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“Confessions” Book V: Chapters 8 – 13

Augustine and Monica sit listening to a sermon from Bishop Ambrose in a painting by Ambrogio il Bergognone (1455 – 1535), Turin, Italy


Yes, we’re back from a month long hiatus.  We will finish Book V of Augustine’s Confessions.


In 383, at the age of 29, Augustine sailed from Carthage with his partner and their son, along with his two close friends Alypius and Nebridius, to Rome for a teaching position where he hoped to engage with better behaved students. By that time, Rome was no longer the center of the western empire; the emperor resided in Milan.


The next year, after winning a competition for a post as public teacher of rhetoric, he moved to Milan. It was there that he first encountered the formidable figure of Ambrose the bishop of Milan. He was to have a profound influence on Augustine’s life and thought.


“The Story of the Jews” – Episode 2 – Among Believers


Last week, as our group was discussing the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, we also talked about the roots of antisemitism in church history.  Our understanding was a bit foggy at best.


However, after watching the second episode of the PBS series “The Story of the Jews”, narrated by Simon Schama, I gained a better understanding of the long, and very shameful history, of Christians murdering and persecuting Jews throughout the centuries.  And of course, Muslims have had a long history of persecuting Jews as well.


Schama places the Christian roots of antisemitism with the writings of St. Paul, and then hatred toward Jews reached its heights with the fiery preachings of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, during the 4th century AD who associated Jews with demons and the Devil, and as “Christ-killers”.


When you think about it, as Mr. Schama discusses in this episode, having strictly monotheistic Jews accept the Trinity or the deity of Christ would not only be unacceptable to them, but downright weird.  Even claims that Jesus was the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets seems unconscionable to Jews who believe that with the coming of the Messiah, he would usher in an age of peace throughout the world – but as you know from history, the world has hardly been a place of universal peace after Jesus.


Watch the episode here.