According to Saint Augustine’s Confessions, how would Saint Augustine feel if a friend offered to create an idolized sculpture of him so he could live forever? Include quotes.

According to Saint Augustine’s Confessions, Saint Augustine would probably feel opposed to his friend’s offer, because he does not speak highly of idols or earthly objects.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

To consider how Saint Augustine might feel if one of his friends offered to create an idolized sculpture of him so that he could live forever, think about how Augustine talks about idols and the temporal world.

This supposed sculpture would reside in the temporal world. That is to say, it would live on in the material world of physical beings and objects. Such an earthly proposition probably wouldn’t be too enticing for Augustine. When Augustine goes to Rome to teach rhetoric, he finds himself beset by, according to E. B. Pusey’s translation, “base persons” who are too focused on “things temporal.” As Augustine’s sculpture would qualify as one of those “things temporal,” it’s reasonable to say that Augustine would likely ask his friend not to make a sculpture.

When it comes to idols or idolization, Augustine expresses further qualms. When Augustine writes about Egypt, he does not express admiration for the way in which they turned “corruptible man, and birds, and beasts” into idols. According to Augustine, such idolization turns the “truth of God into a lie”; it serves humans more than their creator, God.

Taking into account Augustine’s feelings about idolization, one has additional evidence that would support the claim that Augustine would not want to be immortalized with a sculpture. Humans, in Augustine’s framework, are not worthy of immortalization or idolization. They are flawed, imperfect creatures and should be treated meekly and with humility.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial