Franciscan professor delivers lecture on St. Augustine’s Confessions

Dr. Smith
Dr. Smith
Dr. Smith lectures on St. Augustine’s “Confessions”

Staff Writer

Dr. Richard Upsher Smith, Jr., director of the Classics Program at Franciscan, spoke to more than fifty students and guests about St. Augustine’s Confessions on Wednesday.

His essay entitled “Distention, Intention, Extension: The Co-inherence of the Three Parts of St. Augustine’s Confessions” took an in-depth look into the book and broke it into three major parts and discussed how they connect to each other.

The first part of the book is considered to be autobiographical as Augustine recalls his past life, the second is psychological as he examines his soul and the third is theological as he meditates on Holy Scripture. In each of these broken down sections, Dr. Smith identified the moments of distention, intention and extension.

“I thought the talk was great,” said Jennifer Riley, senior at Franciscan University. “So much of the time when you hear about Augustine’s Confessions you hear about it in the sense of his conversion as the main point of the story. His talk really opened it up to being something about how God in himself is a Trinity and how the book is in a Trinitarian form. It was an extension of Augustine moving from his body, to his soul, to God. It really broadened the expectations of the Confessions itself and the contemplation of the soul.”

Ruthie Salvetti, a junior, said, “I thought it was very interesting in his explanation of Confessions, I have read it and some parts, especially book ten, were almost unapproachable in their depth, I think he did an excellent job of uncovering all of that.”

This lecture was the first of three in the Core Knowledge series. The second is to be held on October 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery and will focus on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment. The third and final of these lectures will be on November 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery and will be on Dante’s Divine Comedy.