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Update: “Cofessions” – Book VIII: Chapters 7 – 12

“The Conversion of St. Augustine”, Fra Angelico (c. 1395  – 1455) and workshop

 

In the latter half of Book VIII, Augustine wrote a lot about free will, however, everyone in the group decided not to write about it (I was betting someone was bound to) surprisingly.  We did come around to discussing free will in the beginning and was equally surprised to learn that a majority of our group thought that free will was more or less an illusion and that everything was deterministic, even from a theological standpoint.

Interesting.

Anyway, here are our essays about whether or not conversion to Christianity limits your options and freedoms; thoughts about original sin; the role of shame and repentance prior to conversion (whether it’s necessary or not); and bibliolatry and the Barthian or “encounter” view of Scripture.

 

 

 

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UPDATE: “Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 1 – 8

 

St. Augustine of Hippo is depicted in a stained-glass window in Crosier House in Phoenix.

St. Augustine of Hippo is depicted in a stained-glass window in Crosier House in Phoenix.

 

Today, we discussed whether or not the Bible allows co-habitation between couples, especially among Christians (as is most often the case, theology/religion cannot compete with personal sexual desires and urges – physical desires will almost always win); the theology of death; and then whether or not we can be “friends” with God.

Our essays are here.

 

 

 

 

“Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 1 – 8

The earliest known portrait of Saint Augustine in a 6th-century fresco, Lateran, Rome

The earliest known portrait of Saint Augustine in a 6th-century fresco, Lateran, Rome

At the start of this book, Augustine had returned home to Thagaste only to be kicked out by his mother for his Manichaen beliefs and less so for his mistress. However, he was able to launch his career as a professor of rhetoric due to his patron, Romanianus, who had provided liberally towards his education. Augustine would stay with him after his mother had kicked him out.

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“Confessions” – Book III: Chapters 7 – 12

 

Saints Augustine and Monica, 1854. Artist: Scheffer, Ary (1795-1858)

Saints Augustine and Monica, 1854. Artist: Scheffer, Ary (1795-1858)

 

We will finish the rest of Book III as we go over chapters 7 – 12.

 

The more questions I think of as I go through Confessions the more profoundly impressed I am of Augustine and his thinking.

 

Please answer one of these questions and write an essay on it.

 

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UPDATE: “Confessions: Book II”

“St. Augustine”, Michelangelo Caravaggio (1592-1610) , c. 1600, National Gallery of Canada

Here are our responses to Book II of Augustine’s Confessions.

We discussed the nature of sin and why if often feels good to us when we commit the act; the difference between lust and love; what role, if any, our free will plays in salvation; whether or not we are all born with a sense of morality (or right and wrong) within us, including a sense of the divine or God already ‘prebuilt’ within us; and the influence of neoplatonic thought on not only Augustine, but on Western Christian thought.

You can read our essays here.