The Confessions of St. Augustus

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Saint Augustine was born to a pagan father and a Christian mother. He lived a life of immorality until his early thirties when he suddenly took a new path that would eventually lead to his canonization. According to Augustine he grew up in a life of sin. Though raised as a Christian he did not fully accept the faith that was taught to him by his mother. Instead, during his education, he became fascinated with the writings of the great philosophers such as Plato. The ideas expressed in the writings of the great philosophers, such as Platonism and stoicism, would leave a lasting impact on Augustine. After being sent to study in Carthage he became influenced by the Manichean religion and converted to their ways. The views of the Manicheans would hold sway with Augustine for sometime but would eventually be rejected by the time of his conversion. After a long struggle with the demons of his youth he converted back to Chrisianity. In 387 A.D., at the age of 32, he was baptized and began to feel like all his misdeeds had been washed away. After his conversion he returned to Africa where after gaining a reputation as a holy man he would be ordained a priest and eventually be chosen as bishop of Hippo. Augustine went to become a celebrated author of the Christian Church and to compose many writings on both Christian theology and philosophy. The Confessions of Saint Augustine is an autobiographical tale in which Saint Augustine tells the story of his life through the view of a devout convert. Whether as a conversionary tactic or simply as a result of the impressions he absorbed while receiving his education, Saint Augustine's incorporation of both Stoicism and Platonism into his Confessions bridged the gap between Classical culture and Christianity.

Throughout the Confessions of Saint Augustine there is great allusion toward Platonist ideals, especially that of dual realities and the concept of a higher, more absolute reality. According to Platonists there is the reality that we hold before us and there is another true reality. This concept is easily integrated into Christianity if one views conversion to the practice of Christianity as unveiling a true reality. As Saint Augustine recalls his life throughout his Confessions he capitalizes on this concepts easy integration into Christianity and uses many examples of it throughout the work. As Saint Augustine recalls his childhood he remembers how he lured to fill his day with "fruitless pastimes" and goes on to remark that, "the soul that is blinded by wicked passions is far from you and cannot see your face." This example is an obvious allusion to Platonist concepts. To Augustine being with God is the true reality and anything away from God would be the false reality. As he moves on to a later point in his life, one of lust and adolescence, he continues to use this same paradigm. As a youthful adolescent Augustine is warned by his mother not to commit the sin of fornication. Augustine reflects on the vices he had given into as a youth he states that, "a pall of darkness hung between and the bright light of your truth, my God." The light of truth is a direct reference to the Platonist view of a true reality. As Augustine moves on he continues to allude to Platonist concepts. As a young man Augustine moves to Carthage to begin his studies. This is also the point in time when he is first exposed to and influenced by the works of the great philosophers and the Manicheans. At this time Augustine came to find truth in his studies on philosophy but as he reflects upon this in his Confessions he rebukes what had been impressed upon him as, "mock realities." Augustine goes on to make another direct reference to Platonist views when he says that all he had been taught was of the material world and that, "there is another realty, though I knew nothing of it." To Augustine all the time up to his conversion was in darkness and he only stepped into the light of truth after. Augustine...
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