Confessions

A new translation by Sarah Ruden

This spiritual autobiography is among the most influential books ever written; its exquisite, playful style has never before been represented in English.

“The measure of the success of Ruden's translation is that she has managed to give as rich and as diverse a profile of the God on the far side as she does to the irrepressible and magnetically articulate Latin author who cried across the abyss to him”

—Peter Brown, The New York Review of Books

“I rejoiced also because the ancient writings of the law and the prophets were no longer presented to me for reading with the kind of gaze that had made them look ridiculous before, when I'd accused your holy followers of holding opinions that in fact they didn't hold. I was happy in hearing Ambrose say often in his public sermons, as if he were recommending this very carefully as a basic principle, ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.’·

He was removing the ritual covering, as it were, from the deeper meaning, to disclose the spiritual sense of things that, when taken literally, seemed to teach what was untenable. He didn't say anything I found troublesome, but he did say things I hadn't yet learned how to distinguish as true or false. I was, you see, holding my heart back from any admission of the truth, as I feared the sheer drop into it; but hanging (myself) in the air above it was more like killing myself.”

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