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. Though Augustine is proficient in learning the sciences and philosophy of his time what is he unable to formulate?

2. What notion does Augustine attack?

3. Besides thievery, in what is Augustine involved?

4. Why does Augustine get in trouble?

5. What does Ambrose say to bring to the tombs of the saints?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where is Augustine a student in Carthage and why does he study so diligently?

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

3. How does Monica feel about Augustine moving and how does he get around her?

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

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

6. As a young man how does Augustine feel about love and what doesn't he understand about it?

7. What gives Augustine an excuse to continue following his baser desires?

8. What does Augustine foreshadow about philosophy and himself?

9. What is Augustine's primary thoughts of when he arrives in Carthage and what does he do with them?

10. What does Augustine fear about the effect of studying pagan myths when he was young?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Book III, Augustin, in reading the philosopher Cicero's book, called Hortensius, first finds in himself the love for truth, or from the Greek derivation, philosophy.

1. Do you think Augustine at this point in his life sees any conflict between philosophy and religion? Why or why not?

2. Do you think later in his life Augustine sees any conflict between philosophy and religion? Why or why not?

3. At the point of Book III, what do you think Augustine sees as the purpose of philosophy? Does this change when he becomes a Christian?

Essay Topic 2

In Book III, Monica, Augustine's mother, tries to get Augustine to stop his wrong religious beliefs and life, but can't get him to change. Discuss the following ideas:

1. What are the pitfalls of one person trying to persuade another to believe the way the person believes?

2. Why do you think Monica is so desperate to have Augustine convert to her religion?

3. Obviously, parents behave in a similar fashion then as now, i.e., not "allowing" their adult children to go their own way. Do you think Monica is wrong in this?

Essay Topic 3

It is mentioned in Book III that the Manicheans believe that when a fig is picked off a fig tree, it cries tears. Later, Augustine sees as ridiculous this idea and many others that the Manicheans believe. Discuss the following ideas:

1. Just because humans cannot measure how a plant experiences life, is that reason to believe that a tree cannot cry when its fruit is picked?

2. Many people (particularly Aboriginal peoples) do not adhere to the Judeo-Christian ideas of human beings as superior to all other of the created earth. When Augustine becomes a Christian, he seems to move from a nature-centered belief system to one that is man-centered. Do you see this as a step forward?

3. The second part to the Manichean beliefs of the fig tree is that they give the fig to their "Elect" people, who by eating it, the Manicheans believe, release angels from the fig. If what thought of this as a metaphor, what do you think the metaphor could represent?

(see the answer keys)

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