Latin and the Republic of Letters

Next week there will be a symposium ”Latin and the Republic of Letters” at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS). The papers presented will discuss the education of Latin in all times through from oral tradition to digital humanities.

The symposium is organised by Alexandra Grigorieva (HCAS). As an alumna of HCAS, I am one of the co-organisers.

I will speak about late antique debates on the education and tradition:

Whose poetry, whose paideia, whose tradition? – Late Antique Debates on the Greco-Roman Cultural Heritage

Abstract: As is well-known, many Christian writers of the 4th and 5th centuries were trapped in a troubled and ambivalent relationship with the Greco-Roman literature (often referred to as profane, classical, or pagan). Continuous apologies and confessions were part of this relationship. The most famous case is Jerome who in his angst-wrought dream was accused at a heavenly tribunal for being Ciceronianus, instead of being Christianus.

In my paper, I will discuss the late antique debates on paideia, education and especially Greek and Latin literature. I will reconsider late antique Christian attitudes to Greek and Roman literature (especially to Vergil and Homer) and Greco-Roman tradition in general. My focus will be on the famous School Edict of Emperor Julian and the responses to it of Christian writers such as Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus. Furthermore, I will look at the attitudes to the Latin literature and education in the writings of Paulinus of Nola and Augustine.

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