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 TWO

He continues the exposition of Genesis from verse four of chapter two, "This is the book of the creation of heaven and earth," and so on, up to the verse in which Adam and Eve are thrown out of paradise. At the end he compares the teachings of the Church with the errors of the Manichees.


CHAPTER 1

The Recitation of Chapters Two and Three of Genesis

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 them from carnal labors to spiritual labor. 3.

____________________
1.
Hence, the many Hexaemera written in the patristic and medieval periods ; cf. DTC 6.2325-54. In fact, Augustine has just shown us in the last chapters of Book One how the six days prefigure the history of the world and the seventh our eternal rest in God. In speaking of Augustine's use of the beginning chapters of Genesis in the Confessions, O'Connell says, "We are reminded that the story of creation was, for the ancient Hexaemeral interpreters, a privileged locus for explaining the Christian 'theory of man' " (Odyssey, 20-21).
2.
Modern exegetes distinguish two accounts of creation: the Priestly account that begins with Gen 1.1 and runs through Gen 2.4a and the Yahwist account beginning with Gen 2.4b and running through the Fall. Augustine sees the first three chapters as a seamless whole—a view that raises many problems for a literal interpretation of the text.
3.
Unlike the first book, the narrative here as a whole 'unfolds not clearly,

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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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