St. Augustine's Cassiciacum Dialogues: On the Happy Life (Vol #02)
A fresh, new translation of Augustine's inaugural work as a Christian convert The first four works written by St. Augustine of Hippo after his conversion to Christianity are dialogues that have influenced prominent thinkers from Boethius to Bernard Lonergan. Usually...
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A fresh, new translation of Augustine's inaugural work as a Christian convert The first four works written by St. Augustine of Hippo after his conversion to Christianity are dialogues that have influenced prominent thinkers from Boethius to Bernard Lonergan. Usually called the Cassiciacum dialogues, these four works are a "literary triumph," combining Ciceronian and neo-Platonic philosophy, Roman comedy and Vergilian poetry, and early Christian theology. They are also, arguably, Augustine's most charming works, exhibiting his whimsical levity and ironic wryness. In this second, brief dialogue, Augustine and his mother, brother, son, and friends celebrate his thirty-second birthday by having a "feast of words" on the nature of happiness that includes a bittersweet metaphorical birthday cake. Using a process of reasoning that is philosophical as well as theological, Augustine and the group conclude that the truly happy life consists of "having God" through faith, hope, and charity. Michael Foley's clear, precise and playful translations are accompanied by his brief, illuminating commentaries.
Michael P. Foley is the author of "Wedding Rites: The Complete Guide to Traditional Weddings." He is a professor at Baylor University.
Saint Augustine was born to a Catholic mother and a pagan father on November 13, 354, at Tagasta, near Algiers. He studied Latin literature and later taught rhetoric in Rome and Milan. He originally joined the Manicheans, a religious sect, but grew unhappy with some of their philosophies. He soon turned to Christianity and was baptized in 386. One of Augustine's major goals was a single, unified church. He was ordained a priest in 391 and appointed Bishop of Hippo, in Roman Africa, in 396, His writings and arguments with other sects include the Donatists and the Pelagians. On the Trinity, The City of God, and On Nature and Grace are some of his important writings. Confessions, which is considered his masterpiece, is an autobiographical work that recounts his restless youth and details the spiritual experiences that led him to Christianity. Many of Augustine's ideas, such as those concerning sin and predestination, became integral to the doctrines of the Church. Augustine died on August 28, 430AD.