• The Confessions

  • The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century
  • By: St. Augustine
  • Narrated by: Various
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Literature & Fiction, Classics
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The Confessions by Saint Augustine is considered an all-time number one Christian classic. Augustine undertook his greatest piece of writing with the conviction that God wanted him to make this confession. The Confessions is, in fact, an extended poetic, passionate, intimate prayer. In this audiobook version, 13 scholars with a passion for Augustine have come together to give voice to this acclaimed translation by Maria Boulding, which flows like a novel.

Augustine was, probably, 43 when he began this endeavor. He had been a baptized Christian for 10 years, a priest for six, and a bishop for only two. His pre-baptismal life raised questions in the community. Was his conversion genuine? But the first hearers were captivated, as many millions have been, over the following 16 centuries.

His experience of God speaks to us across time, with little need of transpositions. This new translation masterfully captures his experience.

©1997 New City Press (P)2020 New City Press

Critic Reviews

"Boulding's fresh new translation of this classic captures the essence of Augustine's struggle to integrate faith and understanding as his heart seeks to rest in God." (Publishers Weekly)

"So old and yet so new! This contemporary translation of Augustine’s Confessions was like meeting an old friend and touching perennial truth, despite the passing years. Augustine was surely larger than life – and this translation is, too." (Richard Rohr, O.F.M.)

"Augustine's Confessions has been much translated: but it is no exaggeration to say that Sister Maria Boulding's version is of a different level of excellence from practically anything else on the market." (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury)

What listeners say about The Confessions

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Reading is by 13 Consecutive Amateurs

Wonderful book, wonderful translation. The performance? Well...

The Confessions is divided into 13 "Books" (chapters) that range in listening length from 30 minutes to 100 minutes or so. Each Book is read by a different person, and they are all clearly amateurs. How can you tell? It's not polished, the readers make obvious mistakes, and none of them come across as being first-rate.

From my perspective "just ok" is fine in this case, because I chose this version due to the excellent translation and not for the performance. BUT, some readers were less than "ok", and two of them (for Books 12 and 13) were nearly unlistenable. For Book 12, the reading was slow and expressionless, with odd pauses. (It works much better at 1.3 speed.) For Book 13, the reader turns it into a dramatic performance, with a sort of general pleading tone that rises at times to a proclamatory climax, complete with chuckles (1:12:42 and 1:17:42) and panting (a panting breath into the microphone at 23:11 - to illustrate the word "panting" in the text, naturally). The Book 13 reader's pace is also uneven, with odd pauses followed by rushed phrases. (A speed of .8 or .9 helps even it out.) The reader sounds like a really nice person who loves the book and wants to communicate her enthusiasm, but she kind of ruined it for me. It was like trying to watch a movie while someone is standing in front of you, blocking most of the screen.

Fortunately, if you're just interested in Augustine's narration of his life-story (which ends with Book 9) you will avoid the worst readers. They are reserved for the final four Books, which consist of six hours of philosophical/theological meditations. There's a lot of amazing stuff there, but would be hard to follow under the best of circumstances and could really benefit from a good reader.

Overall: I'm not sorry I listened to this, but it I'm a little surprised that Audible charges full price for it. If they're going to do a discount recording, they should give us a discount price.

2 people found this helpful

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Inconsistent reading, chapter 13 too dramatic

Different readers for each chapters. Some are good some not good. Chapter 13’s reading style doesn’t match. This is not high drama. I can’t imagine St Augustine reading it to his audience like that.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent translation and generally good narration

Maria Boulding's translation of this theological and literary classic is undoubtedly masterful.
That said, each chapter is read by a different performer, with some performances being great and others okay.
Still, the translation is enough for me to recommend this version above all others.

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Great narration of this classic's best translation

Loved the voices that read this, they did it great justice. This translation by Maria Boulding keeps you engaged.

Notes for the publisher: Toward the end of book V, from the chapter V times 41:33-41:58, the following line gets repeated and the redundant recording was never properly edited out: "At first the case he was making began to seem defensible to me, and I realized that the Catholic faith, in support of which I had believed nothing could be advanced against Manichean opponents, was in fact intellectually respectable. This realization was particularly keen when once, and again, and indeed frequently, I heard some difficult passage of the Old Testament explained figuratively;" - Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. The Confessions (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century) (pp. 232-233). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

In chapter at timestamp 17:17 we actually hear the narrator apologize and restart the sentence.

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Excellent translation

Maria Boulding’s translation makes Augustine come alive. A 2,000 year old voice still relevant for our times.

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  • Thomas Duncan
  • 10-16-21

Great

One of the best books ever written, probably the best translation. Some of the narrators were great, some were terrible. Still worth getting in my opinion.