Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Obscuritas bei Augustin


Cardelle de Hartmann, Carmen (2018). Obscuritas bei Augustin. In: Köbele, Susanne; Frick, Julia. wildekeit. Spielräume literarischer Obscuritas im Mittelalter. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 59-89.

Abstract

In an early tractate, ‘De dialectica’, Augustine discusses how a dispute can succeed and defines two possible forms of disturbance: ambiguity, which is a characteristic of the sign itself, and obscurity, which arises from the interaction between sender, receiver and sign. In ‘De doctrina christiana’ he analyses in depth ambiguity and obscurity in the Bible. Augustine discusses obscurity once and again in his later works, always as a disturbance of communication which surges and changes according to the particular situation. After presenting his discussion in these two tractates, this paper examines Augustine’s ideas about obscurity arising from signs, senders (authors, preachers, discussants) and receivers (hearers or readers). Words and sentences can be obscure if they are in breach with linguistic consuetudo. Metaphorical language and allegory are ambiguous and have at the same time a peculiar form of obscurity, the difficulty of recognising them as such. The sender has to adapt to the knowledge of his hearers or readers, these have to acquire the necessary competence for successful communication. Biblical obscurity poses specific questions about its purpose. Augustine seizes some older considerations in exegesis: obscurity exercises the mind, makes precious the knowledge sought, and pleases the reader. In order to understand the Bible its reader must be educated and moral, his lecture changes him and brings him upward to God. Of particular interest is Augustine’s answer to the question why metaphorical language brings pleasure. Allegory and metaphor delight the reader because they appeal to the senses and let the knowledge that has been already acquired in rational discourse appear in a new way. Augustine’s discussion of obscurity is subtly nuanced since obscurity itself varies with each particular form of communication: it can be dangerous (e.g., when heretics try to misguide their hearers), but in the Bible it is a vehicle of divine grace.

Abstract

In an early tractate, ‘De dialectica’, Augustine discusses how a dispute can succeed and defines two possible forms of disturbance: ambiguity, which is a characteristic of the sign itself, and obscurity, which arises from the interaction between sender, receiver and sign. In ‘De doctrina christiana’ he analyses in depth ambiguity and obscurity in the Bible. Augustine discusses obscurity once and again in his later works, always as a disturbance of communication which surges and changes according to the particular situation. After presenting his discussion in these two tractates, this paper examines Augustine’s ideas about obscurity arising from signs, senders (authors, preachers, discussants) and receivers (hearers or readers). Words and sentences can be obscure if they are in breach with linguistic consuetudo. Metaphorical language and allegory are ambiguous and have at the same time a peculiar form of obscurity, the difficulty of recognising them as such. The sender has to adapt to the knowledge of his hearers or readers, these have to acquire the necessary competence for successful communication. Biblical obscurity poses specific questions about its purpose. Augustine seizes some older considerations in exegesis: obscurity exercises the mind, makes precious the knowledge sought, and pleases the reader. In order to understand the Bible its reader must be educated and moral, his lecture changes him and brings him upward to God. Of particular interest is Augustine’s answer to the question why metaphorical language brings pleasure. Allegory and metaphor delight the reader because they appeal to the senses and let the knowledge that has been already acquired in rational discourse appear in a new way. Augustine’s discussion of obscurity is subtly nuanced since obscurity itself varies with each particular form of communication: it can be dangerous (e.g., when heretics try to misguide their hearers), but in the Bible it is a vehicle of divine grace.

Statistics

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 02 Oct 2018
2 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Greek and Latin Philology
Dewey Decimal Classification:470 Latin & Italic languages
480 Classical & modern Greek languages
Language:German
Date:2018
Deposited On:02 Oct 2018 15:28
Last Modified:02 Oct 2018 15:33
Publisher:Erich Schmidt Verlag
Number:25
ISBN:978-3-503-18148-3
OA Status:Closed
Related URLs:http://www.lang-lit.ch/lang-lit/aktuell/veranstaltungen/2016/event-26.html
https://www.esv.info/978-3-503-18148-3 (Publisher)

Download

Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF (Erste Hälfte des Aufsatzes) - Registered users only
Size: 7MB
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF (Zweite Hälfte des Aufsatzes) - Registered users only
Size: 6MB
Get full-text in a library