Augustine's Confessions: Communicative Purpose and Audience by Annemare Kotze

By Annemare Kotze

This ebook is ready the communicative function and the viewers of the Confessions. It illuminates the measure to which the communicative objective of the paintings is to transform its readers, i.e. a protreptic goal, and the measure to which the objective viewers should be pointed out as Augustine's capability Manichaean readers. a quick survey of attainable literary antecedents issues to the life of different works that encompass an analogous mixture of an autobiographical part (a conversion tale) with a polemical and exegetical part (an argument that goals to persuade the reader of the advantages of a selected perspective) that characterizes the Confessions. The publication presents a brand new standpoint at the that means and constitution of Augustine's frequently misunderstood masterpiece.

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Extra info for Augustine's Confessions: Communicative Purpose and Audience (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, V. 71)

Example text

He formulates the novelty of the work as follows: Il a inventé, pour le dire, des moyens d’expression si raffinés et si neufs qu’ils ont proprement donné naissance à un genre littéraire nouveau … Je me propose de le montrer en suivant trois lignes de force, que je résumerai en trois mots: parole, culture, musique (1987, 176). What Augustine wrote may be called a new style or a new means of expression, but what Fontaine refers to does not constitute a new genre. In the following I focus on statements that do not pertain directly to the genre of the Confessions, but that originate from sound analyses of the text and that support my thesis (following Feldmann and Mayer) that the Confessions belongs to the protreptic genre.

The confessions and its academic readers 19 the two volumes of commentary embody a user friendly and highly authoritative tool, the value of which it is easy to underestimate when the work becomes a daily companion to the reading of the Confessions. The availability of the on-line version of this commentary also tremendously facilitates the process of looking up specific references. Especially helpful are the general introduction, the introductory sections and structural expositions on each book, as well as the complete versions of many of the texts that inform Augustine’s writing (like that of Ps 4 and Gen 1:1–2:2), and the identification and full quotation of the Bible texts Augustine alludes to throughout, but particularly in the densely constructed allegorical reading presented in book 13.

The confessions and its academic readers 37 described in terms that would be eminently suitable for describing a protreptic text. 58 Clark formulates the aim of her Augustine: the Confessions (1993) as ‘to set the Confessions in the context of “late antiquity”’ (1993, vii). She does not deal with the problem of the unity or the structure of the work exclusively but covers a wide spectrum of topics in an appraisal that reflects one of the most sensitive readings of the text. The book as a whole, and especially her second chapter, ‘Genre: describing a life,’ contain some probing insights into, and particularly some very valid questions about the nature and purpose of the Confessions.

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