Authors
Mateusz Stróżyński
Adam Mickiewicz University
Abstract
Augustine converted to Christianity in 386 and described his conversion in his Confessiones a decade later. Much ink has been spilled concerning the question of the specific nature of Augustine’s conversion and the ‘historical accuracy’ of his description thereof 10 years later. The Confessiones seem to describe a volte face: he radically embraced Christianity. But to what kind of Christianity did he convert? We will readdress this question, not by investigating his conversion, but by a close exegesis of Confessiones 9, in which he describes the so-called Ostia-ecstasy. In the first part of our article, we discuss the description of the latter experience in Confessiones 9 and situate it within his conversion narrative, with attention to the symbolical language he used. The second part compares the Ostia-experience with the ascent of the soul as described in Plotinus’ Enneads, and with similar ‘Neoplatonic ascents’ present in the Confessiones and in writings penned by Augustine prior to or simultaneous with the Confessiones in order to elucidate the relationship between Augustine’s ‘Christian’ conversion and ‘Ostia-ecstasy’ with the Neoplatonic anabasis.
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
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DOI 10.1080/21692327.2017.1387074
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References found in this work BETA

Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized.John M. Rist - 1994 - Cambridge University Press.
Plotinus: The Road to Reality.R. E. Witt - 1967 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 88:198-200.
Philosophy in Christian Antiquity.Christopher Stead - 1994 - Cambridge University Press.

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