The treatise De libero arbitrio voluntatis was begun by St. Augustine at Rome in the year 387-88, two years after his conversion to Catholic Christianity and one yar after his baptism by St. Ambrose at Milan. It remained incomplete however, until around 395. By this time, Augustine had returned to Africa, where he was ordained a priest of the Church at Hippo Regius. In 395 he returned to the treatise; Books Two and Three were "finished" and added to the already completed manuscript of Book One. The work itself purports to be the product of discussions with friends carried on at Rome after the death of Augustine's mother, St. Monica, and before his return to Africa. While there is little need to question Augustine's assertion that the book "resulted" from these debates, it is clear that the treatise is no mere stenographic transcript. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the work is to be found in its disclosure of Augustine's changing interests and emphases.
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