- Augustine’s act of recounting his life and accounting for his past “selves” is an act of self-construction in some sense. Augustine is becoming a person through telling the story of his conversion.
- The act of confession, of telling the truth about God and ourselves is ultimately, and in Augustine’s case manifestly, an act of joyful doxology, of delight in God. To confess is to joyfully speak how we have been radically de-centered and dynamically caught up into God’s own life.
As such, for Augustine, his act of “self-construction” is not what we think of in the modern sense of determining ourselves, becoming a pastiche of preferences and judgments on the basis of our desires. Rather, what Augustine is doing in narrating himself in the Confessions is fundamentally doxological (and missionary—more on this later). Thus the “self” that Augustine renders through his personal narrative is a distinctly unselfed self. A person whose center lies not in himself but in God’s radical intrusion radically transformative presence into his life. In short, the self that Augustin construct in confessing is a distinctly doxological self.
Thus, whatever we may make of Augustine’s relation to the rise of the modern self, Augustine himself had very little in common with it. Augustine ultimately discovered his “self,” his personhood through doxology—that is through being caught up in God’s radical grace which elicits the excessive response of praise and thanks in all of one’s actions. That is why Augustine’s autobiography cannot be cast in any other linguistic mode but that of doxology.