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Augustine's "De doctrina christiana" has long been recognised as a significant work for understanding the balanced interaction between classical learning and Christianity, as a handbook for spiritual development, and as a guide to the homiletic and exegetical principles of preaching and sacred scripture. More recently, the work has also been interpreted as laying the groundwork for the study of semiotics and hermeneutics. The 11 essays in this volume, which were presented at a 1991 conference held at the University of Notre Dame, address the question of whether "De doctrina christiana" is a classic work of the Western cultural tradition. The contributors approach Augustine's seminal work from various points of view and over the course of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In particular they examine the exegesis of both scripture and pagan texts, concepts of allegory and aesthetics and art, and Christian humanism. They also discuss the use of classical texts and rhetorical principles in pastoral communication and instruction, as well as the roles of reading, language, and writing within and for a Christian community. The essayists agree on the importance of "De doctrina christiana" for the School of St. Victor, which laid the guidelines for how scholastic authors might read and interpret classical and patristic texts. They conclude that Augustine's text is indeed a classic work.
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