The Confessions, Books X-XI
Study Questions

Book X

1. What does Augustine take from Plato in his idea of memory?

2. What is the difference between the 'life of the body' and the 'life of life?'

3. What categories of memory does Augustine specify? What are some puzzling features of the type of memories in each category?

4. How does Augustine account for ideas that are self-evidently true?

5. How is it possible to seek God if we don't yet know what he is like?

6. How does Augustine account for universal characteristics in people's idea of the happy life? Why do people fail to find the happy life?

7. In what ways does Augustine feel he is still sinning at the time of writing the Confessions?

Book XI

1. How does Augustine read the following statement from Genesis: 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him nothing was made.'

2. In Augustine's reading of Genesis, what is the major difference between God's 'word' and human speech?

3. How, according to Augustine, is it possible that God is changeless and eternal but his creation is constantly changing over time?

4. Why did Porphyry claim that God's act of creation was impossible? How does Augustine respond?

5. Recount Augustine's argument that time does not exist.

6. What does Augustine mean in claiming that time is not an external phenomenon but rather a condition of the soul?