Confessions A new translation

354-430 Augustine

Book - 2018

"No modern, well-versed literature lover can call an education complete without having read Augustine's Confessions. Irrefutably, from the time it was written in the fourth century AD until today, the Confessions is one of the most important autobiographical texts for Christians and non-Christians alike, having influenced writers from Montaigne to Rousseau, Woolf to Stein. While it sometimes has been read as a merely religious text, or even as a private supplication, Peter Constantine&...#039;s new translation of this classic is lyrically and linguistically succinct--true to its Latin original--and a beautiful piece of writing. Augustine's lamentations reveal a rich inner life. His dictation of his formative timeline puts into words for the first time his yearning to understand God, experiences of love and adultery, and allegorical interpretations of Genesis. We watch Augustine navigate his way through Manichaeism, astrology, Academic skepticism, Neoplatonism, and ultimately Christianity. It is here that we learn how one of the greatest saints in Christendom overcame a wild and reckless past, complete with a rambunctious posse of friends, a doting mother, and an affair that produced a 'bastard' child. All thirteen riveting books, from sin to sainthood, are now rendered more expressively than ever."--Jacket.

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New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation [2018]
First edition
Item Description
Translated from the Latin.
Physical Description
xxviii, 329 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
354-430 Augustine (author)
Other Authors
Peter Constantine, 1963- (translator), Jack Miles, 1942- (writer of foreword)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Constantine is well-known as a translator of books from such figures as Niccolo Machiavelli, Isaac Babel, and Anton Chekhov. Now he has completed a translation of Augustine's seminal work, which is also likely to be well received. When comparing this translation with other ones, readers will notice the attention given to such elements as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, clarity, and accuracy. In doing so, one finds that Constantine is particularly effective in expressing Augustine's simple and eloquent writing style, without losing his underlying complexity of phrases and thought. The opening sentence of Book 4 indicates this: "During that time of nine years, from when I was nineteen to twenty-eight, in the grip of many passions, I misled and was misled, I deceived and was deceived." Constantine is also effective in providing clarity to Augustine's theological ideas and reflections. While translations from scholars Henry Chadwyck and Maria Boulding are also of high quality, this version is unique and provides a significant contribution. VERDICT A new translation that will be of interest to theologians, scholars in classical literature, and admirers of Augustine.—John Jaeger, Johnson Univ. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Translator Constantine (The Essential Writings of Rousseau) delivers a lyrical translation of what he calls "the world's first autobiography," transporting Augustine's striking thoughts into streamlined modern prose. With personable candor, Augustine describes his lifelong battle against sexual temptation, remembering his youthful prayer: "Grant me chastity and continence, only not yet." While the narrative voice feels contemporary, the content may jolt readers into recognizing that this work originates in a very different time. For example, extolling the virtues of his revered mother, Monica, whom he credits with his conversion, Augustine admires her skill in calming her violent, unfaithful husband, and her practice of scolding her friends for the "shameful marks of beatings on their faces," which she suggests they deserve for forgetting they are slaves. Emphasizing the necessity of relying fully on God instead of self when faced with temptation, Augustine recounts how a virtuous friend, who avoided gladiator fights because of their cruelty, nevertheless succumbs to the spectacle's seductive brutality when dragged by friends to the arena: "He drank in its savagery... intoxicated with blood-drenched delight." Augustine's direct appeals and poetic descriptions ("I was late in loving You, O Beauty so ancient and so new") convey the passionate intimacy of his relationship with God. Constantine's evocative rendering of this classic text will make it likely to appeal to a new generation of readers. (Jan.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Christian theologian describes his sinful youth, his conversion to Christianity, his struggle against his sexuality, and his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

ConfessionsThe Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve