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Education and Religion in Late Antique Christianity : Reflections, Social Contexts and Genres

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This book studies the complex attitude of late ancient Christians towards classical education. In recent years, the different theoretical positions that can be found among the Church Fathers have received particular attention: their statements ranged from enthusiastic assimilation to outright rejection, the latter sometimes masking implicit adoption. Shifting attention away from such explicit statements, this volume focuses on a series of lesser-known texts in order to study the impact of specific literary and social contexts on late ancient educational views and practices. By moving attention from statements to strategies this volume wishes to enrich our understanding of the creative engagement with classical ideals of education. The multi-faceted approach adopted here illuminates the close connection between specific educational purposes on the one hand, and the possibilities and limitations offered by specific genres and contexts on the other. Instead of seeing attitudes towards education in late antique texts as applications of theoretical positions, it reads them as complex negotiations between authorial intent, the limitations of genre, and the context of performance.

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