The Example Of A Woman Essay Research — страница 3

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Hetells Theodorus that he had delayed his full embrace ofphilosophy for reasons that were less than estimable. Instating the reasons, there is no mention whatsoever of atraumatic experience preceding his conversion. Rather,Augustine refers first to the three classes of peoplewho would be fit for philosophy. He places himself inthe third class, those who, since youth through wastingtheir lives in useless pursuit yearn for a standard,hankering for a homeland they remember only too vaguely.Some return directly or, delayed by some enticements,they wander until they finally make the sailing.Sometimes they even suffer great peril in theirwanderings, like star-gazing (a possible allusion toastrology?), when they ought to be boarding the shipthat would bring them home. However, Augustine

believes that all who endeavorto reach the goal must encounter some obstacles. Andhere he alludes to a huge mountain before the port ofcall as befitting the kind of obstacles that one mightwell confront.> Still the greatest obstacle, andAugustine gets a lot of mileage out of this one, ispride. This emphasis on pride as the greatest obstacleto the Truth and the blessed life anticipates his latercritique of the Platonists as a band of philosophers tooproud to submit themselves to the humility of Christ.>Augustine appeals to Theodorus for an assessment of hisadvancement in philosophy. He expects help too as hesubmits this exercise in Christian dialectic to thephilosophical wit of his friend.> Augustine goes on to recount what had happenedsince his nineteenth birthday. He

refers to howHortensius fired him with love for wisdom (tanto amorephilosphiae succensus sum), his dalliance withastrology, a nine-year tenure with the Manichees, and alater infatuation with Academic skepticism. He mentionshow the sermons of the Bishop (Ambrose) and Theodorus’words helped him to start thinking about God inspiritual terms rather than the crude corporeal image hehad imagined since his boyhood. Then he notes one mainimpediment to his progress, namely, his desire for awife and the love of honor. He makes the interestingadmission that after reading the Platonists andcomparing them with the scriptures he was all but readyto break his chains except for the esteem of certainpeople of repute.> Finally, he adds that he was rescuedfrom his predicament by the onset of

medical problems,chest pains (pectoris dolor), which allowed him to takethe desired rest (optate tranquillitati). Augustine refers to his circumstances atCassiciacum as philosophical leisure. He can chart hiscourse from the time of reading Hortensius in hisnineteenth year through the many turns of his life rightup to Cassiciacum. It is not exactly a straight course,but he believes he has arrived at a point where he candevote himself to philosophy. It appears fromAugustine’s comments here that he was ready to give upboth marriage and honors when he encountered thePlatonists and the scriptures, but held back onlybecause of the possible offense he might cause to somewell-placed individuals in Milan (nisi me nonnullorumhominum existimatio commoueret). But who were thesepeople? And

exactly what influence did they exert on theyoung Augustine that he delayed his turn to a life ofphilosophical leisure? Besides, how is this in any wayrelated to the dramatic experience recounted in Bk. 8 ofthe Confessions? The account in De beata vita does not mention theanxiety that led to Augustine’s visit to Simplicianus(Conf. 8.2.3). That part of Augustine’s experience iselided from De beata vita 1.4, although in outline it isvirtually identical with what Augustine offers inConfessions Bk. 7. The only possible allusion to hisanxieties is the statement that he was hampered in hisdesire for philosophical retreat because of the esteemof certain individuals. But even this is too veiled. An equally veiled outline is to be found at ContraAcademicos 2.2.5. Here too Augustine

speaks of hislonging for philosophical retirement (2.2.4). Herecalled how Romanianus had consoled him when Patriciusdied and how much that friendship had encouraged himtowards the course that he was now pursuing atCassiciacum. Augustine reminds Romanianus that duringthose difficult days he had always insisted that thetruly happy life was one devoted to philosophicalleisure, though he could not see abandoning his careerbecause so many others depended on him. His longing hadnever been assuaged, and was set ablaze when certainbooks came into his hands. He no longer had any interestin honor, fame or the mitigation of this mortalexistence. He sought better things. And the religion ofhis youth began to draw him back to his goal. Thewritings of Paul set him in the direction he had