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. To whom was the book he lost dedicated?

2. What does Alypius finally give up doing?

3. What is Ambrose's intent about his preferences at the tombs?

4. To whom is Augustine married?

5. What motivates Augustine's decision to become a philosopher?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Augustine's parents want for him?

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

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

6. What is Augustine's thinking on marriage?

7. What do the Manicheans believe about food?

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

9. What does Augustine foreshadow about philosophy and himself?

10. What does Augustine decide about reading Scripture and interpreting it?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Book V, Monica has an irrational urge to keep Augustine with her and not let him go to Rome. This incident symbolizes the struggle that all human beings have to control their fleshly desires in favor of their love of God. Discuss the following ideas:

1. For Augustine, is spirituality incompatible with physical life/pleasure (e.g., eating, sex, art, etc.)? Does his ideas about this change over the course of the Confessions?

2. Why do you think Augustine would say that physical life exists if it is incompatible with spirituality?

3. According to Augustine, can someone be highly spiritual and still "indulge" in the pleasures of physical life? What do you think personally?

Essay Topic 2

Augustine thinks about sin, and feels overwhelmed with the task of avoiding sin. Babies and the saintly are affected or tempted by sin.

1. Do you think the second sentence above is true? Why or why not?

2. Do you think, given Augustine's definition of sin, that humans can avoid sin? Why or why not?

3. Discuss Augustine's ideas about sin.

Essay Topic 3

Augustine asks questions such as, "whether I had any knowledge of myself when I was in the womb?" and, "where did I come from?" Augustine asks all these questions, but they do not shake his faith as they would modern skeptics, but rather strengthen his feeling about the mystery and omnipotence and infinite wisdom of God.

1. What do you think is meant by this statement? Use examples from the book to support your answer.

2. Do you think these two questions Augustine asked are common questions? How important are these two questions to you?

3. How would you go about trying to find an answer to these two questions of Augustine's within yourself or your belief system?

(see the answer keys)

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