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

timate some secret. 84. For was there a lack of mud from which the woman might be formed? Or, if the Lord wished, could he not have removed the rib from man while he was awake and without pain? Whether these things were said figuratively or were also done figuratively, they were not said or done this way without a purpose, but are clearly mysteries and sacraments, whether they are to be interpreted and understood in this manner as our weak intelligence is trying [to interpret them] or in some other better way which is still in accord with sound faith.


CHAPTER 13

The Spiritual Marriage in Man

18. As the master, the man gave a name to his woman, his inferior, and said, "Now this is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh." 85. "Bone from my bones" perhaps on account of fortitude. "Flesh from my flesh" on account of temperance. For these two virtues, we are taught, pertain to the lower part of the mind that the prudence of reason rules. 86. It said, "She will be called woman because she was taken from her man." 87. This derivation and interpretation of the name is not apparent in the Latin language. For we do not find any similarity between the word, 'woman' (mulier), and the word, 'man' (vir). But in the Hebrew language the expression is said to sound just as if one said: "She is called a virago because she was taken from her vir." For virago or rather virgo has some similarity with the word, vir, while mulier does not, but this is caused by the difference of languages. 88.

____________________
84.
Augustine is clear that in the historical sense a visible Eve was made from Adam's body while he slept. Yet what was done is figurative of something else.
85.
Gen 2.23.
86.
This doctrine is found in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics 1102a28‐ 1102b34, though Augustine probably learned it from a Latin author, such as Cicero; cf. De officiis 1.102-103.
87.
Gen 2.23.
88.
In Hebrew the terms, 'man' and 'woman,' are 'ish and 'ishah. There is

-114-

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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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