Book Four

  • Teaching (at Carthage)
  • 4.4.7-4.12.19
  • The death of a friend (at Thagaste)
  • 4.13.20-4.16.31
  • Intellectual development (at Carthage)
  • 4.1.1-4.3.6 portray A. at work as teacher, the prey of the variae cupiditates (4.1.1, sc. carnis et oculorum) to which he had yielded in the course of the narratives of Bks. 2 and 3. As G-M remark, `artem rhetoricam' at 4.2.2 means that these paragraphs deal with his career at Carthage; the rhetorical contests, with awards by the proconsul, such as those described in 4.3.5--and implied by 4.1.1, `agonem coronarum' --were surely held there. We must therefore conclude that this book is made up of reminiscences of Carthage (376/83) framing the Thagaste episode (375/6) in the mid-section of the book (see on 3.11.19, `vivere mecum').

    4.4.7-4.12.19 recount the death of his friend and present an extended meditation on its meaning. The rustication to Thagaste may have been half-involuntary: cod. theod. 14.9.1 of 12 March 370 (dealing, to be sure, only with Constantinople and Rome1 ) decreed that students could remain at Rome only `usque ad vicesimum aetatis suae annum'. It may also have been correspondingly brief (our only other information on that period is that Alypius first studied with A. then: 6.7.11), thereby partly accounting for the limited place this phase of A.'s career plays in his narrative. (R. A. Kaster, Guardians of Language [Berkeley, 1988], 129, emphasizes the infrequency with which grammatici ascended the ladder to become rhetoricians, as A. did on moving from Thagaste to Carthage. A.'s employment as a grammaticus was thus perhaps a temporary expedient.)

    4.13.20-4.16.31 depict his intellectual life at Carthage, describing the circumstances surrounding the writing of the de pulchro et apto (4.13.20-4.15.27), then recalling an earlier, undated intellectual feat, his reading of the categoriae of Aristotle (4.16.28-31). The book is thus loosely bracketed by two acts of successful interpretation of difficult texts: at 4.3.5, when Vindicianus is presented as a student of astrology, and at 4.16.28, when A. reads Aristotle on the categories.

    The structure of Bk. 4 offers L. Verheijen in Collectanea Augustiniana (New York, 1990), 175-201 (the same article in French in V.'s Nouvelle approche de la Règle de saint Augustin [Louvain, 1988], 2.92-114) opportunity for stimulating speculations about A.'s habitual patterns of constructing literary works in tripartite ways.

    text of 4.1.1


    The construction of the paragraph is unusually artful. The first sentence is remarkably ornate, while the ring composition from `inrideant et confitear' to `sed inrideant . . . autem confiteamur' sets off a passage reminiscent of 1.1.1.

    annorum novem: In all, from 372/3 to 381/2. For the first date, see on 3.4.7; for the chronological problems, see on 5.6.10.

    seducebamur et seducebamus: The antitheses here are repeated in deliberate coordination through `per quos liberaremur,' juxtaposing A.'s public life as teacher of traditional rhetoric and his private activities on behalf of Manicheism. n.b., `palam . . . occulte', `hic . . . illic', `hac . . . illac'. Cf. Io. ev. tr. 8.11, `verumtamen seducti [mathematici] seducunt'.

    falsi atque fallentes: Cf. 7.2.3, `deceptos deceptores' (to the analogous texts there add Macrob. somn. Scip. 1.6.64, `Hippocrates . . . tam fallere quam falli nescit'). quant. an. 33.76, `vanitas vanitantium. vanitas enim est fallacia, vanitantes autem vel falsi vel fallentes vel utrique intelleguntur'; c. acad. 2.5.12, `homini enim homo falsus docendus, fallax cavendus debet videri, quorum prius magistrum bonum, posterius discipulum cautum desiderat'; c. litt. Pet. 3.17.20, `vel falsus vel fallens', sim. (usu. fallax instead of the participle) at duab. an. 1.1, trin. 3.7.12 (`ad fallendos fallaces'), civ. 9.18, 11.13, retr. 1.7.1 (`manichaeorum iactantiam de falsa et fallaci continentia vel abstinentia').

    doctrinas . . . liberales: See excursus on 4.16.30; the book is bracketed by the `liberal arts.' The form of expression, which recurs there, is somewhat pejorative, as Pellegrino saw (reviewing Courcelle, Les Confessions in Studi Medievali ser. 3, 4[1963], 651): sim. at s. Guelf. 24.4, s. 133.4, and ep. 101.1 (`litteris illis, quas variarum servi libidinum liberales vocant'), and cf. 4.3.4, `quos mathematicos vocant'.

    occulte: Imperial legislation, tempered by neglect, commended prudence; compare the case of Faustus (c. Faust. 5.8): accused by Christians, brought before the proconsul, condemned; at the request of his accusers, his punishment was mitigated to relegation to an island, from which not long after he was released by a general amnesty of the emperor. (See on 5.3.3.)

    superstitiosi: See on 3.6.10, `incidi'.

    vani: Vanus/vanitas occurs 8x in Bk. 1, particularly of A.'s educational hopes and ambitions; recurs in the same context twice in Bk. 3, and now occurs repeatedly in Bk. 4: note especially that the address to his soul at 4.11.16 begins thematically, `noli esse vana, anima mea'. It is then a constant refrain until 8.11.26, just before the garden scene: `retinebant nugae nugarum et vanitates vanitantium'. Thereafter it appears mainly in the reading of Psalm 4 (9.4.9, where Ps. 4.3 reads `ut quid diligitis vanitatem') and in the examination of conscience under the headings both of curiositas (10.35.54-57) and ambitio saeculi (10.38.63, `de ipso vanae gloriae contemptu'). Thereafter it is rare, but note that at 11.11.13 (`cor eorum volitat et adhuc vanum est'), the reference is to Manichean opponents. See L. Chevallier and H. Rondet, REAug 3(1957), 221-234, esp. 222.

    hac hac Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver. Pell.:   hac Z   (`h' sub linea):   ac C D G O S

    gloriae . . . inanitatem [1] . . . spectaculorum nugas [2] . . . intemperantiam libidinum [3]: His public life alone offers a comprehensive display of the vices of 1 Jn. 2.16.

    useque ad theatricos plausus: See below, 4.2.3, `theatrici carminis certamen'.

    agonem coronarum: 4.3.5, `coronam illam agonisticam'.

    faenearum: G-M, `perhaps “quickly fading”; . . . cf. Sueton. Nero xii “orationis carminisque latini coronam.”' An image of frailty, as at 9.7.16 (where see notes), `quantum patet aura in domo faenea' (cf. Is. 40.6, `omnis caro faenum'); sim. at 13.15.18.

    nugas: See on 3.10.18.

    sordibus: See on 3.1.1, `sordibus concupiscentiae'.

    electi et sancti: en. Ps. 140.10, `qui sunt isti electi? quibus si dixeris: peccasti; statim illam defensionem impiam et peiorem ceteris magisque sacrilegam proferunt: “non ego peccavi, sed gens tenebrarum.” quae est ista gens tenebrarum? quae bellum gessit cum deo.'

    angelos: See on 3.10.18, `anhelaret de illa angelos'.

    inrideant: Again below here; see on 1.6.7.

    elisi: 11.31.41, `tu enim erigis elisos'.

    dedecora: See, e.g., 2.4.9, `defectum meum ipsum amavi, . . . non dedecore aliquid sed dedecus appetens [sc. in concupiscentia carnis].'

    laude: Ps. 105.47, `salvos nos fac, domine deus noster . . ., ut confiteamur nomini sancto tuo et gloriemur in laude tua.' Knauer 80n2 sees in laus dei a theme uniting the first half of Bk. 4.

    circuire . . . immolare: Ps. 26.6, `circuivi et immolavi in tabernaculo eius hostiam iubilationis'; en. Ps. 26. en. 2.12, `quid ergo immolamus? abundantissimum et inenarrabile gaudium, nullis verbis, voce ineffabili. haec est hostia iubilationis.' At sol. 2.20.34 and quant. an. 4.6, 7.12, circuitus is used of the roundabout ways of argument that leads to vision of higher things, hence with almost a positive sense; here, however, cf. 8.2.3, `narravi ei circuitus erroris mei.' On imperatives at the beginning or end of sections of the text, see Knauer 64 and 64n1 and (esp. on this passage) 72.

    circuire: circuire O2 S Knöll Skut.:   circumire C D O1 Maur. Ver.

    praesenti memoria: = contuitus [2] (see on 12.15.18, `expectatio . . . contuitus . . . memoria'), and see excursus on 10.8.12, `Memory in Augustine'.

    praeteritos circuitus: = memoria [1] (or rather its contents: the past).

    immolare tibi hostiam iubilationis: = expectatio [3] (the future life of ceaseless praise).

    quid . . . sum: The question is asked twice: once of what A. is like without God, once of what he is like when he is with God.

    dux in praeceps: 2.3.7, `et praeceps ibam tanta caecitate'. For a better dux, see 2.7.15 and 7.10.16 (`te duce').

    sugens lac tuum: Cf. Deut. 33.19, `populos ad montem vocabunt; ibi immolabunt victimas iustitiae qui inundationem maris quasi lac sugent et thesauros absconditos harenarum.' Is. 60.16, `et suges lac gentium et mamilla regum lactaberis.' These references echo the vocabulary here, but are not particularly apt; better, 1 Cor. 3.2-3, `lac vobis potum dedi, non escam, nondum enim poteratis. sed ne nunc quidem potestis, (3) adhuc enim estis carnales.' Recall the suckling child at 1.6.7, and cf. 7.18.24, `ut infantiae nostrae lactesceret sapientia tua,' and 13.18.23, `tamquam parvulus in Christo lactisque potator'. R. J. O'Connell, Thought 48(1983), 188-206, emphasizes the maternal qualities imputed God by this image, and refers to numerous passages in Isaiah, but his treatment of evidence is entirely unsatisfactory. The image gives rise to the observation of R. Brändle and W. Neidhart, Theol. Zschr. 40(1984), 166n67: `Augustin findet in seinem Suchen nach Gott nur selten Begriffe der Väterlichkeit. Viel häufiger sind Attribute oder Bezeichnungen für Gott, die in die Sphäre des Weiblichen gehören.' But A. was far less insistent on drawing gender lines than are moderns: for example, at 13.22.32, A. applies the same image to Paul: `ad hoc enim dispensator ille tuus generans per evangelium filios, ne semper parvulos haberet, quos lacte nutriret et tamquam nutrix foveret.' (And see on 9.10.23, where Monnica has a masculine role to play.)

    cibo qui non corrumpitur: Cf. Jn. 6.27, `operamini non cibum qui perit, sed qui permanet in vitam aeternam.' Cf. 3.1.1, `fames mihi erat intus ab interiore cibo'.

    et quis homo est: G-M: `and what kind of a man is any man when he is merely a man? i.e., who is truly a man when he is only a man?'

    fortes et potentes: Cf. 1 Cor. 4.10, `nos stulti propter Christum, vos autem prudentes in Christo; nos infirmi, vos autem fortes, vos nobiles, nos autem ignobiles.'

    infirmi et inopes: Cf. Ps. 73.21, `egenus et inops laudabunt nomen tuum'; other echoes at 10.38.63 and 11.2.3.

    text of 4.2.2


    artem rhetoricam: Possidius v. Aug. 1.2, `nam et grammaticam prius in sua civitate et rhetoricam in Africae capite Carthagine postea docuit.' On the implications for dating, see on 4.1.1.

    loquacitatem: See on 1.4.4; loquacitas is apt against himself Manichee and merchant of verbal facility.

    cupiditate: If in 4.1.1 the cupiditatibus denote the temptations of the flesh and of the eyes, here only ambitio saeculi is meant.

    tu scis: See on 1.5.6, 3.3.6, etc.; Knauer 76-77.

    caput innocentis: Cic. off. 2.14.51 (cf. Testard 1.44ff, 2.25), `atque etiam hoc praeceptum officii diligenter tenendum est, ne quem umquam innocentem iudicio capitis arcessas; id enim sine scelere fieri nullo pacto potest. nam quid est tam inhumanum quam eloquentiam a natura ad salutem hominum et ad conservationem datam ad bonorum pestem perniciemque convertere?'

    de longinquo: On the remoteness of God, see on 1.18.28, esp. echoing here again Lk. 15.13, `in regionem longinquam'.

    fidem meam: Here and just below, the only occurrences of fides in conf. without some Christian overtone; here, to show the lingering traces in his life of something absent in every essential way.

    diligentibus vanitatem et quaerentibus mendacium: Ps. 4.3, `filii hominum, usquequo graves corde? utquid diligitis vanitatem et quaeritis mendacium?'; see on 9.4.9. A. twice wrote on lying (mend. of c. 394/95 and c. mend. of c. 420), taking an absolutist position (n.b. c. mend. 20.40: the catechumen prisoner of infidel guards, about to be put to death, is not to lie in order to gain a chance at baptism), which has discomfited later moralists (recently, S. Bok, Lying [New York, 1978]); the harsh judgment of his own professorial past is intimately linked with this attitude.

    unam habebam: For the legalities and sentimentalities of A.'s `marriage', see on 6.15.25.

    sane: virtually quidem (restrictive), `to be sure': Hensellek, Anzeiger Akad. Wien 120(1983), 102-103; 11x in all in conf.

    proles: Adeodatus was `annorum . . . ferme quindecim' at the time of his baptism in the spring of 387 (9.6.14) and `in annis sedecim' at the dramatic date of mag. not long after; on this calculation, he was born 371/72, when A. was perhaps 17. The words `in illis annis' thus reflect another of the chronological inconsequences of conf., inasmuch as they suggest a liaison that must have begun in 371 or perhaps even 370, thus apparently probably in the first year of studies at Carthage but conceivably during the year of indolence recorded at 2.3.5-6 (the philoprogenitive optimism of Patricius did not have so long to wait). Adeodatus's mother was dismissed from Milan and returned to Africa in 385/6 (see on 6.15.25), and thus shared A.'s outward peregrinations through his entire adulescentia.

    contra votum nascitur: A. accused the Manichees of resisting marriage and children, hypocritically: `filios autem inviti suscipiunt' (c. Faust. 15.7; almost the same words at c. Faust. 20.23). Brown 39 offers a delicate suggestion: `Next, his son, Adeodatus, was born: this event, unwelcome at the time, may well have had the “sobering” effect which Augustine would later recommend to young husbands [b. coniug. 3.3].' But A. had something specific in mind in that passage: `deinde quia reprimitur et quodam modo verecundius aestuat concupiscentia carnis, quam temperat parentalis affectus.'

    text of 4.2.3


    A.'s reluctance to sponsor sacrifice is not a sign of personal delicacy, or anything better (`non ex tua castitate repudiavi'): mor. 2.17.54, `ab animalium nece . . . vos temperatis', reminds us that it was against Manichean doctrine to kill any living thing (see Alfaric 220-221 on this passage). As Knauer 72-73 observes, this kind of sacrifice, at one time an option A. considered for propitiating his god, exemplifies the context in which we are to take, e.g., 5.1.1, `accipe sacrificium confessionum mearum'.

    certamen . . . ut vincerem: The temptation is that of ambitio saeculi [1]: vera rel. 53.103, `quare qui fines ipsos desiderant, prius curiositate [2] carent. . . . deinde accipiunt actionis facilitatem [1] pervicacia posita scientes maiorem esse facilioremque victoriam non resistere animositati cuiusquam'.

    mandasse mihi: G-M and Hrdlicka 78 render `mandare' = `to send word' and cite Eutrop. 5.5, `[Mithridates] senatui mandavit bellum se ei . . . inlaturum'; but the usage is classical (Tac. ann. 14.38, `mandabat in urbem, nullum proeliorum finem exspectarent'). Souter more usefully suggests merely `send (a messenger, etc.)' and adds `(Tert. on.)': on that interpretation, here render `sent (sc. to ask) . . .'.

    haruspicem: Strictly the haruspices were interpreters of prodigies (as at civ. 2.24, 3.11), but A. knew them as sources of magic power as well (en. Ps. 73.18, 134.20, doctr. chr. 2.20.30, s. 9.11.17 [linked to criticism of spectacula]).

    respondisse: The claim is corroborated at 10.35.56, `nec anima mea umquam responsa quaesivit umbrarum'.

    ex tua castitate: God's, not man's, as Madec rightly emphasizes at REAug 7(1961), 246, where he castigates the French translators for their unwilingness to predicate chastity of God; the same is true in English: cf. even Ryan, `it was not out of a chaste devotion to you'; better `not by means of the chastity that comes from you'. Io. ep. tr. 4.9, `ergo castificat nos sicut et ipse castus est; sed ille castus aeternitate, nos casti fide.' The metaphor is counterposed to fornicari abs te (see on 1.13.21; the phrase recurs here and at 5.12.22); but perhaps it is stronger than metaphor: beata v. 3.18, `quomodo, inquit, castus potest esse qui ab inlicito tantum concubitu sese abstinens ceteris peccatis non desinit inquinari? ille est vere castus, qui deum attendit et ad ipsum solum se tenet' (words of Adeodatus, but strongly approved by A. ad loc.). 4.3.4 uses salubritas to denote roughly the same purity.

    deus cordis mei: Ps. 72.26-27, `defecit cor meum et caro mea, deus cordis mei, et pars mea deus meus. (27) ecce qui longe se faciunt a te, peribunt. perdidisti omnem qui fornicatur abs te.' See also on 6.1.1, `deum cordis mei'; cf. 9.13.35.

    non . . . noveram . . . non noveram: recalls the repeated use of this phrase at 3.7.12-13, and reiterates one of the ignorances confessed there: 3.7.12, `non noveram deum esse spiritum'; Bk. 4 is haunted by the false god: 4.7.12, `vanum phantasma et error meus erat deus meus.'

    fulgores corporeos: c. Faust. 22.8, `non distinguunt inter lucem quod est ipse deus et lucem quam fecit deus'.

    figmentis: `products of artifice': poetic (1.13.22, 1.17.27), Manichean doctrine (3.6.10, 4.15.27, 4.16.29), his own misconceptions of catholic teaching (6.3.4, 10.34.53), and, once only in a strong metaphor, man as God's creation (13.23.33, `quoniam tuum sumus figmentum creati in operibus bonis'). trin. 4 pr. 1, `ego certe sentio quam multa figmenta pariat cor humanum. et quid est cor meum, nisi cor humanum? sed hoc oro deum cordis mei, ut nihil ex eis figmentis pro solido vero eructuem in has litteras'. Frequent in civ. in negative sense, esp. `figmenta poetarum' (e.g., civ. 2.8).

    fornicatur abs te: Cf. Ps. 72.26, quoted above; see on 1.13.21; en. Ps. 72.33, `huic fornicationi contrarius est amor castus. quis est amor castus? amat iam anima sponsum suum.'

    fidit in falsis et pascit ventos: Prov. 10.4, `qui fidit in falsis, hic pascit ventos'; Os. 12.1, `Ephraim pascit ventum et sequitur aestum; tota die mendacium et vastitatem multiplicat.' The Prov. text is not in the Hebrew, and is cited only in the app. crit. of the Stuttgart Vulgate as an addition to Prov. 10.4, with thin support (though it is in the Clementine Vulgate, hence its familiarity to modern readers and the verse number). It occurs in LXX as Prov. 9.12a where it immediately precedes the aenigma Salomonis (see on 3.6.11) and is catalogued by La Bonnardière Biblia Augustiniana: Proverbes 212 as Prov. 9.12b (but the passage from bapt. 6.12.18 should be struck: it arises from an Erasmian interpolation that the Maurists failed to eject). Used in various contexts, the verse consistently suggests to A. that those who employ falsehood become themselves food for demons: cf. c. Faust. 20.22, `illi quippe superbi et impii spiritus non nidore ac fumo, sicut nonnulli vani opinantur, sed hominum pascuntur erroribus'; sim. at c. Sec. 26, c. Cresc. 3.9.9, and ep. 105.2.6. (Identification by A. Vaccari, Scritti di erudizione e di filologia 2 [Rome, 1958], 12-13.)

    daemonibus, quibus . . . sacrificabam: See on 1.17.27, `non enim uno modo sacrificatur transgressoribus angelis.'

    superstitione: See on 3.6.10.

    text of 4.3.4


    Astrology recurs at 7.6.8, esp. with the mention there of Vindicianus (mentioned but not named at 4.3.5). This paragraph continues the motif of curiositas from Bk. 3; cf. 10.35.56, `nec curo nosse transitus siderum', from the discussion there of curiositas; and ord. 2.15.42, `quae similiter definiendo ac secernendo in ordinem nectens astrologiam genuit, magnum religiosis argumentum tormentumque curiosis.'

    Astrology recurs pastorally throughout Augustine's career. The same vocabulary, and the same scriptural quotations, appear over and over. The place of astrology in African life is vividly depicted at cons. ev. 1.23.36: If the Romans were consistent, `et mathematicos vel genethliacos maxime delerent, qui Saturnum, quem sapientium effectorem isti dicerent, maleficum deum inter alia sidera constituerent.' At Carthage, the fear of him was so profound that the vicus Saturni was often referred to euphemistically as the vicus Senis. The presence of soothsayers was also a persistent pastoral concern. Consider, e.g., Io. ev. tr. 7.7, `non quando nobis dolet caput, curramus ad praecantatores, ad sortilegos et remedia vanitatis. fratres mei, non vos plangam? cotidie invenio ista; et quid faciam? nondum persuadeo christianis in Christo spem esse ponendam?' Cf. Io. ev. tr. 8.8f and 10.5.

    How early in life A. read Cicero's div. is uncertain; before civ. the only probable sighting is at conf. 10.16.25 (see notes there for the uncertainty). It is not impossible, of course, that A. knew this work; to accept that proposition we must also accept that A. could be immune to the arguments even of figures he respected highly, and this from early in life. See on 8.7.17, `petieram a te castitatem', for the history of his resistance to those (including Cicero) who preached continence. Many of his moments of `conversion' took the form of re-reading, and now accepting, books and authors he had long known.

    planos: used in this sense (= pla/nos) by Cic., Hor., Petron., Plin. iun., and Aul. Gell.; OLD: `one who practices deceit or imposture, esp. as a means of making a living.' Amerbach's Basle edition of 1506 wrongly conjectured planetarios (surviving as a ghost word in Lewis and Short).

    mathematicos: Cf. c. acad. 1.7.21, for the learned derision of Flaccianus (procos. Afr. 393?, a pupil of A.? [c. acad. 1.6.18]) directed against the Carthaginian soothsayer Albicerius; Courcelle, Recherches 76n3, suggests Flaccianus probably was behind the events described here in conf. (Mandouze, Pros. chr. s.v. Flaccianus, tends to agree); cf. 4.3.5, `sine verborum cultu', for a hint that Albicerius is the divinator meant here (for at c. acad. 1.7.21, F.'s derision arises from his obvious cultural superiority to the less educated abilities of Albicerius); Flaccianus was at some other date the source for A.'s acquisition of the Christian Sibylline texts (civ. 18.23). Possidius indiculum (ed. Wilmart, MA 2.185, line 49) notes a letter to Flaccianus, which was apparently extant c. 825: Courcelle, Recherches ed. 2, 262.

    Two of A.'s most detailed discussions of the subject of astrology precede conf. by a relatively short period, and another probably followed not long after:

    div. qu. 45.2, `adversus eos autem qui nunc appellantur mathematici, volentes actus nostros corporibus caelestibus subdere, et nos vendere stellis, ipsumque pretium quo vendimur a nobis accipere'; he instances the case of twins with different fates, though sharing the same constellatio (see on 7.6.8), to confute their pretensions.

    doctr. chr. 2.21.32, `neque illi ab hoc genere perniciosae superstitionis segregandi sunt qui genethliaci propter natalium dierum considerationes, nunc autem vulgo mathematici vocantur. nam et ipsi, quamvis veram stellarum positionem cum quisque nascitur consectentur et aliquando etiam pervestigent tamen quod inde conantur vel actiones nostras vel actionum eventa praedicere, nimis errant et vendunt imperitis hominibus miserabilem servitutem. nam quisque liber ad huiusmodi mathematicum cum ingressus fuerit, dat pecuniam ut servus inde exeat aut Martis aut Veneris, vel potius omnium siderum; quibus illi qui primi erraverunt erroremque posteris propinaverunt, vel bestiarum propter similitudinem vel hominum ad ipsos homines honorandos imposuerunt vocabula.' The example of twins is used in refutation at doctr. chr. 2.22.33: Esau and Jacob are named (as at div. qu. Simp. 1.2.3, where the astrological interpretation is trumped by Pauline grace); for conventional antecedents of the argument, cf. Amb. exam. 4.4.14 and Persius 6.18-19. Cf. doctr. chr. 2.23.35, `hinc enim fit ut, occulto quodam iudicio divino cupidi malarum rerum homines tradantur inludendi et decipiendi pro meritis voluntatum suarum, inludentibus eos atque decipientibus praevaricatoribus angelis. . . . quibus inlusionibus et deceptionibus evenit, ut istis superstitiosis et perniciosis divinationum generibus multa praeterita et futura dicantur nec aliter accidant quam dicuntur multaque observantibus secundum observationes suas eveniant, quibus implicati curiosiores fiant et sese magis magisque inserant multiplicibus laqueis perniciosissimi erroris. hoc genus fornicationis animae salubriter divina scriptura non tacuit'. (He quotes Deut. 13.1-3, 1 Kgs. 28.14-20, Sirach 46.23.)

    Gn. litt. 2.17.35, `de fatis autem qualeslibet eorum argutias et quasi de mathesi documentorum experimenta, quae illi apotelesmata vocant, omnino a nostrae fidei sanitate respuamus; talibus enim disputationibus etiam orandi causas nobis auferre conantur et impia perversitate in malis factis, quae rectissime reprehenduntur, ingerunt accusandum potius deum auctorem siderum quam hominem scelerum.' Jacob and Esau appear at 2.17.36.

    The other most substantive discussion is at at civ. 5.1; cf. epp. 246.2, 55.4.6ff, Gal. exp. 34. For a particularly vivid document giving life to the polemics, see en. Ps. 61.23 quoted below. The attack is eventually modified to take in the Pelagians: c. ep. pel. 2.6.12, `fatum quippe qui adfirmant, de siderum positione ad tempus quo concipitur quisque vel nascitur, quas constellationes vocant, non solum actus et eventa verum etiam ipsas nostras voluntates pendere contendunt; dei vero gratia non solum omnia sidera et omnes caelos, verum etiam omnes angelos supergreditur.'

    plane: here, `utterly, absolutely, quite' (OLD). Translators have strayed: Ryan: `openly to consult'; but Valentinian II had made consultation of mathematici a capital offense (cod. theod. 9.16.8). Carena's translation assumes a connection in sense to `planos': `Percio quegli altri vagabondi, che chiamano matematici, non desistevo che vagamente dal consultarli.'

    quod quasi: `for the reason that it was as if' --with subjunctive in the protasis of a contrary-to-fact condition. In `quod tamen' below, quod is merely a connectiving relative.

    bonum est enim confiteri tibi: Cf. Ps. 91.2, `bonum est confiteri domino'; en. Ps. 91.3, `deinde multi non accusant satanam, sed accusant fatum. fatum meum me duxit, dicit. . . . quaeris ab illo quid sit fatum, et dicit: stellae malae. quaeris ab illo quis fecit stellas, quis ordinavit stellas; non habet quid tibi respondeat, nisi deus. restat ergo ut . . . deum accuset.' This verse and the following quotation of Ps. 40.5 recur in similar contexts because astrological doctrine implies that human responsibility for sin is non-existent. For A., the opposite is the case, and Ps. 40.5, confessionally, is the thematic statement of this throughout Augustine's life.

    `miserere . . . tibi': Ps. 40.5, `ego dixi: “domine, miserere mei, sana animam meam, quoniam peccavi tibi”'; en. Ps. 40.6, `in factis meis, in peccatis meis non accuso fortunam, non dico: “hoc mihi fecit fatum”; non dico: “adulterum me fecit Venus, et latronem me fecit Mars, et avarum me fecit Saturnus.”'

    Ps. 40.5 appears 3x in conf., in each case introduced by confiteri (cf. 4.12.19 and 5.10.18). The latter passage is the only one in conf. where he connects the appeal of Manicheism to the freedom from guilt for sin it could offer; and it is certainly significant (Knauer 166) that astrology could offer a similar freedom, hence probable that the appeal of astrology both arose for him at this time alongside his Manicheism and is reported here in detail for its analogous function. He does once link the Manichees to astrological speculation: cont. 5.14, `et alii quidem qui sua consueverunt excusare peccata, fato se ad peccandum queruntur impelli, tamquam hoc decreverint sidera et caelum prius talia decernendo peccaverit. . . . haec manichaeorum est immundissima insania'. For the verse elsewhere, see lib. arb. 3.2.5 (implicit link to curiositas), s. 20.2 (391? c. 395?).

    licentiam peccandi: Cf. Sirach 15.21, in a discussion of purgatory and penance at ench. 19.70, `“nemini” enim “dedit laxamentum peccandi”, quamvis miserando deleat iam facta peccata si non satisfactio congrua negligatur.'

    `ecce sanus . . . contingat': Jn. 5.14, `ecce iam sanus factus es: noli peccare, ne quid tibi deterius contingat' --to the lame man made to walk on the sabbath.

    salubritatem: Picks up the medical metaphor implied by `cura animam meam' and the John quotation, and continued and enlarged (with ironic twists) by the treatment of the medical proconsul in the next paragraph--`medicinae artis peritissimus'.

    Venus . . . Mars: en. Ps. 140.9, `totum hoc doctum et magnum, defensio peccati est. eris adulter, quia sic habes Venerem; eris homicida, quia sic habes Martem. Mars ergo homicida, non tu; et Venus adultera, non tu'; cf. s. Mai 17.1, civ. 5.1 (Mars), en. Ps. 31. en. 2.16 (Mars and Venus), en. Ps. 128.9 (Saturn, Mars, and Venus), en. Ps. 61.23 (where even a converted mathematicus is represented using the standard exemples of Mars and Venus: quoted below). For the conventionality of the forms of expression, cf. Plotinus, *)/Area de\ to/nde h)\ *)Afrodi/th qeme/nous moixei/as poiei=n, ei) w(di\ ei)=en, w(/sper e)k th=s tw=n a)nqrw/pwn a)kolasi/as au)tou\s e)mpipla/ntas w(=n pro\s a)llh/lous de/ontai, pw=s ou) pollh\n a)logi/an e)/xei; Immediate influence is unlikely, for Plotinus is rather subtler than A., who has to find a way for Mars to stand for violence, rather than for collaboration in adultery.

    caro et sanguis: Mt. 16.17, `beatus es, Simon Bariona, quia caro et sanguis non revelavit tibi, sed pater meus, qui in caelis est'; 1 Cor. 15.50, `quia caro et sanguis regnum dei possidere non possunt'. Caro et sanguis is not so common in scripture as its equivalent in English. One could read the Matthew text to say that the revelation that comes from caro et sanguis would be owed to a purely human means of divination or prognostication.

    superba putredo: Cf. 2.6.14, `o putredo, o monstrum vitae et mortis profunditas!' The exclamation there arises from a diagnosis of the sin of pride. Cf. also 2.1.1 (`computrui') and 4.11.16 (`reflorescent putria tua').

    suavitas: Also of God at 2.6.13, 9.1.1, 10.17.26. Cf. Ps. 144.7, `memoriam abundantiae suavitatis tuae eructabunt, et iustitia tua exsultabunt.'

    qui reddes unicuique: Ps. 61.13, `quia tu reddes unicuique secundum opera eius'; Mt. 16.27, `venturus est in gloria patris sui cum angelis suis, et tunc reddet unicuique secundum opus eius'; Rom. 2.6 (see Knauer 61n1), `in die irae et revelationis iusti iudicii dei, qui reddet unicuique secundum opera eius'; Job 34.11 (VL), `quia reddit homini opus suum, et iuxta viam suam unusquisque reperiet.'

    Just here in Ps. 61 A.'s homily on the text records a dramatic moment: en. Ps. 61.23, in an appendix `post tractatum de psalmo, cum mathematicus in populo monstraretur' : `diu mathematicus fuit; seductus seducens, deceptus decipiens, inlexit, fefellit, multa mendacia locutus est contra deum. . . . iste dicebat quia adulterium non faciebat voluntas propria, sed Venus; et homicidium non faciebat voluntas propria, sed Mars; et iustum non faciebat deus, sed Iovis: . . . portat secum codices incendendos, per quos fuerat incendendus ut, illis in ignem missis, ipse in refrigerium transeat.' Despite the spontaneousness implied by the unusual stage-direction in the text there, it is likely that this last paragraph of en. Ps. 61 was integral to the sermon, with the converted mathematicus lurking to be brought out as a show piece. Clearly there was much suspicion of the bona fides of this conversion, but A. vouched for him.

    cor contritum: Ps. 50.18-19, `quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique; holocaustis non delectaberis. (19) sacrificium deo spiritus contribulatus; cor contritum et humilatum deus non spernit.' This is the sacrificium (cf. above) that A. offers as an alternative to what all the unbelievers--himself when young, the astrologers who lured him, and all the others--had to offer.

    humilatum: For the spelling adopted in text and commentary, see D. De Bruyne, MA 2.558-561.

    text of 4.3.5


    eo tempore: If Vindicianus is the proconsul, this event dates to 379/82, and hence belongs unequivocally to the Carthage years of A.'s life (see on 4.1.1), not long before Faustus' appearance recounted in Bk. 5 (n.b. `rhetoricam' below, which is what he taught at Carthage). The episode here is carefully matched against the comparable discussion in 7.6.8; in both there is the intersection of curiositas and ambitio saeculi.

    vir sagax: 7.6.8, `acutus senex', where Vindicianus is named; also ep. 138.1.3, `magnus ille nostrorum temporum medicus Vindicianus . . . acerrimus'. On Vindicianus, cf. PLRE 1.967: comes archiatrorum c. 379, serving Valentinian II; translated some Hippocrates; not otherwise attested as proconsul. See Jones, LRE 387, on appointment to administrative office as a reward for serving as physician to the court. O'Daly 81n5 suggests that V. may have been A.'s source for a fair amount of sophisticated medical information, notably his view of the mechanics of sense-perception; in this O'Daly follows Agaësse-Solignac (BA 48.711-713) tracing echoes of V.'s gynaecia at nat. et or. an. 4.2.2ff. An anecdote of Vindicianus from 411 shows him again the bastion of science against superstition for A. (but still thought to possess some `inlicita potentia'): ep. 138.1.3.

    peritissimus: On peritia, see on 1.14.23; often associated by A. in this neutral way with medicine (cf. e.g., civ. 22.30 and elsewhere).

    proconsul: proconsul G O2 S Knöll Skut.:   proconsule C D O1:   pro consule Ver. Pell.
    At 8.4.9, the editors read proconsule, where the MSS divide essentially the same except that Sadds the final -e. On the most generous reading of the texts, A. used the connected form far more often than the etymological, and editorial practice in our editions probably masks the realities. In the editions contained in the Würzburg data base, there are eleven occurrences of the separated form, in five different works of A.; the connected form is cited 97x from 18 different works, including four of the five that also display the separated form.

    qui resistis . . . gratiam: Jas. 4.6, 1 Pet. 5.5 < Prov. 3.34 (LXX): `deus superbis resistit, humilibus autem dat gratiam.' See on 1.1.1.

    tamen etiam: The particles suggest Vindicianus was not Christian.

    iucundi: Cf. 5.6.10, `hominem gratum et iucundum verbis,' but also 8.5.10, `deus, sola certa iucunditas'.

    conloquio: Of private and intimate conversation: 4.8.13 (`conloqui et conridere et vicissim benivole obsequi'), 6.7.11, 9.9.19, 9.10.23, 12.16.23.

    genethliacorum: doctr. chr. 2.21.32 (quoted above at length on 4.3.4), `genethliaci propter natalium dierum considerationes, nunc autem vulgo mathematici vocantur.'

    monuit: Of benevolent advice from one in (often parental or pseudo-parental) authority, and perhaps especially advice that is not particularly welcome: 1.9.14 (`recte mihi vivere puero id proponebatur, obtemperare monentibus'), 2.3.7 (`monitus muliebres'), 2.3.8, 6.7.11, 9.5.13, 10.30.41. A. makes no direct response, only asks the (perhaps teasing, perhaps hostile) question given below.

    professionem . . . deferre: G-M allege this `the technical phrase for making a return to the censor of one's occupation.' They seem to be inferring an idiom from the context of a single passage. TLL 5.1.314-318 s.v. deferre does not corroborate. Deferre is often used with (in) censum, but not with professio.

    Hippocraten: Courcelle, LLW 195, quotes several texts to show that A. had access to Hippocrates in Greek in later years. Already in the late 390s, he knew of the problem of ps.-Hippocratean writings (c. Faust. 33.6).

    gravis: gravis/graviter 30x in conf. 1-9, only 2x in 10-13. Cf. 9.6.14, `ingenio praeveniebat multos graves et doctos viros'.

    vim sortis: See on 8.12.30 for A.'s own crucial experiment with the sortes, and note esp. ep. 55.20.37 quoted there.

    instinctu: The word is infrequent in A. and almost always used in just this indefinite sense in a similar context: cf. 7.6.10, `tu enim, domine, . . . occulto instinctu agis, ut dum quisque consulit hoc audiat quod eum oportet audire'. For parallels, see civ. 2.26, 5.7, 8.26, and esp. 21.8 (differentiating monstra, ostenta, portenta, and prodigia): `sed viderint eorum coniectores, quo modo ex eis sive fallantur sive instinctu spirituum, quibus cura est tali poena dignos animos hominum noxiae curiositatis retibus implicare, etiam vera praedicant sive multa dicendo aliquando in aliquid veritatis incurrant.' For the classical origins of the usage, see Cic. div. 1.6.12, `est enim vis et natura quaedam quae tum observatis longo tempore significationibus tum aliquo instinctu inflatuque divino futura praenuntiat' (similarly at div. 1.18.34, Cic. makes instinctus an explanation of accurate prognostication that comes without ars--see next note).

    non arte sed sorte: Cf. 4.3.6, `forte vel sorte, non arte,' and see on 7.6.9, `non arte dici sed sorte'; 7.6.10, `non ergo arte sed sorte vera diceret' --the latter texts from the revived discussion of astrology and divination at 7.6.8ff; div. qu. 45.2, `quod si non arte de codicibus exit saepe versus futura praenuntians, quid mirum si ex animo loquentis, non arte, sed sorte exit aliqua predictio futurorum?' The distinction goes back to Greek wordplay on te/xnh and tu/xh (Löfstedt, Symb. Osl. 56[1981] 106, citing E. R. Dodds on Plato's Gorgias [Oxford, 1959] 192: Gorgias 448c, e)mpeiri/a me\n ga\r poiei= to\n ai)w=na h(mw=n poreu/esqai kata\ te/xnhn, a)peiri/a de\ kata\ tu/xhn). BA 13.416n1, quoting passages from Plotinus 4.4.32-43: `Ces vues de Vindicianus laissent percer une mentalité néo-platonicienne; en effet, il n' attribue pas au seul hasard les prédictions heureuses, mais reconnaît une certaine consonance de l'univers aux divers états de l'âme.'

    text of 4.3.6


    deliniasti: `Sketched', suggesting an imprecise figure; cf. civ. 17.8, `scriptura sancta etiam rebus gestis prophetans quodam modo in eo figuram deliniat futurorum.'

    Nebridius: One of A.'s two important companions (the other is Alypius, not mentioned until 6.7.11) at Milan. A. always speaks warmly of N., though there was undoubtedly always some distance between them in their attitudes, right up to N.'s premature death. For fuller notice, see on 6.7.11. N.'s family home was near Carthage, reducing further any chance that this episode occurred at Thagaste.

    castus: castus G S Knöll Skut. Pell. Vega  (wrongly reporting O in support of the reading):   cautus C D O Ver.
    Cf. 9.3.6, `castitate perfecta atque continentia' --of N. G-M think cautus better here, since castitas is better predicated of him after conversion. BA defends castus by arguing that it is not continentia that is meant here, but rather just that he was untainted by this superstition: cf. civ. 8.18, `homo castus et ab artium magicarum sceleribus alienus,' and see above on 4.2.3, `ex tua castitate' (with Madec's note cited there). But the BA translation weakly offers only: `jeune homme de grande vertu et de grande religion'. Juergens-Schaub (in Skutella [1969], 389) cite 1.13.21, 2.6.14, 4.2.3, 5.12.22, passages where, as they say, `omnis a deo aversio fornicatio appellatur' (see on 1.13.21, `fornicabar abs te'). Cautus is infrequent in A. and hardly offers unqualified praise--it has an overtone of scrupulosity when in 7.6.8 the astrologers are said to count the minutes of a horoscope `cautissima observatione'. (A similar substitution of caut- for cast- appears at c. acad. 2.2.5--see prolegomena.)

    nullum certum quale quaerebam documentum: The first sign of this hankering for certitude (the emphasis at 3.6.10 is rather different), which is presented as reaching its most acute stage at the end of Bk. 5 and thenceforward as defining one of the main conditions of A.'s philosophical and religious inquiries; cf. 5.14.25.

    text of 4.4.7


    The death of A.'s friend, centerpiece of Bk. 4, performs several functions.

    1. It marks a stage on the trajectory of temptation, a falling into sin whose punishment is such that we react by sinning further:

    a) since Bk. 2, we have seen the disordering of the power of friendship in his life (concupiscentia carnis);

    b) since Bk. 3, we have seen that his compassion and pity are out of joint (concupiscentia oculorum);

    c) here now he is punished for his sins in an apt way, and the result (4.7.12) is that he pursues his career to Carthage (ambitio saeculi).

    2. It displays him living in a world falsified with respect to both of the two great commandments (see 3.8.15):

    a) belief that God is only a phantasma (4.7.12, `vanum phantasma et error meus erat deus meus' : cf. 3.6.10);

    b) the inability to love his neighbor (4.7.12, `o dementiam nescientem diligere homines humaniter!'), though `amare amabam' (3.1.1) had characterized his ambition since his first coming to Carthage.

    3. It displays A. in the grip of violent and genuine grief, condign punishment for one who had studied long in the school of sham pity (3.2.2).

    Two deaths in conf. affect A. deeply, his friend's here and that of Monnica: for comparison of the two, see on 9.11.28. Many other persons who figure in this narrative die in its pages (especially in Bk. 9: see on 9.1.1), but no other receives comparable attention. The only other death in A.'s life to show a comparable effect in his texts is that of Marcellinus, executed in 413 in circumstances that left A. devastated (ep. 151.).

    L'innominato: Courcelle, Recherches 41, `Augustin a sans doute jugé que le nom de ce jeune homme de Thagaste, mort a la fleur de l'âge, était sans intérêt pour les lecteurs et la postérité.' Would A. neglect a chance to pay edifying tribute to a deceased member of Alypius' flock (with so exemplary an attitude to baptism)? But Courcelle examines this as one of the many unnamed figures in the text; consider instead the pattern of the named ones. Leaving aside persons A. never met, there remain in conf. only: Adeodatus, Alypius, Ambrose, Elpidius, Evodius, Faustus, Firminus, Monnica, Nebridius, Patricius, Ponticianus, Romanianus, Simplicianus, Symmachus, Verecundus, Vindicianus, 16 in all. The list is sharply pared to include only individuals who were, witting or unwitting (e.g., Faustus and Symmachus), agents of conversion; the sole exception is Patricius, not named until Bk. 9, there only once incidentally in the narrative of Monnica's life (9.9.19) and once formally in a request that his readers remember Monnica (herself named only there in all A.'s writings) and Patricius at the altar. There are few names in these books of downfall (only A., in such a mood and for such a reason, could write the paean to friendship that appears at 4.8.13 and mention not a single friend by name!), more later as A.'s life takes a better turn (Vindicianus has been described at 4.3.5, but is not named until 7.6.8; Bk. 6 is notable for the way the coterie of friends comes together--Augustine, Alypius, Nebridius; in Bk. 8, Simplicianus and Ponticianus appear). Finally, both the friend here and the mother of Adeodatus are, to put it bluntly, people A. treated shabbily--A. even refuses himself the consolation of thinking that he treated this one as a true friend (`sed nondum erat sic amicus'): it is not hard to believe that he felt he had no right to draw even their names into his story. (See on this W. Steidle, Romanitas-Christianitas [Festschrift J. Straub: Berlin, 1982], 446. The pattern of biblical names cited in conf. is interesting in its own right: see on 7.21.27.)

    The friend is never mentioned elsewhere. But could A. have written this passage (on Mt. 5.29, `si oculus tuus dexter scandalizat te . . .') without thinking of him? s. dom. m. 1.13.38, `cogit quaerere diligentius quid dixerit oculum. in qua quaestione nihil mihi occurrit congruentius quam dilectissimum amicum. nam hoc est utique quod membrum recte possumus appellare, quod vehementer diligimus, et hunc consiliarium, quia oculus est tamquam demonstrans iter, et in rebus divinis, quia dexter est. . . . in rebus autem divinis consiliarius scandalizans est, si in aliquam perniciosam haeresim nomine religionis atque doctrinae conatur inducere.' On that assumption, note that the younger A. becomes the scandalous consiliarius, to be tossed aside--which is just what the dying friend did when A. sought to lure him back to heresy, `nomine religionis atque doctrinae'.

    illis annis . . . coeperam: This memory dates from the year teaching at Thagaste (375/6), age 21 (as was the friend: `coaevum'). On the chronological displacement, see on 4.1.1.

    municipio: See on 2.3.5.

    in scholam ieramus pariterque luseramus: Cf. the description of childhood activities at 1.9.15.

    vera amicitia: A.'s notion of friendship had remained consistent since Cassiciacum, but the old textual underpinnings were carefully pulled out and new ones installed: c. acad. 3.6.13, `mecum enim familiarissimus amicus meus non solum de probabilitate humanae vitae verum etiam de ipsa religione concordat, quod est veri amici manifestissimum indicium, si quidem amicitia rectissime atque sanctissime definita est [cf. Cic. amic. 6.20], “rerum humanarum et divinarum cum benevolentia et caritate consensio”.' The revised version takes on wider and fuller expression at trin. 3.4.9, `illic enim dei voluntas, qui facit angelos suos spiritus et ministros suos ignem ardentem, [Ps. 103.4] in spiritibus summa pace atque amicitia copulatis, et in unam voluntatem quodam spiritali caritatis igne conflatis, tamquam in excelsa et sancta et secreta sede praesidens. . . . inde se, quibusdam ordinatissimis creaturae motibus, primo spiritalibus, deinde corporalibus, per cuncta diffundit [Rom. 5.5], et utitur omnibus ad incommutabile arbitrium sententiae suae, sive incorporeis sive corporeis rebus'. That A. never wrote in Christian terms a treatise de amicitia (as one could well imagine Ambrose, for example, writing), despite the powerful role he gives to friendship both in his description of his life and in the metaphors he uses (see esp. on 2.2.2, `luminosus limes amicitiae'), is a measure of a loss that A. never knew how to redress, perhaps because it affected him too intimately for him to articulate and thus to control. (The same may be said of s. 385.2.3, a discussion of friendship that is, however, not in its present form A. but Caesarius, though depending [see Verbraken] on a lost sermon of A.'s; quoted below on 4.8.13, `alia erant'.)

    The Ciceronian definition recurs in A. at ep. 258.1, in a letter to another friend of A.'s youth, Marcianus, who had been similarly estranged from Christianity when he and A. were young, but who had by the time of the letter (Mandouze, Pros. chr. s.v. Marcianus 2, puts it close to 395) changed his sentiments, though not so far as to accept baptism (ep. 258.5). There the harsh judgment on the inauthenticity of the first friendship is the same: ep. 258.1-3, `antiquissimo amico, quem tamen non habebam, quam diu in Christo non tenebam. . . . (3) nolo autem suscenseas nec tibi videatur absurdum quod illo tempore cum in vana mundi huius aestuarem, quamvis me multum amare videreris, nondum eras amicus meus, quando nec ipse mihi amicus eram sed potius inimicus. diligebam quippe iniquitatem'.

    haerentes: haerentes O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   cohaerentes G:   inhaerentes C D Maur.
    For haereo in a good sense, but not of man clinging to God, see 6.10.16 (2x) and 9.4.8.

    tibi tibi C D O Ver. Pell.:   sibi GS Knöll Skut. Vega

    caritate diffusa: Rom. 5.5, `spes autem non confundit, quia caritas dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris per spiritum sanctum qui datus est nobis.' The quotation is repeated to bracket Bk. 13, at 13.7.8 (see notes there) and 13.31.46. Note the linking of caritas, the sanctus spiritus, and the spirit of friendship: it was particularly friendship that A. thought perverted by the fault of concupiscentia carnis (2.2.2). A.-M. La Bonnardière, Aug. Mag. 2.657-665 reports the verse at least 200x in A., from early (mor.) to latest (c. Iul. imp.), a constant intimation of the presence of the Spirit in the church for A.

    cocta: cocta G O1 S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   coacta C D O2

    a fide vera: The Christian milieu of A.'s upbringing is underscored: the friend is another so brought up.

    superstitiosas: See on 3.6.10.

    mater: Monnica's only appearance in Bk. 4, a reminder of the ending of Bk. 3 (3.11.19 - 3.12.21).

    errabat: For error as particularly a form of deviation in the order of knowledge (and hence corresponding to concupiscentia oculorum), recall 1.20.31 (`dolores, confusiones, errores'), and cf. 4.7.12 (`vanum phantasma et error meus erat deus meus'); error/errare occur by far more often in Bk. 4 than in any other (13x in 4, 33x in all others together), right from the outset (4.1.1, `praeteritos circuitus erroris mei').

    fugitivorum: At 4.7.12, A. flees again (`et tamen fugi de patria'), but such flight is in vain (4.9.14, `quo it aut quo fugit nisi a te placido ad te iratum?'). Cf. 2.6.14, 3.3.5 (`fugitivam libertatem'), 6.11.20. For `tu imminens dorso fugitivorum tuorum', cf. 4.16.30, `dorsum enim habebam ad lumen'.

    deus ultionum: Ps. 93.1, `deus ultionum dominus, deus ultionum fidenter egit' (A.'s text, against the usual libere egit).

    ultionum . . . misericordiarum: in one act, divine punishment for Augustine (duly merited [in his eyes] by the deeds he has narrated) and divine mercy for the friend (snatched away just after baptism, before the Manichean Augustine had a chance to work on him again).

    miris modis: The same combination at 5.7.13, 7.21.27, 10.40.65, 13.11.12; `miris et occultis modis' at 5.6.10 and 6.12.22.

    text of 4.4.8


    quis laudes tuas: Cf. Ps. 105.2, `quis loquetur potentias domini, auditas faciet omnes laudes eius?'

    laudes tuas: Only here in conf. in this sense constrained by the relative clause, `deeds worthy of praise'; elsewhere `acts or praise directed to you': 1.17.27 (`laudes tuae, domine, . . . per scripturas tuas'), 5.1.1, 6.7.12, 9.7.16, 10.6.8.

    Carena relies on De Marchi 312, and translates: `Chi puó da solo enumerare i tuoi vanti, che in sé solo ha conosciuto,' effectively reading a comma after unus and none after uno (Skut. and other editors print a comma after uno only). Unus and uno are brought together for euphonic effect, but the first belongs to the main clause, the second to the relative clause.

    investigabilis abyssus: Cf. Rom. 11.33, `o altitudo divitiarum sapientiae, et scientiae dei: quam incomprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius et investigabiles viae eius!' Sirach 42.18, `abyssum et cor hominum investigavit.'

    The Romans passage is frequently quoted in texts dealing with grace and free will as a way of ending inconclusive analysis with avowal of the paradox of grace and freedom (e.g., div. qu. Simp. 1.2.22, pecc. mer. 1.21.29, spir. et litt. 34.60, 36.66, c. ep. pel. 4.6.16, gr. et lib. arb. 22.44, corrept. 8.17-19, praed. sanct. 2.4, 8.16; persev. 12.30, ss. 26.12.13, 27.6.6-7.7, and 294.7.7). Here at a moment of obscure turning in his own life, the dynamics of punishment and grace are beyond reach.

    investigabilis: See on 2.9.17.

    abyssus iudiciorum tuorum: Cf. Ps. 35.7, `iustitia tua sicut montes dei, iudicia tua sicut abyssus multa.' Other abysses of divine judgment at 7.6.10 and 13.2.3. en. Ps. 41.13, `abyssus enim est profunditas quaedam impenetrabilis, incomprehensibilis; et maxime solet dici in aquarum multitudine. . . . denique quodam loco dictum est: “iudicia tua abyssus multa”; hoc volente scriptura commendare, quia iudicia dei non comprehenduntur.'

    baptizatus est: breviarium Hipponense 32, `ut aegrotantes, si pro se respondere non possunt, cum voluntatis eorum testimonium sui periculo proprio dixerint, baptizentur'; = conc. Carth. III (397) can. 45. Cf. adult. coniug. 1.26.33, `catechumenis ergo in huius vitae ultimo constitutis, seu morbo seu casu aliquo si compressi sint, ut, quamvis adhuc vivant, petere sibi tamen baptismum vel ad interrogata respondere non possint, prosit eis quod eorum fide christiana iam nota voluntas est, ut eo modo baptizentur quo modo baptizantur infantes, quorum voluntas adhuc nulla patuit. [He allows, however, that some may be disinclined to baptize the unconscious for fear that they `contrarium gerant voluntatis arbitrium'] . . . si voluntas eius incerta est, multo satius est nolenti dare quam volenti negare'. G-M suggest this was written `doubtless with the present instance in mind'; but by 419/20 the bishop A. had seen many more sickbed baptisms.

    recreatus est et salvus factus: Similar expressions at 1.11.17 (A.'s childhood illness and brush with baptism), 4.8.13 (A.'s grief after this friend's death), 5.10.18 (A.'s illness on coming to Rome).

    temptavi . . . inridere: haer. 46.17, `baptismum in aqua nihil cuiquam perhibent [manichaei] salutis afferre: nec quemquam eorum quos decipiunt baptizandum putant.'

    at ille: This veneration for baptism is a token of the power that ritual held over the late antique imagination. What could be smiled over by a non-initiate was a different matter altogether for the initiate, however initiation was attained.

    libertate: See on 2.6.14 for the dangers of libertas to A.; here closer to `impertinence' than `freedom' or `liberty.'

    dementiae: 4.7.12, `o dementiam nescientem diligere homines humaniter!'

    febribus: See on 5.9.16, `ingravescentibus febribus'.

    defungitur: Regular in conf. for death (3.4.7, 6.2.2, 8.2.3, 9.8.17, 9.11.27), and elsewhere in A. (e.g., civ. 5.18, c. Faust. 14.1) but the euphemism is not attested earlier than Pliny the elder, and in CL only in perfect tenses.

    text of 4.4.9


    The depiction of grief is almost literally God-less: only in a vain attempt to enjoin hope does God appear here.

    contenebratum est cor meum: Lam. 5.17, `propterea maestum factum est cor nostrum, ideo contenebrati sunt oculi nostri.' In the few other passages where contenebrare occurs, it is set against the illumination that comes from God, e.g., en. Ps. 103. s. 4.2, `erigunt ipsam mentem suam, non ad se sed ad artificem suum, . . . et unde recedentes contenebrantur, et quo revertentes inluminantur'; sim. at en. Ps. 57.22, 65.13, 75.8.

    mors: Bk. 4, largely because of this extended meditation on his friend's passing, is more marked by death (counting mor./morior and related nouns and adjectives) than any other in conf.; Bk. 9 comes closest (and see preceding comm. on 9.1.1 for the transformation of death there. Bks. 10-13 show a marked decline (and a corresponding upswing in vita/vivo, etc.).

    patria supplicium: A first hint that at the end of this episode A. will leave Thagaste for Carthage (4.7.12).

    paterna domus: Here a sign that at Thagaste A. took up residence in his father's house, though Patricius was 3-4 years dead (see on 3.4.7); no mention of Monnica, or of her having any say whether A. would reside there (see on 3.11.19). The phraseology is further redolent of the story of the prodigal (see on 1.18.28).

    cruciatum: Elsewhere of school-punishments (1.14.23), of Monnica's grief when A. abandons her in Carthage (5.8.15), and of A.'s stifled grief for Monnica (9.12.31).

    expetebant: expetebant G S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.:   expectebant CDO Ver.
    Expetere is `to look for', expectare only `to wait for, to have the opinion that he would turn up'; the former is much better with oculi; cf. 4.7.12, `minus enim eum quaerebant oculi mei'.

    oderam omnia: Things A. `hates' in conf. (see on 3.1.1): his schoolwork in general (1.12.19), Greek in particular (1.13.20, 1.14.23), `securitatem et viam sine muscipulis' (3.1.1), students who did not pay their fees (5.12.22--`quamvis non perfecto odio'! see notes there), himself and his own iniquity (8.7.16-17); then nothing at all through Bks. 9 to 13 except 12.14.17, `odi hostes eius [sc. scripturae sacrae] vehementer.'

    nec mihi iam dicere poterant [sc. omnia]: This virtual personification of `all things' is not unparallelled: cf. 9.10.25 (`quoniam si quis audiat, dicunt haec omnia') and 10.6.8 (`et caelum et terra et omnia quae in eis sunt, ecce undique mihi dicunt').

    quaestio: Cf. 2.10.18, `factus sum mihi regio egestatis,' and 10.33.50, `me, in cuius oculis mihi quaestio factus sum, et ipse est languor meus'. Note (Knauer 150n2) at 4.11.16 the echo of Ps. 102.3, `sanabuntur omnes languores tui'; the passage from 10.33.50 provides its own commentary on the present text.

    interrogabam: This interrogatio anticipates the formal apostrophe of 4.11.16; or rather parallels it, for the present passage represents his thoughts of 375/6, while 4.11.16 presents a line of thought contemporary to conf. The Psalm-text is anachronistic. A. does not say that in 375/76 he saw in the Psalm a parallel to his situation; rather, he uses the Psalm's words to embody in his text an anxiety that he then felt and to comment upon indirectly. The Psalm-text's presence here implies, without making explicit, an extra-textual answer to a question posed within, not merely the text, but within the past life narrated in the text. If A. had known at the time to apply Ps. 41 (`et si dicebam “spera in deum”': i.e., if the word of God had intruded on the event as it here intrudes upon the narrative), his soul would have known how to respond to the interrogatio--with hope and confession, the instruments with which he wrote this book twenty years later.

    quare tristis esset: Ps. 41.6, `quare tristis es, anima mea, et quare conturbas me? spera in deum, quoniam confitebor illi'; en. Ps. 41.10, `ait [homo] sibi constituto inter has tristitias, et comparans haec illis ad quae videnda ingressus est, et post quae visa egressus est: “quare”, inquit, “tristis es, anima mea, et quare conturbas me?” . . . et quasi responderet illi anima eius in silentio: “quare conturbo te, nisi quia nondum sum ibi, ubi est dulce illud quo sic rapta sum quasi per transitum? numquid iam bibo de fonte illo, nihil metuens? iam nullum scandalum pertimesco? iam de cupiditatibus omnibus tamquam edomitis victisque secura sum?” . . . sed “spera in deum” respondet conturbanti se animae suae, et quasi rationem reddenti perturbationis suae, propter mala quibus abundat hic mundus.' (A. presents Ps. 41 [en. Ps. 41.1] as the chant of `catechumeni [qui] ad gratiam sancti lavacri festinant', here expressing the desire that brings them to the church: echoing that Psalm here captures both the attitude that should have motivated A.) Ps. 41 plays an important role at 13.12.13-13.14.15, where see the Psalm text and additional notes. Ps. 42.5, `utquid tristis es, anima mea, et utquid conturbas me? spera in dominum, quoniam confitebor illi.' See the similar exposition at en. Ps. 42.5-6.

    phantasma: See on 3.6.10. BA ad loc., `Le “dieu matérialisé”, auquel croit alors Augustin, lui paraît manquer de réalité en regard de l'ami qui vient de mourir: un dieu irréel ne console pas d'une perte réelle.'

    fletus erat dulcis: On tears in conf., see on 3.2.4 and see next paragraph here. (With the other echoes here of Ps. 41, it is apt to think of Ps. 41.4, `fuerunt mihi lacrimae meae panes die ac nocte'; cf. then en. Ps. 41.6, `fuerunt mihi, inquit, lacrimae meae, non amaritudo [cf. 4.5.10, `suavis fructus de amaritudine vitae'], sed panis. suaves erant mihi ipsae lacrimae'); sim. at en. Ps. 127.10, `dulces sunt et ipsae lacrimae . . . quia factae sunt tibi et ipsae panis die ac nocte'.

    in deliciis animi mei: Ps. 138.11, `fortasse tenebrae conculcabunt me et nox inluminatio in deliciis meis'; en. Ps. 138.14, `quia in nocte me desperaveram posse transire tantum mare, et tantam viam superare, et venire ad extremum perseverando usque in finem.'

    text of 4.5.10


    A quaestio de fletu dulci:

    1. Is it sweet because we are derelict here? But then it would not be sweet, for there would be no remnant of hope.

    2. Because we hope God will hear? True for prayer (see the fig tree in 8.12.29), but not true here, where he had no hope of recovering his friend.

    3. Is it in fact bitter, but pleasant only by comparison with our revulsion from the thing we had possessed before with pleasure?

    The first two alternatives are presented with refutations; the third, left unrefuted, expresses by implication his position about the tears that came with his friend's death. He no longer loved the friend in the inappropriate way in which he had loved him in life, and did not know how to react except in this preference for bitter tears.

    qui veritas es: Jn. 14.6, `ego sum via, et veritas, et vita'; see on 1.5.6, and cf. (in identical words) 3.6.10, 5.3.5, 10.23.33.

    et admovere aurem cordis mei ori tuo: The heart has ears to hear (more often than eyes): 1.5.5, 4.11.16, 4.15.27. What is here possibility becomes act at 13.6.7, `tibi admoveo cor meum, ne me vana doceat'.

    ubique: See on 1.3.3, `totus ubique'.

    longe: See on 1.18.28.

    tu in te manes: Wisd. 7.27, `in se ipsa manens innovat omnia'. Other echoes at 7.9.13, 7.11.17, 9.10.24 (`et quid simile verbo tuo, domino nostro, in se permanenti sine vetustate atque innovanti omnia'). This is parody of Christian doctrine, a Manichean alternative--that the Logos would remain serene and undisturbed, apart from human affairs, and men would be left to their miseria. A.'s distaste for such an argument predates his conversion: cf. 6.5.7.

    speramus: The present passage marks the entry of Christian hope into the text. Cf. here 4.4.9, `spera in deum' (a scriptural voice he did not hear at the time); here (hope become a question and a possibility); 4.6.11, `spes mea' (the narrator's confidence); 4.16.31, `in velamento alarum tuarum speremus' (itself the object of prayer). In later books, spes becomes a recurring motif: in Bk. 6 a possibility (6.11.18, `magna spes oborta est') and a contrast to secular hopes (6.11.19, `relicta spe saeculi'); in Bk. 10 a way of going beyond the present remnants of sin (10.30.42, `sperans perfecturum te in me'); in Bks. 11-13, a recurrent asseveration (from Rom. 8.24, `spe enim salvi facti sumus', echoed at 11.9.11, 13.13.14, 13.14.15).

    istuc: istuc154n1 C1 D2 GO2 S Ver. Knauer:   istud C2 O1 Knöll Skut.:   istis D2

    miser . . . eram: The thought is continued in 4.6.11.

    tunc tunc O1 SV Skut. Ver.:   dum C D A H F:   cum O2:   tunc, dum G EM Knöll Maur.:   dum tunc B P:   nunc Z

    text of 4.6.11


    Reflection on confession in the midst of confession again leads to the tension between quaerere and confiteri: both play a part in conf., the former subordinated to the latter.

    amicitia rerum mortalium: 1.13.21, `amicitia enim mundi huius fornicatio est abs te.'

    requiescebam: First occurrence of requiesco/requies since 1.1.1, `inquietum est cor nostrum'. What he regrets is not that life was bitter to him (it always is: see citations below), but that he found repose in it: only in God is true repose (6.16.26, `et tu solus requies'), but the place of repose is the place to which our love leads us (13.9.10, `requies nostra locus noster', and see notes there on love's `gravity'). The discussion of A.'s grief here is repeatedly marked by restlessness (4.7.12, `nec requies erat nec consilium,' 4.10.15, `et requiescere amat in eis, quae amat,' 4.12.18, `requiescite in eo et quieti eritis . . .; non est requies ubi quaeritis eam').

    in amaritudine: Cf. Iob 3.20 (VL), `utquid enim datur eis qui in amaritudine sunt lux?' (adn. Iob on 3.20: `“eis qui in amaritudine sunt lux”: peccatorum honor'.) Is. 38.15, `recogitabo omnes annos meos in amaritudine animae meae.' The bitterness of alienation from God also at 4.9.14, 6.10.17, 7.3.5. Cf. en. Ps. 85.6, `solus enim tu es iucunditas: amaritudine plenus est mundus.'

    ita miser eram: The focus of this paragraph, to specify the degree of wretchedness (--> `sic eram omnino, memini').

    nescio an vellem: Takes away any possibility of reading his love for his friend as disinterested caritas.

    de Oreste et Pylade: Cic. amic. 7.24, `qui clamores tota cavea nuper in hospitis et amici mei M. Pacuvii nova fabula! cum ignorante rege uter Orestes esset, Pylades Orestem se esse diceret, ut pro illo necaretur, Orestes autem, ita ut erat, Orestem se esse perseveraret. stantes plaudebant in re ficta; quid arbitramur in vera facturos esse?' The same episode at Cic. fin. 5.22.63., and, deriving from Cic. fin., at Amb. off. 1.41.216, in both cases emphasizing the theatrical response. It is no coincidence that the exemplum is one met in so theatrical a context; whether A. ever saw a representation of the story (or, improbably, knew the text of Pacuvius), it came to him in authoritative texts as just the sort of tear-jerker (cf. Nietzsche's `augenverdreherisch' quoted below) that enthralled him at Carthage (thus representing the triumph of sentimentality over any authentic love: see on 3.2.2), and the exemplum is just the sort of mythic context in which A. would have attempted to understand his own grief at the time.

    vel simul vel simul C D G O Ver. Pell.:   simul S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.
    Pell.: `vel simul . . . risponde bene al senso: giacché non è possibile vivere insieme, almeno morire insieme.'

    qua: qua D1 G O1 Ver.:   quia CD2 O2 S Maur. Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.
    Cf. Ovid trist. 4.4.75-76(on Orestes/Pylades):

    nec tamen hunc sua mors, nec mors sua terruit illum:
        alter ob alterius funera maestus erat.

    taedium vivendi . . . moriendi metus: Ovid., met. 10.482, `mortisque metus et taedia vitae'; cf. J. Kern and O. Hammerstein, `I'm tired of livin' but I'm feared of dyin'' (`Ole Man River'). Cf. below `et ideo mihi horrori . . .', explaining his feeling.

    ecce cor meum: 6.6.9, `vide cor meum, domine, qui voluisti ut hoc recordarer et confiterer tibi'; see on 1.5.5, `ecce'.

    spes mea: Ps. 70.5, `domine, spes mea a iuventute mea'; en. Ps. 70. s. 1.7, `ante enim non in te sperabam; quamvis tu fueris protector meus, qui me salvum perduxisti ad tempus quo in te discerem sperare.' (Taken literally in the Augustinian scheme of the ages of man [see on 1.8.13], this text would remind A. that it was in early iuventus [6.1.1, citing Ps. 70.5, and 7.1.1] that he acquired this hope.)

    mundas . . . immunditia: 1.5.6, `ab occultis meis munda me, domine'.

    evellens de laqueo pedes meos: Ps. 24.15, `oculi mei semper ad dominum, quoniam ipse evellet de laqueo pedes meos'; en. Ps. 24.15, `nec timeam pericula terrena, dum terram non intueor; quoniam ille quem intueor, evellet de laqueo pedes meos.' Knauer 178: `Der Vers wird also in zwei parallelgeordnete Kola zerlegt, die durch das hinzugefügte zweite Verbum (“dirigo”) einander angeglichen werden. Da das Zitat an einen Gottesnamen angeschlossen wird, der bereits durch einen Relativsatz näher bestimmt ist, bilden die Partizipien einen ruhig auslaufenden Schluss der Periode.'

    quidam dixit: Horace carm. 1.3.5-8:

    navis, quae tibi creditum
    debes Vergilium, finibus Atticis
         reddas incolumem precor,
             et serves animae dimidium meae.

    suae: suae C D G O S Knöll Ver. Pell.:   meae Maur. Skut.
    The idea had become conventional: Hier. ep. 3.3, `partem animae meae' (of a dead friend: see fuller quotation on 4.10.15). For other echoes of the motif in classical and patristic literature, see Pellegrino, Les Confessions 121n5, and cf. Ennodius, ep. 3.2.2, `qui maior animae fuit portio'. Both exempla of friendship given are pre-Christian.

    unam fuisse animam: 9.12.30, `vita, quae una facta erat'. Ovid, trist. 4.4.72 (on Orestes/Pylades), `qui duo corporibus, mentibus unus erant.' ord. 2.18.48, `amici quid aliud quam unum esse conantur? et quanto magis unum, tanto magis amici sunt.' Cassian, conl. 1.1 (written at least twenty years after conf.), speaking of himself and Germanus: `. . . ut cuncti ad significandam sodalitatis ac propositi nostri parilitatem pronuntiarent unam mentem atque animam duobus inesse corporibus'.

    et ideo forte: retr. 2.6.2 (the only qualification he offers there to conf. 1-9), `in quarto libro, cum de amici morte animi mei miseriam confiterer, dicens quod anima nostra una quodammodo facta fuerat ex duabus, “et ideo”, inquam, “forte mori metuebam, ne totus ille moreretur quem multum amaveram.” quae mihi quasi declamatio levis quam gravis confessio videtur, quamvis utcumque temperata sit haec ineptia in eo quod additum est “forte”.' Writing thirty years later, giving no sign of feeling the spell of this episode, A. found that the conf. text distanced itself too little from the atmosphere of classical sentimentalism about friendship (note that the Horace tag is quoted here not as something he thought at the time, but as a general principle true at the time he wrote). A. was thus at least as dismayed as Nietzsche with the rhetorical posturing of this passage. But a closer inspection of the passage shows that the attitude in `ne totus ille . . .' was not that of A. of 397, but of A. of 376, aged 21, a sentimental age. A. judged himself to have exercised elsewhere a retroactive censorship on what he said of his youth, either identifying attitudes as inappropriate or censuring them--and he judged himself as having done so inadequately here.

    Nietzsche's criticism is in a letter to Overbeck, 31 March 1885 (writing from Nice, between Thus Spake Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil2 ): `Ich las jetzt zur Erholung3 die Confessionen des h[eiligen] Augustin, mit großem Bedauern daß Du nicht bei mir warst. Oh dieser alte Rhetor! Wie falsch und augenverdreherisch! Wie habe ich gelacht! (zb. über den "Diebstahl" seiner Jugend, im Grunde eine Studenten-Geschichte). Welche psychologische Falschheit! (zb. als er vom Tode seines besten Freundes redet, mit dem er eine Seele gewesen sei, "er habe sich entschlossen, weiter zu leben, damit auf diese Weise sein Freund nicht ganz sterbe." So etwas ist ekelhaft verlogen.) Philosophischer Wert gleich Null. Verpöbelter Platonismus, das will sagen, eine Denkweise, welche für die höchste seelische Aristokratie erfunden wurde, zurecht gemacht für Sklaven-Naturen. Übrigens sieht man, bei diesem Buche, dem Christenthum in den Bauch: ich stehe dabei mit der Neugierde eines radikalen Arztes und Physiologen.' (Nietzsche Briefwechsel: Kritische Gesamtausgabe [Berlin/New York, 1982], 3.3.34)

    text of 4.7.12


    On this paragraph, see also C. Carena, Riv. stor. e lett. rel. 3(1967), 65-70, emphasizing the link to the argument of the third book of Cicero's Tusculans (see on 6.16.26 for A.'s reading of Cicero reflected in conf.). The parallels Carena draws to Cicero and others are mainly ones of topic and treatment, or else conventional turns of phrase, but he well captures the atmosphere of the passage. It is undeniably apt that A.'s treatment of his state of mind at this time should reflect the analysis he should have given it at the time, from his classical readings.

    Alfaric 50-51 uses this passage to inveigh against A. the insincere friend: hostile to his father, mistreating his mother, casting off his concubine, tearless at his mother's deathbed, locking himself up in Thagaste and refusing to visit a friend's deathbed in Carthage (Nebridius: ep. 10.1-2), confining his caritas to God and living himself shut away like a monk. There is certainly an element of truth to that: caritas never took A. out into the towns and crossroads in the manner of Francis of Assisi.

    concisam: concisam G O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   conscissam CD Maur.
    The loss of his mistress evokes similar language: 6.15.25, `cor, ubi adhaerebat, concisum'.

    non in amoenis nemoribus . . .: When A. speaks of the senses, he regularly invokes them in the deliberate rhetorical order here (or its reverse): sight, sound, smell, taste, touch (see further on 10.6.8; cf. his treatment of the temptations of the flesh at 10.30.41-10.34.53). That the senses are the arena of carnal love is suggested in 4.10.15, `non in eis figatur glutine amore per sensus corporis'. We have already seen A. chronicle his early life as a sequence of surrenders to concupiscentia carnis and concupiscentia oculorum. Here, on the death of his friend, he faced a crisis, in which he sought repose. After tears (4.6.11), he now sought rest (`adquiescebat') elsewhere:

    1. `non in amoenis nemoribus' (sight),

    2. `non in ludis atque cantibus' (sound),

    3. `nec in suave olentibus locis' (smell),

    4. `nec in conviviis apparatis' (taste),

    5. `neque in voluptate cubilis et lecti' (touch). That pattern gives sense to the anticlimax in the final element: `non denique in libris atque carminibus'. First, carmina must mean something other than `song' (as in `wine, women, and song'), which is already represented by cantus. Sense is found if books and poems are taken as the instruments of curiositas--that pursuit of wisdom whose derangement A. has been tracking since 3.4.7. Confirmation comes from civ. 10.9 (on theurgy), `fiebant autem simplici fide atque fiducia pietatis, non incantationibus et carminibus nefariae curiositatis arte compositis, quam vel magian vel detestabiliore nomine goetian vel honorabiliore theurgian vocant.' A. thus says here that his first recourse in crisis was to give way to the temptations to which he had already submitted, and he presents those vices schematically and in the order in which they have already been presented in conf. But there is no rest for A. in these familiar faults, so he will be driven further (see on `veni Carthaginem' below).

    Carena, art cit. 69, rightly notes that the structure of the sentence anticipates that of the verse of Paul (Rom. 13.13) that A. will encounter in the garden scene at 8.12.29: but see there for the reflection of the three temptations in the Pauline verse. For the phrases that make up the sentence, Carena supplies the following classical parallels:

    amoenis nemoribus: Aen. 6.638-639, `amoena virecta fortunatorum nemorum'.

    ludis atque cantibus: Cic. Tusc. 3.20.46., `et corporum complexum et ludos atque cantus'; Hor. carm. saec. 22, `ut cantus referatque ludos'; Val. Flacc. 5.443, `ludos . . . et cantus'.

    suave olentibus locis: Hor. serm. 1.4.76, `suave locus voci resonat'; Catullus 61.7, `suave olentis amaraci'; Priap. 3.13, `suave olentia mala'.

    conviviis apparatis: Cic. off. 3.14.58, `apparatum convivium'; Livy 24.16.17, `apparata convivia'.

    neque: neque C D G O Maur. Ver. Pell.:   nec S Knöll Skut. Vega

    aliquantula requies: See on 4.6.11, `requiescebam'.

    sarcina: Worldly ways are a burden in conf. (6.6.9, 8.5.12, 8.7.18, 10.40.65), and later, the same noun was often attached to his churchly office (e.g., ep. 31.4, 69.1 [`episcopatus sarcinam']). An implicit alternative underlies his use of the term: 9.1.1, `quo subderem cervicem leni iugo tuo et umeros levi sarcinae tuae' (< Mt. 11.30, where `et sarcina mea levis est' is A.'s preferred text [Milne 36]): also echoed, emphasizing iugum and without the word sarcina at 8.4.9, 10.36.58, 13.15.17. Cf. en. Ps. 59.8, `alia sarcina premit et aggravat te; Christi autem sarcina sublevat te; alia sarcina pondus habet; Christi sarcina pennas habet.' On the word in A., see M. Jourjon, Rech. sc. rel. 43(1955), 258-262; S. Poque, Le langage symbolique (Paris, 1984), 1.64-66.

    levanda: Ps. 24.1, `ad te domine levavi animam meam'; en. Ps. 24.2, `“levavi” . . . desiderio spiritali, quae carnalibus desideriis conculcabatur in terra.' Cf. en. Ps. 85.7, `quocumque ergo se converterit, in terrenis rebus amaritudinem invenit; unde dulcescat non habet, nisi levet se ad deum.' N.B. here not `levavi' but `levanda erat . . . sed nec volebam nec valebam' : as often, in retrospect the solution to a problem is implied by the scriptural echo, a solution to which A. was blind at the time.

    phantasma: Cf. 4.4.9, `phantasma', and see on 3.6.10.

    ibi ponere: i.e., apud phantasma quod mihi erat deus.

    per inane labebatur: Carena, art. cit. 70, detects Lucretian flavor in the phrase.

    ego mihi remanseram infelix locus: Cf. 2.10.18, `factus sum mihi regio egestatis'; and 13.9.10, `requies nostra locus noster'.

    fugeret: Flight from self and flight from God are equally dangerous, reminiscent of the prodigal's career (Lk. 15.13, `profectus est in regionem longinquam' : echoed again at 4.16.30; see on 1.18.28; in the most literal sense, A. is fleeing his father's house [4.4.9] and land, to which he will in the most literal sense return in 388). A. in flight (all pre-conversion): 2.6.14 (`servus fugiens dominum'), 3.3.5 (`fugitivam libertatem'), 4.4.7 (`tu imminens dorso fugitivorum tuorum'), 4.9.14 (`quo it aut quo fugit'), 5.2.2 (`eant et fugiant a te inquieti iniqui . . . quo enim fugerunt, cum fugerent a facie tua?), 6.11.20 (`et ab ea [sc. beata vita] fugiens quaerebam eam'), 8.7.16 (`et videbam et horrebam [cf. here horrebant], et quo a me fugerem non erat').

    quo a me ipso fugerem: Hor. carm. 2.16.18-20:

         quid terras alio calentis
    sole mutamus? patriae quis exsul
         se quoque fugit?

    (Cf. Hor. ep. 1.11.27, `caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.') Cf. Lucr. 3.1053-1075, on those whom the fear of death inspires to flight, esp. 1068-1072:

    hoc se quisque modo fugit, at quem scilicet, ut fit,
    effugere haud potis est . . .
    . . . morbi quia causam non tenet aeger;
    quam bene si videat, iam rebus quisque relictis
    naturam primum studeat cognoscere rerum.

    Lucretius's solution, like A.'s, came as culmination, after considering the delights of the flesh. L.'s lines depict the frightened man racing distractedly to his villa, seeking release in sleep, then rushing back to the city again, all without clear purpose: against that, knowledge of the natura rerum is the key to happiness. A. likely knew the passage, since it contains both the anticipatory echo of Vergil's famous homage (quoted at civ. 7.9) to L. from geo. 2.490-492 and the virtual title of L.'s poem. (Reference not in Hagendahl: suggested by Verheijen in his ed. ad loc.) Seneca (cited by G-M) had already turned poetry into philosophic prose: Sen. ep. 28.1 echoes Horace: `animam debes mutare non caelum. . . . quaeris quare te fuga ista non adiuvet? tecum fugis'; and Sen. tranq. 2.14-15 (quotes Lucr. 3.1068).

    veni Carthaginem: Cf. 1.13.22, `Aenean aliquando Carthaginem venisse'; 3.1.1, `veni Carthaginem'. The secrecy of his later departure from Carthage for Rome is dramatically emphasized (5.8.15), but the earlier flight from Thagaste was similarly surreptitious (c. acad. 2.2.3, quoted below).

    At 5.8.14, he is, moreover, carefully circumstantial in discussing his motives, while denying that ambition had anything to do with it; here, the reasons given within the limits of the present text are inadequate to explain the direction he took. A radical break with the immediate past was a logical way to escape his grief, but nothing in conf. says why or with what hope it was to Carthage that he went. A text of c. acad., on the other hand, reveals the power of ambition: c. acad. 2.2.3, `tu [sc. Romanianus] Carthaginem inlustrioris4 professionis gratia remeantem, cum tibi et meorum nulli consilium meum spemque aperuissem, quamvis aliquantum illo tibi insito--quia ibi iam docebam--patriae amore cunctatus es, tamen ubi evincere adulescentis cupiditatem ad ea quae videbantur meliora tendentis nequivisti, ex dehortatore in adiutorem mira benevolentiae moderatione conversus es.'

    The pattern then, though scarcely obtrusive, is this: concupiscentia carnis prevails in A.'s life and satisfies him for a time; concupiscentia oculorum takes its turn, not effacing the earlier vices but adding to them; when a further crisis reveals that both have lost their power to provide relief and release, the third temptation of 1 Jn. 2.16, ambitio saeculi, inspires a despairing and panicky gesture. (For the three temptations as defense mechanisms in the face of death, cf. s. Guelf. 31.4, quoting 1 Jn. 2.16 and adding, `contemnunt plerumque homines mortem per concupiscentiam carnis, contemnunt mortem per concupiscentiam oculorum, contemnunt mortem per ambitionem saeculi: sed omnia ista de saeculo sunt.') Henceforth, until the reverse process of liberation begins in Bk. 6, A.'s life will be an inextricable mélange of the effects of all three temptations; thus in a few lines (4.8.13), he will speak of `pristina genera delectationum, quibus cedebat dolor meus ille'. This mixture dilutes schematic clarity of pattern and rhetorical presentation is sacrificed to narrative verisimilitude. It is easy to see and say that Bk. 2 (or Bk. 8) is `about' concupiscentia carnis; but Bk. 4 (or Bk. 6) is only partly `about' ambitio saeculi.

    text of 4.8.13


    de die in diem: Ps. 60.9, `sic psallam . . . ut reddam vota mea de die in diem'; sim. at Ps. 95.2, Sirach 5.8 (`et ne differas de diem in diem'), Is. 58.2, 2 Cor. 4.16, 2 Pet. 2.8; in conf. close echoes of Sirach at 6.11.20, 7.8.12, 8.7.18, once in each of those hopeful but reluctant books. Is the expression classical? OLD indicates not, offering only diem ex (de) die. Hrdlicka 170 declares the phrase ecclesiastical: Tert. adv. Marc. 5.11, plus scriptural texts cited above. Thus time passes de die in diem, that is, in a way that scripture repeatedly shows A. how to sanctify; but he does nothing. The implication is that there was some good to be gotten out of all this (with the evocation of friendship's delights, this is one of the brightest moments in all these early books), and the echo, however faint, hints at the greater good that was there for the taking.

    harenam: Ov. trist. 5.6.43, `his qui contentus non est, in litus harenas, in segetes spicas . . . fundat'; Ov. her. 5.115, `quid harenae semina mandas' (Otto, Sprichwörter s.v. harena 2, p. 159).

    diligendo moriturum acsi non moriturum: Echoing 4.6.11 (`quem quasi non moriturum dilexeram).

    acsi: = quasi (TLL 2.1083).

    maxime quippe me reparabant: Statement of this book's variation on the theme of friendship: here are the false friends of this time, the Manichees (`cum quibus amabam quod [i.e., the phantasma of 4.7.12] pro te amabam'), and here the curiositas (`pruriens in auribus') that characterizes their way of life.

    ingens fabula: G-M: `sc. the Manichaean system'. Not earlier in conf. of Manichees, but frequent from here on: 5.3.3 (`illis manichaeorum longis fabulis'), 5.7.12, 5.9.17, 5.10.19, 6.5.7. 2 Tim. 4.3-4, `erit enim tempus, cum sanam doctrinam non sustinebunt sed ad sua desideria coacervabunt sibi magistros prurientes auribus, (4) et a veritate quidem auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur.' See on 1.10.16 (n.b. there `curiositate').

    confricatione: See on 2.8.16.

    alia erant: To counter the falsehood of these friends, he limns the traces of authentic friendship that were present (compare 1.20.31, closing that book with a comparable reversal of field). This is A's gentlest gesture to his old friends among the Manichees.

    To read this passage repeatedly in different moods arouses different responses: it can be argued that the passage is suspect, too generous-minded for conf. (n.b. `nugari', for example; see on `nugas' at 3.10.18 for how consistently belittling the word and its congeners are elsewhere). More consistently Augustinian in spirit, and similar in content, is s. 385.2.3 (Caesarius depending on A. [Verbraken]: see above on 4.4.7), `est quaedam amicitia adhuc carnalis per consuetudinem cohabitandi, conloquendi, simul conversandi; ut contristetur homo, quando deseritur ab amico cum quo solet conloqui et habere coniunctiones. conveniunt duo homines, ambulant secum triduo, et iam nolunt a se recedere. et ista quaedam amicitiae dulcedo est: honesta quidem, sed adhuc discutiamus illam, quia gradus amoris huius quaerimus. . . . est ergo ista amicitia consuetudinis, non rationis. habent illam et pecora. . . . est alia superior amicitia, non consuetudinis, sed rationis, qua diligimus hominem propter fidem et mutuam benevolentiam in ista vita mortali.'

    redamantium: G-M: `the word “redamare” was first introduced by Cicero amic. 14.49, “quid enim tam absurdum quam delectari multis inanibus rebus . . . animante virtute praedito, eo qui vel amare vel, ut ita dicam, redamare possit, non admodum delectari?” but, like many of the words coined by him, it first reappears in the late writers like Aug., Macrob. sat. 6.6.8, Symmachus ep. 3.2, etc.' Cf. also Apuleius Plat. 2.13 and Amb. in Luc. 5.75, `commune est omnibus, etiam peccatoribus, redamare'.

    conflare: conflare C D G O Skut. Ver.:   flagrare S Knöll
    G-M: `conflare, “fuse together.” Note that this, being active, could lack a subject, and goes less well with “fomitibus”.' But all these infinitives from conloqui down are not strictly verbal but nominal: they are the alia which animum capere; and the notion, joining souls together, is perfectly apt; cf. en. Ps. 78.2, `in animam unam et cor unum caritatis igne conflati'; en. Ps. 95.15, `sed misericordia dei undique conlegit fracturas, et conflavit igne caritatis, et fecit unum quod fractum erat.' Cf. Cic. amic. 25.92, `nam cum amicitiae vis sit in eo ut unus quasi animus fiat ex pluribus' (see also de off. 1.17.56 and Cic. often elsewhere: Otto, Sprichwörter s.v. animus 1, p. 25-26).

    text of 4.9.14


    conscientia: The conscience, restless and voiced: 8.7.18 (`et increparet in me conscientia mea, “ubi est lingua mea?”'), 10.3.4, 10.30.41; before God: 5.6.11 (`domine deus meus, arbiter conscientiae meae': 10.2.2, `cuius oculis nuda est abyssus humanae conscientiae'). Conscience takes a voice in Latin perhaps as a reflection of Rom. 9.1 (`veritatem dico in Christo, non mentior, testimonium mihi perhibente conscientia mea [summarturou/shs moi th=s suneidh/sew/s mou] in spiritu sancto': cf. civ. 1.19, `habent quippe intus gloriam castitatis, testimonium conscientiae'). For the conscience in writing, see 1.18.29.

    si non amaverit: Cf. 4.7.12, `nescientem homines diligere humaniter'.

    nihil quaerens: This friendship explicitly excludes concupiscentia carnis: cf. 2.2.2 and 3.1.1.

    amaritudinem: See on 4.6.11.

    mors viventium: 4.4.9, `et quidquid aspiciebam mors erat'.

    beatus qui amat te . . . : The two great commandments (see 3.8.15), applied. Tob. 13.18, `beati omnes qui diligunt te, et qui gaudent super pace tua'; Mt. 5.43-4, `audistis quia dictum est, diliges proximum tuum, et odio habebis inimicum tuum. (44) ego autem dico vobis, diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos.' s. dom. m. 1.21.69, `perfectio autem misericordiae, qua plurimum animae laboranti consulitur, ultra dilectionem inimici porrigi non potest. et ideo sic clauditur, “estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut pater vester, qui in caelis est, perfectus est.”'

    et quis est iste: For the same mannerism, cf. 4.3.4, `et quis est hic nisi deus noster'.

    qui fecit caelum et terram: See on 1.2.2, `deus, qui fecit caelum et terram'; cf. Ps. 145.5-7, `spes illius in dominum deum ipsius, (6) qui fecit caelum et terram, mare et omnia quae in eis sunt, (7) qui custodit veritatem in aeternum' (see `et lex tua veritas . . .' below).

    et implet ea: Jer. 23.24, `numquid non caelum et terram ego impleo?' See on 1.2.2.

    amittit . . . dimittit: The same word-play at 9.1.1.

    quia (dimittit): quia D S Knöll Skut. Ver. Vega Pell.:   qui CG Maur.:   qui* 0
    The appeal of qui is great, but it is the facilior lectio.

    quo it aut quo fugit: Ps. 138.7, `quo ibo a spiritu tuo? et quo a facie tua fugiam?' en. Ps. 138.10, `locum quaerit quo fugiat ab ira dei. quis est locus recepturus fugitivum dei? . . . quis fallit deum? quem non videt deus? . . . vertit se hac atque illac, quasi quaerens locum fugae suae.' See also on 4.7.12, `fugi de patria'.

    placido . . . iratum: en. Ps. 94.2, `quo iturus est, quo fugiturus est ab illo irato, nisi ad ipsum placatum? . . . non ergo loco quisque longe est a deo, sed dissimilitudine'; sim. at en. Ps. 30. en. 2 s. 1.8, 138.12, 146.20.

    et lex tua veritas et veritas tu: Ps. 118.142, `iustitia tua iustitia in aeternum et lex tua veritas'; en. Ps. 118. s. 28.5, `quomodo enim non veritas lex, per quam cognitio peccati, et quae testimonium perhibet iustitiae dei? sic enim dicit apostolus: “. . . testificata per legem et prophetas” [Rom. 3.21].' The Law, i.e., scripture, is certainly meant in A.'s reading of the Psalm, and the overtone is clear in the parallel passage at 2.5.10 (`domine deus noster, et veritas tua et lex tua': see notes there). That is also a passage about friendship and sin (the pear-theft).

    text of 4.10.15


    This paragraph stands at the center of Bk. 4. It transcends the narrative of his lost friend, offering prayer followed by the apostrophe to his own soul of paragraphs 16-19. For the extension and complexity of the development, this passage through paragraph 19 has nothing like itself anywhere else in conf. If the flight to Carthage (4.7.12) marked the final fall into the last grave temptation, then we have reached a nadir. The last section of this book (4.13.20-4.16.31) exemplifies the workings of ambitio saeculi in his life and shows (along with Bk. 5) the hopelessness of his first attempts to ascend again.

    Created things pass away; mortal words pass away; the senses are inadequate to grasp things and words and hold them in place; only the Word that does not pass away can speak with authority--and its authority overpowers the transience that is otherwise baffling. The dizzying awareness of transience is the fate of man at his nadir; significantly, it also becomes the center of the problematic of the de pulchro et apto described in 4.13.20ff (see Testard quoted on `in pulchris' below).

    deus virtutum: Ps. 79.8, `domine, deus virtutum, converte nos et ostende faciem tuam, et salvi erimus.' 5 The `turnings' of man provide wordplay at greater length at the conclusion of this book (4.16.31) in a sequence of related words: `perversitas . . . aversi . . . perversi . . . revertamur . . . ut non evertamur' (Knauer 72). Cf. also 4.4.7 (introducing the episode of his friend's death), `qui convertis nos ad te miris modis'.

    virtutum: Knauer 47-48 takes `virtues' (not `hosts', `miracles') as the likeliest rendering, arguing from en. Ps. 67.15, `cum itaque dixisset: dominus dabit verbum evangelizantibus virtute multa. . . . rex est virtutum dilecti.' The phrase `dominus virtutum' often escapes commentary in A.'s Psalm sermons, but there are several clear passages in which A. easily accepts the equation virtutes = angeli: in conf., 7.13.19, `in excelsis omnes angeli tui, omnes virtutes tuae'. See en. Ps. 45.11, `“dominus virtutum nobiscum”; . . . non quicumque homo, non potestas quaelibet, non denique angelus, non aliqua creatura, sive terrena sive caelestis, sed “dominus virtutum nobiscum”. . . . qui misit angelos, venit post angelos, venit ut ei servirent angeli, venit ut homines faceret aequales angelis'; cf. en. Ps. 23.10, 102.28. We should be cautious, however, in enforcing any such reading; the phrase deus virtutum uses the Latin word for `acts of strength' as a periphrasis for `those through whom God performs acts of strength,' and in the process becomes a familiar expression that may not do more than underline the power of God, and even that perhaps only faintly. When, for example, in devout English one speaks of `Almighty God', the word `almighty' has far less force than it would in other contexts, because the epithet has become conventional and familiar.

    ad dolores: sc. patiendos. The passage is elliptical and may be expanded thus: `When the soul of man is fixed (= requiescat) somewhere other than in God, it resposes in pain that must be suffered, even if it reposes in things that are beautiful--for those things are outside of God, outside of the soul.' For figere as a sign of stability and hence of the repose that A. thinks he wrongly sought at this time in things that were not God cf. just in Bk. 4: 4.3.5, `adsiduus et fixus inhaerebam', 4.11.16, `ibi fige mansionem tuam', and 4.12.18, `et in illo fixae stabiliuntur'.

    in pulchris: The phrase provides the logical link to A.'s philosophical inquiry into beauty, reported at 4.13.20ff, beginning `et amabam pulchra inferiora'. Cf. Testard 1.51n1, `Il est frappant de voir en effet comment cette partie annonce par les questions envisagées et le vocabulaire, les pages qui traiteront directement de l'ouvrage perdu. . . . Finalement tout le problème du de pulchro et apto est là: Augustin voulut remonter du monde à Dieu en vertu d'une méthode analogique, mais il lui manqua de mettre entre le monde et Dieu le rapport de créature à Créateur, et la distance de matière à esprit, qui sauvegardent à la fois l'immanence et la transcendance divines.'

    quae tamen nulla essent, nisi essent abs te: Cf. 1.2.2, `sine te non esset quidquid est'.

    oriuntur et occidunt: Cf. Sall. Jug. 2.3 (Hagendahl p. 240), `postremo corporis et fortunae bonorum ut initium sic finis est, omniaque orta occidunt et aucta senescunt.' That passage is quoted verbatim at epp. 143.6 (to Marcellinus), 166.5.14 (to Jerome), and closely echoed at civ. 13.16 and 13.17. The idea is conventional.

    modus: See on 1.7.12 (modus/ordo/species), and cf. `ipse est modus eius' below. We might say `a condition of their natures'.

    partes . . . universum: universum is not here `the universe' (for which see 1.20.31, 3.8.16, 3.8.15, and elsewhere) but `a whole' (cf. 3.8.15, `turpis enim omnis pars universo suo non congruens', 4.13.20, `sicut pars corporis ad universum suum' [the parallel discussion in the treatment of the de pulchro et apto]); civ. 19.16, `omnis pars ad universi cuius pars est integritatem refertur'.

    ecce sic . . . succedat aliud: These two sentences have a double function: formally, they provide a parallel example of something that is evanescent and time-bound, constituting a whole only through a succession of parts; but because the parallel is drawn from human speech, the example has the second effect of saying that ordinary words are no more fixed or reliable than material things. The paragraph will end with a single voice that speaks reliably, though it speaks only to establish transience (for that paradox, cf. 1.4.4, `stablis et incomprehensibilis'). For similar analysis of sound/speech, 11.27.34ff (and see notes there).

    peragitur: Used elsewhere of the passage of time (1.6.10, 11.23.30) and of the slipping away of words here and at 11.27.36 (but there words illustrate the passage of time itself).

    sermo noster: To what does this refer? this book? human language generally? The latter is probably `intended', but even so this book exemplifies the idea, for a book is dynamic rather than static, meaningful only when read consecutively, one word slipping away to make room for another. Beyond this book, beyond sermo noster, is the appealing ideal of a lasting and permanent language, where words have neither beginning nor end (cf. `in verbo enim tuo . . .' below). But in the meantime, the praise that is called for (`laudet te ex illis anima mea') is thus contingent and imperfect, relying on defective instruments.

    laudet te: Ps. 145.2, `lauda, anima mea, dominum'; cf. the similar near-echo of Ps. 145.6 in 4.9.14, `deus, qui fecit caelum et terram', and cf. 5.1.1.

    ex illis: sc. pulchris--the parenthesis on human language does not break the main line of thought.

    deus, creator omnium: Amb. hymn. 1.2.1: see on 9.12.32, where the hymn is quoted in extenso; the phrase occurs at 2.6.12, 6.4.5, 9.6.14, 10.34.52, 11.27.35 (where it is the object of metrical analysis in the later extended discussion of the transience of time-bound human language).

    in eis in eis C D G O Maur. Isnenghi Ver.:   eis S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.

    figatur figatur C D G O1 Isnenghi Ver.:   infigatur O2 (del.) S Maur. Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.
    Isnenghi adduces parallels for the decomposition of verbs: 4.13.20, `esset in eis', 10.34.52, `haereo in . . . insidiis'.

    glutine glutine D2 OS Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   glutino C D1 G

    amore amore O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   amoris CDG Maur.

    Infigere is not used elsewhere in conf.; it is relatively infrequent in A. generally, occurring mainly in scriptural quotations and discussions thereof. Note esp. Ps. 68.3 `infixus sum in limo profundi, et non est substantia.' The verse is echoed to describe A.'s Manichean affiliation at 3.11.20 (`in illo limo profundi ac tenebris falsitatis . . . volutatus sum'), while at 7.18.24 limus is the clay out of which man is made and which Christ assumes at the incarnation. At en. Ps. 68. s. 1.4-5, the verse is taken as spoken by Christ, and thus incarnationally, but there is an implied interpretation of infixus in limo that is apposite here: en. Ps. 68. s. 1.5, `deus fecit hominem; substantiam fecit; atque utinam maneret in eo quod deus fecit! si maneret homo in eo quod deus fecit, non in illo infixus esset quem deus genuit. porro autem quia per iniquitatem homo lapsus est a substantia in qua factus est (iniquitas quippe ipsa non est substantia; non enim iniquitas est natura quam formavit deus, sed iniquitas est perversitas quam fecit homo); venit filius dei ad limum profundi, et infixus est; et non erat substantia in qua infixus est, quia in iniquitate illorum infixus est.' That verse is thus faintly present here, by contraries: what seem to be pulchra are, for the one who would repose (become mired) in them, limus.

    glutine: trin. 10.5.7, `cum ergo aliud sit non se nosse, aliud non se cogitare, tanta vis est amoris ut ea quae cum amore diu cogitaverit eisque curae glutine inhaeserit attrahat secum etiam cum ad se cogitandam quodam modo redit'; so trin. 10.8.11, `cohaeserunt enim mirabiliter glutine amoris.' (The manuscripts regularly vary between glutine and glutino for abl. in all A.'s works, but civ. 15.27 attests gluten as nom. sg.) For the collocation with a noun of `loving', see the parallel at Hier. ep. 3.3, `postquam glutine caritatis haerentem impia distraxit avulsio' (cf. 4.4.7, `eam tu agglutinas inter haerentes tibi'). That passage of Jerome refers to the death of a friend in terms similar to those of 4.4.7: `ex duobus oculis unum perdidi, Innocentium enim, partem animae meae, repentinus febrium ardor abstraxit.'

    amore: Skut. compares 9.10.24, `veritate pabulo' : there, although there are MSS for veritatis, the correct reading is clearly the ablative.

    pestilentiosis: The word itself not attested before Ulpian; for such plaguey unhealthfulness elsewhere in conf., see 1.14.23, 2.3.8, 5.10.20.

    ipsa esse vult: The `will to exist' is part of the pattern of the trinity reflected in man: 13.11.12, `volo esse et scire'. That desire is natural, therefore, but the further desire to repose `in eis' (sc. pulchris) is not, and is the source of trouble.

    requiescere: See on 4.6.11, `requiescebam'.

    sensu carnis: The world of unreliable things is described in unreliable language, having been made the object of knowledge through unreliable senses. That inability of the senses to find a pattern in the beauty of material things becomes the--inadequate--pretext for the ascent beyond the senses attempted by the de pulchro et apto.

    modus eius: See above on `modus'.

    in verbo . . . tuo: Christ: cf. 4.11.16 (`“numquid ego aliquo discedo?” ait verbum dei'), 4.12.19 (the end of this section of Bk. 4), and 4.15.25, in discussing de pulchro et apto. We reach here the only firm ground in this paragraph, itself explaining and defining the baffling transience that has led the soul to its present predicament.

    hinc et huc usque: The creating Word sets the modus for the created things; cf. above and see on 1.7.12. For the ipsissima verba of God in quotation marks (here and in next paragraph), see on 6.16.26.

    text of 4.11.16


    The only previous parallel for this apostrophe is the much briefer `cave immunditiam, anima mea' (3.2.3); contrast sol., where `Augustine' is the junior partner in dialogue with Ratio. For the sense, cf. 4.4.9, `factus eram ipse mihi magna quaestio et interrogabam animam meam, quare tristis esset et quare conturbaret me valde, et nihil noverat respondere mihi'; sim. at 10.6.10 and 11.15.19. Note that at 10.30.42 (`ut anima mea sequatur me ad te'), the anima is not identical with the `self': hence the possibility of apostrophe.

    The line between past and present is blurred. A. speaks as if in the present, using words only available to him in the present (cf. 4.13.20, `haec tunc non noveram'), but the address is apt to the condition in which he found himself. A. `fell' at specific times between his sixteenth and twenty-second year (370-376): but that fall took place in response to a pattern of temptations that continued to exist and plague A. (as the examination of conscience in Bk. 10 makes clear). The apostrophe here does not address the anima as it was twenty years earlier; rather A. turns from contemplating his fall, as he completes its description, to address the soul by way of admonition against the future. That what he says here in paragraphs 15-19 is what he should have said at the time adds irony: paragraphs 20-27 will show what actually happened.

    Cf. the similar, though with much change over nearly thirty years, apostrophe at trin. 15.27.50 (one paragraph from the end of that work), where he appeals to his converted soul to convert again, to know that the goal is not yet reached: `o tu, anima mea, ubi te esse sentis, ubi iaces aut ubi stas donec ab eo qui propitius factus est omnibus iniquitatibus tuis sanentur omnes languores tuos? [Ps. 102.3: see below.] agnoscis te certe in illo esse stabulo quo Samaritanus ille perduxit eum quem reperit multis a latronibus inflictis vulneribus semivivum.'

    tumultu: instrumental ablative: `do not be deafened by the uproar.'

    verbum ipsum clamat: 4.12.19, `clamans ut redeamus ad eum'; cf. esp. 10.27.38, `vocasti et clamasti et rupisti surditatem meam'; sim. at 7.10.16, 9.4.9, 13.29.44, hence, introducing direct discourse attributed to God.

    ibi: i.e., apud verbum dei (see below, `ibi . . . ibi').

    est locus: See esp. on 13.9.10, `requies nostra locus noster'; at 7.7.11 and 10.40.65, on the verge of mystic experience in both cases, he has trouble finding a locus, finding it only in God. Contrast 4.7.12, `ego mihi remanseram infelix locus'.

    discedunt . . . succedunt: 4.10.15, `oriuntur et occidunt . . . et omnia intereunt'.

    partibus . . . universitas: See on 4.10.15 above (`universum') and below 4.11.17 (`totum cuius hae partes sunt') and 4.13.20 (`sicut pars corporis ad universum suum').

    ibi fige mansionem tuam: Cf. Jn. 14.23, `si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit, et pater meus diliget eum, et ad eum veniemus, et mansiones apud eum faciemus.' s. 119.3.3, `quis comprehendat verbum manens? omnia verba nostra sonant et transeunt [cf. 4.10.15]. quis comprehendat verbum manens, nisi qui in ipso manet? . . . noli sequi flumen carnis. caro quippe ista fluvius est: non enim manet. . . . vis manere? verbum autem domini manet in aeternum [Is. 40.8: see on `semper stantem . . .' below].'

    fige: See on 4.10.15.

    saltem: `at least, if only'; you turn to truth, faute de mieux, out of weariness with frauds and lies.

    fallaciis: 4.1.1, `falsi atque fallentes in variis cupiditatibus'.

    veritati commenda: The parallel with `ibi commenda quidquid inde habes' makes it explicit that veritas = verbum dei; see on 1.5.6.

    et [7x]: See on 1.1.1, `et laudare te vult homo'; for the anaphora, note that a similar construction marks the passage from Mt. echoed in `et sanabuntur . . .' (see below).

    reflorescent: en. Ps. 27.7, `“et refloruit caro mea,” id est, et resurrexit caro mea.'

    putria putria C1 DO1 S Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   putrida C2 G O2
    See on 4.3.4, `superba putredo', and cf. 2.1.1, `computrui'.

    sanabuntur omnes languores tui: Mt. 4.23, `et circumibat Iesus totam Galilaeam, docens in synagogis eorum, et praedicans evangelium regni, et sanans omnem languorem, et omnem infirmitatem in populo'; cf. Ps. 102.3-4 (cited repeatedly in Bk. 10; see Knauer 146-150): `qui propitius fit omnibus iniquitatibus tuis, qui sanat omnes languores tuos, (4) qui redimet de interitu vitam tuam'; but n.b. the apostrophe at Ps. 102.2, `benedic anima mea dominum et noli oblivisci omnes retributiones eius.' Knauer 150n2 compares 10.33.50, `in cuius oculis mihi quaestio factus sum et ipse est languor meus,' with the present passage in tandem with 4.4.9, `facta eram ipse mihi magna quaestio'.

    et renovabuntur: 7.9.14, `participatione manentis in se sapientiae [2] renovantur, ut sapientes sint,' 11.9.11 (sanatio languorum with renovatio), 13.22.32 (renovatio according to the image of God in man: echoed variously at 13.23.33, 13.26.40, and 13.34.49).

    sempter stantem ac permanentem deum: Cf. Ps. 101.13, `tu autem domine in aeternum permanes'; 1 Pet. 1.23-25, `per verbum dei vivi et permanentis, (24) quia omnis caro ut faenum et omnis gloria eius tamquam flos faeni: exaruit faenum, et flos decidit. (25) verbum autem domini manet in aeternum. hoc est autem verbum quod evangelizatum est in vos'; Heb. 1.11, `tu autem [domine] permanebis'; 1 Jn. 2.17, `qui autem facit voluntatem dei manet in aeternum.'

    text of 4.11.17


    This paragraph reprises 4.10.15 (see notes below), which was addressed to God. Prayer is itself a way of learning from God: cf. s. dom. m. 2.3.14, `fit ergo in oratione conversio cordis ad eum [cf. conversam here] . . . et in ipsa conversione purgatio interioris oculi'. A. receives from God the words to say back to God: from that, A. learns the words (in many ways identical) to say to his own soul. That these are now A's own words may explain the relatively unscriptural language of this paragraph: scripture did its job in 4.10.15, now it is A.'s turn, using his own words--except at the very end of this paragraph.

    conversam conversam O S Knöll Vega Ver.:   conversa C D G Maur. Skut. Pell.

    in parte . . . totum: BA ad loc. sees in this dialectical opposition of part and whole a reminiscence of Porphyry, sent. 40 (translated at length at BA 13.680-681); the resemblance is doctrinal and atmospheric more than verbal, but the passage of Porphyry is one with numerous points of contact with A.'s thought.

    sensus carnis . . . modum: 4.10.15, `sic est modus eorum . . . tardus est enim sensus carnis, quoniam sensus carnis est: ipse est modus eius', and see on 1.7.12.

    syllabas: 4.10.15, `ecce sic peragitur et sermo noster'; cf. the meditation on the transience of speech and sound at 11.27.34ff.

    et non sunt omnia simul ea quibus constat: `And all the things that one thing comprises do not exist at once (simul).' 4.10.15, `quae non sunt omnes simul'. (The parentheses here are Verheijen's.)

    (quibus) constat: constat C D G O2 Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   constant O1 S

    sed longe his melior: 4.10.15 ends with a comparable appeal to divine authority, `in verbo enim tuo . . . ibi audiunt'. Cf. Ps. 99.3, `scitote quoniam dominus ipse est deus. ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos' (see on 9.10.25 and cf. 4.11.16, `mansionem . . . permanebunt . . . permanentem'): owning the authority of God is to see him as creator, and vice versa. en. Ps. 99.15, `non debemus superbire: totum bonum quod habemus, ab artifice nostro habemus.' Cf. first words of 4.12.18.

    non discedit: 4.10.15, `decedat . . . succedat'.

    text of 4.12.18


    The represented discourse (and the quotation marks) should be carried (with Pellegrino) from `hunc amemus' through 4.12.19, `. . . ascendendo contra deum'. G-M: `The summary of the preacher's message continues to the end of sec. 19.' They are mistaken only in saying `the preacher's.' Pusey had already punctuated thus: Skutella and Verheijen limit the quotation marks to `hunc amemus . . . non est longe' in this paragraph; Vega limits them to `hunc amemus'.) Note that the second person discourse switches here to the plural and remains plural wherever it occurs until `dic eis' recurs at the end of 19; `cui confitetur anima mea' in 19 remains, though this slightly stretches the frame (see below on `redite, praevaricatores'), within the represented discourse. That this is represented discourse allows for some further repetitions from shortly before: we have first the prayer to God (15), then the discourse to the soul (16-19) containing within the discourse of the soul to other souls (18-19).

    This whole passage thus exemplifies obedience to the two great commandments (see on 4.9.14).

    si placent corpora: en. Ps. 148.15, `non ergo ita tibi placeat quod fecit, ut recedas ab eo qui fecit. . . . si pulchra sunt quae fecit, quanto pulchrior est qui fecit?' Sim. at s. 21.2, en. Ps. 32. en. 2 s. 1.6.

    deum ex illis lauda: Cf. Ps. 145.2, `lauda, anima mea, dominum' (see on 4.10.15).

    artificem artificem C G O1 Knöll Skut. Ver.:   artifice D O2 S
    See on 4.11.17.

    fixae: See on 4.10.15.

    rape ad eum tecum quas potes: the second person singular continues the address (from the beginning of 4.11.16) to the anima.

    rape: This exhortation precedes the represented discourse that runs through paragraph 19, so at the end of 19 there immediately follows `et sic eos rape tecum ad deum'. The vivid evocative force of the verb is frequently employed: 1.17.27, 2.2.2, 3.4.8, 4.15.27 (`rapiebar foras'), 5.8.15, 6.16.26, 7.17.23 (`sed rapiebar ad te decore tuo'), 8.4.9 (`age, domine, fac excita et revoca nos, accende et rape, flagra, dulcesce: amemus, curramus'), 8.8.19, 9.10.25 (`et haec una [visio] rapiat et absorbeat et recondat in interiora gaudia spectatorem suum'), 10.35.56, 11.11.13. For the mystical flavor, see du Roy 76.

    hunc amemus hunc amemus C D O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   hunc amemus hunc amemus G Maur. Pell.

    The love of God is generally the bond of society and specifically the guarantee of meaning in speech: cf. 10.3.3-4 and see on 4.14.21 below. Cf. Ps. 99.3 (see on 4.11.17), `ipse fecit nos, et non nos' (see on 9.10.24-25); Act. 17.27-28, `quaerere deum, . . . quamvis non longe sit ab unoquoque nostrum; (28) in ipso enim vivimus et movemur et sumus.' See on 1.18.28, `longe'; cf. 9.11.28 (Monnica), `nihil longe a deo'. en. Ps. 137.2, `non enim est ille longe ab unoquoque nostrum positus, in quo vivimus, movemur et sumus. longe te a deo non facit, nisi iniquitas sola.'

    ex illo in illo sunt: Rom. 11.36, `quoniam ex ipso et per ipsum et in ipso omnia ipsi gloria in saecula. amen.' See on 1.2.2, `ex quo omnia'.

    ecce ubi est: J. le Clercq (d. 1736) suggested (reprinted at PL 47.206) that `est' should be followed by a question mark; Verheijen uses a colon. Le Clercq emended the following `ubi' to `ibi'.

    intimus cordi est, sed cor erravit ab eo: 10.27.38, `et ecce intus eras et ego foris et ibi te quaerebam et in ista formosa quae fecisti deformis inruebam.' (The antecedent of intimus is ipse.)

    cor erravit: Ps. 118.176, `erravi sicut ovis perdita'; en. Ps. 118. s. 32.7 applies this text to the parable of the good shepherd; but see on `vias difficiles' below.

    redite, praevaricatores, ad cor: Is. 46.8, `redite, praevaricatores, ad cor'; en. Ps. 57.1, `sed quia homines appetentes ea quae foris sunt etiam a seipsis exsules facti sunt, data est etiam conscripta lex; non quia in cordibus scripta non erat, sed quia tu fugitivus eras cordis tui, ab illo qui ubique est comprehenderis, et ad teipsum intro revocaris. propterea scripta lex quid clamat eis qui deseruerunt legem scriptam in cordibus suis? “redite, praevaricatores, ad cor.”' s. Caill. 2.11.5 (on the prodigal, when the son returns home), `iam ergo iste obtriverat cor in regione egestatis: redierat enim ad cor, ut obtereret cor.' The same citation treated similarly at en. Ps. 57.3, 70. s.1.14, 76.15, and Io. ev. tr. 18.10; as regular admonition, `redi ad cor' at ss. 13.3.3, 16.7.7. Cf. 4.11.16, `verbum ipsum clamat ut redeas.' Note the sequence: `Augustine' says to his `soul' that the Word says that the soul should return to the place of imperturbable quiet (i.e., to its own heart that has found the Word); now the `soul' says on its own to other souls what it has heard from from the Word by way of `Augustine': `redite . . . ad cor'. (On redire, see on 1.18.28.) Better to say that `Augustine' addresses his `soul' in 16-17, and the distinction between speaker and hearer is slight but just sustainable; when his `soul' turns to address other souls that distinction becomes nugatory and it is as though `Augustine' were speaking to them. This stretches, but does not break, the frame surrounding this paragraph.

    inhaerete: See on 7.11.17, `mihi autem inhaerere deo bonum est,' echoing Wisd. 7.27.

    requiescete . . . quieti: See on 4.6.11, `requiescebam', and recall 1.1.1, `inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te' (cf. above, `redite . . . ad cor'); 4.11.16, `locus quietis imperturbabilis'. Cf. here `non est requies ubi quaeratis eam'.

    quo itis: Cf. Ps. 138.7, `quo ibo a spiritu tuo et quo a facie tua fugiam?' Cf. 4.9.14, `quo it aut quo fugit'; it is not that A. here again evokes the scriptural text, so much as that he repeats for the other souls the doctrine evolved earlier.

    deserto illo: 4.11.16, `et ibi est locus quietis imperturbabilis ubi non deseritur amor, si ipse non deserat' (and cf. yet again `redite . . . ad cor' here).

    quo vobis: G-M: `lit. “to what end is it for you?”' i.e., why?

    vias difficiles et laboriosas: Wisd. 5.7, `repleti sumus iniquitatis via et perditionis et ambulavimus vias difficiles; viam autem domini ignoravimus.' The `vias difficiles' are little different from `vias cum muscipulis' (see on 3.1.1). Cf. Is. 9.2, cited below, and see 5.2.2, `post suas vias difficiles'.

    beatam vitam: The `blessed life', important from A.'s earliest writings (e.g., beata v. itself, written at Cassiciacum), appears in three discrete passages in conf.: here, at 6.10.17-6.11.20 (in and surrounding the artful passage of represented indecision at 6.11.18-19), and at 10.20.29-10.23.34, at the culmination of the search for God in memory; see on 10.20.29 for fuller discussion. For the background, see Holte, Béatitude et Sagesse (Paris, 1962) and W. Beierwaltes, Regio beatitudinis: Augustine's concept of happiness (Villanova, 1981: also in German in the Sitzungsber. Akad. Heidelberg [1981], 6).

    in regione mortis: Is. 9.2 (Vg.; quoted from LXX at Mt. 4.16), `populus qui ambulabat in tenebris vidit lucem magnam; habitantibus in regione umbrae mortis lux orta est eis'; en. Ps. 87.6, `ex tenebris et morte impietatis educti sunt.'

    text of 4.12.19


    The represented discourse continues from 4.12.18.

    The turn to Christ was anticipated at the end of 4.10.15, just before the address to the anima began. That Christ is central to this passage is a sign of its importance to the structure of conf. as a whole. At the nadir of descent, this rhetorically complex passage builds to a climax that presents the full drama of incarnation and redemption in Christ; every major stage of the ascent to follow is measured by its `Christ-content': see on 7.9.13ff (esp. 7.18.24), 8.12.30, 9.10.25, and 10.43.70. On A.'s view of incarnation as redemption, see generally van Bavel.

    The general structure of a baptismal creed lies behind this paragraph, as it also does. e.g. (see H.-J. Sieben, REAug 21[1975], 72-90), doctr. chr. 1. The text of the Apostle's Creed used in baptism at Hippo in A.'s time was not written down, though it may be reconstructed from allusions and interpretations (see s. 214.1); hence a diffidence in following that familiar text too closely, though the general shape may be descried.

    descendit: Jn. 6.33, `panis enim dei est, qui descendit de caelo et dat vitam mundo'; for descendere as a verb of the incarnation, see BA 72.284n54 with refs.

    occidit eam: Cf. 2 Tim. 1.10, `qui destruxit quidem mortem'.

    clamans: Christ steals Jupiter's thunder (see on 1.16.25); see also on 4.11.16, `verbum ipsum clamat ut redeas'; n.b. here `clamans ut redeamus' repeated below.

    unde processit: Ps. 18.6-7, `in sole posuit tabernaculum suum et ipse tamquam sponsus procedens de thalamo suo exultavit ut gigans ad currendam viam. (7) a summo caelo egressio eius et occursus eius usque ad summum eius, nec est qui se abscondat a calore eius.' (en. Ps. [in the places quoted next] has `exultavit sicut', but Ps. Rom. has `ut' as here.) Consistently taken as an allegory of the incarnation: en. Ps. 18. en. 1.6, `et ipse procedens de utero virginali, ubi deus naturae humanae tamquam sponsus sponsae copulatus est [cf. `nupsit' here]'; en. Ps. 18. en. 2.6, `hoc est, “ille tamquam sponsus”, cum verbum caro factum est, in utero virginali thalamum invenit; atque inde naturae coniunctus humanae, tamquam de castissimo procedens cubili, humilis misericordia infra omnes, fortis maiestate super omnes. hoc est enim, “gigans exsultavit ad currendam viam,” natus est, crevit, docuit, passus est, resurrexit, ascendit; cucurrit viam, non haesit in via'; cf. c. litt. Pet. 2.32.74, c. s. arrian. 8.6 (`geminae gigans substantiae': the wording echoes Amb. hymn. 6.17-20 [Walpole]:

    procedat e thalamo suo,
    pudoris aula regia,
    geminae gigans substantiae;
    lacris occurrat viam.


    gigans gigans D1 G O1 S Ps. Rom. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   gigas C D2 O2 Maur.

    tardavit: Ps. 39.18, `deus meus, ne tardaveris!' Heb. 10.38, `qui venturus est veniet et non tardabit' (echoing Hab. 2.3, `quia veniens veniet et non tardabit').

    descensu, ascensu: Eph. 4.8-9, `ascendens in altum captivam duxit captivitatem, dedit dona hominibus. (9) quod autem ascendit quid est, nisi quia et descendit primum in inferiores partes terrae; qui descendit ipse est et qui ascendit super omnes caelos.' Sim. at ss. 78.6, 91.6.7, 261.1.1.

    et discessit ab oculis: Lk. 24.51, `et factum est cum benediceret eis, recessit ab eis et ferebatur in caelum' (text from cons. ev. 3.25.83; there is support for discessit in the African VL tradition: Milne 119). Act. 1.9, `et cum haec dixisset, videntibus illis elevatus est et nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum.'

    redeamus ad cor: See on 4.12.18, quoting Is. 46.8, `redite, praevaricatores, ad cor.' The juxtaposition of `redeamus ad eum' and this line identifies the heart as the place where Christ is found.

    ecce hic est: Mt. 24.23 (with parallel at Mk. 13.21), `tunc si quis vobis dixerit, “ecce hic Christus” aut illuc, nolite credere.' The gospel texts and the present expression represent the radical uncertainty of post-ascension Christianity: the belief that Christ is present matches exactly the sense of absence.

    mundus per eum factus est: Jn. 1.10-11, `in mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit, (11) in propria venit et sui eum non receperunt.'

    venit in hunc mundum peccatores salvos facere: 1 Tim. 1.15, `fidelis sermo et omni acceptione dignus, quia Christus Iesus venit in mundum peccatores salvos facere.'

    confitetur: The only present, indicative, active, non-interrogative occurrence of this verb in Bk. 4: the final assertion of this lengthy and central represented discourse, followed by questions and exhortations.

    et sanat eam: Ps. 40.5, `ego dixi “domine miserere mei, sana animam meam quia peccavi tibi”'; en. Ps. 40.6, `flagellandum iudicas omnem filium quem recepturus es, qui nec unico pepercisti. ille quidem sine peccato flagellatus est; ego autem dico, miserere mei, sana animam meam, quoniam peccavi tibi.' Cf. 4.3.4 (`cura animam meam, quoniam peccavi tibi') and 5.10.18 (`ut sanares animam meam, quoniam peccabat tibi'). For `healing' in Bk. 4, cf. also 4.11.16, `sanabuntur omnes languores tui'.

    filii filii C G O2 Maur. Pell.:   fili D O1 S Knöll Skut. Vega Ver.
    For the spelling, see on 1.16.26. Ps. 4.3, `filii hominum usquequo graves corde? ut quid diligitis vanitatem et quaeritis mendacium?' See on 9.4.9.

    posuistis in caelo os vestrum: Ps. 72.8-9, `cogitaverunt et locuti sunt nequitiam, iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt: (9) posuerunt in caelum os suum et lingua eorum transiit super terram.' (The verse is applied to the prodigal by Amb. de interpell. Iob et David 4.5.12.) en. Ps. 8.13, `vide nunc etiam volucres caeli, superbos, de quibus dicitur: “posuerunt in caelum os suum.”' Sim. at en. Ps. 72.15, 103. s. 3.5. This is the ascensio contra deum of which A. speaks here.

    ut ascendatis, et ascendatis ad deum ut ascendatis, et ascendatis ad deum O (+ BPZHMS) Maur. Knöll Isnenghi Ver.:   ut ascendatis ad deum CDS (+ F) Skut. Vega Pell.:   ut ascendatis et ascenditis ad deum E:   ut ascendatis ad eum et ad deum ascendatis G
    Isnenghi: `um emporzusteigen, und zwar zu Gott emporsteigen zu können.'

    ascendatis: Cf. 5.3.5, and see on 9.10.24, `et adhuc ascendebamus', and cf. the parallel passages from the `ascent' in Bk. 10: 10.7.11, 10.8.12, 10.17.26, and cf. also 13.9.10 (quoted below on `ardens igne caritatis').

    cecidistis: Cf. s. 261.1.1, cited above.

    (contra) deum deum G O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   eum CD Maur.

    dic eis . . . rape: See on 4.12.18, `rape'.

    in convalle plorationis: Ps. 83.6-7, `beatus vir cuius est auxilium abs te domine; ascensus in corde eius disposuit, (7) in convalle plorationis, in locum quem disposuisti eis'; en. Ps. 83.10-11, `quanto ergo plus amaveris, tanto plus ascendes. . . . disponit ascensus in corde. ubi disponit ascensus? in corde, in convalle plorationis. ecce habetis torcular convallem plorationis; ipsae lacrimae piae contribulatorum, mustum sunt amantium. . . . (11) quare autem in convalle plorationis? et ex qua convalle plorationis ad illum locum gaudii veniemus? . . . afflixit nos lege, pressit nos lege, ostendit nobis torcular; vidimus pressuram, carnis nostrae tribulationem cognovimus, ingemuimus rebellante peccato adversus mentem nostram, clamavimus: “miser ego homo”; sub lege gemuimus; . . . adveniet gratia post legem; . . . hic enim per gratiam multae virtutes dantur: . . . multae virtutes, sed hic necessariae; et ab his virtutibus imus in virtutem. quam virtutem? Christum, dei virtutem, et dei sapientiam.' Cf. 9.2.2.

    ardens igne caritatis: That heat and love are associated is conventional (6.7.12, `et ad me ardentius diligendum'), but that divine love (caritas) burns with its own flame is equally important to A.: see 13.9.10, for the heat of divine love connected with the ascent to God; see also on 2.1.1, `exarsi', and for similar fires, see 3.4.8, 5.3.4, 9.10.24, 10.29.40, 11.29.39. `Ardor' carries over to the act of confession at 12.18.27 (`mihi ardenter confitenti'); the fire is pentecostal, and enflames those who receive it at 13.19.25.

    text of 4.13.20


    On beauty in A.'s thought, see K. Svoboda, L'esthétique de saint Augustin et ses sources (Brno, 1933), and R. J. O'Connell, Art and the Christian Intelligence in Saint Augustine (Cambridge, Mass., 1979); there is also a fragmentary study by J. Tscholl, Augustiana 14(1964), 72-104 (the `fortsetzung' there promised has apparently not appeared); see below for studies of the de pulchro et apto. The notes that follow will attempt only to place that work on an intellectual trajectory, doing justice to the biographical facts represented here and to the way in which A. chose to narrate them.

    The formal studies of A.'s esthetic do not sufficiently emphasize the link, everywhere important when the subject arises in conf., to A.'s trinitarian speculations; see on 1.7.12 for the fundamental triad, modus/species/ordo. In Bk. 4, it should be borne in mind that pulchritudo corresponds to species (util. cred. 16.34, `species [2] rerum omnium, quam profecto ex aliquo verissimae pulchritudinis fonte manare credendum est', and see here `decus et species' : beauty is in the realm of the eyes, where the temptation is again curiositas [2], and hence is associated with the second person of the trinity. That link is already foreshadowed by the central place of Christ in this book (see on 4.10.15, 4.11.16, and 4.12.19); if we accept the link pulchritudo = Christus, then those passages imply that the beauty that is Christ, present in the beauty of created things, cries out with invitation to those who see them; but for various reasons amply set forth in this book, A. at the time was unable to heed that call, and confined his love to material, earthly beauty. Hence he found no way leading upward from the depths.

    Of particular interest are the patterns of idea and expression that link the composition of the de pulchro et apto to later episodes in conf. This early philosophical essay is presented as a first attempt at an intellectual ascent to God, whose later stages are more dramatically displayed at 7.10.16, 7.17.23, 9.10.24-25, and 10.6.8-10.27.38. This selective presentation by A. at the time of writing conf. does not guarantee that these particular episodes were linked in any conscious way as he lived them; their relationship is at least as much, if not exclusively, a pattern imposed in reflective memory years later. Writing the de pulchro et apto, after all, is the only intellectual task of A.'s for which we have such discussion from the time he began teaching at Thagaste in 375 until his move to Italy in 383, and even here the presentation is sketchy and impressionistic in the extreme.

    Beauty in conf. embraces the earthly (e.g., 2.2.3, `novissimarum rerum fugaces pulchritudines', 12.2.2), the divine (e.g., 3.6.10, `mi pater summe bone, pulchritudo pulchrorum omnium', 10.27.38, `sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova'), and the earthly as a sign of the divine (esp. citing Rom. 1.20, as at 7.17.23, and cf. 13.20.28, 13.28.43).

    The place of beauty in A.'s works is affected by his reading of Plotinus 1.6, an event that necessarily masks from us the exact state of A.'s thought on the subject at the time of de pulchro et apto. At the same time, the appeal of Plotinus' treatise must itself have been enhanced by A.'s prior interest. The importance of the subject and its link to the highest concerns are clear at c. acad. 2.3.7, `quid est enim philosophia? amor sapientiae. quid philocalia?6 amor pulchritudinis. quaere de graecis. quid ergo sapientia? nonne ipsa vera est pulchritudo? germanae igitur istae prorsus, et eodem parente procreatae: sed illa visco libidinis detracta caelo suo, et inclusa cavea populari viciniam tamen nominis tenuit'. The Platonic overtone--particularly the cave--is noticeable; and this passage evoked this later qualification: retr. 1.1.3, `in secundo autem libro prorsus inepta est et insulsa illa quasi fabula de philocalia et philosophia, quod sint germanae et eodem parente procreatae. aut enim philocalia quae dicitur nonnisi in nugis est, et ob hoc philosophiae nulla ratione germana; aut si propterea est hoc nomen honorandum, quia latine interpretatum amorem significat pulchritudinis, et est vera ac summa sapientiae pulchritudo, eadem ipsa est in rebus incorporalibus atque summis philocalia quae philosophia, neque ullo modo sunt quasi sorores duae.'

    Only when the creature achieves its own measure of beauty is it possible to see God (ord. 2.19.51; cf. imm. an. 8.13, 16.25 --a text so Platonic [or Porphyrian] that some think it little more than notes on A.'s reading). So the summary of the stages of the ascent of the mind to God at quant. an. 35.79 rephrases itself entirely in terms of beauty: `ascendentibus igitur sursum versus primus actus docendi causa dicatur animatio, secundus sensus, tertius ars, quartus virtus, quintus tranquillitas, sextus ingressio, septimus contemplatio. possunt et hoc modo appellari: de corpore, per corpus, circa corpus, ad seipsam, in seipsa, ad deum, apud deum. possunt et sic: pulchre de alio, pulchre per aliud, pulchre circa aliud, pulchre ad pulchrum, pulchre in pulchro, pulchre ad pulchritudinem, pulchre apud pulchritudinem.'

    The most practical conclusion drawn from this doctrine in A.'s early works is the esthetic theory of the nature of evil (e.g., lib. arb. 1.16.35, 3.25.77). Beauty appears in speculative contexts after conf. (e.g., trin. 6.10.12, `in illa enim trinitate summa origo est rerum omnium [1] et perfectissima pulchritudo [2] et beatissima delectatio [3]'), but beauty gradually loses its hold on A.'s ways of thinking. For the apogee of its role in conf., see on 10.27.38.

    non noveram: Cf. 3.7.12-13, `non noveram', the formula that defined his Manicheism by introducing the answers he later found acceptable to questions that he answered otherwise at the time.

    amabam pulchra inferiora: The theme was anticipated at 4.10.15, `tametsi figitur in pulchris extra te et extra se'.

    in profundum: Cf. Is. 31.6, `convertimini, sicut in profundum recesseratis, filii Israhel'; Prov. 18.3, `impius cum in profundum venerit peccatorum contemnit'; Is. 7.11, `pete tibi signum a domino deo tuo, in profundum inferni sive in excelsum supra.'

    amicis meis: The first and last sections of Bk. 4 each open thus with invocations of the `friends' with whom he lived and argued (4.1.1, `cum amicis meis per me ac mecum deceptis'; 4.8.13, `aliorum amicorum solacia, cum quibus amabam quod pro te amabam'; they appear again at 5.8.14, urging A. to go to Rome to advance his career); the middle section is devoted to the one friend he lost.

    num amamus aliquid nisi pulchrum?: The thought is trite in A.: mus. 6.13.38, `dic, oro te, num possumus amare nisi pulchra'; en. Ps. 79.14, `quare autem amas ista nisi quia pulchrae sunt?' Here, at the nadir of his fall, A. thought himself a lover of beauty; at the zenith of his ascent, his lament is only that love of beauty came to him too late: 10.27.38, `sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova'. We are left to infer that his first love of beauty was love of the wrong thing (see on 1.1.1, `aliud enim pro alio potest invocare nesciens').

    quid est quod nos allicit . . . amamus: Sim. at ss. 34.2.4, 243.8.7, and retr. 1.11.2.

    aliud esse . . . : See on 4.10.15, `partes . . . universum'.

    apte adcommodaretur: Testard 1.49-67, attempting to prove that the background of the de pulchro et apto was more Ciceronian than Manichean or Platonic, offers a raft of Ciceronian texts in which aptum and adcommodatum occur together, e.g., off. 1.40.142, `illa est eutaxia in qua intellegitur ordinis conservatio. . . . nam et ordinem sic definiunt, compositionem rerum aptis et adcommodatis locis'; cf. fin. 4.17.46, 5.6.17, 5.8.23, 5.9.24, de orat. 3.55.210, part. or. 15.54, nat. deor. 2.55.139.

    The only passage in the rest of A.'s surviving œuvre that significantly parallels this employment of aptus shows how the philosophical heritage of youth returned, fully Christianized, but still useful in addressing secular intellectuals: ep. 138.1.5 (to Marcellinus), `haec quaestio quam late pateat, profecto videt, quisquis pulchri aptique distantiam sparsam quodam modo in universitate rerum valet neque neglegit intueri. pulchrum enim per se ipsum consideratur atque laudatur, cui turpe ac deforme contrarium est. aptum vero, cui ex adverso est ineptum, quasi religatum pendet aliunde nec ex semet ipso sed ex eo cui conectitur, iudicatur.' Only incidental is Io. ev. tr. 26.13 (of a healthy body), `sit pulchrum, sit aptum, sit sanum'. See, however, on 2.5.10, `in contactu carnis' and `congruentia' and texts cited there, for an analogous notion.

    A.'s doctrine in this lost work could be paraphrased so: `Things exist, they are beautiful in themselves, and they are parts of a beautiful whole by their seemly arrangement together.' That paraphrase is a neat embodiment of A.'s familiar triadic pattern: existence [1], beautiful appearance [species, 2], and providential arrangement [ordo, 3]. That equation in turn functions as a reminder that one of the three dialogues recorded from Cassiciacum is de ordine, an extended discussion of providential arrangement in the world of created things.

    apte: 3.7.13, `quod non apte conveniat'. Cf. trin. 4.2.4, where A. expressed Gk. a(rmoni/a as coaptatio (and uses the word also at civ. 22.24).

    scaturrivit: `welled up' (G-M) spontaneously: G-M canvass the possibility of an ironic interpretation, but think `the solemn phrase ex intimo corde meo precludes the idea that A. is smiling at his own youthful enthusiasm; he is impressed, rather, with the semi-independent force of the inner mind--a neo-Platonic thought.' The matter is perhaps not so simple. For `ex intimo corde meo', compare 4.12.18, `intimus cordi est [veritas], sed cor erravit ab eo'; on that reading, A.'s `inmost heart' at this period is void of truth, and what comes bubbling forth is not necessarily judged positively.

    libros `de pulchro et apto': Other works of A. cited in conf.: 9.4.7, `libri disputati cum praesentibus [i.e., c. acad., beata v., ord.] et cum ipso me solo coram te [sol.] . . . cum absente Nebridio . . . epistulae'; 9.6.14, `de magistro'. On the de pulchro et apto, the best concise study is the note by A. Solignac at BA 13.670-673; cf. Mandouze 461-463, and D. A. Cress, Aug. Stud. 7(1976), 153-163; see also Alfaric 224, Pincherle, Rassegna di filosofia 2(1953), 19, and T. Katô, REAug 12(1966), 229-240, who suggest Manichean influences (non liquet).

    Solignac displays possible parallels in Platonic texts (symp. 211d, Phaedrus 249d, 264c, esp. Hipp. mai. 290a-296e, where P. studies explicitly the relation of to\ kalo/n and to\ pre/pon; cf. also Cic. off. 1.28.97ff (Svoboda, L'esthétique de S. A. 10-16) and orator 21.70ff, where he renders to\ pre/pon as decorum. Solignac (BA 13.671): `il y avait néanmoins dans ces réflexions l'ébauche de la thèse du frui et de l'uti, c'est-à-dire de la distinction du bien absolu dont on peut et doit jouir, et du bien relatif, dont on ne doit qu'user.'

    Svoboda 10-16 suggests neo-Pythagorean links; Solignac, RA 1(1958), 129-137, agrees; see also Solignac quoted on the monad/dyad at 4.15.24. Finally, Solignac offers what is only speculation, but stimulating and attractive nonetheless, a scheme for the arrangement of the work in three books: Bk. 1, body; Bk. 2, soul (4.15.24, `et converti me ad animi naturam'); Bk. 3, God (4.15.26, `sed ego conabar ad te et repellebar abs te'). He is followed by Mayer, Zeichen 1.97, who adds: `Der augustinische “ascensus” ist in dieser Einteilung nicht zu verkennen' (see further on 4.15.24). Svoboda 16 surmises plausibly that the work was in dialogue form (perhaps suggested above by `et dicebam amicis meis').

    Of the many Ciceronian texts cited by Testard (see above on `apte'), a few go beyond `aptitude' to pulchritudo and do usefully parallel the higher ambitions that motivated A.'s treatise (and see off. 1.4.14 and fin. 2.14.47, quoted on 1.7.12): nat. deor. 2.22.58, fam. 9.24.3, Tusc. 4.13.31, off. 1.28.98 (`ut enim pulchritudo corporis apta compositione membrorum movet oculos et delectat hoc ipso, quod inter se omnes partes cum quodam lepore consentiunt, sic hoc decorum quod elucet in vita movet approbationem eorum quibuscum vivitur, ordine et constantia et moderatione dictorum omnium atque factorum'). On a similarly lower level are the conjunctions of ornate and apte as adverbs appropriate to the orator's tasks of elocutio and actio throughout de orat. 3, e.g., 3.36.144, `duas tibi reliquas feceras, quem ad modum primum ornate, deinde etiam apte diceremus'; such texts suggest an influence for the lines drawn to create the categories, but not for the substance of the doctrine that A. would have expounded.

    nam excidit mihi: Courcelle, Recherches 35n3, `cet oubli surprenant est peut-être affecté'; but the verb is well-chosen: Cic. de orat. 1.21.94., (Antonius) `scripsi etiam illud quodam in libello, qui me imprudento et invito excidit et pervenit in manus hominum'; sim. of books at de orat. 1.47.206 and Att. 3.12.2 (`quo modo exciderit nescio').

    nescio quo modo: Cf. A. ep. 159.1, `nescio quo modo aberravit', of a letter of Evodius that A. cannot find in his files.

    text of 4.14.21


    Writing the de pulchro et apto was an exercise in curiositas; dedicating it to Hierius (next paragraph) was an exercise in ambitio saeculi.

    quid . . . me movit: The answer to the rhetorical question is undoubtedly ambitio saeculi: cf. `sed magis quia . . .'

    Hierium: On Hierius, cf. PLRE 1.431 s.v. Hierius 5. Never mentioned again by A., he is otherwise known from two subscriptiones in MSS of Ps.-Quintilian. Marrou 163 comments on the remarkable combination in H. of rhetoric with philosophy, of Greek with Latin; the former A. found compatible with his own zeal, the latter incompatible with his tastes. The most useful external comparandi for H., however, are Ammianus and Claudian. The late fourth century was an age when Greeks might make a career in the west in Latin (unlike Plotinus and Porphyry).

    Within conf., the comparison is more subtle: Hierius is a counter-image to Ambrose (himself first sought for his rhetoric, valued for his philosophy: 5.13.23), to Marius Victorinus (8.2.3, `quondam rhetor urbis Romae', and of course a noted philosopher and theologian), and to A. himself. But Hierius is the man who was not there: A. never (apparently) met him or had any response to the dedication of the book. H. appears in this text mainly as an external referent for the ambitiousness of A.

    et quaedam verba eius audieram: These words should caution any reader who tries too confidently to say what A.'s `sources' were for his ideas at any period before his adherence to catholic Christianity. What Hierius' philosophy would have amounted to is a matter that defies even wild surmise. How many other contemporary authorities there were, at home in Carthage and per litteras from abroad, of whom A. had `heard some of their words' at this time we can only guess.

    Syro, docto: L. Herrmann, Latomus 13 (1954), 37-39, would emend to miro doctore.

    dictor dictor C D G S Maur. Knöll Skut. Ver.:   doctor O

    studium sapientiae: i.e., philosophia (vera rel. 5.8, `non aliam esse philosophiam, id est sapientiae studium, et aliam religionem').

    mihi placebat: Cf. `quia placebat aliis'; as in the pear-tree episode, camaraderie is influential.

    absit!: Why so forceful? This is the clue to the seriousness of the issue. Is love something that one human manufactures in another? No. At 10.3.3ff, A. says that his own confession (where the principal business is the praise of God) is heard in other hearts and believed only when the antecedent act of divine caritas prepares those hearts (10.3.4); there camaraderie is replaced by a more authentic friendship.

    laudatur . . .: The subject, indirectly, is confession. `You may praise a man and he will be loved in his absence. Does this love pass from the mouth of the one who praises into the heart of the one who hears? Absit! But one lover is enkindled by another. For this reason is the man who is praised loved, when he is thought to have been proclaimed by a sincere heart, that is, when one who loves him praises him.'

    non fallaci corde: Ironic when applied to the love A. felt for Hierius, for fallacia had power in A.'s life at the time (cf. esp. 4.11.16, `saltem fatigata falliciis', 4.1.1, `falsi atque fallentes', and 4.3.5, `hanc . . . fallaciam' [i.e., astrology]).

    praedicari: echoes the praedicante, praedicatus, and praedicatoris of 1.1.1. Praedicatio is an instrument, as here and at 1.1.1, but the instrument is not the thing itself; the derangement in this case comes from ambitio saeculi.

    text of 4.14.22


    Cf. 4.9.14 on good and bad friendship; lost friendship is replaced in some sense by hero-worship. A. did `love' Hierius for being what he would like to be himself; not so charioteers and actors. Loving men for what they are is the derangement; his love of Hierius is of a sort with his love of actors.

    sic enim tunc amabam homines: Cf. 4.7.12, `o dementiam nescientem diligere homines humaniter!'

    fallitur: Cf. 4.14.21, `non fallaci corde'.

    sed tamen: Courcelle, Les Confessions 111n3, characterizes as these lines as `développement diatribique [cynico-stoicienne]', comparable to the exempla instanced at 3.7.13 (the man who tries to wear his helmet on his foot, etc.) and 8.3.7 (the emperor rejoicing at his victory). G-M cite Plato rep. 10.605e: h)= kalw=s ou)=n, h)=n d' e)gw/, ou(=tos i( e)/painos e)/xei, to\ o(rw=nta toiou=ton a)/ndra, oi(=on e(auto/n tis mh\ a)cioi= ei)=nai a)ll' ai(sxu/noito a)/n, mh\ bdelu/ttesqai a)lla\ xai/rein te kai\ e)painei\n;

    A. claims that he sought praise (`laudari vellem') out of ambitio saeculi, and further, that in his ambition lay a desire to be himself the object of exactly such praise and emulation as he now bestowed on Hierius; the lesser praise (bestowed by the curiosi on characters they would not themselves want to emulate) was not what he desired. (The connection to curiositas is evident from the choice of histriones for the example: admiration for actors marked of A.'s own curiositas at 3.2.2-4.) Put another way, he sought not only praise but envy.

    cur non: sc. `amabatur Hierius'.

    pondera . . . amorum: See on 13.9.10, `pondus meum amor meus'.

    quid est . . . homo?: The sentence is complex and gnomic. In the disorderly loves of the fallen world there are times when we love in one way what at the same time we hate in another way. This paradox is not resolved, but leads rather to the exclamation below, asserting the intelligibility of man and at the same time the inaccessibility of that intelligibility to man.

    grande profundum est ipse homo: en. Ps. 41.13, `si profunditas est abyssus, putamus non cor hominis abyssus est? quid enim est profundius hac abysso? loqui homines possunt, videri possunt per operationem membrorum, audiri in sermone; sed cuius cogitatio penetratur, cuius cor inspicitur? quid intus gerat, quid intus possit, quid intus agat, quid intus disponat, quid intus velit, quid intus nolit, quis comprehendet? . . . quanta profunditas infirmitatis latebat in Petro, quando quid in se ageretur intus nesciebat, et se moriturum cum domino vel pro domino temere promittebat! quanta abyssus erat! . . . ergo omnis homo licet sanctus, licet iustus, licet in multis proficiens, abyssus est'. The idea is central to Bk. 10; cf. 10.2.2 (abyssus is used of mortals only there, `abyssus humanae conscientiae'), and see on 10.8.15. Contrast the extremist Pascal (Pensées 418-420), `Il est dangereux de trop faire voir à l'homme combien il est égal aux bêtes, sans lui montrer sa grandeur. Il est encore dangereux de lui trop faire voir sa grandeur sans sa bassesse. Il est encore plus dangereux de lui laisser ignorer l'un et l'autre. . . . (420) S'il se vante, je l'abaisse; s'il s'abaisse, je le vante; et le contredis toujours, jusqu'à ce qu'il comprenne qu'il est un monstre incompréhensible.'

    cuius etiam capillos: Mt. 10.30, `vestri autem et capilli capitis omnes numerati sunt'; en. Ps. 36. s. 3.13, `capilli capitis vestri numerati sunt. ergo est securitas, sed si intus sit deus.'

    text of 4.14.23


    The treatment of the dedication to Hierius and the treatment of the contents of the work itself are roughly equal in length.

    typho: See on 7.9.13 (and cf. 4.14.23).

    circumferebar: Eph. 4.14, `ut iam non simus parvuli fluctuantes et circumferamur omni vento doctrinae in fallacia hominum, in astutia ad circumventionem erroris'; en. Ps. 47.6, `fundamentum nostrum in Sion sit; ibi stabiliri debemus, non perflari omni vento doctrinae.' Courcelle, Les Confessions 426n3, cites this and connects it to the unique scriptural foundation for the ethereal quality of demons at Eph. 2.2, `principem potestatis aeris huius', and to the expression ventos pascere (Os. 12.1, echoed at 4.2.2); he also cites c. acad. 1.7.20, `ab huius aeris animalibus quibusdam vilissimis, quos daemonas vocant'; but at conf. 5.5.9, this verse recurs when A. is expressing benign toleration of less-educated Christians who err venially in doctrine: `sed etiam talis infirmitas in fidei cunabulis a caritate matre sustinetur, donec assurgat novus homo in virum perfectum et circumferri non possit omni vento doctrinae.' Nothing there suggests that the verse speaks to A. of demons.

    gubernabar: of God's power over A. at 6.5.8, 6.7.12, 11.2.2.

    accenderer: For love and fire, see on 4.12.19.

    in eo in eo G O1 S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   in eum C D O2 Maur.

    soliditati veritatis: Cf. below `cor vanum et inane soliditatis tuae'; the two phrases are linked by 3.6.10 (of the Manichees), `cor inane veri'. Cf. trin. 2 pr., `solidissima veritas'. Soliditas is contrasted to ventositas (compare here the next lines) at another passage where veritas is not the issue: trin. 8.7.11, `potentior est enim et tutior solidissima humilitas quam ventosissima celsitudo.'

    opinantium: util. cred. 11.25, `unum [genus hominum] est opinantium, id est eorum qui se arbitrantur scire quod nesciunt.'

    obnubilatur: Elsewhere at 2.2.2, 3.1.1, 7.1.1.

    ob os contemplationis meae: G-M: `An elaborate variation, in the manner of the late rhetoric, on the phrase “ob oculos mentis”.' The phrase ante os offers the closest classical parallel: Cic. rep. 3.15, `ut esset posteris ante os documentum . . . sceleris sempiternum.' No biblical echo seems relevant: in scripture, os is almost exclusively used of the mouth, esp. as organ of speech. Solignac (BA 13.12) wishes to take `animo versabam, ob os contemplationis meae' as indication `selon beaucoup de vraisemblance' that this work was already written in the manner of sol. and imm. an.: `Augustin s'est livré de bonne heure à ses entretiens avec lui-même.' He sees conf. as a further step in this line of stylistic development. The present text does not make clear to our satisfaction whether A. means to describe the content of the work or the method that led to its composition.

    nullo conlaudatore: Amb. exam. 1.9.34, `bonorum operum proprium est ut externo commendatore non egeant, sed gratiam suam, cum videntur, ipsa testentur.' Ryan's translation presses the text to indicate that the work found no receptive audience: `Although there was no one to join me in praising the book, I myself admired it'; others translate noncommittally. The phrase evokes a sense of intellectual isolation, of a time when A. had outstripped his colleagues and contemporaries and was pursuing lines of thought that he could not share with others; if that is so, his eventual departure for Rome may have had a more praiseworthy motive than any he allows when that stage is reached in the narrative (5.8.14), namely the desire for community of intellectual discourse (A.'s disappointment with Faustus could have reinforced such a motive).

    It is difficult to escape the impression (fortified by `tamen' just above) that A. means to say something kind about his juvenile effort. It was curiositas that led him to the topic and its treatment; it was ambitio saeculi that made him dedicate the book to Hierius; he knew nothing of truth, for his heart was empty; and yet, all alone, he found himself in contemplation of the beautiful and the fitting. That he was alone in his admiration of the beautiful and the fitting is appropriate for this stage of his life when his friendships are all disordered and wrongful; only in Bk. 6 do his friends acquire names and begin to join him in the contemplation of authentic values; and he only truly reaches his goal when he has those friends with him, in a growing crowd (by the end of Bk. 9, at Monnica's death, loneliness is dispersed and a comparative throng shares his grief in greater and lesser degrees). See on 4.15.24 for a fuller treatment of the way the treatment of the de pulchro et apto anticipates later movements of conf.

    mirabar: Knauer 60 notes that `mirabilia' in the next sentence (4.15.24) hints a connection; A. was looking in the right direction, but `falsa opinio' prevented him from seeing the truth, and so he looked away just at the last moment.

    text of 4.15.24


    This paragraph begins to outline and analyze the lost treatise. This episode is part of a larger narrative whose further stages throw light back on this passage. See on 4.13.20 for bibliography and a summary of modern opinions regarding those contents; this note will confine itself to setting this analysis in the context provided by other passages in conf.

    Courcelle's Recherches already focused (157-67) on what C. called `vaines tentatives d'extases plotiniennes', and debate since has further refined our sense of what A. sought and felt at that Milan period of his life (see further on 7.10.16 and 7.17.23). But those episodes themselves form as well the next main stages on the path opened here, and the pattern is incomplete without attention not only to the `vision of Ostia' (9.10.24-25), but also to the structure and contents of the first half of Bk. 10 (10.1.1-10.27.38) and, to a lesser extent, to the structure and contents of Bks. 11-13.

    The most important sentence of this summary is the last: `non enim noveram. . . .' We have already seen (see on 3.7.12-13, and cf. the opening of 4.13.20) that `non noveram' is a phrase A. uses to specify the defects in his understanding at a prior stage in his life. Here the criticism is twofold: that he did not know that evil was not itself a substance, and that he thought that the human mind itself was the summum bonum. The problems thus posed are all-encompassing: the nature of God, the nature of created being (for if evil is a substance, then created being can be evil).

    Both these errors date to his turn to Manicheism (3.7.12) and recur later. The identification of the Christian God with the summum bonum is the subject of 7.1.1ff (summarized at 7.4.6, `qui summum et optimum bonum es'), but there the problem of evil is expressly revived as unresolved (7.3.4-5); the discovery of the platonicorum libri intervenes and leads to the first mystic ascent of 7.10.16; that ascent (see notes there) is incomplete and unsuccessful. There then follows a development (7.12.18-7.16.22) of the neo-Platonic doctrine of evil as the privatio boni; this leads to the second ascent (7.17.23). In the prolegomena and in the commentary to Bk. 7 it is argued that this second ascent is a complete and successful ascent in Plotinian terms as A. understood them at the time.

    Thus the intellectual effort that produced the de pulchro et apto is presented as a first, halting and failed attempt at ascending in the mind towards the divine source of beauty and order. Two specific gaps in his knowledge are adduced to explain the inadequacy of this ascent; when those subjects are revived, the resolution of one issue precedes a renewed attempt at the ascent (and, failure that it is, it is at least a less dismal failure than what is portrayed here); the resolution of the second issue is then presented, and immediately followed by a further (by this count, third) attempt at the ascent, markedly more successful than either of those that preceeded.

    The link between these issues and other crucial concerns of conf. is clearer if we recall again the trinitarian connection suggested above (on 4.13.20). The de pulchro [2] et apto [3] can be construed (and here it must be emphasized that the intentions of A. at the time he wrote the work are beyond recapture: we only see the work as he presents it later, when such trinitarian patterns are uppermost in his mind) as a legitimate attempt to write about the manifestation in the world of the second and third persons of the trinity. What is lacking is an accurate knowledge of the first person, hence of the modus of things as they are. To escape his predicament A. needs (a) to discover the true summum bonum, (b) to understand the `being' of things--i.e., that aspect of created things that reflects the workings of the first person of the trinity--by discovering that esse is good and evil is insubstantial, and (c) to do that he needs to espouse the virtue of humilitas (the opposite of ambitio saeculi--that is made explicit at 4.15.26 with the echo in the words `superbis resistis').

    in arte tua: Parallel expressions strongly suggest that this phrase marks the role of the second person of the trinity in giving to created things their particular beauty: vera rel. 31.57, `nam haec est illa incommutabilis veritas quae lex omnium artium recte dicitur et ars omnipotentis artificis'; lib. arb. 3.15.42, `ars ipsa per quam facta sunt omnia, hoc est summa et incommutabilis sapientia dei'; sim. at div. qu. 68., c. Faust.21.5, trin. 6.10.11-12, and civ. 11.7, `cognitio quippe creaturae in se ipsa decoloratior est, ut ita dicam, quam cum in dei sapientia cognoscitur, velut in arte qua facta est.' The present passage could thus be paraphrased, `I did not know that the point on which the whole subject depended was the role played by the second person of the trinity.' (For a more conservative view, see J. Stiglmayr, Zschr. Ask. u. Myst. 6[1931], 159-161.)

    qui facis mirabilia solus: Ps. 71.18, `benedictus dominus, deus Israhel, qui facit mirabilia solus'; en. Ps. 71.20, `quoniam quicumque faciunt, ipse in eis operatur qui facit mirabilia solus.' Ps. 135.4, `qui facit mirabilia magna solus'; en. Ps. 135.5 takes the rest of that Psalm as the gloss of verse 4: Ps. 135.5-10: `qui fecit caelos in intellectu . . . (6) qui firmavit terram super aquas . . . (7) qui fecit luminaria magna solus . . . (8) solem in potestatem diei . . . (9) lunam et stellas in potestatem noctis . . . (10) qui percussit Aegyptum cum primogenitis eorum quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius.'

    ibat: Passing through bodily forms implies an action that takes the mind outside itself: another sign of the disorder in this investigation, confirmed by 10.27.38, `et ecce intus eras et ego foris et ibi quaerebam, et in ista formosa quae fecisti deformis inruebam.'

    animus animus C D G O1 S Skut. Ver.:   animus meus O2 Knöll Maur.
    Cf. the similar case below.

    formas [2].

    aptum . . . adcommodatum: See on 4.13.20.

    definiebam et distinguebam: 10.14.22, `et quidquid de his disputare potuero dividendo singula per species sui cuiusque generis et definiendo'; the verbs imply (and slightly belittle) the technical activities of dialectic, and are common in that sense in the polemics with Julian (e.g., c. Iul. imp. 5.50, `ubi sunt definitiones tuae, quas tanta loquacitate distinguis?').

    ad animi naturam: Here is the sticking point in this `ascent' (as G-M saw ad loc.).

    ipsa vis veri: Authentic experience (of the truth [2]--made explicit at 4.15.25) was there, if only he were capable of it. The imagery echoes that of the Platonic cave, with an ironic twist upon A.'s concupiscentia oculorum: his vision fails him, for as he struggles to see he fails to see that which he most seeks.

    incorporea: BA 13.451n1 suggests the a)sw/maton of Porphyry, sent. 19, 35, 37; cf. Courcelle, Les Confessions 52n1, putting this text beside 7.10.16, `reverberasti infirmitatem', and 7.17.23 `repercussa infirmitate', from the two ecstasies of Bk. 7: in the present passage A. hardly looks in the right direction at all before turning his eyes away voluntarily to corporeal things.

    animum animum O1 S Skut. Ver.:   animum meum CDGO2 Maur. Knöll

    inque illa unitatem: The doctrine presented here is the exact reverse of A.'s mature trinitarian teaching. The difference is that between saying that `Oneness is God' and `God is Oneness.' That A. made his way from the first to the second of those positions at least in part through the mediation of Plotinus should not be surprising. The first formulation entails a harsh reading of `Duality', a sign to him later of the deficiencies of this analysis.

    deus meus, ex quo sunt omnia: God the creator; see on 1.2.2 for this conflation of 1 Cor. 8.6 and Rom. 11.36. The scriptural echo says concisely and authoritatively, without becoming didactic and prosy, what the mature A. believes true doctrine is and how it is known (i.e., from scripture), in contradiction to the error under review.

    `monadem' . . . `dyadem': The distinction had roots in Pythagoreanism (E. R. Dodds, CQ 22[1928], 129-142 at 135f; BA 13.672-673; Diels, Doxographi graeci 302a-b, 280a-b, and Porphyry vita Pyth. 38), and in Platonism (J. Dillon, The Middle Platonists [Ithaca, 1977], 3). Three African texts of the fifth century show the power of these ideas. The earliest in date is by A.'s own student at Carthage between 376 and 383 (cf. cura mort. 11.13), Favonius Eulogius, probably writing at Carthage between 390 and 410 (see R.-E. van Weddingen, in the prolegomena to his ed. of Favonius [Collection Latomus 27: Brussels, 1957], 5-8). His exposition of the monad and the dyad leads off his (very selective) commentary (Favonius, disp. 5-6); he was followed and criticized by Macrobius (as van Weddingen saw, and as A. Cameron's redating of Macrobius [JRS 56(1966), 24-38] confirms): see Macrob. somn. Scip. 1.6.7-9. Slightly later in date was Martianus Capella (A. Cameron, CP 81[1986], 320-328): see Mart. Cap. 7.731-732.

    A. was well-informed in this area (Solignac, RA 1[1958], 129-137); his enthusiasm resembles that Cicero expressed, notably at Tusc. 4.1.2-4.2.4. For his praise of Pythagoras, from ord. to civ., see on 6.14.24. A few months after ord., A. wrote to Nebridius (ep. 3.2) of the monad, now linked to `intelligible number' (for numerus [2], see on 5.4.7), but the dyad does not appear. How far A. may have adapted the philosophical notion to his Manicheism is suggested by the speculations of Brown 52: `When Augustine wrote a treatise of aesthetics at the age of 26, he will reflect, in an acceptable, classical form, this exotic and potent [Manichean] myth. Here again, the Good is a “monad”, “like a mind without the tension of male and female”; while it is evil that is active, “a divided thing”, “reasonless”, “anger and lust”.' Just as the mature, orthodox A. presents us Christianity in dress that is often Ciceronian and always marked by a native Latin gravitas, so also the present passage makes it likely that his arguments on behalf of Manicheism would have had a comparably reassuring classical sobriety. To have heard A. the Manichee preach his creed would not have been as exotic as a modern catalogue of their doctrines might lead us to expect.

    sexu sexu O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   sensu C D G
    G-M: `This is doubtless the right reading . . . cf. Macrob. somn. Scip. 1.6.7, “unum autem, quod monas, id est unitas, dicitur, et mas idem et femina est.”'; see Solignac, at BA 13.672-673, quoting Nicomachus of Gerasa, while Katô, REAug 12(1966), 235-238, situates the notion of sexless mind in the Manichean tradition.

    nec ullam substantiam . . . incommutabile bonum: See vera rel. 30.56-31-57, partially quoted on `in arte tua' above.

    From here to 4.16.29, `mutability' and `immutability' become important for the first time in conf.; they then disappear until 7.1.1 (see on that passage for parallels), when the immutability of God reappears as the one sure thing that A. had held on to through all his wanderings.

    text of 4.15.25


    facinora . . . flagitia: See on 3.8.16. Here the pattern is also trinitarian: `facinora' (ambitio saeculi--`se iactat insolenter et turbide', as regards the animus), `flagitia' (concupiscentia carnis--`carnales . . . voluptates', as regards the anima), and `errores et falsae opiniones' (curiositas--affecting the mens rationalis). The addition to the pattern here is curiositas, whose errores are what hold him back. The de pulchro et apto thus comes to embody all of A.'s failings: his hankering after the beauty of this world, his longing to be thought great in the eyes of men, and his eagerness to have all the answers.

    rationalis mens: The existing literature on A.'s terminology involving `mind' and `soul' and similar concepts does not detect a systematic pattern of their employment in A. (see G. J. P. O'Daly, Aug.-Lex. 1.315-316, summarizing his Augustine's Philosophy of Mind 7-8). The triad animus/anima/mens rationalis does not occur in the tables of the standard works on A.'s triadic trinitarian theology (e.g., du Roy). BA 16.581-583 has a general note à propos of trin. 8.6.9, on his `terminologie . . . assez flottante' : Anima is `le principe vital', sentient life that is, i.e., common to beasts and animals; it is invisible, but can be known by the senses. Animus is the human soul as opposed to the animal, a spiritual substance, source of intellectual and rational knowledge, but it is also the locus of memory and imagination. Mens is much the vaguest in his usage, creeping in and out of trin. according to convenience (O'Daly Aug.-Lex. 316: `The mind . . . is a “pars animi”, viz. its best part. . . . “Animus” can, however, also be reserved for “mind.”'). Spiritus is `plus difficile à définir'; it lends itself to trichotomies such as spiritus/anima/corpus (cf. Pauline pneu=ma, yuxh/, sw=ma at 1 Thess. 5.23), and scriptural data confuse the issue (e.g., Gn. litt. 12.7.18, `dicitur spiritus [from Eccles. 3.21 just quoted there] et ipsa mens rationalis, ubi est quidam tamquam oculus animae'). Gn. litt. 12.24.51 rouses a whole school of controversies: probably representing a Porphyrian tripartition of the soul, implying a hierarchy mens/spiritus/anima, where animus could substitute for spiritus. That passage has acquired a separate literature (see BA 16.581-583 and 49.559).

    There is no other discussion by A. of mens rationalis as such (4.15.24, metaphorically at 12.15.20). The phrase is not uncommon and is as ill-defined as mens alone: earliest lib. arb. 2.6.13, most interesting s. 145.2 (poss. contemporary with conf.), `anima humana, hoc est, mens rationalis ad imaginem dei facta'; anima and mens rationalis equated also at Io. ev. tr. 23.5-6, with the qualification that the mens rationalis is a way of describing the specifically human anima (implicitly at c. Max. 2.25, gr. et lib. arb. 13.25, en. Ps. 118. s. 18.4, though those passages may only specify the mens rationalis itself as the distinguishing feature of man); at persev. 24.67, is it a part of the anima: `sive animam sive in ipsa anima mentem rationalem', as at en. Ps. 145.5; cf. Gn. litt. 8.25.47).

    Investigation into sources does not take precedence over careful attention to the patterns A. himself uses, nor should patterns from one place in his work be forced onto another passage. Here the trinitarian analogy applies in the first instance to the categories of sin (as so often in conf.) and the other terms are employed in the first instance because of their applicability to each category of sin, without a priori reference to a notion of trinitarian appropriateness for them here.

    alio lumine: Anticipated by 4.15.24, `et inruebat in oculos ipsa vis veri', now made explicit.

    particeps veritatis [2]: Sim. at 7.9.14 (in the wake of reading the platonicorum libri and of `reading' Jn. 1) and 7.19.25 (of the errors in his Christology at the time when he had read the platonicorum libri and undertook the `ascents' of Bk. 7).

    non est ipsa natura veritatis: i.e., he wrongly identified `Mind' and `Truth'; cf. 4.15.24.

    quoniam tu inluminabis: There begins here an important concatenation of scripture at an important moment, giving weight and substance to the critique of his youthful book. (Jn. 1 texts recur at 7.9.13f--though there again they are texts that A. did not read at the time.)

    Ps. 17.29, `quoniam tu inluminabis lucernam meam, domine, deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas' (the verse also at 6.1.1, 7.1.2); en. Ps. 17.29, `nos enim peccatis nostris tenebrae sumus.' In the present context, the `literal sense' (if we may call it thus) of the citation is that the lucerna is the mind and that God, who gives it light, is not identical with mind--that refutes the false position reported at 4.15.24 and implied here. But the `allegorical sense' is that here in his life, that light lay in the future; that assertion about the future is repeated on the way to Bks. 6 and 7, but not again thereafter in the narrative--a sign of how we are to interpret the progress reported in Bk. 7. The beginning of Bk. 11 is in many ways a new beginning, and there in a stock-taking (11.2.2) A. speaks of the `primordia inluminationis tuae et reliquias tenebrarum mearum'. Thereafter he twice looks forward again to enlightenment in these terms: 11.25.32 and 13.8.9.

    domine. deus meus: The punctuation reflects A.'s reading of the underlying Psalm verse (cf. en. Ps. 17.29).

    de plenitudine tua: Jn. 1.16-17, `et de plenitudine eius nos omnes accepimus, et gratiam pro gratia. (17) lex enim per Moysen data est, gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est.'

    lumen verum: Jn. 1.9, `erat lumen verum quod inluminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum'; Io. ev. tr. 2.7, `intellegat caritas vestra: veniebat enim ad mentes informes, ad corda saucia, ad aciem animae lippientis. . . . quia et qui saucios habent oculos idonei sunt videre parietem inluminatum et inlustratum a sole; vel montem vel arborem, aut aliquid huiusmodi idonei sunt videre; et in alio inlustrato demonstratus illis ortus ille, cui videndo adhuc minus idoneam aciem gerunt. sic ergo illi omnes, ad quos Christus venerat, minus idonei erant eum videre.'

    quia in te . . . obumbratio: Jas. 1.17, `omne datum optimum et omne donum perfectum desursum est, descendens a patre luminum, apud quem non est transmutatio nec vicissitudinis obumbratio.' It is a patre luminum that provides the link to this phrase (as at 3.6.10, where see notes): God is both illuminated and illuminating. At civ. 11.21, the echo evokes eternity; at trin. 1.1.2, it suggests eternity's condition, immutability; while at Gn. litt. 5.18.36 (closest in date here), it signifies the unvarying serenity of divine knowledge (as against the morning and evening knowledge of creatures): `ipsi autem deo non audeo dicere alio modo innotuisse, cum ea fecisset, quam illo quo ea noverat ut faceret, apud quem non est commutatio nec momenti obumbratio.'

    text of 4.15.26


    conabar . . . repellebar: Courcelle, Les Confessions 45n2, rejects in advance the interpretation advanced here: `Mais il ne s'agit pas, cette fois [7.3.5], de contemplation proprement dite, non plus que IV, 15, 26.' The apt parallel is to the other passages Courcelle cites there, 7.10.16, `et inde admonitus redire ad memetipsum,' and 7.20.26, `repulsus sensi', of the two `ascents'; but see on 7.21.27, `conari', for the confirmation of the mystical quality of the verb here. Cf. also 5.10.20, `conaretur . . . repercutiebatur', and 10.42.67. The vocabulary of all the failed contemplative assents is that of attempt and grasping; Ostia (9.10.24-25), on the other hand, is a gift.

    repellebar: Cf. Ps. 42.2, `quia tu es deus meus, fortitudo mea; utquid me repulisti, et utquid tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?' Knauer 76n1 is unsure of the appositeness of this citation; the word itself is common in Psalm language: 43.10, 43.23, 59.3, 59.12, 73.1, 88.39, 93.14, 107.12, 118.10.

    quoniam superbis resistis: See on 1.1.1 for this thematic and familiar echo of Jas. 4.6 etc. (cf. `resistebas' below); here A. leaves it to the reader to supply the conclusion, `humilibus autem das gratiam' : once A. learned humility, the gift would come. A form of pride--ambitio saeculi--is the particular sin of Bk. 4 (see on 4.7.12); the same verse cited already at 4.3.5.

    adsererem . . . me id esse naturaliter quod tu es: A. alludes to his attempt to identify mens rationalis with the summum bonum (4.15.24), already criticized at 4.15.25.

    cum enim ego essem . . .: The implied criticism is deliberately presented as one that he should have seen and accepted at the time. By insisting that the mens rationalis was itself divine, he had implied that God shared his own mind's imperfection and perfectibility, hence its mutability.

    ventosae cervici: G-M: the `bold combination of metaphors . . . is probably deliberate.' Brown 205, `He had to return to a life which resembled only too closely the life of a minor public figure, such as he had rejected with great abruptness, in 386. His career in Milan had been a ventosa professio--“a puffed-up occupation” [c. acad. 1.1.3]; but it was easy for the life of an African bishop, also, to be a “puffed-up existence”, ventosa tempora' --ep. 23.6, `non enim cogito in ecclesiasticis honoribus tempora ventosa transigere, sed cogito me principi pastorum omnium rationem de commissis ovibus redditurum.'

    imaginabar formas corporeas: See on 4.15.24 for the place of phrases such as this in identifying the `vision' A. was seeking and finding at this time.

    nondum revertebar ad te: Cf. again 10.27.38, `et ecce intus eras et ego foris et . . . in ista formosa quae fecisti deformis inruebam'. Cf. Ps. 77.38-39, `ipse autem est misericors, et propitius fiet peccatis eorum, et non disperdet eos, et abundabit ut avertat iram suam et non accendet omnem iram suam, (39) et recordatus est quia caro sunt, spiritus vadens et non revertens' : see on 1.13.20. Cf. also Prov. 2.19, quoted at en. Ps. 77.24, of the via iniquitatis: `omnes qui ambulant in ea, non revertentur.' This is the pull that replaces vadens with ambulans in en. Ps. and here. Note also how this text mimics the anaphoric et-structure of the Psalm.

    nondum nondum C D G O Maur. Ver.:   non S (following the Psalter text) Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.

    a mea vanitate fingebantur ex corpore: sc. the phantasmata splendida (3.6.10) of his Manichean beliefs.

    parvulis: Mt. 11.25, `quia abscondisti haec a sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis'; 1 Cor. 3.1, `et ego fratres, non potui vobis loqui quasi spiritalibus, sed quasi carnalibus: tamquam parvulis in Christo' (for that verse, see on 13.13.14). Those echoes add a layer of self-criticism to the passage: `your parvuli, baptized citizens of the City of God, probably already knew better, and there I was, learned and clever, babbling nonsense.' See Van Bavel, Augustiana 7(1957), 256-257.

    fidelibus tuis: For the special sense, `baptized Christians', see on 2.3.6.

    civibus meis: i.e., `in civitate dei' : Vega finds that interpretation strained, and thinks that the earthly city, and specifically Thagaste, is in mind.

    garrulus: See on 1.4.4 for loquax of the Manichees; and see on 7.20.26 for the verb form, garrire.

    contendebam: G-M: `The construction is “contendebam magis quam confitebar”,' i.e., contendebam is the appropriate verb for `assert, allege, maintain' (OLD 6, but note other use `to contend in words', `to speak seriously or passionately'), hence it governs the first, false assertion; `confitebar' governs the second, true assertion: `contendebam substantiam errare magis quam confitebar [substantiam] deviasse.'

    coactam errare: G-M: `The reference is to the captivity of the light elements according to the Manichaean system.'

    et poena errare confitebar: G-M: `“and that my error was penal” (lit., “that I erred by reason of punishment”).' Cf. lib. arb. 3.18.52, `illa est enim peccati poena iustissima, ut amittat quisque quod bene uti noluit. . . id est autem ut . . . qui recte facere cum posset noluit amittat posse cum velit.'

    text of 4.15.27


    eram aetate: To take him literally this falls in the period 13 Nov. 380/2, when he had been back in Carthage teaching four or five years, two or three years before he left for Rome--and nearing the end of the `nine years' he spent as an adherent of the Manichees (see on 5.6.10--that period ended c. 382/3).

    corporalia figmenta: See 4.2.3, `figmentis'.

    dulcis [3] veritas [2]: See on 1.20.31 for the triple sequence dulcedo, honor, fiducia, where dulcedo looks to the world of sensible beauty to which concupiscence of the flesh is a disordered response.

    melodiam tuam: The metaphor has shifted from sight to hearing; cf. ep. 138.1.5, `universi saeculi pulchritudo, cuius particulae sunt quae suis quibusque temporibus apta sunt, velut magnum carmen cuiusdam ineffabilis modulatoris excurrat, atque inde transeant in aeternam contemplationem speciei qui deum rite colunt, etiam cum tempus est fidei.'

    gaudio gaudere propter vocem sponsi: Jn. 3.29, `qui habet sponsam, sponsus est; amicus autem sponsi, qui stat et audit eum, gaudio gaudet propter vocem sponsi'; Io. ev. tr. 13.12, `bene te humilas, merito non cadis, merito stas, merito audis eum, et gaudio gaudes propter vocem sponsi'; Io. ev. tr. 14.2, `qui enim vult gaudere de se tristis erit; qui autem de deo vult gaudere semper gaudebit, quia deus sempiternus est.' See also 11.8.10.

    erroris [2]: See on 4.15.25, `errores'.

    rapiebar: See on 4.12.18, `rape'.

    pondere [3] superbiae [1] meae: See on 13.9.10, `pondus meum amor meus'. All three temptations afflict him here.

    in ima decidebam: See on 2.3.6, `ima'.

    non enim dabas auditui meo gaudium et laetitiam: Ps. 50.10, `auditui meo dabis exsultationem et laetitiam, et exsultabunt ossa humilata' (Knauer 134 remarks the change from future to imperfect, balancing the change from positive to negative; hence the implication is a hopeful one of `not yet'); en. Ps. 50.13, `gaudebo audiendo te, non loquendo contra te. . . . feliciores sunt qui audiunt quam qui loquuntur. . . . inde . . . Iohannes ille Baptista, . . . ait, “qui habet sponsam, sponsus est; amicus autem sponsi stat et audit eum.” stantem se fecit et audientem, non cadentem et loquentem. . . . audistis auditum; ubi est exsultatio et laetitia? continuo sequitur: “stat et audit eum, et gaudio gaudet propter vocem sponsi. auditui meo dabis exsultationem et laetitiam, et exsultabunt ossa humilata.”'

    humilata: 4.15.26-27 are marked by humility (the implicit cure for A.'s illness), both expressis verbis and by implication from the scriptural texts and situations echoed.

    text of 4.16.28


    proderat: Recurs at first line of each of the last paragraphs of this book and twice more (4.16.29, 4.16.30 [2x], 4.16.31 [2x]). The question is left without explicit answer, save for the exasperation of `nimia perversitas!' at 4.16.31. Eccles. 2.15, `et dixi in corde meo, si unus et stulti et meus occasus erit, quid mihi prodest quod maiorem sapientiae dedi operam?'

    annos natus ferme viginti: A. turned 20 in Nov. 374. Bk. 3 dealt with the excitement of his nineteenth year (372/3) and left him in Carthage (no later than 375). The central section of Bk. 4 on the death of his friend comes from the year teaching back at Thagaste (375/6), while the treatment of the de pulchro et apto is carefully dated (4.15.27) to 380/2 (age c. 26/7). Now we revert in this flashback to a period not long after his reading of the Hortensius. The intellectual excitement and the intellectual achievement of that biographical moment bracket these two books of spiritual decline. There are few discussions of this chronological rearrangement (Mandouze 111n6, e.g., merely suggests that this emphasizes that A.'s philosophical training continued even while he was a Manichee neophyte--this hardly needs emphasizing here); see on 4.16.29 for one suggestion. The narrative here may be partly corroborated by sol. 2.12.22, where Ratio speaks of the existence of `aliquid in subiecto . . . ut in sole lux, ut in igne calor . . .' and Augustinus responds `ista quidem vetustissima nobis sunt et ab ineunte adulescentia studiosissime percepta et cognita.'

    aristotelica: Years later, Julian of Eclanum attacked A. with relish as the `Aristoteles Poenorum' (c. Iul. imp. 3.199); Courcelle, Recherches 247n1, assumes Julian has this passage in mind (note that J. refers to Monnica's `drinking problem' at c. Iul. imp. 1.68, and refers to conf. 5 at c. Iul. imp. 1.25). See also c. Iul. imp. 2.51, `quomodo ergo te ipsi saltem pelagiani intellecturi sunt, nisi prius ad scholas dialecticorum, ubicumque terrarum potuerint inveniri, propter haec discenda mittantur? an forte categorias Aristotelis, antequam tuos libros legant, eis exponens ipse lecturus es?' Other mentions of Arist. cat. at c. Iul. 1.4.12, 2.10.34, 2.10.37, 3.2.7, 5.14.51, and 6.20.64; and other attacks on A.'s dialectic at c. Iul. imp. 1.72 and 5.11 (Jul. calls A. `philosophaster Poenorum'); A. responds in kind at c. Iul. imp. 2.26. Others saw too much dialectic in A.: Maximus of Madaura (ep. 16.3) and Volusianus (ep. 135.1). Aristotle is the proverbially difficult philosopher at util. cred. 6.13 (`libros Aristotelis reconditos et obscuros').

    quaedam: See on 3.4.7, `cuiusdam Ciceronis'.

    decem categorias: The first work of the Aristotelian organon; its authenticity is not assured. The appeal of this work lay in its claim to comprehend all predication in its ten categories (see below on `loquentes de substantiis'). A. seems also to have known Aristotle's discussion of `future contingents' in his peri herm. 9 (c. Faust. 26.4-5: see H. Chadwick, Augustine [Oxford, 1986], 8).

    rhetor Carthaginiensis: We know none of A.'s academic teachers (see on 1.9.14, `in scholam'). Despite this hint of some philosophical guidance from a nameless professor at Carthage (we know nothing of the `alii qui docti habebantur'), A. was essentially self-taught. (Mandouze 466: `Ni la culture universitaire, ni plus tard la culture ecclésiastique ne devaient réussir à tuer en lui ce penchant pour les tranquilles audaces de l'autodidacte.')

    typho: At 7.9.13 (where see notes), this word again characterizes a man putting in A.'s hands a work of Greek philosophy; at 3.3.6, it characterizes A.'s own attitude at the moment when he is about to discover the Hortensius. In Bk. 4 the adjective also appears of A. himself at 4.14.23.

    magistris . . . depingentibus: Teachers draw in the dust at civ. 11.29 and already at Amb. exam. 6.4.23. What A. reads as a sign of intuition on his part is at the same time a fragment of the history of literacy. Where other students could approach the text only through the medium of oral discussion, A. had mastered the skills of purely textual manipulation.

    loquentes de substantiis: There are various ways of listing the categories. The list here: `de substantiis' (= substantia), `qualis sit' (= qualitas), `et statura' (= quantiatas), `cognatio' (= relatio), `ubi', `quando', `aut stet an sedeat' (= positio), `aut calciatus vel armatus sit' (= habitus), `aut aliquid faciat aut patiatur aliquid' (= actio/passio).

    How A. encountered this famous text is a puzzle. In the Aristotelian order (cat. 4.1b2-2a4, top. 1.9.103b20-23), the categories are: substantia (ou)si/a), quantitas (poso/ths), qualitas (poio/ths), relatio (pro/s ti), ubi (to/pos), quando (xro/nos), positio (kei=sqai), habitus (e(/cis), actio (pra/ttein), passio (paqei=n). Cf. trin. 5.7.8, for substantia, quantitas, qualitas, relatio, situs, habitus, quando, ubi, facere, pati.7 The Aristotelian order is reproduced in ps.-Aug. categoriae decem (144.17-19 Minio-Paluello) and in Cassiodorus (inst. 2.10--with some idiosyncratic variations). But there is another tradition, in Ps.-Archytas, Mart. Cap. 4.363f, Boethius (in Porph. isag. 1 and 2.1.4) and Chalcidius (in Tim. 305 [307.3-6 Waszink]), according to which quality is the first accident of substance, as here; see I. P. Sheldon-Williams, ed., Johannes Scottus Periphyseon Liber I (Dublin, 1968), 232n98. On the evidence of the order, therefore, A. is in the tradition from Porphyry and Chalcidius (and leading to Boethius): fully neo-Platonic (and for that matter Porphyrian more than Plotinian: C. Evangeliou, Aristotle's Categories and Porphyry [Leiden, 1988]). For a contrary view, see Minio-Paluello's ed. of the cat. dec. in Aristoteles Latinus 1.1-5 (Bruges-Paris, 1961), 129-75, with preface there lxxvii-xcvi; and Minio-Paluello, CQ 39 (1945), 63-74. Against Minio-Paluello (and Marrou 34, followed by BA 13.88) and with P. Hadot, Marius Victorinus (Paris, 1971), 187-8, we should doubt Cassiodorus' claim that Victorinus made a translation. Another order, close to the one given here, is in Quintilian (3.6.23): essentia, qualitas, quantitas, ad aliquid, ubi, quando, facere, pati, habere, keisthai (positio). Minio-P., art. cit. 65, says that Varro must have been the first translator, and that no other is known until 350, hence Quint. must/may depend on him or the Greek text or some doxographic source. That Varro may stand in this tradition requires us to pause long enough to remember the other revivals of his name and lore in A.'s lifetime: A. himself quotes him extensively (see Hagendahl for details), and Martianus Capella imitates him in more ways than one.

    an (sedeat): an G S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.:   aut C D O Ver.
    The aut must be reserved for connecting different categories; note that in the next phrase vel is used for connecting two examples of the same category. (There, only G substitutes aut for vel.)

    text of 4.16.29


    proderat: 4.16.28, 4.16.30 (2x), 4.16.31 (2x).

    simplicem atque incommutabilem: See on 2.6.13.

    illis . . . comprehensum: Here the pertinence of his youthful reading of Aristotle becomes clear: Aristotle had provided the theoretical instruments, themselves defective by virtue of his ignorance of the truth about God, that led years later to the failed attempt to come nearer to God through writing de pulchro et apto.

    falsitas: 4.1.1, `falsi atque fallentes'.

    ut terra spinas et tribulos pareret: Gn. 3.17-19, `maledicta terra in operibus tuis; in tristitia edes illam omnes dies vitae tuae; (18) spinas et tribulos edet tibi et edes foenum agri. (19) in sudore faciei tui edes panem tuum, donec convertaris in terram ex qua sumptus es, quia terra es et in terram ibis.' (Text from Gn. litt. 11.38.51; but at verse 18, pariet is attested from Gn. litt. 3.18.28 in place of edet; in verse 19, VL reads sudore regularly, but at sometimes [en. Ps. 7.16, 40.6, 84.7, s. 45.4] A. reads labore.) The subject is the punishment for original sin. The echo here sets the misery of the moment (mild intellectual confusion) in a wider context. Pricks and thorns also at 2.2.3 (post-paradise), 2.3.6 (libido). Cf. Gn. c. man. 2.20.30, `spinae ac tribuli sunt punctiones tortuosarum quaestionum aut cogitationes de provisione huius vitae: quae plerumque, nisi exstirpentur et de agro dei proiiciantur, suffocant verbum, ne fructificet in homine'; sim. at en. Ps. 102.17.

    text of 4.16.30


    Knauer 86 notes a change here: paragraphs 28-29 deal with the categories, 30-1 with the artes liberales. As far as substance goes, that is not a great change, for the artes and philosophy are intimately linked: see excursus below. The narrative effect is more interesting: the reading of Aristotle was specifically dated (see on 4.16.28), and cast the reader's attention back to an earlier period in A.'s life; the reading of the libri artium here described is not dated but leads back to the time of the de pulchro et apto. Given A.'s view of the disciplinae, this is a shorthand way of saying that his philosophical training had continued in anticipation of just the `ascent' that the de pulchro et apto attempted. (Cf. 2.3.8 for Monnica's confidence c. 370 that book-learning would draw A. to the church.)

    proderat: 4.16.28, 4.16.29, 4.16.31 (2x), and below here.

    artium quas liberales vocant: See on 4.1.1, `doctrinas . . . liberales'.

    nequissimus . . . servus: The artes are a specific against concupiscence of various sorts: see excursus.

    per me ipsum legi et intellexi: 4.16.28, `legi eas solus et intellexi'.

    gaudebam: (1) This joy antedates the frustrated longing for joy of 4.15.27, `cupiens et audire te et gaudio gaudere propter vocem sponsi, et non poteram'; (2) this joy is conditioned by the truth and certainty that were present in the libri artium, though A. did not know the source of that (as of all) truth at the time.

    dorsum . . . ad lumen: G-M adduce Plotinus, ou(/tw toi/nun kai\ h( tou= nou= o)/yis: o(ra=| me\n kai\ au(/th di' a)/llou fwto\s ta\ pefwtisme/na e)kei/nh| th=| pro/th| fu/sei, kai\ e)n e)kei/nois o)/ntos o(ra=|: neu/ousa me/ntoi pro\s th\n tw=n katalampome/nwn fu/sin h(=tton au)to\ o(ra|. The Platonic cave provides a no less apt parallel (see Courcelle, Les Confessions 51n4: cf. Plato rep. 7.514a-b). But cf. Jeremiah 2.27, `verterunt ad me tergum et non faciem'; for this text as a signpost of A.'s `paganism' , see on 2.3.6; and note that here (`sed non inde sacrificabam tibi'), A. specifies that his cleverness did not lead him to sacrifice to God--we should remember that the Jeremiah passage is taken as a sign of sacrifice directed elsewhere.

    et (ad ea): et ad ea G S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.:   ad ea C D O Ver.

    quidquid de arte loquendi . . . de numeris: Suggesting grammar, rhetoric, geometry, music, and arithmetic. (But dialectic may perhaps [see Marrou 189] be meant by `disserendi' and grammar and rhetoric subsumed in `loquendi'; then the only one of the seven missing is astronomy: but that subject has been on the table already at 4.3.4 - 4.3.6--another element binding Bk. 4 together.) Of A.'s own project for writing libri disciplinarum, mus. survives intact, and parts at least of treatises on grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic are possibly preserved. A.'s other lists (see Marrou 189) from ord. 2.12.35, 2.16.44, 2.18.47 (gram., dial., rhet., mus., geom., astro., phil.--omitting arithmetic), ord. 2.4.13, 2.5.14 (gram., dial., rhet., arith., mus., geom., astro.), quant. an. 33.72 (gram., dial., rhet., arith., mus., geom., astro.), and retr. 1.6 (gram., mus., dial., rhet., geom., arith., phil.--omitting astronomy) all manage to add up to seven; the present passage is perhaps meant to be suggestive rather than comprehensive. (There is another partial listing by implication at 10.9.16, comprising gram., dial., and rhet.)

    dispiciendi acumen: c. acad. 1.7.20, `a quibus [daemonibus] nos superari acumine ac subtilitate sensuum posse concedo, ratione autem nego' (cf. Hensellek, Anzeiger Akad. Wien 114(1977), 146-147); cf. ep. 9.3, `sensus acerrimus'; SLA s.v. acumen.

    sed non inde sacrificabam tibi: Ps. 53.8, `voluntarie sacrificabo tibi et confitebor nomini tuo, domine, quoniam bonum est'.

    fortitudinem . . . custodiebam: Ps. 58.10, `fortitudinem meam ad te custodiam, quia deus susceptor meus es'; en. Ps. 58. s. 1.18, `ego autem fortitudinem meam ad te custodiam; quia si recedo, cado; si accedo, fortior fio. . . . non habet ex se lumen, non habet ex se vires: totum autem quod pulchrum est in anima, virtus et sapientia est; sed nec sapit sibi. . . . est quaedam origo fonsque virtutis, est quaedam radix sapientiae, est quaedam, ut ita dicam, si et hoc dicendum est, regio incommutabilis veritatis; ab hac anima recedens tenebratur, accedens inluminatur. . . . ergo fortitudinem meam ad te custodiam: non a te recedam, non de me praesumam.'

    profectus sum . . . cupiditates: Lk 15.12-13, 30 (on the prodigal), `pater, da mihi portionem substantiae quae mihi contigit. et divisit illis substantiam. (13) et non post multos dies, congregatis omnibus, adolescentior filius peregre profectus est in regionem longinquam, et ibi dissipavit substantiam suam vivendo luxuriose. . . . (30) postquam filius tuus hic, qui devoravit substantiam suam cum meretricibus . . .' For `vivendo luxuriose' cf. here `meretrices cupiditates', but also above `nequissimus malarum cupiditatum servus'. See on 1.18.28, `in longinqua regione'; cf. 13.2.2, `in longinquam dissimilitudinem tuam'; civ. 9.17 (immediately after quoting Plotinus 1.6.8.), `si ergo deo quanto similior, tanto fit quisque propinquior, nulla est ab illo alia longinquitas quam eius dissimilitudo' --so finally cf. 7.10.16, `regio dissimilitudinis'.

    regionem: Best: `land' (in Latin NT = Gk. xw/ra): of an area larger than the civitas of Hippo, smaller than the provincia of Africa (s. Guelf. 1.8). The word with various attributive genitives in A. has attracted attention (esp. 7.10.16, `regio dissimilitudinis'), but the frequency of the word in various broadly congruent contexts in the years before conf. (later: appears much less often) should be underlined (even leaving aside an abundant variety of half-literal passages like s. Guelf. 9.1, `regio nostra, terra; regio angelorum caelum. venit ergo dominus noster ad istam regionem ex alia regionem: ad regionem mortis, de regione vitae: ad regionem laboris, de regione felicitatis'). The background is philosophic (see on `regio dissimilitudinis' at 7.10.16), reinforced by scripture, esp. Lk. 15.13 (echoed clearly as here and at 1.18.28 at: qu. ev. 2.33, 2.51; adn. Iob on 9.25, en. Ps. 24.5, 47.3, 118. s. 5.2, 118. s. 8.2, 123.9, 131.12, 138.5, 138.9, s. Caill. 2.11); A. Adam, Zschr. für Kirchengesch. 69(1958), 10-12, claimed without success a Manichee influence.

    For this use at Cassiciacum and shortly after: c. acad. 2.9.22, `quasi in regionem suae originis rediens triumphaturum de libidinibus . . . securior rediturus in caelum' (retr. 1.1.3, `iturus autem quam rediturus dixissem securius; . . . sine controversia ergo quaedam originalis regio beatitudinis animi deus ipse est'), beata v., 1.1, `in beatae vitae regionem' (as at beata v. 1.3 and s. Lam. 4), quant. an. 1.2, 13.22, lib. arb. 2.11.30, mag. 8.21. It is to be found irregularly in later years, and in increasingly Christianized expressions: c. Faust. 21.10 (`regionem dei'), util. ieiun. 5.7 (`namque et pagani ieiunant aliquando, nec regionem quo tendimus norunt'), Io. ev. tr. 22.3 (`quasi de regione infidelitatis ad regionem fidei'), trin. 10.5.7 (`in regionem incorporeae naturae'), Gn. litt. 12.26.54, (`regionem intellectualium vel intellegibilium' [see on 9.10.24-25 for this text on mystical vision]), Gn. litt. 12.34.65 (`omnis etiam spiritalis quasi regio ubi animae bene est merito paradisus dici potest'), en. Ps. 38.22, (`beatam illam regionem, beatam patriam, beatam domum, ubi participes sunt sancti vitae sempiternae atque incommutabilis veritatis'), s. 19.4 (`de regione felicitatis Christus venit': so civ. 20.21), c. Iul. imp. 3.161 (`in regione beatitudinis illius'). Elsewhere in conf.: 1.18.28 (`regionem longinquam'), 2.10.18 (`regio egestatis'), 4.12.18 (`regione mortis'), 7.7.11 (`media regio salutis meae'), 7.10.16 (`regio dissimilitudinis'), 9.10.24 (`regionem ubertatis indeficientis').

    non enim: G-M: `The force of the enim is somewhat obscure; probably it justifies “bona”: “(and how good a thing it was I did not know), for I was not aware that these works were understood with difficulty even by the diligent and clever until I endeavoured to explain them to pupils of ability, and found that the best of them could only follow my explanation somewhat slowly.”' The parentheses around the last sentence but one are new, then, as is the reduced punctuation after `sacrificabam tibi', leaving only one interposed sentence. Then res bona corresponds to donum tuum before the parenthesis, and poses the question afresh (as at the beginning of paragraphs 28, 29, 30, and 31). The force of the `enim' is thus that of `you see', explaining the grounds for putting the question again by reviving the problem posed before the parenthesis. The BA translation starts a new paragraph with non enim; other translators do not especially clarify the matter.

    ille excellentissimus: Knauer 46n1 thinks this was the friend whose death was reported at 4.4.7. This would bind up the book well (that episode is dated to 375/6, whereas at the beginning of 4.16.28 we are put back to 374/5; at 4.4.7 he tells us he introduced his friend to his Manichean ways: his school-friend would not improbably benefit from A.'s instruction in other ways), but cannot be proved on the faintness of this echo. Even if Knauer's suspicion is right, it is hard to see that we are meant by A. to entertain it.

    text of 4.16.

    Excursus on the liberales disciplinae

    Modern treatments of late antique education fail to convey adequately a sense of its mystical dimension, the way in which the training of the mind according to the enkyklios paideia was meant to bring about enlightenment. The best treatment is still, despite weaknesses, Marrou 187-327; a typical statement, from an author not at all disinclined to see in A. a doctrine of philosophical ascent, is R. J. O'Connell, St. Augustine's Early Theory of Man (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), 191: `The accent at Cassiciacum is, in the main, alarmingly intellectualistic, even more so than in certain passages of the Enneads. Part of the reason may be the influence of Varro . . ., an influence that threatens at times to flatten out Plotinian intellectualism into a kind of numerical rationalism.' Few seem to have considered that what seems to us flat numerical rationalism can be exalted by a Plotinian metaphysic into a high mystical practice. An important rectification of this neglect has been achieved by I. Hadot, Arts libéraux et philosophie dans la pensée antique (Paris, 1984), who demonstrates that the disciplinae in the form in which we have them are not the cadaver of an ancient system of `general education',8 but a sophisticated philosophical construction animated by neo-Platonic doctrines, with a particular role for the de regressu animae of Porphyry.9 A text of Cicero well illustrates the tradition that we have overlooked:

    Cic. cons. fr. 12M (= Lact. inst. 3.19.6), nec enim omnibus iidem illi sapientes arbitrati sunt eundem cursum in caelum patere: nam vitiis et sceleribus contaminatos deprimi in tenebras atque in caeno iacere docuerunt, castos autem [animos], puros, integros, incorruptos, bonis etiam studiis atque artibus expolitos leni quodam et facili lapsu ad deos, id est ad naturam sui similem pervolare.

    A revealing text from Cic. fin. shows the Epicurean Torquatus attacking the disciplinae as ineffective and useless: if, as is suggested below on 6.16.26, A. was (re-)reading Cic. fin. at Milan in 386, the attack hints, by what it criticizes, at the implicit purpose of his own enterprise a few months later:

    Cic. fin. 1.21.71-72, `qui quod tibi parum videtur eruditus, ea causa est, quod nullam eruditionem esse duxi nisi quae beatae vitae disciplinam iuvaret. (72) an ille tempus aut in poetis evolvendis [i.e., employing grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic], ut ego et Triarius te hortatore facimus, consumeret, in quibus nulla solida utilitas omnisque puerilis est delectatio, aut se, ut Plato, in musicis, geometria, numeris, astris [i.e., music, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy] contereret, quae et a falsis initiis profecta vera esse non possunt et, si essent vera, nihil afferrent quo iucundius, id est quo melius viveremus, eas ergo artes persequeretur, vivendi artem tantam tamque et operosam et perinde fructuosam relinqueret? non ergo Epicurus ineruditus, sed ii indocti, qui, quae pueros non didicisse turpe est, ea putant usque ad senectutem esse discenda.'

    Whether Hadot is correct in dissociating the disciplinae entirely from the patronage of Varro is doubtful; not only does the title of his work (disciplinarum libri: Cassiod. inst. 2.3.2) recur in A.'s own project (retr. 1.6 cited below), not only does Licentius' poem to Augustine begin with a decidedly `mystical' allusion to Varro's work (ep. 26., in which L.'s poem begins: `arcanum Varronis iter scrutando profundi | mens hebet adversamque fugit conterrita lucem' : on that poem, see A. Solignac, RA 1[1958], 121-123, and D. Romano, Letteratura e storia nell'età tardoromana [Palermo, 1979], 107-126), not only does A. speak of Varro in civ. as if he were a practitioner of whatever A. understood to be `liberal arts' (civ. 6.2, `ut in omni eruditione, quam nos saecularem, illi autem liberalem vocant, studiosum rerum tantum iste [Varro] doceat, quantum studiosum verborum Cicero delectat'), and not only does Claudianus Mamertus in the fifth century invoke a `mystical' Varro (de statu animae 2.9), but we have the literary filiation of the Menippean satire from Varro to two late antique enthusiasts of the disciplinae, Martianus and Boethius. The latter's consolatio is dedicated to demonstrating the ascent of the mind to God, and it is the culmination of the career of the writer who had written more widely and profoundly on the disciplinae than any other.

    Our evidence for a high view of the disciplinae in A. comes from a limited period: 386 to=391, between his decision to accept baptism and his ordination to the priesthood. But the ideas were not new or newly espoused in 386, and see on 4.13.20ff for the way the writing of the de pulchro et apto is congruent with the principles concretely attested from the later period. While direct evidence fades from view after vera rel. and ordination, there is no explicit contrary exposition until doctr. chr., following A.'s further ordination as bishop. Most important, there is no reason to think that these ideas about the liberal disciplines were in any essential way incompatible with the practice and belief of Christianity in A.'s time. Though he himself moved beyond them, that is at least in part because he believed that those ideas about the disciplinae were assimilated into and made less urgently necessary by the disciplina ecclesiae.

    No systematic treatment of the disciplinae survives from A.'s hand. Our most direct testimony comes in this sketchy paragraph written forty years after the fact:

    retr. 1.6,
    `per idem tempus quo Mediolani fui baptismum percepturus, etiam disciplinarum libros conatus sum scribere, interrogans eos qui mecum erant atque ab huiusmodi studiis non abhorrebant, per corporalia cupiens ad incorporalia quibusdam quasi passibus certis vel pervenire vel ducere. sed earum solum de grammatica librum absolvere potui, quem postea de armario nostro perdidi, et de musica sex volumina, quantum attinet ad eam partem quae rhythmus vocatur. sed eosdem sex libros iam baptizatus iamque ex Italia regressus in Africam scripsi, inchoaveram quippe tantummodo istam apud Mediolanium disciplinam. de aliis vero quinque disciplinis illic similiter inchoatis--de dialectica, de rhetorica, de geometrica, de arithmetica, de philosophia--sola principia remanserunt, quae tamen etiam ipsa perdidimus; sed haberi ab aliquibus existimo.'

    But progress in the disciplinae is everywhere a subject at Cassiciacum in ord., the most positive and prescriptive of the three dialogues (where c. acad. decries a false way and beata v. a true goal, ord. offers concrete guidance). From the outset of that treatise, the pursuit of the disciplinae is tied to the most elevated of goals:

    ord. 1.1.3, `cuius erroris maxima causa est, quod homo sibi ipse est incognitus. qui tamen ut se noscat, magna opus habet consuetudine recedendi a sensibus et animum in se ipsum conligendi atque in se ipso retinendi. quod hi tantum adsequuntur, qui plagas quasdam opinionum, quas vitae cotidianae cursus infligit, aut solitudine [cf. A.'s own sol., begun shortly after the dramatic date of ord.; and see on 10.43.70, `solitudinem'] aut liberalibus medicant disciplinis.'10

    The role of the disciplinae is part of an explicit exhortation to young Licentius, who showed great promise--whether he ever lived up to it or not:

    ord. 1.8.24, `nam eruditio disciplinarum liberalium modesta sane ac succincta et alacriores et perseverantiores et comptiores exhibet amatores amplectendae veritati, ut et ardentius appetant et constantius insequantur et inhaereant postremo dulcius, quae vocatur, Licenti, beata vita.'

    A. then advises him to moralize the story of Pyramus and Thisbe with a view to `foedae libidinis . . . exsecratio',11 and `in laudem puri et sinceri amoris, quo animae dotatae disciplinis et virtute formosae copulantur intellectui per philosophiam et non solum mortem fugiunt, verum etiam vita beatissima perfruuntur.' There the allegorization of a mythological love story approaches the aims and technique of Martianus Capella. On another day at Cassiciacum, A. shakes his head at the zeal Licentius shows for his verse-making, and seeks again to call him back: c. acad. 3.4.7, `ad istarum disciplinarum, quibus excoluntur animi, circulum [a semi-calque on e)gku/klios paidei/a] revocare vos cupio'.

    Programmatic statements continue (e.g., ord. 2.5.14, `talis enim eruditio . . . talem philosophiae militem nutrit vel etiam ducem ut ad summum illum modum [see on 1.7.12], ultra quod requirere aliquid nec possit nec debeat nec cupiat, qua vult evolet atque perveniat multosque perducat'), with the first hint of compromise with a less intellectual Christianity: ord. 2.5.15, `ego autem si quid meos monere possum, quantum mihi apparet quantumque sentio, censeo illos disciplinis omnibus erudiendos. . . . si autem aut pigriores sunt aut aliis negotiis praeoccupati aut iam duri ad discendum, fidei sibi praesidia parent, quo illos vinculo ad sese trahat atque ab his horrendis et involutissimis malis liberet ille qui neminem sibi per mysteria bene credentem perire permittit.' Religion so far appears only as the philosopher's safety-net, but its role will grow.

    The mystical remoteness of the goal and the ardor of its technique are emphasized (ord. 2.7.24, `a multitudinis vel suspicione remotissima disciplina'),12 while syncretism with Christianity is pressed further (ord. 2.8.25, `haec autem disciplina ipsa dei lex est'). Ambivalence continues:

    ord. 2.9.26, `ad discendum item necessario dupliciter ducimur, auctoritate atque ratione. tempore auctoritas, re autem ratio prior est. aliud est enim quod in agendo anteponitur, aliud quod pluris in appetendo aestimatur. . . . ad quam cognitionem in hac vita pervenire pauci, ultra quam vero etiam post hanc vitam nemo progredi potest. qui autem sola auctoritate contenti bonis tantum moribus rectisque votis constanter operam dederint aut contemnentes aut non valentes disciplinis liberalibus atque optimis erudiri, beatos eos quidem, cum inter homines vivunt, nescio quo modo appellem, tamen inconcusse credo, mox ut hoc corpus reliquerint, eos quo bene magis minusve vixerunt, eo facilius aut difficilius liberari.' 13

    That passage introduces A.'s most formal exposition of the invention of the disciplinae by reason, and the logic of their relations (ord. 2.12.35-2.15.43: detailed study at Hadot, 109-24). The section concludes with a fuller definition, marked by a triad of materia/species/motus (not in du Roy) and ending (ord. 2.16.44), `cum enim artes illae omnes liberales partim ad usum vitae partim ad cognitionem rerum contemplationemque discantur, usum earum assequi difficillimum est nisi ei qui ab ipsa pueritia ingeniosissimus instantissime atque constantissime operam dederit.'

    But then, in a way that would have ramifications right up to the writing of conf., he fundamentally undercuts everything he has just said by a long address, ord. 2.17.45-2.20.52, to Monnica. She is the great exception, the one who knows the essential things by direct experience that has no need for the disciplinae. See on 9.10.24 for further discussion of this role played by M. repeatedly in A.'s surviving works.

    We saw already how the soliloquia could be conceived as a complement in method to the disciplinae (ord. 1.1.3, quoted above). The praise of the disciplinae is strong through the second book of that work as well, with emphasis on the specific individual disciplines that train the mind (e.g., sol. 2.11.19, on grammar). A definition, transporting us to another level entirely from the ordinary modern sense of grammar, is then offered (sol. 2.12.22 [Ratio speaks]), `ita est aliquid in subiecto, ut ab eo nequeat separari, ut in hoc ligno forma et species quam videmus, ut in sole lux, ut in igne calor, ut in animo disciplina, et si qua sunt alia similia.' In other words, disciplina is to the animus as forma or species is to materia, or in other words again, as Logos is to the Father. This assimilation of related ideas is essential to the eventual neglect of the idealization of the disciplinae into A.'s Christianity. Given the identification of veritas with Christ familiar from Jn. 14.6, it is no less important when Ratio goes on (sol. 2.13.24), `est autem disciplina veritas et semper, ut in initio libri huius ratio persuasit, veritas manet. semper igitur animus manet'. On that view disciplina is itself the sign of life in the soul. Thus the goal to which they aspire is correspondingly lofty: sol. 2.20.35 (Ratio), `tales sunt qui bene disciplinis liberalibus eruditi, siquidem illas sine dubio in se oblivione obrutas eruunt discendo et quodam modo refodiunt; non tamen contenti sunt nec se tenent, donec totam faciem veritatis, cuius quidam in illis artibus splendor iam subrutilat, latissime atque plenissime intueantur.' 14

    Quant. an. is of great importance documenting A.'s views on the mystical ascent of the mind to God at this early period. The disciplinae are not without their role: quant. an. 15.25, `nam et exercet animum hoc genus disciplinarum ad subtiliora cernenda ne luce illorum repercussus et eam sustinere non valens in easdem tenebras quas fugere cupiebat libenter refugiat, et adfert argumenta, nisi fallor, certissima, quibus quod fuerit inventum atque confectum impudentem habeat dubitationem, quantum homini talia vestigare permissum est.' Quant. an. 33.70-76 presents a fully worked-out pattern of ascent in seven stages (gradus): (1) vivification of the body; (2) life of the soul through the senses; (3) life of the mind; (4) detachment from the material world; (5) maintaining the self in detachment; (6) straining to achieve the final vision; (7) repose in that vision.

    The third stage is pertinent here, offering a long list of examples of the contents of the disciplinae (quant. an. 33.72): `tot artes opificum, agrorum cultus, exstructiones urbium, variorum aedificiorum ac moliminum multimoda miracula, inventiones tot signorum in litteris, in verbis, in gestu, in cuiuscemodi sono, in picturis atque figmentis, tot gentium linguas, tot instituta, tot nova, tot instaurata, tantum librorum numerum et cuiuscemodi monumentorum ad custodiendam memoriam . . . modulandi peritiam, dimetiendi subtilitatem, numerandi disciplinam, praeteritorum ac futurorum ex praesentibus coniecturam.' A.'s summary (at quant. an. 35.79) has already been quoted on 4.13.20.

    These ideas give context to the project conceived at Milan, when A. returned from Cassiciacum to take baptismal instruction, of writing libri disciplinarum. This is not a worn-out pedant displaying his expertise, but a serious undertaking by a mature man who sees in this prospect his own serious and original contribution to philosophical literature. The magnitude of the task he set for himself must be emphasized: to have acquired sufficient expertise to write in extenso all the disciplinae with the originality and thoughtfulness that characterize mus. would have been a heroic achievement not otherwise exampled in what we know of the ancient authors: Varro and Martianus Capella are the only comparandi. Further, he sees the ascent of the mind to God that these `disciplinae' make possible as closely related to the other union with God that his impending baptism will forge. Cult and culture are drawn intimately together.

    The attempt to identify surviving fragments of A.'s project has received much attention. See Marrou 570-579, and most recently V. A. Law, RA 19 (1984), 155-183, in favor of the ars breviata as representing A.'s gram. B. D. Jackson's ed. (Boston, 1975) of dial. makes a case on stylistic grounds there. For recent, measured, discussion, see U. Pizzani, Atti-1986 1.348-354; his distinction at 354 between works dealing with the trivium and the quadrivium (of which mus. is the only surviving example), with the former confined to jejune scholasticism while the latter expand more broadly into contemplative speculation, is the best argument to `save the phenomena', if the surviving fragments are to be taken as authentic and indicative. Doubts should remain; note that mus. as we have it is in dialogue form, a link with the literary projects of Cassiciacum that should not be minimized. From `interrogans eos' at retr. 1.6 it is possible to infer that the works were all to be in dialogue form; cf. retr. 1.4.1, describing sol.: `scripsi etiam duo volumina . . . me interrogans mihique respondens'. The sixth book of mus. is the place where the ordinariness of schoolbooks gives way to something different--a difference that has perplexed many modern readers into a patronizing disdain for A.'s willingness to lump odd philosophical speculation into a treatise whose main use ought to be--if the advantage of modern readers is the primary consideration--conveying accurate information about ancient notions of music.15 The sixth book begins (mus. 6.1.1) by saying that the preceding five books:

    `non ob aliud suscipiendum putavimus nisi ut adolescentes vel cuiuslibet aetatis homines quos bono ingenio donavit deus non praepropere, sed quibusdam gradibus a sensibus carnis atque a carnalibus litteris, quibus eos non haerere difficile est, duce ratione avellerentur, atque uni deo et domino rerum omnium, qui humanis mentibus nulla natura interposita praesidet [see on 10.6.10] incommutabilis veritatis amore adhaerescerent. . . . nam turba cetera de scholis linguarum tumultuantium, et ad plaudentium strepitum vulgari levitate laetantium, si forte inruerit in has litteras, aut contemnet omnes, aut illos quinque libros sufficere sibi arbitrabitur: istum vero in quo fructus illorum est, vel abiiciet quasi non necessarium, vel differet quasi post necessarium.16 reliquos vero qui ad ista intellegenda eruditi non sunt, si sacramentis christianae puritatis inbuti, in unum et verum deum summa caritate nitentes, cuncta puerilia transvolaverunt, fraterne admoneo ne ad ista descendant, et cum hic laborare coeperint, de tarditate sua conquerantur, ignorantes itinera difficilia et molesta pedibus suis, volando se posse etiam ignorata transire. si autem ii legunt qui et infirmis aut inexercitatis gressibus hac ambulare non possunt et nullas pietatis alas habent, quibus ista neglecta praetervolent, non se inserant inconvenienti negotio; sed praeceptis saluberrimae religionis et nido fidei christianae pennas nutriant, quibus subvecti laborem ac pulverem huius itineris evadant, magis ipsius patriae quam viarum flexuosarum amore flagrantes. his enim haec scripta sunt, qui litteris saecularibus dediti, magnis implicantur erroribus, et bona ingenia in nugis conterunt, nescientes quid ibi delectet. quod si animadverterent, viderent qua effugerent illa retia et quisnam esset beatissimae securitatis locus.'

    The development of that book follows lines that should by now be familiar (notably the warning against sexual impurity at mus. 6.11.33), and it ends (mus. 6.17.59) much as it begins.

    It has been suggested that one other surviving work may be related to the project of the libri disciplinarum: mag., viewed in this way as an introductory treatise expounding for beginners the underlying philosophy, of course heavily Christianized--the main argument of the work is that Christ is the only true magister. On that reading, the following passage is of interest, not only for what it says about the disciplinae but for its connections to the vocabulary of the mystical ascent familiar from conf. 7 and the discussion of interior veritas from 10.6.10 (`intus cum veritate conferunt'):

    mag. 14.45-46, `num hoc magistri profitentur, ut cogitata eorum ac non ipsae disciplinae quas loquendo se tradere putant percipiantur atque teneantur? nam quis tam stulte curiosus est, qui filium suum mittat in scholam ut quid magister cogitet discat? at istas omnes disciplinas quas se docere profitentur ipsiusque virtutis atque sapientiae [cf. 1 Cor. 1.24] cum verbis explicaverint, tum illi qui discipuli vocantur, utrum vera dicta sint, apud semetipsos considerant, interiorem scilicet illam veritatem pro viribus intuentes. . . . (46) sed de tota utilitate verborum, quae si bene consideretur non parva est, alias, si deus siverit, requiremus.17 nunc enim ne plus eis quam oportet tribueremus, admonui te, ut iam non crederemus tantum sed etiam intellegere inciperemus quam vere scriptum sit auctoritate divina, ne nobis quemquam magistrum dicamus in terris, quod unus omnium magister in caelis sit. [Mt. 23.8-10: cf. conf. 11.8.10]'

    Equally telling is mag. 8.21, `dabis igitur veniam, si praeludo tecum non ludendi gratia, sed exercendi vires et mentis aciem, quibus regionis illius, ubi beata vita est, calorem ac lucem non modo sustinere, verum et amare possimus.'

    There are other texts that evince the preoccupation with the disciplinae, esp. two passages from letters to Nebridius that must be dated to the period before A.'s priestly ordination in 391. The first has a notably Christianized notion of disciplina set in a trinitarian context, without losing the connection to the educational program: ep. 11.4, `species quae proprie filio tribuitur, ea pertinet etiam ad disciplinam et ad artem quandam, si bene hoc vocabulo in his rebus utimur, et ad intellegentiam qua ipse animus rerum cogitatione formatur. itaque quoniam per illam susceptionem hominis id actum est, ut quaedam nobis disciplina vivendi et exemplum praecepti sub quarundam sententiarum maiestate ac perspicuitate insinuaretur, non sine ratione hoc totum filio tribuitur. . . . ergo disciplina hominibus erat necessaria, qua inbuerentur [sacramental: see on 8.2.4, `imbutus'] et qua ad modum formarentur [philosophical, but also linked to sacramental initiation: see on 1.11.18, `effigiem'].' The mode of instruction is then found in the incarnation; in ep. 12., A. said the same thing more concisely: `disciplina ipsa et forma dei, per quam facta sunt omnia quae facta sunt, filius nuncupatur. quidquid autem per susceptum illum hominem gestum est, ad eruditionem informationemque nostram gestum est.'

    The last work containing this association of ideas concerning the disciplinae in a form recognizably continuing that of Cassiciacum is vera rel., written at Thagaste before A. was ordained at Hippo in 391. Here the integration of the idea into an ecclesiastical setting is almost complete, especially with reference to sacramental practice. vera rel. 17.33, `iam vero ipse totius doctrinae modus, partim apertissimus, partim similitudinibus in dictis, in factis, in sacramentis ad omnem animae instructionem exercitationemque adcommodatus quid aliud quam rationalis disciplinae regulam implevit? nam et mysteriorum expositio ad ea dirigitur quae apertissime dicta sunt, et si ea tantum essent quae facillime intelleguntur, nec studiose quaereretur nec suaviter inveniretur veritas, neque si essent in scripturis et in sacramentis non essent signacula veritatis, satis cum cognitione actio conveniret.' Later in the 390s A. still linked the disciplinae to the second element in his trinitarian triads: cf. div. qu. 38., `natura [1] disciplina [2], usus [3]' (see du Roy 299n2) and doctr. chr. 2.40.60 (on `Egyptian gold'), `sed etiam liberales disciplinas usui veritatis aptiores et quaedam morum praecepta utilissima continent' --with the disciplinae culminating in philosophia.

    In after years, A. was more reserved, as the passages already cited from retr. have indicated. Writing in 408/9 to Memor, the father of the Julian who would become the bane of A.'s old age, A. introduced his friend and eventual biographer Possidius as (ep. 101.1) `non litteris illis quas variarum servi libidinum liberales vocant, sed dominico pane nutritus': now the disciplinae have been linked with concupiscentia, where before (e.g., ord. 2.16.44) they were a way of overcoming it. Memor sought from A. a course in the Christian liberal arts for his son, but A. was no longer so enthusiastic, and he wrote in the body of the letter (ep. 101.2), `quid enim aliud dicendum est eis, qui cum sint iniqui et impii, liberaliter sibi videntur eruditi, nisi quod in litteris vere liberalibus legimus: “si vos filius liberaverit, tunc vere liberi eritis?” [Jn. 8.36] . . . non ergo illae innumerabiles et impiae fabulae quibus vanorum plena sunt carmina poetarum ullo modo nostrae consonant libertati [gram.], non oratorum inflata et expolita mendacia [rhet.], non denique ipsorum philosophorum garrulae argutiae [dial.], qui vel deum prorsus non cognoverunt . . . “et servierunt creaturae potius quam creatori.” [Rom. 1.21-25: see on 7.9.14] absit omnino ut istorum vanitates et insaniae mendaces [insaniae mendaces at 6.11.18, 8.2.4, 9.2.2], ventosae nugae ac superbus error recte liberales litterae nominentur'. Truly liberales disciplinae may still be envisioned, but A. seems to have lost any expectation of finding them among the practitioners of his old profession. He is willing to pass on a copy of mus., but purports to have a somewhat disdainful view of its contents (ep. 101.3): `initio nostri otii cum a curis maioribus magisque necessariis vacabat animus, volui per ista quae a nobis desiderasti scripta proludere, quando conscripsi de solo rhythmo sex libros'. But even at this date, he singles out the function of the sixth book (ep. 101.4): `sextum sane librum quem emendatum repperi, ubi est omnis fructus ceterorum' (echoing mus. 6.1.1, quoted above).

    In summary: Everything A. wrote from his conversion in 386 down to but not including vera rel. on the threshold of ordination can be interpreted either as anti-Manichean or pro-disciplina. Vera rel., the first work since Cassiciacum to carry a dedication--and dedicated to the same man as c. acad. (Romanianus)--marks a genuinely new start for A. But in the period 386/91, A. left a body of work that makes unambiguously clear that his expectations of the liberales disciplinae were high ones, at least philosophical and better to be described as mystical, expectations that he demonstrably shared with a near-contemporary with whom he has little else in common: where A. writes of the disciplinae in connection with his own baptism, Martianus can now be seen linking them to the theurgical cult practices of neo-Platonism (see D. Shanzer A . . . Commentary on Martianus . . . Book 1 [Berkeley, 1986]).

    What should be borne in mind is the triad of fifth-century writers: Augustine, Macrobius, Martianus Capella. All perhaps Africans (on Macrobius, see Cameron, JRS 56 [1966], 24-38), none having anything overtly to say about the others, but all in some way in dialogue. If A.'s civ. is a response at a distance to the ideas of Cicero's rep. (expressly targeted in civ. 2 and reprised in civ. 19, and cf. civ. 22.28 for a tripartite dialogue of Aug. and C. with Plato's rep.!), it is at least a coincidence that we have Macrobius, writing perhaps c. 430, giving us a sustained imitation of Cicero's rep., animated by an ethos directly opposed to the Christian view of A. Given that relationship, it is then even more striking that we should have in A. and Martianus (Martianus' work dates, if we follow Shanzer 29-44 but do not accept all S.'s most tendentious arguments, to the mid-fifth century, 430/80: see A. Cameron, CP 81[1986], 320-328) two eager readers and imitators of Varro. That A. imitates sober, learned Varro and Martianus imitates satiric Varro should not confuse us: Apuleius had already shown that learning, satire, and mysticism may coexist in a single work (see now J. Winkler, Auctor & Actor [Berkeley, 1985]), and the first two qualities, at least, demonstrably coexisted in Varro.

    text of 4.16.31


    proderat: 4.16.28, 4.16.29, 4.16.30 (2x), and below here. The rhetorical question finally offers a concise statement of the Manichean doctrine he entertained at the time, emphasizing the wrongness in his view of God. The only answer is the exclamation `nimia perversitas!'

    corpus esses lucidum et immensum: Cf. Io. ev. tr. 102.4, `homo animalis sic audit quaecumque audit de dei natura, ut aliud quam corpus cogitare non possit, quamlibet amplissimum vel immensum, quamlibet lucidum ac speciosum, corpus tamen.'

    perversitas: Cf. in this paragraph `aversi . . . perversi . . . revertamur . . . evertamur' within a space of ten words below.

    confiteri . . . tuas: Cf. on 1.15.24, `in confitendo tibi miserationes tuas' (echoing Ps. 106.8, etc.); and compare 5.1.1, `et confiteatur tibi miserationes tuas'.

    latrare adversum te: Jdt. 11.15, `ego adducam te per mediam Hierusalem et habebis omnem populum Israhel sicut oves quibus non est pastor, et non latrabit vel unus canis contra te.' Cf. 9.4.11, `ex quibus [manichaeis] fueram, pestis, latrator amarus et caecus'; Manichees are also caeci latratores at mor. 1.19.36.

    nodosissimi libri enodati: He seeks the same cleverness of Faustus: 5.6.10, `si qua forte maiora quaererem enodatissime expedirentur'.

    in doctrina pietatis errarem: The same measure employed at 5.5.8 (`doctrinam religionis') and 5.5.9 (`doctrinae pietatis formam').

    parvulis: See on 4.15.26, `parvulis'.

    ut in nido . . . nutrirent: Ps. 83.4, `etenim passer invenit sibi domum et turtur nidum sibi ubi ponat pullos suos'; cf. Job 39.26 (VL), `numquid in sapientia tua plumescit accipiter, expansis pennis immobilis, respiciens ad austrum'; adn. Iob on 39.26, `sicut in sapientia dei, quae est Christus, novus homo paulatim innovatur, conversationem habiturus in caelestibus'. (Plumesco only here in Vg.) Knauer 86-88 suggests Mt. 23.37, `quoties volui congregare filios tuos [Hierusalem], quemadmodum gallina congregat pullos suos sub alas.' s. 51.5.6, `ego autem miser, cum me ad volandum idoneum putarem, reliqui nidum, et prius cecidi quam volarem. sed dominus misericors me, a transeuntibus ne conculcarer et morerer, levavit, et in nido reposuit.'

    in velamento alarum tuarum: Ps. 60.5, `cooperiar in velamento alarum tuarum'; Ps. 16.8, `in tegmine alarum tuarum protege me'; Ps. 35.8, `filii autem hominum in protectione alarum tuarum sperabunt'; Ps. 56.2, `in umbra alarum tuarum sperabo'; Ps. 62.8, `et in velamento alarum tuarum exsultabo'; Ps. 90.4, `et sub alis eius sperabis'. Knauer 87: `Diese Psalmenverse sind also völlig miteinander verschmolzen'; he cites (in lieu of numerous passages in en. Ps. in the same vein) ep. 148.4.13, `nam de membris dei, quae assidue scriptura commemorat, ne quisquam secundum carnis huius formam et figuram nos esse crederet similes deo, propterea eadem scriptura et alas habere deum dixit, quas nos utique non habemus. sicut ergo, alas cum audimus, protectionem intellegimus . . . et si quid aliud eadem scriptura tale commemorat, puto spiritaliter intellegendum'. The nest is the Church, in whose protection the little one finds himself (cf. en. Ps. 83.7). Cf. the treatment of the same image at 10.4.6 (`id [verbum tuum facere] ago sub alis tuis . . .')

    usque ad canos tu portabis: Is. 46.4, `usque ad senectam ego ipse et usque ad canos ego portabo, ego feci et ego feram et ego portabo et salvabo [dicit deus].' Sirach 6.18, `fili, a iuventute tua excipe doctrinam et usque ad canos invenies sapientiam.' The faintest of reminders of the search for sapientia under way, and fruitless, since 3.4.7 (Hortensius).

    tu portabis tu portabis C D G O Ver.:   tu portabis tu portabis S Knöll Skut. Vega Pell.

    infirmitas: Returns as leit-motif of Bk. 10 (10.3.4, 10.4.6, 10.35.57); Mt. 4.23, `Iesus sanans omnem languorem et omnem infirmitatem'.

    bonum nostrum: Cf. 4.15.24, `non enim noveram . . .'

    revertamur: See on 4.15.26, `spiritus ambulans non revertebar ad te'.

    tu ipse es: Cf. Ps. 101.28 (see on 7.21.27), `tu vero idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficient'; other echoes at 7.20.26, 7.21.27, 8.3.6, 10.4.6.

    timemus timemus O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   timebimus C D G

    redeamus: See on 1.18.28.

    non ruit domus nostra: Cf. 11.31.41 (end of book), `humiles corde sunt domus tua . . . et non cadunt quorum celsitudo tu es.' So here `aeternitas tua' looks ahead to Bk. 11 as a whole. Is this `house' the eternal home of the pre-existent soul? So R. J. O'Connell, Atti-1986 2.48, identifying it further with the caelum caeli of 12.2.2 (for O'Connell's thesis, see on 1.6.7).


    Exceptions have been noted only for Athens: A. Müller, Philologus 69(1910), 299.


    That latter work reflects his reading of conf. in its sections 50, 200, and 247--the last of which containing a reference to conf. 6.3.3 unnoticed in the editions of Nietzsche, but already remarked by E. Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa (ed. 5, Stuttgart, 1958), Nachträge 1.3.


    Perhaps German intellectuals should not take to the Confessions for light reading: B. Brecht, Tagebücher 1920-1922 (Frankfurt, 1975), 212: `Ich lese aus Mangel an Schundromanen die Bekenntnisse des Augustinus . . . Sehr komisch ist bei ihm die so typische Haltung aller Gelehrten ihren Entdeckungen gegenüber: eine eifersüchtige, geizige, ja schadenfrohe Haltung. Er behandelt seine Religion wie sein Steckenpferd.' (Adduced by R. Herzog, in K. Stierle et al., Das Gespräch [Munich, 1984], 237n98.)


    inlustrios here in CCSL is a typographical error.


    This is the scriptural verse that the student Licentius was heard singing in an indecorous place at ord. 1.8.22.


    Philocalia perhaps first in Latin here.


    For evidence that A. used the work wittingly in his imm. an., see du Roy 178n2.


    French scholars, esp. Marrou, make the disciplinae sound suspiciously like the studies for the baccalauréat; others evoke a good public school, a small liberal arts college, or a rigorous Gymnasium, according to taste.


    D.J. O'Meara, Pythagoras Revived (Oxford, 1989) opens doors beyond Hadot into the history of late antique Platonism, especially that `flat numerical rationalism', through which we will learn more and more in this vein. Of interest as well is the essay of U. Pizzani, Atti-1986 1.331-361 (n.b. Cic. rep. 3.2.3, quoted in parallel with ord. at 343).


    This passage attracted, forty years later, a reproachful word in retr. 1.3.2, `displicet mihi . . . quod multum tribui liberalibus disciplinis, quas multi sancti multum nesciunt, quidam etiam qui sciunt eas sancti non sunt.'


    Thus in the text here, `nequissimus malarum cupiditatum servus' describes the condition the artes are expected to treat; cf. ord. 2.16.44.


    The text of ord. from this point to 2.18.48 has been studied by Hadot 101-36, detailing the Platonic resonances of this central text. The greatest weakness of H.'s treatment of A. is that she does not go beyond those explicit and programmatic pages to document the presence of the doctrine elsewhere in A.'s early thought.


    Hadot 103 shows that this paragraph resembles civ. 10.29, a recognized fragment of Porphyry, de regressu animae; cf. ord. 2.11.31, `nam ut progressus animae usque ad mortalia lapsus est, ita regressus esse in rationem debet.'


    This passage attracted comment at retr. 1.4.4, `item quodam loco dixi quod “disciplinis liberalibus . . . refodiunt.” sed hoc quoque improbo. credibilius est enim propterea vera respondere de quibusdam disciplinis etiam imperitos earum, quando bene interrogantur, quia praesens est eis, quantum id capere possunt, lumen rationis aeternae, ubi haec immutabilia vera conspiciunt, non quia ea noverant aliquando et obliti sunt, quod Platoni vel talibus visum est. contra quorum opinionem, quantum pro suscepto onere dabatur occasio, in libro duodecimo de trinitate disserui [trin. 12.15.24].'


    It also drove Marrou 580-583 to an unnecessary hypothesis about two editions of the work. Ancient works that scandalize the expectations of even great scholars often get rewritten this way.


    This prophecy has surely proved accurate.


    Where? In the libri disciplinarum? As it turned out, this task is most nearly performed, in a different spirit, by doctr. chr.

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