Confessions (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Augustine of Hippo

By Augustine of Hippo

Garry Wills is a very talented translator and one in all our greatest writers on faith this day. His bestselling translations of person chapters of Saint Augustine’s Confessions have bought frequent and sparkling stories. Now for the 1st time, Wills’s translation of the total paintings is being released as a Penguin Classics Deluxe version. got rid of through time and position yet no longer through religious relevance, Augustine’s Confessions continues to steer modern faith, language, and notion. examining with clean, prepared eyes, Wills brings his extraordinary presents of research and perception to this bold translation of the full e-book.

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Extra resources for Confessions (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Example text

D) tells us that household, village, and city-state are like embryo, child, and mature adult: a single nature is present at each stage but developed or completed to different degrees. Where is that nature to be located? (E) suggests that it lies within the indi­ viduals who constitute the household, village, and city-state: they are po­ litical animals because their natural needs lead them to form, first, house­ holds, then villages, then city-states. "An impulse toward this sort of community," we are told, "exists by nature in everyone" ( 1 2 53'29-30).

They thus become much more like God than they do by having children, or doing anything else. In the process, Aristotle claims, they achieve the greatest happiness possible (NE 1 1 77h26-1 1 79'32). 28. APo. 87'3 1-37, Metaph. 1074b34, 1 075'1 1-12, NE 1 141'16-20, 1 14 l b2-8. 29. That is what is meant by the famous, and famously opaque, formulation that God is noesis noeseiis noesis: "thought thinking itself" or "an understanding that is an understanding of understanding" (Metaph. 1 074b33-35).

What explains this caginess may not be faint-heartedness on Aristo­ tle's part, however, but a confusion on ours. We need to distinguish the question of what happiness is from the question of what the best or happi­ est life is. Aristotle himself is quite decisive and consistent on the first question: happiness is activity expressing virtue; the contenders are practical activity and theoretical activity; the palm of victory invariably goes to theoretical activity, although practical activity is often awarded second prize.

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