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Augustine's Confessions

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss St Augustine's account of his life, sometimes called the first autobiography, written around AD397 after he had been appointed as Bishop of Hippo.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss St Augustine of Hippo's account of his conversion to Christianity and his life up to that point. Written c397AD, it has many elements of autobiography with his scrutiny of his earlier life, his long relationship with a concubine, his theft of pears as a child, his work as an orator and his embrace of other philosophies and Manichaeism. Significantly for the development of Christianity, he explores the idea of original sin in the context of his own experience. The work is often seen as an argument for his Roman Catholicism, a less powerful force where he was living in North Africa where another form of Christianity was dominant, Donatism. While Augustine retells many episodes from his own life, the greater strength of his Confessions has come to be seen as his examination of his own emotional development, and the growth of his soul.


Kate Cooper
Professor of History at the University of London and Head of History at Royal Holloway

Morwenna Ludlow
Professor of Christian History and Theology at the University of Exeter


Martin Palmer
Visiting Professor in Religion, History and Nature at the University of Winchester

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

48 minutes

Last on

Thu 15 Mar 2018 21:30


Kate Cooper at Royal Holloway, University of London

Morwenna Ludlow at the University of Exeter

Augustine of Hippo – website by James J. O’Donnell (University Professor at Georgetown University)

Augustine’s Confessions, translated by E.B. Pusey

Augustine’s Confessions - Wikipedia



Saint Augustine (trans. by Henry Chadwick), Confessions (first published 1991; Oxford University Press, 2008)

Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo (Faber and Faber, 2000)

Henry Chadwick, Augustine: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Gillian Clark, Monica: An Ordinary Saint (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Gillian Clark, Augustine: The Confessions (Liverpool University Press, 2005)

Robin Lane Fox, Augustine: Conversions to Confessions (Penguin, 2016)

Kim Paffenroth and Robert P. Kennedy, A Reader’s Companion to Augustine’s Confessions (Westminster John Knox Press, 2003)

Rowan Williams, On Augustine (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Morwenna Ludlow
Interviewed Guest Kate Cooper
Interviewed Guest Martin Palmer
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 15 Mar 2018 09:00
  • Thu 15 Mar 2018 21:30

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