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St. Augustine’s Confessions: The Arc of Conversion

Narrated by: Prof. James Wetzel PhD
Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As with any great work of the literary imagination, the Confessions of Saint Augustine defies categorization. It is part spiritual autobiography, part theological meditation - but above all, it is one of the most superb masterpieces ever written.

In St. Augustine's Confessions: The Arc of Conversion, you will join leading Augustine expert and award-winning professor James Wetzel in exploring this timeless work anew. You will come to see how the Confessions is both his most personal and universal work - one that has had incalculable influence in the history of Christianity and Western philosophy. Studying his text closely, you will look at its structures, context, metaphors, themes of conversion, and enduring power to inspire.

Whatever your level of familiarity with Augustine, you will plumb new depths of meaning in these erudite, insightful lectures. While Augustine is a master of words and an artist of affections, you will discover that it is precisely these gifts that he must dispossess to become receptive to the voice of God. Above all else, a confession demands humility, a virtue that can only be offered, never claimed. As you "pick up and listen" to this spiritual masterwork, you will become the reader of another soul and discover the divine generosity that shines through it. These lectures will lead you into the restless heart of which Augustine speaks, one that is startled by grace and desiring of peace.

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Great Way For Non-Specialists To Enter Augustine

I specialize in Medieval Philosophy. That said, I do not specialize in Augustine and, embarrassingly, I've never worked my way through the entirety of the Confessions. When I recently decided to remedy this, I also purchased this course on Audible. Professor Wetzler devotes (with a couple of exceptions) one lecture to each book of the Confessions, and each lecture is approximately 25 minutes. In these lectures he summarizes important aspects of each book and offers his own insights as a scholar who has been engaging this text for many years. He occasionally references the Latin and comments on alternative translations, but never in a way that will be distracting to those not familiar with the academic landscape. In fact, he does so in a way that I think non-academics will find illuminating and clear.

I recommend listening to this course, or to each lecture in this course, at least twice: Once before reading the Confessions (or some part of it), and again after. I know that I will be consulting it for a long time and I am unlikely to seek a better guide to Augustine's masterpiece than I find in Professor Wetzler.