In De Magistro, Augustine shows great awareness that much of what we need to believe falls outside the austere standards of his Platonic conception of knowledge and understanding. Among the most prominent of these are those beliefs that are based on the Bible. (De Magistro 11, 37; and cf.12, 39)
Another, related, feature of the epistemology of Augustine is his willingness to accept that much of our belief about the world must as a matter of practical necessity rest upon trust and authority.
He states in De Magistro that we cannot hope to verify all our beliefs about history and even many beliefs about the present are a matter of trust. (De Magistro 11, 37)
Here as elsewhere, he emphasises the role of belief as opposed to understanding, pointing out not only that we must believe many things that we cannot understand but also that belief is a necessary condition of understanding.
There is no known English translation of De Magistro on the Internet.
Photos (at right):
Picture 2: Australian Augustinian teaching in Thailand.
Picture 3: Gregor Mendel O.S.A. (1822 - 1884), abbot, scientist and teacher.
A current English translation of De Magistro appears in the book entitled Against the Academicians and The Teacher, translated by Peter King, Hackett Publishing Company, 1995, ISBN: 0872202135.
Teaching and Learning: an Augustinian Perspective. This article gives seeks to illuminate the topics of teaching and learning from an Augustinian perspective. It demonstrates how Augustine's writings are a rich resource for philosophical, theological and pastoral reflection on teaching and learning. It critically examines the connection between Augustinian pedagogy and Augustinian ethics, that is to say, with love for God and neighbour. It goes on to demonstrate that for Augustine the two interpenetrate, and draws conclusions for current educational practices, as the love of truth put in the service of love of neighbour, especially in his/ her love for truth. By Raymond Canning, Canberra, Australia, 2004.