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Here are our essays for the first half of Book IX of the Confessions.
We covered the role emotions play to religious and spiritual practices; how conversion changes our view of others and the world around us; the use and place of the Bible in a believer’s life; and whether or not non-believers will be rewarded for good works in the afterlife.
For this Sunday we will cover Book IX Chapters 1 – 6 of Confessions.
In this book he ties up his autobiographical story by telling the aftermath of his conversion, in particular, the events leading up to his baptism.
He describes his stay in the fall and winter months of 386 at the country estate of his friend Vercundus at Cassiciacum near Milan. This provided Augustine and his friends a quiet place of withdrawal as they prepared for baptism that coming Easter. While there, Augustine wrote a series of dialogues based on the conversations he was having with his friends there. These writings (On the Happy Life, Against the Academics, On Order, Soliloquies) show that he was working out some of the solutions to his theological problems.
By the end of Chapter 6, he, along with his son Aeodatus and friend Alypius get baptized together.
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.
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.
A clip from the movie “Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine.” Bishop Ambrose is depicted here embracing Augustine and later baptizing him.
This week, we will finish the rest of Book VIII – chapters 7 – 12 of Augustine’s Confessions.
In these final chapters, we encounter the monumental moment when Augustine finally devotes himself to the Christian faith as he recounts in great detail in these writings.
After bit of a break we’re back once again. We will cover Book VIII: Chapters 1 – 6.
At the start of this book, Augustine has achieved an understanding of God and the humility to accept Christ, but still has reservations about being fully committed to the Church.
This is the beginning of his conversion experience.