mercoledì 29 febbraio 2012

Augustine of Hippo: Do not explain in words what my heart sings

"Praise the Lord with the lyre, the harp of ten strings sing to him.Sing to the Lord a new song!" (Psalm 32/33, 2-3). Put off what old now and, you know the new song. A new man, a new testament, a new song. The new song is not suited to older men. Do not learn it unless the new men, men renewed by grace, from what was old, men now belonging to the new testament, which is the kingdom of heaven. All our love to it sighs and sings a new song. However, raise a new song not with the language, but with our lives.

Sing to him a new song, sing to him with art (see Psalm 32/33, 3). Each question is how to sing to God. You must sing to him,but not out of tune . Refuses to have offended his ears. Sing with art, oh siblings. When, in front of a music connoisseur, you're told: sing to him so to please him, with no preparation in the music, come to be with trepidation upon singing, because you would not want to displease the musician: the fact that escapes the layman, is noted and criticized by a connoisseur. However, those who would dare to present himself to sing to God with all your skill, good judgment who knows the singer, who looks exactly everything and hear everything so well? How could you show an ability so perfect in the song, not to offend no ears so perfect?

Here he is giving you almost the tone of the melody to sing: do not go in search of words, as if you could translate into a chant of articulate sounds which God delights. Sing in exultation. Singing with art to God consists in this: to sing in jubilation. What does it mean to sing in exultation? Understand and not be able to explain in words what my heart sings. For men who sing both at harvest and during harvest, and during some intensive work, the first feel the pleasure aroused by the words of the songs, but later, when the excitement grows, they feel that they can not express in words and then vent only modulation of notes. This part we call "jubilation".

The jubilation is that melody, with which he pours out his heart as he is unable to express in words. And for those most appropriate to raise this song of joy, if not for the ineffable God? In fact, it ineffable one that you can not express. And if you can not express, and besides you can not keep silent, what you have left if not "Jubilee"? Then the heart is open to joy, without the use of words, and the extraordinary greatness of joy will know no limits of syllables. Sing to him with jubilation in the art (see Psalm 32/33, 3).

Quotes by Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 32/33, in Enarrationes in Psalmos (403)
The portrait of Augustine by Vittore Carpaccio

domenica 12 febbraio 2012

Let childhood ripen in children (Rousseau, Emile)

Do the opposite of what is customary and almost always do well. Since their purpose is not to make a child a child, but a doctor, never seems too soon to fathers and teachers scold, correct, criticize, cajole, threaten, promise, educate, persuade.

Make it better: be reasonable not ever thinking with your student, especially to make him agree that he is sorry; always pull at stake right about unpleasant things has the effect of harassing and discrediting what could make earlier and in intellect that does not is still able to understand.

He practiced in the body, organs, senses, but keep in idleness forces his soul for as long as possible. Beware of all the feelings prior to the judgment that is able to evaluate them. Hold, stop the alien and impressions, to prevent that evil can be born, do not rush to want to do good, that can never be such if it is illuminated by reason.

Consider any extension as an advantage: it is a substantial gain to get close to your destination without losing anything, let childhood ripen in children. And when they really need to be educated, refrain from giving today's lesson that you think you can give without delay tomorrow.

lunedì 6 febbraio 2012

The figure of the teacher in the view of Quintilian

Marcus Fabius Quintilian, from Institutio Oratoria

First of all, the teacher takes to his students the disposition of a father and thinks he will succeed the place of those who entrust their children. He himself has no vices and will not bear. Its severity is not oppressive and does not exaggerate in giving confidence , not to raise one hand I hate, despise the other.  

He talks a great deal of honesty and good: in fact, the more often admonish, punish much more rarely; he is absolutely short-tempered and does not omit the corrections that you he has to do, teaching is simple, resistant to fatigue, methodical rather than flimsy. Responds willingly to those who asks questions, questions of its own people who do not arise.  

In praising the exposure of students is neither park nor excessive, because the first attitude creates discomfort in them for the effort, the second makes them lay in quietness. In correcting the mistakes is not harsh and is not absolutely insulting: just this, in fact, many away from the purpose of study, namely the fact that some teachers complain as if they hated.  

He himself says something every day, even many things, that listeners can ponder to himself. Although in fact derive from reading enough examples for the imitation, however, supplies the voice more fully alive, and especially that of a teacher to his disciples, provided they have been properly trained, love and respect. Barely on the other hand one could say how willingly we imitate those to whom we are well prepared .