On Genesis

On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees and On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 84)

Translated by Roland J. Teske
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 211
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  • Book Info
    On Genesis
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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1184-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-44)

    During the many years of his writing career Saint Augustine undertook an explanation of the beginning of the Book of Genesis at least five times.¹ The first of these, On Genesis against the Manichees (De Genesi contra Manichaeos), was written in 388 or 389, shortly after his return to Africa and before his ordination to the priesthood. The second attempt, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book (De Genesi ad litteram imperfecttus liber), was written about 393; that it remains incomplete bears witness to Augustine’s inability to offer a literal interpretation of the text. A third time, in...

  6. Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees
    • BOOK ONE
      (pp. 47-90)

      If the Manichees would choose those whom they would lead astray, we too would choose our words to reply to them. But they pursue both the learned with their letters and the unlearned with their error, and they attempt to turn men away from the truth while they promise the truth.¹ Hence, their vanity must be refuted by the plain facts, not by an elegant and polished discourse. For I was pleased by the opinion of some truly Christian men who, though they had been well trained in the liberal arts, nonetheless saw, when they read the other books we...

    • BOOK TWO
      (pp. 91-142)

      After the enumeration and exposition of the seven days, there is inserted a sort of conclusion, and the entire previous account is called the book of the creation of heaven and earth, although it is a small part of the book. It deserved to be called this because a brief image of the whole world from the beginning to the end is prefigured in these seven days.¹ Then it begins to report about man with greater care.² This whole narrative unfolds, not clearly, but in figures so that it might exercise the minds of those seeking the truth and call...

    (pp. 143-188)

    It is not by way of assertion, but by way of inquiry that we have to treat the hidden matters concerning natural things which we know were made by God, their almighty maker. Especially in the books that the authority of God has commended to us, rashness in asserting an uncertain and doubtful opinion scarcely escapes the charge of sacrilege. Still, doubt in inquiry ought not exceed the bounds of the Catholic faith.¹ Since many heretics try to twist the exposition of the divine Scriptures to their own opinion which stands apart from the faith of the Catholic discipline, we...

  8. Indices