Friday, November 19

Augustine: Confessions Book 13

Augustine's Book 13 and conclusions. This may be briefer than intended. I was rash, and allowed blogger errors to dash two copies of this post into the bit bucket.

The Companion for this Book is Robert MacMahon. Mr MacMahon is a Professor of English at LSU. Mr MacMahon is an expert in renaissance and medieval comparative literature. He has written a book, Augustine's Prayerful Ascent: An Essay on the Literary Form of the Confessions.

Mr MacMahon pointed out (for me) three key features of Book 13. One is that this book represents movement, in that the pace picks up in many ways. This book continues recounting an exegesis of Genesis 1. In the last two books, we have progressed through two verses. Now, we move through the rest of the Creation story. This acceleration, perhaps driven by or representative of his new inspiration is displayed in other ways as well. The quantity of Scriptral quotations gets far more dense, making the text somewhat more difficult to parse. It also increases in confidence. Augustine is no longer groping.

Mr MacMahon also points out that this Book, in its recounting of the Creation story repeats for us allegorically the first nine books in the Creation acts of Genesis (7 days plus an extra act of creation on days 3 and 6 make 9). Mr MacMahon for reasons of space, only undergoes this exercise for Books one, five, and nine.

Finally, Mr MacMahon points out as we read this book, we should be cognizant of the fact that their are two distinct Augustines before us. Augustine the narrator and Augustine the author. Each has a different voice and message. We should be careful to distinguish, which Augustine we are hearing when as we read.

For me, between admittedly a little fatigue with my schedule this week and the fact that this book is perhaps made a little more difficult by Augustines increased amount of Scriptural quotes, I got less from this book. Perhaps also, I might have wished that my guide had been more concerned with the theological and philosophical content than the literary forms. At any rate, the one thing I did carry from my reading of this book is that the idea of viewing your life through the lens of Scripture is an exersize I had never considered, not just for myself, but at all.

Finally, here is the full index to the Augustine Confessions posts.
  1. Book 1. part 1 2 and 3.
  2. Book 2
  3. Book 3.
  4. Book 4
  5. Book 5
  6. Book 6
  7. Book 7
  8. Book 8
  9. Book 9
  10. Book 10 and part 2.
  11. Book 11
  12. Book 12
For one explanation of what the heck this is all about and why I'm doing this, go here.