Augustine on Teaching with Eloquence

“For teaching, of course, true eloquence consists, not in making people like what they disliked, nor in making them do what they shrank from, but in making clear what was obscure; yet if this be done without grace of style, the benefit does not extend beyond the few eager students who are anxious to know whatever is to be learnt, however rude and unpolished the form in which it is put; and who, when they have succeeded in their object, find the plain truth pleasant food enough.  And it is one of the distinctive features of good intellects not to love words, but the truth in words.  For of what service is a golden key, if it cannot open what we want it to open? Or what objection is there to be wooden one if it can, seeing that to open what is shut is all we want? But as there is a certain analogy between learning and eating, the very food without which it is impossible to live must be flavored to meet the tastes of the majority.” Augustine of Hippo, On Christian Doctrine IV. 11. 26. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, p. 583.  [Emphasis Added]


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