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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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Epilogue

Epilogue

Chapter:
(p.173) 7 Epilogue
Source:
Language in the Confessions of Augustine
Author(s):

Philip Burton (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266227.003.0007

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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