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Augustine

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Augustine

Postby vir litterarum » Thu May 07, 2009 11:55 pm

Would anyone be able to provide a reference for me to the prose style of Augustine? I'm not interested in his theology or background, just his rhetoric.
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Re: Augustine

Postby Rhodopeius » Fri May 08, 2009 9:56 am

I've been reading a bit of the Confessions, books I-!V. I'm far from an expert, but I know he uses a flexible style, mixing the classical Ciceronian rhetoric in which he was trained with biblical figures and phraseology. The overall text is smooth and clear.
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Re: Augustine

Postby vir litterarum » Fri May 08, 2009 4:54 pm

I'm about to begin the Confessions too, and I know Augustine was influenced by Apuleius, on whom I've done a significant amount of reading and research, but beyond that I don't know how his style compares to Cicero's, Seneca's or Tacitus'. I thought there would be some reference to his style in the OCD, but disappointingly it only discusses his biography and theological influence.
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Re: Augustine

Postby thesaurus » Fri May 08, 2009 6:23 pm

I'm taking a graduate course on Late Antique prose authors this Fall (which will include Augustine), so hopefully I'll be able to learn something for you then.

Here are some books I've found (not looked at) at the university library that may be of use (It seems like the nuns at Catholic University are the people to talk to about this...):

Rhetoric and homiletics in fourth-century Christian literature : prose rhythm, oratorical style, and
Oberhelman, Steven M
Atlanta, Ga. : Scholars Press, c1991

The vocabulary and style of the soliloquies and dialogues of St. Augustine
Bogan, Mary Inez, Sister
Cleveland : J.T. Zubal, 1984

The clausulae in the Confessions of St. Augustine ...
Carroll, M. Borromeo (Mary Borromeo), 1898-
Washington, D.C. : The Catholic University of America Press ; 1940

St. Augustine, the orator; a study of the rhetorical qualities of St. Augustine̓s Sermons ad populum
Barry, M. Inviolata
Washington, D.C., The Catholic university of America, 1924

A study of the vocabulary and rhetoric of the letters of Saint Augustine
Parsons, Wilfrid, Sister, 1881-
Washington, D.C. : The Catholic University of America, 1923

I caratteri del latino cristiano antico
Schrijnen, Josef, 1869-1938
Bologna : Pàtron, 1977
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Augustine

Postby vir litterarum » Fri May 08, 2009 10:46 pm

Those sound perfect. Thanks for the suggestions. If you wouldn't mind, let me know if you come across any other interesting articles during your seminar.
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Re: Augustine

Postby paulusnb » Tue May 12, 2009 4:24 am

Funny you should mention this. My Augustine class, which I took many moons ago, lingered on this very topic, though it was mostly a translation class. The guy I assisted convincingly argued that the structure of the Confessions follows the structure of the Aeneid. I do not remember the arguments, but I do remember being convinced :D.

I have no Secondary Literature to cite, so I cannot help you on that front. I will give my own opinion just to think out loud. Maybe I can shame myself into shutting up.
I find Augustine's prose in the Confessions to be a delight to read.
The Confessions read like a long prayer. It is peppered with Psalms and actually reads like a Psalm in many places.


magnus es, domine, et laudabilis valde. magna virtus tua et sapientiae tuae non est numerus. et laudare te vult homo, aliqua portio creaturae tuae, et homo circumferens mortalitatem suam, circumferens testimonium peccati sui et testimonium quia superbis resistis; et tamen laudare te vult homo, aliqua portio creaturae tuae. tu excitas ut laudare te delectet, quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. da mihi, domine, scire et intellegere utrum sit prius invocare te an laudare te, et scire te prius sit an invocare te. sed quis te invocat nesciens te? aliud enim pro alio potest invocare nesciens. an potius invocaris ut sciaris? uomodo autem invocabunt, in quem non crediderunt? aut quomodo credent sine praedicante? et laudabunt dominum qui requirunt eum: quaerentes enim inveniunt eum et invenientes laudabunt eum. quaeram te, domine, invocans te et invocem te credens in te: praedicatus enim es nobis. invocat te, domine, fides mea, quam dedisti mihi, quam inspirasti mihi per humanitatem filii tui, per ministerium praedicatoris tui.


Augustine is chasing his tail a bit here, but his tone has always struck me as meditative.

Balchazzy Carducci has a really good book of selections from the Confessions. If memory serves, the hefty intro is really helpful.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Augustine

Postby Rhodopeius » Fri May 15, 2009 7:07 pm

I just went and read a little of Apuleius' Metamorphoses. By far one of the most interesting things I've read recently. The first story about the
witch putting curses on her lovers and enemies is awesome.
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