Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.
One of the greatest explorations of sin, epiphany and redemption ever written, the Confessions of Saint Augustine continue to shape our ideas with their passionate declaration of the life-changing power of faith.
St Augustine of Hippo was born at Thagaste in North Africa, in AD 354. The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, he was brought up as a Christian. In 375 he was converted to the Manichean religion, but after agonising inward conflict, he renounced all his unorthodox beliefs and was baptised in 387. He then returned to Africa and formed his own community, but in 391 he was ordained priest against his wishes, and five years later he was chosen bishop of Hippo.
For 34 years St Augustine lived in community with his cathedral clergy. He died in 430 as invading Vandals were besieging Hippo.
R.S. Pine-Coffin, a Roman Catholic, was born in 1917. He was educated at Ampleforth and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He died in 1992.