What do you make of Augustine's reveling in the fact that he "no longer sought a wife" once he was converted?

Expert Answers

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

When Augustine arrived in Carthage at the age of 16 to pursue advanced rhetorical studies, he was deeply troubled by lust. He fell into a period in which he was, according to his 'Confessions' constantly thinking about sex and frequenting prostitutes. Even in his conversions to neoplatonism and Manicheanism, he continued to struggle with lust, and had an illegitimate son by a concubine. No matter how much he engaged in philosophical thought or prayer, he continued to be tormented by an over-active sexuality. Famously, as a Manichee, he used to pray "O Lord, please make me chaste -- but not just yet." It was only after his conversion to Christianity that he was able to move beyond this compulsive sexuality.

NB: If you are using the Pusey translationm, remember that Pusey was an Anglican priest in the Victorian era, and the Latin phrase he translates as "seeking a wife" actually means something much cruder.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team