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Augustine of Hippo

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Saint Augustine
Augustine of Hippo.jpg

Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
Born November 13, 35414 November 354
11 Kislev 4115 He
11 Kislev 4358 AM
, Tagaste, Numidia
Died August 28, 43029 August 430
23 Elul 4190 He
22 Elul 4433 AM
, Hippo, Numidia
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Anglicanism
Lutheranism
Canonized 1303
Major shrine San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, Pavia, Italy
Feast August 28 (Roman Catholicism)
June 15 (Eastern Orthodoxy)
Patronage brewers, printers, theologians, Spain

Augustine of Hippo (Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis), (November 13, 35414 November 354
11 Kislev 4115 He
11 Kislev 4358 AM
August 28, 43029 August 430
23 Elul 4190 He
22 Elul 4433 AM
), is a Saint and Doctor of the Church according to the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also considers him a Saint; Blessed Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo.

Contents

Biography

He was born in Tagaste, Numidia (present day Souk Ahras, Algeria) the eldest son of Saint Monica. Augustine was of Berber (Amazigh) origin and was educated in North Africa. He followed the Manichaean religion in his student days, and was converted to Christianity by the preaching and example of Ambrose of Milan. He was baptized at Easter in 387, and returned to north Africa and created an monastic foundation at Tagaste for himself and a group of friends. In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo. He became a famous preacher (more than 350 preserved sermons are believed to be authentic), and noted for combatting the Manichaean heresy.

In 396 he was made coadjutor bishop of Hippo (assistant with the right of succession on the death of the current bishop), and remained as bishop in Hippo until his death in 430. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence. He left a Rule (Latin: Regula) for his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of Regular Clergy," that is parish clergy who live by a monastic rule.

Augustine died in 430 during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. He is said to have encouraged its citizens to resist the attacks, primarily on the grounds that the Vandals adhered to Arianism, which Augustine, and the Church itself, regarded as heretical. His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read around the world.

On Genesis

Augustine wrote The Literal Meaning of Genesis in 415 in which he argued that Genesis should be interpreted as God forming the Earth and life from pre-existing matter, allowed for an allegorical interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis, but called for a historical view of the remainder of the history recorded in Genesis, including the creation of Adam and Eve, and the Flood. He also also warned believers not to rashly interpret things literally that might be allegorical, as it would discredit the faith.

In 426, Saint Augustine completed City of God, in which he wrote:

Some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been ... And when they are asked, how, ... they reply that most, if not all lands, were so desolated at intervals by fire and flood, that men were greatly reduced in numbers, and ... thus there was at intervals a new beginning made. ... But they say what they think, not what they know. They are deceived ... by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed.

Influence

The thought of Augustine is acknowledged as having been one of the most important influences on the development of the western Christianity.[1] The theological system he developed dominated the mediaeval church until the thirteenth century and its influence is still felt today.[2] A large number of his writings have survived and we know a great deal about his life from his Confessions and Revisions; from a contemporary biography,[3] and from his letters, (over 200 of which have survived).[4] His most famous work, Confessions (written about 397), was not intended simply as an autobiography as such. Rather, it is a long prayer of penitence and thanksgiving for the grace of God evidenced during the first 33 years of his life.[5] Numerous modern biographies have been written[6] and so it is necessary to sketch only a brief outline of his life, concentrating on the elements that shaped his understanding of the doctrine of creation.

Aurelius Augustinus was born in the town of Thagaste in North Africa, the son of Patricius and Monica. His father was a pagan until near the time of his death,[7] but his mother was a devoted follower of Catholic Christianity. The young Augustine was eager to learn and fascinated with the problem of the origin of evil.[8] When he attempted to find a solution in Scriptures he was disappointed by the coarse and rustic style of his Latin Old Testament compared to the elegance of the Greek classics.[9] So at the age of 19 he joined the sect of the Manichees as a ‘hearer’.[10]

The Manichees were followers of Mani (born 14th April AD 216),[11] a man who formulated what was effectively an amalgam on Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity. He claimed to have been inspired by the same spirit that inspired Zarathustra, Buddha Guatama and Jesus - the Holy Spirit.[12] Mani’s teaching would, of course, supersede that of those who preceded him.[13] The Manichees used the Bible to support many of their teachings, claiming that the New Testament had been corrupted by the Judaisers.[14] It centred around a dualism of good and evil and drew extensively on the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. John Burnaby explains:

The Manichaean system… accounted for the creation of the world as a product of a conflict between light and dark substances and for the soul of man as an element of the light entangled in the dark. Manchaeaism claimed to be the true Christianity, preaching Christ as the redeemer who enables the imprisoned particles of light to escape and return to their own region.[15]

Augustine records some of the stranger teachings of the sect

...I was gradually led to believe such nonsense as that a fig wept when it was plucked, and that the tree which bore it shed tears of mother’s milk. But if some sanctified member of the sect were to eat the fig - someone else, of course, would have committed the sin of plucking it - he would digest it and breathe it out again in the form of angels or even particles of God, retching them up as he groaned in prayer. These particles of the true and supreme God we supposed to be imprisoned in the fruit and could only be released by means of the stomach and teeth of one of the elect. I was foolish enough to believe that we should show more kindness to the fruits of the earth than to mankind, for whose use they were intended. If a starving man, not a Manichee, were to beg for a mouthful, they thought it a crime worthy of mortal punishment to give him one.[16]

For a time Augustine found an explanation of the origin of evil in the Manichaean idea that evil has a physical form “...a shapeless, hideous mass, which might be solid, in which case the Manichees called it earth, or fine and rarefied into air.”[17] Ultimately this explanation did not satisfy him.

Having left Africa for Rome Augustine became increasingly dissatisfied with the teachings of the Manichees and turned instead to Neo-platonism. In Rome he was able to use his Manichee contacts to obtain a post in Milan,[18] were he became a catechumen of the church. This act did not indicate any commitment to Christianity, as his Confessions make clear. It was simply the respectable thing to do. However, attending the church there brought him under the ministry of the bishop, Ambrose.[19] Ambrose’s allegorical and Platonising[20] interpretation of the Scriptures in the tradition of Origen[21] made a great impression on Augustine,[22] who had been unimpressed by the literal interpretation practised by his mother as we have seen.[23] It is important to note that the Neoplatonists of Milan were in a minority in their spiritualised view of Scripture. The majority of the Church held to the more literal view.[24]

After a long struggle he was converted - the story of which is well known[25] - and baptised by Ambrose in 387. Following the death of his mother Augustine returned to Thagaste. There he might have ended his days in monastic retirement had not the church in the city of Hippo Regius pressed him to help them against the Manichees and Donatists who were opposing them there. This task Augustine, a former Manichee, was well equipped to undertake, and received ordination as bishop of Hippo in 396. Augustine never learned to read Greek and disliked Greek literature[26] and so was restricted in his biblical studies to working with a Latin translation.

Augustine’s Works on Genesis

Table 1: Augustine’s Works on Genesis

Date Title
388-390 Commentary on Genesis Against the Manichees
393 A Literal Commentary on Genesis (Unfinished)
401-415 A Literal Commentary on Genesis
413-426 11th & 12th chapters of City of God


The chronology of Augustine’s works on Genesis are well documented (see Table 1). His first attempt aimed at refuting the teaching of the Manichees relied heavily on allegorical interpretation,[27] which he later recognised as a weakness. He wrote of his struggle to discover the historical meaning of the text:

But not willing to be deterred from my purpose, whenever I was unable to discover the literal meaning of a passage, I explained its figurative meaning as briefly and as clearly as I was able, so that the Manichees might not be discouraged by the length of the work or the obscurity of its contents and thus put the book aside. I was mindful, however, of the purpose which I had set before me and which I was unable to achieve…[28]

In an attempt to remedy the shortcomings of his first commentary he started a second (A Literal Commentary on Genesis, an Unfinished Book), this time concentrating on the literal meaning. He abandoned the project because he found the exegetical difficulties insurmountable at that point in his life.[29] His third attempt in Confessions concentrated on the allegorical meaning. It was in his On the Literal Meaning of Genesis that Augustine finally managed to produce what he considered to be a satisfactory interpretation of Genesis 1-3. Books 11 & 12 of City of God, written shortly after the completion of The Literal Meaning, build upon its teaching and include some additional material on the rest of Genesis.[30] Scholars recognise three distinct influences on Augustine’s interpretation of Genesis: Manichee, Neoplatonist and Christian.[31] Apart from the Bible his Christian sources included Irenaeus, Origen, Tyconius, Basil of Caesarea, Ambrose of Milan. He also recommended the study of the Christian bestuary kniwn as thePhysiologus to students of Scripture.[32]

In The Literal Meaning Augustine states his intention to “discuss Sacred Scripture according to the plain meaning of historical facts, not according to future events which they foreshadow.”[33] It is therefore difficult for modern writers to understand, for example, how he can understand the days of Genesis 1 as not having taken place in time. The answer is that this is what Augustine believed to be the meaning intended by the author, or at the very least, a meaning that was consistent with the rest of Scripture.[34]

When we read the inspired books in the light of this wide variety of true doctrines which are drawn from a few words and founded on the firm basis of the Catholic belief, let us choose that one which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author. But if this is not clear, then at least we should choose an interpretation in keeping with the context of Scripture and in harmony with our faith. But if the meaning cannot be studied and judged by the context of Scripture, at least we should choose only that which our faith demands. For it is one thing to fail to recognise the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief. If both these difficulties are avoided, the reader gets full profit from his reading. Failing that, even though the writer’s intention is uncertain, one will find it useful to extract an interpretation in harmony with our faith.[35]

As Augustine’s theology developed he relied less and less on allegorical interpretation, but he never entirely abandoned it.[36] It was far too useful a tool in resolving biblical problems.[37] For him Scripture had at least two meanings, the historical and the allegorical.[38] The greatest challenge that he faced was to discover the literal meaning of the text.[39] He warned Christians to be very careful in attributing some idea about the physical world to Scripture that could not be supported by natural science in case they brought scorn upon the biblical writers from intelligent pagans.[40]

Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation

Augustine claimed that he discussed the creation and the fall basing his arguments upon Scripture or what he could infer from scriptural statements[41] within the guidelines provided by the Rule of Faith.[42] In reality his interpretations often reflect an uncritical acceptance of the opinions of his day and “his own recurrent preoccupation with strictly philosophical problems.”[43] William A. Christian comments that:

Augustine’s thought about the creation of the world amounts to a searching and persistent exploration rather than a finished theory. And it is not surprising that we find, in his writings on the subject, unresolved tensions, unsolved problems, and constant confessions of mystery.[44]

Augustine believed that God created all things ex nihilo,[45] instantaneously.[46] He identified “in the beginning” with the beginning of time[47] which is considered one of his most valuable contributions to the doctrine of creation.[48] By coining this theory Augustine cut the ground from under the Manichees, who asked “What was God doing before he created the world?”[49] If time was created with the world then such temporal questions become meaningless, because you cannot have a time before time existed![50] Augustine based his doctrine on Sirach 18:1 which reads “He who lives forever created all things together” in the Old Latin and Vulgate.[51] The NRSV of this verse reads: “He who lives forever created the whole universe", so his argument is based on a mistranslation of an apocryphal book, which Augustine apparently accepted as inspired.[52]

Creation in Three Acts

In his exegesis of Genesis Augustine recognises three acts of creation. The first, the plan of everything in the mind of God,[53] in the second (Gen. 1:1 - 2:4) of the creation of everything instantaneously in the form of seminal principles. The final act (Gen. 2:5 onwards) describes God’s works within time which we now experience in which the principles became this world and its creatures.[54] The creation of man took place as part of God’s third act,[55] as did the making of Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.[56] However, even this formation of Eve from a rib was part of the seminal principles created during God’s second act.[57]

It is probable that Augustine derived his concept of seminal principles from Stoic and Pythagorean teaching. They believed that every living thing is derived from seeds and that from these tiny particles the fully grown plant or animal developed. The seeds created in the beginning were not the same as those observed now, being far smaller.[58] Closely linked with this is Augustine’s acceptance the widely held belief in the spontaneous generation of such creatures as flies, bees and frogs.[59] Such a belief required that both living and dead matter contain these seeds, from which these creatures sprang.

With regard to certain very small forms of animal life, there is a question as to whether they were produced in the first creatures or were a later product of the corruption of perishable beings. For most of them came forth from the diseased parts or the excrement or vapors of living bodies or from the corruption of corpses; some also from decomposed trees and plants, others from rotting fruit.… it is absurd to say that they were created when the animals were created, except in the sense that there was present from the beginning in all living bodies a natural power, and, I might say, there were interwoven with these bodies the seminal principles of animals later to appear, which would spring from the decomposing bodies, each according to its kind and with its special properties, by the wonderful power of the immutable Creator who moves all His creatures.[60]

The seminal principles developed into everything we now know in the visible universe over a period of six ‘days’. In his earlier work Augustine maintained that these were literal 24 hour days,[61] but later in his Literal Meaning of Genesis he changed his view.[62] The days of Genesis 1 are for not Augustine temporal periods at all, but a way of describing creation as revealed to the angels.[63] Six days are described, not because he needed that length of time, but because six is the first perfect number.[64] “The story of the six days is a dramatic representation of what took place at once as a whole.”[65] Augustine even suggests a logical framework for the six days, based on the numbers which make up the number 6 (1, 2 and 3)[66] as shown in Table 2 below:


Table 2: Augustine’s “Framework” Interpretation of Genesis 1

Day Work
1 Creation of Light
2 & 3 Creation of heaven and earth
4, 5 & 6 Creation of visible beings in heaven and earth


He admits that there may be a better interpretation of the meaning of the passage, but admits that after years of study he has been unable to find it. To those who disagree with him he wishes God’s help in finding the true meaning.[67] The light that God created in the beginning before the sun and moon refers to the creation of the angels.[68] The darkness refers to the evil of the angels who were to sin. This explains why God did not say of the darkness “that it was good.”[69] Augustine argues that when the Scripture says that there is water above the firmament (Gen. 1:7) this refers to water vapour and not to water in its liquid form, because the air would be unable to support it.[70] The waters are present in the form of ice crystals, located above the planets, which orbit the earth.[71] Augustine does not follow Plato’s theory that man’s pre-eminence in creation is evidenced by his upright stance, or by differences in the way that God made animals and man:

We should not pay any attention to the theory of those who think that man is the principal work of God on the ground that God spoke and the other creatures were made, whereas He Himself made man. Man’s pre-eminence lies in the fact that God made him in His own image.[72]

He asks what has now become of the spring of water that waters the whole earth (Gen. 2:6)?[73] Like Jerome Augustine did not consider that the Flood might have changed the geography of the world. He translated Genesis 2:15 as “The Lord God took the man whom He made and placed him in Paradise to cultivate him (that is, to work in him) and to guard him.”[74] In so doing he solved to his satisfaction the problem of identifying what Adam was guarding the garden from, but he is hardly being true to the meaning of the text. He considered that the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil were real trees,[75] and the four rivers, real rivers, identified with he was familiar.[76]

In an interesting passage (directed to those who rejected the idea that the account of Eden referred to a real place) Augustine replied that just because something can have a spiritual meaning this does not automatically rule out a literal one. Such reasoning would also mean that Hagar and Sarah were not real people because Paul allegorised their story in Galatians 4:22-31![77] He then goes on to suggest several allegorical interpretations of Eden. He concludes: “There is no prohibition against such exegesis, provided that we also believe in the truth of the story as a faithful record of historical fact.”[78]

The Creation of Man and the Fall

Likewise Augustine outlined the literal meaning of the account of the creation of man:

Thus God made man in his image, by crafting for him a soul of such a kind that because of it he surpassed all living creatures, on earth, in the sea, and in the sky, in virtue of reason and intelligence; for no other creature had a mind like that. God fashioned man out of the dust of the earth and gave him a soul of the kind I have described.… He then took a bone from his side and made a wife[79] to help him to beget children.[80]

He goes on to say that God did not shape man with physical hands, a belief that could lead some to discount the account as a fable. Instead of this man is said to have been formed by God’s power.[81] Augustine argues on the basis of Jesus’ miracle at the wedding in Cana, and Aaron’s rod becoming a serpent that God does not require time to allow things to mature when he creates them. Therefore, when Adam sprang from the seminal principles he was instantly an adult.[82] The only sensible literal interpretation of God’s walking in the garden is that the Father took human form and spoke with man.[83]

The serpent was the Devil’s mouthpiece which he used to deceive the woman. Adam was not deceived, but deliberately choose to sin in order not to be separated from Eve.[84] The serpent was an animal indwelt by the Devil.[85] The serpent had no understanding of what it was doing,[86] its craftiness not being due to its own intelligence, but to the Devil.[87] Because he interprets the serpent in this way Augustine is forced to spiritualise the curse on the serpent as applying to the Devil, and not to an animal.[88] He refers his readers to his figurative interpretation already set down in his Commentary Against the Manichees.[89]

Adam was created mortal, but was able not to die because he had access to the Tree of Life. When he sinned man lost his right to eat from the Tree and so eventually died.[90] Adam’s sin led to spiritual death, to physical mortality, and to a separation from God.[91] If he had not sinned he would have become immortal.[92] Contrary to the teaching of many of his predecessors[93] Augustine believed that Adam and Eve would have had children in Eden if they had not sinned,[94] and pointed out that marriage and the command to increase and multiply were given before that fall.[95] He rejected attempts to make ‘male’ and ‘female’ mean anything different than they meant to his readers[96] and noted that without children there would be no more believers.[97] The world in which we now live is fallen, and poisonous and fruitless plants are part of God’s punishment of man.[98]

Augustine had at one point in his life held to the Platonic idea that when man fell he received a physical body.[99] By the time he wrote The Literal Meaning of Genesis he believed that Adam had been created of flesh and blood.[100] This led him to criticise Origen’s cosmology:

Again, Origen (and all who think with him) should have seen that if there were truth in the idea that the purpose of the world’s creation was that souls should be enclosed in bodies, as in prisons, in accordance with their just deserts, the minor offenders receiving higher and lighter bodies, the greater sinners lower and heavier, then the demons, as the worst characters ought to have the lowest and heaviest bodies, earthly bodies, that is. Whereas in fact such bodies are the lot of men, even of good men. But as it is, so that we may realize that the worth of a soul is not to be measured by the quality of its body, the worst of the demons has been given a body of air, while man has a body of clay, and man, though evil, is guilty of wickedness far less serious than he Devil’s; and besides, he had that body even before he sinned.[101]

There were those in Augustine’s day who believed that the world had always existed. Faced with the problem of stories that attributed inventions to various historical characters pagan historians argued that natural disasters periodically reduced mankind to a handful of survivors. These survivors then rebuilt their society. Augustine’s response was to declare that such stories were fictional.[102] The idea that there have been numerous worlds is given even shorter shift, for in that case man himself would have to be spontaneously generated from the newly re-formed world (together with all the animals) each time the world was destroyed.[103] He expended considerable energy in refuting this idea of cyclical worlds proposed by Origen and other Platonists in order to remove objections to the idea that the human race had a beginning.[104] Augustine accepted that the Scriptures taught that the world is less than 6,000 years old.[105] He pointed out that the chronologies of the Greeks and the Egyptians differed from each other by thousands of years. Even if one accepted the theory that the Egyptian ‘year’ at one time lasted four months the figures still do not match. The Greek chronology is more likely to be correct, he says, because it is not too different from that derived from the Bible.[106]

Answering the old chestnut about how the descendants of Adam found wives he writes:

After the first sexual union between the man, created from dust, and his wife, created from the man’s side, the human race needed, for its reproduction and increase, the conjunction of males and females, and the only human beings in existence were those who had been born from those two parents. Therefore, men took their sisters as wives. This was, of course, a completely decent procedure under the pressure of necessity, it became completely reprehensible in later times, when it was forbidden by religion.[107]

Commenting on Cain’s city (Gen. 4:17) Augustine answers those who question how one man could achieve such a task, as, according to Scripture, only three men were alive when he established it. The solution is straightforward: Scripture does not give a complete list of all those born.[108] He accepts the pre-diluvian longevity recorded in Scripture and uses it to explain how the human population could rise so quickly.[109] Not only were those who lived before the flood long-lived,[110] but they were of great size. In support of this Augustine described how he himself found a human (?) molar on the shore of Utica 100 times larger than one of his and noted the discoveries of giant’s tombs, citing Virgil as his source.[111] He notes the ingenious ways in which some attempt to explain away the long life spans, suggesting years of different lengths or dividing the spans by ten. No, he writes, the years were for the pre-diluvians the same as they are for us (the time of one revolution of the sun),[112] as are lunar months and 24 hour days.[113] Some also questioned the age at which the pre-diluvians were recorded as having their first child. Augustine suggests two explanations:

Either sexual development was then later, in proportion to the greater length of the whole life, or (and this, in my view, is more probable) it is not the first-born children who are mentioned here, but those needed for the order of succession to arrive at Noah.[114]

Differences between the Latin translation carried out by Jerome (the Vulgate), the Greek Septuagint[115] and the Hebrew text of Genesis sometimes caused Augustine problems. How, for instance, can one explain how Methuselah lived 14 years after the flood (according to the Latin translation)? For him the answer was simple - the Septuagint translation was wrong. For some pious believers questioning the translation was beyond the pale. The text must be right - so Methusaleh must have been snatched up to be with Enoch during the flood, and then set down again when it was over![116] Augustine rules that on difficult textual points the Hebrew text should be taken as the final authority.[117]

Augustine’s thesis throughout City of God is that the human race is divided between two cities, the City of Earth and the City of Heaven. It is natural then that he see the line of Cain as belonging to the former and that of Seth to the latter.[118] This leads him to conclude that the ‘Sons of God’ (Gen. 6:1-4) where therefore Sethites, and the ‘daughters of men’, Cainite women.[119] The 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3 refers to the length of time remaining until the Flood came.[120]

The Flood

Augustine held that the account of the Flood was historical, but added that it should also be interpreted allegorically, as referring to Christ and to the Church.[121] He then goes on to defend the historicity of the ark and the world-wide extent of the Flood. He concludes:

...no one, however stubborn, will venture to imagine that this narrative was written without an ulterior purpose; and it could not plausibly be said that the events, though historical, have no symbolic meaning, or that the account is not factual, but merely symbolical, or that the symbolism has nothing to do with the Church. No; we must believe that the writing of this historical record had a wise purpose, that the events are historical, that they have a symbolic meaning, and that this meaning gives a prophetic picture of the Church.[122]

Likewise the account of Noah’s family is referred to as a historical narrative which can be interpreted spiritually.[123] Augustine believed that Noah did not need to catch the animals, they came to him at God’s command,[124] but the redistribution of the animals in the ark to the remote islands presented him with a problem. He made several suggestions: some arrived by swimming, some were taken by men in ships, others could have been transported by angels. He appears to settle on an explanation that involves the animals being spontaneously generated from the earth in their new locations - as they were in the beginning (he says). Therefore, he argues

...all species were in the ark not so much for the purpose of restoring the animal population as with a view of typifying the various nations, thus presenting a symbol of the Church. This must be the explanation, if the earth produced many animals on islands to which they could not cross.[125]

On the existence of the antipodes Augustine is sceptical. He did not dismiss the idea that the earth is spherical. Indeed, he specifically referred to it as a globe,[126] but found no evidence in Scripture for a race of men living on the other side of the world. The journey to that region, even if there is land there, would prove to be too great.[127] He did hold to the existence of dragons, which might well be an indirect references to accounts of saurians as some modern creationists have also argued:

Dragons, it is said, being without feet, lurk in caves and move through the air, and although it is not easy to see them, there is mention of such beasts in the works of pagan writers as well as in our own sacred works.[128]

Finally, the languages of the world are explained by the events at Babel:

We know, of course, that there was originally just one language before man in his pride built the tower after the flood and caused human society to be divided according to different languages. And whatever the original language was, what point is there in trying to discover it?[129]

References

  1. John Burnaby & the Editors, "Augustine," Enyclopedia Britannca, Macropedia, Vol. 14, 15th edn. (1993): 397. B. Struder, "Creation," Angelo D. Bernardino, ed. Encyclopaedia of the Early Church, Vol. 1. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1992. Struder notes that western theology based its doctrine of creation upon the works of Augustine.
  2. Justo L. González, Faith & Wealth: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. p.214; Burnaby & the Editors, 400.
  3. Written by Bishop Possidius of Calama. W.G. Rusch, The Later Latin Fathers. London: Duckworth, 1977. p.105.
  4. Burnaby, p.398.
  5. Rusch, p.110. See further: A. Craig Troxel, "What Did Augustine 'Confess' in His Confessions," Trinity Journal 15.2 (1994): 163-179.
  6. The best (in the opinion of W.H.C. Frend) is that of Peter Brown: Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. London: Faber & Faber, 1967.
  7. Augustine, Confessions, 2.3.5 (Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers [NPNF], 2nd series, Vol. 1, p.56).
  8. Robert M. Grant, Miracle and Natural Law in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Thought. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Co., 1952. p.148.
  9. Brown, Augustine, p.42.
  10. The Manichees divided their members between the elite 'Elect' and the 'hearers'.
  11. Jack Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989. p.286.
  12. Augustine, Confessions, 5.5.8 (NPNF, 2nd series, Vol. 1, 81-82).
  13. Finegan, pp.293-294.
  14. Augustine, Confessions, 5.11.21 (NPNF, 1st series Vol. 1, 87). Augustine points out that when pressed they were unable to produce uncorrupted copies.
  15. Burnaby, p.397.
  16. Augustine, Confessions, 3.10.18 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.66).
  17. Augustine, Confessions, 5.10.20; R.S. Pine-Coffin, trans. Saint Augustine Confessions, 1961. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975. p.104..
  18. Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976. p.114: "Manichees were secretive and had their own personal networks of contacts. That was one chief reason why they were hated by all established regimes."
  19. Augustine, Confessions, 5.13.23 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.88).
  20. Brown, Augustine, p.95: "Ambrose, who had read Plotinus, patently ransacked his author: it is possible to trace literal borrowings from Plotinus in the bishop's sermons."
  21. Augustine, Confessions, 6.4.6 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.92).
  22. Augustine, Confessions, 5.14.24 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.88).
  23. Augustine, Confessions, 6.5.7-8 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.93).
  24. Augustine, On Genesis. Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees and On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book, Fathers of the Church, Volume 84. Roland Teske, S.J., translator, Washington, D.C.; The Catholic University of America Press, 1991. p.14.
  25. See Augustine, Confessions, 8.12.28-30 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, 127).
  26. Augustine, Confessions, 1.13.20-1.14.23 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, 52-53).
  27. See the translation by Teske cited above.
  28. Augustine, Literal 8.2.5;. John H. Taylor, translator, "St Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis," Johannes Quasten, Walter J. Burghardt & Thomas C. Lawler, eds. Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation, No. 42. New York: Newman Press, 1982. p.35. Brackets mine.
  29. Augustine, Revisions, 1.17; Saint Augustine, The Retractions. trans. Mar Inez Bogan. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1968. p.76.
  30. Taylor, pp.1-7.
  31. Alfred Warren Matthews, The Development of Augustine From Neoplatonism to Christianity 386-391. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1980. p.135.
  32. Augustine, Doctrine 2.24.
  33. Augustine, Literal 1.17.34 (Taylor, No. 41, p.39).
  34. Augustine, Literal 8.2.5 (Taylor, No. 42, p.36).
  35. Augustine, Literal 1.21.41 (Taylor, No. 41,p.45).
  36. Leslie W.Barnard, "To Allegorize or not to Allegorize?" Studia Theologica 36 (1982): 3-4.
  37. J. Barton Payne, "Biblical Problems and Augustine's Allegorizing," Westminster Theological Journal 14 (1976): 53.
  38. Augustine, Literal, 1.1.1; Taylor, No. 41, p.19.
  39. Augustine, Literal 1.1.2; Taylor, No. 41, pp.19-20.
  40. Augustine, Literal 1.19.38-39 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.42-43).
  41. Augustine, City, 15.1; St. Augustine, Concerning the City of God Against the Pagans, trans. Henry Bettenson, 1972. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984. p.595.
  42. Augustine, City, 15.7 (Bettenson, p.603).
  43. Brown, p.276.
  44. William A. Christian, "Augustine On The Creation Of The World," Harvard Theological Review 46 (1953): 24.
  45. Augustine, Unfinished, 1.2; 4.14 (Teske, pp.146, 153) Manichees, 1.6.10 (Teske, pp.57-58); Literal 1.14.8-1.15.29 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.35-36); Confessions, 12.7.7 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.177); City, 12.1 (Bettenson, p.472).
  46. Augustine, Literal 1.14.28-29; 6.6.9 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.35-36, 183-184).
  47. One of the favourite questions of the Manichees was apparently "What was God doing before he created the world." By saying that time began with the universe Augustine cut the ground from under them, because there can be, by definition, no "before" before the commencement of time! Armstrong, History, pp.402-403.
  48. Struder.
  49. Augustine, Manichees, 1.2.3 (Teske, p.49).
  50. Augustine, Confessions, 11.30.40 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 1, p.174).
  51. Augustine, Literal 4.33.53 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.142, 254 n. 69). Chris Gousmett, "Creation Order and Miracle according to Augustine," Evangelical Quarterly 60 (1988): 227: "This is one of a number of places where Augustine's exegesis is adversely affected by the quality of the translation he was using."
  52. Augustine, Doctrine, 2.8.13 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 2, p.539). See further F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP, 1988. p.95
  53. Augustine, Literal 5.12.28; 5.13.29 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.163, 164). These are analogous to Plato's forms, that is the plan to which God made the created things.
  54. Augustine, Literal 5.11.27-28 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.162-163).
  55. Augustine, Literal 6.3.4 (Taylor, No. 41, p.180).
  56. Augustine, Literal 6.5.7 (Taylor, No. 41, p.182).
  57. Augustine, Literal 6.5.8-5.6.11 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.183-185).
  58. Eugene Teselle, Augustine the Theologian. London: Burns & Oates, 1970. pp.217-218; Gousmett, pp.219-222.
  59. Augustine, City, 15.27; 16.8 (Bettenson, pp.647, 660).
  60. Augustine, Literal 3.14.22, 23 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.89-90).
  61. Augustine, Manichees, 1.14.20 (Teske, pp.68-69).
  62. Augustine, Literal, 4.26.43 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.133-134).
  63. Augustine, Unfinished, 11.34 (Teske, p.170); Literal 4.22.39 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.129-131).
  64. Because it is the first number that is the sum of its parts (1 + 2 + 3). Augustine, Literal 4.2.2, 6; 4.7.14 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.104, 106, 112); City, 11.30 (Bettenson, p.465).
  65. Christian, p.5.
  66. Augustine, Literal 2.13.27; 4.3.7 (Taylor, No. 41, 64-65, 107-108).
  67. Augustine, Literal 4.28.45 (Taylor, No. 41, p.136).
  68. Augustine, Unfinished, 5.21 (Teske, p.158); Literal 2.8.16-19 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.56-58); City, 11.7, 9, 32-33 (Bettenson, pp.436-440, 466-469).
  69. Augustine, City, 11.19-20 (Bettenson, pp.450-451).
  70. Augustine, Literal 2.4.8 (Taylor, No. 41, p.51).
  71. Augustine, Literal 2.5.9 (Taylor, No. 41, p.52). Augustine writes in his Unfinished Commentary 8.29 that this is not his own idea. Teselle, p.207.
  72. Augustine, Literal 6.12.21 (Taylor, No. 41, p.192).
  73. Augustine, Literal 5.7.20 (Taylor, No. 41, p.158).
  74. Augustine, Literal 8.12.27 (Taylor, No. 42, p.52). Brackets in original.
  75. Augustine, Literal 8.4.8 - 8.6.12 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.38-42).
  76. Augustine, Literal 8.7.13-14 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.42-44).
  77. Augustine, City, 13.21 (Bettenson, p.534).
  78. Augustine, City, 13.21 (Bettenson, p.535).
  79. Augustine, City, 12.22 (Bettenson, pp.502-503).
  80. Augustine, City, 12.24 (Bettenson, pp.503-504).
  81. Augustine, City, 12.24 (Bettenson, p.504).
  82. Augustine, Literal 6.13.23-24 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.194-195).
  83. Augustine, Literal 11.34.45 (Taylor, No. 42, p.167); Trinity, 2.10.17-18 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 3, p.62).
  84. Augustine, City, 14.12 (Bettenson, pp.569-570).
  85. Augustine, Literal 11.2.4; 11.27.34 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.135-136, 159).
  86. Augustine, Literal 11.28.35 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.159-160).
  87. Augustine, Literal 11.29.36 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.160-161).
  88. Augustine, Literal 11.36.49 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.170-171).
  89. Augustine, Manichees 2.17.26-2.18.28 (Teske, pp.121-123).
  90. Augustine, Literal 6.25.36 (Taylor, No. 41, pp.204-205).
  91. Augustine, City, 13.12-15 (Bettenson, pp.522-524); Augustine, Trinity, 13.12.16 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 3, pp.175-176).
  92. Augustine, City, 12.22; 13.1, 3 (Bettenson, pp.502, 510, 512).
  93. Pacé Gregory of Nyssa, On the Creation of Man 17 (NPNF, 2nd series, Vol. 5, pp.406-407); John Chrysostom, Homily on Genesis 18:4; On Virginity 14:5-6.
  94. Augustine, Marriage 2 (NPNF, 1st series, Vol. 3, pp.399-400).
  95. Gen. 1:28; Augustine, Literal 9.3.6 (Taylor, No. 42, pp.73-74); City, 14.21-22 (Bettenson, pp.583-585).
  96. Augustine, City, 14.22 (Bettenson, p.584).
  97. Augustine, City, 14.23 (Bettenson, p.585); Augustine, Marriage, 2; Revisions, 1.10.2; 1.12.8 (Bogan, pp.46, 56)
  98. Augustine, Manichees, 1.13.19 (Teske, p.67).
  99. Augustine, Manichees, 2.19.29 (Teske, pp.123-124).
  100. Brown, p.327.
  101. Augustine, City, 11.23 (Bettenson, p.456).
  102. Augustine, City, 12.10 (Bettenson, pp.483-484).
  103. Augustine, City, 12.12 (Bettenson, pp.485-486).
  104. Augustine, City, 12.18, 21 (Bettenson, pp.494-496, 498-502).
  105. Augustine, City, 12.11, 13 (Bettenson, pp.484, 486).
  106. Augustine, City, 12.11 (Bettenson, pp.484-485).
  107. Augustine, City, 15.16 (Bettenson, p.623).
  108. Augustine, City, 15.8 (Bettenson, p.607).
  109. Augustine, City, 15.9 (Bettenson, p.609).
  110. Augustine admits that he cannot support this with evidence outside Scripture, but is content to rely on its testimony. City, 15.9 (Bettenson, p.610).
  111. Augustine, City, 15.9 (Bettenson, pp.609-610); Virgil, Georgias, 1, 4, 93-97. Later writers suspected that what the tooth that Augustine found actually belonged to an elephant. See Sir Henry H. Howorth, The Mammoth and the Flood: An Attempt to Confront the Theory of Uniformity with the Facts of Recent Geology. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1887. p.30.
  112. Augustine believed that the earth was stationary and that the sun and the planets orbited it.
  113. Augustine, City, 15.14 (Bettenson, pp.618-620).
  114. Augustine, City, 15.15 (Bettenson, p.620); cf. also 15.20 (Bettenson, pp.631-632).
  115. From Augustine's account it would appear that in pious folklore the LXX had achieved 'Inspired Translation' status, much the same as the King James Version has today in some circles. Augustine, City, 15.13; Bettenson, pp.615-616. See further: James R. White, The King James Version Only Controversy: Can We Trust the Modern Translations. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1995.
  116. Augustine, City, 15.11 (Bettenson, p.612).
  117. Augustine, City, 15.13 (Bettenson, p.618.
  118. Augustine, City, 15.15,) 17, 20-22 (Bettenson, pp.621, 626, 630-637).
  119. Augustine, City, 15.23 (Bettenson, pp.637-642).
  120. Augustine, City, 15.24 (Bettenson, p.642).
  121. Augustine, City, 15.27 (Bettenson, p.645).
  122. Augustine, City, 15.27 (Bettenson, p.648).
  123. Augustine, City, 16.2 (Bettenson, p.652).
  124. Augustine, City, 15.27 (Bettenson, p.647).
  125. Augustine, City, 16.7 (Bettenson, p.661).
  126. Augustine, Literal 2.13.27 (Taylor, No. 41, p.64).
  127. Augustine, City, 16.9 (; Bettenson, p.664).
  128. Augustine, Literal 3.9.13 (Taylor, No. 41, p.83). Augustine's belief that the Scriptures refer to dragons is based on a mistranslation of the words for jackals, serpents and crocodiles, a mistake perpetuated by the King James Version.
  129. Augustine, Literal 9.12.20 (Taylor, No. 42, p.84).

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