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
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truth, there is nothing else from which pride wants to derive pleasure than fraudulent pretenses. From this there also arises the hypocrisy by which men think that they are very wise if they can deceive and beguile whomever they wish. For the woman gave to her man and they ate, and there were opened those eyes of theirs, of which we have just spoken. Then they saw that they were naked by perverted eyes to which that simplicity signified by the term, nakedness, seemed to be something to be ashamed of. And, so that they might no longer be simple, they made aprons for themselves from the leaves of the fig tree, 107. as if to cover their private parts, that is, to cover their simplicity, of which that cunning pride was ashamed. The leaves of the fig tree signify a certain itching, if this is correctly said in the case of incorporeal things, which the mind suffers in wondrous ways from the desire and pleasure of lying. 108. As a result those who love to joke are even called "salty" in Latin. 109. For in jokes pretense plays a primary role.


CHAPTER 16

The Meaning of Their Hiding and of God's
Walking and Questioning

24. Toward evening God was walking in paradise, 110. that is, he was coming to judge them. He was still walking in paradise before their punishment, that is, the presence of God still moved among them, when they no longer stood firm in his command. It is fitting [that he comes] toward evening, that is, when the sun was already setting for them, that is, when the interior light of the truth was being taken from them. They heard his voice and hid from his sight. Who

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107.
Cf. Gen 3.7.
108.
Augustine warns that talk of the itching of the fig leaves may be quite inappropriate to incorporeal beings in an incorporeal paradise.
109.
The Latin is salsi: 'salty' or 'briny,' but 'witty' or 'facetious' in a transferred sense.
110.
Cf. Gen 3.8.

-119-

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