St. Augustine—De Doctrina Christiana | Book 3 (Ch.1-23)
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“Reflect for a long time upon what is being read, until the interpretation is drawn over to the sway of charity.”
We’re picking up where we last left off in St. Augustine’s great treatise On Christian Doctrine, beginning Book 3 and finally diving into Augustine’s primary concern with this work: the correct interpretation of Holy Scripture.
In the initial chapters, Augustine closely considers the textual minutia of everything from punctuation to conjugation and declension, to pronunciation and inflection. (Lectors, take note!)
Of particular concern for Augustine, however, is the correct discernment between literal and figurative expressions. It’s with respect to the latter that some of Augustine’s most salient insights shine through. His multi-faceted consideration of signs and symbols finds application in a wide range of concerns, including the sacraments, inculturation of the faith, and even morality.
Augustine is particularly helpful in his discussion, toward the end of the reading, of the Old Testament and of certain anomalous—or even vicious—behavior of Old Testament figures.
Any correct reading of Scripture will ultimately conduce to a love of God for his own sake, and of neighbor for God’s sake.
Translation courtesy of Catholic University of America Press: https://verbum.com/product/120407/saint-augustine-christian-instruction-admonition-and-grace-the-christian-combat-faith-hope-and-charity
Alternate Translation at CatholicCulture.org: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=3275
Previous De Doctrina Christiana episodes: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/audiobook_authors_titles.cfm
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