Study Help Essay Questions


1. Discuss Augustine's concept of curiositas. What qualities distinguish curiositas, and what actions does it include? Why does Augustine view it as a source of sin?

2. Analyze the character of Monica. Describe her relationship with Augustine and her role within the Confessions. What are her distinguishing characteristics? To what extent is she a stereotypical mother figure, or does she have realistic qualities?

3. Discuss Augustine's attitudes toward friendship. What are the qualities of true friendship? How do friends influence one another? Does friendship have any negative qualities?

4. Consider Augustine's definition of time as a "distension." What does he mean by this word? How does the human perception of time compare to God's perception of time?

5. Language is an important topic in the Confessions. What issues revolve around the use and abuse of language for Augustine? What are the values and shortcomings of language? How do these issues impact Augustine as an author?

6. Examine Augustine's statements about free will in the Confessions. To what degree are human beings really free to make their own choices? How is the problem of evil connected with the human will? Do you agree with Augustine's conclusions?

7. Create a chart or diagram illustrating the plot structure of the Confessions, and then discuss the structure you see. Based on your analysis, do the 13 books of the Confessions form a unified whole or not?

8. Describe Augustine's attitude toward the material world. Does he portray it as good or bad? What appeals or temptations does it hold? How might Augustine's attitudes have been influenced by the Manichees or the Neo-Platonists?

9. Examine Augustine's comments about women and women's roles in the Confessions. Where do women appear (and not appear) in the text? What does Augustine see as the proper relationship between men and women? How might his view of sexuality influence his ideas about women?

10. Describe Augustine's relationship to his God. How does he envision God at the different stages of his spiritual journey? What qualities does Augustine ascribe to God?