When Saint Augustine wrote his Confessions he was facing, and responding to, a growing spread of asceticism in the Roman world. His task was twofold: to explain to himself the significance of his conversion to Christianity, and to do so in terms that would convince his readers that this was indeed the one, true faith. In his attempt to achieve these aims, Saint Augustine produced a masterpiece of intellectual biography. The Confessions are written with an emotional intensity that sets him apart from the academic tradition to which he belonged, and it is this intensity, combined with ferociously self-honest analysis, that has given his work its last appeal. Beautifully written and suffused with philosophical and theological learning, the Confessions are an outstanding account of the search for truth by a sinner who became a great saint.