Repurposing Augustine

The whole concept of “repurposing” honestly confuses me just a little; let’s face it, there are just too many possibilities….not to mention too many essays to sort through. Finally I found an essay that immediately sparked my interest, and connected back to a topic that is very personal to me, one I could discuss literally all day.

I am repurposing an essay entitled “The Universal Autobiography,” which I wrote for Great Books II in April of 2012. It was based on my favorite book, Confessions by Saint Augustine. My thesis went something like this-

Augustine writes about the specific experiences that led him to convert to Catholicism. His specific memories put his book in an autobiographical context; however, he incorporates quotes from the Bible and manipulates them to turn his own experiences into universal truths that the reader can in turn apply to their own spiritual journey.

I focused on this at the time because I could relate to his hesitancy to assimilate to any one religion, and I, as the thesis suggests, truly did see the book as a guide. This book taught me more about God than 9 years of Catholic school had. Since then, I have gone through my own experiences that have both brought me closer and farther away from God and have led me to explore the philosophy of religion for myself, so that I can make educated decisions. So many believe that questioning religion is blasphemous; however, I believe that not questioning or exploring it is disrespectful to the actual complexity of any given religion and its long history and evolution.A Great Books essay was obviously not the place to discuss this more personal issue in depth.

Basically, I could not make this essay as personally relevant as I wished. I found various connections with other philosophical works, such Plato’s Republic, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and Dante’s Paradiso. The connections between all of these works have heavily influenced my own beliefs, and by writing about their effects on me, as well as my own spiritual progression, I will create a new purpose that is more easily accessible to a young audience who is not necessarily learned in philosophy and such.

One specific example of how I will meet this new repurposing goal is by including snippets from my own journal and reflections on Saint Augustine to hopefully provide a more modern and journal-like take on the book. Last year, I also repurposed one of Kanye’s songs (yes, for a class project-not in my free time) and created a blog about the lyric writing process for Political Theory. The topic was again, Saint Augustine, but this time I wrote about his theory on war. Since this is kind of quirky, I was hoping to find a way to include some verses in my essay. The only problem is that political theory may be difficult to connect to religion. Anyway, as you may have been able to tell, I like Augustine.


Hillary Crawford

Let's start with the basics- I am a third year honors political science major here at the university, with a minor in Writing (obviously, right?) and Global Media Studies (have to fit in those film classes). Until this summer, I was basically clueless as to what I wanted to pursue. "Grown-ups" always asked what I wanted to do with a political science degree. Simultaneously, fellow students around me declared they had finally found their destined direction in life. Well, all of these comments just made me wish that I had a set goal, that I knew what I wanted to do in the foreseeable future. But I didn't. After I came to terms with the beauty of keeping my options open while continuing to learn about a broad spectrum of topics, my lightbulb finally went off. Oh, the irony. Long story short, I think I want to be a journalist. But like everything in life, this is always subject to change.

3 thoughts to “Repurposing Augustine”

  1. Wait okay first off you are the first person I’ve ever known whose favorite book was by St. Augustine, and I grew up Catholic, too. This sounds like a great repurposing mission — I can’t wait to see you tie in Kanye and St. Augustine. So are you planning on making this into an essay still mainly about the book, or mainly about your own life with the book tied in?

  2. I think this is going to be very neat! I haven’t read Confessions, but I do know that it is a “hefty” piece of work. I think that making your essay relevant and accessible for young audiences is really cool, especially since everyone knows how tough adolescence can be. Maybe with insight from your essay, it could be a bit easier.

  3. Really nice blog post and it actually made me chuckle. I know probably as little about religion as possible so I really look forward to reading your paper about it. What kind of extra research would you like to do? Maybe interviewing a professor that is an expert on such a topic or book to hear their perspective? What about any spiritual leaders or students you think that could also speak to the connections you have made? This is a really interesting idea to repurpose and I hope you can make it into the piece that you’ve been hoping it could be!

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