On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, An Unfinished Book

By Saint Augustine; Roland J. S. J. Teske | Go to book overview

BOOK ONE

In this book he defends the beginning of Genesis against the attacks of the Manichees, starting from this verse of chapter one, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth," and continuing up to verse two of chapter two in which God is said to have rested on the seventh day.


CHAPTER 1

In Defense of the Old Law against the Manichees He Is Going to
Write in a Style Made Simpler So the Uneducated May Understand

OF 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 published against the Manichees, that the less educated understood them either not at all or only with difficulty. 2. They advised me in a friendly

____________________
1.
This was, of course, the case with Augustine who was lured into the Manichaean sect as an auditor by their promises of truth; cf. DUC 1.2.
2.
Prior to DGnM Augustine had written CA, DBV, DOR—all in 386, DI in 387, DMu in 387/90, DQ in 387/88, DME in 387/89 and part of DLA, which was begun in 388, but not completed until 395. It is not clear to which of these Augustine is referring. Augustine says in R 1.10.1 that he was on guard in his works prior to DGnM "to show that God who is supremely good and immutable is the creator of all mutable natures and that there is no evil nature or substance." However, he adds that DGnM was "explicitly published against [the Manichees] in defense of the Old Law which they attack with the impassioned zeal of their foolish error."

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On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, An Unfinished Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Fathers of the Church - A New Translation *
  • The Fathers of the Church - A New Translation *
  • On Genesis - Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees and on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: an Unfinished Book *
  • Contents *
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Select Bibliography xi
  • Introduction *
  • Introduction 3
  • Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees *
  • Book One 47
  • Chapter 1 47
  • Chapter 2 49
  • Chapter 3 52
  • Chapter 4 54
  • Chapter 5 56
  • Chapter 6 57
  • Chapter 7 58
  • Chapter 8 60
  • Chapter 9 62
  • Chapter 10 63
  • Chapter 11 64
  • Chapter 12 65
  • Chapter 13 66
  • Chapter 14 68
  • Chapter 15 71
  • Chapter 16 72
  • Chapter 17 74
  • Chapter 18 76
  • Chapter 19 77
  • Chapter 20 78
  • Chapter 21 80
  • Chapter 22 81
  • Chapter 23 83
  • Chapter 24 88
  • Chapter 25 89
  • Book Two 91
  • Chapter 1 91
  • Chapter 2 95
  • Chapter 3 96
  • Chapter 4 98
  • Chapter 5 99
  • Chapter 6 101
  • Chapter 7 102
  • Chapter 8 104
  • Chapter 9 107
  • Chapter 10 109
  • Chapter 11 111
  • Chapter 12 112
  • Chapter 13 114
  • Chapter 14 115
  • Chapter 15 117
  • Chapter 16 119
  • Chapter 17 121
  • Chapter 18 122
  • Chapter 19 123
  • Chapter 20 125
  • Chapter 21 126
  • Chapter 22 129
  • Chapter 23 131
  • Chapter 24 132
  • Chapter 25 134
  • Chapter 26 135
  • Chapter 27 137
  • Chapter 28 139
  • Chapter 29 140
  • On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book *
  • Chapter 1 145
  • Chapter 2 147
  • Chapter 3 148
  • Chapter 4 151
  • Chapter 5 156
  • Chapter 6 161
  • Chapter 7 163
  • Chapter 8 165
  • Chapter 9 167
  • Chapter 10 168
  • Chapter 11 169
  • Chapter 12 171
  • Chapter 13 173
  • Chapter 14 176
  • Chapter 15 179
  • Chapter 16 182
  • Indices *
  • General Index 191
  • Index of Holy Scripture 196
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