The protreptic-paraenetic purpose of Augustine's Confessions and its Manichean audience

Kotze, Annemare (2003-03)

Thesis (DLitt)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this dissertation I attempt to open up new perspectives on the literary qualities and the unity of Augustine's Confessions by reading the work in the light of the context within which it first functioned. Part 1, Prolegomena, consists of a survey of secondary literature (in chapter 1) that focuses on research on the literary characteristics of the work, followed by a theoretical exploration of the two aspects that constitute the focus of this study, the genre and the audience of the Confessions. Chapter 2.1 examines how the literary practices and generic conventions of late Antiquity should inform our reading of the work. This is achieved through a discussion of the implications of genre analysis in general (2.1.1), followed by an examination of the conventions of the ancient protreptic genre (2.1.2), a look at the parallels between the Confessions and three of its literary antecedents and between the Confessions and Augustine's Contra Academicos (2.1.3), and an evaluation of the perspectives offered on the unity of the work by this procedure (2.1.4). Chapter 2.2 starts with a discussion of the concept of intended audience (2.2.1) and proceeds to provide the background needed to follow the arguments on the specific segment of Augustine's audience that I consider here, the Manicheans (2.2.2). Part 2 of the dissertation consists of the analyses of selected passages but attempts at the same time to give an accurate account of how genre and intended audience are embodied in the text as a whole. In chapter 3 I show that Augustine's meditation on Ps 4 in the central section of the Confessions (9.4.8-11) is a protreptic that targets a Manichean audience (3.1) through Augustine's identification with this audience (3.2) and the prevalent use of Manichean terminology and categories (3.3). In chapter 4 I analyse in a more systematic way the expression of protreptic purpose through various devices throughout the Confessions: foreshadowing in the opening paragraph (4.1), the use of a shifting persona (4.2), allusion to Matt 7:7 (4.3), and the theme of the protreptic power of reading and listening (4.5). I evaluate how pervasive the expression of protreptic intent is (4.4) and end with an examination of the protreptic-paraenetic purpose of the first section of the allegorical exposition of the creation story in book 13 (4.6). Chapter 5 examines the degree to which the Manicheans are targeted by the text as a whole as an important segment of its intended audience. I examine the use of the theme of friendship to evoke Augustine's erstwhile Manichean friendships and the history of failed communication with this group (5.1), the role Augustine intends curiositas to play in coaxing the Manicheans into reading yet another attempt to convert them (5.2), and once again how pervasive the concerns with a Manichean audience is (5.3). I conclude this chapter, like the previous one, with an analysis of the last section of the allegory in book 13, where I discern towards the end an intensification of indications that Augustine is preoccupied with his Manichean audience (5.4).

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif probeer om nuwe perspektief te bied op die literêre eienskappe en die eenheid van Augustinus se Confessiones deur die werk te lees in die lig van die konteks waarbinne dit aanvanklik gefunksioneer het. Deel 1, Prolegomena, is In oorsig oor die sekondêre literatuur (in hoofstuk 1) wat fokus op studies van die literêre tegnieke in die werk, gevolg deur In teoretiese verkenning van die twee aspekte wat die fokuspunt van die studie vorm, naamlik die genre en die gehoor van die Confessiones. Hoofstuk 2 ondersoek hoe literêre praktyke en genre-verwante konvensies van die laat Antieke die lees van die werk behoort te beïnvloed. Dit word gedoen aan die hand van In bespreking van die implikasies van genre-analise in die algemeen (2.1.1), gevolg deur In oorsig oor die konvensies van die antieke protreptiese genre (2.1.2), In bespreking van die paraIIele tussen die Confessiones en drie literêre voorlopers daarvan asook tussen die Confessiones en Augustinus se Contra Academicos (2.1.3) en In evaluering van die perspektiewe wat hierdie werkwyse bied op die eenheid van die werk (2.1.4). Hoofstuk 2.2 behels In bespreking van die konsep teikengehoor (2.2.1), gevolg deur In opsomming van die agtergrondinligting wat nodig is om die argumente oor die spesifieke segment van Augustinus se gehoor wat hier oorweeg word (die Manicheërs), te volg (2.2.2). Deel 2 van die proefskrif bestaan uit die analises van geselekteerde passasies maar probeer terselfdertyd om In getroue weergawe te bied van hoe genre en gehoor in die teks as geheel beliggaam word. Hoofstuk 3 toon dat Augustinus se oordenking van Ps 4 in die sentrale gedeelte van die Confessiones (9.4.8-11) In protreptiese werk gerig op In Manichese gehoor is (3.1). Augustinus vereenslewig hom met sy teikengehoor (3.2) en gebruik deurgaans Manichese terminologie en kategorieë (3.3). Hoofstuk 4 ondersoek hoe die protreptiese doelwit in die Confessiones uitgedruk word deur die gebruik van verskeie tegnieke: voorafskaduing in die aanvangsparagraaf (4.1), die gebruik van In verskuiwende persona (4.2), verwysing na Matt 7:7 (4.3) en die tema van die protreptiese uitwerking van lees en luister (4.5). Ek evalueer hoe verteenwoordigend ten opsigte van die geheel die uitdrukking van die protreptiese doelwit is (4.4) en sluit met In analise van die protrepties-paranetiese funksie van die eerste deel van die allegoriese interpretasie van die skeppingsverhaal in boek 13 (4.6). Hoofstuk 5 ondersoek die mate waarin die teks as geheel die Manicheërs as die teikengehoor van die werk aandui. Dit toon hoe Augustinus die tema van vriendskap gebruik om sy vroeëre Manichese vriendskappe op te roep en verwys na die geskiedenis van onsuksesvolle kommunikasie met hierdie groep (5.1); dit toon hoe curiositas 'n rol speel om die Manicheërs oor te haalom nog 'n poging om hulle te bekeer te lees (5.2) asook hoe verteenwoordigend ten opsigte van die geheel die bemoeienis met 'n Manichese gehoor is (5.3). Die hoofstuk sluit af, soos die vorige een, met 'n analise (nou van die tweede deel) van die allegorie in boek 13, met klem op die sterker wordende aanduidings dat Augustinus hier 'n Manichese gehoor in die oog het (5.4).

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