The Confessions, Books V-VII
1. Who is Faustus, and what is Augustine's estimate of him?
2. Why did Augustine depart Carthage for Rome? Relate this episode in his life to Vergil's Aeneid.
3. From chapter x what can you deduce about the Manichean doctrine of human nature?
4. What is important about the figurative interpretation of Scripture passages (V.xiv)?
1. What is the point of the anecdote of the laughing beggar (VI.vi)? Can you relate this to the choice of lives in the Myth of Er in Book X of Plato's Republic?
2. What analogy can you make between Alypius' futile attempt to resist the temptation of the gladiatorial games (VI.vii-viii) and St. Augustine's life? What does this tell us about Augustine's view of temptation and the will?
3. Do you find chapter xv of Book VI troubling? If so, what exactly troubles you about it? What seems to trouble St. Augustine about it? Can you draw some parallels with Aeneas?
1. Where did Augustine get the idea (VII.i) that what remains constant is better than that which is changeable?
2. Where did Augustine get the idea that matter might be the source of evil? Does he accept this idea?
3. What is the argument about Jesus Christ in VII.xix?
4. What does Augustine learn from his rediscovery of the Letters of St. Paul (VII. xxi)?