The Confessions of Augustine have long both demanded and eluded the sustained and serious attention to detail that a scholarly commentary can provide. The present work, which is in three volumes, seeks to supplement that lack. A revised Latin text of the Confessions in Volume I forms the basis for a detailed line-by-line commentary (Volumes II-III) designed to elucidate the many layers of meaning in the work. Placing the emphasis primarily on exegesis, Professor O'Donnell opens up new lines of interpretation, as well as giving an abundance of fresh detail to some more familiar themes. At the same time, he clears the way for further scholarly work by furnishing the materials for others to draw on and press the task of interpretation further. A particular feature of the commentary is its attention to the influences in the Confessions of other texts of the Greek and Latin traditions - biblical, ecclesiastical, philosophical, and literary; whilst the place of the Confessions in Augustine's own life and in the history of Christian literature is also illuminated with greater precision.
James J. O'Donnell is Provost at Georgetown University.