St. Augustine on Figurative Language in Scripture

In humanities coursework, we often train students to first identify formula and pattern. Lists and examples abound—symbolism, allegory, metaphor, simile, personification. We insist there is greater meaning. We demand analysis. It’s true that we need to establish a foundation of both concrete terms and appreciation in our students. But sometimes this means of analysis turns... Continue Reading →

The Humanity of Horace

Son of a former slave, Quintus Horatius Flaccus writes of the best and worst of men in first century BC. Though he grew up in a small Italian village, Horace received the best of educations in Rome, culminating in a grand tour of Athens. There, however, he was quickly swayed by Brutus, Julius Caesar’s assassin,... Continue Reading →

On Speaking Well

In recent years, speaking well has become an educational ideal for graduates at many institutions. Able speakers can convey their thoughts and intents with both ease and confidence. Isocrates, the pre-socratic rhetorician, terms it “assurance.” Unfortunately, courses in rhetoric and speech aren’t always required, and a number of graduates would find it difficult to present, let... Continue Reading →

Dante’s Dalliance with the History of Language

  As a scholar and writer, Dante Alighieri intentionally published a number of works in everyday Italian. Though this was most unusual for medieval writers who favored Latin, he felt this commonality of language would broaden his audience and perhaps strengthen the superiority of the Italian language. He may have had an ulterior motive, but... Continue Reading →

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