The school of Аntioch and its pedagogical metaphors
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School of Antioch, John Chrysostom, pedagogy, metaphors

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Morozova, D. (2020). The school of Аntioch and its pedagogical metaphors. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, 1(2), 188-201.


The article considers the main pedagogical metaphors that existed in the theological School of Antioch. The study is based primarily on the material of the homilies of St. John Chrysostom De inani gloria, Adversus oppugnatores vitae monasticae, In Matthaeum, Ad populum Antiochenum, as well as on the works of Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Severian of Gabala. These works are analyzed through the prism of Paul Ricoeur’s theory of metaphor, applied by N. Wright and R. Hays to the study of the worldviews of religious communities. Such an analysis helped to reveal in the works of Chrysostom and other Antiochians the coexistence of two main pedagogical metaphors of different origins. The metaphor of tabula rasa, derived from Aristotle’s De anima, considers the process of education in terms of the active formation of the pupil’s mentality by the teacher. In Chrysostom, this metaphor takes the form of a complex palimpsest, where the original text is constantly rewritten, edited and renewed again. St. John calls all his listeners to this process of mutual teaching and editing. Instead, the metaphor of the fortress, rooted in Paul's anthropology and Plato's theory of anamnesis, implying much greater self-sufficiency of a personality, warns against excessive pedagogical constructivism. This paradigm represents the human mind (νους) as a temple or city built according to God's plan, developed according to the laws established by the Creator. The task of the teacher in such a scenario is, above all, to protect the subtle and complex inner world of the child from the primitive logic of the environment, and not to interfere with its natural development according to God's plan. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and other Antiochians use the both metaphors, but the metaphor of tabula rasa – reinterpreted as a palimpsest – is applied rather to the enlightenment of adult Christians, while the metaphor of a fortress is uses concerning the upbringing of children.
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