Free Lecture on Augustine Feb. 3 at Marymount University

The public is invited to the free lecture “Why Did Augustine Become a Christian?” by Dr. Don Ross from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3 in the Lee Reception Room of Marymount University’s Reinsch Library.

Ross, an adjunct professor of philosophy at Marymount, will discuss “Confessions,” an autobiographical work of St. Augustine that outlines his sinful youth and conversion.

“There are generally two conversion models,” said Dr. Michael Boylan, chair of MU’s Department of Philosophy. “We have the really quick conversion, like Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the Apostle. Then we have the slower version, like Augustine, where a person – over time – thinks about it, mulls it over, and then says, ‘I’m a Christian.’ ”

Boylan said Augustine’s appeal comes from his sincerity.

“If he goes down the wrong path, he admits it and says he blew it,” Boylan said.

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session, along with a more in-depth breakout session for philosophy majors and minors.

Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University, his master’s from the University of Iowa, and his doctorate from the University of Chicago. In addition to Marymount, he has also taught at George Mason University, the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. He has taught the history of philosophy, theology and Asian philosophy and considers himself “primarily a historian of ideas.”

In addition, he’s worked in the computer field since 1983 and is employed by ManTech International Corp.

Ross said his talk will appeal to those interested in culture in general, since it deals with a major figure in western intellectual history, and those who are religious and interested in “Confessions” as a devotional tract.