Volume 59, Issue 2, December 2019

Michael P. Foley
Pages 425-452

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.