St. Augustin Essay

1249 words - 5 pages


From the analysis of St. Augustine Confessions and Beowulf, it is clear that the two authors, St. Augustine and the poet respectively, differ on their views of death, which helps to paint a better picture of the world that each writer lived in. In Augustine's writings, death plays a major role in life; it serves as the stepping stone to a greater existence in heaven. In Augustine's world, Christianity and God both play an important role in how death is viewed. In the poets writings we see a different perspective, one in which the time you spend on earth is of great importance; very little thought is given to life after death. Although God is mentioned and discussed throughout the writing, it is a very different perspective than the one shown by Augustine.

In the writing of St. Augustine, the reader gets a small glimpse of what life was like in the Roman Empire in the forth century, and more particularly how death was viewed during this period. According to the Confessions, life, though valued, was just a time spent before God chose to bring your soul to heaven; contingent of course on the fact that you were a Christian. 'Yet in a moment, before we had reached the end of the first year of a friendship….you took him from this world (Confessions, 75).'; 'When all hope of saving him was lost, he was baptized as he lay unconscious (Confessions, 75).'; This passage about St. Augustine's friend helps to illustrate that as death drew near in Augustine's time, thoughts went to the after life in heaven. This hypothesis is furthered when Augustine writes about the death of his mother. 'And so on the ninth day of her illness, when she was fifty-six and I was thirty-three, her pious and devoted soul was set free from the body (Confessions, 200).'; Some might argue that the sorrow that Augustine describes at both the deaths of his friend and mother illustrates that death was not looked on as a passage to life in heaven, but as a very sorrowful and deplorable event. Though Augustine admits to feeling great sorrow at the death of those close to him, he goes on to point out that these feelings are merely of the imperfect body. When one lets go and listens to his soul he will see that all things begin and end with God. 'For the senses of the body are sluggish, because they are senses of flesh and blood…They are limited by their own nature (Confessions, 80).'; Augustine is pointing out that though death is a sad event, it is the passage of the soul to god, once one gets passed the 'sluggish senses of the body'; they realize and grow content. We can see this in the passage 'Our Life himself came down into this world and took away our death. He slew it with his own abounding life, and with thunder in his voice he called us from this world to return to him in heaven (Confessions, 82).'; If you were a Christian in Augustine's world, death was a passage that one should look to once it arrives, as the joyous return to heaven; not a loss but a great...

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