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Language in the Confessions of Augustine

Philip Burton

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780199266227
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191709098 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266227.001.0001
Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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This book argues that Augustine's Confessions may fruitfully be read as a series of encounters with language and signs: as a baby learning to speak, as a schoolboy orator, student, professor of rhetoric, and Christian exegete. While language is a universal human characteristic, the fact of languages tends to divide humans into arbitrary and uncomprehending communities; and even in individual communities, language can be manipulated or simply misunderstood. On the theological level, Augustine faces question of how to describe (and invoke) an absolute and immutable God in language that is necessary arbitrary and mutable. This book seeks to explore these questions through a close analysis of specific linguistic features of the work, such as his use of the language of Roman comedy, his attitudes towards Greek, or his use of biblical Latin. Consideration is given also to such ‘paralinguistic’ activities as singing or laughing, and to the relationship between the spoken and the written word.

Keywords: Latin; patristics; stylistics; classical philology; history of linguistics; philosophy of language; Roman comedy

Book.  208 pages. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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Table of Contents

<i>Sermo</i> in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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<b>Alternative Comedy: The Language of the Theatre</b> in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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The Vocabulary of the Liberal Arts in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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<b>Talking Books</b> in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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Biblical Idioms in the <i>Confessions</i> in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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The Paralinguistic in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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Epilogue in Language in the Confessions of Augustine

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