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On Christianity and the Classical Education: Lionel Yaceczko on Ausonius Grammaticus

This week, we sit down with Dr. Lionel Yaceczko to discuss his new book on the fourth century Roman grammarian, Ausonius of Bordeaux.  In looking at his life, we dive deeper into various aspects of classical education.  As Ausonius lived through an important period of religious, political, and cultural change, considering his life also affords us the opportunity to think about how the advent of Christianity affected (and continues to affect) classical education.

With Christmas fast approaching, perhaps this discussion may serve to remind us that teaching is pointing and that its ultimate purpose is to point us to the Teacher.

Show Highlights

  • Who is Ausonius and why should educators study him?
  • The life and times of a Roman teacher, bureaucrat, and Christian convert
  • What Ausonius’s life can teach about classical education
  • What is a Quaestor?
  • What is a grammaticus? A rhetor?
  • Education in Late Antiquity
  • The most egalitarian form of elitism? How the liberal arts can liberate
  • The importance of memorization in education
  • How the advent of Christianity changed classical education
  • A new canon for education: introducing Sacred Scripture to the liberal arts
  • May I be so bold? Rhetoric and persuasion in Late Antiquity
  • What is a litterator? On the stages of education before the grammaticus: Abecedariumelementa, and the road to the masterpieces
  • On the importance of study for teachers, and teaching for researchers
  • Augustine and the vir perfectus as vir sapiens in the service of the Word
  • From philologoi to theologoi: how Revelation changes everything

Suggested Reading

Ausonius Grammaticus: The Christening of Philology in the Late Roman West by Lionel Yaceczko

Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire by Peter Brown

The World of Late Antiquity by Peter Brown

The Regensburg Address by Pope Benedict XVI

Also on the Forum

Defining the Liberal Arts 

What’s in a Name? Shedding Light on the Dark Ages

History the Way it Was… and the Way It Should Be

About the Guest

Lionel Yaceczko

Latin, Greek
Lionel Yaceczko holds a BA from the University of Dallas, where he wrote a thesis on Propertius, and a MA and Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. His dissertation on education in the Roman Empire led to the publication of his book Ausonius Grammaticus (Gorgias Press, 2021). He is also the author of an introductory Latin textbook, Jerome...
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