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Language in the Confessions of Augustine$
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Philip Burton

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266227.001.0001

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The Vocabulary of the Liberal Arts

The Vocabulary of the Liberal Arts

(p.63) 3 The Vocabulary of the Liberal Arts
Language in the Confessions of Augustine

Philip Burton (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Augustine's use of Greek and Latin terminology in the technical register of the Seven Liberal Arts (grammar, rhetoric, dialect, arithmetic, geometry, music, and philosophy). It is argued that despite his notional assent to the equality of all languages, Augustine in practice often uses Greek to express a liberal art when viewed negatively. At the same time, he takes advantage of the wider semantic range of the different Latin translations to demystify the arts, encouraging his reader to see them not as the prerogative of the educated few, but as something capable of being practised in the everyday life of everyone.

Keywords:   grammar, rhetoric, dialect, arithmetic, geometry music, philosophy, loan-words

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