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Document Details :
Title: Coherence, Transition, and the Ascent of the Reader
Subtitle: The Literary Significance of Confessions IX
Author(s): GLOWASKY, Michael
Volume: 66 Issue: 1-4 Date: 2016
The Confessions challenges the modern sense of literary coherence. This is most obvious in the fact that the work is divided into two seemingly disjunctive parts: books I-IX provide an autobiographical account of Augustine’s conversion story, while books X-XIII address a number of philosophical questions. Various attempts have been made to reconcile these parts to one another, but with no universal acceptance. However, the very similar structural challenge posed by Book IX has received much less attention. Like the Confessions as a whole, Book IX consists of two distinct parts and poses similar questions to the reader regarding its coherence. In this article, I offer a reading of Book IX as a transitio from the autobiographical character of the first eight books to the more philosophical character of the final four. I argue that the literary structure of Book IX offers a link between the autobiographical books and the philosophical books by shifting the reader’s perspective from that of an individual’s journey of faith to an ecclesial meditation on divine truth. The transition that takes place within Book IX is at the same time the transition taking place in the work as a whole.