This week marked the birthday of St. Augustine (b. 354 CE) — one of the church’s most heralded theologians. Although hundreds of books have been written on his life and work, we offer this list of our picks for the best books out there…
*** What books on St. Augustine would you add to this list?
One of the great works of Western literature, from perhaps the most important thinker of Christian antiquity, in a revolutionary new translation by one of today’s leading classicists
Sarah Ruden’s fresh, dynamic translation of Confessions brings us closer to Augustine’s intent than any previous version. It puts a glaring spotlight on the life of one individual to show how all lives have meaning that is universal and eternal.
In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine tells the story of his sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. He describes his ascent from a humble farm in North Africa to a prestigious post in the Roman Imperial capital of Milan, his struggle against his own overpowering sexuality, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of the faith his mother had taught him during his earliest years. Augustine’s concerns are often strikingly contemporary, and the confessional mode he invented can be seen everywhere in writing today.
Grounded in her command of Latin as it was written and spoken in the ancient world, Sarah Ruden’s translation is a bold departure from its predecessors—and the most historically accurate translation ever. Stylistically beautiful, with no concessions made to suit later theology and ritual, Ruden’s rendition will give readers a startling and illuminating new perspective on one of the central texts of Christianity.
“A translation of [Augustine’s] masterwork that does justice both to him and to his God . . . Repeated small acts of attention to the humble, human roots of Augustine’s imagery of his relations to God enable Ruden to convey a living sense of the Being before Whom we find him transfixed in prayer: ‘Silent, long-suffering and with so much mercy in your heart.’”—The New York Review of Books