Aug. de civitate dei

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hlawson38
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Aug. de civitate dei

Post by hlawson38 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:58 pm

My present Latin project is to read as much of Augustine's 2nd most famous book as I can stand. By sticking with one author for a while, I hope to reduce the dictionary work and focus more on other matters. I'm at about book 10, maybe 2/5 of the way through.

I'm getting a good workout on non-fiction point of view, for Augustine's work here is polemical. One must distinguish his summaries of authors under attack from his statements of his own opinions and from his internal criticism of his targets. I'm also getting more examples of the iste/ille distinction. When I find myself wondering, "Who is iste?" it often turns out to be the the pagan author under attack.

Another important issue is context, for Augustine often in a new book or chapter uses pronouns with antecedents in the previous segment. Because I often break my reading at a book or chapter division, the puzzlement over antecedents is a frequent problem.

On the intellectual-pleasure side, I think I'm seeing more clearly why Augustine has seemed foundational not just to Latin Christianity, but to the the intellectual world that has grown out of it. In ways I lack the philosophical tools for specifying, Augustine seems more "modern" to me than the authors from the classical era, not so much in the content of his thought, which is the "old-time religion" (from our pov), but from what I might call the shape of his thought. And I'm certainly seeing why many historians of the Protestant reformation described that movement as in part an Augustinian revival.

Finally, I was interested in the importance Augustine attaches to setting the "demons" properly in relation to human beings, to the angels and to God. Great instance of Arthur O. Lovejoy's famous "great chain of being."

The help from the gurus here has made it possible for me nowadays to work out on my own at least some of the difficulties I meet.

Hylander
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Re: Aug. de civitate dei

Post by Hylander » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:13 am

Just a very minor point, which you may or may not be aware of: iste, at least in clossical Latin, is often contemptuous.

Allen & Greenough, sec. 297c:
c. Iste is used of what is between the two others [hic and ille] in remoteness: often in allusion to the person addressed,—hence called the demonstrative of the second person.

It especially refers to one's opponent (in court, etc.), and frequently implies antagonism or contempt.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 99.04.0001

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bedwere
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Re: Aug. de civitate dei

Post by bedwere » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:21 am

God willing, the Librivox recording read by the usual suspect should be completed by the end of the year.

hlawson38
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Re: Aug. de civitate dei

Post by hlawson38 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:05 pm

Hylander wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:13 am
Just a very minor point, which you may or may not be aware of: iste, at least in clossical Latin, is often contemptuous.
Thanks to Hylander for that comment on iste. Best I can recall, Augustine used iste pretty consistently for Varro, whose pagan theology is often the target of derisive criticism. OTOH, he regards the Platonists as being "the closest to us", but I cannot recall whether he used "iste" for one of them. I'll try to watch for that.

Thanks also to bedwere for that notice of his awe-inspiring recording project.

scotistic
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Re: Aug. de civitate dei

Post by scotistic » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:25 pm

bedwere wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:21 am
God willing, the Librivox recording read by the usual suspect should be completed by the end of the year.
I for one am waiting with bated breath. I look in on your progress almost every day.
Hylander wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:13 am
Just a very minor point, which you may or may not be aware of: iste, at least in clossical Latin, is often contemptuous.
Like "this guy" in American.

RandyGibbons
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Re: Aug. de civitate dei

Post by RandyGibbons » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:21 pm

Hi Hugh. I always enjoy hearing about your progress and equally about your impressions of Augustine (and previously Erasmus). A lot us vow to ourselves that we're going to read such-and-such in its entirety, regardless of how long that will take. Reality usually intervenes. Glad to see you're sticking with it, and I think we can all identify with the pleasure you take in increased familiarity with the nuances of your author's style and proportionately how the reading experience is more like, hey, actually reading a book, and less that of breaking your *** over grammar.

Randy

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