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Chapter 4

Augustine’s Confessions_CH4 II.docx

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Boston College
PHIL 1070

Augustine’s Confessions is a spiritual autobiography that describes the Saint’s life and suffering, focusing on his spiritual development and conversion to Christianity. Book 4 Outline I-III Searching for Deliverance Augustine is in a conflicted state of mind where he desires the truth and wants to approach God but continues to act sinfully. Chapter I He narrates how he studied liberal arts or Manicheism and explains that he led a public and private life based on deception. Deep down he recognized that this was inglorious. Chapter II He describes how he was a teacher of Rhetorics and was driven by his aspirations committing sinful actions such as treating trickery. He mentions how he shares his life with a woman he has an unwanted child with. Although he was faithful to her, their relationship was driven by mutual pleasure and not real love. He begins to see the sin in his life and his consciousness is unrested. Chapter III He identifies astrology to be contrary to Christianity but still practices it. Astrology denies that sin derives from the individual. He recognizes that the individual must ask for forgiveness. He meets a wise man who tells him he should not believe in astrology as it is nonsense and fake. IV-IX Loss of a Friend In recounting the death of his beloved friend, Augustine not only distinguishes transience from permanence in terms of grief and faith, but also discovers the meaning of a true friendship. Chapter IV-V After his beloved friend died prematurely from an illness, Augustine was overcome with intense grief and mourning. He decided that he felt grief ONLY because he was attached to this “mortal,” temporary friend. Chapter VI Augustine was unwilling to surrender his own life for his dying friend because the more he loved his friend, the more he feared that death would destroy their relationship. In the end, Augustine states that he feared death. He contrasts this situation with Orestes and Pylades. Orestes and Pylades “wanted to die for each other and both together, because for either life without the other was worse than death” (Augustine 61). Chapter VII - VIII Augustine’s misery after his friend’s death would not cease because he had no “firm and solid” idea of God at the time. He concludes that only God can relieve one’s misery. Because of his grief, Augustine learned many lessons about friendship. In order to have a good friendship, one must give affection in order to receive it back. Chapter IX Finally, Augustine reaches the definition of friendship: expecting nothing from a friend except affection. He also declares that affection is
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