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Scripture and Paideia in Late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

In the fourth book of his De Doctrina Christiana, written in 426, Augustine insists on the fact that the canonical writings are notable not only for their wisdom, but also for their eloquence. By focusing on the literary qualities of sacred texts, Augustine is able to emphasise their major role in Christian education, an education which teaches us not so much to shine in this world, but rather to move from it to a world of pure happiness. This education is, completely different from traditional paideia, based on classical authors and artes liberales, and Augustine's attitude towards paideia retains an essential ambivalence throughout. One must note that the complex attitude of the Church Fathers towards Greek literature was to some extent parallel to their attitude towards the Hebrew Bible.

Keywords:Augustine; Christianity; Church fathers; Greek culture; Hebrew Bible; paideia

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