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Title: Fourth century Christian education
Authors: Gane, Jennifer Helen
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores Basil’s Ad Adolescentes as the composition of a highly educated bishop who was well grounded in classical paideia, but also deeply influenced by the thoughts and writings of his Christian predecessors. Despite the long-running debate about the appropriateness of a classical education for a Christian, the reality of the Fourth Century meant that officials and clerics alike had been trained by means of traditional literature. In a world where Christianity was no bar to public office, the common educational experience became important since a mutual appreciation of paideia enabled magistrates, bishops and orators to relate to one another regardless of their religious convictions. Consequently, the sons of Christians attended school fully aware of potential career opportunities in the secular sphere, since faith and office appeared no longer at odds. It was in this climate that Basil composed Ad Adolescentes, addressing himself to Christian youths embarking on higher education with a range of possibilities before them. In this thesis Basil’s text is analysed and discussed by a combination of thematic introduction and commentary: the thematic chapters consider the subject, purposes and specific and broader contexts of the Ad Adolescentes and the previous scholarship on the work in this regard; the commentary explicates relevant details in the text and offers close analysis which supports interpretations offered in the introduction. Chapters 1 and 2 consider the views of previous scholars on the text and the educational context relevant to Basil’s audience. The subsequent two chapters address the question of literary influence and the traditional methods employed in the interpretation of classical texts by both Christian and pagan educationalists. The final introductory chapter explores the propaedeutic nature of the text and identifies the manner in which Basil sought to synthesise lessons from traditional literature with homiletic themes, in anticipation of the secular and Christian responsibilities available to his audience.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Historical Studies

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