The Restless Heart in Augustine's "Confessions" Book Review by msjohn4

The Restless Heart in Augustine's "Confessions"
A discussion of the theme of "scattered humanity" in St. Augustine's "Confessions."
# 109214 | 819 words | 1 source | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Nov 25, 2008 in Religion and Theology (Christianity)

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This paper discusses Augustine's explanation in his "Confessions" that man is continuously "scattered" by his own impermanence, and shows that, in Books X and XI of "Confessions", the concept of "scattered humanity" is presented as a condition that is simultaneously undesirable and unavoidable to mankind. Through his discussions of memory, temptation, and time, Augustine portrays the human condition as that of utter temporality, corruptibility, and changeability. The writer explains that Augustine sees man as "divided up in time" by his changeable will and the corruptibility of his concentration. Thus, it is only through God's grace that man can hope to be freed from his temporality to rest within God.

From the Paper:

"Book X begins with a discussion of memory. Augustine envisions memory as something that is not always present. Things are stored in one's memory but must be thought about and brought forth again out of one's mind. In contrast, for God all things are present at all times. God does not remember things and all things are continuously existent to God. However, within man's memory there is a remembrance of the eternal. There are ideas, according to Augustine, that one can recognize as being self-evidently true. These ideas must then "have been in [man's] mind even before [he] had learned them," simply waiting to be recognized. If man recognizes a self-evident truth, then he is actually assembling the disordered and forgotten pieces of a universal and eternal memory. The universal memory is the root of man's search for God."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Augustine, Confessions, second edition. Translated by F. J. Sheed. (Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2006)

Cite this Book Review:

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