The Essay Is About The Saint Augustine Confessions, By (Big Shocker) St. Augustine. It Is A Literary Analysis Of A Passage.

1735 words - 7 pages

In the late 300's AD, a famous, well-educated "heretic" named Augustine came to the city of Milan. A former teacher, Augustine was known as a dazzling rhetorician, and became an orator for the city, gradually moving up the imperial hierarchy. In this passage from his Confessions, Saint Augustine turns the literary artistry of his oratorical talents to the task of describing his disillusionment with Manicheism in the form of a prayer addressed directly to the Heavenly Father. His literary artistry is shown in his use of extended apostrophe and imagery to communicate his humbled submissiveness to God.Augustine was born in 354 AD in the North African city of Thagaste. His father, Patrick, was a pagan, and his mother, Monica, was a devout Christian who labored untiringly for her son's conversion to Christianity. Augustine received his grammar-level education in Thagaste, and, with the blessing of the wealthy patron Romanianus, went on to study rhetoric in Carthage. It was in Carthage that Augustine took up the doctrine of Manicheism, a theological philosophy that claimed that all matter and darkness were evil, and all light and nonmatter were good. After spending years as a teacher in Carthage and Rome, in 384 Augustine traveled to Milan to become an orator for the city. It was in Milan that Augustine met Ambrose, the city's bishop, who welcomed Augustine like a father, and introduced him to the works of the theologian Origen. Augustine maintained his Manichean beliefs for the time being, and critiqued Ambrose's sermons with contempt for their subject, but with the objectivity that one craftsman uses in appraising the work of another, regardless of content. In this passage, which accounts for events occurring sometime between 384 and 386 AD, Augustine speaks of his wish to have further discussions with Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. He also speaks of his growing disillusionment with the Manichean belief that God's creation of humankind in his own image was impossible because God was unrestrained by physical form.Augustine, being an orator, would naturally be used to addressing any form of writing to an interactive audience rather than factual recording of histories, having addressed his speeches to crowds for many years. While he used an extended apostrophe to address his entire autobiographical work as a prayer to God, by transcribing and publishing his Confessions, Augustine made it abundantly clear that he didn't intend to exclude any nondeities from his listening or reading audience.While the passage may have originally been written in Latin; the translator, Henry Chadwick, has done his best to keep bountiful literary and symbolic strands intact in English text. The image of Augustine's wish to "pour" out his "hot passions" to Ambrose of Milan evokes the image of a blacksmith melting down an old piece in a crucible (here, Augustine's Manichean, secular self) and pouring the molten iron to forge something new and beautiful (here, a new Christian) from...

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