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Augustine’s Conversion: A consultant to the Argument of Confessions I-IX by way of Colin Starnes

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Clark's well-documented article, "Adam's Only Companion: Augustine and the Early Christian Debate on Marriage," Recherches Augustiniennes, 31 (1986), 157-62. 8 Quid/nescio (5/15-18). 9 See I,vi,7 Exceperunt/dispositas (5/20-25), I,vi,10 Unde/est (7/18-23). 10 Nam/universa (5/28-6/3). 11 Nam/amplius (6/5-7). " Augustine points here to one of the regular cycles of nature such as any student of biology would easily recognize. One has only to think, for example, of the illustrations of the photosynthetic cycle in a textbook — where plants are shown taking in CO2 and giving off O2 while the animals breathe in O- and give off CO2.

He has just praised Monica's character and listed the good works she did throughout her life, yet he concludes that, as he cannot presume to say that from the time she was baptized no word against God's commandments ever left her lips, he must end by calling on God's grace. He does this because he takes it for granted (on the authority of Mt. 5:22) that the standard to which Christ holds his followers is that if after baptism they so much as say to another, "You fool," they will be answerable for it in the fires of hell.

Courcelle's discussion really only gets under way on the period in which Augustine was in Milan for here he has discovered new texts — other than the Dialogues — which, he claims, enable us to verify the account of the Confessions. While there can be no quarrel with his aim or method, about which he is explicit (see pp. 12, 247), it does mean that well over half of the first nine books is largely ignored because it contains little that is specific to Augustine — and this is especially true of the first two books where Augustine sets the problem to which Christianity was to be the final solution.

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