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

By St. Augustine; Roland J. S. J. Teske | Go to book overview

eyes for the contemplation of these things might know it? Did God make this division before the revolution of the lights so that only a few with a holy spirit and serene reason could see it? Or did God divide day and night from each other, that is, the beauty which he imposed upon that formlessness from the lack of form which still remained to be formed? Quite another is this day and night whose change is marked by the turn of heaven; it could not come about except by the rising and setting of the sun.


CHAPTER 13

38. "And to be as signs for times and for days and for years." 103. It seems to me that when Scripture said, "for times," it explained the words "as signs." We should not interpret the signs as something other than times. For Scripture is now speaking of these times that by their distinct intervals convey to us that eternity remains immutable above them so that time might appear as a sign, that is, as a vestige of eternity. 104. Likewise, when it adds, "and for days and for years," it shows of what times it is speaking. These days come about by the revolutions of the fixed stars, and there come about the obvious years when the sun completes its starry course, and the more obscure ones when each of the wandering stars completes its orbit. It did not say, "and for months," perhaps because the month is the moon's year, as twelve years of the moon is a year of that star which the Greeks call Phaethon, and thirty solar years are the year of that star which is called Phainōn. 105. It may be that when all the stars have come back to the same place, the great year is completed, about which many have said so much. 106. Or did it say, "as signs," to indicate those

____________________
103.
Gen 1.14.
104.
For time as a vestige or image of eternity, cf. Plato, Timaeus 37d7; Plotinus, Ennead 3.7.1; and DMu 6.11.29.
105.
Phaethon was the son of Helios, the god of the sun. Here Phaethon seems to be used for the sun; Phainōn was the planet Saturn.
106.
The great year was discussed by a number of Latin authors; cf. Macrobius, Somnium Scipionis 2.11 and Cicero, De natura deorum 2.20.

-173-

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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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