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Language in the Confessions of Augustine

Philip Burton explores Augustine's treatment of language in his Confessions - a major work of Western philosophy and literature, with continuing intellectual importance. One of Augustine's key concerns is the story of his own encounters with language: from his acquisition of language as a child, through his career as schoolboy orator then star student at Carthage, to professor of rhetoric at Carthage and Rome. Having worked his way up to the eminence of Court Orator to the Roman Emperor at Milan, Augustine rediscovered the catholic Christianity of his childhood - and decided that this was incompatible with his rhetorical profession. Over the next ten years, he gradually reinvents himself as a different sort of language professional: a Christian intellectual, commentating on Scripture and preaching to his flock.
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Table of Contents

1. Sermo ; 2. Alternative Comedy: The Language of the Theatre ; 3. The Vocabulary of the Liberal Arts ; 4. Talking Books ; 5. Biblical Idioms in the Confessions ; 6. The Paralinguistics ; 7. Epilogue


Burton's book is a creative addition to the scholarship on the Confessions, well worth reading in its entirety by specialists onAugustine, but as articles, too, by any with interests in the individual topics...The result is unusual, welcome, and refreshing...a fine example of what can result from getting a different pair of eyes with a different methodology to work on a renowned and overworked canonical text. * Dan Uta Shanzer American Journal of Philology * Philip Burton has written a throughly researched book that is sure to impress any reader of Augustine who appreciates both the nuances of language and the subtlety of argument weaved within Augustine's writings... this book is a must read read for those who wish to gain a deeper and richer appreciation Augustine's Confessions. * The Heythrop Journal * The relative value of the work lies in the detailed information about a specific number of issues, especially statistics on word usage and comparisons with classical works... also demonstrates the rich and nuanced nature of Augustine's prose and how carefully it has to be read in order to discover all the meanings embedded in the text... Any detailed interpretation of passages that contain some of the words and concepts examined by Burton may benefit by taking into account the insights from his book. * Annemare Kotze, Vigiliae Christianae *

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