Posted: December 4th, 2022

Discussion | Literature homework help


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4. How does he think we are deceived about the true Good by “shadows” and “shadowy likenesses” and “imitations” of what he thinks should be our true focus? In your explanation, explain with examples of the shadows and what the true Good is.  What do you draw from this section about Augustine’s views about God, the creation, and human beings’ failures?

Book III

5. What was the effect of Cicero and philosophy on Augustine? What does he think are the good elements and negative elements of philosophy? 

6.  In your own words, explain the interaction of Augustine’s mother and the bishop. In his response to Monica, we see a lot of the bishop’s theology and his view of persuasion.  Explain these theological and psychological views of the bishop.  Tell us to what extent you agree with the bishop.   

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Book IV

7.  Aristotle spent a lot of time on the philosophy of friendship and we see a bit of Augustine’s philosophy of friendship (and grief) in Chapters 4-9  Why did Augustine think he did not have a “true friendship” with his friend (“half his soul”) who died?  After you read his account of his friendship and grief, do you agree or disagree with his analysis? Draw on your own experience and your own philosophy of friendship in your critique. 

Augustine’s friend, whom Augustine had converted from a catholic to Manichee, falls ill and is baptized by his family. Because Manichees do not think baptism is necessary, Augustine jokes about his friend’s baptism but his friend does not reciprocate. Shortly after his friend dies and Augustine is deeply saddened and confused by his friend’s sudden conversion.

8. (Chapter 12) Here we see Augustine’s theology of the relationship of God to the world and the error of human beings (which is similar to the error of the people trapped in Plato’s Cave).  Throughout the Confessions (e.g. Book 2. Ch.3.(6)) we see Augustine talk about this error (stated by Paul in Romans 1:25 and emphasized in Augustine’s quote of Paul in Acts 17) over and over.  Explain this theological view (of Paul and even Plato to a degree) and the error that Augustine thought he committed and that he thinks others commit.  To what degree do you agree/disagree with Augustine on these points and why? 

9. In (19) of Chapter 12, Augustine discusses the person of Jesus (though not by name).  Explain some of the things he finds remarkable about Jesus. Reflect on this yourself and, if this might be true, what strikes you as amazing in these claims about the person of Jesus? If it helps, contrast these claims with claims about other religions. 

Book VIII: “The Grace of Faith”

10.  Why did Victorinus hesitate to make a public profession of faith? Was this resistance understandable to you in light of your experience and understanding of human psychology and sociology?  e. Would you have done what Victorinus did?

11.  In Chapters 3 & 4, Augustine defends the abnormal celebration of Victorinus’ conversion by using Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep (read this and other similar parables in Luke 15[1]) and additional arguments. Explain his analysis briefly and evaluate it.  (If you want, read Luke 15 and let us know if you find the older brother’s position more reasonable in the “Parable of the Lost Son”).  [1] (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

12.  Explain the “inner conflict” in Augustine. In your answer, be sure to comment[2] on one or more of the following quotes: “The enemy had control of my will…” (8.5.10); or “For the law of sin is the force of habit . . .” (8.5.12); “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet!” (8.7.17); or “I was at war within myself.” (8.10.22)  

· [2] (optional) If you want, tell us (A) what Aristotle would say about all of this; And/Or, (B) Do you think Augustine thinks the enemy (Satan: a non-physical person with powers) actually did something to Augustine when he says the enemy “fashioned a chain and fettered me with it” (8.5.10), or is it just the result of Augustine’s own choices and the subsequent habituation into vice?

Book IX: “The New Catholic”

13.  Augustine gives remarkable praises of his mother. Focus on one of these chapters to explain and comment upon something that struck you as interesting:  youth (Ch. 8), marriage (Ch. 9), vision (Ch. 10), death (Ch. 11), or Augustine’s grief/prayer reflecting upon her (Chapters 12 & 13).  (If you want, give us a discussion question). 

14.  Augustine went back and forth between having anger and pity for the Manicheans, but he wished they could turn from seeking “joy in outward things” and see that “inner, eternal light, which I had tasted.” It is difficult for skeptics to believe these kinds of claims, since they have not experienced these things themselves.  Even if Christianity is false, it seems that this might be something humans would want to know if it is true or false.  What do you think is the largest obstacle for people (throughout history) to start the search to see if Augustine is right about this “peace” and “rest” and “inner, eternal light” that he thought was available to us? 

15.  Critical Response (on the most famous passage of The Confessions)

(a) Type out, in its entirety, a passage from Book 8 CHAPTER 12: THE VOICE AS OF A CHILD that you find significant or interesting (i.e. one that you think merits further in-class discussion)

(b) Explain why you think the passage is significant, meriting further in-class discussion (in 100 – 300 words and in 1-3 paragraphs). 

(c) State and clarify at least three questions which the passage raises





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