Augustine’s Confessions and Contemporary Concerns takes each of the thirteen books of Augustine’s classic omnibiography to see how the major themes contained therein still speak to each of us today. The Bishop of Hippo never intended that the audience for his work be limited to himself and his contemporaries. He wrote on the perennial themes of childhood, humanity’s search for meaning, the relationship between religion and science, and the nature of Christian conversion, as well as the philosophical implications of time, embodiment, of reading rightly, and many other longings that will always be found in the restless heart.
Accordingly, scholars expert in Augustine came together to ask what each book of his Confessions offer for the modern mind. This commentary on the Confessions opens with John Martens on infancy and human growth (Book 1), David Vincent Meconi, SJ, on sin as self-sabotage (Book 2), Jeffrey Lehman on Augustine’s understanding of presence and love (Book 3), Augustine’s aesthetics as explained by Erika Kidd (Book 4), Christopher J. Thompson on the importance of identity and inclusivity (Book 5), and the Dominican Andrew Hofer on Augustinian anxiety (Book 6), before Gerald Boersma explains the limits of vision when trying to “see” God (Book 7). Paul Ruff appears next as he discusses the nature of conversion and the transformational journey to one’s truest self (Book 8), while John Peter Kenney explains what Augustine means by Christian Transcendentalism (Book 9). Hilary Finley illuminates the importance and meaning of Augustine’s stress on memory and individualism (Book 10), followed by Veronica Roberts Ogle on the nature of time (Book 11), and Margaret Blume Freddoso on contemplation and prayer (Book 12), concluding with Joseph Grone on Augustine’s understanding of the Church Christ founded (Book 13). These essays will shed insight on Augustine’s master work, proving useful to readers of all levels, to those interested in both patristic theology as well as in contemporary questions of meaning.