The Confessions, Books VIII-IX
Study Questions


1. How does Augustine show a new understanding of pleasure and pain, and how does this help him with the Problem of Evil?

2. What is the importance of each the following figures: Victorinus? St. Paul? Antony of Egypt? Alypius?

3. 36. What happens in the garden in Milan? Why does the conversion scene occur there?

4. . Why does the issue of chastity and continence loom so large in Augustine's conversion to Christianity?

5. Why should the agent of Augustine's conversion be a child?

6. What about Alypius's conversion? How does it resemble and differ from Augustine's, and why should it be included here?

7. Augustine reports that he and Alypius read no more that day; why not? How do the social dynamics of conversion here correspond to the social dynamics of Fall, as related in Genesis 3?

8. How does the question of will, which comes to fruition here, bear on theodicy (the Problem of Evil)?

Book IX

1. Who are Verecundus, Nebridius, Alypius, and Adeodatus, and what do they mean to Augustine?

2. Assess his mother's role in St. Augustine's life. Of what significance for him is her death?