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St. Augustine

Saint Augustine of Hippo was born in Algeria in 354 and died in 430. His focus is on epistemological issues, mainly related to reason, knowledge and wisdom. He claims that knowledge is innate and it is God who puts it in man and woman. He investigates the "theory of pre-existing knowledge," a genuine breakthrough that defends the true knowledge as something that already exists, that is latent. Mankind, through education, is in charge of making this truth become manifest. In his book Confessions of 397, he makes clear his thesis on the subject: "Education is actually the process by which dark and unconscious ideas become aware and clear" (S. Augustine, 397: 109) Furthermore, in the words of Bowen (1976: 374) on the thought of St. Augustine, he said "everything that man knows about himself and his surroundings will arrive mediated by the senses, and all knowledge to which man has direct access it is given in a corporeal and transient way." Saint Augustine opens a space full of oxygen in the field of education in a period in which the field of knowledge had shrunk, empirical studies were in decline and schools were more concerned about recapitulation of old ideas that his renewal. The importance of his work is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge of education, even being especially marked by its Christian character. There are four of his most important works about knowledge and how we reach it through education: De Magistro (389), Confessions (397), De catechizandis rudibus (399) and De Doctrina Christiana (written between 397 and 426).