Book Two

Bk. 2 depicts the falling away from God that comes from adherence to the flesh. The book falls naturally into two parts:

  • Adulescentia marked by sexual awakening and transgression;
  • 2.4.9-2.10.18
  • The story of the pear theft:
  • 2.4.9
  • The incident and the problems it raised;
  • 2.5.10-2.5.11
  • Apparent motives;
  • 2.6.12-2.10.18
  • Genuine motives.
  • text of 2.1.1


    If the six ages of man correlate to the six days of creation (see on 1.8.13), then adulescentia corresponds to the third day (Gn. 1.9), the gathering of the waters. The imagery of this book, in contrast, vividly depicts waters of various kinds flowing unchecked and out of control (cf. Mandouze 75n1). In the `fall' of the young Augustine, the particular failure of adulescentia is thus the failure to acquire the divine order characteristic of the third day.

    There is little here that is so unusual: adolescent sexual profligacy of a sort that seemed inconceivable to some of our pious ancestors, but that is less so today and was certainly far less so in late antiquity. It would be easy for Patricius to be an indulgent, self-satisfied spectator: he is the unremarkable member of his family. Imagery thus becomes an instrument by which A. records a judgment that derives from his profound conviction that his past is to be rewritten, that he is the one to give it an authorized interpretation. What gives power to these books that narrate the personal fall of A. is just the tension they create between the past as lived and the past as rewritten.

    Every modern generation has found its own formulae for keeping A.'s description of his sexual conduct at arm's length. He may be taken as utterly profligate (an older view); or as hyper-conscious religious fanatic exaggerating a few peccadilloes (a refreshingly modern view: e.g., Brown 39); or as a helpless victim of a sexual addiction--and hence as no model for others less afflicted (a brave and orthodox post-modernist view: M. Miles, Jour. Amer. Acad. Rel., 50[1982], 358). To those who knew him superficially in the early days, he seemed rather high-minded and sedate, as in the description of the Rogatist Vincentius (ep. 93.13.51, `studiis olim deditum litterarum quietis et honestatis fuisse cultorem') or of the Manichee Secundinus (ep. Sec. 3, `novi ego haec te semper odio habuisse, novi ego te semper magna amavisse, quae terras desererent, quae caelos peterent, quae corpora mortificarent, quae animas vivificarent'). The Pelagians, on the other hand, thought A. in his catholic days was more libertine than prude, against modern prejudgments (c. Iul. imp. 1.98 [Julian accuses:], `ad Ioviniani consortium confugisti' and 2.15).1

    A conventionally dismissive view of this book (e.g., W. E. Mann, Apeiron 12[1978], 51: `One is inclined to say that if this is the foulest sin that Augustine could muster from his repertoire, then he led an exemplary childhood') hints at something more important, that the synecdoche by which the pear theft stands for all A.'s other sins is a device that allows him, in the midst of his ardent profession of confessio, to maintain an extraordinary reticence. The confessio peccati contained in this work is incomplete, inexplicit, and indirect. (See on 4.2.2 for the possibility that A.'s liaison with his concubine began as early as his sixteenth year at Thagaste [cf. 2.3.5].)

    recordari volo: Bk. 8, connected to Bk. 2 by several threads, begins (8.1.1), `deus meus, recorder in gratiarum actione tibi et confitear misericordias tuas super me.'

    corruptiones: first here: God is incorruptible, man corruptible--the difference furnishes a line of contrast at Rom. 1.23, echoed in 5.3.5 (and see on 7.9.14 for the whole Rom. passage in which it occurs). The cure for corruptio is renovatio (e.g., 13.34.49, `renovasti ad imaginem et similitudinem tuam').

    amore amoris tui facio istuc: The `love of love', an unclassical phrase, is powerful but risks going astray if wrongly focused (cf. 3.1.1, `nondum amabam et amare amabam . . . amans amare'), but at 11.1.1, its power is sublimated to the present task: `iam dixi et dicam, amore amoris tui facio istuc.' J. Balogh, Didaskaleion n.s. 4(1926), 5-8 rightly insists that `tui' is objective genitive (cf. `amem te').

    istuc: istuc S Ver. Knöll Pell.:   istud C D G O Maur. Skut.
    Decisive here is Knauer 154n1, adducing 10.40.65, 4.5.10, 8.9.21, 11.22.28; though CDGO often read istud, it is clear that istuc is A's own preference.

    recolens: the verb 23x in conf. (9x in Bk. 10 on memory).

    vias: cf. 1.13.22, `malarum viarum mearum'.

    nequissimas: Infrequent in conf. and always in a context of cupidity: at 2.4.9 the pear-thieves are `nequissimi adulescentuli', and cf. 4.16.30, `nequissimus malarum cupiditatum servus'. Elsewhere in A. the association is not exclusive, but the tendency persists, e.g., en. Ps. 149.15, `progressus libidinum suarum in quaeque nequissima'.

    amaritudine: Amarus and derivatives 23x in conf., of the condition of man apart from the sweetness (cf. on dulcescas below) of God. One of his worst moments comes on the death of his friend at 4.6.11, `requiescebam in amaritudine.' (Both there and here, the phrase is likely a veiled way of saying that A. savored such bitterness in weeping.) Cf. Exod. 15.22-26, where the bitter waters of Mara are turned to sweetness by casting in a lignum (a word A. regularly uses of the redeeming cross). See on 6.10.17.

    recogitationis: `thinking over', usu. with remorse; only here in conf., as noun elsewhere only of God's seeming penitence (civ. 15.25) and the prodigal's incipient remorse (qu. ev. 2.33); not classical, but attested from Tertullian on, perhaps influenced by Gn. 6.6 (Vg.), `et paenituit eum quod hominem fecisset in terra,' on which see loc. hept. 1.14, `quod scriptum est in quibusdam latinis codicibus: “et paenituit . . .”, in graeco invenitur dienoh/qh, quod magis “recogitavit” quam “paenituit” significare perhibetur. quod verbum etiam nonnulli latini codices habent' (so A.'s citation of the verse at civ. 15.24 has `recogitavit' --the verb is also rare in A.). The only other citations showing recogitavit for this infrequently-cited verse in VL (Beuron) are from Rufinus.

    dulcescas . . . dulcedo non fallax, dulcedo: to furnish contrast with amaritudo: see on 1.6.9. At 1.20.31, voluptas, dolor, and dulcedo constitute a triad of vain aspiration, bitter discovery, and sweet alternative. There the divine person corresponding to `sweetness' is the Spirit, personification of authentic love; Bk. 2 is the book of love gone wrong. Cf. div. qu. Simp. 1.1.5, `fallax enim dulcedo est quam plures atque maiores poenarum amaritudines consequuntur. quia ergo ab hominibus nondum spiritalem gratiam percipientibus suavius admittitur quod vetatur, fallit peccatum falsa dulcedine.'

    felix: Felix and its derivatives occur 26x in conf.; of those, the overwhelming majority are in passages that associate felicitas with worldly satisfactions whose authenticity A. denies (e.g., 3.2.3, `et amissione miserae felicitatis', 5.8.14, `falsam felicitatem'), and most of the few that seem to associate felicitas with a higher happiness are open to explanation on other grounds. The exceptions, with notes: 2.1.1, `dulcedo felix et secura' (predicated of God, not man; probably evoked by assonance with the preceding phrase, `dulcedo non fallax'); 2.2.3, `felicior expectarem amplexus tuos' (the word facilitates comparison to the state of worldly felicitas he sought at the time); 9.3.6, `sapientiam pro aviditate sua sine fine felix' (where again there is an implied comparison, describing eternal happiness in terms of earthly), 12.9.9, `valde mutabilitatem suam prae dulcedine felicissimae contemplationis tuae cohibet' (even here, contemplatio is felicissima by comparison to the mutabilitas it rivals).

    frustatim discissus . . . ab uno te . . . in multa evanui: Is. 11.12, `et dispersos Israhel conliget' (see on 1.3.3), and cf. adn. Iob on 38.2, `significat ad hoc pati dura et amara dei servos in hoc saeculo, ut omnes affectiones suas a terrenarum delectationum fluxu (see on 2.2.2) conligant atque constringant.' From the praise of God for lingering goodness (as in 1.20.31, `vestigium secretissimae unitatis') to the fragmentation that threatens that unity: 10.29.40, `per continentiam quippe conligimur et redigimur in unum, a quo in multa defluximus.' trin. 4.7.11, `quia enim ab uno deo summo et vero per impietatis iniquitatem resilientes et dissonantes defluxeramus et evanueramus in multa, discissi per multa et inhaerentes in multis.' The neo-Platonic echo is loud and clear: Plot., ei) feu/goi to\ e(\n ei)s plh=qos qrupto/mena; Plot., me/ros genome/nh monou=tai/ te kai\ a)sqenei= kai\ polupragmonei= kai\ pro\s me/ros ble/pei (and cf. Plot.; Porphyry, Marc. 10, sulle/gousa a)po\ tou= sw/matos pa/nta ta\ diaskedasqe/nta sou me/lh kai\ ei)s plh=qos katakermatisqe/nta a)po\ th/s te/ws e)n mege/qei duna/mews i)sxuou/shs e(nw/sews; cf. also Porph. sent. 5 and 11.

    exarsi: A potent word, usually (as at 8.5.10, 10.27.38 [`tetigisti me, et exarsi in pacem tuam'], 11.22.28) of intense desire for that which is God or is associated with God. Rare occurrences in a negative sense at civ. 1.1, `multi vero in eam [civitatem dei] tantis exardescunt ignibus odiorum . . .'; sim. at civ. 2.25, 3.26; it is even used once of the fires of hell: civ. 21.10. Most apposite here, from 392, with Plotinian resonance: en. Ps. 4.9, `cum dedita temporalibus voluptatibus anima semper exardescit cupiditate nec satiari potest, et multiplici atque aerumnosa cogitatione distenta simplex bonum videre non sinitur'.

    satiari inferis: Cf. 1.2.2, `non enim ego iam inferi.' The metaphor of satiety is predominantly used of carnal cupidity, secondarily of the alternative satisfactions to be known from God. Contrast 1.12.19, `ad satiandas insatiabiles cupiditates,' 2.10.18, `et insatiabili satietate', and 6.12.22, `consuetudo satiandae insatiabilis concupiscentiae', with 9.6.14, `nec satiabar illis diebus dulcedine mirabili,' and 11.9.11, `satiabis in bonis desiderium meum.'

    adulescentia: The third age now begins, to endure through Bks. 2-6; infantia began implicitly at 1.6.7, pueritia explicitly at 1.8.13 (see note there), and iuventus follows at 7.1.1.

    silvescere: The word is rare and in origin botanical: Columella, re rust. 4.11, Cic. sen. 15.52; metaphorical (for hair) at Arnob. nat. 3.15. In A., rare and always metaphorical (only exception for pure botany at Gn. litt. 8.1.4); at gest. Pel., epp. 36.8.18, 159.2, 194.10.44, civ. 2.18, 21.8, s. 203.3.3, c. Iul. imp. 5.15 (by Julian, mocking A.), c. Faust. 22.70, dial. 10, qu. ev. 2.6. Similar foliage metaphors at, e.g., c. acad. 2.2.6, Io. ep. tr. 2.9. The underlying neo-Platonic sense probably derives from the use of silva to = Gk. u(/lh (`matter'); cf. Macrob. somn. Scip. 1.6.9, `anima aliena a silvestris contagione materiae tantum se auctori suo ac sibi debens'. But it is probably also worth keeping in mind en. Ps. 37.15, `quem [deum] cum [Adam] offendisset, fugit ad umbram, et abscondit se inter ligna paradisi' (cf. Gn. 3.8). A forest of this sort can be `bitter' (cf. amaritudine above) as well: Io. ev. tr. 16.6, `amara silva mundus hic fuit.'

    contabuit species [2] mea: A. is saying nearly the opposite of the literal truth to make his case. He means (as `placere cupiens oculis hominum' makes clear) that his outward appearance was something over which he took particular care as he entered the lists of love; but his real species (that which reflects the second person of the trinity: see on 1.7.12) was deteriorating as his outward show was enhanced--Jekyll and Hyde. Dan. 10.8, `sed et species mea immuta est et emarcui.' See on 3.1.1, `elegans et urbanus'.

    coram oculis tuis: Cf. Ps. 78.10, `coram oculis nostris,' Lk. 15.18 (the prodigal), `pater, peccavi in caelum, et coram te'; see also on 10.1.1.

    placens . . . hominum: Ps. 52.6, `deus dissipavit ossa hominibus placentium'; en. Ps. 52.9, `Christus . . . maluit displicere hominibus talibus, quales illi erant; filiis hominum, non filiis dei maluit displicere.'

    text of 2.2.2


    delectabat: See on 1.6.7. In Bk. 2, delectatio incites both virtue and vice: 2.5.10 (`habent enim et haec ima delectationes'), 2.5.11, 2.6.12.

    amare et amari: Cf. Cic. Catil. 2.10.23, `hi pueri tam lepidi et delicati non solum amare et amari neque saltare et cantare, sed etiam sicas vibrare et spargere venena didicerunt'; Catiline occurs below (see on 2.4.9 and 2.5.11).

    modus [1]: The flesh's lure brings clouds and darkness into the bright world of the mind, blurring boundaries and intermingling things better kept separate--not out of any abstract or arbitrary ethical imperative, but in respect of the innate quality of the beings themselves, the modus with which they were created (see on 1.7.12). For similar boundaries, cf. 2.2.3, `ut usque ad coniugale litus exaestuarent fluctus aetatis meae . . . fine procreandorum contentam,' 2.2.4, `excessi omnia legitima tua,' 2.3.8, `cohercere terminis coniugalis affectus'; then see 13.17.20, `tu enim coherces etiam malas cupiditates animarum et figis limites, quousque progredi sinantur aquae ut in se comminuantur fluctus earum, atque ita facis mare ordine imperii tui super omnia.' That passage depends on Job 38.8-11, which A. expounds thus (adn. Iob on 38.11): `sicut ipse diabolus modum accepit, quo usque affligeret Iob, ita illud mare quo usque persequeretur ecclesiam.' Note at 4.10.15, `usque' in represented discourse is again a way of stating modus.

    luminosus limes amicitiae: As G-M observe, a boundary so bright and clear should also have been readily visible and unmistakeable. Cf. 3.1.1 (which recapitulates in several ways the developments of Bk. 2), `venam igitur amicitiae coinquinabam sordibus concupiscentiae candoremque eius obnubilabam de tartaro libidinis.' Cf. ep. 109.2 (Severus of Milevis writing to A.: the passage is conceivably an undetected allusion to the present passage of conf.), `vides quid facias, quod sic bonus es, quam nos rapias in amorem proximi, qui nobis primus ad dilectionem dei et ultimus gradus est et quasi limes quo sibi uterque adnectitur dei et proximi, in quo nos, ut dixi, quasi limite stantes amborum calore tangimur et amborum flagramus amore.' Cf. Cic. amic. 16.56, `constituendi sunt qui sint in amicitia fines et quasi termini diligendi.'

    The importance to A. of friendship is self-evident from his writings (in conf. notably the loss of his unnamed friend in Bk. 4, the gathering of comrades on the verge of discovery in Bk. 6, the community at Cassiciacum in Bk. 9--always marked by the words amicus/amicitia [62x in conf., 59 in Bks. 1-9; first here except for the metaphorical `amicitia huius mundi' at 1.13.21]), but here he also discreetly awards friendship an important place in his review of his moral past. In the background is the traditional Ciceronian definition, which A. quotes at >ep. 258.1, `amicitia est rerum humanarum et divinarum cum benevolentia et caritate consensio.' 2

    Friendship for A. is undoubtedly a higher form of association than marriage, as suggested by the rhetorical climax at 8.3.8 (`hoc [est verum] in turpi et exsecranda laetitia, hoc in ea quae concessa et licita est [i.e., marriage], hoc in ipsa sincerissima honestate amicitiae'). Not long after conf., A. connects the two again with ironic undertones: it was God who, to ensure the good will of human beings for each other, reinforced the natural possibility of friendship with the kinship that arises from sexual love and procreation. The reinforcement is in practice so strong that it tends to blur the original purpose. The model of continent friendship between man and woman he then proposes was not an obvious one to his contemporaries: b. coniug. 1.1, `quoniam unusquisque homo humani generis pars est et sociale quiddam est humana natura magnumque habet et naturale bonum, vim quoque amicitiae, ob hoc ex uno deus voluit omnes homines condere, ut in sua societate non sola similitudine generis, sed etiam cognationis vinculo tenerentur. prima itaque naturalis humanae societatis copula vir et uxor est. . . . poterat enim esse in utroque sexu etiam sine tali commixtione [carnis] alterius regentis, alterius obsequentis amicalis quaedam et germana coniunctio.' (Cf. b. coniug. 9.9, `quaedam [necessaria sunt] propter amicitiam, sicut nuptiae vel concubitus; hinc enim subsistit propagatio generis humani, in quo societas amicalis magnum bonum est.') Sim. at s. Den. 16.1 and 16.7; at Gn. litt. 11.42.59, A. says that Adam ate the forbidden fruit not out of concupiscentia, `quam nondum senserat' but `amicali quadam benevolentia' : this keeps the antithesis between friendship and concupiscence, and further suggests the presence of friendship in a husband-wife relationship.

    Several writers, most noticeably in English Rebecca West, in her popular (and largely hostile) biography St. Augustine (London, 1933), take this phrase as an admission of homosexual involvement, preceded by W. Achelis, Die Deutung Augustins (Prien am Chiemsee, 1921), who cited 3.1.1, and G. Papini, S. Agostino (Florence, 1930), 40ff, and followed by J. Dittes, Jour. Sci. Stud. Rel. 4(1965/66), 134 (citing also 4.4.7); J. Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago, 1980), 135, is uncharacteristically reticent, but takes the parallel phrase at 3.1.1 (`venam igitur amicitiae coinquinabam sordibus concupiscentiae candoremque eius obnubilabam de tartaro libidinis') as hinting at homosexual acts. Others (see Mandouze 79n5 for references) find the same admission in 2.1.1, `variis et umbrosis amoribus'. The topic elicits displays of high nervousness from all sides. If A. can be claimed for homosexuality, something apparently is assumed to change in contemporary debates over Christian teaching on the subject. But the nervousness is entirely absent in A., and that is why his narrative so artlessly leaves itself open to the interpretation.

    limosa: en. Ps. 39.3, `limus luti, concupiscentiae carnales, tenebrae iniquitatum'.

    concupiscentia carnis: First here in conf.; the phrase is biblical in 1 Jn. 2.16 (see on 1.10.16 and esp. on 10.30.41).

    scatebra: the noun only here in A.; in CL a `gushing spring'; but cf. Oribasius syn. 5.6 (quoted by Souter), `cutaneous eruption'. Cf. also Exod. 16.20, `[manna] et scatere coepit vermibus atque computruit' (cf. `conputrui' above here) and Hab. 3.16, `ingrediatur putredo in ossibus meis et subter me scateat.'

    pubertatis: of the age capable of begetting children; a medical term for A., hence infrequent.

    obnubilabant: Also at 3.1.1, 4.14.23, 7.1.1--after that, the clouds begin to lift.

    serenitas: Chaste (8.11.27, `casta dignitas continentiae, serena et non dissolute hilaris') and divine (2.3.8, `caligo intercludens mihi, deus meus, serenitatem veritatis tuae,' 3.2.3, `de caelesti serenitate').

    caligine: See on 2.3.8.

    libidinis: 27x in conf., never in a good sense. Some characteristic images occur, almost all in Bk. 2 and the first pages of 3: 2.2.4 (`vesania libidinis'), 2.3.6 (`vepres libidinum'), 3.1.1 (`de tartaro libidinis'), 3.2.3 (`aestus immanes taetrarum libidinum'), 9.1.1 (`scabiem libidinum').

    gurgite flagitiorum: 6.7.11, `gurges tamen morum Carthaginiensium'. Think also of the drowning of Pharaoh's men in the Red Sea in Exod. 14.

    ira tua: At 13.14.15, God's ira is associated with the night of wickedness and sin, and the two pass away together. The vice of fleshly concupiscence, here adumbrated, is healed at the end of Bk. 8 in a scene whose master-text from scripture is Rom. 13.12-14, `nox praecessit, dies autem appropiavit. abiciamus ergo opera tenebrarum et induamur arma lucis' (see on 8.12.30; cf. 8.12.28, `usquequo, domine, irasceris in finem?').

    obsurdueram: 10.27.38, `et rupisti surditatem meam' --in a famous passage of sensory images of restored life, and 13.29.44, `perrumpens meam surditatem et clamans'.

    stridore catenae mortalitatis meae, poena superbiae animae meae: The parallels between the two phrases are perfect, and explain themselves by comparison to 1.1.1, `homo circumferens mortalitatem suam, circumferens testimonium peccati sui et testimonium quia superbis resistis.' Mortalitas is not (as G-M would have it) `bodily senses . . . mortal body, abstract for concrete', but the presence in the person of the power of God resisting sin; once again, the young Augustine did not see the pattern that was so obvious to the confessor (`obsurdueram'). Cf. e.g. Io. ep. tr. 2.10, `sic in ista mortalitate, nos reatu tenebamur.'

    longius a te: See on 1.18.28 (`non enim pedibus') and on 9.11.28 (`“nihil” inquit [Monnica] “longe est deo.”'): the separation from God is entirely in the will of the sinner. Cf. 2.2.3, `non enim longe est a nobis omnipotentia tua, etiam cum longe sumus a te,' and 2.2.4, `quam longe exulabam', and note esp. 2.6.14, `qui longe se a te faciunt.'

    effundebar: 9.4.10, `volentes enim gaudere forinsecus facile vanescunt et effunduntur in ea quae videntur et temporalia sunt.'

    diffluebam et ebulliebam: These specially vivid metaphors of loss of control arising from self-will and concupiscence, leading to loss of self, prepare the paradox of restoration of self and of control through surrender to a power outside the self. `Flux' is a characteristic of what is bad for A., though the valuation can be reversed by metaphor (as 2.6.13, `sed bonorum omnium largitor affluentissimus tu es'); cf. also 1.14.23, 2.2.3, 2.2.4 (see on `sequens impetum fluxus mei'), 2.10.18, 4.11.16, 8.7.18, 9.8.18, 10.29.40, 6.16.26 (`in quantalibet affluentia carnalium voluptatum'), 8.7.17 (`et ad nutum circumfluentibus corporis voluptatibus'), 9.8.18, 11.2.3 (`vox tua super affluentiam voluptatum'), 12.10.10, 12.17.25, 13.7.8, 13.8.9, 13.10.11. Elsewhere, see Hensellek, Sitzungsber. Akad. Wien 376 (1981), 5-6, on vera rel. 4.6, `a cupiditate bonorum temporalium atque affluentium'; ord. 2.20.52, c. acad. 2.2.4, `a superfluarum cupiditatium vinculis evolavi'.

    tacebas: See on 1.18.28, `taces'.

    tardum gaudium meum: 10.27.38, `sero te amavi.'

    sterilia semina: L. C. Ferrari, Aug. Stud. 8(1977), 55-70, connects this phrase to the regio egestatis with which this book ends (2.10.18). That connection further links this passage to the theme of the prodigal (see on 1.18.28), and to other metaphors of sterility (and the farmer's struggles) at 2.2.3, `ad temperamentum spinarum,' 2.3.5, `desertus potius a cultura tua,' 2.3.6, `vepres libidinum,' 2.3.8, `resecari ad vivum'; cf. also 4.16.29, `terra spinas et tribulos pareret,' 10.16.25, `terra difficultatis,' and 13.19.24, `contristata est terra sterilis, et spinae offocaverunt verbum.' Ferrari shows (64) that `thorns and briars are concerned not merely with sexual lust, but with the larger domain of the concupiscence of the senses in general.' See also Job 4.8, `quin potius vidi eos qui operantur iniquitatem et seminant dolores.' To `sterilia semina dolorum', an important counter-image is that of 8.11.27, `continentia . . . fecunda mater filiorum gaudiorum', where each element of the phrase is contradicted: sterility answered by fecundity, male seed (seed that does beget something, viz. dolores, but to no avail) by motherhood, dolor by gaudium.

    superba deiectione et inquieta lassitudine: Two more oxymorons, where the adjective again suggests the cause and the noun depicts the paradoxical effect to which the cause gives rise (or fall). Cf. 1.20.31, `fugiebam dolorem [3], abiectionem [1] (n.b. the explicit superba here), ignorantiam' [2]. Cf. 2.3.6, `inquieta adulescentia'.

    lassitudine: 5.1.1, `ut exsurgat in te a lassitudine anima nostra'; and see on 7.18.24 for a link between lassitudo and mortalitas (with a further link back to 1.1.1 for both mortalitas [cf. on `stridore catenae mortalitatis meae' above] and inquietum); cf. 10.34.53, `nec eam spargant in deliciosas lassitudines.'

    text of 2.2.3


    What might have been is sketched, to pass judgment on what was. Marriage? Celibacy? Both honorable possibilities. God could have led A. to either; the presentation of the possible past is put in terms of a hearing (`sonitum nubium tuarum'; `voces exaudirem') of scripture that might have been but was not. The clarity of this paragraph has been obscured by mispunctuation and misreading of the scriptural echo from 1 Cor. 7.28 (see below). Either his parents could have arranged a marriage, or he himself could have heeded God's call. (The punctuation has been clarified. The mistake of earlier punctuation is to link the si-clause with what goes before, thus leading A. to the improbability of saying effectively, `if it were impossible for me to be happy with employing my sexuality to the end of begetting children, someone might have encouraged me to marry.') O. Tescari (reviewing Skutella in Riv. filol. istr. class. n.s. 13 [1935], 525-9) offers unnecessary emendation and another punctuation.

    quis mihi modularetur [1] aerumnam meam et novissimarum rerum fugaces pulchritudines [2] in usum [3] verteret: A self-answering deliberative question (by no means uncommon in conf.)--the triune God, or a creature in his image (say, A.'s mother), could or would have acted, but did not. For the imperfect subjunctive of past time, see LHS 338.

    novissimarum: Cf. 5.2.2, 12.2.2, for the same sense.

    fluctus: Job 38.11 (VL), Yahweh from the whirlwind: `et dixi, “hucusque venies, et non transibis, sed in temetipso comminuentur fluctus tui.”' Cf. on 2.2.4, `sequens impetum fluxus mei'.

    aetatis meae: i.e., adulescentiae.

    sicut praescribit: Gn. 1.28, `crescite et multiplicamini et replete terram.'

    lex tua: See on 2.4.9.

    spinarum a paradiso tuo seclusarum: Gn. 3.17-18, `Adae autem dixit, . . . “maledicta terra erit in omnibus operibus tuis . . . (18) spinas et tribulos pariet tibi.”' (This Genesis passage is quoted in a slightly different form at Heb. 6.8; cf. 4.16.29.) Of importance is also Os. 2.5-6, esp. 6, `propter hoc ecce ego saepiam viam tuam spinis' (in a context of metaphorical adultery and fornication).

    longe: See on 2.2.2 above.

    aut certe: `at all events, this at any rate is certain' : cf. OLD s.v. certe 2c, TLL 2.1572-3 and 3.938-9. Caesar, b. civ. 1.85.10, `aut cum honore aliquo aut certe sine ignominia domum revertantur'; Livy 9.37.4, `aut nocte aut certe luce prima'. Closest parallel in conf., 9.2.4, `aut, si curari et convalescere potuissem, certe intermittere'. Others might have guided him, or at least he could have heeded God's word himself. The phrase would stand better before the protasis, clarifying the disjunction with the other possibility (outlined in the first sentence of the paragraph); the length of the intrusive parenthesis probably justifies the anacoluthon. On this reading, A. does not realize at this moment in the text that by regarding what goes before as parenthetical, he has already set up a perfectly apt protasis that would make of the following clause a satisfactory apodosis without the aut.

    nubium tuarum: en. Ps. 35.8, `quae sunt nubes? praedicatores verbi dei. . . . quando minatur per praedicatores deus, tonat per nubes. quando miracula facit per praedicatores deus, coruscat per nubes, terret per nubes, et inrigat per pluviam.' (The same equation at en. Ps. 56.17, 76.19, 88. s. 1.7, 103. s. 1.11, and Gn. c. man. 2.3.5.) Cf. 13.15.18, `transeunt nubes, caelum autem manet. transeunt praedicatores verbi tui'.

    There follows a spate of scriptural voices advocating continence, unheard at the time. A further scriptural voice with a similar exhortation is finally heard and heeded at 8.12.29, in the garden at Milan. A.'s life from here to there is deliberately pictured as an unnecessary detour--against which there is the mostly unspoken picture of how his life could have been or should have been, and at the same time doubts (as in the comparable recollection of a lost opportunity at 1.11.17, the deferred baptism). (The three Pauline texts recur as a group in the central chapters of A.'s virg.: see below for some details.)

    tribulationem autem: 1 Cor. 7.28, `si autem acceperis uxorem non peccasti, et si nupserit virgo non peccavit; tribulationem tamen carnis habebunt huius modi, ego autem vobis parco.' (N.B.: `huius modi' specifies the subject of `habebunt' [qli/yin . . . e(/cousin oi( toiou=toi], `those who marry.') Modern readers, who read Paul eagerly seeking permission to love and do as they will, may take this text mainly as allowing marriage; A. could read it otherwise not long after conf.--his reading of `ego autem vobis parco' is particularly noteworthy in this regard: virg. 16.16, `addidit tamen, “tribulationem autem carnis habebunt huius modi, ego autem vobis parco,” hoc modo exhortans ad virginitatem continentiamque perpetuam, ut aliquantulum a nuptiis etiam deterreret modeste sane, non tamquam a re mala et inlicita, sed tamquam ab onerosa ac molesta. . . . quod autem se dicit eis parcere, quos ait tribulationem carnis habituros, nihil mihi interim sanius occurrit quam eum noluisse aperire et explicare verbis eandem ipsam carnis tribulationem, quam praenuntiavit eis qui eligunt nuptias in suspicionibus zeli coniugalis, in procreandis filiis atque nutriendis, in timoribus et maeroribus orbitatis.' Indeed, at virg. 20.20-21.21, A. feels he has to go further and defend `ego autem vobis parco' from a charge that it masks a condemnation of marriage--that what goes unsaid is a catalogue of punishments visited in the afterlife upon those who marry.

    bonum est: 1 Cor. 7.1-2, `bonum est homini mulierem non tangere, (2) propter fornicationes autem unusquisque suam uxorem habeat.'

    qui sine uxore est: 1 Cor. 7.32-33, `volo autem vos sine sollicitudine esse; qui sine uxore est cogitat ea quae sunt dei [domini], quomodo placeat deo [domino]; (33) qui autem matrimonio iunctus est, cogitat ea quae sunt mundi, quomodo placeat uxori.' Text from civ. 21.26, corroborated by virg. 22.22 (which reads domini and domino).

    abscisus propter regnum caelorum: Mt. 19.12, `sunt enim spadones qui ita nati sunt; sunt autem alii qui ab hominibus facti sunt, et sunt spadones qui se ipsos castraverunt propter regnum caelorum: qui potest capere capiat.' virg. 23.23 (giving text as here), `quid veracius, quid lucidius dici potuit? Christus dicit, veritas dicit, virtus et sapientia dei dicit eos, qui pio proposito ab uxore ducenda se continuerint, castrare se ipsos propter regnum caelorum'. (Did A. know that Origen had castrated himself? Hier. vir. ill. 54 [written 393] mentions the story; A. knew that work by ep. 40.2 [c. 396.])

    felicior expectarem amplexus tuos: Cf. 13.8.9, `ut currat vita mea in amplexus tuos nec avertatur'; on erotic metaphors for divine union in conf. see on 12.16.23, `amatoria [cantica]', and the less explicit deliciae (e.g., 2.2.4, 2.5.10).

    text of 2.2.4


    The juxtaposition of two patterns: he lived one way, and the presence of divine flagella in his life gave silent testimony to the other pattern he was violating, a pattern he could have found (cf. on `legitima') from listening to what God had said through Moses. Implicit in such passages is an Old Testament/New Testament reading of his own life: the Law was known to him and could/should have changed his life; but it required the coming of Christ (see 7.18.24-7.19.25) to set him free.

    sequens impetum fluxus mei: en. Ps. 74.6, `“defluxit terra.” [Ps. 74.4] si defluxit terra, unde defluxit nisi peccatis? ideo et delicta dicuntur. delinquere est tamquam de liquido quodam defluere a stabilitate firmamenti virtutis atque iustitiae. cupiditate enim inferiorum quisque peccat; sicut roboratur caritate superiorum, sic deficit, et quasi liquescit cupiditate inferiorum.'

    legitima: a common expression in OT, but never as a substantive in NT; hence a way of saying that it was not only the evangelical or apostolical advice (quoted in 2.2.3) that spoke against his ways at this time, but even the Mosaic law. Cf., e.g., Lev. 10.11, `et instruere filios Israhel omnia legitima quae locutus est dominus ad eos per manum Moysi' (text from qu. hept. 3.33); Lev. 18.26, `custodite legitima mea atque iudicia'; Num. 18.18, `tradidi tibi et filiis tuis . . . legitima sempiterna.'

    misericorditer saeviens: oxymoron again; paradox a sign of truth.

    aspergens: aspergens O Ver.:   aspargens C G S Knöll Skut. Pell.
    A.'s practice, both elsewhere in conf. and in other works, is consistent in favor of aspergo. See on 9.10.23 for the verb's mystic sense.

    sine offensione iucundari: As often, a form of delectatio (see on 1.6.7 and above on 2.2.2) is the legitimate mainspring of action; the way God manipulates life to exploit this motive foreshadows A.'s theories about the mechanics of predestination.

    qui fingis dolorem in praecepto: Ps. 93.20, `numquid adhaeret tibi sedes iniquitatis, qui fingis dolorem in praecepto.' (The Psalm-text's difficulty stems from an underlying mistranslation of the LXX; the precedent of the relative should be `sedes', not `tibi'; cf. Knauer 58-60, showing a Greek antecedent for the reading that lead to the incorrect translation.) en. Ps. 93.23, `formas, inquit, dolorem in praecepto, id est de dolore praeceptum nobis facis, ut ipse dolor praeceptum sit nobis.' The general topic of en. Ps. 93.23-25 is the misery of the human condition. A. asserts God present in the world through the suffering he inflicts: en. Ps. 93.24, `qui fingis dolorem in praecepto, qui et istos filios sic voluisti exercere et erudire, sic voluisti eis praecepta dare, ut non essent sine timore, ne amarent aliquid aliud, et obliviscerentur te verum bonum suum? bonus est deus; si cessaret deus, et non misceret amaritudines felicitatibus saeculi, oblivisceremur eum.' Sim. at en. Ps. 38.17.

    occidis nos: Cf. Deut. 32.39, `videte quod ego sim solus et non sit alius deus praeter me. ego occidam et ego vivificabo, ego percutiam et ego sanabo, et non est qui de manu mea possit eruere.'

    a deliciis domus tuae: Mic. 2.9, `mulieres . . . eiecistis de domo deliciarum suarum.' There is through these lines a general analogy to the condition of the prodigal son (see on 1.18.28): far from his father's house, he surrenders to the authority of another; but there is no verbal echo.

    anno illo sexto decimo: A. was born 13 Nov. 354, hence this sixteenth year ran from Nov. 369 to Nov. 370.

    licentiosae . . . inlicitae: Cf. `legitima' (above).

    non fuit cura meorum: A. sees himself surrounded by misdirection. The people who cared for him did not see the divine pattern (or at least the course of least resistance: marriage [cf. 2.2.3]; he does not expect them to have seen further to continence), but had another plan for him, concentrating not on hearing what has been spoken by God but on speaking powerful words (speaking: `sermonem facere'; powerful words: `persuadere dictione' [cf. 1.16.26, `hinc adquiritur eloquentia, rebus persuadendis . . . necessaria' : the task that had been set for A. in boyhood]). There is implicit criticism of his parents for not seeing that the adulescens was different from the puer--criticism made explicit in remarking the callousness of his father in 2.3.6.

    text of 2.3.5


    The education A. received set him apart even from his family: Brown 21, `His cousins were less fortunate: they remained without a proper education (beata v. 1.6, `nec Lartidianum et Rusticum consobrinos meos, quamvis nullum vel grammaticum passi sint, desse volui'); and would have to face the poverty and boredom of a narrow world of unlettered squireens.' See on 6.1.1 for the way A.'s career prospects were expected to make the fortunes of the whole family.

    Madauris: At ep. 16.4, the elderly, `pagan' teacher Maximus of Madauros addresses A. as `vir eximie, qui a mea secta deviasti'; he may indeed have been A.'s teacher (as argued by Frend, The Donatist Church [Oxford, 1952], 235). We may flesh out his memories and add some local color here (but A. deliberately omitted such things, and we run the risk of distorting this text by throwing additional light upon it) from epp. 16-17 (390?), from and to Maximus. Contrast Maximus' version of the city center at ep. 16.1 (`at vero nostrae urbis forum salutarium numinum frequentia possessum nos cernimus et probamus.') with A.'s own memory at ep. 17.1 (`in isto foro recordarer esse in duobus simulacris unum Martem nudum, alterum armatum, quorum daemonium infestissimum civibus porrectis tribus digitis contra conlocata statua humana comprimeret.') See P. Mastandrea, Massimo di Madauros: Agostino, Epistulae 16 e 17 (Padua, 1985); C. Lepelley, Les cités de l'Afrique romaine au Bas-Empire 2 (Paris, 1981), 127-139, esp. 135-137 on Maximus (esp. 135n27, where he quotes a funerary inscription [ILAlg. 1.2209] dedicated to a grammarian named Marius by his daughter Maxima; if that Marius is not identical with A.'s correspondent, he might as well be for the long service and love of native city that the inscription attests) and on A.'s ep. 232., `ad Madaurenses' (no date). ep. 232.1, `miror quod “patri” et “in domino salutem” scripsistis, quorum mihi superstitiosus cultus idolorum, contra quae idola facilius templa vestra quam corda clauduntur vel potius quae idola non magis in templis quam in vestris cordibus includuntur, cum magno est dolore notissimus'. It is conventional to surmise some line of intellectual contact between A. and Madauros's most famous citizen, Apuleius; against such inclinations is the lack of mention of Apuleius and his works in A. until at least 408/9 (< ep. 102.6.32), and perhaps not until 412 (see my argument at RA 15[1980], 149-150).

    animositate: Not CL, biblical (rendering Gk. qumo/s), but not exclusively so, not common (first in third century). Cf. Gal. 5.19-21, `opera carnis, quae sunt fornicationes, . . . (20) idolorum servitus, veneficia, inimicitiae, contentiones, aemulationes, animositates, dissensiones, haereses, (21) . . . et his similia' (cited at civ. 14.2, 21.25; a sim. list at 2 Cor. 12.20); cf. Sirach 1.28 and 31.40 and Heb. 11.27. A.'s use of the word does not have positive ring: 5.10.19, `pristina animositate', may be neutral (though in a bad cause), but 6.4.5, `puerili errore et animositate', is anything but positive. Cf. civ. (`levissimae temeritatis et perniciosissimae animositatis'; sim. at ep. 93.5.17, quoted in full on `Thagastensis' below); cf. retr. 2.33 (`iam haereticus [Pelagius] pertinacissima animositate defendit'; sim. at haer. 81), c. ep. fund. 27.29, ss. 46.16.40, 164.10.14, 292.2.2 (`arrogantia tumidae animositatis'), adult. coniug. 2.19.20, vera rel. 53.103, cat. rud. 8.12 (`animositate acerrima et pervicaci arrogantia defensitantes'), duab. an. 9.11, c. Iul. 6.26.83. The most positive use is of the adjective and is scarcely more than neutral: sol. 1.1.1, `hoc ipsum litteris manda, ut prole tua fias animosior' (`livelier'?). Lexical definitions suggested include `vehemence, impetuosity, ardor' (Lewis and Short), `wrathful spirit, anger' (Souter); TLLoffers no definition but quotes a gloss that equates it with audacia.

    The translators here offer a wide variety of readings. Of the ones examined, only Carena (`ambizioni'), Hefele (`der stolze Ehrgeiz'), and Warner's paraphrase (`This was rather because my father had big ideas than because he was rich') carry any possibility of implied criticism; the others, all perhaps moved by a respect for fathers who make efforts for their sons, find generous versions: De Capitani, Lectio I-II 107, discusses and prefers `coraggio e tenacia' to `ambizione'; Ryan and Pine-Coffin, `determination'; Pusey, `resolution'; Vega, `animosa resolución'; BA, `mon père y apportait plus de coeur que de moyens.' Perhaps in this context best: `chutzpah'.

    municipis: P.'s social status as a `town-councillor' means that A.'s career is to be seen against the backdrop of the endless legislative attempts to keep the sons of curiales in their fathers' places. A. remarkably escaped twice, once to Carthage and Rome, then a second time, having come back to Thagaste, when he was ordained at Hippo. On the legal situation, see Jones, LRE 737-757.

    P.'s financial status is difficult to assess; see C. Lepelley, Bull. litt. eccl. 88(1987), 231-233 and Atti-1986 1.101-105, and B. Shaw, Past and Present 115(1987), 8-10; among the wealthy, he was impecunious, but he was of the honestiores (cf. Possidius v. Aug. 1.1, `parentibus honestis'), and A. (no less than Monnica) would have grown up with servants (1.19.30, and the gossips of 9.9.20) and a sense of place in the community. Shaw even suggests that P.'s inability to finance A.'s education represents a `periodic liquidity problem' arising from a lean year on the land; but s. 356.13 represents some recalled constraints: `Augustinum, id est, hominem pauperem, de pauperibus natum. modo dicturi sunt homines quia inveni pretiosas vestes, quas non potuissem habere vel in domo patris mei vel in illa saeculari professione mea' (Lepelley, Atti-1986 101, neglects the force of that last clause). Cf. ep. 126.7, `. . . paucis agellulis paternis contemptis . . . ego quippe secundum multorum sensum comparantium semet ipsos sibimet ipsis non divitias dimisisse sed ad divitias videor venisse. vix enim vigesima particula res mea paterna existimari potest in comparatione praediorum ecclesiae quae nunc ut dominus existimor possidere.'

    Thagastensis: For concise description of history and position, see C. Lepelley, Bull. litt. eccl. 88(1987), 230. ep. 93.5.17 (to Vincent the Rogatist), `mihi opponebatur civitas mea, quae cum tota esset in parte Donati, ad unitatem catholicam legum imperialium timore conversa est, quam nunc videmus ita huius vestrae animositatis perniciem detestari, ut in ea numquam fuisse credatur. . . . quam multi enim, quod certo scimus, iam volebant esse catholici manifestissima veritate commoti et offensionem suorum reverendo cotidie differebant! quam multos non veritas, qua numquam praesumpsistis, sed obduratae consuetudinis grave vinculum conligabat'. This passage, taken together with ep. 52. (which is addressed to a Donatist named Severinus, who is some sort of blood relative of A. [ep. 52.1, `qui secundum carnem fratres sumus'; 52.4, `consanguinitas temporalis' ]) compels us to consider the sectarian history of Monnica herself. Frend, The Donatist Church, 184 (followed by R. Crespin, Ministère et Sainteté [Paris, 1965], 140), dates the conversion of Thagaste to the anti-Donatist party to the period 348-61 (`the most probable time . . . having regard to Augustine's own upbringing in a Catholic household'). If M. herself was a native of Thagaste (this we do not know for certain), she would have been between 16 and 29 (Mandouze, Pros. chr. s.v. Monnica), hence in all probability a young bride and mother, when the change came. There is no slightest whisper anywhere in A.'s writings that she may ever have been, willing or unwilling, a Donatist communicant, nor is there any insinuation raised by any of his Donatist opponents, nor is the question of her past discussed by scholars. At any rate, she is unlikely to have been completely untouched by such controversies, and A.'s childhood (`in a Catholic household') was surely not completely insulated either. (Frend now [Atti-1986 1.141] takes for granted that M. had been brought up Donatist, and thinks her only superficially converted.)

    cui narro haec?: The authorial voice breaks off the `confession' proper and speaks as it were in a void, to no one. This excursion begins from the preposterousness of `narration' directed to an all-knowing God. The fact of narrative compels him to admit that he has a human audience, with which he shares at least the frustration implied in the paradox of the silent God to whom men wish to speak, who is immeasurably far above and at the same time intimately accessible. The accessibility of God is conditioned not, however, on finding the right pattern of words, but on finding the right pattern of life (`si cor confitens et vita ex fide est').

    de quam profundo: Ps. 129.1, `de profundis clamavi ad te, domine, domine, exaudi vocem meam'; en. Ps. 129.1, `profundum enim nobis est vita ista mortalis. quisquis se in profundo intellexerit, clamat, gemit, suspirat, donec de profundo eruatur, et veniat ad eum qui super omnes abyssos sedet et super Cherubim'.

    quam: quam O S edd.:   quo C D G

    vita ex fide: Hab. 2.4, `iustus autem in fide sua vivet'; close echoes/quotations at Rom. 1.17, Gal. 3.11, and Heb. 10.38.

    quis enim: The thought is connected both to the beginning of the present paragraph (the cura taken by his father for his education) and to the thrust of the last paragraph (the inadequacy of the `cura meorum').

    cum interea: concessive: adducing again the contrast from the last paragraph, `even though'.

    satageret: Used once of the cura of each parent: 1.11.17, `nam illa [Monnica] satagebat, ut tu mihi pater esses.'

    dummodo . . . a cultura tua: The sequence of metaphors is instructive: `disertus' represents the goal his father sought; a purely accidental verbal echo suggests `desertus', which can be taken not only in the personal sense of abandonment but in an agricultural sense, hence `a cultura tua' (implying that `disertus' also had something to do with a different kind of cultura--that pair of metaphors forms a circle), but thence on a direct line it is possible to speak of God as the farmer: cf. 1 Cor. 3.9 (`dei agricultura estis') and Mt. 13.24-30 (the parable of the sower). There is want of strict logic here, but each step of the sequence of verbal association makes sense as it is taken, and the effect of the whole is strong. (The same word-play at en. Ps. 36. s. 3.6, `melius in barbarismo nostro vos intellegitis, quam in nostra disertitudine vos deserti eritis.')

    text of 2.3.6


    This is narrative without action: A. himself does nothing in this paragraph. We see him through his parents' eyes, and A. contrives to make only the mother's view (fearing what may come) trustworthy--she is the only one of the three at the time who already has the faith, and the scriptural citation describing A. is imposed on her thoughts. The young A. did not go to a temple to worship rock and wood, but he put himself in the camp of those who do: this is Augustine's `paganism' in his own words.

    sexto illo et decimo anno: Cf. 2.2.4.

    vepres libidinum: Cf. on 2.2.4, `vesania libidinis'. The liaison with the mother of Adeodatus probably began during 370/1, the first year at Carthage (see on 4.2.2).

    nulla . . . eradicans manus: the image of absent (and agricultural) authority recurs (cf. 2.2.3, `quis mihi modularetur . . .'), and now criticism of A.'s parents is more explicit.

    ille: i.e., the same one who was hustling funds for A.'s education.

    in balneis vidit: If A. did not know Amb. off. 1.18.79, `mos vetus et in urbe Roma et in plerisque civitatibus fuit ut filii puberes cum parentibus vel generi cum soceris non laverent, ne paternae reverentiae auctoritas minueretur,' he had surely read Amb.'s source, Cic. off. 1.35.129, `nostro quidem more cum parentibus puberes filii, cum soceris generi non lavantur. retinenda igitur est huius generis verecundia.' There is a similar assertion in Plut. Cato maior 20 (tou= paido\s paro/ntos sullou/sasqai mhde/pote: kai\ tou=to koino\n e)/oike *(Rwmai/wn e)/qos ei)=nai), but he suggests that the custom had faded.

    inquieta indutum adulescentia: The epithet may be accurate, as far as it goes, but its choice integrates this episode into the pattern of restlessness and repose within which A. sets conf. The disquieting revelation of nakedness (even if disquieting only in recollection) at the origin of sin echoes that of Adam and Eve (Gn. 3.7), whose fig-leaves give meaning to the fig tree under which A.'s crisis is finally resolved (8.12.28), and who were eventually given tunicae pelliceae by God (Gn. 3.21), which represent the mortality that comes of sin (see on 7.18.24). Whether it was more than simple nakedness that Patricius saw is a question most leave veiled in discretion; for indiscretion, see C. Kligerman, Jour. Amer. Psychoan. Assoc. 5(1957), 473, giving a separate force to inquieta; and R. Brändle and W. Neidhart, Theol. Zschr. 40(1984), 173, who go even further. Patricius' enthusiasm was, at any rate, perfectly typical of his class and station in life: Rousselle, Porneia, 59: `The appearance of pubic hair and his first ejaculations were a cause for celebration for the whole household, particularly the father. . . . When he came to take a wife, his father would have to give assurances as to his son's virility, a kind of certificate that he was not impotent. At these first manifestations of sexual maturity the young man would be the object of renewed attentions.'

    in nepotes gestiret: Hrdlicka 198 lists five other verbs of `eager desire, longing, etc.', with which A. uses in + acc. as here: deficio (3.6.10), flagro (3.8.16, 5.7.13, 7.6.8), anhelo (5.11.21), flammo (11.22.28); exardesco (10.27.38); only the last shows the construction in classical Latin.

    gaudens matri indicavit: The same words at 8.12.30 describe reporting exactly the opposite news (the end of A.'s active sexual life) to the same person: `inde ad matrem ingredimur, indicamus: gaudet.'

    vinulentia: Only here metaphorical. Used in conf. of Patricius here, twice of Monnica (6.2.2, and see on 9.8.18), and once of the beggar seen from his carriage in Milan (6.6.10). Elsewhere, vinulentia is commonly listed by A. among serious sins: en. Ps. 58. s. 2.5, 75.16.

    oblitus est . . . amavit: Rom. 1.25 (see on 7.9.14), `qui transmutaverunt veritatem dei in mendacium et coluerunt et servierunt creaturae potius quam creatori.' The implication here is that Patricius is in the camp of the idolators; see on `qui ponunt ad te tergum' below.

    inclinatae in ima inclinatae in ima D G edd.:   inclinata in ima C:   inclinatae** in ima O:   inlicitae in anima S
    See on 2.5.10, `ima', and cf. 7.16.22, `a summa substantia, te deo, detortae in infima voluntatis perversitatem'.

    inchoaveras: Nothing here indicates great or long-standing piety on M.'s part; quite the contrary. In view of the contrast with Patricius in the next line, this may mean only that she had already been baptized. Her actions to here are those of a worldly mother.

    templum tuum: 1 Cor. 3.16-17, `nescitis quia templum dei estis et spiritus dei habitat in vobis? (17) si quis autem templum dei violaverit, disperdet illum deus. templum enim dei sanctum est quod estis vos.' A. does not see the individual as a separate temple, but as part of a community: en. Ps. 126.3, `domus enim dei, populus dei; quia domus dei, templum dei. et quid dicit apostolus? “templum enim dei sanctum est, quod estis vos.” omnes autem fideles, quae est domus dei'.

    exordium sanctae habitationis tuae: Sirach 24.14 (Wisdom speaks), `ab initio ante saeculum creata sum, et usque ad futurum saeculum non desinam, et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi.'

    catechumenus: P.'s baptism is mentioned at 9.9.22; his death is dated at 3.4.7 to 370/1, the year following the episode here (esp. if A. were at Carthage when his father died, the episode recounted here may be among A.'s last strong memories of him).

    exilivit: exilivit C D G O Maur. Ver.  `Started up' --often with verbs of fearing.:   exsiluit S Knöll Skut.

    pia trepidatione ac tremore: 2 Cor. 7.15, `quomodo cum timore et tremore excepistis eum.' The echo answers the citation of Rom. 1.25, by way of saying that M. is on the side of the faithful; but her attitude is that of fear (`trepidatione . . . timore . . . timuit': Ps. 110.10, `initium sapientiae timor'), i.e., imperfect (1 Jn. 4.18, `perfecta caritas foras mittit timorem'). Contrast the serenity with which she meets her end at 9.10.26, `quid hic facio?'

    quamvis . . . tamen: If he is not a Christian, then his moral failings are irrelevant; if he had been baptized, then they would have been critical.

    fideli: A.'s use of this word through the narrative books (1-9) of conf. strongly suggests that he means it particularly to mean `full, sacramental member of the Christian community'. The complete register of other occurrences in conf. where the adjective/substantive is used in a religious context: 2.3.7 (of Monnica), 3.11.19 (again of M.), 4.15.26, `et dicebam parvulis fidelibus tuis, civibus meis,' 5.5.8, `consolatorem et ditatorem fidelium tuorum,' 5.9.17, `quae illa [sc. Monnicae] fideli pectore tenebat', 6.1.1, `me visura esset fidelem catholicum,' 8.2.5, `in conspectu populi fidelis Romae' (where Marius Victorinus, not yet fidelis in this sense, professes his faith in the presence of the baptized), 8.6.14, `christianus quippe et fidelis erat' (not, on this interpretation, merely an additional fact about the sincerity of Ponticianus, but a way of specifying that he had taken the step, baptism, that A. was deferring), 9.3.5, `nondum christianus coniuge fideli,' 9.3.5, `et in ea christianus et fidelis factus,' 9.3.6, `tuum ipsum etiam fidelem catholicum,' 9.8.17, `in domo fideli, bono membro ecclesiae tuae,' 9.9.22, `nec in eo iam fideli planxit, quod in nondum fideli toleraverat' (eo = Patricio, now baptized on his deathbed), 9.11.28, `quae immittis in corda fidelium tuorum'. A less clearly marked group of texts occurs in Bk. 13, where A.'s allegorical reading of Genesis correlates the days of creation with the stages of the life of the visible church. On the reading suggested here, those passages also take on new implications, e.g., 13.21.29, `sed et fideles exhortantur et benedicuntur eis,' 13.23.34, `in operibus moribusque fidelium'; see also 13.21.29, 13.21.30, 13.34.49 (4x). The only apparent exception to this pattern in conf. may be taken without difficulty as corroboration: Moses was, by what would later be remarked as `baptism of desire', a full member of the heavenly city sub lege: 12.26.36, `de Moyse fidelissimo famulo tuo'. In other works of A., there are passages that do not insist on being taken this way (see, e.g., praed. sanct. 5.10, `fides discernit ab infideli fidelem'), but numerous texts offer some corroboration (and in support of the view advanced here, see B. Quinot at BA 30.751-752): ep. 98.10, `ipsius fidei sacramentum fidelem facit'; s. 181.3.3, `christiani, inquiunt, sumus. fideles ergo estis? baptizati estis? baptizati, inquiunt, sumus'; s. 151.2.2, `fidelibus loquens, baptizatis loquens, quibus utique in sancto lavacro omnia fuerant dimissa peccata'; mor. 1.35.80, `nolite iam dicere, catechumenis licere uti coniugibus, fidelibus autem non licere'; f. et op. 7.11, `utrumque catechumenis, utrumque fidelibus, utrumque baptizandis, utrumque baptizatis'; sim. at epp. 47.2 (`fideles vocantur qui baptizantur in Christo'), 2*.4, 151.14, en. Ps. 90. s. 2.6, 132.4, 134.21, 137.4, Io. ev. tr. 44.2, ss. 49.8.8 (`post sermonem fit missa catechumenis: manebunt fideles'), 181.5.7, 232.7.7, 294.13.14, 392.2.2, 392.3.3, `fideles, id est baptizati', s. Den. 17.8 (where catechumens are clearly included in the category christiani), Rom. inch. exp. 19, pecc. mer. 3.12.21 (and at pecc. mer. 1.20.28 and 1.33.62, baptism puts infants among the fideles); note also praed. sanct. 14.27, suggesting three categories: `fideles, paenitentes, catechumenos'. An explicit statement contemporary with A. is found in the fragment of Hier. tract. in ps. 91, printed in PL 39.2173-2174 as ps.-Aug. s. 232.2 app. (PL 39.2173: cf. Clavis Patrum Latinorum 593o): `denique accepto baptismo hoc dicimus: fidelis factus est, sive factus sum'; and cf. Amb. sacr. 1.1.1, `in christiano enim viro prima est fides. ideo et Romae fideles dicuntur, qui baptizati sunt.' TLLs.v. fidelis shows the word opposed to catechumen at Tert. praescr. 41, itin. Eger. 24.6, Hier. in Is. 19.18 (perhaps), and Nicetas Remes. instr. frg. 2, but gives no indication that the usage is general.

    qui ponunt ad te tergum et non faciem: Jer. 2.27, `dicentes ligno, “pater meus es tu”, et lapidi, “tu me genuisti”, verterunt ad me tergum et non faciem.' en. Ps. 113. s. 2.1, `nam dictum est alio loco scripturarum de simulacrorum cultoribus, "dicentes ligno, `pater meus es tu', et lapidi, `tu me genuisti'."' en. Ps. 65.21, `qui dicebam "ligno, `pater meus es tu,' et lapidi, `tu me genuisti,'" modo dico, "pater noster, qui es in caelis."' lib. arb. 2.16.43, `vae qui se avertunt a lumine tuo et obscuritati suae dulciter inhaerent! tamquam enim dorsum ad te ponentes [cf. 4.16.30, `dorsum enim habebam ad lumen'] in carnali opera velut in umbra sua defiguntur'. Father, mother, and son now each have their own characterizing scriptural citation in this paragraph: father and son are on the side of the idolators, mother has begun to follow a different path.

    text of 2.3.7


    et audeo dicere tacuisse te: This calls into question the silence attributed to God at 2.2.2 and evokes again the distance from God that yawned repeatedly through 2.2.2 - 2.2.4. The two motifs are intertwined: what seems to be the silence of God is the heedlessness of the one who turns his back on God (2.3.6, `qui ponunt ad te tergum'). Cf. Is. 42.14 (VL), as quoted in s. 47.3.4, `audio ergo te loquentem in tot praeceptis, in tot sacramentis, in tot paginis, in tot libris: audio denique in hoc ipso quod dicis, “tacui: numquid semper tacebo?” quomodo ergo tacuisti?'

    ne adulterarem: M.'s attitude is reminiscent of the conventional wisdom of Cic. Cael. 18.42, `parcat iuventus pudicitiae suae, ne spoliet alienam, ne effundat patrimonium, . . .'; sim. at Cael. 12.28.

    monitus muliebres: The same disdain in another context at util. cred. 1.2, `spernentem scilicet quasi aniles fabulas'.

    a me, a me: a me, a me O S Knöll Skut. Pell. Ver.:   a me C D G Maur.

    filio . . . servo tuo: Cf. 5.10.18 and see on 9.1.1. Ps. 115.16(7), `O domine, ego servus tuus; ego servus tuus, et filius ancillae tuae.' The sequence here is to be noted: `her son, son of your handmaid, your servant.' The middle term of the three is ambiguous; the ancilla is both Monnica and the church; the first meaning looks back to `filio eius', the second forward to `servo tuo'.

    sed nesciebam: These lines anticipate and comment on the pear tree incident, giving it a context clearly congruent with that of the sexual transgressions implicit through the first half of the book. Pellegrino, Les Confessions 75n5, adduces Amb. Noe 22.81, `ex illa enim aetate crescit malitia, licet alibi legimus quod non sit sine peccato nec unius diei infans [Job 14.6 (VL): echoed at conf. 1.7.11, where also, `ita imbecillitas membrorum infantilium innocens est, non animus infantium'], sed et infantia sine peccato non sit propter corporis infirmitatem, diligentia autem et studium peccandi incipiat a iuventute, ut puer quasi infirmus peccet, iuvenis tamquam inprobus, qui studiose cupiat peccata committere et in criminibus glorietur [cf. here `gloriantes' ]; apud plerosque enim innocentia pro ignavia et culpa pro laude [cf. here `laudis'] habetur. . . . crescit ergo cum aetatibus culpa.'

    praeceps . . . caecitate: For the juxtaposition (both words implying failure of vision and attention), cf. 6.7.12, `caeco et praecipiti studio'; cf. also 4.1.1, `dux in praeceps'.

    caecitate: Blindness to beauty and loss of light (Jn. 1.9, `lumen verum') is the metaphor for A.'s separation from the second person of the trinity: cf. 6.16.26, `ita demersus et caecus cogitare non possem lumen honestatis et gratis amplectendae pulchritudinis [2]'; cf. 7.8.12 (where see on `collyrio'). Blindness elsewhere in conf. as a sign of ignorance and separation from God: 2.3.7, 3.3.6, 5.3.5, 5.8.14, 6.4.5, 6.7.12, 8.4.9, 10.27.38 (`et fugasti caecitatem meam'), 10.34.52, 11.2.3, 13.23.34.

    libebat . . . libidine: Wordplay as argument (and cf. `vituperatione . . . vitium' just below). The words themselves contain a truth to which the adolescent was obtuse. The appeal of etymology is that it furnishes argument that is little more than irrefutable tautology.

    text of 2.3.8


    ecce . . .: The willing captive in Babylon. The elements of this sentence all have scriptural, specifically OT (i.e., pre-redemption) analogues, but no `citation' is to be imputed here. Rather, the scriptural language gives a texture of authority and a range of reference to what A. wishes to say.

    iter agebam: agere with iter not especially CL (cf. perhaps Aen. 6.384, `iter inceptum peragunt'); it occurs several times in Latin OT: 1 Reg. 28.22 (`ut possis iter agere'), Tobias 8.21, 2 Macc. 9.4.

    platearum: The word is common in OT, representing Gk. platei=a; in CL, not so common. See Lam. 4.18, `lubricaverunt vestigia nostra in itinere platearum nostrarum,' and cf. Sirach 9.7-8, in a passage of warnings against dangerous associations with women, `noli circumspicere in vicis civitatis, nec oberraveris in plateis illius. (8) averte faciem tuam a muliere compta, et ne circumspicias speciem alienam.'

    Babyloniae: Apoc. 17.5, `Babylon magna, mater fornicationum Babylon,' for A. the biblical type of the earthly city. It is anachronistic to insist on the full development of that idea at the time of conf., but the foundations of what would emerge are already laid down: en. Ps. 136.1 of 412, `duas civitates permixtas . . . unam cui finis est pax aeterna, et vocatur Hierusalem; alteram cui gaudium est pax temporalis, et vocatur Babylonia. interpretationes etiam nominum, si non fallor, tenetis: Hierusalem interpretari “visionem pacis”; Babyloniam “confusionem.”' (No text earlier than s. Den. 20.9 [no earlier than 405, probably 411] contains the interpretation Babylon = confusio.)

    caeno: Jer. 38.22, `demerserunt in coeno et in lubrico pedes tuos.'

    in cinnamis et unguentis pretiosis: Cant. 4.14, `nardus et crocus, fistula et cinnamomum cum universis lignis Libani, murra et aloe cum omnibus primis unguentis'; not elsewhere in A. according to La Bonnardière, REAug 1(1955), 225-237.

    umbilico: G-M suggest the word is used here to avoid repetition with `medio' below; cf. Ezech. 38.12, `habitator umbilici terrae'.

    calcabat: Ps. 55.3, `conculcaverunt me inimici mei tota die.'

    seductilis: First in Latin in A.? So G-M and Souter; clear that it = seductibilis: so at en. Ps. 106.14, `“vaccas” dicit seductiles animas, quae facile consentiunt seductoribus'; but at en. Ps. 54.22 and en. Ps. 67.39, the identical interpretation of `vaccas' is given with the adjective seductibiles; but such an argument, given our inadequate edition of en. Ps. is not certain--the less familiar form may have occurred more often.

    non enim: to be taken with `ita curavit'.

    iam de medio Babylonis fugerat: Jer. 51.6, `fugite de medio Babylonis, et salvet unusquisque animam suam.' civ. 18.18, `quod praeceptum propheticum ita spiritaliter intellegitur, ut de huius saeculi civitate, quae profecto et angelorum et hominum societas impiorum est, fidei passibus, quae per dilectionem operatur, in deum vivum proficiendo fugiamus.'

    in ceteris: i.e., `in partibus Babyloniae non mediis' (G-M): en. Ps. 136.6, `multum enim interest inter medium Babylonis, et exteriora Babyloniae. sunt qui non sunt in medio eius, id est, non tanta concupiscentia saeculi et delectationibus obruuntur. qui vero, ut aperte dixerim et breviter, multum mali sunt, in medio Babylonis sunt'. There remains a touch of criticism for M.'s attitude.

    pestilentiosum: implies a moral judgment analogous to that which the mature A. might impose on the event, hence is perhaps just slightly anachronistic of M. here; see on 4.10.15, `pestilentiosis'.

    cohercere: Governed by `curavit' and in turn taking as its object the compound relative clause `quod . . . sentiebat'.

    ad vivum: Otto, Sprichwörter s.v. vivus 4, p. 377-378: Columella, re rustica, 6.12.3, `extrema pars ipsius unguis ad vivum resecatur.'

    non curavit hoc: Finally the explicit answer to the question posed at the beginning of 2.2.3, `quis mihi modularetur aerumnam meam': no human agent in the image of God would so act, not even his mother, who still cherished a vain hope.

    nonnullo adiumento . . . studia doctrinae: This view, though censured by A. at the time of conf., is not entirely incompatible with his own view c. 386/7, when he devoted time to the libri disciplinarum (see excursus on 4.16.30). Presumably M.'s view of the help liberal studies could offer was less subtle than A.'s later one, but the coincidence suggests an underlying common attitude.

    caligo: The same smog elsewhere in conf.: 2.2.2 (`a caligine libidinis'), 3.11.19, 3.11.20, 11.9.11, 12.28.39 (the only case where A. himself is not the source and victim of the phenomenon: `terram caliginosam').

    serenitatem veritatis tuae: Cf. c. litt. Pet. 3.21.24, `sed ecce angustatus [Petilianus] in causa rursum in me impetum facit nebulosum atque ventosum, ut veritatis serenitas obscuretur.'

    ex adipe iniquitas mea: Ps. 72.7, `prodiet quasi ex adipe iniquitas eorum'; en. Ps. 72.12, `aliud est de necessitate peccare, aliud in abundantia' (i.e., the sins of the rich are less excusable than those of the poor). Knauer 117n1, `In diesem wiederum sehr kunstvollen Gebilde wird in Ps. 72.7 . . . das Tempus . . . auf Augustins Situation bezogen, aus dem Futur wird ein Imperfektum und die allgemeine “iniquitas” als die eigene bezeichnet (“eorum” > “mea”).'

    The Psalm-citation marks the structural middle of the book and summarizes the first half: Knauer 135, `Das Zitat leitet deutlich durch die doppelte Wiederholung von “iniquitas” in den neuen Abschnitt über, beide werden dadurch eng verbunden.' So far there has been (implied) sexual profligacy, an absence of guidance from his parents, and a hovering divine presence unfelt at the time.

    text of 2.4.9


    Why so much space for the theft of the pears? Is it a metaphor for sexual sin?

    That he did not need what he stole is important to the problematic of sin in the second part of the paragraph and the rest of the book; the case is logically simpler than any fornication could have been. Of no sexual transgression could he have said unequivocally (or had any hope of convincing us) that what appealed to him was not the thing itself but the wrongness itself.

    The parallel to the theft of the fruit of the tree of good and evil in the Garden dominates. The aim of Bk. 2 is to present sins of concupiscence of the flesh, the prevalence of the lower will over the higher. A tree and its fruit (stolen though unneeded) is too perfect a parallel to be avoided: an unequivocal divine command, followed by a snatching and eating of the fruit of a forbidden tree. The result for Adam and Eve was that their eyes were opened `ad invicem concupiscendum, ad peccati poenam carnis ipsius morte conceptam' (Gn. litt. 11.31.40).

    Therefore, the pear-theft is transgression pure and simple, of the fundamental kind that explains and reenacts the fall into sexual concupiscence. It is not that they stole the pears and then, in chronological succession, fell prey to their lusts; the sequence of the book is against that. Rather, the concupiscence was assuredly present even without the theft. The theft occurs at a moment in Augustine's life where it represents the fall of the will whose effects were visible elsewhere in his life at the same moment.

    Ferrari (REAug 16[1970], 236) is right to say (following F. C. Burkitt, Religion of the Manichees [Cambridge, 1925]) that a Manichee reader would find this episode particularly shocking. The plucking of the fruit was wrong in itself, but the casting to swine was worse. But Ferrari seems to think that the Manichee shock explains A.'s own exaggerated feelings of guilt; better to imagine that he dramatized the episode in part to shock his old co-religionists.

    It is conventional to read the pear-theft narrative with naive bemusement. (See on 4.6.11 for Nietzsche's reaction.) It may help to bear in mind a late antique parallel, perhaps almost contemporary with A., though the possibility of indebtedness to A. cannot be ruled out: Ps.-Macarius, apophthegma 37 (PG 65.277-280 = PG 34.258--cf. Clavis Patrum Graecorum 2.2417): ei)=pen o( a)bba=s *Pafnou/tious o( maqhth/s tou= a)bba= *Makari/ou, o(/ti e)/legen o( ge/rwn, o(/ti o(/te h)/mhn paidi/on, meta\ tw=n a)/llwn paidi/wn e)/boskon boi+/dia: kai\ a)ph/lqon kle/yai suki/dia: kai\ w(s tre/xousin, e)/pesen e(/n e)xc au)tw=n, kai\ labw\n e)/fagon au)to/: kai\ o(/te mnhmoneu/w au)tou=, ka/qhmai klai/wn. For a late antique judgment, cf. Ennodius, ep. 1.4.6: `doctorem Libycum adseritis sublata a se piri poma flevisse. merito lamentis expiandum est quod cum pudoris dispendio venter adquirit. vilia fuerint forte quae sustulit aut neglegentia aut usu aut tempestate peritura, non fuit culpa vacuus tamen iuxta apostolum raptor: carnem quam animam plus amavit.'

    The most important treatment of this episode is that of Courcelle, REA 73(1971), 141-150 (repr. in his Opuscula Selecta [Paris, 1984], 319-328), concentrating on the way Catiline's wrongdoing is invoked and echoed through these paragraphs (details in notes below): at 150, `Augustin agit même en rhéteur lorsqu'il met en parallèle, volontairement, une peccadille quelconque de son adolescence avec le crime le plus illustre de l'histoire romaine.' Catiline had been a model of pre-eminent evil as early as c. acad. 3.16.36 (see Courcelle, art. cit. 143, for parallels there with Sallust and Cicero), and his name came up as well at ord. 2.7.22 and recurs conventionally elsewhere (most notably in civ.). Courcelle's insistence, however, that the classical model dominates the episode to the exclusion of any scriptural prefiguration (which had been suggested by L. Ferrari, REAug 16[1970], 233-242) is excessive. That `le crime le plus illustre de l'histoire romaine' should stand side by side with Adam's fall in the background to this episode is unsurprising. Courcelle's claim that the link to the fall of man would make sense only if the tree in paradise had been a pear tree is flatly absurd, and overlooks the clear indications of scriptural allusion (see on 2.6.14). See further on the explicit mention of Catiline at 2.5.11. (Ferrari defended his view handily, with some additional interesting material, at REAug 25[1979], 35-46, especially on the symmetry of the trees of Eden and Golgotha in A. [and the later middle ages would cheerfully believe that the cross itself was cut from the wood of the Tree of Knowledge].) Long years later, A. invokes the image of a tree for adolescent sexual sin against Julian: c. Iul. imp. 2.105, `cum ad illud delictum quod generatio trahit usus voluntatis accesserit, quem non habent parvuli, in multas et varias cupiditates arbor multorum pullulat peccatorum.'

    B. Hopkins, American Imago 38(1981), 97-104 quotes Freud on this type of behavior to the effect that the vandal is secretly guilty on account of his oedipal fantasies and performs the deed to have something to which to attach his feelings. Hence (she quotes Freud) `the sense of guilt was present before the misdeed, . . . it did not arise from it, but conversely--the misdeed arose from the sense of guilt.' `On account of his oedipal fantasies' is doctrinaire, but the question whether the guilt or the theft came first is intriguing.

    furtum: Exod. 20.15, `non furtum facies'; Deut. 5.19, `furtumque non facies'; hence in his typical lists of serious sins, e.g., en. Ps. 75.16.

    lex tua: In conf. often with direct reference to OT, at least as often with indirect OT reference (as here), only occasionally resisting such focus (29x referring to divine law in all); most common in the books where he is conscious of his transgressions. In the background through this book: cf. 2.2.3, 2.2.4 (see on `legitima'), and 2.5.10 (see on `lex tua'). s. 153.8.10, `o vita dulcis! dulcis est quidem voluptas concupiscentiae: verum est, nec eam homines sequerentur nisi dulcis esset. theatrum, spectaculum, meretrix lasciva, turpissima cantilena, dulcia sunt ista concupiscentiae, dulcia plane, suavia, delectabilia; sed . . . non sicut lex tua, domine.'

    scripta: scripta C D O2 S edd.:   inscripta G O1
    Rom. 2.14-15, `cum enim gentes quae legem non habent naturaliter quae legis sunt faciunt, eiusmodi legem non habentes ipsi sibi sunt lex, (15) qui ostendunt opus legis scriptum in cordibus suis, testimonium reddente illis conscientia ipsorum.' The notion is characteristically Pauline and New Testament, but it occurs also at Jer. 31.33, `sed hoc erit pactum quod feriam cum domo Israhel; . . . dans leges meas in cordibus eorum; in cordibus eorum superscribam eas. et ero eis in deum, et ipsi erunt mihi in populum' (it may be apposite that the Prophets stood in relation to the Law in somewhat the relation that the New Testament did to the Old). On the `natural law' against the Manichees, c. Faust. 22.27, `lex vero aeterna est ratio divina vel voluntas dei ordinem naturalem conservari iubens, perturbari vetans.' From the earliest period, ord. 2.8.25, `haec autem disciplina ipsa dei lex est, quae apud eum fixa et inconcussa semper manens in sapientes animas quasi transcribitur. . . . adulescentibus ergo studiosis eius ita vivendum est ut a venereis rebus, ab inlecebris ventris et gutturis . . . se abstineant'; cf. also duab. an. 12.16. A passage from the early anti-Pelagian period, on the other hand, contradicts the text of conf. here in an illuminating way: spir. et litt. 27.47, `proinde naturaliter homines quae legis sunt faciunt; qui enim hoc non faciunt, vitio suo non faciunt. quo vitio lex dei est deleta de cordibus ac per hoc vitio sanato, cum illic scribitur, fiunt quae legis sunt naturaliter'. (The interplay of written and oral verbal authority throughout conf. is a delicate balance, perhaps resisting any systematic inquiry and description; it is worth noting that scribere occurs 88x in conf. [but only this once in Bk. 2], legere 83x, while audire occurs 179x and dicere approx. 520x.)

    iniquitas: Cf. below, and 2.3.8, `prodiebat tamquam ex adipe iniquitas mea.'

    inopia: Sall. Catil. 18.4 (cf. also 17.5), `inopia atque mali mores stimulabant.'

    furtum facere: This passage has been anticipated at 1.19.30, `furta etiam faciebam de cellario parentum.'

    nulla compulsus egestate: but Bk. 2 ends (2.10.18), `et factus sum mihi regio egestatis.' Concupiscence is the origin of want, not its potential cure. Cf. Sall. Catil. 20.15, `egestas'.

    penuria et fastidio: G-M: `are perhaps to be taken as a Hendiadys--the loathing that springs from emptiness', citing 3.1.1, `sine desiderio . . . non quia plenus eis eram, sed quo inanior, fastidiosior'.

    sagina: The contrast is designedly coarse: see en. Ps. 102.8, en. Ps. 103. s. 4.19, `ructate saginam vestram'. Cf. `adipe' at the end of 2.3.8 above.

    nec forma nec sapore inlecebrosis: Gn. 3.6, quoted at Gn. litt. 11.30.38: `denique verbis non contenta serpentis consideravit [mulier] lignum, “viditque bonum ad escam, et decorum ad aspectum.”' Gn. 3.6 quoted at Gn. c. man. 2.15.23: `et vidit mulier quia bonum est lingum ad escam; et quia bonum est oculis ad videndum et cognoscendum.' A. denies himself even the excuse that Adam and Eve had.

    adulescentuli: The same word repeatedly of Catiline's conspirators: Sall. Catil. 14.5, 18.4; Cic. Catil. 1.6.13.

    nocte intempesta: en. Ps. 118. s. 29.3 (coinciding with a secular tradition: Macrob. sat. 1.3.15), `nox quoque intempesta, id est media, quando quiescendum est, hinc procul dubio nuncupata est, quia inopportuna est actionibus vigilantium' --a time when `boys will be boys,' perhaps: cf. here `quousque . . . produxeramus'. At 2.6.12, the crime is characterized as `facinus illud meum nocturnum'. Cf. Sall. Catil. 27.3, `intempesta nocte coniurationis principes convocat [Catilina]'; 32.1, `nocte intempesta cum paucis in Manliana castra profectus est [Catilina].' Courcelle, REA 73(1971), 145n2: `intemptesta nocte désigne, en principe, le moment de la nuit où les honnêtes gens dorment; mais par suite, dans les textes littéraires, c'est aussi l'heure classique des ruses de guerre et des crimes, ainsi que de l'extase pour les saints.' So a later text suggests the transformation the phrase would undergo among the Christians, into a time of spiritual loneliness, marked by both vulnerability and possibility: Greg. Mag. dial. 3.4.2, `itaque intempestae noctis silentio cum vir dei quiescerit, antiquus hostis inmensis vocibus magnisque clamoribus coepit imitari rugitus leonum, balatus pecorum, ruditus asinorum, sibilos serpentium, porcorum stridores et soricum.'

    de . . . more: Aen. 3.65, `Iliades crinem de more solutae'; prosaic in A., cf. 9.8.18, 9.12.31; as G-M remark, the genitive here is `practically equivalent to an adjective'.

    areis: The word can mean `playing fields' (OLD s.v. 1.d), which would be apt here, but nothing suggests A. would have recognized the usage.

    proicienda porcis: The obtrusion of this line (vel) even though they did eat some of the pears invites us to listen for the echoes. Mt. 7.6, `neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos.' The prodigal son fed pigs as well: Lk. 15.15, `et misit illum in villam suam ut pasceret porcos (16) et cupiebat implere ventrem suum de siliquis quas porci manducabant et nemo illi dabat'; when A. depicts himself in the prodigal role, he feeds pigs again: 3.6.11, `et longe peregrinabar abs te, exclusus et a siliquis porcorum quos de siliquis pascebam' --see there for the way feeding pigs is equated with catering to demons.

    ecce cor meum: See on 1.5.5, `ecce'.

    abyssi: First in Latin in Gn. 1.2? TLL 1.243: `non legitur ante Christianos'; outside scripture, there is one lone text in Tert. adv. Marc. 4.20, and then next is Hil. Pict. in Ps. 2.32; also at Commod. inst. 1.27.19, with the wrong gender (`abyssus noster').

    dicat . . . cor meum: praying again for the gift of speech (see on 1.5.5, `miserere ut loquar'): `give to my heart the words it needs to say what was going on in that theft.' This speech from the heart, relying on divine guidance, is what fills the rest of Bk. 2.

    amavi defectum meum: This is the view of evil that A. learned from his contact with Christian neo-Platonism at Milan (7.11.17-7.16.22). Cf. 10.38.63, `donec reficiatur defectus meus'.

    anima: Best taken (against most translators, who make it nominative) as ablative with turpis, as Ryan: `base in soul was I, and I leaped down.'

    dissiliens: 11.29.39, `at ego in tempora dissilui'; in the sense `leap down' as at 1 Macc. 9.48 (according to some Vg. manuscripts).

    firmamento: Ps. 70.3, `quoniam firmamentum meum et refugium meum es tu'; en. Ps. 70. s. 1.5, `ut fiam firmus ex te, sicubi fuero infirmatus in me, refugiam ad te. . . . ut firmus sim in hoc saeculo adversus omnes temptationes. . . . ad hoc enim confitebor infirmitatem meam'.

    exterminium: `destruction'; earliest in Tertullian, but commonest as VL translationese (= LXX o)/leqros, a)fanismo/s, etc.); else in A. only in his text of Deut. 7.2 (`et percuties eos, exterminio exterminabis eos') at qu. hept. 6.21 and of Jos. 17.13 (`et fecerunt Chananaeos obaudientes, exterminio autem eos non exterminaverunt') at qu. hept. 6.30; in Vg. at Sirach 39.36, Jdt. 4.10, and 5x in Wisd., 5x in 1 and 2 Macc., and at 4 Ezra 10.11. (Could there be a VL text in the background here that has so far escaped detection?)

    text of 2.5.10


    etenim species: These lines speak first to the sense of sight (`species'), then to the sense of touch and the others (`contactu carnis . . . ceterisque sensibus'), then to the lust for worldly glory (`honor . . . potentia'): together (`cuncta haec') they embrace the categories of 1 Jn. 2.16 (see on 10.30.41): concupiscentia oculorum, concupiscentia carnis, ambitio saeculi. The hallmarks of the three persons of the trinity are also present here. `Species . . . pulchris' [2] here (and `decus' and `decoris', and cf. 2.6.12, `et ecce species nulla est' [!!]), `modum' [1] (and `adcommodata modificatio' and `immoderata'), and `convenientia' [3] (on convenientia, cf. du Roy 354 [`la volupté s'oppose pour lui à la recherche de la vraie "harmonie (convenientia)", fruit de l'Esprit'] and 354n3 [citing mor. 2.6.8, `ordo enim ad convenientiam quandam quod ordinat redigit'; vera rel. 39.72, `recognosce igitur quae sit summa convenientia' ]). The three hallmarks occur together here, predicated of `life' (`vita'): `modum [1] decoris [2] . . . convenientiam [3]'.

    in contactu carnis: By a process of elimination it is clear even at 10.30.41-42 that the sense of touch predominates for A. in the imagery of sexual transgression (elimination: 10.31.45ff on taste, 10.32.48 on smell, 10.33.49f on hearing, 10.34.51, `restat voluptas oculorum istorum carnis meae'). That coincidence, in the midst of this synoptic glance at all temptation, reinforces the idea that a congruence with sexual sin is evoked for the pear-theft, but no crude identification. Cf. 3.1.1, `anima . . . miserabiliter scalpi avida contactu sensibilium.'

    congruentia: The notion of `congruence' is at the heart of A.'s notions of beauty and the attractions that arise therefrom; cf., e.g, mus. 1.13.27 (`congruentia delectari'), mus. 6.13.38 (`quod nostris oculis congruit appetimus'), c. Faust. 21.13 (`pro cuiusque corporis congruentia vel delectet esca vel offendat'), and cf. the concept of the aptum (4.13.20 below). Cf. also `convenientiam' just below, and cf. Cic. fin. 3.6.21, on Stoic i)mologi/a, which Cicero renders convenientia.

    non est egrediendum abs te, domine: The metaphor drawn from the prodigal is so pervasive that a phrase such as this, with no verbal echo of any authoritative text, continues the metaphor without even (probably) consciously invoking it for most readers. Egredi is common in OT and NT, and perhaps adds a flavor of authoritative language; deviare is rare in scripture.

    quam: quam O S edd.:   qua C D G
    See on 1.7.12.

    inlecebram: See on 2.4.9, `inlecebrosis'.

    amicitia: See on 2.2.2, `luminosus limes amicitiae'. Here, the introduction of the idea suggests indirectly the explanation of the pear-theft that will eventually win A.'s assent.

    immoderata in ipsa inclinatione: 2.3.6, `inclinatae in ima' (see below on `ima'); `ipsa' is acc.

    extrema . . . summa: On the three levels of being (summum [God], medium [e.g., voluntas], extrema [e.g., material things]), see the note at BA 13.664. The ethical implication of this ontology is that the will turns upwards or downwards (downwards: it ceases to be voluntas: s. dom. m. 2.22.74, `voluntas namque non est nisi in bonis, nam in malis flagitiosisque factis cupiditas proprie dicitur, non voluntas'); this opens the way for metaphor from gravity as well (see on 13.9.10): at 5.4.7 and 13.9.10 (see on both passages), A. connects pondus to his trinitarian structure, through Wisd. 11.21, as at 5.4.7, `qui omnia in mensura in numero et pondere disposuisti'; cf. 13.9.10, `pondus meum amor meus.' Cf. here lib. arb. 2.19.50, 3.1.2.

    domine deus noster, [1] et veritas tua [2] et lex tua [3]. On lex here, see on 1.7.12, and cf. c. Faust. 21.6, `cuius unitate [1] omnis modus sistitur, cuius sapientia [2] omnis pulchritudo formatur, cuius lege [3] omnis ordo disponitur'; c. Faust. 20.7 has `illud autem incommutabili voluntate [1], veritate [2], aeternitate [3] persistit, et inde nobis est initium existendi [1], ratio cognoscendi [2], lex amandi [3].'

    There is, to be sure, evidence that A. could insist on identifying Truth and Law: Ps. 118.142, `iustitia tua iustitia in aeternum, et lex tua veritas' (also echoed at 4.9.14); en. Ps. 118. s. 28.5, `quomodo enim non veritas lex, per quam cognitio peccati, et quae testimonium perhibet iustitiae dei?' The Law, i.e., scripture, is certainly meant in A.'s reading of the Psalm, and the overtone is here as well (Knauer 127n2).

    But the two readings (distinguishing Truth [2] and Law [3] vs. insisting on their identity) contain within themselves the possibility of reconciliation. For on A.'s own trinitarian doctrine, the distinction of the persons in the trinity does not entail a distinction of essence--Three in One. To press towards that reconciliation, however, the reader of conf. is beginning not merely to observe but to participate in the working of this text: but that was A.'s intention (retr. 2.6.1).

    ima: Cf. 2.3.6 and at 3.3.5, 4.15.27, 8.3.8, 9.2.3.

    deus meus, qui fecit omnia: God the creator (as often in conf. from 1.2.2, `deus, qui fecit caelum et terram'); the half-echo of Gn. 1.1 implies not merely `God the creator' but `God the creator of whom we hear in scripture'. On any assessment of A.'s use of language, it is clear that it is God the immutable creator who looms largest in his mind, ahead of God the incarnate redeemer, or God the spirit of love. (Note, e.g., that in the transports of mystical ascent, it is God the maker, not God the redeemer or God the loving spirit, to whom attention is directed: 9.10.25, `non ipsa nos fecimus, sed fecit nos qui manet in aeternum' --more fully developed at 10.6.9.) His defense of predestination against the Pelagians is surely as much a testimony to his reverence for the original creative act of God as for individual acts of redemptive grace. That emphasis in turn may help define the difference between A. and Paul.

    rectorum corde: Ps. 63.11, `et laudabuntur omnes qui recti sunt corde.'

    text of 2.5.11


    Why Catiline? And why the explicit quotation repeatedly in space of a few lines? He offered an entirely `pagan' exemplum of evil, wicked among the wicked. His is a story in which no impiety against the divine is part of the tradition, hence there is no complicating question of love or hatred for a divine law-giver (n.b. citation below from mor. 2.13.28, where A. makes C. sacrilegus; on the other hand, at civ. 3.2, A. could emphasize the corruption of the city that allowed C.'s conspiracy to flourish: in different contexts the story could be used with different emphases). Only the natural law applies to Catiline, and his action is explicable in rational terms. So much the more likely that Augustine's action is explicable in similar terms.

    facinore: `criminal act', only occurring in Bks. 2, 3, and 4. See on 3.8.16 (with comparison to flagitium).

    causa: For an author reputed to have sacrificed free will on the altar of predestination, A. is singularly insistent that evil is an entirely uncaused and free act of the will (see civ. 12.7, quoted below on 2.6.12). Here such evil occurs as a simple fact of his own youth--for all that it seems unlikely that anyone would be so enamored of evil for its own sake.

    appetitus: The noun and the verb appetere are outwardly less morally-charged than concupiscentia, but, though less frequent than concupiscentia, almost always in conf. in a negative sense : 6x in all in the pear-theft episode (here and 2.4.9 [2x], 2.5.11, 2.6.13, 2.9.17), also at 5.8.14, 8.10.24, 9.2.3, 9.8.18, 10.20.29, 10.35.54, 13.21.30. The only partial exceptions occur where a moral neutrality is superficially maintained, e.g., 10.40.65, `docens quid caveam et quid appetam,' and 13.32.47. div. qu. 35.1, `nihil aliud est amare quam propter seipsam rem aliquam appetere.'

    beatificis: See on 7.20.26.

    homicidium fecit: The examples given, both hypothetical and historical, illustrate the practice just suggested: a murderer must have either wanted or feared something.

    homicidium: mend. 9.14, `quamvis enim gravius sit homicidium quam furtum, peius est tamen facere furtum quam pati homicidium.'

    de quo dictum est: The postponement of the name clearly expects the reader to identify the familiar villain from the few words of allusive quotation presented. Sall. Catil. 16.3, `si causa peccandi in praesens minus suppetebat, nihilo minus insontis sicuti sontis circumvenire iugulare: scilicet ne per otium torpescerent manus aut animus, gratuito potius malus atque crudelis erat.' 3 Cf. en. Ps. 108.3, `sicut autem pii gratis amant Christum, sic impii gratis oderunt; . . . unde et apud auctores saecularium litterarum dictum est de quodam pessimo, “gratuito potius malus atque crudelis erat.”' Cf. also Sall. Catil. 16.1, `sed iuventutem, quam, ut supra diximus, inlexerat, multis modis mala facinora edocebat'; A. gives us himself at this stage as in training under Catiline, one of the young men going astray (see above on 2.4.9, `adulescentuli', and below on `exercitatione').

    With this citation, A. has now explicitly quoted all four of the authors on which the secondary education of his time was founded: see on 1.16.26. A. had a high opinion of Sallust as stylist (beata v. 4.31, `Sallustius, lectissimus pensator verborum'); Sallust's jaundiced view of Roman history furnishes much welcome ammunition for A. in the first books of civ.; and Julian of Eclanum quotes and cites S., and A. gladly caps quotations with him: see Hagendahl 43ff and 226ff for details. Catiline is a paragon of crime at c. acad. 3.16.36, `legant orationem Catilinae [Sall. Catil. 20.2-17] qua patriae parricidium, quo uno continentur omnia scelera, persuasit.' As a different kind of paragon: mor. 2.13.28, `de Catilina memoriae proditum est, quod “frigus, sitim, famem ferre poterat.” [Cic. Catil. 3.7.16--also quoted at pat. 5.4.] haec erant illi spurco sacrilegoque etiam cum apostolis nostris communia.'

    quaere: quaere C D1 G O Ver.:   quare D2 S Maur. Knöll Skut.
    Punctuation is based on Verheijen's; the idea is that Augustine will infer another causa beyond the one made explicit in Sallust's text. Vega reads quare but suggests: `fortasse legendum sit, “quaeres id quoque, cur ita?” ut consonet verbis init. cap.: “cum de facinore quaeritur.”'

    exercitatione: referring to the training of young men in Catiline's band (as G-M saw: Cic. Catil. 2.5.9, `stuprorum et scelerum exercitatione adsuefactus'), with a parallel to A.'s situation.

    inopiam: Sall. Catil. 5.7: `agitabatur magis magisque in dies animus ferox inopia rei familiaris et conscientia scelerum.'

    text of 2.6.12


    o furtum meum: Apostrophe; see on 1.16.26.

    pulcherrime omnium [2]: 1.4.4, `pulcherrime et fortissime.'

    creator omnium [1]: See on 9.12.32, quoting Amb. hymn. 1.2.1-2, `deus, creator omnium polique rector'.

    deus bone [3?]: 8.3.6, `deus bone,' 10.17.26, `te . . . vere bone,' 13.38.53, `deus une bone'; 3.6.10, `mi pater summe bone'.

    summum bonum: Introduces explicitly the idea suggested at 2.5.10, `cum extrema bona sint, meliora et summa deseruntur'; God as summum bonum in conf. (and cf. 1.4.4, `summe, optime'): 3.6.10, 4.15.24, 7.4.6, 7.5.7, 12.15.19, 12.16.23, 13.2.2. The phrase makes its appearance in our surviving Latin literature once in Lucretius (6.26, `bonum summum quo tendimus omnes'), then often in Cicero. In Cic. with a specifically ethical reference: acad. post. 1.5.19, `ac primum illam partem bene vivendi a natura petebant [sc. the immediate successors of Plato in the Academy] eique parendum esse dicebant, neque ulla alia in re nisi in natura quaerendum esse illud summum bonum quo omnia referrentur.'

    nam et si quid . . . intravit in os meum: Cf. 2.4.9, `etiamsi aliquid inde comedimus'. The meditation here returns to the details of the narrative from that paragraph at several points, followed by the specific problems posed by the theft.

    species: BA: `séduisante beauté'; see on 2.5.10 for role of species in connection with this theft and for species generally, see on 1.7.12 and 12.3.3.

    non dico: sc. `speciem nullam esse'.

    aequitate . . . mente . . . memoria . . . sensibus . . . vita: G-M, citing quant. an. 33.70-76 (on which see O'Daly 13-15), see here traces of the seven `degrees' of ascent to contemplative vision set out there. The sequence, in ascending order, in the passage cited is: organic (`corpus . . . vivificat'), sensory (`quid possit anima in sensibus'), mental (`memoria'--the first stage in this sequence that human beings enjoy apart from the animals), moral in intention (`ex quo bonitas incipit atque omnis vera laudatio'), moral in act (`in seipsa laetissime tenet . . . aliud est enim efficere, aliud tenere puritatem'), contemplative in intention (`appetitio intellegendi ea quae vere summeque sunt'), and contemplative in act (`in ipsa visione atque contemplatione veritatis . . ., neque iam gradus sed quaedam mansio, quo illis gradibus pervenitur'). That passage in turn should be compared to other Augustinian schemes, notably the seven ages of the redeemed person at vera rel. 26.49 (see on 1.8.13); it also reflects other ancient philosophical and religious schemes, with various degrees of precision. Compare, e.g., the four faculties that go back to Aristotle, de anima 3.3.304, and recur in Boethius (cons. 5. P4.27, `ipsum quoque hominem aliter sensus, aliter imaginatio, aliter ratio, aliter intellegentia contuetur').

    Here, the scheme occurs silently, in descending order, beginning from the middle, the stage of life that is moral in intention (`sicut in aequitate atque prudentia'), descending through the mental (`sicut in mente hominis atque memoria'), through the sensory (`et sensibus') and the corporal (`et vegetante vita'), to the subhuman level of inert matter (`neque sicut speciosa sunt sidera et decora locis suis et terra et mare plena fetibus, qui succedunt nascendo decedentibus'), and beyond to the void of non-existence--at at least where there is at least some lingering semblance of existence. When that seven-stage scheme is placed against the later moral and spiritual history of A. as recounted in conf., it is perhaps most suggestive that the first book of conf. to show positive improvement (Bk. 6) ends with a passage that matches the fourth of these seven stages (quant. an. 33.73, `in ipso enim purgationis negotio subest metus mortis saepe non magnus, saepe vero vehementissimus' : cf. conf. 6.16.26, `metus mortis et futuri iudicii tui'); from there, it is easy enough to match the fifth stage to the moral renovation marked by the garden scene at 8.12.29 and the sixth to the contemplative aspiration of Ostia (9.10.24f)--and the seventh to the seventh day of creation, limned on the past pages of conf.

    Such speculative correlations are useful to this extent: The first four stages of ascent in this scheme are ones which A. apparently believes he had attained even in adolescence--and on that reading, the only doubt is that he would be crediting himself with the desire for goodness, even if he believed that its attainment was remote. The first three stages of ascent (corporal, sensory, and mental) are reflected in various ways in what has already gone before (cf. perhaps esp. 1.20.31, finding the best that could be said of his infancy and boyhood).

    saltem: OLD: "(in negative . . . sentences) Even, so much as"

    defectiva species et umbratica: civ. 12.7, `nemo igitur quaerat efficientem causam malae voluntatis; non enim est efficiens sed deficiens, quia nec illa effectio sed defectio. deficere namque ab eo quod summe est ad id quod minus est, hoc est incipere habere voluntatem malam. causas porro defectionum istarum, cum efficientes non sint, ut dixi, sed deficientes, velle invenire tale est ac si quisquam velit videre tenebras vel audire silentium, quod tamen utrumque nobis notum est, neque illud nisi per oculos, neque hoc nisi per aures, non sane in specie, sed in speciei privatione.' A.'s sin was worse than merely evil, it was evil for evil's sake. This paragraph sharpens the issue, and makes the dilemma of the one who would explain the problem worse.

    text of 2.6.13


    The vices appear here in three clusters, which match the three temptations of 1 Jn. 2.16 (see on 1.10.16 and 10.30.41). The second of the three in John is curiositas, the third superbia: here the order is reversed. The principal vice in each category is accompanied by others that represent defects of the same sort, even pairs incompatible with each other (e.g., effusio liberalitatis and avaritia). The sin of the tree of Genesis is not here, for these are the temptations to sin that arise from that original fall.

    Each vice is defined by its aspiration to possess outside of God something that is authentically possessed only by (and thus in) God. The absence of scriptural language marks the passage as philosophically reflective, A's own observations rather than a direct message from the scriptural text.

    superbia . . . imitatur: vera rel. 45.84, `quid enim aliud in ea homo appetit, nisi solus esse si fieri possit, cui cuncta subiecta sint, perversa scilicet imitatione omnipotentis dei?' Gn. litt. 8.14.31, `id est superbiae et contumaciae, perversae imitationis dei et noxiae libertatis.' Sim. at civ. 19.12.

    celsitudinem: 11.31.41, `quorum celsitudo tu es'; 12.26.36, `deus meus, celsitudo humilitatis meae et requies laboris meae.' civ. 14.13, `quid est autem superbia, nisi perversae celsitudinis appetitus?'

    Resemblance to the creator is both innate in man (Gn. 1.26: see on 13.22.32) and potential (through redemptive restoration). Here the young A. is seen aspiring to resemblance, but of a forbidden sort. Cf. trin. 11.5.8, quoted on 2.6.14 below.

    cum tu [3x in the paragraph]: circumstantial, but almost concessive. Translate, e.g., the first two lines: `For even pride mimics loftiness, when (in spite of the fact that) you are one God, highest above all things.'

    blanditiae: Not necessarily in a bad sense, but admitting, and perhaps half-requiring, the specification honeste when in a good sense (8.11.27, `honeste blandiens'); cf. 5.10.20 (`blande et amanter'), 9.12.30 (`obsequiis meis interblandiens'), 12.14.17 (`superficies blandiens parvulis'), 13.15.18 (`et blanditus est et inflammavit').

    quam illa prae cunctis formosa et luminosa veritas tua: [2].

    te simplicius quicquam non reperitur: Cf. civ. 11.10, `est itaque bonum solum simplex et ob hoc solum incommutabile, quod est deus.' The connection is often made: cf. 4.16.29, `te, deus meus, mirabiliter simplicem atque incommutabilem,' 13.3.4, `quia solus simpliciter es'; hence the juxtaposition at 9.4.10, `in aeterna simplicitate'.

    opera sua malis inimica sunt: en. Ps. 7.16, `ipsa peccata sic ordinare ut quae fuerunt delectamenta homini peccanti, sint instrumenta domino punienti.' The effect of this argument is to absolve God of responsibility for the punishment itself, which is made to be self-inflicted; taken to an extreme, the idea verges on apocatastasis, as in Eriugena, periphyseon 5, where all men return to their divine origin, but those who are wrapped up in phantasiae derive no pleasure from what they find in heaven.

    ignavia . . . quietem: ignavia not elsewhere in conf.; for the purposes of the present passage, it seems to be taken as idleness, `incuriosity' (though elsewhere, quies is the goal of concupiscence of the flesh: vera rel. 52.101, `appetit voluptas corporis . . . quietem'). The link to curiositas is perhaps suggested by div. qu. 58.2, `nemo autem ignorat hominum vitam iam aliquid administrantem cognitione et actione fulciri. nam et actio temeraria est sine cognitione, et sine actione ignava cognitio' --`idle curiosity' leading to `idle knowledge.'

    luxuria: Elsewhere in conf. only at 5.3.4, 8.10.24, `utrum emat voluptatem luxuria,' 13.21.30, `ab inerti voluptate luxuriae'.

    invidentia de excellentia litigat: quid te excellentius?: The vices interpenetrate. The direct desire for excellentia would be an example of worldly ambition, but the desire for another's rank is cupidity.

    vindictam: Cf. Rom. 12.19, `mihi vindicta: ego retribuam, dicit dominus'; also at 2.5.10.

    quis a te separat: Cf. Rom. 8.35, `quis ergo nos separabit a caritate Christi?'

    text of 2.6.14


    Seeing the vices as perverse imitation is important because imitation acknowledges the authority of the model. (Hence the serpent's offer of divinity to Eve; see below.) From `quid ergo' a return to active consideration of the pear-theft.

    ita fornicatur anima: as described in 2.6.13. Ps. 72.27, `perdidisti omnem qui fornicatur abs te'; en. Ps. 78.8, `ne anima legem domini sui contemnat, et a deo suo fornicando dispereat.' See on 1.13.21, `fornicabar abs te' (cf. 4.2.3, and 5.12.22).

    redit ad te: See on 1.18.28.

    perverse te imitantur omnes: trin. 11.5.8, `male itaque vivitur et deformiter secundum trinitatem hominis exterioris. . . . nam et animae in ipsis peccatis suis non nisi quandam similitudinem dei, superba et praepostera et, ut ita dicam, servili libertate [cf. `mancam libertatem' below] sectantur. ita nec primis parentibus nostris persuaderi peccatum posset, nisi diceretur, "eritis sicut dii." [Gn. 3.5]' Cf. 10.36.59, `ut te perversa et distorta via imitanti tenebrosi frigidique servirent,' and contrast good imitation: 13.21.31, `imitando imitatores Christi tui'.

    longe . . . a te: See on 2.2.2, `longe a te'.

    quid ergo: His own vice is imagined to be vicious at second remove: not merely violation of God's law and thus perverse imitation of God, but a secondary perverse imitation of perverse imitation, out of acknowledged weakness.

    vel vitiose atque perverse: vel here is concessive: `quamvis, licet'. Cf. Hensellek, Anzeiger Akad. Wien 120(1983), 106, with texts.

    potentatu: Stronger than potestas (`potentiality, capacity')--closer to `strength, power'. The word allows A. to omit the infinitive (e.g., facere, efficere) that even now would not be entirely superfluous. Cf. en. Ps. 31. en. 2.1, `si se in audaciam quandam praesumptionis erexerit, et de suis viribus iustitiaque praesumserit, et proposuerit animo implere iustitiam, et omnia quae praecipiuntur in lege ita facere ut in nullo offendat, atque in potestate sua se habere vitam suam, ut omnino nusquam labatur, nusquam deficiat, nusquam titubet, nusquam caliget, sibique hoc tribuat, et potentatui voluntatis suae . . .' Not elsewhere in conf., rare in A. except in biblical (esp. Ps.) citations.

    mancam libertatem: libertas four other times in conf.: 3.3.5 (`fugitivam libertatem'), 3.8.16 (`falsae libertatis'), 4.4.8 (`mirabili et repentina libertate': describes the dying friend's rebuke), 9.3.6, (`libertatis otiosae'); en. Ps. 101. s. 2.2, `perniciosa libertas'. It is not a word to which A. naturally applies much positive value (easily neglected in studies of his views on liberum arbitrium voluntatis); it is important in a good many scriptural passages, but he always takes the libertas he finds there as something special, contrary to the appearances of libertas that are arrogated by pride here.

    tenebrosa: See on 2.6.12.

    ille servus: A.'s sin involving a tree directly parallels the sin of Adam: A. becomes Adam. Job 7.2 (VL), `tamquam servus metuens dominum suum et consecutus umbram'; adn. Iob on 7.2, `quod significat absconditio Adae a facie domini et tectio foliorum de quibus umbra fit, quam relicto deo consecutus est homo.' Sim. at en. Ps. 142.16 and s. 351.3.3. Kusch 152 quotes the above texts and adds: `Die Schilderung des Birnendiebstahls ist also keine selbstquälerische moralische deklamation, sondern exakte Analyse, die den Griff nach der verbotenen Frucht als eine Widerholung des historischen Abfalles von Gott begreift.'

    Strong words follow:

    putredo: Post-classical, cf. Prov. 12.4. (OLD: 2x in Apuleius). At 4.3.4, astrologers seek to exculpate man, `ut homo sine culpa sit, caro et sanguis et superba putredo'; sim. at 2.1.1, 4.11.16, 6.15.25.

    monstrum: Again, imprecisely, of a disorder of the will in the face of concupiscence of the flesh at 8.9.21: `unde hoc monstrum? et quare istuc? . . . non igitur monstrum partim velle, partim nolle, sed aegritudo animi est.'

    profunditas: Frightening depth, preponderantly in a bad and dangerous sense in conf., with a few examples applied to God in a way that transfers the sense of awe. Bad and dangerous: 1.18.28, 2.3.5, 3.6.11, 3.11.19, 3.11.20, 4.13.20, 4.14.22, 6.1.1, 6.16.26, 7.3.5, 8.3.8, 8.4.9, 9.1.1, 9.4.12, 9.8.18, 11.2.3 (2x), 12.3.3, 12.8.8, 13.8.9, 13.20.28, 13.21.29 (3x), 13.23.34, 13.24.37, 13.34.49. More or less of God: 6.5.8 (`et secreti sui dignitatem in intellectu profundiore'), 10.17.26 (`profunda et infinita multiplicitas'), 12.14.17 (`mira profunditas eloquiorum tuorum, . . . sed mira profunditas, deus meus, mira profunditas').

    text of 2.7.15


    The inquiry--what sense to make of the pear-theft--is left aside for another abstracted reflection on the difference between the past as lived and the past as now interpreted. In this text, interpretation of the past becomes the life of the present, but even in this life there is the alternation between narrative of and meditation on the past and, on the other hand, meditation on the act of meditation (as here). Such interruptions occur where the ordinary flow of the text encounters an incoherence, at a moment of unresolved tension. At such a node, A.'s interpretive tactic is to invoke the divine authority, ever capable of introducing order and pattern where there seems to be none. The attainment of such order makes it possible to return to the original, less abstractly reflective, level of the text's movement.

    The tension arises here, as often, between A.'s own text and the skepticism with which he professes to expect it to be read. While the formal address remains directed to God, there begins here a veiled dialogue with an imaginary audience, in which A. attempts to define the audience with which he will find favor (or, read another way, to prescribe to his audience the interpretive principles according to which they will be able to receive his text favorably)--cf. 10.3.3. His sensitivity to mockery (see on 1.6.7) is near the surface.

    The thanksgiving here is not ironic, and is to be compared to that which concludes Bk. 1 (1.20.31).

    quid retribuam: Ps. 115.12(3), `quid retribuam domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?' en. Ps. 115.4 explains `re-tribuit': `quae igitur praecesserant hominis, ut omnium donorum dei non attributio, sed retributio vocari possit? quae praecesserant hominis nisi peccata? retribuit ergo deus bona pro malis'. The quid-clause is answered by `diligam . . . tuo', while the quod-clause is parallelled and explained by the quoniam clause. Memory without fear is the fruit of forgiveness; love, thanksgiving, and confession are repayment to God for the forgiveness that has preceded all confession.

    confitear nomini tuo: Cf. Ps. 53.8, `confitebor nomini tuo, domine, quoniam bonum est.'

    tamquam glaciem solvisti: Sirach 3.17, `sicut in sereno glacies ita solventur peccata tua.' en. Ps. 125.10 (after quoting Sirach), `ergo peccata ligabant nos. quomodo? quomodo frigus ligat aquam ne currat. et illigati frigore peccatorum gelavimus. . . . flavit auster spiritus sanctus; dimissa sunt nobis peccata, soluti sumus a frigore iniquitatis; tamquam glacies in sereno, solvuntur peccata nostra.'

    gratiae tuae: An omnipotent God is one who has forgiven A. all sins, even the ones that he would have committed but did not, forestalled in his love of gratuitous evil only by divine act. The rhetorical effect is to portray the adolescent A. in the worst of lights; A.'s biographers labor to verify the description.

    conversis ad te: Ps. 50.15, `et impii ad te convertentur.'

    languoribus: 14x in conf.; see on 10.3.3.

    text of 2.8.16


    Only now, after accusing himself dramatically of willingness to accomplish all manner of evil for its own sake, does A. allow a thought to surface that shows him taking pleasure in something in the pear-theft. His principle, after all, is that nothing is nothing save evil, and that there is no thing-ness to evil that could attract even the wickedest of souls. To be sure, he settles for the slightest of attractions, the camaraderie of thieves--and amateur thieves at that. The principle is saved, at the price of his dignity.

    quem fructum habui: Rom. 6.21, `quem ergo fructum habuistis tunc in illis in quibus nunc erubescitis? nam finis illorum mors est.' (Often cited by A. with gloriam for fructum.) en. Ps. 85.23 (citing this verse), `videtis esse et modo confusionem salubrem in loco paenitentiae; tunc autem seram, inutilem, infructuosam'; cf. en. Ps. 125.3. Death is the threat in the scriptural text; here it is unspoken, but recall 2.6.14, `o putredo, o monstrum vitae et mortis profunditas!'

    in his . . . maxime in illo furto: the pear-theft is only one of many sins, standing for others, and in all of them it was the false society (civitas terrena, to anticipate a later development of A.'s doctrine) that appealed to him, the confricatio consciorum animorum.

    et tamen: See on 1.1.1, `et tamen laudare te vult homo'. The meditation on the pear-theft is the longest sustained passage on any topic so far in conf.; now, after painting himself entirely into a corner since 2.4.9, he finally opens the way out.

    consortium: As the end of this paragraph insists, the pleasure was in the facinus, enhanced by the companionship. A. avoids here the word amicitia, postponing it until the apostrophe in 2.9.17, `o nimis inimica amicitia'; but right and wrong friendship and use of friendship thus bracket Bk. 2 and measure his fall: see on 2.2.2, `luminosus limes amicitiae.'

    non ergo . . . amavi?: The question mark is necessary; cf. Ryan trans.: `Then it was not only the theft that I loved? No, truly, nothing else.'

    illud: sc. consortium.

    quid est re vera?: sc. illud consortium. This reading of these lines, contradicting most existing editions (see below) is necessary to make sense of the continuation through 2.9.17, beginning `quid erat ille affectus animi?'

    quis est . . . umbras eius?: The punctuation (following Vega against Knöll, Skut., Ver.) calls attention to this brief moment of meditation-on-meditation and to clarify the structure of the last half of the paragraph, divided between asking `what is that consortium?' and meditation on the act of asking that question--which is not answered until 2.9.17-18.

    qui inluminat cor meum: Sirach 2.10, `diligite illum et inluminabuntur corda vestra'; Eph. 1.18, `inluminatos oculos cordis vestri'; cf. Jn. 1.9, `quod inluminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum' (4.15.25, 7.9.13, 9.4.10). On divine illumination, see V. Warnach, Aug. Mag. 1.429-450; in addition to echoes of Jn. 1.9, cf. esp. 10.23.33, `deus inluminatio mea,' and 11.2.2, `primordia inluminationis tuae.'

    discernit umbras eius: Cf. on 13.14.15, `discernit', for the way this is an echo of Gn. 1.4, `et divisit deus inter lucem et tenebras.'

    quid est?: All twentieth-century editors have printed what follows thus: `quid est, quod mihi venit . . .' with a question mark after `pruritum cupiditatis meae' : but then the quia-clause has already answered the question, forcing many translators (Pusey, Ryan, BA, Carena) to put the interrogation implicitly after `considerare' (where the Maurists put it in Latin); but then the question asked is not one answered by the quia-clause/sentence. The logic is that A. asks the question and then explains the dilemma that gives the question force: `if it were just the pears . . ., but on the other hand if it were just the thrill . . ., in either case I could have acted alone.' The last sentence of the paragraph clarifies the issue, and the next paragraph begins by asking further just what was the appeal.

    confricatione: Hrdlicka 11 (following TLL) reports doubtful instances at Chiron 491 and Veg. mulom. 2.86.2; otherwise in adn. Iob on 31.40 and here; essentially a neologism; probably some sexual connotation, esp. in view of the epithet 4.8.13, `adulterina confricatione'.

    facinore: doctr. chr. 3.10.16, `ut alteri noceat' (see on 3.8.16).

    text of 2.9.17


    vae mihi: Cf. Job 10.15 (VL), `quod si impie fecero, vae mihi.'

    delicta quis intellegit: Ps. 18.13, `delicta quis intellegit?' en. Ps. 18. en. 2.13, `pater, ignosce illis, quia nesciunt quid faciunt. . . . si videntur tenebrae, intelleguntur delicta. denique quando nos delicti paenitet, in luce sumus. nam quando quisque ipso delicto involutus est, quasi obtenebratis opertisque oculis non videt delictum; quia si tibi tegatur et carnis oculus, nec aliud vides, nec hoc unde tegitur vides.' See on 2.6.12, `defectiva species', esp. civ. 12.7, quoted there. The echo here signals that the answer to the question at hand is that no fully satisfactory answer to the question will be found.

    non facerem, non facerem: The repetition is solemn and conclusive: what began in 2.8.16 in the subjunctive (`non . . . fecissem') is now indicative and certain.

    viva recordatio animae meae: Num. 10.9, `et erit recordatio vestri coram domino deo vestro, ut eruamini de manibus inimicorum vestrorum.' There the genitive vestri seems to be objective; in the text here, it seems to be subjective, but that proves nothing. The acts of memory are salvific, by whomever A. intends us to see them performed. The echo marks a boundary, the completion of the investigation that has led to its necessarily unsatisfactory result.

    solus . . . nec facerem: Summary of the results of the investigation into the nature of the sin.

    o nimis . . . impudentem: Declamation, representation of the attitude that brought about the sin.

    o nimis inimica amicitia: Here is the heart of Bk. 2: friendship gone awry, from 2.2.2 to here.

    investigabilis: `incomprehensible' (G-M) Cf. `delicta quis intellegit?' G-M further: `always used in this negative sense though, so far as its form goes, it might mean the opposite.' Tertullian (adv. Hermog. 45, cited by Souter) uses the word in the positive form (Souter: `traceable, comprehensible'), but scriptural texts, esp. Rom. 11.33 (rendering a)necixni/astoi), but also Prov. 5.6, `vagi sunt gressus eius, et investigabiles' (ou)k eu)/gnwstoi), and Eph. 3.8, `evangelizare investigabiles divitias [to\ a)necixniaston plou=tos] Christi,' gave the word its form and meaning in Christian Latin. See also 4.4.8.

    et (pudet): = etiam.

    text of 2.10.18


    A. turns away from the repulsive sight of his unintelligible sin, to look upon God (with turns of vocabulary that anticipate the mystical features of Bks. 9ff). The last sentence of the book is for him the last word on the wanderings of the prodigal in adolescence.

    exaperit: Christian Latin (Souter cites Exod. 34.19 in one VL manuscript, and cf. Iren. 2.19.8 and Tertull. apol. 18.8 [= `translate']): `to disclose, disentangle, explain'.

    nodositatem: `knottiness, intricacy' (Hrdlicka 22: also in Rufinus).

    foeda est: Repeats the judgment from 2.4.9.

    honestis luminibus: may be either dative (with what goes before) or ablative (as punctuated here, with what goes after). Qualities attractive to vision are predicated of God, and A. then wills to look upon them with righteous vision.

    quies: vera rel. 52.101, summarizing the three temptations: `quid enim appetit curiositas nisi cognitionem [2] . . ., quid appetit superbia nisi potentiam [1] . . ., quid appetit voluptas corporis nisi quietem [3], quae non est nisi ubi nulla est indigentia et nulla corruptio?' Cf. 13.38.53.

    intrat in gaudium: Mt. 25.21, `intra in gaudium domini tui' (cf. 9.10.25); en. Ps. 139.15, `si autem hoc te delectat quod foris agis, vide ne tumescas foris, et non possis redire per angustam, et non possit tibi dicere deus tuus: “intra in gaudium domini tui.”'

    defluxi: No biblical resonance (though perhaps a Plotinian one), but cf. 10.29.40, `a quo in multa defluximus,' 12.10.10, `defluxi ad ista et obscuratus sum,' 12.15.19, `ab illo se resolvat et defluat,' 13.7.8, `defluens inferius amore curarum,' 13.8.9, `defluxit anima hominis.' See on 2.2.2, `diffluebam'.

    erravi: Ps. 118.176, `erravi, sicut ovis perdita.'

    regio egestatis: Rewrites 2.4.9, `nulla compulsus egestate'; Lk. 15.14 (the prodigal), `et postquam omnis consummasset, facta est fames valida in regione illa, et ipse coepit egere'; cf. Lk. 15.13, `in regionem longinquam'. s. Caill. 2.11.3, `“erat autem egestas in illa regione”: non egestas visibilis panis, sed egestas invisibilis veritatis'; s. Caill. 2.11.5, `iam ergo iste obtriverat cor in regione egestatis: redierat enim ad cor, ut obtereret cor; reliquerat cor superbus, redierat ad cor iratus.' (See on 1.18.28, esp. for quotation from qu. ev. 2.33.) Cf. 13.8.9, `omnis mihi copia, quae deus meus non est, egestas est'; ord. 1.2.3, `idcircoque illam [pulchritudinem universitatis] videre non licet animae quae in multa procedit [cf. `defluxi'] sectaturque aviditate pauperiem. . . . nec mirere quod eo egestatem patitur magis, qui magis appetit plura complecti'; also early at beata v. 4.28, `est ergo animi egestas . . . nihil aliud quam stultitia. . . . ergo ut omnis egestas miseria, ita omnis miseria egestas esse convincitur' (in the following discussion of the word, A. had occasion to quote the practice of Sallust, noted from Catil. 52.22); ep. 3.2, `merito philosophi in rebus intellegibilibus divitias ponunt, in sensibilibus egestatem'); cf. vera rel. 52.101 on the three temptations, quoted above on `quies'. For the approach to egestas through sin, cf. doctr. chr. 3.10.16 (after defining flagitia and facinora: see on 3.9.17), `cum [flagitia] exinaniverint animum et ad quandam egestatem perduxerint, in facinora prosilitur'. Cf. vera rel. 12.23, `trahitur ergo ad poenas, quia diligendo inferiora in egestate voluptatum suarum et in doloribus apud inferos ordinatur.' Cf. en. Ps. 52.8, `interior . . . egestas'; s. 105.2.2, `in omni cupiditate et egestate saeculi'. In the Augustinian geography of salvation, the regio sine egestate is at civ. 14.26: `in paradiso . . . vivebat sine ulla egestate'.

    There are roots in Porphyry: sententiae 37, e)pei\ de\ pro\s me\n u(/lhn r(epou/sh| a)pori/a pa/ntwn kai\ th=s oi)kei/as duna/mews ke/nwsis, ei)s de\ to\n nou=n a)nagome/nh to\ plh=res au)th=s kata\ <to\> th\n du/namin e)/xein th=s pa/shs eu(ri/sketo, th\n me\n ei)ko/tws *Peni/an, th\n de\ *Po/ron oi( tou=to prw=ton gno/ntes th=s yuxh=s to\ pa/qos h)|ni/canto. See A. Solignac, BA 13.664-665, and du Roy 150.

    The end of the book echoes the beginning: 2.1.1, `conligens me a dispersione, in qua frustatim discissus sum, dum ab uno te aversus in multa evanui.'


    Cf. J. McLaughlin, Jefferson and Monticello (New York, 1988), 150-151, `[T]he question of whether Jefferson was a sexual adventurer [is] an historical Rorschach test: It tells more about the one making judgments than it does about the historical figure.'


    On A. and C.'s view of friendship, see now T. J. van Bavel, Augustiniana Traiectina (Paris, 1987), 59-72.


    The edd. of Sallust do not offer variants for `torpescerent', while the MSS of A. do not offer variants for `torpesceret' : A. may, as often, be quoting from memory.

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