Saint Augustine Questions for English 256 Intro to Theory and Criticism, Chapman University Fall 2012

SAINT AUGUSTINE QUESTIONS FOR E256 INTRO TO THEORY AND CRITICISM

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Assigned: On Christian Doctrine (156-62).

On Christian Doctrine Book 1 (395 A.D.)

1. How does Augustine initially define the term "sign"? What distinctions does he make between things and signs? What is your own definition of this term "sign"?(156-57)

On Christian Doctrine, Book 2

2. On 158-59, what two kinds of signs, according to Augustine? Which does he exclude from his analysis? Which does he privilege, and why?

3. On 159-60, compare and contrast Augustine's account of the spoken and written word with the one set forth by Plato's Socrates in Phaedrus the story about Theuth's invention of writing (78). Which do you find more valuable, and why?

On Christian Doctrine, Book 3

4. On 160-62, why is metaphor, or figurative language, important to Augustine? Why might some opponents think that figurative language is dangerous and ought to be avoided altogether? Explain their potential rationale, and what you think Augustine would reply by way of rejoinder.

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93292-8.