Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Reading St. Augustine’s Confessions in Latin

Contributed by Carol Quillen, President, Davidson College

Description

Carol Quillen describes how, growing up, her initial insights and perceptions came from what she calls promiscuous reading — reading anything and everything and then finding connections among these very different texts. She consumed Augustine’s Confessions, in the original Latin, which captures and conveys meaning differently than English and enabled her both to grasp and question the complex ways in which language represents reality.

These differences in language, like reading, reveal different ways of seeing the world, and by learning about and seeing them, we create possibilities for ourselves.

Confessions of St. Augustine

Why is this a Humanities Moment?

“It is difficult to translate the beauty of Latin easily into English. There’s something about the relationship between Augustine’s words and the meaning of what he’s saying that is more powerful and profound when read in their original language.

“This insight — about the relationship between words, and rhythm, and sound, and meaning — has been important to me over the years, especially as it has encouraged me to consider the variety of ways in which ideas are expressed in different contexts and across time and to recognize the distinctions those differences create in my view of the world.

“The value of theological, philosophical, literary inquiry — humanistic inquiry — is that it helps us to make sense of things in ways that were not available to us before.”

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About this Moment

Title

Reading St. Augustine’s Confessions in Latin

Subject

“It is difficult to translate the beauty of Latin easily into English. There’s something about the relationship between Augustine’s words and the meaning of what he’s saying that is more powerful and profound when read in their original language.

“This insight — about the relationship between words, and rhythm, and sound, and meaning — has been important to me over the years, especially as it has encouraged me to consider the variety of ways in which ideas are expressed in different contexts and across time and to recognize the distinctions those differences create in my view of the world.

“The value of theological, philosophical, literary inquiry — humanistic inquiry — is that it helps us to make sense of things in ways that were not available to us before.”

Description

Carol Quillen describes how, growing up, her initial insights and perceptions came from what she calls promiscuous reading — reading anything and everything and then finding connections among these very different texts. She consumed Augustine’s Confessions, in the original Latin, which captures and conveys meaning differently than English and enabled her both to grasp and question the complex ways in which language represents reality.

These differences in language, like reading, reveal different ways of seeing the world, and by learning about and seeing them, we create possibilities for ourselves.

Creator

Augustine of Hippo

Source

Confessions

Contributor

Carol Quillen, President, Davidson College

Identifier

carol-quillen-reading-augustine-in-latin

Collection

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