mortal body, the soul may with intensity and fervour pursue those things that are ever the same and satisfy with no transient charm. Although this is true and although my mind envisages you in your simple and unalloyed character, as an individual who may be loved without disquietude, still I must confess that when you are absent in body and distant in space, I miss the pleasure of meeting and seeing you, and desire it, when it can be had, for the brethren. This fault, if I know you aright, you are glad to find in me, and, although you pray for every good thing for your dearest and closest friends, you are reluctant to see them cured of it.