- About the Author
Augustine, a Giant in the History of Education
If one were to compile a short list of those who have had the greatest influence on education in the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian tradition, undoubtedly Augustine’s name would be near the top. St. Augustine of Hippo—an ardent seeker of truth and the author of Confessions, City of God, and On the Trinity—was the first Christian to offer a detailed account of the liberal arts and their proper place in a liberal education. Much of what we take to be the traditional understanding of classical education is due at least in part to his early synthesis. Indeed, the general plan of studies—beginning with the liberal arts and proceeding to the various disciplines and ultimately to philosophy and theology—was championed by Augustine and handed down through the Middle Ages to the modern period. This plan of studies remained the nearly universal standard for education in the West until well into the nineteenth century.
In this book, Dr. Jeffrey S. Lehman shares his love for the liberal arts and for Augustine by introducing readers to Augustine’s philosophy and theology of education. Beginning with a brief biography and an overview of Augustine’s extensive contributions to literature, Lehman then explores Augustine’s evolving thought about the nature and purpose of education, and the ways that liberal arts and liberal education are conducive to man’s pursuit of happiness. Lehman also describes how Augustine’s theory and practice of education are evident in his writings as a master teacher. This book concludes with ways modern-day educators can draw from Augustine’s legacy and enduring relevance to regain a tradition of excellence in education for our time.
Now the happy life is joy in the truth; and that means joy in you, who are the Truth, O God who shed the light of salvation on my face, my God. You pierced my heart with your Word, and I fell in love with you.
—St. Augustine, Confessions
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Jeffrey S. Lehman, PhD
Jeffrey S. Lehman holds a BA in biblical literature and philosophy from Taylor University, an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics from Biola University, and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Dallas. He is a full professor at the University of Dallas and has taught the liberal arts and the Great Books through Socratic conversation at such colleges and universities as the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Hillsdale College. He has read, taught, and written on the dialogues of Plato and later philosophical dialogues in the Western tradition for over 25 years. Lehman is the Director of the Graduate Program in Classical Education at the University of Dallas, and also the founding director of the Arts of Liberty Project, which offers resources for teachers and students of the liberal arts and liberal education (artsofliberty.udallas.edu). Among his publications are the monograph Socratic Conversation: Bringing the Dialogues of Plato and the Socratic Tradition into Today's Classroom (published by Classical Academic Press), an introductory text and reader in primary sources on the liberal art of logic, and various articles on Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Augustine, Boethius, and Thomas More.