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You’ve stumbled onto the Critical Pages website. It’s taken us a while to set up this site, despite the assurances of our technically minded friends that this would be a cinch. We know something about writing but not so much about html code and nothing at all when it comes to manipulating the code through a machine that uses a relational database whose files look like nothing we’ve ever seen before. (We thought a relational database was what they used to match people who were hoping to find a significant other.)
The fellow pictured here with the open book is Saint Augustine. Augustine is generally portrayed with a book, perhaps because of the mystical words that inspired his conversion to Christianity, “Take up and read; Take up and read.” Or maybe because of his influential written works. This is the earliest known image of Augustine, a 6th century mural from the Lateran in Rome. In reading his autobiography,The Confessions of Saint Augustine, you may find him a not altogether loveable guy, but certainly one of the most original and influential philosophers. His speculations on time and memory could have been written today. We chose this picture simply because we like the phrase “Take up and read.” Of course there’s that other phrase, a prayer, that Augustine himself spoke: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet” (da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo). Maybe we should be careful what we pray for.