Instructing Beginners in Faith
Although not usually considered to be on the same level as The Confessions or The City of God, to name just two of Augustine's greatest works, the short treatise entitled Instructing Beginners in Faith has in fact had a powerful influence on the Christian Church. It began as a reflection on the most suitable way of communicating the heart of Christian faith to those applying for membership of the Church. In the course of the past sixteen hundred years, however, it has been frequently and creatively adapted to serve the needs of education in faith in many different contexts, including the education of clergy and religious education more generally. The two model catecheses that Augustine sketches, one quite long and the other considerably shorter, not only continue to have relevance today but also provide an important insight into his understanding of the use of scripture and tradition. And Augustine's awareness of the problems that educators face demonstrates his profound grasp of the human condition.
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