Confessions Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is better to seek after than earthly pleasures?

2. How does Augustine change his view of evil?

3. Why does Augustine read books of rhetoric?

4. What is Augustine thinking of doing?

5. Why doesn't Ambrose want wine brought to the tombs?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where does Augustine want to move and why?

2. What do the Manicheans believe about food?

3. How does Augustine's initial conversion to Christianity come about?

4. What does Augustine say about his "sins" as a schoolboy and his teachers reaction to them?

5. Who teaches Augustine about astrology and what does he say?

6. What did Augustine write about that involved a theft of pears and how did he feel about it?

7. How has Augustine solved the problem of his lust and what is the result of this solution?

8. What are Augustine's reflections on life and death?

9. Why did one of Augustine's friends abandon Christianity and what happens after that?

10. What does Augustine feel the pear tree incident symbolized?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When Moses wrote down the Holy Scriptures, he had to make them understandable, says Augustine. Moses also needed them to convey a deeper meaning to scholars and truth-seekers. The simple people think of the story of creation in a simple way, which is literal and materialistic.

1. Do you believe scholars are better able to understand religious writings than lay people? Why or why not?

2. Explain a situation in which you have read something you didn't understand.

3. What do you think Augustine means by "literal and materialistic" in the above sentence?

Essay Topic 2

In Book IX, Augustine is still angry with the Manicheans, because for so long he used their excuse of a man's soul being divided between a soul of darkness and a soul of light. Now, Augustine sees that all of his actions are his soul's responsibility. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think Augustine is finally "growing up" when he realizes he is responsible for the choices he makes? Why or why not?

2. Do you think that the people who are influenced by others to commit immoral or evil acts are ultimately responsible for their own actions?

3. What about evil actions that a person commits in order to save his/her own life? Is there any justification for those choices a person might make?

Essay Topic 3

Augustine believes that the most of the men who play prominent roles in the Bible were not totally righteous. Discuss the following ideas:

1. What do you think the word "righteous" means within the context of this book?

2. Can an imperfect "messenger" deliver a "perfect" message?

3. Is it realistic to expect any human to be perfectly righteous?

(see the answer keys)

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