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Chapter 4 - God’s Classroom

De ordine and De Musica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2018

Erik Kenyon
Affiliation:
Rollins College, Florida
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Summary

De ordine opens as mice prompt Licentius to claim that all things are ruled by Providence (ordo). Characters debate this claim, but the effort ends in aporia. Augustine suggests they have not held to the “order of study” and sets out a curriculum of seven liberal disciplines. Scholars disagree as to why the debate fails, yet all assume that the content of this curriculum holds the answer. Augustine, however, presents the liberal arts as useful but unnecessary preparation for philosophy. On my reading, it is the act, not the content, of liberal study that matters here. The self-reflective payoff of liberal study is that human reason seeks unity. Debaters fall into aporia because they explain mice moving men to inquiry in terms of mice rather than men. Augustine concludes that the world is good for humans because experience of disorder prompts us to seek deeper unity, moving us closer to the distinctively human good of grasping Unity itself, i.e. God. In short, this work presents an application of ARP (see ch 1). I present De Musica pursuing this philosophical use of liberal studies, and I trace De ord.’s account of providence through the scenic dialogues’ dedications.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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  • God’s Classroom
  • Erik Kenyon, Rollins College, Florida
  • Book: Augustine and the Dialogue
  • Online publication: 16 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108525558.005
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  • God’s Classroom
  • Erik Kenyon, Rollins College, Florida
  • Book: Augustine and the Dialogue
  • Online publication: 16 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108525558.005
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • God’s Classroom
  • Erik Kenyon, Rollins College, Florida
  • Book: Augustine and the Dialogue
  • Online publication: 16 February 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108525558.005
Available formats
×