“Learning has a lot in common with eating…”

onchristianteachingI’m reading Augustine’s On Christian Teaching for a class in my M.St. Here are a few lines I’ve marked:

…oratorical ability, so effective a resource to commend either right or wrong, is available to both sides; why then is it not acquired by good and zealous Christians to fight for the truth, if the wicked employ it in the service of iniquity and error, to achieve their perverse and futile purposes?


Given a sharp and eager mind, eloquence is picked up more readily by those who read and listen to the words of the eloquent than by those who follow the rules of eloquence.


What is the use of correct speech if it does not meet with the listener’s understanding? There is no point in speaking at all if our words are not understood by the people to whose understanding our words are directed.


A speaker who clarifies something that needs to be learnt is a blessing, but a speaker who labours things already learnt is a bore…


When a person is reminded of something he has forgotten, he is being taught.


In a word, the function of eloquence in teaching is not to make people like what was once offensive, or to make them do what they were loth to do, but to make clear what was hidden from them.


Learning has a lot in common with eating: to cater for the dislikes of the majority even the nutrients essential to life must be made appetizing.

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