This paper will outline specific points in Saint Augustine’s Confessions that highlight religious views following the fall of Rome. Though Augustines views on religion may not reflect that of most people in his time period, it still gives valuable insight into how many, namely Neoplatonists,, viewed God and his teachings. I.
Attributes of God
Augustines first book is devoted to his early childhood and his reflections on human origin, memory, and desire. His ideas of God were very much influenced by the religious teachings of his day. 1-6- Augustine starts with a rather long invocation to God. In his invocation he inquires with questions about how one can seek the Lord without understanding his nature. It seems to be a stumbling for Augustine that God can both transcend everything and be within everything. Augustine rephrases his confusion when he asks, “who are you then, my God?” Then this causes Augustine to introduce mysteries of God in a rhetorical sense that reflect his own observations from scriptural accounts.
7-12- Again Augustines thoughts on God reflect that of the religious teachings of his day, namely those of the Neoplatonists. For example he refuses to speculate on how the soul joins the body to become an infant and even follows Plato when he suggests that this life could possibly be some kind of “living death”. He then goes into an examination of his infancy, which he depicts as a quite pitiful state. He described himself as a sinful and thoughtless creature who made demands on everyone, wept unceasingly, and gave everyone a hard time that took care of him. Though very brutal in his self examination, he later states that he does not hold himself accountable for any of these sinful acts because he simply can’t remember them.
13-18- Here is when Augustine begins to recall from the earliest parts of his memory how he studied language and learned about the world. And more particularly how it was...
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