LAT 385 • Augustine
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
At the end of his life the fourth century North African Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, suggested that "whoever should read my books in the order they were written might discover how I progressed through the act of writing." In this course, we will study in detail the text, context and reception of one of Augustine's earliest and most influential texts_the Confessions_to arrive at some conclusions about the Augustine and his North African culture of c. 397 CE. The Confessions was and continues to be a foundational text for the history of western literature and philosophy and Augustine himself maintains his position as one of the pillars of Western Christianity. Besides familiarizing ourselves with the intricacies of Augustinian Latinity, we will read, discuss, and argue with relevant secondary literature in order to arrive at a more precise understanding of the form and function of this deceptive and richly complicated text. We will conclude our semester by reading Jean-Francois Lyotard's postmodern meditation on Augustine's "autobiography."
2 Translation Exams (45%) Class Presentation and 10-12 page paper (25%) Comprehensive Final Exam, including translation, short IDs, and interpretive essays (30%)
Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo Allan Fitzgerald, Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Confession of Augustine Augustine, Confessions Books I-IV Coursepack of additional primary and secondary readings