Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-12-2015

Department

Music

Keywords

music education, Augustine, De Musica, Neoplatonism, general education program, Dordt College

Abstract

Augustine’s De musica is all that remains of his ambitious plan to write a cycle of works describing each of the liberal arts in terms of Christian faith and is actually unfinished; whereas the six books extant today primarily examine rhythm, Augustine intended to write about melody also. The sixth book of De musica was better known in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages than the first five, and it takes up philosophical questions of aesthetics related to the proportionate ordering discernable throughout creation. After a brief introduction summarizing De musica’s content and its importance in subsequent Christian writings, my presentation outlines and explains how I have used this document in my own music classes. For example, my students learn that a vital notion in Augustine’s writings, and in Neoplatonism more broadly, is the spiritual benefit of academic study. That is, through study of music, one gains insight into the created order, but, more importantly, one’s soul is strengthened and trained to perceive higher realities of the cosmos such as the ordering of the planetary spheres and the progression of celestial hierarchies, which span the spiritual distance from God to humanity.

Comments

  • An earlier version of this paper was presented at the "Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition, 2014 Conference: Augustine Across the Curriculum" conference held on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, October 2-4, 2014.
  • © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Source Publication Title

Religions

Publisher

MDPI

Volume

6

First Page

211

DOI

10.3390/rel6010211

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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