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Seducing Augustine: Bodies, Desires, Confessions.

Penniman, John David

One might wonder if there is much left to be said about Augustine’s Confessions that has not been said one hundred times already. This small but engaging volume, born from ongoing collaboration between Burrus and MacKendrick dating back to 2004, demonstrates that commentary on the Confessions must continue because it is a text that beckons us (indeed desires us) to do so by the very beauty of its composition (124). At the heart of each chapter is an attempt to understand the perennially troubling issue of Augustine’s approach to the body and to sex: is it, as has often been concluded, a wholly negative approach? The authors are out to challenge such casual assumptions while avoiding the impulse to historicize Augustine’s sex life (which has often revealed more about his commentators than about the bishop himself), and ultimately paying particular attention to the moments of ambivalence, ambiguity, and even slippage within Augustine’s elusive thought on these provocative themes.


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Union Seminary Quarterly Review
Union Theological Seminary

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Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
September 15, 2015