Augustine’s Stories of Stories

In Book VII of his Confessions, Augustine takes on a particularly unique style, one in which he relays the stories of other individuals within his own story, his own confession. This might serve a couple of reasons. First, and most obviously, Augustine shows here that he is not the only one going through these soul-searching events. People all around him are going through both similar and completely different experiences. Therefore, they have their own unique set of barriers to overcome to grow closer to God. The idea of community, that they can attack their weaknesses together and march towards God as one body helps to unify both the purpose and the movement of Christianity. Another reason Augustine might bring into account these multiple stories of others could be to show how he compares himself to others in his own thought. Augustine is not only in deeply personal thought about himself and his actions, but in a mode of thought that involves others and his relationship to them. This way of comparing himself to others can serve as some sort of checkpoint and reference for Augustine in his decisions.

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