Confessions

Synchronizing Religion and Philosophy

One of the most important Christian writers, St. Augustine acts as a bridge between the Classical period and Late Antiquity. His autobiography about personal struggles, conversion, and contemplation about God sheds light on both how people of Late Antiquity observed Christian traditions and how Neo-Platonism influenced Christians’ relationship with God. Augustine constantly probes the question of evil in his Confessions. To seek an answer to this dilemma, he draws upon Christian tradition and the Neoplatonist philosophy. Neither of them alone is sufficient to answer the problem of evil’s existence. Combining the two traditions, Augustine can achieve spiritual wisdom by going through Christian initiation, studying biblical texts, and contemplating inwardly and upwardly to God.

In the early part of the Confessions, Augustine is struggling to give up the temptations of the material world and become a devout Christian. He relies heavily on Christian traditions to make a decision to convert. Monica, Augustine’s mother, influences her son by her demonstration of faith and devotion. Her piety and visions inspired Augustine to convert. Like a good Christian, she obeys Bishop Ambrose’s rules and concentrates on personal worship for the...

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