Do We Really Need A New Translation of the “Confessions”? Surprisingly, Yes!

Do We Really Need A New Translation of the “Confessions”? Surprisingly, Yes! July 15, 2019

I review Thomas Williams’s flamboyantly helpful new edition, for the University Bookman:

Thomas Williams spends a decent chunk of the introduction to his new translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions justifying its existence. What can yet another translation hope to provide? Did Augustine steal more pears since the last one?

Last year I read Sarah Ruden’s 2017 translation, and re-read the limpid F. J. Sheed translation that first introduced me to Augustine. Of these three the Williams is the one I’d hand to an Augustine newcomer. In both its lyrical prose and its excellent, spiritually rich apparatus you can feel Williams’s teaching experience (he is a professor at the University of South Florida). A disclaimer: I don’t read Latin. I can only judge how useful a Confessions is to the barbarian. But Williams translates with great love for the barbarians.

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