chapter  9
AUGUSTINE AND ASCETIC PRACTICE
Pages 11

Augustine (354-430) wrote his Confessions not before the year 397, a time when he could look back on his conversions from Manichaeism to Platonic philosophy and then to sexual continence until finally, fulfilling his mother’s fervent wish, he was baptized into orthodox Christianity. More than that, he wrote it when he was already the Catholic bishop of Hippo and also the head of a monastic community. The work, a brilliant Catholic theological propaganda tract, is written as an autobiography, or more precisely, as a self-revelatory soliloquy addressed to the ears of God. It covers the period of Augustine’s life from birth at Thagaste in 354 to the death of his mother on their return to Africa from Italy after his own acceptance of baptism in 387, depicting the man’s long journey from his mother’s womb to the womb of his mother’s church.