Journal Article

The liberation of questioning in Augustine's <i>Confessions</i>

CT Mathewes

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 70, issue 3, pages 539-560
Published in print September 2002 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online September 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
The liberation of questioning in Augustine's Confessions

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Concluding his Confessions, Augustine chose as the work's final word aperietur, 'will be' or 'shall be opened'. The oddity of ending and closing a book on a conjugation of to open provokes reflections into the nature of questioning, reflections that open into a larger investigation concerning how Augustine understood the nature of religious belief and faithful life. For him, faithful life is a project of resisting our always premature attempts at conclusion, in order better to see the project of 'inquiry into God' as an infinite undertaking, in community with others, organized centrally around reading and inhabiting the thought world of the Scriptures. The Confessions turns out to be a story of Augustine learning to ask questions in the right way and to accept the dynamic of questioning as an energy moving him toward God. Appreciating the Confessions as a story of 'learning to ask questions' illuminates not only the work's content but also its structure, most notably the odd change of tone and topic from books 1-9 to books 10-13.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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