Desire and Delight: A New Reading of Augustine's Confessions

Desire and Delight: A New Reading of Augustine's Confessions

by Margaret R. Miles
     
 

Augustine's Confessions is one of the most powerfully evocative autobiographies of the Christian West. It recounts the complex experiences through which this formative theologian came to renounce the compulsive sexual practice of his youth, reinvesting his attention and affection in a disciplined spirituality. The Confessions is explicitly about desire, longing,

Overview

Augustine's Confessions is one of the most powerfully evocative autobiographies of the Christian West. It recounts the complex experiences through which this formative theologian came to renounce the compulsive sexual practice of his youth, reinvesting his attention and affection in a disciplined spirituality. The Confessions is explicitly about desire, longing, passion—physical and spiritual. It narrates Augustine's desperate attempt to get, and to keep, the greatest degree of pleasure. Even his conversion to Catholic Christianity is narrated as a seduction to continence, and the model of spirituality he articulated relied intimately and profoundly on his sexual experience.

Desire and Delight explores the erotics of asceticism as described by Augustine, noticing the gendered foundation of his model of spiritual aspiration. Going beyond the tormented, self-conscious Augustine of conventual interpretations, one discovers in this book a man impelled by the eros that defines human beings as such: the pursuit up the scale of pleasures to the ultimate Pleasure. The pursuit is analyzed here in the text, context, and subtext, with such intellectual and emotional engagement that the Confessions becomes a text of pleasure.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597527514
Publisher:
Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/2006
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.32(d)

Meet the Author

Margart R. Miles was formerly Bussey Professor of Historical Theology at the Harvard University Divinity School. She is the author of Augustine on the Body, Image as Insight, and Carnal Knowing.

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