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Volume 11, 2013

Études sur l'intellection, l’âme, les formes poétiques et le théâtre

Anne-Isabelle Bouton-Touboulic
Pages 59-75

Les Confessions d’Augustin : une métamorphose de la parrhesia ?

This article intends to see to what extend Augustine’s Confessions may correspond to a kind of parrhesia, as analyzed by Michel Foucault about ancient christian writers in Le courage de la vérité. The classical parrhesia (freedom of speech possessed by a citizen) is actually subverted in the specific structure of the Confessions : the frankness of the parrhesia is supposed to have an effect on Augustine as author and on his readers, not on the omniscient God – whom Augustine precisely addresses. Furthermore, his trust in God – another manifestation of parrhesia that is expressed by the Latin word fiducia – has biblical roots, but is also renewed by the idea of grace. Nevertheless, we can say that the apologetical and religious aspect of parrhesia which appears in some passages of the Confessions reminds somehow the traditional political use of parrhesia.