E491 SAINT AUGUSTINE QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from On Christian Doctrine; from The Trinity (185-96).

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

1. How does Augustine define the term "sign"? What distinctions does he make between things and signs? (188-89)

On Christian Doctrine, Book 2

2. What are the two kinds of signs? Which does Augustine exclude from his analysis? Which does he privilege, and why? (189)

3. Compare and contrast Augustine's account of the spoken and written word with the one set forth by Plato's Socrates in Phaedrus (81ff) -- the story about Theuth's invention of writing. (190 and following, Augustine.)

On Christian Doctrine, Book 3 (395 A.D.)

4. 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? (191-92 and general question)

From The Trinity, Book 15, Chapters 9-10 (416 A.D.)

5. According to Augustine, what precedes both the spoken and the written word? Why is it important that something should precede them -- that is, why important in terms of theology and human hopes for salvation? (193-95)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.