Saturday, June 18, 2011

St. Augustine and Education

A Shameful Glory

By Randall Smith


In his Confessions, St. Augustine makes some notorious complaints about his own education, which by all accounts (including his own) was pretty good, not to mention expensive. His parents, who were not well to do, made sacrifices for what they hoped was his benefit. In later years, Augustine realized it wasn’t the quality of education per se that was the problem, it was the ends the education was meant to serve: primarily worldly success and praise. He was rewarded (“Well done! Well done!”) when he spoke well, regardless of the morality of his words, and punished severely, not for moral faults, but for errors in grammar or spelling.

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