NOTES

Notes to Introduction

  1. The name Aurelius Augustinus first appears in a work of his younger contemporary and friend, Paulus Orosius. Augustine himself is not known to have used this form.

  2. The name is apparently Punic in origin. There does not seem to be sufficient reason to abandon the traditional English spelling, Monica.

  3. Birth control is an instance.

  4. Both works are now lost.

  5. Cf. Plotinus, The Enneads, translated by Stephen MacKenna. Second edition revised by B. S. Page, with a foreword by Professor E. R. Dodds, and an introduction by Professor Paul Henry, S.J. (London: Faber and Faber Limited, n.d.) See also the editorial material passim in the original six-volume edition of MacKenna’s translation (London: The Medici Society, 1917–1930).

  6. The portrait is a fresco in the church of St. John Lateran in Rome, dating from the sixth or perhaps the fifth century.

  7. The bibliography lists this and other Latin editions of the Confessions.

  8. Cf. Ronald A. Knox, On Englishing the Bible (London: Burns, Oates, 1949), p. 12.

Notes to Book 1

Chapter 1

  1. Cf. Ps. 144:3, and Ps. 146:5.

  2. Cf. Jas. 4:6; I Pet. 5:5; Prov. 3:34.

  3. “Our heart is restless until it rests in you” sums up Augustine’s whole teaching on man’s relation to God. It is perhaps the most quoted line in the Confessions.

  4. Cf. Rom. 10:14.

  5. Ps. 21:27.

  6. Cf. Matt. 7:7.

  7. The preacher was St. Ambrose (ca. 339–397), Bishop of Milan.

Chapter 2

  1. Gen. 1:1. Augustine makes a long commentary on this text in Book 11.

  2. Cf. Ps. 138:8: “If I ascend into heaven you are there; if I descend into hell, you are present.” Cf. also Amos 9:2.

  3. Cf. Rom. 11:36.

  4. Jer. 23:24.

Chapter 3

  1. Cf. Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28.

  2. Cf. Ps. 145:8.

Chapter 4

  1. Cf. Ps. 17:32.

  2. Cf. Wisd. 7:27.

  3. Cf. Job 9:5.

Chapter 5

  1. Ps. 34:3.

  2. Cf. Ps. 142:7; Exod. 33:20; Deut. 31:17.

  3. Ps. 18:13–14.

  4. Cf. Ps. 115:10.

  5. Cf. Ps. 31:5.

  6. Cf. Job 9:3.

  7. Cf. Ps. 26:12.

  8. Ps. 129:3.

Chapter 6

  1. Cf. Gen. 18:27; Ecclus. 10:9.

  2. Cf. Jer. 12:15.

  3. Cf. Ps. 93:19; 68:17.

  4. This sentence is subject to various interpretations.

  5. Cf. Matt. 11:25.

  6. Cf. Mal. 3:6.

  7. Ps. 101:28.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Cf. Exod. 16:15; Ecclus. 39:26.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Job 25:4.

  2. Cf. Ps. 91:2.

  3. God is referred to as the One and the supreme Form or Beauty in terms of Plotinian philosophy.

  4. Cf. Ps. 50:7.

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. Ps. 93:22.

  2. Ps. 21:3.

  3. This is one of the most involved sentences in the Confessions. Both form and thought reflect Augustine’s horror at his early discipline in school.

  4. This analogy between children’s game and adult business was familiar to Augustine from Seneca.

Chapter 10

  1. God is the creator of all things and the ruler of all things. Sin is not a thing, and God is not its creator. Yet God is the ruler even of sins, since he forbids them, judges them, and punishes them.

  2. Cf. Ps. 108:21, 22; 101:3.

Chapter 11

  1. “I was signed with the sign of his cross, and seasoned with his salt.…” Although infant baptism was common in Augustine’s time, he was not baptized at birth. The two rites that he mentions were among those administered to catechumens, that is, those preparing for baptism. Both are included in the Church’s complete baptismal rite at the present time.

  2. Cf. Gen. 28:15; Job 7:20.

  3. Cf. Gal. 4:19.

  4. When Augustine seemed to be in danger of death, his mother arranged for his baptism. Upon his recovery, the baptism was delayed on the ground that as he grew up he would surely fall into mortal sin and lose his baptismal innocence. Baptism, therefore, was to be delayed until he reached maturity and left behind his years of youthful vice.

  5. Patricius was later baptized a Christian, shortly before his death.

  6. That is, she wished that Augustine’s probable sins would be committed in clay unhallowed by baptism, rather than by one in whom Christ’s image had been fashioned by baptism. As a priest and bishop, Augustine wielded great influence in favor of infant baptism.

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Matt. 10:30.

Chapter 13

  1. The “first teachers” taught the three R’s; the grammatici were more than what we would call grammarians, and gave more advanced courses, such as composition, rhetoric, and literature.

  2. Ps. 77:39.

  3. As Dido was the legendary queen of Carthage, her story must have been a favorite in African schools.

  4. Cf. Osee 9:1; 4:12.

  5. Ps. 39:16.

  6. Cf. Jas. 4:4.

  7. Vergil, Aeneid, 457.

  8. Cf. Jer. 18:11.

  9. Cf. Aeneid, 772

Chapter 14

  1. Augustine’s knowledge of Greek was probably much greater than is indicated by this passage. For this subject cf. J. M. Campbell and Martin R. P. McGuire, The Confessions of St. Augustine (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1931), p. 86.

  2. Augustine’s native language was Punic, but he also learned Latin as a child.

Chapter 15

  1. Cf. Ps. 60:2.

  2. Cf. Ps. 17:30; I Cor. 1:8.

  3. Ps. 5:3.

Chapter 16

  1. Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I, XXVI, 65.

  2. Cf. Terence, The Eunuch, 585.

  3. Ibid., 589 sq.

Chapter 17

  1. Cf. Aeneid, i, 38. In the preceding chapter Augustine makes use of one of the adulteries of Jupiter, king of the pagan gods. In the present passage he refers to an account of the weakness of Juno, their queen. The immorality of the pagan divinities was a powerful apologetic weapon for the first Christians.

  2. The fallen angels were identified with the pagan divinities.

Chapter 18

  1. Cf. Ps. 102:8; 85:15; Isa. 42:14.

  2. Cf. Ps. 85:13.

  3. Cf. Ps. 26:8.

  4. Cf. Luke 15:12–32.

  5. The sin of dropping one’s aitches. Augustine makes a powerful contrast between mere temporal conventions and eternal laws of morality coming from God and rooted in man’s nature.

  6. Cf. Tob. 4:16: “See that you never do to another what you would hate to have done to you by another.” Cf. also Matt. 7:12: “All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them,” and Luke 6:31.

  7. The passage is not entirely translatable. The orator is more afraid of incorrectly saying inter ‘omines instead of the correct form inter homines (among men) than he is of unjustly causing a man to be condemned to death and thus to be taken ex hominibus, that is, from among men. Another reading has inter hominibus as the incorrect form, a grammatical error rather than one of pronunciation. That reading goes better with the ex hominibus (from among men) of the next sentence.

Chapter 19

  1. Ps. 30:23.

  2. Matt. 19:14.

Notes to Book 2

Chapter 1

  1. The phrases “the one” and “the many” are from Neoplatonic philosophy. Cf. Plotinus, The Enneads. vi, 9, 1.

  2. Cf. Dan. 10:8.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. ISO, 42:14.

  2. Cf. Gen. 3:18; Matt. 22:30.

  3. I Cor. 7:28.

  4. I Cor. 7:1.

  5. I Cor. 7:32, 33.

  6. Cf. Matt. 19:12.

  7. Cf. Ps. 93:20: “…   who frame labor in commandment.” The version given by Augustine is the result of an error in the translation he used.

  8. Cf. Deut. 32:39.

Chapter 3

  1. Madauros, or Madaura, the present-day Mdaourouch, was about twenty miles from Thagaste (Souk-Ahras). In Augustine’s boyhood it was still largely pagan, and he must have been adversely affected by his surroundings and companions.

  2. Patricius, Augustine’s father, had the rights of a Roman citizen. He had some property, but apparently not too much. As a member of the municipal curia, he incurred expenses that must have been a serious burden to him.

  3. Cf. Ps. 129:1.

  4. Cf. Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38.

  5. Cf. I Cor. 3:9.

  6. Cf. Rom. 1:25.

  7. Cf. Jer. 2:27.

  8. Cf. I Thess. 4:8; II Sam. 12:9.

  9. Ps. 115:16.

10. Cf. Cant. 4:14.

11. Cf. Jer. 50:8; 51:6. Babylon is here used as a synonym for a city of idolatry and vice.

12. Ps. 72:7.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. Ps. 63:11.

  2. Augustine refers to Lucius Sergius Catiline (ca. 108–62 B.C.) against whom Cicero delivered four powerful orations.

  3. Cf. Sallust, De Catilina, xvi.

Chapter 6

  1. Cf. Rom. 12:19.

  2. Cf. Job 7:2, as known to Augustine.

Chapter 7

  1. Ps. 115:12.

  2. Cf. Ps. 53:8.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Rom. 6:21.

  2. Cf. Ecclus. 2:10.

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. Ps. 18:13.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Matt 25:21.

  2. Cf. Luke 15:14.

Notes to Book 3

Chapter 1

  1. In the Latin, sartago, here translated as caldron, repeats the sound of Carthago, as if we would say, e.g., “London, a dungeon.” Carthage was notorious for vice.

  2. Cf. Wisd. 14:11.

  3. Cf. Job 2:7, 8.

  4. Cf. Plato, Gorgias, 509, for this thought.

Chapter 2

  1. Mercy, or compassion.

  2. Cf. Isa. 34:9.

  3. Cf. Dan. 3:52.

  4. II Cor. 2:16.

Chapter 3

  1. The Latin is eversores, i.e., overturners. Wreckers is Bigg’s word

Chapter 4

  1. Cicero was, of course, a familiar author to Augustine. Apparently, he says, “a certain Cicero” to indicate detachment from a pagan author. The book was Hortensius, an exhortation to the philosophical life based on Aristotle’s Protrepticus. Both works are lost.

  2. Cf. Luke 15:18–20 for the parable of the prodigal son.

  3. Cf. Job 12:13.

  4. Col. 2:8, 9.

  5. Cf. Ps. 24:7.

Chapter 6

  1. The Manicheans, or Manichees. Cf. Introduction, pp. 20–21.

  2. Cf. I Tim. 3:7; 6:9; II Tim. 2:26.

  3. Cf. John 14:16 and 26.

  4. Cf. Plotinus, The Enneads, 6, 9, 4.

  5. Jas. 1:17.

  6. Cf. Luke 15:16.

  7. Cf. Jer. 5:27.

  8. The Manicheans listed five good elements, viz., pure air, living fire, fresh wind, pure water, and light. The demon has five evil elements: smoke, evil fire, evil wind, evil water, and darkness.

  9. Cf. Prov. 9:13–18.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Gen. 1:27.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 4:3.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Matt. 22:37–39.

  2. Cf. Gen. 13:13; and chs. 18 and 19.

  3. Cf. II John 2:16: “…   the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

  4. Cf. Ps. 143:9.

  5. Cf. Ps. 26:12.

  6. Cf. Rom. 1:26.

  7. Cf. Acts 9:5.

  8. Cf. Jer. 2:13.

  9. Augustine here makes use of Plotinian language to express Christian ideas.

10. Cf. Ps. 74:5, 6.

Chapter 10

  1. Among the Manicheans, the saints or elect were supposed to follow a higher rule of life than the auditors or hearers, such as Augustine. Among their duties, the auditors were to serve the saints. The particles of light within the saints’ food were held to be released by digestion, as Augustine scathingly describes in this passage.

Chapter 11

  1. Ps. 143:7.

  2. Cf. Ps. 85:13.

  3. A wooden measuring rod, which was figuratively the rule of faith.

  4. For Augustine’s theory of questions as a form of teaching cf. his dialogue On the Teacher. Also John 21:5; Acts 1:11.

  5. Cf. Ps. 10:17.

  6. Ps. 68:3.

  7. Cf. Ps. 87:3.

Notes to Book 4

Chapter 1

  1. Augustine here says “we” since he is writing of himself and others who were both teachers by profession and Manichees in religion.

  2. Cf. II Tim. 2:13. The doctrinae liberales, here translated as liberal arts, taught by Augustine included rhetoric and literature and also philosophy, mathematics, and music.

  3. The Manichean religion had been proscribed both by pagan emperors in earlier times and later by the Church. In Augustine’s day the Manichees still flourished.

  4. The elect among the Manichees renounced marriage and abstained from meat and wine. The purification of which Augustine writes took place when this food was consumed and digested by the elect and they breathed forth “angels and gods,” that is, particles of the principle of light.

  5. Cf. John 6:27.

  6. Cf. Ps. 73:21.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Ps. 4:13.

  2. Augustine lived with this unnamed woman for thirteen years, from 371 to 384. Their son Adeodatus was born in 372. That he was an unwanted child is apparent from this passage, as is also the fact that his parents came to love him dearly. A youth of great promise, he died in 388, aged seventeen. For evidence of his talents see St. Augustine’s On the Teacher.

  3. Cf. Osee 12:1.

Chapter 3

  1. Ps. 40:5; cf. Ps. 91:2.

  2. John 5:14.

  3. Cf. Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6.

  4. Cf. Ps. 50:19.

  5. His name was Vindicianus. Cf. Book 7, ch. 6.

  6. Cf. Prov. 3:34; I Pet. 5:5 and Jas. 4:6.

  7. Hippocrates (ca. 460-ca. 377 B.C.), father of medicine. His reported writings were collected about two centuries after his death.

  8. As the works of Vergil were often consulted in this way, the term sortes Vergilianae (Vergilian lots) was coined. The Bible and the Imitation of Christ have been similarly used.

  9. Nebridius appears later in the Confessions. Certain letters of St. Augustine to him survive.

Chapter 4

  1. Rom. 5:5.

  2. Cf. Ps. 93:1.

  3. Cf. Ps. 105:2.

  4. Cf. Ps. 35:7: Rom. 11:33.

  5. Cf. Lam. 5:17.

  6. Cf. Ps. 41:6 and 12, and Ps. 42:5.

  7. The conception of God held by Augustine as a Manichee was but a fantasy, without power to give him hope or comfort.

Chapter 6

  1. Cf. Seneca, Moral Epistles, iv, i, 6.

  2. Cf. Ps. 24:15.

  3. Horace, Odes I, 3, 8.

  4. Cf. Ovid, Tristia, 4, 4, 72.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Ps. 241.

  2. Cf. Horace, Carmina 2, 16, 19.

  3. Augustine left Thagaste secretly, without telling anyone except his wealthy friend Romanianus, with whom he had been living after his break with Monica, his mother. The year was 376.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. II Tim. 4:3: “For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. Tob. 13:18.

  2. Cf. Gen. 1:1; 2:1.

  3. Cf. Jer. 23:24.

  4. Ps. 118:142.

  5. Cf. John 14:6.

Chapter 10

  1. Ps. 79:4.

  2. Cf. St. Ambrose’s hymn, Deus creator omnium, quoted in Book 9, ch. 12.

Chapter 11

  1. Cf. Matt. 4:23; Ps. 102:3.

  2. Cf. I Pet. 1:23.

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Acts 17:24.

  2. Isa. 46:8.

  3. Cf. Wisd. 5:7.

  4. Cf. John 6:33.

  5. Ps. 18:6.

  6. John 1:10.

  7. I Tim. 1:15.

  8. Cf. Ps. 40:5; 50:6.

  9. Ps. 4:5.

10. Cf. Ps. 72:9.

11. Cf. Ps. 83:7.

Chapter 14

  1. Cf. Matt. 10:30.

  2. Eph. 4:14.

Chapter 15

  1. Ps. 71:18; cf. Ps. 135:4.

  2. Cf. Ps. 17:29.

  3. Cf. John 1:16.

  4. Cf. John 1:9,

  5. Cf. Jas. 1:17.

  6. Cf. John 8:52.

  7. Cf. I Pet. 5:5; Jas. 4:6.

  8. Cf. Ps. 77:39.

  9. John 3:29.

10. Cf. Ps. 50:10.

Chapter 16

  1. The Categories of Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) is one of the most influential books in the history of philosophy. It is the first of the six treatises on logic making up the collection known as the Organum, or instrument for philosophical investigation. The other treatises are On Interpretation, the Prior Analytics, the Posterior Analytics, the Topics, and the Sophistical Arguments.

  2. Aristotle worked out his doctrine of categories or predicamenta (predicaments) with great care. Substance is what exists in itself and not in another as in a subject. It is the subject of which certain other things are predicated; it is not itself the predicate of some other subject. On the other hand accidents, in the ordinary course of nature, inhere in a substance and are affirmed of it.

Thus, in St. Augustine’s illustration, a man is a substantial being, he is a substance. There are certain other realities that can be affirmed of him because he is the subject in which they are found. These are called the nine categories or classes of accidents. They may increase or decrease, or come and go, but as their subject, the man remains substantially the same. Thus Augustine himself through the course of his life grew in size: an instance of the category of quantity. He acquired certain vicious habits that were in time replaced by virtues. He acquired great skill as a writer and great learning: virtues, vices, and the like come under the heading of quality, as do colors and certain other aspects of our being. Augustine was taught by other men (passion) and he in turn instructed students (action). He existed at different moments (time) and in many places (place). He had countless relations with others: men and other things. He was a son, a brother, a father, a disciple, a master, a priest, and a bishop (relation). He was clothed in various ways and equipped with tools or armor at different times (habit, in the sense of wearing a monk’s habit or a soldier’s uniform). He assumed various positions, such as kneeling in prayer (posture).

The distinction between the substantial or essential and the merely accidental is one of the most important and useful in human thought. Failure to know it and use it is often the cause of very gross errors.

  3. Beauty, goodness, truth, unity do not exist in God as modifications of his being. God cannot become more or less good, true, or beautiful He is absolutely good or goodness itself; he is truth itself, absolute truth, absolute beauty; absolute unity.

  4. Cf. Cen. 3:18.

  5. Cf. Ps. 58:10.

  6. Cf. Luke 15:13.

  7. Cf. Ps. 62:8; 16:8.

  8. Isa. 46:4.

Notes to Book 5

Chapter 1

  1. Cf. Ps. 6:3; Ps. 34:10.

  2. Cf. Ps. 18:7.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Ps. 138:7.

  2. Cf. Wisd. 11:25.

  3. Cf. Apoc. 7:17; 21:4.

Chapter 3

  1. Faustus, the leading writer among the western Manichees, was born at Milevis in Numidia. Although ostensibly dedicated to a life of self-denial, he was noted for his love of luxury and despised the poverty of his parents. He was exiled as a Manichee by civil authorities, although Christians interceded for him. St. Augustine wrote an important work, Against Faustus the Manichee.

  2. Cf. I Tim. 3:7.

  3. Cf. Wisd. 13:9.

  4. Cf. Ps. 137:6.

  5. Cf. Ps. 33:19.

  6. Cf. Ps. 8:8–9. St. Augustine symbolizes pride by the birds flying aloft, vain curiosity by the fishes swimming in the depths of the sea, and luxury, or sins of the flesh, by the beasts of the field.

  7. Cf. Deut. 4:24.

  8. Cf. John 1:1–3.

  9. Cf. Ps. 146:5.

10. I Cor. 1:30.

11. Cf. Matt. 22:21.

12. This quotation and the remainder of this paragraph are based upon Rom. 1:21–25.

13. Augustine calls him Manichaeus, the Latin form of the name of Mani, or Manes, the remote founder of Manicheism.

Chapter 4

  1. Cf. Rom. 1:21.

  2. Cf. II Cor. 6:10.

  3. Wisd. 11:21.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. Job 28:28.

  2. Cf. II Macc. 1:14.

  3. Eph. 4:13, 14.

  4. That is, Mani.

Chapter 6

  1. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 4 B.C.-A.D. 65) statesman, at one time tutor of Nero, was one of the greatest of writers and thinkers among the pagan Romans. His writings on moral questions, found in his Moral Letters and Moral Essays, were held in high esteem by the Fathers of the Church and had very great influence in the Middle Ages. He also wrote several notable tragedies.

  2. Cf. Ps. 49:26.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Acts 8:21 and Ps. 77:37.

  2. Cf. Joel 2:26.

  3. Ps. 36:23.

Chapter 8

  1. At Rome there were laws governing students.

  2. Ps. 141:6.

  3. Cf. Ps. 39:3 and Prov. 20:24.

  4. Cf. Phil. 3:19: “…   who mind earthly things.”

  5. The reference is to the waters of baptism. Monica did not realize, nor did Augustine at the time, that the journey to Rome was a first necessary stage on his longer journey to Milan, where he would be baptized.

  6. St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr. A convert, probably in his mature years, he was baptized c. 246 and about two years later became bishop of Carthage. He was martyred on August 14, 258, during the Decian persecution. A shrine marked the scene of his martyrdom and a basilica was built over his tomb. The memorial chapel or oratory to which Augustine refers was north of Carthage.

  7. Cf. Gen. 3:16: “To the woman [Eve] also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” Augustine pairs his mother’s twofold travail, the first at his natural birth, the second at his rebirth by baptism.

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. I Cor. 15:22: “And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.”

  2. Cf. Eph. 2:16: “…   and might reconcile to God in one body by the cross, killing the enmities in himself.”

  3. As a Manichean, Augustine believed that what died upon the Cross was a phantom, an evil spirit pretending to be Christ. He asked, how could a believer in such a phantom believe that it atoned for his sins? As a Manichean his false beliefs and evil practices led him into sin, the death of his soul, and kept him there.

  4. A twofold death: of both body and soul.

  5. Cf. Gal. 4:19.

  6. Cf. Phil. 2:1; Col 3:12.

  7. Cf. Ps. 50:19.

  8. Cf. Pa. 118:1, and Ps. 137:8.

  9. Cf. Matt. 18:32.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Ps. 115:16.

  2. Cf. Ps. 40:5.

  3. Cf. Matt. 12:26: “And if Satan … is divided against himself: how then shall his kingdom stand?”

  4. Ps. 140:3, 4.

  5. The Third Academy, or third stage of Plato’s school, flourished in the third and second centuries before Christ and was skeptical in character. Temporary addiction to this form of skepticism was another of Augustine’s errors. He refutes it here and elsewhere, especially in his work Against the Academics.

Chapter 11

  1. The Manicheans rejected the Old Testament and held that the Catholic version of the New Testament was corrupted in this manner.

Chapter 12

  1. Ps. 138:22.

  2. Cf. Ps. 72:27.

Chapter 13

  1. At that time Milan was the usual seat of the emperors of the West.

  2. Symmachus (ca. 340-ca. 402) was famous as the greatest orator of his time, and it was seemingly as such rather than as an official that he was asked to choose a professor of rhetoric for Milan. At the time he was the greatest supporter of paganism, especially while prefect of Rome. The fact that Augustine was not a Catholic, but a Manichean supported by Manicheans, may have had weight with him. In his anti-Christian activities he met defeat at the hands of St. Ambrose.

  3. St. Ambrose (ca. 337–April 4, 397), came from one of the greatest of Roman families, the Aurelii. In 374 while he was still a catechumen, the people of Milan called him to be their bishop. He was great as a preacher, writer, administrator, and fearless defender of the faith. He is one of the four great Latin doctors of the Church. He presents a striking contrast to St. Augustine.

  4. Cf. Ps. 80:17; Ps. 147:14.

  5. Cf. Ps. 44:8; Ps. 4:8.

  6. A quotation from St. Ambrose’s hymn Splendor Paternae Gloriae. Cf. Eph. 5:18.

  7. Cf. Deut. 33:1.

  8. Ps. 118:155.

Chapter 14

  1. Cf. II Cor. 3:6: “For the letter kills, but the spirit quickeneth.” Augustine was killed, that is, brought into serious error and mortal sin, when he took in a literal sense passages that should have been interpreted in a figurative or spiritual sense.

  2. Augustine considers himself to be a catechumen in view of his initial enrollment by his mother (cf. Book 1, ch. 11), which in spite of his Manicheism he had never entirely repudiated.

Notes to Book 6

Chapter 1

  1. Ps. 70:5.

  2. Cf. Ps. 10:1.

  3. Cf. Job 35:10, 11.

  4. Cf. Ps. 34:6; Isa. 50:10.

  5. Cf. Ps. 72:26.

  6. Cf. Ps. 67:23.

  7. Cf. Acts 27:21–26.

  8. Luke 7:14. Augustine has used the account of the restoration to life by Christ of the son of the widow of Naim.

  9. Cf. Ps. 6g:2.

10. Cf. Ps. 17:29.

11. John 4:14.

12. Cf. Gal. 4:14.

Chapter 2

  1. The doorkeeper or porter was a cleric in the first one of the four minor orders. The others are lector or reader, exorcist, and acolyte.

  2. Following St. Ambrose’s example, Augustine later helped to stop the custom in Africa. The objections were twofold, as he indicates: there were associations with pagan customs and they were the occasion of drinking and revelry.

  3. Cf. Acts 18:25; Rom. 12:11.

  4. Cf. Prov. 6:23; 10:17; 15:10.

Chapter 3

  1. It was the ancient custom to read out loud and in company with others. Augustine has already given an instance of this when he tells how he and Faustus read together. The present passage is reported to be one of the few descriptions of silent reading in ancient literature. The detail with which Augustine describes St. Ambrose’s custom indicates how unusual silent reading must have been.

  2. II Tim. 2:15.

  3. Cf. Gen. g:6.

  4. Cf. I Cor. 13:12.

  5. Cf. Gen. 1:26.

Chapter 4

  1. Cf. Matt. 7:7: “Knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

  2. Augustine’s Manichean errors.

  3. Cf. Col. 1:18–24.

  4. II Cor. 3:6.

  5. The Latin contains a very complex play upon words. After the custom of the skeptical philosophers, he held back from giving assent, lest he fall into error. He suspensed, i.e., hung up his judgment. But that very suspension, or hanging, caused his death, i.e., serious error.

  6. Cf. Ps. 116:2.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. Ecclus. 19:4.

  2. Augustine makes a contrast between the many and the few (cf. Matt. 7:13, 14 and 20:16), but it is to the effect that the simplicity of the Scriptures has an appeal to all men, while a smaller number are led on to a deeper study of them.

  3. Cf. Matt. 7:13.

Chapter 6

  1. Cf. Rom. 9:5.

  2. The Emperor was apparently Valentinian II (372–392), at that time a mere boy who resided at Milan. He was murdered by Arbogast, a Frankish general in the Roman service.

  3. Cf. Ps. 41:11; Isa. 38:13.

Chapter 7

  1. As this chapter and other passages in the Confessions and elsewhere in Augustine’s writings tell us, Alypius was born of a good family in Thagaste. Younger than Augustine, he was his student, and his victim in the Manichean sect. He was converted with Augustine and was with him at Cassiciacum. Made bishop of Thagaste in 394/5, he was associated with Augustine in his apostolic work and apparently outlived him.

  2. Nebridius, also a Manichean, was converted shortly after Augustine. He returned to Africa and worked for the conversion of his whole household. In Book 9, ch. 3 of the Confessions, Augustine refers both to their correspondence and to the death of Nebridius.

  3. Cf. Ps. 68:6.

  4. Prov. 9:8.

  5. Cf. Ps. 106:8.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Jud. 5:15.

  2. Cf. Isa. 57:13.

Chapter 9

  1. For this chapter St. Augustine must be numbered among the pioneers of crime reporting.

  2. Augustine’s phrase vico argentario has been variously translated as “silversmiths’ booths,” “street of the silversmiths,” “bankers’ booths” and “street of the bankers.”

  3. The title of senator in the Roman provinces in the last century of the Roman Empire was little more than a social honor given to those who had considerable landed wealth or an official position or dignity.

  4. As a bishop and diocesan official.

Chapter 10

  1. Subject to the imperial treasurer were certain provincial treasurers, such as this official in Rome. As the treasurer was not necessarily a lawyer, he had a lawyer, like Alypius in this instance, as his counselor and assessor.

  2. The Latin may mean either “he would have resigned” or “he would have voted against it.”

  3. The phrase “praetorian prices” has been interpreted variously. From the context it apparently means here “discount prices” that were a sort of perquisite of certain public officials. Alypius saw a moral problem in the ordinary, and presumably just, price that he would have to pay a copyist and this “discount price” that he could exact in view of his position.

  4. Cf. Luke 16:10–12.

  5. Ps. 144:15.

Chapter 11

  1. Cf. Matt. 7:7.

  2. A play upon words in the Latin is here repeated in “prepare” and “repair.”

  3. Cf. Ecclus. 5:8: “Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day.”

  4. That this is a dying life was a familiar thought among the ancients. “What else is this daily falling away of our corruptible being except a long-drawn-out death?” asked St. Gregory the Great. Here, however, Augustine contrasts the soul’s life of grace in God, with its death by mortal sin, as he was then sinning and dying each day.

  5. Cf. Wisd. 8:21: “And as I knew that I could not be otherwise continent, except God gave it, and this also was a point of wisdom, to know whose gift it was.”

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Gen. 3:1.

  2. Cf. Isa. 28:18.

  3. Ecclus. 3:27.

Chapter 13

  1. Augustine seems to have had little active part in arranging the proposed marriage. It was his mother’s great aim to get him out of his life of sin and then into the Church.

  2. The word sapor (savor, taste, relish, flavor) has an objective meaning. It was something Monica discerned in the content of the dreams and revelations, not a subjective taste or sense within her mind.

  3. The legal age of consent to marriage was ten years.

Chapter 14

  1. Romanianus was a very wealthy citizen of Thagaste, who took Augustine into his home after a break with Monica. Augustine won him to Manicheism and it is uncertain whether he was ever converted. His son Licentius was a member of Augustine’s community at Cassiciacum and figures in some of Augustine’s writings.

  2. Cf. Matt. 7:13.

  3. Cf. Prov. 19:21.

  4. Cf. Ps. 144:15, 16.

Chapter 15

  1. Augustine had lived in sin for about 12 or 13 years with this unnamed woman, the mother of his son Adeodatus. It is apparent that there was never any intention on his part of marrying her. However, they were obviously deeply attached to one another.

  2. It is apparent that not even natural affection had a place in Augustine’s sexual activities after the dismissal of his first companion. It was seemingly a cold-hearted lust and sensualism.

Chapter 16

  1. Cf. Ps. 39:3.

  2. Epicurus (341–270 B.C.), the founder of the Epicurean system, was born on the island of Samos and died at Athens, where he established his school in a garden outside the city walls. A voluminous writer, he developed an elaborate philosophy that was materialistic in its physics and metaphysics and hedonistic in ethics. Although he himself attempted to place the doctrine that pleasure is the only good and pain the only evil on a high plane, it inevitably found acceptance upon a very low level.

  3. Cf. Isa. 3:9.

  4. Cf. Ps. 31:8.

  5. Cf. Isa. 46:4.

Notes to Book 7

Chapter 1

  1. Augustine was now 31 years old. The words he uses to describe his age are adulescentia, here translated as “youth,” and iuventus, translated as “early manhood.” In classical usage adolescence was from 15 to 30 and iuventus from 20 to 40. When iuventus is used alone, as in this passage, it often meant simply manhood, or the period succeeding “adolescence.”

  2. That is “before I knew anything of philosophy.”

  3. Cf. John 17:3.

  4. Phantasms, in Augustine’s system, are sense-images fashioned by the mind itself. They are not fantasies, i.e., memory images of actual things once perceived. Thus a fantasy would be our memory image of the national capitol in Washington, whereas if we construct a sense-image of a non-existent Gothic skyscraper surmounted by a Renaissance dome it would be a phantasm.

  5. Cf. Vergil, Aeneid iii, 233.

  6. A reference to the traditional four elements, earth, water, air, and fire.

  7. Cf. Matt. 13:15.

  8. Cf. Ps. 17:29.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. II Tim. 3:13.

Chapter 3

  1. That is, in attempting to solve the problem of evil, Augustine must not become evil by falling into sin and error.

  2. That is, the Manicheans.

  3. Cf. Rom. 1:29.

  4. Cf. Heb. 12:15; Matt. 13:24–30.

  5. Cf. Ps. 6:6.

Chapter 4

  1. This passage may have been an occasion of St. Anselm’s famous attempt to prove God’s existence from the idea of the greatest of conceivable things. Cf. St. Anselm’s Proslogium and Monologium. Also John K. Ryan, Basic Principles and Problems of Philosophy(Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1954), pp. 124–30.

Chapter 5

  1. This analogy apparently derives from Plotinus, The Enneads, IV, 3, 9.

  2. Cf. II Pet. 2:20.

Chapter 6

  1. For Vindicianus cf. Book 4, ch. 3.

  2. Cf. Ps. 35:7.

  3. Ecclus. 39:26.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Ps. 17:13.

  2. Ps. 37:9.

  3. Cf. Ps. 39:9–11. God is the light of the soul. This light was first lost by Adam’s sin. Augustine, being as yet unbaptized and perhaps still living a sinful life, did not have this inner light of God’s grace. It is an inner light, whereas Augustine was not living within himself, but “outside himself,” i.e., as he states, still concerned with bodily objects.

  4. Cf. Job 15:26. Augustine made use of the text found in the Old Latin version.

  5. Cf. Ps. 88:11.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Ps. 32:11.

  2. Cf. Ps. 84:6; 102:9.

  3. Cf. Ecclus. 17:31.

  4. Cf. Vergil, Aeneid, ii, 336; Acts 9:15.

  5. The Latin is ex occulta manu medicinae tuae, “by the secret hand of your medicine.” As medicina is often used by St. Augustine as a name for Christ, it is here translated as Physician.

  6. Cf. Apoc. 3:18.

Chapter 9

  1. In this marvelous chapter Augustine tells of his introduction to Neoplatonic philosophy, compares it with certain scriptural doctrines, and indicates why and where it may be used. Certain Neoplatonic doctrines parallel divine revelation with regard to the existence and nature of God, and some of them are relevant even to the doctrine of the Trinity. Recognition that God is light and that he enlightened men’s minds is also found in part in the Neoplatonists. However, there are great contrasts: the Neoplatonists have no knowledge of the incarnation and the redemption, and there is the constant fact of idolatry among the pagans, even among their philosophers. Just as the Jews were permitted to take gold out of Egypt and to put it to God’s use in the Promised Land, so Christians can and should take the gold, i.e., the truth that they find in pagan thought, and put it to the service of religion.

  2. Cf. Prov. 3:34; Jas. 4:6; I Pet. 5:5.

  3. John 1:14.

  4. The man is unidentifiable.

  5. Platonists, i.e., Neoplatonists, according to our usage. Among them was Plotinus, one of the greatest of Greek thinkers, Porphyry, his disciple, Iamblichus, and Proclus.

  6. The translator was Victorinus Afer, whom Augustine discusses in Book 8, ch. 2.

  7. John 1:1–5. The punctuation of Augustine’s text, and consequently the meaning, of lines 3 and 4 differs somewhat from later versions.

  8. Cf. John 1:8–12.

  9. John 1:13, 14.10

10. Cf. Phil. 2:6–11.11

11. John 1:16.

12. Wisd. 7:27.

13. Rom. 5:6; 8:32.

14. Cf. Matt. 11:25–29.

15. Cf. Ps. 24:9, 18.

16. Matt. 11:29.

17. Born. 1:21, 22.

18. Cf. Acts 7:39; Exod. 32:1–6. “The Egyptian food” is lentils, the mess of potage for which Esau sold his birthright. Augustine is, of course, writing in allegory.

19. Ps. 105:20.

20. Cf. Gen. 30:23; 25:23; Rom. 9:12; Ps. 78:1.

21. Acts 17:28. The line quoted immediately afterwards by St. Paul, “For we are also his offspring,” is from Aratus of Cilicia.

22. Rom. 1:25.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Ps. 29:11.

  2. Cf. Ps. 26:10.

  3. Ps. 38:12.

  4. Exod. 3:14.

  5. Rom. 1:20.

Chapter 11

  1. Ps. 72:28.

  2. Cf. Wisd. 7:27.

  3. Ps. 15:2.

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Gen. 1:3; Ecclus. 39:21.

Chapter 13

  1. Cf. Ps. 148:7–12.

  2. Cf. Ps. 148:1–5.

Chapter 14

  1. Cf. Ps. 37:4.

  2. Cf. Ps. 118:37.

  3. Cf. Isa. 2:22.

Chapter 16

  1. Cf. Ecclus. 10:10; 10:14, 15.

Chapter 17

  1. Wisd. 9:15.

  2. Rom. 1:20.

  3. The thought and expression in this chapter are strongly Neoplatonic.

Chapter 18

  1. 1 Rom. 9:5; I Tim. 2:5.

  2. John 14:6.

  3. The divine nature.

  4. John 1:14.

  5. Cf. I Cor. 1:25.

  6. Cf. Gen. 3:21.

Chapter 19

  1. Augustine had been too weak and ignorant to accept the mystery of the incarnation, viz., the fact that the nature of God and the nature of man are united in the one person of Jesus Christ. Consequently he was affected by various Christological heresies.

  2. John 1:14.

  3. Augustine has repudiated the Manichean absurdity that Christ’s body was merely a phantom. He recognized him now as a true man, one single unitary being made up of body and soul. As such, he has an intellect and will as well as a body.

  4. Augustine does not as yet recognize that Christ is true God as well as true man: he is seen merely as a wonderfully great and good man. Augustine’s phrase persona veritatis, literally “person of truth” has been given various interpretations. From the context, I believe that it should be translated as “person of Truth,” that is, as “divine person.”

  5. Followers of Apollinaris (died ca. 292), bishop of Alexandria, taught variously that Christ had no human soul or no human intellect. Alypius foolishly attributed this heresy to orthodox believers.

  6. Photinus, a 4th-century bishop of Sirmium, held that Christ was merely man, but divinely inspired.

  7. By a strange perversion of logic Adolf Harnack, the 19th-century German historian of religion, thought that the errors of Augustine and Alypius as non-Catholics somehow represented absence of true doctrine within the Church.

  8. Cf. Rom. 14:1 and II Tim. 1:10.

Chapter 20

  1. Rom. 1:20.

  2. Sins of pride bring with them their own punishment of spiritual blindness.

  3. The fallacy which Augustine refers to appears not infrequently in our own time.

Chapter 21

  1. Augustine had found difficulty with Rom. 1:3 and II Cor. 5:16 among other passages. Cf. Contra Faustum Manichaeum, XI.

  2. Cf. Ps. 2:11.

  3. Cf. I Cor. 4:7.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Cf. Ps. 101:24.

  6. Cf. Rom. 7:22, 23.

  7. Cf. Dan. 3:27–32.

  8. Cf. Ps. 31:4.

  9. Cf. Heb. 2:14; Dan. 3:52.10

10. Cf. John 8:44.

11. Rom. 7:24, 25.

12. Cf. Prov. 8:22.

13. Cf. Luke 23:14, 15.

14. Cf. Col. 2:14.

15. Cf. Ps. 50:19.

16. Cf. Apoc. 21:2.

17. Cf. II Cor. 1:22.

18. Ps. 61:2, 3.

19. Matt. 11:28, 2.9.

20. Matt. 11:25.

21. Cf. Deut. 32:49.

22. Cf. Ps. 90:13.

23. Cf. I Cor. 15:9.

24. Cf. Hab. 1:2.

Notes to Book 8

Chapter 1

  1. Ps. 34:10.

  2. Ps. 115:16, 17.

  3. Cf. Ps. 75:2.

  4. I Cor. 13:12.

  5. Cf. I Cor. 5:7.

  6. Simplicianus succeeded St. Ambrose as Bishop of Milan in 397. Augustine dedicated his work De divinis quaestionibus to him. It is related that when St. Ambrose learned on his deathbed that his successor would likely be Simplicianus, he repeated three times in a strong voice, “Senex sed bonus”: “An old man, but a good one.”

  7. Cf. Ps. 25:8.

  8. Cf. I Cor. 7:27–35.

  9. Matt. 19:12.

10. Wisd. 13:1.

11. Rom. 1:21.

12. Cf. Ps. 17:36.

13. Cf. Job 28:28.

14. Cf. Prov. 3:7.

15. Rom. 1:22.

16. Cf. Matt. 13:46.

Chapter 2

  1. Simplicianus was St. Ambrose’s “spiritual father,” i.e., he was very close to him, and may have instructed and baptized him.

  2. Gaius Marius Victorinus, the great 4th-century rhetorician, was of African origin. His translations of Plato, Aristotle, and certain Neoplatonists are lost, as is his commentary on Cicero’s Topica. Certain other works survive, among them the Ars grammatica and various theological works written after his conversion, among them are commentaries on some of St. Paul’s epistles, and a work on the Trinity directed against the Arian heresy. It has been conjectured that these theological works had considerable influence on Augustine.

  3. Cf. Col. 2:8.

  4. Matt. 11:25.

  5. Cf. Eph. 1:6.

  6. The manuscripts of the Confessions are unsatisfactory at this point and various emendations have been suggested. The most acceptable is that of Max Ihm, here translated as “with the cult of Osiris.” It fits in with Augustine’s meaning and with the quotation from Vergil.

  7. Cf. Aeneid, viii, 698–9.

  8. Cf. John 3:5.

  9. Cf. Gal. 5:11.

10. Cf. Ps. 143:5.

11. Babylon, i.e., pagan Rome.

12. Cf. Ps. 28:5.

13. Cf. Luke 12:9.

14. The word “sacraments” was used in a loose way. The sacraments of instruments, here referred to, were ceremonies connected with the beginning of the catechumenate, or period of instruction before baptism.

15. Cf. Ps. 111:10.

16. Cf. Ps. 39:5.

17. A public recitation of the Apostles’ creed.

Chapter 3

  1. Cf. Luke 15:4–32.

  2. The angels.

  3. Cf. Matt. 24:31. Cf. also Cardinal Newman’s five hymns in The Dream of Gerontius, each beginning

     Praise to the Holiest in the height,

     And in the depth be praise:

     In all His words most wonderful;

     Most sure in all His ways!

Chapter 4

  1. Cf. Cant. 1:3.

  2. Cf. John 1:12.

  3. As members of an audience stir up one another’s enjoyment by their applause.

  4. A modern instance is that of Newman during the Oxford movement.

  5. Cf. Jas. 2:1–9.

  6. Cf. I Cor. 1:27, 28.

  7. Cf. I Cor. 15:9.

  8. Cf. Acts 13:6–12.

  9. Cf. Matt. 12:29.

10. Cf. II Tim. 2:21.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. Ps. 8:3; Wisd. 10:21; Matt. 21:16.

  2. The enemy, viz., Satan.

  3. Gal. 5:17.

  4. Cf. II Tim. 2:4.

  5. Eph. 5:14.

  6. Of. Rom. 7:22, 23.

  7. Cf. Rom. 7:24, 25.

Chapter 6

  1. Cf. Ps. 53:8.

  2. Ps. 18:15.

  3. Cf. Eph. 2:2.

  4. Beyond what Augustine relates, nothing further is known about Ponticianus.

  5. St. Anthony of Egypt (ca. 250–356) was the founder of Christian monachism. St. Athanasius (295–373) composed a biography of his fellow Egyptian about 357. About 370 it was paraphrased or translated by Evagrius into Latin, whose version was likely that read by Ponticianus. Athanasius himself lived at Trier on two occasions. Cf. St. Athanasius, The Life of Saint Antony. New translated and annotated edition by Robert T. Meyer (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1950).

  6. Cf. Ps. 144:5.

  7. Trier on the Mosel river in Germany was an important center of Roman authority, especially from the time of the Emperor Diocletian.

  8. Matt. 5:3.

  9. The “agentes in rebus” were an important class of public officials in the later empire. They acted as couriers, secret police, and in other ways.

10. “The frends of the Emperor” or Caesar were a group instituted by Augustus. As the title indicates, they were close to the emperor, acted as a sort of privy council, and had special honors and privileges.

11. Cf. Luke 14:28–30.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Ps. 35:3.

  2. Augustine says that the search for truth, which is less good than finding it, is better than wealth, power, and pleasure. A modern perversion of part of his thought is that the search for truth is better than its discovery.

  3. Cf. Ecclus. 2:16.

  4. Cf. Ecclus. 5:8.

  5. Plato in Phaedrus, 249 states that the souls of philosophers receive wings for flight more easily than lesser men.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Isa. 26:20; Matt. 6:6.

  2. Cf. Matt. 11:12.

  3. Cf. Ezech. 16:8.

  4. Cf. Ps. 34:10.

Chapter 9

  1. St. Augustine struggles in this chapter with most difficult psychological problems, involving the nature of the will and its acts. He interprets the will as an act rather than as a special power (or faculty, in the usual phrase) to act or to refrain from acting. Hence he distinguishes between complete and perfect acts of will and those which are incomplete and imperfect. It is in this sense that there are in man “two wills, one of which is not complete.”

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Ps. 57:3.

  2. Cf. Titus 1:10.

  3. That is, the Manicheans, with their extreme dualism of two natures, one good, the other evil.

  4. Eph. 5:8.

  5. John 1:9.

  6. Ps. 33:6.

  7. Cf. Rom. 7:17.

  8. Because of his greater gifts of nature and grace, the sin by which Adam fell was committed with more freedom than any of the sins committed by his descendants. Because of Adam’s sin, in which the human race fell with him, his sons have a tendency to evil. Hence Augustine indicates that his own wrongdoing, voluntary as it is, issues from Adam’s still “more voluntary sin” and is part of the punishment incurred by that sin.

Chapter 11

  1. This chapter is a marvelous display of Augustine’s powers of psychological analysis and vivid description.

  2. Cf. Aeneid, v, 457.

  3. Cf. Eccles. 1:2.

  4. Cf. Ps. 112:9.

  5. Cf. Ps. 118:85.

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Aeneid, vii, 499.

  2. Cf. Ps. 50:19.

  3. Ps. 6:4.

  4. Ps. 78:5.

  5. Ps. 78:8.

  6. Matt. 19:21.

  7. A practice similar to the sortes Vergilianae (cf. Confessions, Book 4, ch. 3, and note) obtained among Christians, in which the Scriptures were used. Various councils of the Church condemned the practice.

  8. Rom. 13:13, 14.

  9. Rom. 14:1.

10. Cf. Eph. 3:20.

11. Cf. Confessions, Book 3, ch. 11.

12. Cf. Ps. 29:12.

13. Monica had made efforts to arrange a lawful marriage for her son. Cf. Confessions, Book 6, ch. 13.

Notes to Book 9

Chapter 1

  1. Ps. 115:16, 17.

  2. Ps. 34:10.

  3. Ps. 34:3.

  4. Cf. Matt. 11:30.

  5. This is the only passage where Christ is addressed directly. Three times Augustine prays in the familiar formula “through Christ.” Cf. Book 11, chs. 2 and 22.

  6. Ps. 18:15.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Ps. 118:70.

  2. About the time of Augustine’s conversion the Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian II decreed the times for court and perhaps for school vacations. The vintage vacation extended from August 22 to October 15. There were also Easter (two weeks) and New Year (three days) vacation. In modern Italy the great vacation time (ferragosto) begins on August 15, the feast of the Assumption.

  3. Cf. Ps. 83:7.

  4. Pss. 119–133 are traditionally called “gradual psalms.” In the Roman breviary the 15 psalms are arranged in three sets of five each, together with appropriate prayers. They were once of obligation on certain days for those held to recite the Divine Office. No satisfactory explanation of the title “gradual psalms” has been advanced.

  5. Cf. Ps. 119:3, 4.

  6. This passage is probably the immediate basis for Augustine’s symbol in Christian art, a heart pierced by an arrow.

  7. Rom. 14:16.

  8. Cf. Ps. 45:11.

Chapter 3

  1. The location of the villa at Cassiciacum has been a subject of much controversy. It was north of Milan and within sight of the Alps.

  2. Cf. Matt. 9:2.

  3. Cf. Ps. 67:16.

  4. Cf. Luke 16:22.

  5. Ps. 26:8.

Chapter 4

  1. Augustine was accompanied to Cassiciacum by Monica and Adeodatus, Navigius, his brother, Rusticus and Lastidianus, his cousins, and Alypius, Trygetius, and Licentius, his students and fellow citizens. They remained for four months, from the end of October, 386 to early March, 387.

  2. These are Against the Academic Philosophers, On the Happy Life, and On Order.

  3. The Soliloquies.

  4. Nine letters from Augustine to Nebridius and three from Nebridius to Augustine survive.

  5. Cf. Isa. 40:4; Luke 3:4–6.

  6. II Peter 3:18.

  7. Alypius’s attitude is evidently due to desire to make the writings purely philosophical. Augustine did not accept Alypius’s position.

  8. Cf. Ps. 28:5.

  9. Ps. 18:7.

10. Cf. Ps. 4:2. A commentary on this psalm follows.

11. Cf. Ps. 30:7–8.

12. Ps. 4:3.

13. Cf. Ps. 4:4.

14. Cf. Eph. 1:20.

15. Cf. John 14:16–17.16

16. John 7:39.

17. Ps. 4:3–4.

18. Rom. 8:34.19

19. Ps. 4:5.

20. Rom. 2:5.

21. Ps. 4:6.

22. Ps. 4:7.

23. John 1:8.

24. Cf. Eph. 5:8.

25. Ps. 4:7.

26. Ps. 4:8.

27. Ps. 4:9.

28. Cf. Ibid.

29. I Cor. 15:54.

30. Cf. Mal. 3:6.

31. Ps. 4:10.

32. Cf. Ps. 118:103–105.

33. Cf. Ps. 138:21.

34. Cf. John 20:28.

35. In his Confessions of an English Opium Eater Thomas De Quincey, whose addiction to opium was occasioned by severe toothache, remarks that if toothache were not so common an occurrence, it would be regarded as one of the worst of all pains. Augustine’s pain was evidently so terrible that he looked upon both its coming and its cure as something mysterious.

Chapter 6

  1. At the approach of Lent, catechumens who wished to be baptized gave in their names and were examined in the catechism. Ash Wednesday in 387 was on March 10.

  2. While awaiting baptism in Milan, Augustine wrote several books, including On the Immortality of the Soul.

  3. On the Teacher. This profound and beautiful dialogue, in which Augustine considers problems of semantics along with those of teaching and others, was written at Thagaste. There are at least two translations of De Magistro in English.

  4. Adeodatus died at the age of 17.

  5. During the night of April 24–25, A.D. 387.

Chapter 7

  1. Augustine uses the term rex (king) for Valentinian as a synonym for imperator (emperor) and the adjective regia (royal) for Justina. They have been translated literally here, as it may be thought that Augustine uses them in a somewhat pejorative sense.

  2. The Empress Justina Augusta was the wife of Valentinian I and mother of Valentinian Augustus II. Early in 385 she ordered St. Ambrose to give over a church within the city to the Arians, but he refused. The struggle came to a climax in Holy Week 386 when she ordered him to leave Milan. He refused to do so and conducted services in the basilica as usual. In Easter Week Justina’s troops besieged Ambrose in the basilica, but the movement collapsed when many of the soldiers joined him. Justina died a Catholic in 388 in Thessalonica.

  3. Sts. Gervase and Protase, Milanese martyrs, probably of the second century. They are commemorated on June 19. Their remains, clothed in priestly vestments and with the palms of martyrdom in their hands, still rest under the altar of the Church of St. Ambrose in Milan.

  4. Severus, a butcher by trade.

  5. Cf. Ps. 115:15.

  6. Luke 18:11.

  7. Cf. Cant. 1:3.

  8. Cf. Isa. 40:6.

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Ps. 67:7.

  2. Evodius appears as interlocutor in Augustine’s On the Quantity of the Soul and On Free Will. He was a member of Augustine’s community in Thagaste and later became Bishop of Uzala in 396. Letters between him and Augustine survive.

  3. Monica’s desire to be buried with her husband very likely figured in this return to Africa.

  4. The exact date of St. Monica’s death is unknown. Apparently she died before November 387. Ostia is the part of Rome.

  5. Ps. 5:8.

  6. Ecclus. 19:1.

  7. Cf. Jer. 31:28.

Chapter 9

  1. Eph. 5:21.

  2. Cf. I Pet. 3:1.

  3. The first mention of his father’s name. Augustine does not use his own name at all throughout the Confessions.

  4. Ps. 58:18.

  5. Cf. Gen. 9:25.

  6. Cf. I Tim. 5:4, 9, 10.

  7. Cf. Gal. 4:9.

  8. Cf. John 11:13.

Chapter 10

  1. Phil. 3:13.

  2. II Pet. 1:12.

  3. I Cor. 2:9.

  4. Ps. 35:10.

  5. Cf. Ezech. 34:14.

  6. Cf. Ps. 77:71.

  7. Rom. 8:23.

  8. Cf. Wisd. 7:27.

  9. Ps. 99:3.

10. Cf. Ecclus. 18:1.

11. Cf. Gen. 22:11.

12. Ps. 76:18.

13. Cf. I Cor. 13:12; Num. 12:8.

14. Matt. 25:21.

15. I Cor. 15:51.

Chapter 11

  1. Augustine apparently wants to give Monica’s exact words, which we here translate literally. Instead of the imperative, she uses a colloquial form, the present indicative.

  2. Cf. Col. 1:15.

Chapter 12

  1. Augustine’s nec omnino moriebatur may echo Horace’s non omnis moriar: (I shall not wholly die).

  2. I Tim. 1:5.

  3. Ps. 100:1.

  4. The Latin is alio dolore dolebam dolorem. Cf. Shakespeare’s “with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste.” (Sonnet xxx).

  5. Terence, Andria, 1,1, 90.

  6. It was a custom in Italy for Mass to be offered for the dead person at the grave. In 1947 a marble slab was discovered in Ostia that was perhaps placed upon Monica’s grave. Her body was removed in 1430 to the church of St. Augustine in Rome.

Chapter 13

  1. Cf. I Cor. 15:22. “And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

  2. Matt. 5:22–23.

  3. Cf. Ps. 129:3.

  4. Cf. II Cor. 10:17.

  5. Cf. Ps. 117:14.

  6. Cf. Ps. 72:26.

  7. Cf. Rom. 8:34.

  8. Cf. Matt. 6:12.

  9. Cf. Ps. 142:2.

10. Cf. Jas. 2:13.

11. Cf. Matt. 5:7.

12. Cf. Rom. 9:15; Exod. 33:19.

13. Ps. 118:108.

14. Cf. II Tim. 4:6.

15. Col. 2:14.

16. Cf. John 14:30.

17. Cf. Ps. 90:13.

18. Cf. Luke 8:15.

19. This is the only place in the Confessions in which Monica is named.

20. Cf. Heb. 11:10–16.

Notes to Book 10

Chapter 1

  1. I Cor. 13:12.

  2. Eph. 5:27.

  3. Cf. Rom. 12:12.

  4. Ps. 50:8.

  5. John 3:21.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Heb. 4:13.

  2. Cf. Ps. 5:13.

  3. Cf. Rom. 4:5.

Chapter 3

  1. Ps. 102:3.

  2. I Cor. 2:13.

  3. I Cor. 13:7.

  4. Cf. Ps. 31:1.

  5. Cf. II Cor. 12:10.

Chapter 4

  1. II Cor. 1:11.

  2. Ps. 143:7, 8.

  3. Cf. Apoc. 8:3.

  4. Ps. 50:3.

  5. Cf. Ps. 2:11.

  6. Cf. John 13:1–17.

  7. Ps. 16:8; 35:8.

  8. I Cor. 4:3.

Chapter 5

  1. I Cor. 2:11.

  2. Cf. job 42:6.

  3. I Cor. 13:12.

  4. Cf. II Cor. 5:6.

  5. I Cor. 10:13.

  6. Isa. 58:10.

Chapter 6

  1. Rom. 1:20.

  2. Cf. Rom. 9:15; Exod. 33:19.

  3. Anaximenes of Miletus, a Greek philosopher of the sixth century before Christ, who taught that air is the primordial material out of which all things are made.

  4. Ps. 99:3.

  5. Rom. 1:20.

Chapter 7

  1. Ps. 31:9.

  2. It is not so much the eye that sees, the ear that hears, etc., but rather I who see by means of one organ, hear by means of the other, etc. Augustine emphasizes man’s organic unity.

Chapter 8

  1. Must is new wine boiled down and strong in taste; also the bitter leavings from new-made cider which are fed to swine.

  2. Augustine clearly has a very strong, vivid memory.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Book II, ch. 1: “The kinds of question we ask are as many as the kinds of things we know. They are in fact four: (1) Whether the connection of an attribute with a thing is a fact? (2) What is the reason for this connection? (3) Whether a thing exists? (4) What is the nature of the thing?”

  2. St. Augustine here suggests something like the Platonic doctrine of reminiscence.

Chapter 12

  1. The passage is difficult to translate because of St. Augustine’s play upon the word “number.” The eye, touch, and even other senses can perceive numbers as written or pictured, and so on. These are “the numbers that we enumerate” or name or count off. But the ideal numbers, “the numbers with which we enumerate,” i.e., with which the mathematician works in his mind, are something different from and realer than the numbers that we hear in oral additions and the like.

Chapter 16

  1. Cf. Gen. 3:17–23.

Chapter 17

  1. Cf. Job 35:11.

Chapter 18

  1. Cf. Luke 15:8.

Chapter 20

  1. Isa. 55:3.

  2. Adam, who committed the original sin. Cf. Genesis 3:1–19.

  3. Cf. I Cor. 15:22.

Chapter 23

  1. Gal. 5:17.

  2. Cf. John 14:6.

  3. Ps. 26:1.

  4. Ps. 41:12.

  5. Cf. John 12:35.

  6. Terence, Andria, i, 1, 41.

  7. Cf. John 8:40: “But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you.”

  8. Cf. John 3:20: “For everyone that does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, that his works may not be reproved.”

Chapter 28

  1. Cf. Ps. 30:10.

  2. Job 7:1. The Vulgate has “Life is a warfare.”

Chapter 29

  1. Wisd. 8:21.

  2. Both a Christian and a Plotinian thought.

Chapter 30

  1. I John 2:16.

  2. Christ forbids concubinage, sanctifies marriage, and counsels chastity.

  3. Cf. I Cor. 4:1.

  4. Cf. Ps. 102:3.

  5. Cf. I Tim. 1:14.

  6. Eph. 3:20.

  7. Cf. Ps. 2:11.

  8. I Cor. 15:54.

Chapter 31

  1. Cf. Matt. 6:34.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 6:13.

  3. Cf. I Cor. 15:53.

  4. II Cor. 6:5; I Cor. 9:27.

  5. Luke 21:34.

  6. Wisd. 8:21.

  7. Ecclus. 18:30.

  8. I Cor. 8:8.

  9. Phil. 4:11–13.

10. Ps. 102:14.

11. Cf. Gen. 3:19.

12. Cf. Luke, 15:24–32.

13. Phil. 4:11, 13.

14. I Cor. 1:31; Jer. 9:23, 24.

15. Eccleus. 23:6. The other man is Ecclesiasticus the Preacher.

16. Rom. 14:20; Titus 1:15.

17. I Tim. 4:4.

18. I Cor. 8:8.

19. Col. 2:16.

20. Rom. 14:3.

21. Cf. Gen. 9:2.

22. Cf. III Kings 17:6.

23. Cf. Matt. 3:4.

24. Cf. Gen. 25:34.

25. Cf. II Kings 23:15.

26. Cf. Matt. 4:3.

27. Cf. Num. 11:1.

28. Luke 5:8.

29. Cf. John 16:33.

30. Cf. Rom. 8:34.

31. Ps. 138:16.

Chapter 32

  1. The dark, deep regions of the subconscious and the mind’s powers of self-deception do not escape Augustine’s sure analysis.

  2. Cf. Job 7:1.

Chapter 33

  1. In this chapter Augustine reveals his love of music, as he does elsewhere in his writings, and discusses the place of music in divine worship. He sees a twofold danger. First, a rigorous anti-estheticism would reject music altogether, just as it would reject sculpture, painting, and good architecture. Upon the other hand, there is danger of the means, good sacred music, becoming an end in itself, turning into a distraction, and even displacing the worship that it should serve. By implication, Augustine also recognizes the familiar problem of Church music so bad it can only distract men from worship and even degrade it in their eyes.

  2. The passage is obscure. It is here interpreted as meaning that those who are aroused to devotion and good works by music are asked to lament Augustine’s failures in this regard. Those who are entirely unaffected will not be concerned with the problem.

  3. Cf. Ps. 12:4; 6:3.

Chapter 34

  1. Cf. II Cor. 6:16.

  2. II Cor. 5:2.

  3. Cf. Gen. 1:3.

  4. Cf. Tob. 4:2–4.

  5. Cf. Gen. 27:1–40.

  6. Cf. Gen. 48:11–22.

  7. A reference to St. Ambrose’s evening hymn, the first two stanzas of which were quoted in Book 9, ch. 12. The meaning is that in the hymn worshipers make proper use of physical light as an occasion to praise God and are not disturbed by such light during hours of sleep.

  8. Ps. 24:15.

  9. Ps. 120:4.

10. Cf. Plotinus, The Enneads, 6, 9, 4.

11. Cf. Ps. 58:10.

12. Ps. 25:3.

Chapter 35

  1. Literally, “the eyes are princes among the senses.” Cf. Newman’s description of sight in The Dream of Gerontius as “that princely sense.”

  2. Cf. I John 2:16.

  3. Cf. Ps. 17:47.

  4. A reference to his early passion for shows and interest in astrology.

  5. Spiritism or necromancy never victimized Augustine.

  6. Augustine was apparently subjected to severe temptations to seek some visible sign from God that he was assured of salvation.

  7. Augustine’s attitude may be contrasted with that of another philosopher. Spinoza is reported to have amused himself by arousing spiders to fight with one another.

  8. This chapter would be misunderstood if it were thought that Augustine was opposed to valid and worth-while scientific knowledge. His intense interest in genuine knowledge and his consciousness of its value are everywhere apparent. He condemns superstition, frivolous waste of time, and idle curiosity.

Chapter 36

  1. Cf. Ps. 102:3–5.

  2. Cf. Matt. 11:30.

  3. Cf. Isa. 37:20.

  4. I Pet. 5:5; Jas. 4:6; Prov. 3:34.

  5. Cf. Ps. 17:14 and 8.

  6. Cf. Isa. 14:12–14: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit … in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High.”

  7. Cf. Luke 12:32.

  8. Ps. 9:24.

Chapter 37

  1. Cf. Prov. 27:21: “As silver is tried in the refining pot and gold in the furnace; so a man is tried by the mouth of him that praises.”

  2. Cf. Ps. 37:9.

  3. Cf. Ps. 18:13.

  4. Augustine offers some interesting applications of the inductive methods of agreement and difference.

  5. Cf. Gal. 6:3.

  6. Cf. I John 1:6.

  7. Cf. Ps. 140:5.

Chapter 38

  1. Ps. 69:6; cf. Ps. 108:22.

  2. Cf.: “I thank my God for my humility.” Shakespeare, Richard III, Act scene 1, line 72.

Chapter 41

  1. Cf. I John 2:16: “concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

  2. Ps. 30:23.

Chapter 42

  1. A reference to the superstitious practices of some of the Neoplatonists.

  2. Eph. 2:2.

  3. II Cor. 11:14.

  4. I Tim. 2:5.

  5. Rom. 6:23.

Chapter 43

  1. I Tim. 2:5.

  2. Cf. Rom. 6:23 for the text Augustine makes the basis of his present phrase.

  3. Cf. II Tim. 1:10; I Cor. 15:55.

  4. Cf. John 1:1, 2.

  5. Cf. Rom. 8:32.

  6. Cf. Phil. 2:6–8.

  7. Ps. 87:6.

  8. Cf. John 10:17, 18.

  9. Cf. Ps. 102:3.

10. Rom. 8:34.

11. John 1:14.

12. II Cor. 5:15.

13. Cf. I Pet. 5:7; cf. Ps. 54:23.

14. Ps. 118:18.

15. Cf. Ps. 68:6; 24:5; 6:2.

16. Col. 2:3.

17. Ps. 118:122.

18. A reference to the Holy Eucharist.

19. Ps. 21:27.

Notes to Book 11

Chapter 1

  1. Ps. 95:4.

  2. Matt. 6:8.

  3. Cf. Matt. 5:3–9.

  4. Cf. Ps. 117:1.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Ps. 44:2: “My tongue is the pen of a scrivener who writes swiftly.”

  2. Augustine was ordained a priest in 391, and made a bishop late in 395 or early in 396.

  3. As our phrase “the sands of time” is taken from the hourglass, Augustine’s “drops of time” is from the water clock.

  4. Ps. 60:2.

  5. Cf. Ps. 10:17.

  6. Ps. 85:1 and 5.

  7. Cf. Ps. 129:1.

  8. Ps. 73:16.

  9. Cf. Matt. 7:7.

10. Cf. Ps. 28:9.

11. Cf. Ps. 118:72.

12. Ps. 25:7.

13. Ps. 118:18.

14. Cf. Ps. 26:7.

15. Matt. 6:33. Augustine lived a life of total poverty in his latter years.

16. Ps. 118:85.

17. Cf. Exod. 33:13.

18. Ps. 79:18.

19. Rom. 8:34.

20. Col. 2:3.

21. Cf. John 5:46: “For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe me also; for he wrote of me.” Cf. Gen. 3:15; 22:18; 49:10; Deut. 18:15.

Chapter 3

  1. Gen. 1:1.

  2. As the sinner cannot escape God but passes from God blessing him to God in wrath, (Cf. Book 4, ch. 9), so the good man passes from God blessing him in this world to God as his reward after death.

  3. Job 14:16.

Chapter 4

  1. Note how carefully Augustine writes. Things did not exist in such wise as to produce themselves. However, he leaves the way open for their existence as ideas in God’s mind before they were made by him.

  2. Augustine is here concerned with the fundamental philosophical problem of the analogous character of being and its transcendental attributes of unity, goodness, truth, and beauty.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. Ps. 22:9.

Chapter 6

  1. Matt. 3:17.

  2. Augustine apparently refers here to what we call sound waves. As he soon indicates, spoken words are not so much things as movements; they are becoming rather than being.

  3. Cf. Isa. 40:8.

  4. These words: “This is my beloved Son.”

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. John 1:1.

  2. I Cor. 1:4.

Chapter 8

  1. The Latin word in the Gospel is principium, which means both beginning and principle. Hence, according to Augustine, Christ, the Word of God, is not only in the beginning, but he is the beginning, a principle.

  2. Christ is the sole master or teacher. Cf. St. Augustine’s On the Teacher.

  3. John 3:29.

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. Ps. 30:11.

  2. Cf. Ps. 102:3–5.

  3. Cf. Rom. 8:24, 25.

  4. Ps. 103:24.

  5. Cf. Prov. 4:7.

Chapter 11

  1. Cf. I Cor. 1:24.

  2. Cf. Ps. 5:10.

Chapter 12

  1. The Latin reads, Ecce respondeo dicenti, “quid faciebat deus, antequam faceret caelum et terram.” The student of medieval philosophy will note the parallel to a formula used in the tripartite method of the schoolmen. After objections had been proposed, St. Thomas Aquinas would begin his answer with the words, Respondeo dicendum.

  2. An application of the principle of non-contradiction, viz., that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time, in the same place, and under the same conditions. The objection in philosophical terms involves an absurdity, or self-contradiction.

Chapter 13

  1. Cf. Heb. 1:2.

  2. Cf. Gen. 2:3.

  3. Ps. 101:28.

  4. Cf. II Pet. 3:8.

  5. Ps. 2:7.

  6. Before God created changing things, there was no time, no then, no succession of before and after among changing things. Augustine expresses his mind with great accuracy: God is eternal, he is before all temporal periods, and also there is never a time when there is no time. He could not correctly say there was a time when time was not.

Chapter 14

  1. This is one of the most effective and well-known epigrams in philosophy. Augustine sums up here what Plotinus labors to express. Cf. The Enneads, 111, 7, 1.

Chapter 15

  1. Cf. Ps. 26:1; Mich. 7:8; I John 1:5.

  2. That is, the explanation is absurd.

Chapter 17

  1. Cf. Ps. 22:1; 27:9.

  2. A reference both to Augustine’s school days and to his work as a school teacher in Thagaste. Cf. Book 1, chs. 9, 12; Book 4, ch. 4; and Book 6, ch. 7.

Chapter 18

  1. Ps. 70:5.

  2. In this chapter Augustine gives both an a priori and an a posteriori theory of prediction.

Chapter 19

  1. Cf. Ps. 138:6.

  2. Cf. Ps. 37:11.

Chapter 20

  1. The terms “properly” and “improperly” must not be understood as meaning correctly and incorrectly, although when we use terms properly we will also use them correctly. In traditional philosophy, to use a term properly means to use it in the strict sense, whereas to apply it to something for which it holds only in an analogous or derivative way is to use it improperly, although not incorrectly. Only men smile in the proper sense of the word. However, nature also may be said to smile by an improper but still correct and readily understood use of the term.

Chapter 22

  1. Matt. 7:11.

  2. Ps. 72:16.

  3. Ps. 115:1.

  4. Ps. 26:4.

  5. Ps. 38:6.

Chapter 23

  1. The identification of time with the movement of the sun and other heavenly bodies is a naïve theory that Augustine demolishes without much difficulty.

  2. The Latin is communes notities. It has been translated as “common notices,” “common conceptions,” and otherwise.

  3. Gen. 1:14.

  4. Because of their regularity, universality, and evidence, the movements of the sun and planets are used for ordinary measurements in time. Actually, any movement could be used, but to do so would be obviously impractical. Cf. John K. Ryan, Basic Principles and Problems of Philosophy (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1954), pp. 53–57.

  5. Cf. Jos. 10:12.

Chapter 24

  1. An appeal to God as inner teacher.

Chapter 25

  1. A reminiscence of the Socratic injunctions to know oneself and one’s own ignorance.

  2. Cf. Gal. 1:20.

  3. Ps. 17:29.

Chapter 26

  1. A cubit was 18 inches.

  2. Augustine begins to formulate his definition of time. It is an activity of the mind, whereby the mind is not merely extended into the past, as in memory, or into the future, as in anticipation, but is distended, so as to hold things as present.

Chapter 27

  1. Ps. 61:9.

  2. Ps. 99:3.

  3. Cf. Aeneid, iv, 586.

  4. The opening words of St. Ambrose’s hymn, quoted in Book 9, ch. 12.

Chapter 29

  1. Ps. 62:4.

  2. In this chapter Augustine makes use of his term for time (distentio) and related words for what may be called a moral purpose. Distentio can mean “distraction.” Hence time and temporal things can lead us astray. We can be distended, that is, spread thin, over temporal good, instead of extended, that is, intent on God or eternity. We are then discontented, distracted and without purpose, instead of intent, purposive.

  3. Ps. 17:36; 62:9.

  4. Cf. Phil. 3:12–14.

  5. Ps. 25:7.

  6. Ps. 26:4.

  7. Ps. 30:11.

Chapter 30

  1. Cf. Ps. 143:8.

  2. Phil. 3:13.

  3. Augustine refers to the problem of whether time would begin with the creation of immaterial beings, namely, angels. In The City of God (Book 12, ch. 16) he says that they are subject to time. In scholastic terminology, the duration of angels is termed aevum or “eveternity.”

Chapter 31

  1. Gen. 1:1.

  2. Cf. Isa. 57:15.

  3. Ps. 145:8.

Notes to Book 12

Chapter 1

  1. The phrase I have used here is found in Pascal, Schopenhauer, and Ernest Hello, among others.

  2. Rom. 8:31.

  3. John 16:24.

  4. Matt. 7:7–9.

Chapter 2

  1. Cf. Ps. 11:9.

  2. The body.

  3. Augustine uses a Hebraicism found in Latin versions of Scripture, “the heaven of heaven,” to name God’s dwelling place in contrast to the term “heaven” as meaning the sky, which is, of course, as material as the earth.

  4. Ps. 113:16.

Chapter 3

  1. Gen. 1:2.

  2. Cf. Ps. 70:17.

  3. Cf. Wisd. 1:18: “For your almighty hand which made the world of matter without form.” Augustine does not hold that matter existed eternally and independently of God, who formed things out of it. God created matter as well as the forms in which it is found. Cf. especially Augustine, De Generi ad litteram, 1, 15, 29.

Chapter 6

  1. Questions have been raised as to what men are referred to here, and it has been suggested that they were uneducated Christians. It seems more likely that is a general reference to explanations of prime matter, or something analogous to it, offered by philosophers with whom he had discussed it.

  2. True reason, or right reason, viz., the Aristotelian doctrine of prime matter, especially as found in Plotinus. Cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, viii. 1. 1042a 33-b7; Physics 1.6–7, 189a 11–191a 20. Plotinus, The Enneads, 2, 4, 1–2.

Chapter 7

  1. Cf. Book 9, ch. 11.

  2. Apoc. 4:8; cf. Isa. 6:3.

  3. Cf. Book 11, ch. 10.

Chapter 8

  1. Ps. 113:16.

  2. Cf. Wisd. 11:18.

  3. Cf. Gen. 1:6.

  4. The Latin is constat et non constat. The passage can be gives different interpretations. I believe that Augustine means that the world actually is and abides, but at the same time it is continually changing. It is (constat) and yet it is always becoming (non constat).

Chapter 9

  1. Your servant, viz., Moses.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Ps. 118:176; Jonas 2:8.

  2. Ezech. 3:12; Isa. 30:21.

  3. The Manichees are here described as enemies of peace or perhaps it may be a general reference to heretics who are by nature divisive. Cf. Ps. 119:7.

Chapter 11

  1. Cf. I Tim. 6:16.

  2. Ps. 113:16.

  3. Cf. Ps. 24:4.

  4. Ps. 41:3, 4, 11.

  5. Cf. Ps. 26:4.

  6. Cf. Ps. 101:28.

Chapter 12

  1. Gen. 1:1.

Chapter 13

  1. Cf. I Cor. 13:12.

Chapter 14

  1. Cf. Ps. 149:6. The two-edged sword is interpreted elsewhere by Augustine as the Old and the New Testament.

Chapter 15

  1. Cf. Ps. 47:15.

  2. Ps. 148:6.

  3. Ecclus. 1:4.

  4. St. Paul, in II Cor. 5:21.

  5. Cf. Gal. 4:26; II Cor. 5:1.

  6. Cf. Ps. 148:4.

  7. Cf. Ps. 25:8.

  8. Ps. 118:176.

  9. Cf. Luke 15:5.

10. Cf. Ps. 72:28.

11. Cf. Ps. 17:7.

12. Cf. Ps. 25:7.

Chapter 16

  1. Ps. 27:1.

  2. Cf. Matt. 6:6.

  3. Cf. Rom. 8:26.

  4. Cf. Gal. 4:26.

  5. Cf. Rom. 8:23.

Chapter 17

  1. The six days of creation described in Gen. 1:3–31.

  2. Augustine has offered four opposing interpretations of Genesis 1:1. The fourth theory is introduced with words suggesting that it is a theory Augustine himself can conceive rather than one actually advanced by another thinker. The reader will note its striking anticipation of some modern evolutionary doctrines as to the origin and development of the universe.

Chapter 18

  1. II Tim. 2:14.

  2. I Tim. 1:8.

  3. I Tim. 1:5.

  4. Cf. Math 23:10. Master, or teacher.

  5. Cf. Math 22:40.

  6. Ps. 37:11.

  7. By repetition of the word thought, Augustine emphasizes the subjective, yet true, character of different interpretations. Between the truth of divine revelation and that arrived at by human reason there will be no real conflict. The authors of inspired books, he indicates, may speak truer than they know, and readers may arrive at the additional truths that are in these books.

Chapter 19

  1. Cf. Ps. 103:24.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 8:6.

Chapter 20

  1. Cf. John 14:17.

Chapter 22

  1. Cf. Gen. 1:31.

  2. Cf. Col. 1:16.

Chapter 24

  1. Cf. Ps. 115:16.

  2. Cf. Ps. 21:26.

Chapter 25

  1. John 8:44.

  2. Cf. Jer. 18:19.

  3. Cf. I Tim. 1:8 and 5.

  4. I Cor. 4:6.

  5. Cf. Matt. 22:37–39.

  6. Cf. Matt. 22:40.

  7. Cf. I John 1:10; 5:10.

Chapter 26

  1. Cf. Matt. 22:37–39.

  2. Cf. Rom. 9:21. “Or has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor.”

  3. Cf. Ps. 8:5.

Chapter 27

  1. Cf. Ps. 50:3.

  2. Cf. Job 39:15.

  3. Cf. II Macc. 15:23.

Chapter 28

  1. Cf. John 8:25.

  2. A reference to an interpretation by St. Ambrose.

  3. Another reference to an evolutionary hypothesis.

Chapter 29

  1. The Latin is non est absurdus: he is not absurd. An absurdity in philosophy is a self-contradiction.

  2. Or, material sound is prior to formal melody.

  3. Augustine’s analogy to illustrate the doctrine of matter and form is perhaps the best that has been offered.

Chapter 30

  1. Ps. 66:1.

  2. Cf. I Tim. 1:5, 8.

  3. Cf. I John 4:11.

Chapter 31

  1. Moses.

Chapter 32

  1. Cf. Ps. 142:10.

Notes to Book 13

Chapter 1

  1. Cf. Ps. 58:18.

  2. Augustine here makes use of the doctrine of prevenient grace. God’s grace was necessary even for Augustine’s recognition of sin and cry for pardon. As St. Paul says, God gives both “the purpose and the fulfillment.”

Chapter 2

  1. Augustine explicitly rejects the Plotinian doctrine that the universe is an emanation from the divine substance.

  2. Cf. Ps. 103:24.

  3. Cf. Ps. 72:28.

  4. Cf. Eph. 5:8.

  5. Cf. Ps. 35:7; II Cor. 5: 21.

Chapter 3

  1. Gen. 1:3.

Chapter 4

  1. Gen. 1:2.

  2. Cf. Isa. 11:2.

  3. Cf. Ps. 35:10.

Chapter 5

  1. Cf. I Cor. 13:12.

  2. Cf. Gen. 1:6.

Chapter 7

  1. Rom. 5:5.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 12:1.

  3. I Cor. 12:31.

  4. Cf. Eph. 3:14 and 19.

  5. Cf. the words in the preface of the Mass.

  6. Cf. Ps. 123:5: “a water unsupportable.”

Chapter 8

  1. Cf. Eph. 5:8.

  2. Cf. Ps. 17:29.

  3. Cf. Isa. 58:10.

  4. Ps. 30:21.

Chapter 9

  1. Cf. Acts 2:38.

  2. Ps. 9:15.

  3. Cf. Luke 2:14.

  4. Cf. Ps. 83:6.

  5. Cf. Book 9, ch. 2.

  6. Cf. Ps. 121:6 and 1.

  7. Cf. Ps. 60:8.

Chapter 10

  1. Cf. Eph. 5:8.

  2. Cf. John 1:9.

Chapter 11

  1. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is that there is but one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is but one God. Augustine offers an analogy based on a man’s nature: there are in man three actualities: he is; he knows; and he wills. He is at once a really existent, a knowing, and a willing being. Is there a Trinity of Persons in God, because God is self-existent (the Father), self-knowing (the Son), self-willed (the Spirit)? Or is the Father self-existent, self-known, and self-willed, so also the Son, and so also the Holy Spirit? Or is each Person such, and at the same time the one God such? Since the Trinity is a mystery, the supreme mystery, Augustine indicates that it can neither be grasped by our minds nor expressed in words.

Chapter 12

  1. Cf. Isa. 6:3.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 1:15.

  3. I have given a definition of the Church in terms of the four causes, material, formal, final, and efficient, as follows: Human beings can be taken as the material cause of the Church—“our earth,” as Augustine says—the matter that is formed into the Church by Christ, its founder, through the doctrines he has given to us for the end of eternal salvation.

  4. Ps. 38:12.

  5. Ps. 35:7.

  6. Cf. Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Ps. 41:7.

  7. Cf. Ps. 41:5–7.

  8. Eph. 5:8.

Chapter 13

  1. Cf. II Cor. 5:7.

  2. Rom. 8:24.

  3. Cf. Ps. 41:8.

  4. I Cor. 3:1.

  5. Phil. 3:13.

  6. Cf. II Cor. 5:4.

  7. Cf. Ps. 41:2, 3.

  8. II Cor. 5:2.

  9. Rom. 12:2.

10. Cf. I Cor. 14:20.

11. Gal. 3:1.

12. Cf. Wisd. 9:17.

13. Cf. Ps. 67:19; Acts 2:2–4.

14. Cf. Gen. 7:11; Mal. 3:10.

15. Ps. 45:5.

16. John 3:29. The bridegroom is Christ. Here the term “friend” refers to St. Paul.

17. Rom. 8:23.

18. That is, a member of the Church, the bride of Christ.

19. II Cor. 11:3.

20. I John 3:2.

21. Ps. 41:4.

Chapter 14

  1. Cf. Job 32:20.

  2. Cf. Ps. 41:5.

  3. Ps. 41:6.

  4. Ps. 42:6.

  5. Ps. 118:105.

  6. Cf. Isa. 26:20.

  7. Cf. Eph. 2:3.

  8. Rom. 8:10.

  9. Cant. 2:17.

10. Ps. 5:5.

11. Cf. Ps. 42:5, 6.

12. Cf. Rom. 8:11.

13. Cf. II Cor. 1:22.

14. Cf. Rom. 8:24.

15. Cf. I Thess. 5:5.

16. I Thess. 2:4.

17. Gen. 1:5.

18. Cf. I Cor. 4:7.

19. Cf. Rom. 9:21.

Chapter 15

  1. Isa. 34:4.

  2. Cf. Ps. 103:2.

  3. Cf. Gen. 3:21.

  4. Ps. 8:4.

  5. Ps. 18:8.

  6. Ps. 8:3.

  7. Cf. ibid.: “that you may destroy the enemy and the avenger.”

  8. Cf. Ps. 148:4, 5.

  9. Cf. Matt. 18:10.

10. Ps. 35:6.

11. Matt. 24:35.

12. Cf. Isa. 40:6, 8: “All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field … but the word of our Lord endures forever.”

13. Cf. I Cor. 13:12.

14. I John 3:2.

15. Cf. Cant. 1:3–9.

16. I John 3:2.

Chapter 16

  1. Ps. 142:6.

  2. Ps. 35:10.

Chapter 17

  1. The embittered against God.

  2. Cf. Gen. 1:9.

  3. Cf. Ps. 94:5.

  4. Cf. Job 38:10, 11.

  5. Cf. Gen. 1:11, 12.

Chapter 18

  1. Cf. Ps. 84:12.

  2. Gen. 1:14.

  3. Cf. Isa. 58:7.

  4. Cf. Gen. 1:12.

  5. Cf. Isa. 58:8.

  6. Cf. Phil. 2:16.

  7. Cf. Gen. 1:14.

  8. II Cor. 5:7.

  9. Rom. 13:11.

10. Rom. 13: 12.

11. Ps. 64:12.

12. Matt. 9:38.

13. John 4:38.

14. Ps. 101:28.

15. Gen. 1:16.

16. Cf. I Cor. 12:7–11.

17. Cf. I Cor. 12:11 and 7.

18. Cf. I Cor. 3:1.

19. I Cor. 2:6.

20. Cf. Gen. 1:14.

Chapter 19

  1. Isa. 1:16.

  2. Isa. 1:17.

  3. Cf. Gen. 1:12.

  4. Cf. Isa. 1:18.

  5. Cf. Gen. 1:14, 15.

  6. The story of the rich young man is paraphrased here. Cf. Matt. 19:16–22; Mark 10:17–22; Luke 18:18–23.

  7. Matt. 13:7.

  8. I Pet. 2:9.

  9. Cf. I Cor. 1:27.

10. Cf. Luke 18:28.

11. Cf. I Cor. 1:27.

12. Cf. Rom. 10:15; Isa. 52:7.

13. Cf. Ps. 18:2.

14. Gen. 1:14.

15. Acts 2:2.

16. Cf. Phil. 2:15, 16.

17. Cf. Matt 5:14, 15.

Chapter 20

  1. Gen. 1:20.

  2. Cf. Jer. 15:19.

  3. Gen. 1:20.

  4. Cf. Gen. 1:21.

  5. Ps. 18:4, 5.

  6. Cf. Matt. 16:4. “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.”

  7. Augustine uses the word uterus, womb, of Adam, an example of catachresis. Adam contained within himself the whole human race. Some patristic commentators held that he was therefore bisexual. Cf. also Plato’s Symposium, for an analogous idea.

  8. Cf. Heb. 6:1.

Chapter 21

  1. Gen. 1:24. The living soul is the baptized Christian, or group of such Christians, living the life of faith and grace.

  2. Cf. John 4:48.

  3. I Cor. 14:22.

  4. Cf. Phil. 2:13.

  5. Gen. 1:20.

  6. The fish was a symbol of Christ. Here there is a further reference to the Holy Eucharist.

  7. Cf. Ps. 22:5.

  8. Cf. I Tim. 5:6.

  9. Cf. Gen. 3:8.

10. Cf. I Thess. 1:7.

11. Ps. 68:33.

12. Rom. 12:2.

13. Cf. I Tim. 6:20.

14. Cf. Jer. 2:13.

15. Cf. Ps. 35:10.

16. Cf. I Cor. 11:1.

17. Gal. 4:12.

18. Ecclus. 3:19.

19. Cf. I Cor. 8:8.

20. Rom. 1:20.

Chapter 22

  1. Rom. 12:2.

  2. Gen. 1:26.

  3. Cf. Rom. 12:2.

  4. Cf. I Cor. 4:15; 3:2; I Thess. 2:7.

  5. Cf. Rom. 12:2.

  6. Col. 3:10.

  7. I Cor. 2:15.

Chapter 23

  1. Cf. Gen. 1:26.

  2. I Cor. 2:14.

  3. Ps. 48:21.

  4. Eph. 2:10.

  5. CI. Gal. 3:28.

  6. Col. 3:10.

  7. Jas. 4:11.

  8. Cf. Matt. 7:20.

  9. I Cor. 5:12.

10. Cf. Gen. 1:26.

11. The sacrament of baptism.

12. The holy sacrifice of the Mass and holy communion.

13. Cf. II Cor. 6:5, 6.

Chapter 24

  1. Gen. 1:28.

  2. Cf. I Cor. 3:5.

Chapter 25

  1. Cf. John 14:6.

  2. Rom. 3:4; Ps. 115:11.

  3. John 8:44. Christ in this passage refers to Satan, the father of lies. Satan, and hence any liar, speaks from his own nature.

  4. Cf. Gen. 1:29.

  5. Cf. II Tim. 1:16.

  6. Cf. II Cor. 11:9.

  7. II Tim. 4:16.

  8. Ps. 18:5.

Chapter 26

  1. Cf. Phil. 3:19.

  2. Cf. Rom. 16:18.

  3. Cf. Phil. 4:10.

  4. Cf. Phil. 4:11–13.

  5. Col. 3:10.

  6. Cf. I Cor. 14:2.

  7. Phil. 4:14.

  8. Ps. 4:2.

  9. Phil. 4:15–16.

10. Phil. 4:7.

Chapter 27

  1. Cf. I Cor. 14:23.

Chapter 28

  1. Gen. 1:31.

Chapter 29

  1. Cf. John 3:33; 14:6.

  2. Cf. Ps. 49:7.

Chapter 30

  1. According to Manichean mythology, God built the captive powers of darkness into the structure of the universe. Abortive offspring of the captive powers fell to earth and produced the embodied forms of life named here.

Chapter 31

  1. I Cor. 2:11, 12.

  2. Matt. 10:20.

  3. Rom. 5:5.

  4. Augustine makes use of the philosophical principle: “Every being is good in so far as it is a being.” God, who is infinite being, is infinitely good, and conversely, being absolutely good is absolute being. In God essence and existence are identical. As be says in Exodus 3:14: “I am who am.”

Chapter 32

  1. Cf. Apoc. 11:17.

  2. In Retractationes, 2, 6, 2, Augustine corrects this passage: “…   this was not said with enough consideration, and the subject is in fact very abstruse.”

Chapter 33

  1. Cf. Ps. 144:10.

Chapter 34

  1. Cf. Ezech. 33:10.

  2. Cf. Rom. 4:5; Prov. 17:15.

Chapter 35

  1. Cf. Num. 6:21; II Thess. 3:16.

Chapter 38

  1. Cf. Matt. 7:7, 8.

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