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Confessions: Book V – Chapters 1 – 7

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen, wall painting from the Khocho ruins, 10th/11th century AD. Located in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin-Dahlem.


Book V follows the young Augustine (he was around 29 years old at this time) from Carthage (where he finds his students too rowdy for his liking) to Rome (where he finds them too corrupt) and on to Milan, where he will remain until his conversion.

He spends most of the first half of this book recounting his encounter with Faustus, a Manichee luminary.

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“Confessions” – Book IV: Chapters 9 – 16

An olive tree that is believed to have been planted by Saint Augustine in Thagaste.

An olive tree that is believed to have been planted by Saint Augustine in Thagaste.


Yes, it’s been a while.  But we’re still here and ready to go ahead.


We will continue with Book IV, Chapters 9 – 16.


In this book, returning to Thagaste from his studies at Carthage, Augustine began to teach rhetoric, making friends and chasing a career along the way. Though giving some account of these worldly matters, Augustine spends much of Book IV examining his conflicted state of mind during this period. Having begun his turn toward God (through the desire for truth) but continuing to be ensnared in sinful ways, Augustine wrestled painfully with the transitory nature of the material world and with the question of God’s nature in relation to such a world.


The these sections, be mindful of how Manichaeism influenced his thoughts during this time and how he tries to rectify them now looking back.



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.