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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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(p.173) 7 Epilogue
Language in the Confessions of Augustine

Philip Burton (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the presentation of language acquisition given in the Confessions. It is argued that Augustine presents this as being two-edged; language permits the child to interact with other speakers, but at the cost of being constrained within a system of language, ‘the authority of the ancestors’. The wider question of authority in the Confessions is then considered. It is suggested that authority may be seen as a positive, bottom-up recognition of what is useful and pleasurable, and that ultimately, the model for authority in language is the divine Logos.

Keywords:   language acquisition, auctoritas, divine economy, pleasure, divine Logos

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