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Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3400, Austin, TX 78712-1738 • 512-471-5742

Spring 2008

LAT 383 • Augustine's Confessions

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33160 M
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
WAG 10

Course Description

This course takes as its central focus one of the great masterpieces of western literatureAugustine's autobiographical Confessions. During the course of the semester, we will read Confessions 1-10 in Latin; and 11-13 in English. [Students registered under the CC number will read all books in translation]. Particular attention will be paid to the literary historical context of Augustines narrative. Topics for seminar meetings will include: the genre of the Confessions and its relation to other classical and late antique literary genres (e.g. epic, biography, hagiography); Christianity and Classical culture; religious politics in 4th century Africa; Neoplatonism and Manichaeism; Monicas narrative function; the importance of specific tropes (tears, books/reading); Augustines theory of memory; Augustines conceptions of divinity, grace, and sin; the nature of his conversion; the Confessions and contemporary literary theory; and Augustines modern biographers. By the end of the semester, students should have a deep knowledge of Augustines text and the central interpretive issues it raises as well as a firm grasp on the history of scholarship on the Confessions. Most weeks, we will read one book of the Confessions and 2-3 relevant secondary articles/book chapters. Seminar meetings will be devoted to detailed analysis of the text and assigned readings as well as short reports by the seminar participants. Grading: Short translation quizzes (Latin 383 students only) Seminar Report and participation Final Paper (c. 25 pp.)


Required Texts: Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, rev. ed. James O'Donnell, Augustine: A New Biography Serge Lancel, St. Augustine James ODonnell (ed. and comm.), Augustines Confessions, 3 vols. (out of print but available online; I will also provide a pdf version) Gillian Clark, Augustines Confessions, Books 1-IV (Cambridge University Press, 1995) Coursepack of secondary readings


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