Though Frank Sheed’s (1942) is a far more dated translation than Sister Maria Boulding’s (1997), Sheed’s rhetoric and poetics have not been weathered by time. Rather, there’s an air of dignity honed by its age. Likening Boulding’s to a NIV-feel of Augustine’s Confessions, Sheed’s is much more like the KJV. For beginners, Boulding’s is highly recommended as the first to capture the powerful narrative of Augustine’s life, but Sheed’s should quickly follow so that one may taste the artful prose in the English language. Augustine was a master orator, therefore his Confessions, which is an extended prayer of his weakness and God’s greatness, should be heard. Sheed’s translation was a delight to read aloud: “our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”
Peter Brown, who currently holds the definitive biography of Augustine to his name, helpfully introduces Confessions in the first few pages. It would be wise not to skip over them.