Read The Great Books

A Curated Guide for Autodidacts


by Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo penned Confessions as a partial biography. An important read for historians and those interested in religion.

Covering his life up until his forties, Augustine covers his life and his thoughts on religion. Also included are personal insights and guiding words on faith. This is an interesting book, having been written by a saint during his life. Augustine in many of his chapters goes over his philosophy and morality in comparison to his own sins during life.

Of this text, there’s two copies I would recommend. Either the Hackett or the Oxford edition, both heavyweights in translating ancient text. Oxford’s offers up a clear and well thought out translation from Henry Chadwick of Cambridge. On top of that there are some incredibly well placed notations explaining the text. Some of the best notation I have ever seen may I add. You won’t be remiss with grabbing this copy, but compared to Hackett’s it just falls a little short. Hackett’s is the end all for Confessions, now in it’s second edition. Hackett pulled out all the stops, you can’t go through this version wanting anything, because it’s already there. A look into the life of Augustine, footnotes, glossary, index, a map, a timeline, a beautiful translation by F.J. Sheed (cofounder of his own publishing company), a historical introduction, and notes on the subject of literature, history, philosophy, politics. It just has everything you could ever need and then some.