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

were made. But one who understands that the sun is elsewhere when we have night and that it is night elsewhere when we have the sun will look more deeply into the enumeration of these days.


CHAPTER 14

44. "And God said, 'Let the waters bring forth the reptiles with living souls and the flying things that fly over the earth beneath the firmament of the heaven.' And so it was done." 118. The animals that swim are called reptiles, because they do not walk with feet. Or is it because there are other animals that crawl on the earth below the water? There are in the water other winged things; there are, for instance, some fish that have scales, and others that do not, but use wings. One can wonder whether these should be counted among the flying things in this passage. There is some question as to why Scripture assigns the flying things to the water instead of the air. For we cannot interpret the text as referring only to those birds that are water fowl, such as divers and ducks and the like. For if it had meant only these, it would have mentioned the other birds elsewhere. Among the birds some are such strangers to water that they do not even drink. Perhaps Scripture called this air next to the earth "water" because it is found to be moist with dew even on the calmest nights and because it is gathered into clouds. A cloud is water, as all can see who have the chance to walk among the clouds in the mountains or even amid the fog in the fields. In such air the birds are said to fly. For they cannot fly in that higher and purer air, which is truly called air by everyone. For because of its thinness it does not support their weight. In that air they say that clouds do not gather and no stormy weather exists. Indeed where there is no wind, as on the peak of Mount Olympus, which is said to rise above the area of this humid air, we are

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118.
Gen 1.20. The translation of volatilia as 'flying things' is necessary here, because Augustine asks whether there are not other things that fly besides the birds.

-176-

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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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