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

labor on the earth and to have need of those clouds. But before sin God had made the green of the field and food, and we said that this expression signified the invisible creature. God watered it by an interior spring, speaking to its intellect, so that it did not receive words from the outside, as rain from the aforementioned clouds. Rather it was satisfied from its own spring, that is, by the truth flowing from its interior.


CHAPTER 5

The Spring Watering the Earth Taken Allegorically, and
What Pride Is

6. "For a spring came up," it says, "from the earth and watered the whole face of the earth." 22. [It came up] from that earth, of which Scripture said, "You are my hope, my portion in the land of the living." 23. When the soul was being watered by such a spring, it had not yet thrust forth its inmost parts through pride. For "the beginning of man's pride is to turn away from God." 24. And as it swelled out into external things through pride, the soul ceased to be watered by the inner spring. Hence, it is rightly mocked by the words of the prophet and told, "Why is earth and ashes proud? Because in its life it has thrust forth its inmost parts." 25. For what is it to be proud but to have abandoned the secret place of con‐

____________________
22.
Gen 2.6.
23.
Ps 141.6.
24.
Sir 10.14.
25.
Sir 10.9,10. Augustine is fond of the Scriptural description of the proud man "casting forth his innards." He links this "swelling" or "tumor" of pride with the body as a 'swelling' (tumor) (cf. DQ 14.24 and DVR 30.56) and with time as a distention of the soul; cf. C 11.29.39. As the soul swells with pride, it no longer receives watering from the inner fountain, but needs human words from the outside.

In R 1.10.3 Augustine says, "Also I seem to have incorrectly called those words prophetic which read, 'Why is earth and ashes proud?' (Sir 10.9), since they are not found in the book of an author whom we are certain should be called a prophet." Though Sirach is not in the strict sense called a prophet, the whole Old Testament is referred to as the Law and the prophets and was, moreover, regarded as prefiguring the New Testament.

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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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