Fortress Press

“You Made Us for Yourself”: Creation in St. Augustine’s Confessions

“You Made Us for Yourself”

Creation in St. Augustine’s Confessions

Jared Ortiz (Author)


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Augustine’s Confessions is probably the most commented-upon text of early Christianity. Yet, there is a general consensus that this justly famous work is neither well composed nor structurally unified. “You Made Us for Yourself” aims to challenge this common notion by approaching the Confessions in light of what Augustine himself would have considered most fundamental: creation, understood in a broad sense. Creation, for Augustine, is an epiphany, a light that reveals who God is and who human beings are. It is not merely one doctrine or theme among others, but is the foundational context that illumines all doctrines and all themes. Moreover, creation, for Augustine, is dynamically ordered toward the church, toward the deified destiny the body of Christ both is and brings about. Thus, the Confessions itself can be understood as Augustine’s prayer of praise in thanksgiving for the unmerited gift of creation (and re-creation). It is his self-gift back to God—a kind of eucharistic offering intended to take up and bring about the same in his readers. Augustine’s rich understanding of creation, then, can account for the often despaired-of meaning, structure, and unity of the Confessions.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506406862
  • eBook ISBN 9781506406879
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 282
  • Publication Date April 1, 2016


Review in the Holland Sentinel

Review in Augustinian Studies


"With the modern world's new appreciation for the fragility of this planet and the first papal encyclical calling all Christians to an 'ecological spirituality,' the time is right to return to classical texts and see how foundational thinkers like St. Augustine of Hippo embraced and elucidated the goodness of creation. Jared Ortiz accordingly offers an unmatchable work by showing how creation is richly understood throughout Augustine's Confessions. Ortiz rightly shows how Augustine's creation is God's primal and persistent invitation to all, the place where the human person encounters the divine, and the fruitful source of the church's consecration."

David Meconi, SJ | Saint Louis University

"Surely this is now the go-to book for scholars wishing to understand and appreciate Augustine's Confessions. Jared Ortiz not only ably defends his thesis, but he also marvelously synthesizes and incorporates the best insights of numerous other commentators, manifesting a rare combination of historical acumen and theological profundity. The result is a balanced and serene study that makes plentiful room for the liturgical, participatory, Christological, ecclesial, and Godward structures of the Confessions, undergirding and enriching its pattern of creation/recreation in the Word. Simply put, Ortiz invites readers of the Confessions into the eschatological Way of Life that is Christ."

Matthew Levering | Mundelein Seminary