Volume 59, Issue 2, December 2019
Michael P. Foley
The Fruit of Confessing Lips
Sacrifice and the Genre of Augustine’s Confessions
In an effort to identify the genre of the Confessions, this essay: 1) explains the patristic notion of confession and how Augustine expands upon this already-rich concept to include that of sacrifice; 2) offers an overview of Augustine’s pervasive sacrificial imagery in the Confessions, especially with respect to himself, Monica, Alypius, and the philosophi; and 3) teases out the implications of this imagery and how Augustine’s theology of sacrifice relates to the genre of his Confessions. We conclude the Confessions is best understood as a sacrifice offered to God by Augustine in his capacity as bishop on behalf of his readers so that they may join him in the transformative act of confessing.