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On Christian Teaching (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540631
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`a great chance to see how clever Augustine was. ... (It is more than a work on Christian teaching: it is a book about teaching. Or learning, in fact.)' The Guardian G2 section, 17 July 1997

About the Author


R. P. H. Green is Professor of Humanity (Latin) in the Dept. of Classics, University of Glasgow. He has published books on Augustine's contemporaries Paulinus of Nola and Ausonius.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Stanford Gibson on March 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
One author has said that Augustine can be "easier to read than many modern books about him." Nowhere in his writings have I found this to be more true than "On Christian Doctrine." This little text was so compelling that I literally could not put it down (though that may reveal more about me than it). It essentially outlines Augustine's program of Hermeneutics which often contrasts strongly with standard methods of the periods before and after him, while remaining reminiscent of both eras. Some particular points of interest:

-He insists that the author's intent should be the arbiter of meaning unless the text seems to be in contrast to what is clearly taught throughout scripture, at which point allegory is to be employed

-He suggests that mistaken interpretation of a particular passage is not too grievous an error as long as the interpretation remains true to the general testimony of Scripture

-He suggests that interpretation is difficult but that the best way to progress is to read and memorize as much of it as possible until it is intimately familiar

-There is a theologically interesting chapter in which he uses the passage about the bread as Christ's body as an example of the sort of passage that cannot be taken literally

A 1700 year old text obviously isn't going to work as a contemporary manual of interpretation, but for its value in historical theology, understanding the development of Biblical interpretation and insight into the mind of one of the Christianity's greatest pastoral minds this is well worth the money and 100 or so pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Strong on May 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small book summarizes much of Augustine's thought and theology. All good comes from God and man's fall precipitated the covenants, laws and finally Christ. Our source for this is the Bible but how should that book be read and taught? Augustine reveals the importance of identifying metaphor in analyzing texts and the danger of being over literal. Language, therefor, is the key theme both in understanding scripture and explaining it appropriately to the education and intelligence of the listener. He then goes on to emphasize the need for the homilist to understand rhetoric at least to balance the rhetoric of disbelievers. I would consider this book essential reading for any serious Christian today or, for that matter of any student of philosophy. I have yet to read any modern or even earlier writer who thinks and writes more clearly on scripture and language.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luke on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This version actually is translated by Rev. Professor J. F. Shaw not by R. P. H. Green is Professor of Humanity (Latin) in the Dept. of Classics, University of Glasgow.
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By Avid reader on July 7, 2014
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Even for those who no longer believe in its message, the Bible is generally regarded as a treasure trove of poetic and artistic gems that over the centuries (from Dante to Shakespeare, Milton and T.S. Eliot, to throw out names almost at random) have shaped Western values and sensitivities. It might, therefore, be hard for us to imagine how foreign, even barbaric the Bible appeared to the cultural expectations of late Antiquity. In his "Confessions" Augustine freely admits that for a long time he found it impossible to accept the message of the Bible because it was written in a style so foreign to the liberal arts he had been trained in. It was only when he heard Saint Ambrose of Milan preach on the Bible with all the rhetorical skills late antiquity demanded of its cultural elite that he began to appreciate the Biblical message in its own right. Ten years later--by now probably already bishop in the African town of Hippo--Augustine sits down to help others to make a similar transition from disdain to admiration for the Bible. Augustine first summarizes the central message of the Bible (quite an astounding and beautiful accomplishment) and then turns to the difficult medium of the message. He gives advice on how to gain the necessary factual and linguistic information to approach the biblical environment and how to deal with its often so strangely figurative and obscure style of expression. After an hiatus of over 40 years, in which he--like Ambrose--preached on themes of the Bible using all the tricks of the rhetorical trade of his time, he concludes his treatise by taking a decidedly different approach: He shows his contemporary readers that the Bible should not be perceived as a barbaric import because it exhibits many of the rhetorical devices that even a Cicero could not have improved on.Read more ›
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This book's title does not give the impression that it is about rhetoric or public speaking, but it definitely is about them.
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By James D. on January 23, 2014
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Augustine is to be greatly appreciated for his impact on culture, sacred and secular. The man was a theological genius whose writings are extremely practical, addressing the issues of his day within the church. This is considered by many to be one of the first treatments of the fields of homiletics and hermeneutics. Highly recommended for anyone studying Christian preaching and = teaching. Be warned though, Augustine's tendency to allegorize much of Scripture might offend the modern mind which prefers a more literal hermeneutic.
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