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Leave the “Begats” Behind: Why You Should Read Augustine in New Translations

Understanding the Church means learning from the Church Fathers. And the best way to learn from the Church Fathers is to read them for yourself.

But what versions should you read—the older, better-known translations, or the new, easier-to-read ones?

Compare them for yourself to decide.

Below are excerpts from Augustine’s Trinity in two different translations. One is the familiar 1887 translation, the other from The Works of St. Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century (43 vols.) (which, coincidentally, you can pre-order for 50% off right now).

These newer translations serve us in at least two ways:

1. They are easier to comprehend.

Take a look at the following passage from St. Augustine’s The Trinity, and notice how much more quickly you can grasp St. Augustine’s argument in the New City Press translation.

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With translations like these, there’s no wasting time contextualizing older words and constructions—the meaning comes freely as you read.

2. They make the Fathers’ works more accessible for new or young Catholics.

Again, see how this passage becomes more accessible in the modern translation of The Trinity.

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New translations like The Works of St. Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century (43 vols.) present these foundational truths in ways that are easy to read and recommend, making it perfect for both new and experienced Catholics.

Truly, we have a great tradition of faith, and these works ought to held dearly today and passed to the next generation. While some older translations hold sentimental value for many of us, we can open and pass along these modern translations with confidence.

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The Works of St. Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century (43 vols.) is available for pre-order and goes live soon. Buy before it releases to Verbum, and you’ll save 50% on this massive collection of St. Augustine’s writings.

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