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

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

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

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

Excerpt

During the many years of his writing career Saint Augustine undertook an explanation of the beginning of the Book of Genesis at least five times. The first of these, On Genesis against the Manichees (De Genesi contra Manichaeos), was written in 388 or 389, shortly after his return to Africa and before his ordination to the priesthood. The second attempt, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book (De Genesi ad litteram imperfectus liber), was written about 393; that it remains incomplete bears witness to Augustine's inability to offer a literal interpretation of the text. A third time, in the final three books of his Confessions (Confessiones), Augustine once again takes up the exposition of the beginning of Genesis, presenting a highly figurative interpretation. Fourthly, there is his monumental work in twelve books, On Genesis Literally Interpreted (De Genesi ad litteram), which he began later than 404 and eventually published before his work On the Trinity (De trinitate) which was completed, it now seems, after 420. Finally he again turned to the beginning of the Book of Genesis in book eleven of The City of God (De civitate Dei) that was written by 417/8. This volume . . .

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