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On Christian Doctrine by St. Augustine

On Christian Doctrine

by St. Augustine

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I think this may be a dubious translation as "Augustine" in this work gets a little cheeky at times, which wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Still, a nice work at the intersection of rhetoric, hermeneutics, and exegetical methods in the late antiquity/early middle ages period.. good for both its content and its historical value. ( )
  inescapableabby | Nov 28, 2018 |
There are two possible aims implied in the title of this work: “On Christian Teaching”: to distinguish the Christian from the pagan—“a manifesto for a particularly Christian culture” (translator Green, viii, dismisses this idea—but see my remarks below on Book III), OR “On Christian Teaching”: to identify and communicate the pedagogical process (per Augustine’s preface). Augustine here works in four connected fields of thought, roughly one in each of the Books I through IV of the treatise: ethics, semiotics, hermeneutics, and rhetoric.

The treatise is sometimes understood as consisting of two parts, according to its compositional history. There was an interruption of two or three decades at III.78. Green indicates “a certain bittiness” in the later part of Book III (xi). Many readers, including Green, seem to understand the first three books as properly about learning rather than teaching, while leaving the real doctrina to Book IV. They take that division as reflecting Augustine’s initial distinction between discovery (inventio) and presentation (I.1, IV.1).

I seem to detect a tension between the conception of evil as absence/nonquality on the one hand, and the implication of (original) sin as a positive condition on the other.

At the end of Book III, Augustine credits Tyconius (and downplays the latter’s Donatism), but his frequent citations from Cicero are all tacit. Is this discrepancy in his treatment of Christian and pagan sources a demonstration of how to “spoil the Egyptians”?
2 vote paradoxosalpha | Sep 29, 2016 |
"Of all the Christian authors I've read (such as St. Teresa of Avila, C.S.Lewis, G.K.Chesterton, Thomas Merton), St. Augustine is the one I find most approachable and enjoyable, although he lived more than 1600 years ago. His books at once stimulate the mind, warm the heart and uplift the spirit, instructional and yet delightful, deep and rich in meaning and yet eloquent in style.

It's been more than 4 months since I finished his masterpieces
[b:Confessions of Saint Augustine|242885|Confessions of Saint Augustine|Saint Augustine of Hippo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320398822s/242885.jpg|1427207] and [b:City of God|25673|City of God|Saint Augustine of Hippo|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348947938s/25673.jpg|5814]. Now reading his book again is like visiting an old friend and mentor.

In this book, he taught me why Christian love is different from secular love, which things are essential to a life of "faith, hope and love" and which are mere signs and images referring to them, and perhaps more importantly, how to read, interpret and appreciate the eloquence and beauty of the Scriptures, and how to make influential speeches as a Christian using the techniques developed by Cicero, the great Roman orator and statesman.
( )
  booksontrial | Oct 13, 2015 |
This is a book to return to again and again. ( )
  chriszodrow | Dec 7, 2012 |
One of my favorites. Profound and stimulating. Should be required reading in every hermeneutics class. ( )
  chriszodrow | Jul 8, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
St. Augustineprimary authorall editionscalculated
Robertson, Jr., D. W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0024021504, Paperback)

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

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Since the dawn of the fifth century, theology students, religious scholars, and Christian readers have turned to this volume for instruction. Written by one of the foremost leaders in the development of Christian thought, it offers practical as well as theoretical guidance on how to read the Bible and explain the meaning of scripture. Augustine intended his treatise for the priests in his North African diocese of Hippo, but ultimately, the saint's counsel laid the groundwork for modern hermeneutics and semiotics. The first of On Christian Doctrine's four parts begins with an overview of the subjects treated in holy scripture. Subsequent parts discuss signs and their recognition, the distinctions between literal and figurative expressions, and the scriptures' stylistic combination of eloquence and wisdom. Above all, Augustine's text concerns itself with the ways in which individuals can live in harmony with Jesus' teachings. Christians and non-Christians alike value this work for its role in historical theology, its influence on the development of Biblical interpretation, and its insights into the mind of a great Christian philosopher and ecclesiastic.… (more)

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