Augustine: confessions

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Sophist, 236C-237B), but he clearly is deeply influenced here by Plotinus; cf. Enneads, II, 4:8f., where matter is analyzed as a substratum without quantity or quality; and 4:15: "Matter, then, must be described as to apeiron (the indefinite). . . . Matter is indeterminateness and nothing else." In short, materia informis is sheer possibility; not anything and not nothing!

463Dictare: was Augustine dictating his Confessions? It is very probable.

464Visibiles et compositas, the opposite of "invisible and unformed."

465Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8.

466De nihilo.

467Trina unitas.

468Cf. Gen. 1:6.

469Constat et non constat, the created earth really exists but never is self-sufficient.


471Ps. 42:3, 10.

472Cor. 13:12.

473Cf. Ecclus. 1:4.

4742 Cor. 5:21.

475Cf. Gal. 4:26.

4762 Cor. 5:1.

477Cf. Ps. 26:8.

478Ps. 119:176.

479To "the house of God."

480Cf. Ps. 28:1.

481Cubile, i.e., the heart.

482Cf. Rom. 8:26.

483The heavenly Jerusalem of Gal. 4:26, which had become a favorite Christian symbol of the peace and blessedness of heaven; cf. the various versions of the hymn "Jerusalem, My Happy Home" in Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, pp. 580-583. The original text is found in the Liber meditationum, erroneously ascribed to Augustine himself.

484Cf. 2 Tim. 2:14.

4851 Tim. 1:5.

486This is the basis of Augustine's defense of allegory as both legitimate and profitable in the interpretation of Scripture. He did not mean that there is a plurality of literal truths in Scripture but a multiplicity of perspectives on truth which amounted to different levels and interpretations of truth. This gave Augustine the basis for a positive tolerance of varying interpretations which did hold fast to the essential common premises about God's primacy as Creator; cf. M. Pontet, L'ExŽgse de Saint Augustin prŽdicateur (Lyons, 1944), chs. II and III.

487In this chapter, Augustine summarizes what he takes to be the Christian consensus on the questions he has explored about the relation of the intellectual and corporeal creations.

488Cf. 1 Cor. 8:6.

489Mole mundi.

490Cf. Col. 1:16.

491Gen. 1:9.

492Note how this reiterates a constant theme in the Confessions as a whole; a further indication that Bk. XII is an integral part of the single whole.

493Cf. De libero arbitrio, II, 8:20, 10:28.

494Cf. John 8:44.

495The essential thesis of the De Magistro; it has important implications both for Augustine's epistemology and for his theory of Christian nurture; cf. the De catechizandis rudibus.

4961 Cor. 4:6.

497Cf. Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; see also Matt. 22:37, 39.

498Cf. Rom. 9:21.

499Cf. Ps. 8:4.

501An echo of Job 39:13-16.

502The thicket denizens mentioned above.

503Cf. Ps. 143:10.

504Something of an understatement! It is interesting to note that Augustine devotes more time and space to these opening verses of Genesis than to any other passage in the entire Bible--and he never commented on the full text of Genesis. Cf. Karl Barth's 274 pages devoted to Gen., chs. 1;2, in the Kirchliche Dogmatik, III, I, pp. 103-377.

505Transition, in preparation for the concluding book (XIII), which undertakes a constructive resolution to the problem of the analysis of the mode of creation made here in Bk. XII.

506This is a compound--and untranslatable--Latin pun: neque ut sic te colam quasi terram, ut sis uncultus si non te colam.

507Cf. Enneads, I, 2:4: "What the soul now sees, it certainly always possessed, but as lying in the darkness. . . . To dispel the darkness and thus come to knowledge of its inner content, it must thrust toward the light." Compare the notions of the initiative of such movements in the soul in Plotinus and Augustine.

508Cf. 2 Cor. 5:21.

509Cf. Ps. 36:6 and see also Augustine's Exposition on the Psalms, XXXVI, 8, where he says that "the great preachers [receivers of God's illumination] are the mountains of God," for they first catch the light on their summits. The abyss he called "the depth of sin" into which the evil and unfaithful fall.

510Cf. Timaeus, 29D-30A, "He [the Demiurge-Creator] was good: and in the good no jealousy . . . can ever arise. So, being without jealousy, he desired that all things should come as near as possible to being like himself. . . . He took over all that is visible . . . and brought it from order to order, since he judged that order was in every way better" (F. M. Cornford, Plato's Cosmology, New York, 1937, p. 33). Cf. Enneads, V, 4:1, and Athanasius, On the Incarnation, III, 3.

511Cf. Gen. 1:2.

512Cf. Ps. 36:9.

513In this passage in Genesis on the creation.

514Cf. Gen. 1:6.

515Rom. 5:5.

5161 Cor. 12:1.

517Cf. Eph. 3:14, 19.

518Cf. the Old Latin version of Ps. 123:5.

519Cf. Eph. 5:8.

520Cf. Ps. 31:20.

521Cf. Ps. 9:13.

522The Holy Spirit.

523Canticum graduum. Psalms 119 to 133 as numbered in the Vulgate were regarded as a single series of ascending steps by which the soul moves up toward heaven; cf. The Exposition on the Psalms, loc. cit.

524Tongues of fire, symbol of the descent of the Holy Spirit; cf. Acts 2:3, 4.

525Cf. Ps. 122:6.

526Ps. 122:1.

527Cf. Ps. 23:6.

528Gen. 1:3.

529John 1:9.

530Cf. the detailed analogy from self to Trinity in De Trinitate, IX-XII.

531I.e., the Church.

532Cf. Ps. 39:11.

533Ps. 36:6.

534Gen. 1:3 and Matt. 4:17; 3:2.

535Cf. Ps. 42:5, 6.

536Cf. Eph. 5:8.

537Ps. 42:7.

538Cf. 1 Cor. 3:1.

539Cf. Phil. 3:13.

540Cf. Ps. 42:1.

541Ps. 42:2.

542Cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-4.

543Rom. 12:2.

5441 Cor. 14:20.

545Gal. 3:1.

546Eph. 4:8, 9.

547Cf. Ps. 46:4.

548Cf. John 3:29.

549Cf. Rom. 8:23.

550I.e., the Body of Christ.

5511 John 3:2.

552Ps. 42:3.

553Cf. Ps. 42:4.

554Ps. 43:5.

555Cf. Ps. 119:105.

556Cf. Rom. 8:10.

557Cf. S. of Sol. 2:17.

558Cf. Ps. 5:3.

559Ps. 43:5.

560Cf. Rom. 8:11.

5611 Thess. 5:5.

562Cf. Gen. 1:5.

563Cf. Rom. 9:21.

564Isa. 34:4.

565Cf. Gen. 3:21.

566Ps. 8:3.

567"The heavens," i.e. the Scriptures.

568Cf. Ps. 8:2.

569Legunt, eligunt, diligunt.

570Ps. 36:5.

571Cf. Matt. 24:35.

572Cf. Isa. 40:6-8.

573Cf. 1 John 3:2.

574Retia, literally "a net"; such as those used by retiarii, the gladiators who used nets to entangle their opponents.

575Cf. S. of Sol. 1:3, 4.

5761 John 3:2.

577Cf. Ps. 63:1.

578Ps. 36:9.

579Amaricantes, a figure which Augustine develops both in the Exposition of the Psalms and The City of God. Commenting on Ps. 65, Augustine says: "For the sea, by a figure, is used to indicate this world, with its bitter saltiness and troubled storms, where men with perverse and depraved appetites have become like fishes devouring one another." In The City of God, he speaks of the bitterness of life in the civitas terrena; cf. XIX, 5.

580Cf. Ps. 95:5.

581Cf. Gen. 1:10f.

582In this way, Augustine sees an analogy between the good earth bearing its fruits and the ethical "fruit-bearing" of the Christian love of neighbor.

583Cf. Ps. 85:11.

584Cf. Gen. 1:14.

585Cf. Isa. 58:7.

586Cf. Phil. 2:15.

587Cf. Gen. 1:19.

588Cf. 2 Cor. 5:17.

589Cf. Rom. 13:11, 12.

590Ps. 65:11.

591For this whole passage, cf. the parallel developed here with 1 Cor. 12:7-11.

592In principio diei, an obvious echo to the Vulgate ut praesset diei of Gen. 1:16. Cf. Gibb and Montgomery, p. 424 (see Bibl.), for a comment on in principio diei and in principio noctis, below.

593Sacramenta; but cf. Augustine's discussion of sacramenta in the Old Testament in the Exposition of the Psalms, LXXIV, 2: "The sacraments of the Old Testament promised a Saviour; the sacraments of the New Testament give salvation."

594Cf. 1 Cor. 3:1; 2:6.

595Isa. 1:16.

596Isa. 1:17.

597Isa. 1:18.

598Cf. for this syntaxis, Matt. 19:16-22 and Ex. 20:13-16.

599Cf. Matt. 6:21.

600I.e., the rich young ruler.

601Cf. Matt. 13:7.

602Cf. Matt. 97 Reading here, with Knšll and the Sessorianus, in firmamento mundi.

603Cf. Isa. 52:7.

604Perfectorum. Is this a conscious use, in a Christian context, of the distinction he had known so well among the Manicheans--between the perfecti and the auditores?

605Ps. 19:2.

606Cf. Acts 2:2, 3.

607Cf. Matt. 5:14, 15.

608Cf. Gen. 1:20.

609Cf. Jer. 15:19.

610Ps. 19:4.

611That is, the Church.

612An allegorical ideal type of the perfecti in the Church.

6131 Cor. 14:22.

614The fish was an early Christian rebus for "Jesus Christ." The Greek word for fish, icquz, was arranged acrostically to make the phrase Ihsouz Cristos, Qeou Uioz, Swthr; cf. Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, pp. 673f.; see also Cabrol, Dictionnaire d'archŽologie chrŽtienne, Vol. 14, cols. 1246-1252, for a full account of the symbolism and pictures of early examples.

615Cf. Ps. 69:32.

616Cf. Rom. 12:2.

617Cf. 1 Tim. 6:20.

618Gal. 4:12.

619Cf. Ecclus. 3:19.

620Rom. 1:20.

621Rom. 12:2.

622Gen. 1:26.

623Rom. 12:2 (mixed text).

624Cf. 1 Cor. 2:15.

6251 Cor. 2:14.

626Cf. Ps. 49:20.

627Cf. James 4:11.

628See above, Ch. XXI, 30.

629I.e., the Church.

630Cf. 1 Cor. 14:16.

631Another reminder that, ideally, knowledge is immediate and direct.

632Here, again, as in a coda, Augustine restates his central theme and motif in the whole of his "confessions": the primacy of God, His constant creativity, his mysterious, unwearied, unfrustrated redemptive love. All are summed up in this mystery of creation in which the purposes of God are announced and from which all Christian hope takes its premise.

633That is, from basic and essentially simple ideas, they proliferate multiple--and valid--implications and corollaries.

634Cf. Rom. 3:4.

635Cf. Gen. 1:29, 30.

636Cf. 2 Tim. 1:16.

6372 Tim. 4:16.

638Cf. Ps. 19:4.

639Phil. 4:10 (mixed text).

640Phil. 4:11-13.

641Phil. 4:14.

642Phil. 4:15-17.

643Phil. 4:17.,

644Cf. Matt. 10:41, 42.

645Idiotae: there is some evidence that this term was used to designate pagans who had a nominal connection with the Christian community but had not formally enrolled as catechumens. See Th. Zahn in Neue kirkliche Zeitschrift (1899), pp. 42-43.

646Gen. 1:31.

647A reference to the Manichean cosmogony and similar dualistic doctrines of "creation."

6481 Cor. 2:11, 12.

649Rom. 5:5.

650Sed quod est, est. Note the variant text in Skutella, op. cit.: sed est, est. This is obviously an echo of the Vulgate Ex. 3:14: ego sum qui sum.

651Augustine himself had misgivings about this passage. In the Retractations, he says that this statement was made "without due consideration." But he then adds, with great justice: "However, the point in question is very obscure" (res autem in abdito est valde); cf. Retract., 2:6.

652See above, amaricantes, Ch. XVII, 20.

653Cf. this requiescamus in te with the requiescat in te in Bk. I, Ch. I.

654Cf. The City of God, XI, 10, on Augustine's notion that the world exists as a thought in the mind of God.

655Another conscious connection between Bk. XIII and Bks. I-X.

656This final ending is an antiphon to Bk. XII, Ch. I, 1 above.

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