Book Eleven

Bks. 11-13 offer the most perplexing structural problems for students of conf. A.'s only comment elsewhere is retr. 2.6.1, `a primo usque ad decimum de me scripti sunt, in tribus ceteris de scripturis sanctis, ab eo quod scriptum est: “in principio fecit deus caelum et terram,” usque ad sabbati requiem.' 1 That there is a change in subject of some sort is obvious, a change confirmed by the interesting observation of Knauer 68n1, that from here to the end the word salus occurs only once (at 13.18.22, in an echo of Rom. 13.11), after appearing 44x in the first ten books (and see on 11.2.4 for similar evidence for exaudire and misereri). The difficulty of these books has often led to their neglect.2

This is a turning point. The speaking voice and that of which it speaks become now unequivocally present. That present-ness foreshadows eternity, but for fallen creation that present-ness can only be found by reaching into the `future' --every attempt in Bk. 10 to reach the present ends by slipping into memory--the past--again. Here A. leaves memory to live in the present.

The embarrassment of moderns attempting to understand the structure and working of the text from here on is thus not surprising, for the reorientation required is considerable. Where before the reader could remain a voyeur looking curiously, side by side with A., at A.'s past, now the reader is urged to share A.'s exploration of the nature of God, and of himself--but not in the sense that the reader is expected to go away and recreate certain actions and emotions after reading the text: the reading of the text is itself the participation. A. does not turn his back on the intellectual ascent of the mind to God; he now pursues it in a different way.

To assist in the detection and interpretation of structures, the following observations may be offered:

(1) The first ordering principle is the sequential exegesis of the creation narrative of Genesis, carried through all three books (but the bulk of the text is expounded only in Bk. 13). This text is the third of five major attempts in A.'s life to do justice to the creation narrative: Gn. c. man. (388/90), Gn. litt. imp. (393/4), conf. 11-13, Gn. litt. (401-15), civ. 11-14 (417/18). Such a structure for catechetical discourse is suggested by cat. rud. 3.5, `narratio plena est, cum quisque primo catechizatur ab eo quod scriptum est, “in principio fecit deus caelum et terram,” usque ad praesentia tempora ecclesiae' (and cf. cat. rud. 6.10). Here in conf., allegory turns the seven days of creation into a narrative that stands for the whole narrative `usque ad praesentia tempora'. The difference is that cat. rud. 7.11 suggests that, after the narratio, there follow discussion on the hope of resurrection (and refutation of infidel errors concerning the resurrection); see preceding 9.1.1 for the paucity of mention of resurrection in conf. (We can see A. using Gn. 1 in a catechetical context in the fragments printed at PL 39.1724-9, which come from a series of sermons on the days of creation delivered during the days of Easter week to the newly baptized (on authenticity, see Verbraken); and this of course recalls Ambrose's exameron, a series of catechetical sermons from the week preceding Easter, which A. heard preached in either 386 or 387--Ambrose matched the six days of his sermons to the days of creation (see Amb. exam. 3.1.1). (On creation in conf., see A. di Giovanni, REAug 20[1974], 285-312.)

(2) The second ordering principle is the disposition of books corresponding to persons of the trinity. Bk. 11 depicts the God of eternity--the first person of the trinity; Bk. 12 depicts the God of the Word--the second person; and Bk. 13 depicts the God who acts through the church--the third person. (Hints of such a pattern have been offered before, notably by F. Cayré, Aug. Mag. 2.615, by Kusch, and in my Augustine [Boston, 1985], 113-123.) This observation is fully consonant with the pattern of intellectus fidei descried by du Roy in A.'s early works: du Roy 419: `Cette dépendance de la création à l'égard de la Trinité créatrice est la clé de tous les mystères.' du Roy had reservations about Kusch's thesis (du Roy 348n2), especially over the way Kusch oversystematized and forced the texts; but even Kusch did not make the precise identification made here between each of the last three books and one person of the trinity: he included Bk. 10 in his pattern in a way that blurs the underlying structure.

(3) The roles of God are contrasted at every stage in these books with the condition of the human creature, in whom the image and likeness of the triune God is reflected: so Bk. 11 sees humanity bound in time,3 Bk. 12, humanity struggling to interpret the words of scripture in order to know the Word, and Bk. 13, humanity acting out its redemption in the church under the guidance of the Spirit. Hence there is an implicit portrayal of human nature, particularly as represented in the redeemed soul of A., where A. now stands for all those who are redeemed by divine grace. From here on (see on 11.1.1, `ut dicamus omnes'), A. presents conf. as a work in which the reader is to share equally: these are now `confessions' in which the reader is invited to join. Hence the humanity presented here in the image and likeness of God is less Augustine and more Everyman than was the case before. Warrant for this may be found at Plotinus, a)lla\ to\n qeo\n qewrei=, ei)/poimen a)/n. a)ll' ei) to\n qeo\n finw/skein au)to/n tis o(mologh/sei, kai\ tau/th| sugxwrei=n a)nagkasqh/setai kai\ e(auto\n ginw/skein. kai\ ga\r i(/sa e)/xei par' e)kei/nou gnw/setai, kai\ a(\ e)/dwke, kai\ a(\ du/natai e)kei=nws. tau=ta de\ maqw\n kai\ gnou\s kai\ tau/th| e(auto\n gnw/setai.

(4) Within the individual Bks. 11-13, other structural principles evolve to respond to the subject matter of each book. Bk. 11 in particular is notorious among students of the history of philosophy for its extensive meditation on Time. Discussion here of A.'s treatment is firmly planted in the wider context of conf. Fuller independent discussions of the philosophical and historical significance of A.'s treatment of Time are available; see particularly the commentary of E. P. Meijering, Augustin über Schöpfung, Ewigkeit und Zeit: das elfte Buch der Bekenntnisse (Leiden, 1979);4 U. Duchrow, Zsch. für Theol. u. Kirche 63(1966), 267-88; O'Daly 152-161 (good on the substantive links, esp. theological, with the rest of conf.); and R. Sorabji, Time, Creation and the Continuum (Ithaca, 1983 = Sorabji, Time); an older study, now almost a period piece, retains much interest for the philosophical consideration of the issues here: J. Guitton, Le temps et l'éternité chez Plotin et Saint-Augustin (Paris, 1933; 3rd ed. with new preface, 1959); ranging further afield into purely philosophical discussion are E. A. Schmidt, Zeit und Geschichte bei Augustin (Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberg. Akad. Wiss., Philos.-Hist. Klasse, 1985, Ber. 3), and C. Kirwan, Augustine (London, 1989), and see H.-J. Kaiser, Augustinus: Zeit und Memoria (Bonn, 1969). Paul Ricoeur's Time and Narrative (Chicago, 1984-88) opens (1.5-30) with a meditation on A.'s view of time, then continues to a similar discussion of Aristotle's Poetics, as the basis for wide-ranging discussions (recurring in later volumes) of the nature of narrative.

Lieu, Manichaeism 8, prints a Chinese Manichean text on the battle between light and darkness in past, present, and future. That text has parallels in Manichean doctrine as known to A. (Lieu suggests esp. c. Fel. 2.1, as well as c. Fel. 1.6, 1.9, 1.10, c. Faust. 13.6, 28.5); what is of interest here is the possibility that `Past, Present, and Future' (see on 11.20.26) may have held for A. a possibility of dangerous misinterpretation that he allayed by his own more conventional discussion here. Certainly Manichees were among his clearest targets in this book already (see on 11.10.12), and cf. Mayer, Zeichen 2.151, `Augustins Theorie der Zeit hat eine deutliche antimanichäische Pointe. Dies wird schon daraus ersichtlich, dass er seine tiefsinnigen Spekulationen über die Zeit fast ausschliesslich in seinen Kommentaren zu der von dem Manichäern am meisten gehassten biblischen Schrift, der Genesis, entwickelte.' The broad outlines of Bk. 11 are clear and simple.

11.1.1 - 11.2.4
  • Introduction: A. as bishop
  • 11.3.5 - 11.31.41
  • Genesis 1.1
  • 11.10.12 - 11.13.16
  • A riddle: on the eternity of God
  • 11.14.17 - 11.28.38
  • Time
  • 11.29.39 - 11.31.41
  • Time and Eternity
  • text of 11.1.1


    The triadic image of the trinity is reflected in the structure of this paragraph: first, God's esse (`aeternitas' in the first line), then his nosse (`novit pater vester'), then his velle (`quoniam tu prior voluisti').

    aeternitas: Eternity is close to God's essence: en. Ps. 101. s. 2.10, `aeternitas, ipsa dei substantia est' (though this is a predication that A. can distribute in similarly absolute terms to more than one subject; cf. en. Ps. 109.12, `haec claritas dei est ineffabilis lux, fons lucis sine commutabilitate, veritas sine defectu, sapientia in seipsa manens, innovans omnia: haec substantia dei est'). Also part of the triad aeternitas [1], veritas [2], caritas [3]: see on 7.10.16; and see 4.16.31, `domus nostra, aeternitas tua'. For the persistence of aeternitas in such triad thought, with different other elements, see trin. 6.10.11, `quidam cum vellet brevissime singularum in trinitate personarum insinuare propria, “aeternitas” inquit “in patre, species in imagine, usus in munere”.' (The text there goes on to discuss species and pulchritudo as characteristic of the Son.) On aeternitas, see G. J. P. O'Daly, `Aeternitas', Aug.-Lex. 1.159-164.

    ad tempus: `in time' (cf. 13.37.52); civ. 11.21, `non enim more nostro ille vel quod futurum est prospicit vel quod praesens est aspicit vel quod praeteritum est respicit, sed alio modo quodam a nostrarum cogitationum consuetudine longe alteque diverso. ille quippe non ex hoc in illud cogitatione mutata sed omnino incommutabiliter videt, ita ut illa quidem quae temporaliter fiunt et futura nondum sint et praesentia iam sint et praeterita iam non sint, ipse vero haec omnia stabili ac sempiterna praesentia comprehendat.'

    cur ergo: G-M adduce 10.2.2-10.4.6, for the fuller inquiry into his own motives of confessing; cf. 2.3.5, `cui narro haec?'

    affectum meum excito in te: retr. 2.6.1, `confessionum mearum libri tredecim et de malis et de bonis meis deum laudant iustum et bonum, atque in eum excitant humanum intellectum et affectum.' Cf. 1.1.1, `excitas' and 5.1.1, `excitasti'.

    ut dicamus omnes: a device from preaching: cf. en. Ps. 62.5. `dicamus ergo nos, “sitivit tibi anima mea,” omnes dicamus, quia in concordia Christi omnes una anima sumus.'

    magnus dominus et laudabilis valde: Ps. 47.2, `magnus dominus et laudabilis valde in civitate dei nostri, in monte sancto eius'; Ps. 95.4, `magnus dominus et laudabilis nimis'; Ps. 144.3, `magnus dominus et laudabilis valde et magnitudinis eius non est finis; laudabo nomen tuum in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi.' See on 1.1.1; the most important change is that now A. imagines his readers joining with him in this confessio (Knauer 153-154). It is perhaps significant that here the text follows scripture's ipsissima verba more closely. See on 10.43.70 for other connections between this hinge of conf. and the situation at the outset. Cf. (in view of the structural similarities noted on 10.42.67) civ. 11.1, `civitatem dei dicimus, cuius ea scriptura testis est quae non fortuitis motibus animorum, sed plane summae dispositione providentiae super omnes omnium gentium litteras omnia sibi genera ingeniorum humanorum divina excellens auctoritate subiecit. ibi quippe scriptum est, “gloriosa dicta sunt de te, civitas dei.” et in alio psalmo legitur, “magnus dominus et laudabilis nimis in civitate dei nostri, in monte sancto eius, dilatans exultationes universae terrae”; et paulo post in eodem psalmo.'

    iam dixi: 2.1.1, `amore amoris tui facio istuc'.

    veritas ait: Jn. 14.6; see on 10.40.65.

    novit pater vester: Mt. 6.8, `scit enim pater vester quid vobis necessarium sit antequam petatis ab eo' --from the sermon on the mount, of which held A. a high opinion: s. dom. m. 1.1.1, `sermonem quem locutus est dominus noster Iesus Christus in monte, sicut in evangelio secundum Mattheum legimus, si quis pie sobrieque consideraverit, puto quod inveniet in eo, quantum ad mores optimos pertinet, perfectum vitae christianae modum.' He dealt with the implicit issues at mag. 1.2, `nescire te arbitror non ob aliud nobis praeceptum esse ut in clausis cubiculis oremus, quo nomine significantur mentis penetralia, nisi quod deus, ut nobis quod cupimus praestet, commemorari aut doceri nostra locutione non quaerit.' For his fullest exposition, see s. dom. m. 2.3.14, quoted on 9.13.36; a similar doctrine at s. 80.2-3.

    priusquam: 10.2.2 (`prius' 3x); 13.1.1, `nunc invocantem te ne deseras, qui priusquam invocarem praevenisti [--> 1.1.1, `praedicare'] et institisti crebrescens multimodis vocibus ut audirem de longinquo [--> 7.10.16, `clamasti de longinquo' ] et converterer et vocantem me invocarem te.'

    misericordias tuas super nos: Ps. 32.22, `fiat misericordia tua, domine, super nos, sicut speravimus in te.'

    liberes: See on 10.33.49.

    pauperes spiritu . . . pacifici: From the beatitudes: Mt. 5.3-9, `beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum, (4) beati mites, quoniam ipsi haereditate possidebunt terram, (5) beati lugentes, quoniam ipsi consolabuntur, (6) beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam, quoniam ipsi saturabuntur, (7) beati misericordes, quoniam ipsorum miserebitur, (8) beati mundi corde, quoniam ipsi deum videbunt, (9) beati pacifici, quoniam ipsi filii dei vocabuntur.' s. dom. m. 1.1.3-1.2.9, `superbi ergo appetant et diligant regna terrarum; beati autem pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum. . . . (4), mites autem sunt qui cedunt improbitatibus, et non resistunt malo, sed “vincunt in bono malum.” . . . (5) luctus est tristitia de amissione carorum. conversi autem ad deum ea quae in hoc mundo cara amplectebantur amittunt. . . . (6) esuriunt et sitiunt . . . . iam istos amatores dicit veri et inconcussi boni. illo ergo cibo saturabuntur de quo ipse dominus dicit, “meus cibus est ut faciam voluntatem patris mei,” quod est iustitia . . . . (7) beatos esse dicit qui subveniunt miseris, quoniam eis ita rependitur. . . . (8) hoc est enim mundum cor quod est simplex cor. et quemadmodum lumen hoc videri non potest nisi oculis mundis, ita nec deus videtur nisi mundum sit illud quo videri potest. . . . (9) in pace perfectio est, ubi nihil repugnat; et ideo filii dei pacifici, quoniam nihil resistit deo, et utique filii similitudinem patris habere debent.' He continues at s. dom. m. 1.3.10-1.4.11 (as also at s. 347.3.3), to expound their significance as a reflection of Is. 11.2-3, the seven `operations' of the Holy Spirit, according to this scheme:

    -- pauperes spiritu -- timor domini

    -- mites -- pietas

    -- lugentes -- scientia

    -- esurientes -- fortitudo

    -- misericordes -- consilium

    -- mundi corde -- intellectus

    -- pacifici -- sapientia `id est contemplatio veritatis' Then at s. dom. m. 2.11.38, he links both Is. 11.2-3 and the beatitudes to the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer. See also s. 53.

    pauperes spiritu: 8.6.15 (of the monks outside Trier), `spiritu pauperes, qualium est regnum caelorum'; sim. at 4.1.1, and notably at 11.31.41 (last words of this book).

    misericordes: 9.13.35, `et promisisti misericordiam misericordibus'.

    confiterer tibi . . . quoniam bonus es: Ps. 117.1, `confitemini domino quoniam bonus est, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius'; also echoed at 5.9.17.

    text of 11.2.2


    This chapter has given some the impression that A. had wearied of the task of narration and was in a hurry to move on. But it is hard to believe that the man who would write civ. and trin. and Gn. litt. and bapt. and c. Faust. and en. Ps. and Io. ev. tr. and c. Iul. and c. Iul. imp. could weary of a literary task. A simpler interpretation is that the narrative has come so far that the relative value of meditatio in lege dei has increased vis-à-vis the value of continuing `narrative'. This encourages us to look closely just where narrative breaks off and see what gave it higher relative value to that point, and why the relative value changed. We are now in the post-NT times of A.'s life, in hoc interim saeculo (civ. 11.1), between first and second coming, when incident and event and sequence are of less importance than in the prophetic and evangelic days that went before.

    For a less schematic portrait of the bishop at work, see on 13.23.34.

    lingua calami: Ps. 44.2, `lingua mea calamus scribae velociter scribentis'; other pieces of the metaphor at 12.6.6, `ore meo et calamo meo', and at 5.1.1, `de manu linguae meae'.

    praedicare verbum et sacramentum tuum dispensare: 1 Cor. 4.1, `sic nos existimet homo, quasi ministros Christi et dispensatores mysteriorum dei'; cf. there 1 Cor. 4.5, `quoadusque veniat dominus qui et inluminabit abscondita tenebrarum et manifestabit consilia cordium'. The phrase epitomizes the demands of ordained ministry, demands whose burdens he always felt. They came to him as a surprise: ep. 21.3 (to Valerius in 391), `quod verum est, nondum sciebam quid mihi deesset ad tale opus [i.e., the priesthood], . . . quod si propterea in re ipsa didici quid sit homini necessarium, qui populo ministrat sacramentum et verbum dei'. His fullest reflections on his office are to be found in s. 339.1 (= s. Frang. 2.1: on the anniversary of his consecration), `de cuius pondere etiamsi mihi dies noctesque cogitandum sit, nescio quo tamen modo anniversarius iste dies impingit eam sensibus meis, ut ab ea cogitanda omnino dissimulare non possim.' So s. 339.3.3-4 (s. Frang. 2.4-5), `minister sum, paterfamilias non sum. (339.4) . . . praedicare, arguere, corripere, aedificare, pro unoquoque satagere magnum onus, magnum pondus, magnus labor. quis non refugiat istum laborem?' (See also s. 340, a reworking of an Augustinian original by Caesarius of Arles.)

    stillae temporum: metaphor from the workings of a water-clock; ep. 110.5, `sed, mi frater, et tu credo quod noveris quanta sint in manibus meis, quibus adversus curas quas nostrae servitutis necessitas habet, vix mihi paucissimae guttae temporis stillantur, quas aliis rebus si impendero, contra officium meum mihi facere videor'; ep. 261.1, `pauculae temporum stillae' (quoted further below on `necessitatibus'); trin. 1.3.5, `ego tamen lege domini meditor, si non die ac nocte, saltem quibus temporum particulis possum.'

    olim: `seit lange', best represented in English with a present perfect progressive: `for a long time I have been desiring' : 1.6.9, `et ecce infantia mea olim mortua est et ego vivo', 6.7.12, `dixeras enim iam tu olim [in scriptura]', 8.12.30, 9.7.16. Cf. esp. ep. 52.4, `sed nescio quae carnalis consuetudo, frater Severine, ibi vos tenet; et olim doleo, olim gemo maxime prudentiam tuam cogitans, et olim te videre desidero, ut de hac re tecum loquerer.'

    meditari in lege tua: Ps. 1.2, `sed in lege domini fuit voluntas eius, et in lege eius meditabitur die ac nocte';5 en. Ps. 1.2, `aut sine intermissione intellegendum est, aut “die” in laetitia, “nocte” in tribulationibus.' See on 9.2.2; cf. 9.1.1, 9.4.10, 11.2.3. en. Ps. 118. s. 19.4, `“quia lex”, inquit, “tua meditatio mea est.” . . . hoc dicendum putavi, ne quisquam, cum totam legem memoriae mandaverit eamque creberrima recordatione cantaverit, non tacens quod praecipit nec tamen vivens ut praecipit, arbitretur se fecisse quod legit: “quia lex tua meditatio mea est.” . . . haec meditatio amantis est cogitatio, et tantum amantis, ut caritas non frigescat huius meditationis suae, quantalibet abundantia constipetur iniquitatis alienae.'

    imperitiam: 10.43.70, `considerabo mirabilia de lege tua. tu scis imperitiam meam et infirmitiatem meam.'

    inluminationis tuae: Ps. 17.29, `quoniam tu inluminabis lucernam meam, domine, deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas'; en. Ps. 17.29, `quoniam non est lumen nostrum ex nobis; sed tu inluminabis lucernam meam, domine. . . . nos enim peccatis nostris tenebrae sumus.' 6.1.1, `tenebras meas', 7.1.2, 11.25.32, 13.8.9.

    quousque devoretur: Cf. 1 Cor. 15.54, `absorpta est mors in victoria'; 2 Cor. 5.4, `nolumus expoliari sed supervestiri, ut absorbeatur quod mortale est, a vita.'

    et nolo in aliud horae diffluant: See on 6.3.3, for the parallels between A.'s portrayal there of Ambrose (divided between study of scripture, service to his fellows, and necessary refreshment).

    necessitatibus: 10.40.65 (on the threshold of mystical ascent), `ab actionibus necessitatis, quantum relaxari possum, ad istam voluptatem refugio.' Similar reflections (arising from the lilies of the field of Mt. 6.28-30) at s. 51.14.24, and (arising from Martha and Mary in Lk. 10) at s. 255.2.2, 255.6.6, `duo sunt vitae: una pertinens ad delectationem, altera pertinens ad necessitatem. quae ad necessitatem, laboriosa est; quae ad delectationem, voluptuosa est. sed intra intro, noli foris quaerere delectationem, ne tumescas de illa et per angustum intrare non possis. . . . “Martha, Martha, circa multa es occupata, porro unum est necessarium.” [Lk. 10.42] unum verum: multa non erunt necessaria. antequam perveniamus ad unum, multis indigemus. unum nos extendat, ne multa distendant et abrumpant ab uno. . . . non distentus, sed extentus' (there follows Phil. 3.13 [as quoted at Ostia]). Closest parallel to the expression here is ep. 261.1, `[mihi] occupatissimo scilicet ecclesiasticis curis, a quibus pauculae temporum stillae vix recreant vel cogitantem aliquid vel ea quae magis urgent et mihi videntur pluribus profutura dictantem vel reficientem corporis vires nostrae necessarias servituti.' Cf. ep. 151.13 (explaining why he left Carthage after the execution of his friend Marcellinus), `altera causa est, quod statui, si dominus velit, quantum mihi ab allis occupationibus quas ecclesiae cui proprio munere servio necessitas flagitat datur temporis, id totum impendere labori studiorum ad ecclesiasticas litteras pertinentium, ubi me arbitror, si dei misericordiae placet, etiam posteris aliquid profuturum.' He finally escapes from some of these burdens in 426, with the designation of his successor, after a failed bargain that had been supposed to relieve him of ordinary chores on weekdays (full and circumstantial account at ep. 213.5-6).

    intentionis animi: See on 9.10.23 (Ostia), quoting Phil. 3.13.

    servitutis: Far more burdensome than sacramental ministry was the judicial role of the bishop (van der Meer 255-270): op. mon. 29.37, `tumultuosissimas perplexitates causarum alienarum pati de negotiis saecularibus vel iudicando dirimendis vel interveniendo praecidendis'.

    text of 11.2.3


    This paragraph and the following one, under the heading `Prière', are the only ones in Bk. 11 whose translation is set per cola et commata in BA. Knauer 68: `Das Gebet . . . gliedert sich in zwei Abschnitte, deren erster in die genaue Angabe dessen einmündet, was er in den letzten Büchern der Konfessionen erklären will: "ab usque `principio' in quo `fecisti caelum et terram' usque ad `regnum' tecum perpetuum `sanctae civitatis' tuae," . . . worunter man hier wird verstehen müssen: von der Genesis bis zur Apokalypse. Der zweite bezeichnet das, was er in der Bibel finden will: Christus.'

    intende orationi meae: Ps. 60.2, `exaudi, deus, deprecationem meam, intende orationi meae. a finibus terrae ad te clamavi dum angeretur cor meum'; cf. Ps. 4.2, `cum invocarem, exaudivit me deus iustitiae meae; in tribulatione dilatasti mihi: miserere mei et exaudi orationem meam.'

    exaudiat desiderium meum: Ps. 9.38, `desiderium pauperum exaudivit dominus' (cf. 11.1.1, `pauperes spiritu', and see `pauper sum' here); en. Ps. 9.33, `desiderium illud quo aestuabant, cum in angustiis et tribulationibus huius saeculi domini diem concupiscerent . . . haec est cordis praeparatio, de qua in alio psalmo canitur, “paratum cor meum, deus, paratum cor meum” [Ps. 56.8], de qua dicit apostolus: “si autem quod non videmus speramus, per patientiam exspectamus.” [Rom. 8.25]'

    usui: doctr. chr. 1.4.4ff. Cf. Hil. Pict., trin. 2.1, `aeternitas in patre, species in imagine, usus in munere', as quoted by A. at trin. 6.10.11.

    fraternae caritati: See 10.3.3 - 10.4.6. Exegesis for the benefit of his brethren: ep. 73.2.5 (to Jerome), `et si quid in hac re [i.e., scientia divinarum scripturarum] habeo facultatis, utcumque impendo populo dei. vacare autem studiosis diligentius quam populi audiunt instruendis propter ecclesiasticas occupationes omnino non possum.'

    sacrificem: Confession as sacrifice appears at the beginning of three central books, 5.1.1, 8.1.1, 9.1.1; cf. 12.24.33, `qui vovi tibi sacrificium confessionis in his litteris'.

    da quod offeram tibi: 10.29.40, etc., `da quod iubes et iube quod vis'; 11.22.28, `da quod amo: amo enim, et hoc tu dedisti'; cf. Ps. 65.15, `holacausta medullata offeram tibi'.

    inops enim et pauper sum: Ps. 39.18, `ego autem mendicus sum et pauper, dominus sollicitus est mei'; Ps. 85.1, `inclina domine aurem tuam et exaudi, quoniam egenus et inops ego sum'; en. Ps. 85.2, `ad inopem et egenum inclinat aurem, id est, ad humilem et ad confitentem, ad indigentem misericordia, non ad saturatum et extollentem se et iactantem quasi nihil ei desit et dicentem, “gratias tibi, quia non sum sicut publicanus iste.” dives enim pharisaeus iactabat merita sua; inops publicanus confitebatur peccata sua.' See above, and cf. on 10.38.63, `egenus et pauper ego sum' and 10.43.70, `pauper cupio'.

    tu dives . . . te: Rom. 10.12, `nam idem dominus omnium, dives in omnes qui invocant illum.'

    circumcide: Exod. 6.12, `respondit Moyses coram domino, ecce filii Israhel non audiunt me et quomodo audiet Pharao praesertim cum incircumcisus sim labiis?' (For the Hebrew and Greek of this easily-mistranslated Exodus text, see Knauer 69n3. The image seizes the attention and invites neodule readings, e.g., E. Vance, Mervelous Signals [Lincoln, Neb., 1986], 7-11.) Hier. in Gal. 5.6 (386: known to Aug. by 394/5, cf. A. ep. 28.3.3), `nihil itaque prodest in Christo carnis circumcisio, sed cordis et aurium, quae aufert illud opprobrium Iudaeorum, “ecce incircumcisae aures vestrae et non potestis audire” [Jer. 6.10]; prodest circumcisio labiorum quam iuxta humilitatem necdum se habere causabatur Moyses, ut in hebraico scriptum est: “ego autem sum praeputium habens in labiis.”'

    temeritate: Temeritas corresponds to interiora as mendacium to exteriora; it recurs as a vice of scriptural interpretation at 12.25.34 and 12.25.35; cf. Gn. litt. imp. 1.1, `temeritas adserendae incertae dubiaeque opinionis difficile sacrilegii crimen evitat'; Gn. c. man. 1.2.3, Gn. litt. 1.19.39-1.20.40, 7.1.1, 12.1.1, `temeritatemque adfirmandi amoventes a lectore, ubi non valuimus praebere scientiae firmitatem'.

    labia mea: Knöll introduced, and Vega, Skutella, and Verheijen (but not Pellegrino) retained, a comma before these words, but it is hard to see why; labia are, aptly, the place where interior and exterior meet.

    castae deliciae: Divine deliciae also at 2.2.4, 10.24.35, 12.16.23, 13.18.22, 13.21.29.

    domine, attende: Jer. 18.19, `attende domine ad me'; cf. Ps. 26.7, `exaudi domine vocem meam qua clamavi ad te, miserere mei et exaudi me'; Ps. 85.3, `miserere mei domine quoniam ad te clamavi tota die.'

    statimque: Hrdlicka 75, `at the same time, simul.' Without the adverb it might be confusing to suggest that God is light and power to those entirely bereft of those qualities and then to suggest that he is light and power to those most in possession of those qualities. Where the apparent contradiction was sharper, A. used simul at 4.4.7, `deus ultionum et fons misericordiarum simul'.

    virtus: Though common enough in oblique cases in conf. of `virtue' in our sense, in the nominative singular, virtus is only used as a metaphor for God: 1.1.1, 1.13.21, 7.17.23, 10.1.1.

    clamantem de profundo: Ps. 129.1-2, `de profundis clamavi ad te, domine, (2) domine, exaudi vocem meam'; en. Ps. 129.1, `etenim vox haec ascendentis est, pertinens ad canticum graduum. . . . profundum enim nobis est vita ista mortalis. quisquis se in profundo intellexerit, clamat, gemit, suspirat, donec de profundo eruatur, et veniat ad eum qui super omnes abyssos sed et super cherubim . . . donec ad eum veniat anima, donec ab illo liberetur imago ipsius, quod est homo, quae in hoc profundo tamquam assiduis fluctibus exagitata, detrita est. . . . sed cum de profundo clamat, surgit de profundo, et ipse clamor non eum permittit multum in imo esse.' Also at 2.3.5, 12.15.22.

    quo ibimus: Ps. 138.7, `quo ibo a spiritu tuo? et quo a facie tua fugiam?' (See on 1.18.28.)

    tuus est dies et tua est nox: Ps. 73.16, `tuus est dies, et tua est nox, tu perfecisti solem et lunam.'

    pulsantes: Mt. 7.7-8, `pulsate et aperietur vobis . . . (8) et pulsanti aperietur.' (See on 1.1.1 for the pervasive influence of this text, from 1.1.1 to 13.38.53 [Knauer 157, `So werden also die drei letzten Bücher durch das Matthäus zitat zusammengeschlossen.']; note just below echoes at 11.2.4, 11.3.5.) As advice for exegetes at Gn. c. man. 2.2.3 and Io. ev. tr. 22.9 (`et hic secretum in verbo hoc clausum est: pulsetur, ut aperiatur').

    cervos suos: Ps. 28.9, `vox domini perficientis cervos et revelabit [see `perfice me et revela mihi eas'] silvas et in templo eius unusquisque dicit gloriam' (cervos in Ps. Rom. and Ps. Gall., following LXX; Pss. Veron. and Sinait. have cedros); en. Ps. 28.9, `vox enim domini primo perfecit superatores et repulsores venenosarum linguarum. . . . tunc eis revelabit opacitates divinorum librorum et umbracula mysteriorum, ubi cum libertate pascantur. . . . et in ecclesia eius omnis in spem aeternam regeneratus laudat deum pro suo quisque dono, quod a sancto spiritu accepit.' Cf. Ps. 41.2, `cervus ad fontes'.

    perfice me: Ps. 16.5, `ad perficiendos gressus meos in semitis tuis'.

    gaudium: Divine gaudium at 2.2.2, 2.10.18, 6.3.3, 7.7.11, 9.10.25, 10.22.32, 10.23.33, 11.8.10.

    vox tua super affluentiam voluptatum: Ps. 118.72, `bonum mihi lex oris tui super milia auri et argenti'; en. Ps. 118. s. 17.10, `ut amplius diligat caritas legem dei quam diligit cupiditas milia auri et argenti.' Cf. Cant. 8.5, `deliciis affluens', Is. 66.11, `deliciis affluatis'; contrast 6.16.26, `in quantalibet affluentia carnalium voluptatum'.

    da quod amo . . . dedisti: Repeated exactly at 11.22.28, and cf. 10.29.40, etc., `da quod iubes, et iube quod vis,' and see `da quod offeram tibi' above.

    audiam vocem laudis: Ps. 25.7, `ut audiam vocem laudis, et enarrem universa mirabilia tua'; en. Ps. 25. en. 2.11, `quid est “ut audiam vocem laudis?” ut intellegam, inquit. hoc est enim audire coram deo, non quomodo sonos istos quos multi audiunt et multi non audiunt. quam multi ad nos audientes sunt et ad deum surdi sunt! . . . audire vocem laudis est intellegere intus, quia quidquid in te mali est de peccatis, tuum est; quidquid boni in iustificationibus, dei est.' en. Ps. 25. en. 1.7, `ut discam quemadmodum te laudem. . . . et cum didicero, exponam omnia mirabilia tua.' See 11.29.39, 12.15.22.

    considerem mirabilia de lege tua: Ps. 118.18, `revela oculos meos et considerabo mirabilia de lege tua' (10.43.70, `et considerabo mirabilia de lege tua').

    ab usque principio . . . civitatis tuae: The promise made here is kept, in the form of a hexameron commentary. We move from the origins of creation to the final rest of the sabbath in the allegorical reading of the seventh day (13.38.53). Failure to see this led Courcelle, Recherches 23-25, to the conclusion that what we have in conf. is only an aborted fragment, that A. intended to undertake a systematic exposition of all of scripture (`l'exposé détaillé de la doctrine chrétienne, fondé sur toutes les écritures, à partir du début de la Genèse'). Cf. Gn. 1.1, `in principio fecit deus caelum et terram', and Jn. 8.25, `principium quia et loquor vobis'.

    sanctae civitatis tuae: Apoc. 21.2, `et civitatem sanctam Hierusalem novam vidi descendentem de caelo a deo'; Apoc. 21.10, `ostendit mihi civitatem sanctam Hierusalem descendentem de caelo a deo.'

    text of 11.2.4


    miserere . . . meum: Ps. 26.7, `exaudi domine vocem meam qua clamavi ad te; miserere mei et exaudi me.' Cf. 11.2.3, `et misericordia exaudiat desiderium meum' (Ps. 9b.38). The verb exaudire does not occur again in conf.; misereri occurs only twice, at almost the end of Bk. 12: 12.27.37, 12.30.41 (Knauer 71n4).

    quod non sit: sc. desiderium. The lines that follow consider two of the three temptations of 1 Jn. 2.16 (concupiscentia carnis and ambitio saeculi). A.'s motive here is curiositas, of the kind he finds licit.

    quaerentibus . . . tuam: Mt. 6.33, `quaerite primum regnum dei et iustitiam eius et haec omnia apponentur vobis'; text follows s. dom. m. 2.16.53, `regnum ergo et iustitia dei bonum nostrum est, et hoc appetendum et ibi finis constituendus, propter quod omnia faciamus quaecumque facimus. sed quia in hac vita militamus, ut ad illud regnum pervenire possimus, quae vita sine his necessariis agi non potest, “apponentur haec vobis,” inquit, “sed vos regnum dei et iustitiam primum quaerite!” cum enim dixit illud primum, significavit quia hoc posterius quaerendum est non tempore sed dignitate.'

    vide, deus meus: Lam. 1.9, `vide, domine, afflictionem meam, quoniam erectus est inimicus'; Ps. 9.14, `miserere mei, domine, vide humilitatem ab inimicis meis.'

    delectationes: Ps. 118.85, `narraverunt mihi iniqui delectationes sed non sicut lex tua, domine'; en. Ps. 118. s. 20.5, `eas sic transferre voluerunt interpretes nostri, quas Graeci adoleschias vocant, quod usque adeo uno verbo nequaquam dici latine potest, ut aliqui delectationes, aliqui fabulationes eas dicerent; ut non immerito accipiatur esse quidem illas exercitationes, sed in sermone cum quadam delectatione. has vero habent in diversis sectis ac professionibus et litterae saeculares et Iudaeorum quae deuterosis nuncupatur, continens praeter divinarum canonem scripturarum milia fabularum.' (His sensitivity to the translation may only have come after conf., perhaps under influence of Jerome: Psalt. Gall. has fabulationes; deuterosis is a word A. uses elsewhere only at c. adv. leg. 2.1.2, 2.2.6; cf. Hier. in Mat. 22.23, `pharisaei traditionum et observationum, quas illi deuteroseis vocant, iustitiam praeferebant.')

    in conspectu misericordiae tuae: Ps. 18.15, `et per hoc ut complaceant eloquia oris mei et meditatio cordis mei in conspectu tuo semper'; en. Ps. 18. en. 2.16, `superba anima in conspectu hominum vult placere; humilis anima in occulto, ubi deus videt, vult placere.' Dan. 3.40, `sicut in holocausto arietum . . . sic fiat sacrificium nostrum, in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, quoniam non est confusio confidentibus in te.'

    invenire . . . gratiam ante te: Exod. 33.13 (Moses speaks), `si ergo inveni gratiam in conspectu tuo, ostende mihi faciem tuam, ut sciam te, et inveniam gratiam ante oculos tuos.' Cf. also Mt. 7.7-8 (see on 11.2.3).

    virum dexterae tuae: Ps. 79.18, `fiat manus tua super virum dexterae tuae et super filium hominis quem confirmasti tibi.' This is the clearest text in conf. to show that dextera = Christ (after the ascension, in full power and glory: see on `sedet . . .' below) for A.; other passages: 8.1.2 (`et dextera tua suscepit me'), 9.1.1, 9.4.9, 9.13.35, 10.31.44 (`et invoco dexteram tuam'), 10.41.66 (`et dexteram tuam invocavi ad salutem meam'), 10.43.69, 11.29.39 (`et me suscepit dextera tua in domino meo').

    filium hominis: Mt. 8.20, Mk. 2.10, et saep.; in conf. only here and 11.29.39 (there also with mediator).

    mediatorem tuum et nostrum: 1 Tim. 2.5, `mediator dei atque hominum' (see on 10.42.67).

    non quaerentes te: Rom. 10.20, `Esaias autem audet, et dicit. “inventus sum a non quaerentibus me”'; Is. 65.1, `quaesierunt me qui ante non interrogabant, invenerunt qui non quaesierunt me. dixi: “ecce ego, ecce ego.”'

    verbum tuum: Jn. 1.1, 1.3.

    in adoptionem: Gal. 4.4-5, `at ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit deus filium suum factum ex muliere, factum sub lege, (5) ut eos qui sub lege erant redimeret, ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus.'

    sedet . . . te interpellat pro nobis: Rom. 8.34, `qui est ad dexteram dei et interpellat pro nobis'; see on 10.43.69.

    in quo sunt omnes: Col. 2.2-3, `in agnitionem mysterii dei, Christi, (3) in quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae absconditi' (also at 10.43.70). See on 13.18.23.

    ipsos: BA makes a case for the reading of two minor manuscripts, ipsum; but it is to be explained as an assimilation of number to illo in the next line: the inconsistency does make the line harder to grasp. Take the antecedent of `ipsos' to be `thesauri'; `de illo' then gives the reading, `Moses wrote libros tuos concerning him--your word'; `hoc' then is correlative, `This Moses says, so [you may therefore infer] this truth itself says.' In the allegorical reading of the OT, such as A. proposes now to undertake, veritas (= Christ) is no less present than, say, in A.'s memory. The exercise of seeking out the treasures is a continuation, or development, of the search for God in memory in Bk. 10.

    Moyses: Jn. 5.46, `si enim crederetis Moysi, crederetis forsan et mihi, de me enim ille scripsit'; en. Ps. 64.6, `est quidem splendor in facie Moysi, tamquam in facie carnali et mortali; numquid diuturnus aut aeternus esse posset? morte enim succedente, profecto auferretur. splendor autem gloriae beati domini nostri Iesu Christi sempiternus est. sed illud figura erat temporalis, hoc autem quod illa figura significabatur, veritas. legunt itaque, et non intellegunt Christum; non perducunt intentionem usque in finem, quia velum oppositum negat eis adspectum splendoris interioris.'

    hoc veritas ait: Jn. 14.6.

    text of 11.3.5


    audiam: The text is the vehicle for oral discourse, hence the regret here that he cannot confer with the author of scripture; text is unreliable and author is unreachable, hence other ways of verifying what is read are invoked: ep. 19.1, `nemo enim quod legit in codice ipso cernit verum esse aut in eo qui scripserit, sed in se potius, si eius menti quoddam non vulgariter candidum et a faece corporis remotissimum lumen veritatis impressum est'; see also 13.15.16 and en. Ps. 103. s. 1.8 quoted there.

    audiam et intellegam: BA equates to crede ut intellegas (Io. ev. tr. 29.6, `intellegere vis? crede. deus enim per prophetam dixit, “nisi crederitis, non intellegetis” [Is. 7.9 (LXX)]. . . . intellectus enim merces est fidei. ergo noli quaerere intellegere ut credas, sed crede ut intellegas'); correctly, if we bear in mind the insistence at 1.1.1 that faith depends on antecedent preaching, and cf. Rom. 10.17, `fides ex auditu; auditus autem per verbum Christi' (leading to the interesting admission at en. Ps. 118. s. 32.4, `quamvis enim deus doceat intrinsecus, tamen fides ex auditu est' --a triumph of scripture over Platonism in A.'s thought).

    in principio: Gn. 1.1, `in principio fecit deus caelum et terram'; n.b. once for all, A. reads fecit for the Vg.'s creavit. (For an attempt to reconstruct A.'s text of Gn. 1, see preceding 13.1.1.) This exegesis of Gn. 1.1 is certainly, and deliberately, exemplary. We see how the mind of the exegete works, and we work through his text with him (as in A.'s sermons, which have the form--whatever their actual premeditation--of extemporaneous explorations). His primary datum is the original scriptural text; his deliberation arises both from scripture and from the employment of his natural reason, but other authoritative texts from scripture are invoked both as to the form (appeals to veritas for help) and as to the conclusions that can and should be drawn. Here we see the most obvious thing about A.'s relation to Platonism (so obvious that it is never mentioned), that he has clearly made a conscious decision not to invoke the Platonists as authorities. He will discuss them and their ideas, giving them credit as he does; but when he goes to allude to a secular authority, it is far more likely to be Cicero or some other `pagan' worthy than a Platonist, and then far more likely to be Plato than Plotinus.

    transiit: A. was conscious of this verb as the equivalent for `Passover' (ep. 55.1.2), hence its appropriateness of Moses; and cf. Io. ev. tr. 55.1, `ideo quippe ad deum permanentem transimus, ne cum mundo transeunte transeamus.'

    a te ad te: Cf. 4.9.14, `quo it aut quo fugit nisi a te placito ad te iratum?'

    et si hebraea voce loqueretur: For difference of language as a sign of the need for faith to precede understanding, cf. Gn. c. man. 1.9.15, `qua enim lingua vocavit deus diem lucem, et tenebras noctem? utrum hebraea, an graeca, an latina, an aliqua alia? et sic omnia quae vocavit, quaeri potest qua lingua vocaverit. sed apud deum purus intellectus est, sine strepitu et diversitate linguarum'; sim. at en. Ps. 118. s. 18.3 (also quoting Rom. 10.17) and Io. ev. tr. 40.5.

    pulsaret: Mt. 7.7-8 (11.2.3, 11.2.4).

    intus . . . veritas: 10.6.10, `intus cum veritate conferunt', and see esp. mag. 11.38 quoted there.

    veritas: Jn. 14.6 (as below). When A. considers how his own audience will know whether he speaks truth (10.3.3), the answer is not veritas (Christ), but caritas (Spirit). The difference may only be that between an inspired text and one that is not--but if pressed, A. might well have admitted that veritas and caritas have a part in both cases.

    sine strepitu syllabarum: `Syllables' as marks of the transience and imperfection of human speech are a common topic for A.; in conf., 1.18.29, 3.6.10, 4.11.17, and often here in Bk. 11, esp. at 11.22.28 and 11.26.33; elsewhere, e.g., at qu. ev. 2.49, c. Sec. 15, Io. ev. tr. 29.4.

    quo plenus: J. Balogh, Didaskaleion n. s. 4(1926), 8-10, adduces ep. 147.23.53, `beati enim mundo corde, quia ipsi deum videbunt, non cum eis sicut corpus ex aliquo loci intervallo apparebit, sed cum venerit ad eos et mansionem fecerit apud eos, quoniam sic implebuntur in omnem plenitudinem dei [Eph. 3.19], non cum fuerint et ipsi plenus deus, sed cum perfecte fuerint pleni deo.'

    parce peccatis meis: In other words, as we had at 1.5.5, `miserere ut loquar', now he effectively prays, `miserere ut audiam' : both speaking and hearing require divine aid if they are to be successful. Cf. perhaps Job 14.16, `sed parce peccatis meis' (but that is Vg., not the VL version that A. regularly cites; VL reads `et nihil te latuit peccatorum meorum').

    da et mihi haec intellegere: Ps. 118.34, `da mihi intellectum et scrutabor legem tuam'; Ps. 118.144, `intellectum da mihi et vivam'; Ps. 118.73, `da mihi intellectum ut discam mandata tua.' en. Ps. 118. s. 18.3, `quamvis enim, nisi aliquid intellegat, nemo possit credere in deum, tamen ipsa fide qua credit sanatur, ut intellegat ampliora. alia sunt enim quae nisi intellegamus, non credimus; et alia sunt quae nisi credamus, non intellegimus. nam cum fides sit ex auditu, auditus autem per verbum Christi, quomodo credit praedicanti fidem, qui, ut alia taceam, linguam ipsam quam loquitur non intellegit?' Yet another link to the beginning of Bk. 1: 1.1.1, `da mihi, domine, scire et intellegere'.

    text of 11.4.6


    clamant quod facta sint: The same point of departure for ascent as for the ascent at Ostia (9.10.25) and for that in Bk. 10 (10.6.9): cf. Ps. 99.3. That the familiar pattern of the ascent begins again here should be no surprise; the difference between Bks. 11-13 and Bk. 10 on this score will be that 11-13 offer a meditation starting directly from scriptural authority (see on 10.40.65 for the justification of that practice).

    mutantur: Mutability the signpost of whatever is not God; see on 7.1.1, `incommutabilem'.

    vox dicentium est ipsa evidentia: 10.6.9, `interrogatio mea intentio mea et responsio eorum species eorum.'

    qui pulcher es [2] . . . qui bonus es [3] . . . qui es [1].

    pulchra sunt: 13.20.28, `et pulchra sunt omnia faciente te'.

    bona sunt: Sim. at 13.31.46. vera rel. 55.113, `quae tamen omnia neque fierent a patre [1] per filium [2], neque suis finibus salva essent, nisi deus summe bonus [3] esset, qui et nulli naturae quae ab ipso bona esse posset invidit'; see Meijering 23 for numerous further references.

    quo comparato: en. Ps. 134.4, `illo non comparato, sunt, quoniam ab illo sunt; illi autem comparata non sunt, quia verum esse incommutabile esse est, quod ille solus est.'

    scientiae tuae [2]: In other words, `That in us which corresponds to the second person of the trinity is so faint an image of the second person as to be almost no image at all.'

    text of 11.5.7


    quomodo: Cf. the last sentence of the paragraph, `dixisti', and 11.6.8, `quomodo dixisti'. The rhetoric of the paragraph reduces him, as if all unwilling, to seeing the fact of divine utterance at the root of all creation. This enables him in 11.6.8 to confront the question of utterance itself.

    sicut homo artifex: Cic., orator 2.9, `nec vero ille artifex, cum faceret Iovis formam aut Minervae, contemplabatur aliquem e quo similitudinem duceret, sed ipsius in mente insidebat species pulchritudinis eximia quaedam, quam intuens in eaque defixus ad illius similitudinem artem et manum dirigebat.' lib. arb. 2.16.42, `et omnium quidem formarum corporearum artifices homines in arte habent numeros quibus coaptant opera sua, et tamdiu manus atque instrumenta in fabricando movent, donec illud quod formatur foris ad eam quae intus est lucem numerorum relatum, quantum potest, impetret absolutionem placeatque per interpretem sensum interno iudici supernos numeros intuenti'; sim. at Gn. c. man. 1.8.13 and qu. vet. t. 2.

    speciem [2]: See on 1.7.12 for modus/species/ordo. The pattern presented here (matter awaiting form) anticipates his own reading of the mechanics of creation (12.3.3).

    intus . . . foris: Cf. 3.6.11, `tu autem eras interior intimo meo et superior summo meo', and see on 10.27.38.

    praesidentem sibi veritatem: See on 11.3.5, `intus . . . veritas'; for the wording, qu. hept. 2.67, `nisi suae menti praesidentem dominum consuleret'.

    in verbo tuo: Gn. 1.1 does not say that God created heaven and earth by speaking; A.'s pretexts for this assertion are Gn. 1.3, `et dixit deus, “fiat lux”' et sim. in Gn. 1, read in light of Jn. 1.1-3, but buttressed as well by such other texts as Ps. 32.9, `quoniam ipse dixit, et facta sunt' (en. Ps. 32. en. 1.9, `ipse mandavit verbo suo et creata sunt') and Ps. 148.5, `ipse dixit et facta sunt', and Ps. 32.6, `verbo domni caeli firmati sunt'. The same phrase at 4.10.15, 11.9.11, 12.20.29 (4x), 13.20.27, 13.21.29, 13.21.31 (2x), 13.34.49; cf. 12.7.7, `in principio, quod est de te, in sapientia tua, quae nata est de substantia tua, fecisti aliquid et de nihilo'.

    text of 11.6.8


    The text of Genesis 1.1ff is now rarely far from mind. It would be nugatory to mark every passage like `fieret caelum et terra', but it would be a mistake to ignore them.

    quomodo dixisti: Answers elsewhere: Gn. litt. 8.18.37-8.27.50, esp. 8.27.49, `certissime tamen tenere debemus deum aut per suam substantiam loqui aut per sibi subditam creaturam; sed per substantiam suam non loqui nisi ad creandas omnes naturas, ad spiritales vero atque intellectuales non solum creandas sed etiam inluminandas, cum iam possunt capere locutionem eius, qualis est in verbo eius, quod in principio erat apud deum et deus erat verbum, per quod facta sunt omnia.' See also Gn. litt. 1.2.5, 9.2.3, en. Ps. 138.8.

    vox: 102x in conf. (see on 12.11.11 for the repeated [5x in Bks. 12-13] `iam dixisti mihi, domine, voce forti in aurem interiorem').

    vox de nube: Mt. 17.5 (the transfiguration), `et ecce vox de nube dicens, “hic est filius meus dilectus in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite”'; Mt. 3.17 (Jesus' baptism), `et ecce vox de caelis dicens, “hic est filius meus dilectus in quo mihi complacui.”' At trin. 2.10.18, A. instances Mt. 17.5 and other texts to show that when the voice of God is heard, it is not necessary or appropriate to conclude always that it is the Word of God that is speaking; here it is useful for A.'s purposes to cite a biblical voice that is undoubtedly not the Son but the Father (creator omnium). Of biblical voices, this one, itself authorizing another voice, is privileged: s. 79, `loquitur Elias, sed “hunc audite.” loquitur Moyses, sed “hunc audite.” loquuntur prophetae, loquitur lex: sed “hunc audite,” vocem legis et linguam prophetarum. ipse in illis sonuit, ipse in se ipso quando est dignatus apparuit. “hunc audite”: hunc audiamus. quando evangelium loquebatur, putate quia nubes erat: inde nobis vox sonuit.'

    illa enim vox: Io. ev. tr. 1.8, `quaecumque dicuntur et transeunt, soni sunt, litterae sunt, syllabae sunt. hoc verbum transit quod sonat.' (See 11.22.28.)

    auris interior: See on 10.6.9, `homo interior', and on 10.6.8, `deum meum, lucem, vocem, odorem, cibum, amplexum interioris hominis mei', and see also 1.5.5, `aures cordis mei'. Io. ep. tr. 2.13, `ipse vobis ergo intus loquatur, quando nemo hominum illic est. . . . interior ergo magister est qui docet, Christus docet, inspiratio ipsius docet. ubi illius inspiratio et unctio illius non est, forinsecus inaniter perstrepunt verba.'

    cum aeterno in silentio verbo tuo: The problematical silence of God (see on 1.1.1); the doctrine of the silent Word (oxymoron) is a forced solution.

    aliud est longe: These words of the mens prudens are an answer to the rhetorical question with which the paragraph began, and the direct discourse gives the answer an air of authority: not A. speaking, but any reasonable person.

    manet in aeternum: Is. 40.6-8, `omnis caro fenum et claritas hominis ut flos feni. . . . (8) exsiccatum est foenum et cecidit flos, verbum autem domini nostri manet in aeternum.'

    erat iam creatura corporalis: Gn. litt. 1.9.15, `si vero temporaliter dixit, non verbo sibi coaeterno, sed per aliquam creaturam dixit temporalem. ac per hoc non erit prima creatura lux, quia iam erat, per quam temporaliter diceretur, “fiat lux.”'

    text of 11.7.9


    deum apud te deum: Jn. 1.1, `et verbum erat apud deum'.

    sempiterne: See on 1.6.9.

    eo: G-M: `The sense of the metaphor in “eo” (i.e., “verbo”) is strong enough to prevent the use of “ab” with it.'

    finitur: Looks back to 9.10.24, `et remeavimus ad strepitum oris nostri, ubi verbum et incipitur et finitur', and forward to 11.27.34, in the discussion of the fleeting transience of speech; cf. also 12.27.37, `et cum audiunt, “dixit deus, fiat” illud et “factum est” illud, cogitant verba coepta et finita, sonantia temporibus atque transeuntia.'

    vera aeternitas: trin. 4.18.24, `vera autem immortalitas, vera incorruptibilitas, vera incommutabilitas, ipsa est aeternitas'; en. Ps. 101. s. 2.10, `aeternitas, ipsa dei substantia est, quae nihil habet mutabile; ibi nihil est praeteritum, quasi iam non sit; nihil est futurum, quasi nondum sit. non est ibi nisi “est”; non est ibi “fuit” et “erit”, quia et quod fuit, iam non est; et quod erit, nondum est; sed quidquid ibi est, nonnisi est.' Cf. 7.10.16, `qui novit veritatem [= verbum], novit eam [sc. lucem incommutabilem], et qui novit eam, novit aeternitatem.'

    gratias ago: Common in Paul (c. 43x, cf. 1 Thess. 5.18, `in omnibus gratias agite'), and the importance underlined at Rom. 1.21 (see on 7.9.14), `non sicut deum glorificaverunt aut gratias egerunt'.

    confiteor tibi: Mt. 11.25, `confiteor tibi, pater'.

    verbo tibi coaeterno: Gn. litt. imp. 5.19, `verbum autem dei, per quod facta sunt omnia, nec coepit esse, nec desinet; sed sine inchoatione natum patri coaeternum est.' First in Bk. 7, at the stage of the narrative at which A. discovers the pre-existent second person of the trinity (but not the incarnate Word): 7.9.14, `coaeternus tibi', 7.21.27; then not until here; 13x in Bk. 12 (12.9.9ff).

    nec tamen: Gn. litt. 4.34.53, `immo vero et prius et posterius per sex dies quae commemorata sunt facta sunt, et simul omnia facta sunt'; Gn. litt. 1.2.6, `cum enim verba sint temporis, cum dicimus “quando” et “aliquando”, aeternum tamen est in verbo dei, quando fieri aliquid debeat, et tunc fit, quando fieri debuisse in illo verbo est, in quo non est quando et aliquando, quoniam totum illud verbum aeternum est.'

    text of 11.8.10


    in aeterna ratione: = `verbum tuum' = `in aeterna veritate'.

    et principium est, quia et loquitur nobis: Jn. 8.24-25, `nisi credideritis [Is. 7.9 (VL)] quia ego sum, moriemini in peccatis vestris. (25) dicebant ergo ei, “tu quis es?” dixit eis Iesus, “principium quia et loquor vobis.”' This is A.'s text reconstructed from Io. ev. tr. with reference to the Wordsworth/White and Weber Vulgates, but there is evidence for quod and qui elsewhere in A.: Milne 235. The Greek is similarly perplexing: see B. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York, 1971), 223-224, with refs.

    This whole paragraph is an extended meditation on this scriptural datum, coordinating the text to his own experience; cf. `et ideo principium . . .' below. The link between this principium and that of Gn. 1.1 and Jn. 1.1 is already present in s. 1.2.2 (391/3);6 Gn. litt. 1.5.10, `principium quippe creaturae intellectualis est aeterna sapientia: quod principium manens in se incommutabiliter nullo modo cessaret occulta inspiratione vocationis loqui ei creaturae cui principium est, ut converteretur ad id ex quo esset, quo aliter formata ac perfecta esse non posset. ideoque interrogatus quis esset, respondit, “principium, quia et loquor vobis.”' For a tortured later treatment, in which `quia et loquor vobis' is taken as reference to the incarnation, cf. Io. ev. tr. 38.11, where he is probably reacting against the Porphyrian vocabulary of principia: civ. 10.24, `noluit [Porphyrius] intellegere dominum Christum esse principium, cuius incarnatione purgamur. . . . principium ergo suscepta anima et carne et animam credentium mundat et carnem. ideo quaerentibus Iudaeis quis esset respondit se esse principium.'

    crederetur et intus quaereretur: For the sequence, see on 1.1.1; mag. 14.45, `tum illi qui discipuli vocantur, utrum vera dicta sint apud semetipsos considerant, interiorem scilicet illam veritatem pro viribus intuentes. tunc ergo discunt, et cum vera dicta esse intus invenerint, laudant nescientes non se doctores potius laudare quam doctos, si tamen et illi quod loquuntur sciunt.'

    ubi . . . docet: cf. `intus' and `ibi' below.

    solus magister: Mt. 23.8, `unus enim est magister vester', and cf. mag. passim, concluding at mag. 14.46, `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'; cf. mag. 12.40, `illum intus magistrum'.

    dicentis: Regularly translated as if dicentem, which was what was printed by Amerbach in 1506.

    quoniam: Vega and BA translate as if = `that', Ryan and Pusey translate as if `because, since.' After verbs of speaking, `that' is commoner (7.10.16, 7.12.18, 8.3.6, 9.2.4), but `because' is exampled (2.7.15, 7.9.14) and is preferable on context here.

    admonemur: See on 7.10.16.

    ubi ubi C D S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   ibi G O

    cum stamus . . . vocem sponsi: Jn. 3.29 (quoting John the Baptist), `amicus autem sponsi qui stat et audit eum, gaudio gaudet propter vocem sponsi. hoc ergo gaudium meum impletum est.' This expression resembles the verse (Mt. 25.21, `intra in gaudium domini tui') that culminates Ostia (9.10.25): `a successful interpretation of scripture means nothing less than return to God' (Warns). s. 179.2.2-3.3, `ego qui vobis assidue loquor, iubente domino et fratre meo episcopo vestro [Carthaginis] et exigentibus vobis, tunc solidum gaudeo dum audio. gaudium, inquam, meum tunc solidum eset quando audio, non quando praedico. tunc enim securus delector. . . . noverat hoc gaudium etiam amicus ille sponsi qui dicebat “qui habet sponsam, sponsus est: amicus autem sponsi stat, et audit eum.” . . . non propter vocem suam, sed propter vocem sponsi. vocem tamen sponsi quam intus audiebat, foras populis non claudebat. (3) hanc partem sibi elegerat etiam illa Maria [Lk. 10] quae, ministrante et circa multum ministerium occupata sorore sua, sedebat ad pedes domini et otiosa verbum eius audiebat.'

    gaudio gaudemus: 10.23.33, `beata quippe vita est gaudium de veritate'; 11.2.3, `ecce vox tua gaudium meum'.

    nisi maneret: 11.6.8, `verbum autem dei mei supra me manet in aeternum' (from Is. 40.8); cf. 4.16.31. Cf. vera rel. 55.113, `unum deum . . . a quo discessimus, cui dissimiles facti sumus [!], a quo perire non permissi sumus, principium ad quod recurrimus'.

    cognoscendo utique redimus: On redire, see on 1.18.28. That knowledge is redemptive is implicit and important in all of conf.; the nosse in the human soul is that faculty corresponding in the divine image to the second person of the trinity.

    text of 11.9.11


    The first line recurs at the last line, transferring attention from Jn. 8.25 back to Gn. 1.1. For the strategy, cf. Amb. exam. 1.4.15, `in hoc ergo principio, id est in Christo fecit deus caelum et terram,' quoting both Jn. 8.25 and Jn. 1.3.

    in virtute tua, in sapientia tua, in veritate tua: 1 Cor. 1.24, `Christum dei virtutem et dei sapientiam' (see on 1.1.1 and 11.8.10). The identification was one A. grasped eagerly in his most Platonic days: c. acad. 2.1.1, `oro autem ipsam summi dei virtutem atque sapientiam. quid est enim aliud, quem mysteria nobis tradunt dei filium?' beata v. 4.34 (offering the first scriptural allusions to appear in that work), `accepimus autem etiam auctoritate divina dei filium nihil esse aliud quam dei sapientiam, et est dei filius profecto deus. . . . sed quid putatis esse sapientiam nisi veritatem? etiam hoc enim dictum est, ego sum veritas.' lib. arb. 1.2.5, `quem filium dei unicum dicimus; quem cum planius enuntiare conamur, dei virtutem et dei sapientiam nominamus'.

    quis enarrabit?: Similar questions are common in scripture, e.g., Job 38.37, Sirach 18.2, 43.35, Is. 53.8, Act. 8.33; cf. Jn. 1.18, `deum nemo vidit umquam; unigenitus deus, qui est in sinu patris, ipse enarravit.'

    percutit: 10.6.8, `percussisti cor meum verbo tuo et amavi te.'

    inhorresco: horror in the divine presence: 7.10.16, 9.4.9, 12.14.17.

    dissimilis . . . similis: See on 7.10.16, `in regione dissimilitudinis'. trin. 9.11.16, `in quantum deum novimus, similes sumus'; at greater length, div. qu. 51.2, `multis enim modis dici res possunt similes deo: aliae secundum virtutem et sapientiam factae, quia in ipso est virtus et sapientia non facta [cf. `in sapientia tua, in virtute tua' above]; aliae in quantum solum vivunt, quia ille summe et primitus vivit; aliae in quantum sunt, quia ille summe et primitus est.'

    deficientem: Ps. 30.11, `quoniam defecit in dolore vita mea et anni mei in gemitibus [cf. 11.29.39], infirmatus est in egestate vigor meus et ossa mea conturbata sunt'; en. Ps. 30. en. 1.11, `egeo sanitate huius corporis, nec parcitur cruciatibus; egeo resolutione corporis, et parcitur morti; et in hac egestate infirmata est fiducia mea'; en. Ps. 30. en. 2 s. 2.5, `quando autem videt homo ex dispensatione sua, ex laboribus suis, ex praedicatione sua, non proficere homines, infirmatur in egestate vita hominis.' On defectio, see also civ. 12.7, quoted on 2.6.12.

    ab ea: sc. sapientia.

    ut non sufferam: Cf. Ps. 64.8, `qui conturbas fundum maris, sonum fluctuum eius quis sufferet?'

    qui propitius factus es: Ps. 102.3-5, `qui propitius fit omnibus iniquitatibus tuis, qui sanatur omnes languores tuos, (4) qui redimet de corruptione vitam tuam, qui coronat te in miseratione et misericordia, (5) qui satiat in bonis desiderium meum, renovabitur sicut aquilae iuventus tua.' The passage was a leit-motif of Bk. 10: see on 10.3.3; the last phrase is echoed only here.

    aquilae: en. Ps. 102.9, `quaeris ergo quando satietur in bonis anima tua? quando renovata fuerit iuventus tua. et addidit, “sicut aquilae.” profecto hic aliquid latet; quod tamen dici de aquila solet non tacemus, quia non est ab re hoc intellegere. . . . dicitur aquila, cum senectute corporis pressa fuerit, immoderatione rostri crescentis cibum capere non posse. pars enim rostri eius superior, quae supra partem inferiorem aduncatur, cum prae senecta immoderatius creverit, longitudo eius incrementi non eam sinit os aperire, ut sit aliquod intervallum inter inferiorem partem et uncum superiorem. nisi enim aliquod intervallum pateat, non habet morsus quasi forcipem, unde velut tondeat quod transmittat in fauces. crescente itaque superiore parte et nimis aduncata, non poterit os aperire et aliquid capere. hoc ei facit vetustas. praegravatur languore senectutis, et inopia comedendi languescit nimis; utraque re et aetatis et egestatis accedente. itaque modo quodam naturali in mensura reparandae quasi iuventutis, aquila dicitur conlidere et percutere ad petram ipsum quasi labium suum superius, quo nimis crescente edendi aditus clauditur; atque ita conterendo illud ad petram excutit; et caret prioris rostri onere, quo cibus impediebatur. accedit ad cibum, et omnia reparantur: erit post senectutem tamquam iuvenis aquila; redit vigor omnium membrorum, nitor plumarum, gubernacula pennarum, volat excelsa sicut antea, fit in ea quaedam resurrectio. ad hoc enim exposita est ista similitudo. . . . non ad immortalitatem aquila reparatur, nos autem ad vitam aeternam; sed tamen propterea inde ducta est similitudo, ut quod nos impedit, petra nobis auferat. non ergo praesumas de viribus tuis; firmitas petrae tibi excutit vetustatem: “petra autem erat Christus.” in Christo renovabitur sicut aquilae iuventus nostra.' Sim. at en. Ps. 66.10. (The notion that eagles died of hunger in this way is old, attested by Arist. hist. anim. 9.32 and appearing in Pliny nat. hist. 10.4.15, but without the story of recovery.)

    spe enim salvi facti sumus: Rom. 8.24-25, `spe enim salvi facti sumus; spes autem quae videtur non est spes; nam, quod videt quis, sperat? (25) si autem, quod non videmus, speramus, per patientiam exspectamus.'

    quam magnificata . . . fecisti: Ps. 103.24, `quam magnificata sunt opera tua, domine! omnia in sapientia fecisti!' en. Ps. 103. s. 3.25, `quaero ubi fecerit, locum non invenio; sed video quid sequatur: “omnia in sapientia fecisti.” ergo omnia in Christo fecisti. ille contemptus, ille expalmatus, ille consputus, ille spinis coronatus, ille crucifixus, omnia in illo fecisti. audio, audio quid de illo tuo milite nunties hominibus; quid de illo praecone sancto praedices gentibus, Christum dei virtutem et dei sapientiam.'

    This is the most revealing text so far on the role and function of the last three books in conf. The possibility of ascent, as sought and achieved from 1.1.1 to 10.27.38 is here just slightly downgraded: let he who can achieve high knowledge, achieve; but for the most part, humanity does not go so high. The acceptable substitute for hearing the word within is hearing its proclamation without: hence scripture, and hence the bishop's responsibility to meditate on God's law day and night.

    et illa principium: Cf. perhaps Prov. 4.7, `principium sapientiae, posside sapientiam; et in omni possessione tua acquire prudentiam.'

    text of 11.10.12


    vetustatis: Sign of the Pauline `old man': Rom. 6.6, Eph. 4.22, Col. 3.9. s. 267.2.2, `carnalitas vetustas est, gratia novitas est'; en. Ps. 139.14, `verba dei cor transfigentia et vetustatem perimentia amoremque gignentia.' See also on 1.4.4, `in vetustatem perducens' and 9.4.10, `mactans vetustatem meam'.

    qui nobis dicunt . . .: For the doctrine at stake, see 7.15.21, `tu, qui solus aeternus es, non post innumerabilia spatia temporum coepisti operari'. For the Manichean origin of the challenge: Gn. c. man. 1.2.3, `primum ergo librum veteris testamenti qui inscribitur Genesis sic solent manichaei reprehendere. quod scriptum est, “in principio fecit deus caelum et terram,” quaerunt, in quo principio, et dicunt: “si in principio aliquo temporis fecit deus caelum et terram, quid agebat antequam faceret caelum et terram? et quid ei subito placuit facere, quod numquam antea fecerat per tempora aeterna?” his respondemus, deum in principio fecisse caelum et terram, non in principio temporis, sed in Christo, cum verbum esset apud patrem, per quod facta et in quo facta sunt omnia. dominus enim noster Iesus Christus, cum eum Iudaei interrogassent quis esset, respondit, “principium, quia et loquor vobis.” [Jn. 8.25] sed etsi in principio temporis deum fecisse caelum et terram credamus, debemus utique intellegere quod ante principium temporis non erat tempus. deus enim fecit et tempora: et ideo antequam faceret tempora, non erant tempora. non ergo possumus dicere fuisse aliquod tempus quando deus nondum aliquid fecerat.' (Sim. at Gn. litt. 1.1.2.) Meijering 40 traces the Epicurean, anti-Stoic roots of the argument; cf. esp. Cic., nat. deor. 1.9.21, `cur mundi aedificatores repente extiterint, innumerabilia saecula dormierint'; Lucretius 5.168-173:

    quidve novi potuit tanto post ante quietos
    inlicere ut cuperent vitam mutare priorem;
    nam guadere novis rebus debere videtur
    cui veteres obsunt; sed cui nil accidit aegri
    tempore in anteacto, cum pulchre degeret aevum,
    quid potuit novitatis amorem accendere tali?

    Other echoes in A.: ord. 2.17.46, `in deo enim novum extitisse consilium, ne dicam impium, ineptissimum est dicere'; div. qu. 28, `qui quaerit quare voluerit deus mundum facere, causam quaerit voluntatis dei. sed omnis causa efficiens est. omne autem efficiens maius est quam quod efficitur. nihil autem maius est voluntate dei. non ergo eius causa quaerenda est'; much later at civ. 11.4, 12.13-15, 22.2, and c. adv. leg. 1.2.2.

    The fullest and most recent study is E. Peters, Augustiana 34(1984), 53-74, devoted mainly to the pre-Augustinian history of the question; he gives fuller details to confirm Meijering's concentration on Platonic and post-Platonic philosophical disputation, reinvigorated by Manichean polemic. His main contribution is to show that (67) `the Epicurean cur ante non form of the question never in Epicurean polemic becomes the quid antequam form. The case for an Epicurean origin of the type of question is much more solid. Meijering does not note Irenaeus' or Origen's citation of the question. The origin of the quid antequam form in gnostic circles seems clear. The question then becomes why did Gnostics modify the Epicurean polemical question?' Peters goes on to suggest (67-72) that Midrashic speculations had already prepared a `pre-creation scenario' to which Gnostics reacted polemically; (69) `Both Gnostics and Manichaeans knew very well what the divinity and its enemies were doing before the creation.' (All this can be supplemented with difficulty from Sorabji, Time esp. 250ff, who does not specifically address this puzzle, except in an unenlightened aside [Sorabji, Time 83].)

    One of A.'s contemporaries discusses the topic in a different vein from A.: Cassian conl. 8.7.1-2, `ante conditionem huius visibilis creaturae spiritales caelestesque virtutes deum fecisse . . . nemo fidelium dubitat. (2) nec enim existimare debemus creationis et opificii sui principia ab huius mundi constitutione deum primitus inchoasse, quasi in illis anterioribus atque innumeris saeculis ab omni providentia et dispensatione divina fuerit otiosus, ac tamquam non habens in quos bonitatis suae exerceret beneficia solitarius atque ab omni munificentia alienus fuisse credatur.' This undoubtedly comes from a line of eastern tradition in which the best strategy seemed to be not to deny the legitimacy of the question, but to offer a measured (and scripturally-based) reply.

    The form of the question, echoing the cut and thrust of the viva voce debate, has interesting parallels; at div. qu. 44., for example, A. defends orthodoxy against the question `quare tanto post venit dominus Iesus Christus?' More pertinently, the Manichean taunt here matches closely in form and tone the question Nebridius put to the Manichees--`What if God had not wanted to fight?'--and used by A. again and again (see on 7.2.3).

    cessavit ab opere: Gn. 2.3, `et benedixit diem septimum et sanctificavit eum, quia in ipso cessaverat ab omni opere suo, quod creavit deus ut faceret.' VL (Beuron) indicates that this is the only passage in A. where cessaverat is indicated, howbeit indirectly (here and 2x again at 11.13.15); everywhere else (the verse is not often cited, and mainly in Gn. litt.) he has the more familiar VL requievit (or simply quievit); more remarkable, this present passage seems to be the only VL evidence of any kind for cessare here; but cessaverat appears in Jerome's Vg. (LXX kate/pausen). The `cur dicitur' seems to suggest a scriptural text.

    vera aeternitas: Assumes 11.7.9, `alioquin iam tempus et mutatio, et non vera aeternitas nec vera immortalitas' and cf. 1.4.4, `opera mutas nec mutas consilium'; for God's immutability, see on 7.1.1.

    text of 11.11.13


    o sapientia dei: Cf. Eph. 3.10, `ut innotescat principibus et potestatibus in caelestibus per ecclesiam multiformis sapientia dei'; and 1 Cor. 1.24 (see on 11.9.11).

    lux mentium: 12.18.27, `lux omnium veridicarum mentium', and cf. 7.6.8, `sapientia mentes indigentes inluminans'.

    conantur: As verb of human reaching for the divine: see on 4.15.26.

    cor eorum: Ps. 5.10-11, `in conspectu tuo dirige iter meum, quoniam non est in ore eorum veritas; cor eorum vanum est, (11) sepulcrum patens est guttur eorum'; en. Ps. 5.11, `quibus utique iudicantibus non est credendum, et ideo intro ad conscientiam et ad dei conspectum confugiendum est.'

    quis tenebit illud [and see `et quis tenebit cor hominis' below]: Cf. 1.1.1, `inquietum est cor nostrum', and 7.17.23, `sed aciem figere non evalui'. This passage echoes generally the vocabulary of the ascent: cf. 7.17.23, `et non stabam frui deo meo, sed rapiebar ad te decore tuo'; 9.10.24, `pascis Israhel in aeternum veritate pabulo'; 10.41.66, `splendorem'. s. Den. 2.5, `sed quando tenemus volaticam cogitationem, et ad id quod manet affigimus? quando possumus? ergo misertus est deus . . . tamquam diceret Moysi: "quod dixi, `ego sum qui sum,' non capis; non stat cor tuum, non est immutabilis mecum, nec incommutabilis mens tua. . . . non potes capere nomen substantiae meae: cape nomen misericordiae meae."' en. Ps. 138.8, `illa ergo sapientia stans (si dici debet vel stans: dicitur autem propter incommutabilitatem, non propter immobilitatem) et eodem modo se semper habens, nullo loco, nullo tempore variata'. Sim. at Io. ev. tr. 38.10, ord. 2.2.6, en. Ps. 2.6, div. qu. 17., 19, civ. 11.6.

    rapiat: See on 4.12.18, and cf. 9.10.25.

    stantis: 11.8.10, `stabilis veritas'.

    motibus: morulis coni. Verheijen, in order to read quae in the next line.

    qui qui G S Maur. Knöll Skut.:   quae C D O Ver.

    extendi: Cf. Phil. 3.13, `in ea quae ante sunt extentus' (9.10.23).

    praesens: 9.10.23, `apud praesentem veritatem, quod tu es'.

    nullum vero tempus totum esse praesens: For the vanishing `present', see excursus on memory at 10.8.12.

    manus mea valet: For the expression only (from an entirely different context), cf. Gn. 31.29, `valet manus mea reddere tibi malum'.

    manus oris mei: Not a citation, but a biblicism nonetheless: Knauer 151n1; cf. 5.1.1, `de manu linguae meae', 10.8.12, `abigo ea manu cordis'.

    text of 11.12.14


    Peters, Augustiana 34(1984), 55, is right that this one wrong question stands by synecdoche for all others: at the outset of his meditatio in lege domini, A. exemplifies the boundary between quaerere (licit) and curiositas (illicit). Bk. 12 will explore licit forms of inquiry.

    respondeo non illud: BA ad loc. conceives that A. shows respect by refusing to evade the question with a witticism, but cf. the same ironic praeteritio at civ. 7.1, `qua in re non dico quod facetius ait Tertullianus fortasse quam verius, “si dii eliguntur ut bulbi, utique ceteri reprobi iudicantur.”'

    alta . . . scrutantibus gehenna parabat: As Peters, art. cit., 73, remarks, altus in A. is regularly (but not exclusively, cf. 6.7.12, 9.1.1) used as an attribute of God or to describe an improper object of human attention: c. Faust. 21.3, `occultum est, altum est, inaccessibili secreto ab humana cogitatione seclusum est, quemadmodum deus et damnet impium et iustificet impium.' Cf. Sirach 3.22, `altiora te ne quaesieris', and Rom. 11.20, `noli altum sapere'.

    ridere ridere G O Maur. Knöll Skut.:   est ridere C D Ver.:   est videre S

    libentius enim responderim: In going as far as he does, as Meijering 50 observes, A. indulges in what some earlier Christians would have regarded as curiositas: cf. Tertullian, praescr. haer. 14.5, `cedat curiositas fidei . . . adversus regulam [fidei] nihil scire omnia scire est.'

    audenter: The source of A.'s confidence in his answer here is that it is dialectical rather than substantive. The things of logic he knows from direct perception and hence can utter them with a confidence that he would not attribute even to his sense perceptions.

    text of 11.13.15


    at si cuiusquam volatilis sensus vagatur: i.e., not `quae retro sunt obliviscens' (Phil. 3.13, as at Ostia, 9.10.23)--lingering on the past and failing to `attend' (see on `attendat') to the present/future.

    omnipotentem [1] et omnicreantem [2] et omnitenentem [3]: This trinitarian division is speculative--cf., e.g., 13.11.12, `trinitatem omnipotentem'. Cf. Gn. litt. 8.26.48, `deus omnipotens et omnitenens, incommutabili aeternitate [1], veritate [2], voluntate [3] semper idem'; en. Ps. 114.3, `ubique ipse regnat, et est omnipotens atque omnitenens'.

    omnipotentem: 1.4.4, `potentissime, omnipotentissime'; and often elsewhere.

    omnitenentem: See on 7.15.21, `tu es omnitenens'.

    ab opere tanto . . . cessasse: Gn. 2.3 (see on 11.10.12), and below, `ab opere cessabas'.

    attendat: See on 9.10.23 for the various compounds, ad-, in-, ex-tendere and the mystical purport in view of Phil. 3.13, and see en. Ps. 89.5, quoted on 11.13.16, `anni tui'. Cf. 11.18.23, `intentio', and 11.27.34, `attende . . . tendebatur', as well as `distentio' of time (see on 11.23.30).

    omnium saeculorum auctor et conditor: Cf. Heb. 1.2, `per quem fecit et saecula'; civ. 12.16, `neque enim et ipsa tempora creata esse negabimus'.

    text of 11.13.16


    praecedis: Gn. litt. 6.8.13, `creaturae quippe aliae creaturas alias, quaedam tempore, quaedam causis, praecedunt; ille autem omnia quae fecit, non solum excellentia, qua etiam causarum effector est, verum etiam aeternitate praecedit.'

    celsitudine: Of God at 2.6.13 and 11.31.41; cf. 6.7.12 and 9.6.14 (`altitudo dei'). s. 117.10.17, `vis capere celsitudinem dei? cape prius humilitatem dei. dignare esse humilis propter te, quia deus dignatus est humilis esse propter eundem te, non enim propter se'; s. 160.4, `multi enim viderunt quo, nec viderunt qua; amaverunt celsitudinis patriam, sed ignoraverunt humilitatis viam.'

    praesentis: See on 1.4.4, `secretissime et praesentissime'. The word is both temporal and spatial, and A. plays on both senses; from here through 11.21.27 it occurs abundantly, esp. but not exclusively of time.

    superas omnia futura: 12.28.38, `cuncta praeterita et futura tempora superari'.

    et cum venerint: s. 109.4.4, `veniunt ut abeant anni nostri, veniunt, inquam, ut eant. non enim veniunt ut stent nobiscum; sed cum transeunt per nos, terunt nos, et minus minusque valere nos faciunt.'

    tu autem idem ipse es: Ps. 101.28, `tu idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficient'. See on 1.6.10; this portion of the verse is echoed at 4.16.31, 7.20.26, 7.21.27, 8.3.6, 10.4.6, 12.11.13, and 13.18.22.

    deficient deficient C D G S Knöll Skut.:   deficiunt O Maur. Ver.
    `deficiunt' at 1.6.10, 12.11.13, 13.18.22; but context and the manuscripts here suggest the future (as does Knauer 201 [`Textanhang']).

    excluduntur: s. 108.5.5, `nonne vita ipsa morti similis est? dies autem ipsi properantes transeunt, quia hodiernus dies hesternum exclusit, crastinus ideo nascitur ut excludat hesternum. ipsi dies non stant: tu quare cum illis vis stare?'

    anni tui dies unus: 2 Pet. 3.8, `unum vero hoc non lateat vos, carissimi, quia unus dies apud dominum sicut mille anni, et mille anni sicut dies unus'; Ps. 89.4, `quoniam mille anni ante oculos tuos, tamquam dies hesternus qui praeteriit'; en. Ps. 89.5, `ideo debemus ad refugium tuum, ubi sine ulla mutabilitate tu es, ab illis praetereuntibus labentibusque converti; quoniam quantumlibet huic vitae longum tempus optetur, “mille anni ante oculos tuos, tamquam dies hesternus est qui praeteriit,” non saltem tamquam dies crastinus qui venturus est; ita omnia quae temporis fine clauduntur pro transactis habenda sunt. unde et ea sibi apostoli postposuit intentio, “quae retro sunt obliviscentis,” ubi temporalia cuncta oportet intellegi; “et in ea quae ante sunt extenti, quae appetitio est aeternorum.” [Phil. 3.13]'

    coaeternum: See on 11.7.9.

    ego hodie genui te: Ps. 2.7, `dominus dixit ad me, “filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te”' (quoted at Act. 13.33, Heb. 1.5, Heb. 5.5); en. Ps. 2.6, `quamquam etiam possit ille dies in prophetia dictus videri quo Iesus Christus secundum hominem natus est, tamen “hodie” quia praesentiam significat atque in aeternitate nec praeteritum quidquam est, quasi esse desierit, nec futurum, quasi nondum sit, sed praesens tantum, quia quidquid aeternum est, semper est, divinitus accipitur secundum id dictum “ego hodie genui te,” quo sempiternam generationem virtutis et sapientiae dei, qui est unigenitus filius, fides sincerissima et catholica praedicat.' Sim. at en. Ps. 60.8 (with quotation of Ps. 101.28); at ench. 14.49 a slip of memory transfers the quotation to the baptism (where the divine voice, already quoted at 11.6.8, actually says, `hic est filius meus dilectus in quo mihi complacui'), but interprets it in the same way.

    text of 11.14.17


    Time: Meijering 57: `ähnlich beginnt auch Plotin seine Abhandlung über Ewigkeit und Zeit' (cf. Plotinus 3.7.1); for concise discussion, see also BA 14.581-591. The sources for A.'s views have been the object of numerous studies, with little consensus. The most ambitious effort is J. F. Callahan at HSCP 63(1958), 437-454, and Atti del XII Congresso Internazionale di Filosofia 11 (Florence, 1960), 59-66, arguing for reflection of the ideas of the Arian Eunomius of Cyzica through the Cappadocian fathers; but see Sorabji, Time 235 for reasonable skepticism. The best discussion (including shrewd philosophical critique) is undoubtedly O'Daly 152-161, replacing his earlier articles. O'Daly 152: `perhaps uniquely among ancient Platonists, Augustine does not attempt to understand time with reference to its supposed paradeigma or model, eternity. Elsewhere, indeed, he will refer to time as a “trace (vestigium)” or “copy (imitatio)” of eternity [Gn. litt. imp. 13.38, en. Ps. 9.7, mus. 6.11.29], but in conf. 11 it is rather the total contrast between God's transcendence of time and our anguished sense of dispersion and fragmentation in time that he wishes to emphasize.' A.'s greatest originality for O'Daly lies in his insistence on the indispensable function of memory in all time calculation.

    The most recent summaries (those of Sorabji, Time and O'Daly) thus emphasize the philosophical indebtednesses and originality of A.'s ideas about time. Such an approach always runs the risk of missing essential elements. We have begun the section of the work devoted to scripture exegesis, a text is on the table, and the texture of the last paragraphs has been strongly scriptural. We now revert here for much of Bk. 11 to the technique of the ascent, with many verbal and thematic echoes between these texts and the earlier parts of the work (see 10.8.12 for the beginning of a comparable thinning of texture as the meditation on memory began). Though we might schematically separate the two paths, they interpenetrate each other inextricably.

    permanes: See on 9.10.24, `in se permanenti sine vetustate atque innovanti omnia' (from Wisd. 7.27).

    text of 11.15.18


    ut puta: A sign of hypothetical discussion; in conf. only here and twice in 11.27.34 (later in this same discussion).

    praeteritum enim iam non est: vera rel. 49.97, `nihil autem praeterit in aeterno, et nihil futurum est, quia et quod praeterit esse desinit, et quod futurum est nondum esse coepit. aeternitas autem tantummodo est, nec fuit, quasi iam non sit, nec erit, quasi adhuc non sit.'

    lux mea: Mich. 7.8, `consurgam cum sedero in tenebris: dominus meus lux mea est'; 1 Jn. 1.5, `et haec est annuntiatio quam audivimus ab eo et annuntiamus vobis: quoniam deus lux est, et tenebrae in eo non sunt ullae'; Ps. 26.1, `dominus inluminatio mea et salutaris meus'; Jn. 1.9, `erat lumen verum'.

    veritas tua: Jn. 14.6.

    deridebit: Ps. 58.9, `et tu, domine, deridebis eos [iniquos].' God mocks A. (at least hypothetically) at 1.6.7, 1.6.9, 3.10.18, 6.6.9. Cf. en. Ps. 2.3, `haec enim vis qua ista praescita sunt, inrisio dei est et subsannatio.'

    an an C D G O Maur. Skut. Ver.:   ante S:   an ante coni. Knöll

    text of 11.15.19


    The vanishing present (see excursus on memory at 10.8.12): en. Ps. 76.8, `ecce loquendo dicimus, “hoc anno”; et quid tenemus de hoc anno, praeter unum diem in quo sumus? nam superiores dies anni huius iam transierunt, nec tenentur; futuri autem nondum venerunt.' Sim. at en. Ps. 38.7, s. 157.4.4, Gn. litt. 12.16.33. The best discussion is O'Daly 160, who also quotes mus. 6.8.21.

    anima humana: For apostrophes to the soul, see on 4.11.16; n.b. here not anima mea but humana.

    sentire moras atque metiri: G-M: `a hint of the ultimate solution' --by which they look ahead to 11.23.30, `distentionem'; but the hint goes further. Aeternitas [1] belongs in a triad with veritas [2] and caritas [3] (see on 7.10.16); hence tempus is the quality of human experience that corresponds to (reflects? presents an image of?) divine eternity. But in the mensura/numerus/pondus triad (see on 5.4.7), the act of measuring belongs to that part of the image of God in humanity corresponding to the first person of the trinity.

    text of 11.15.20


    morula: Again at 11.23.29; common in A. (here apt is s. 187.2.2, `verbum dei . . . quod nec locis concluditur, nec temporibus tenditur, nec morulis brevibus longisque variatur, nec vocibus texitur, nec silentio terminatur'; mus. 2.3.3, civ. 10.15, `persona ipsius dei . . . visibiliter appareret et syllabatim per transitorias temporum morulas humanae linguae vocibus loqueretur'); already at Cyprian ep. 11.6.1, `sed quod interim morula est, supersunt adhuc aliqui qui probentur.'

    et tunc et tunc C D S Skut. Ver.:   tunc cum G O:   et tunc cum Maur. (supported by two minor MSS)

    text of 11.16.21


    Logically, it would be clear that since we do engage in an activity that passes as `measuring past time' (e.g., the 75 years of Augustine's life), the question could as easily be `what is it we do when we “measure past time”?' But the exercise here is meant to lead, by a purely logical method of ascent, to the aporia that will require the invocation of divine assistance in the next paragraph, just at the mid-point of Bk. 11.

    text of 11.17.22


    quaero: This is meant to be licit inquiry, not curiositas.

    praeside: See on 10.26.37, `veritas, ubique praesides omnibus consulentibus te'.

    rege: Ps. 27.9, `salvum fac populum tuum, et benedic hereditatem tuam, et rege illos, et extolle illos usque in saeculum'; Ps. 47.15, `quoniam hic est dominus noster in aeternum et in saeculum saeculi ipse reget nos in saecula'; en. Ps. 47.15, `si deus noster est, et rex noster est; protegit nos, quia deus est, ne moriamur; regit nos, quia rex est, ne cadamus. regendo autem nos non frangit nos, nam quos non regit, frangit. “reges eos”, inquit, “in virga ferrea, et tamquam vas figuli conteres eos.” [Ps. 2.9] sed sunt quos non regit; ipsis non parcit, tamquam vas figuli conterens eos.'

    puerosque docuimus: During the brief period (375/6) teaching grammatica at Thagaste; see preceding 4.1.1.

    cecinerunt: Here of secular (oracular) prediction (as at civ. 4.11), not prophetic (which is possible with the same verb: civ. 8.24; here that subject is reserved until 11.19.25); 4.3.5 (on sortes), `poetae . . . canentis'. Foreknowledge is a sign of divine authenticity: a Stoic argument at Cic. div. 1.38.82 begins `si sunt di neque ante declarant hominibus quae futura sint, aut non diligunt homines aut quid eventurum sit ignorant . . .'; cf. Gn. litt. 6.17.28, `hoc enim necessario futurum est, quod ille vult, et ea vere futura sunt, quae ille praescivit.'

    et qui narrant . . . non cernerent: In other words, the events narrated in the first nine books of conf. are present to A. in animo; see below on 11.18.23, `quia est adhuc in memoria mea'.

    text of 11.18.23


    Recurrent themes: memoria and pueritia.

    quaerere: As beginning 11.17.22, `quaero, pater, non adfirmo.'

    spes mea [2]: Ps. 70.5, `in te speravi, domine, non confundar in aeternum, domine, spes mea a iuventute mea.' See on 4.6.11, 5.8.14.

    intentio: Of `attention', mainly but not exclusively visual, hence when wrongly directed linked to curiositas; pre-eminently `present' (see 11.27.36). Of directing the attention at 2.9.17, 3.2.2, 3.5.9, 4.15.27 (`cordis mei auribus, quas intendebam, dulcis veritas, in interiorem melodiam tuam'), 5.7.13, 5.14.25, 6.3.3 (Ambrose reading), 6.5.8, 6.8.13, 6.11.18, 6.11.19, 7.1.2, 7.3.5, 7.6.10, 7.7.11, 7.9.15, 8.11.27, 8.12.29, 10.3.4 (`quid ipse intus sim, quo nec oculum nec aurem nec mentem possunt intendere'), 10.6.9 (`interrogatio mea intentio mea et responsio eorum species eorum'), 10.35.56, 10.35.57, 11.2.2, 11.2.3, 11.27.36 (`praesens intentio'), 11.28.37 (`nam et expectat et attendit et meminit'), 11.29.39 (echoing Phil. 3.13 at length), 12.6.6, 12.14.17, 12.15.18, 13.21.30. J. Rohmer, Aug. Mag. 1.496: `L'intentionnalité est donc un acte spirituel qui remonte les avenues des sens et se projette au dehors, soudant un processus matériel qu'elle informe à l'object même d'où il procède.' Simone Weil: `prayer consists of attention' (Waiting for God [New York, 1951], 105, in her `Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God'.)

    ex memoria proferuntur: 10.8.12, etc.

    res ipsae: 10.9.16, etc.

    verba concepta: 8.2.5.

    ex imaginibus: 10.8.12, `ubi sunt thesauri innumerabilium imaginum', etc.

    vestigia: 10.9.16, `sicut vox impressa per aures vestigio quo recoleretur'; cf. 1.7.12, `sed ecce omitto illud tempus: et quid mihi iam cum eo est, cuius nulla vestigia recolo?'

    pueritia . . . quae non est: See 1.8.13, `infantia . . . iam non erat'.

    quia est adhuc in memoria mea: Here is the sense in which the narrative of Bks. 1-9 is all `present', and in which therefore memory is the forum for `presence.' trin. 14.11.14, `sed dicit aliquis, "non est ista memoria qua mens sui meminisse perhibetur, quae sibi semper est praesens; memoria enim praeteritorum est, non praesentium." nam quidam cum de virtutibus agerent, in quibus est etiam Tullius [inv. 2.53.160: see on 11.20.26], in tria ita prudentiam diviserunt, memoriam [1], intellegentiam [2], providentiam [3]: memoriam scilicet praeteritis, intellegentiam praesentibus, providentiam rebus tribuentes futuris quam non habent certam nisi praescii futurorum. . . . sed qui dicit memoriam non esse praesentium attendat quemadmodum dictum sit in ipsis saecularibus litteris, ubi maioris fuit curae verborum integritas quam veritas rerum:

    nec talia passus Vlixes,
    oblitusve sui est Ithacus discrimine tanto.

    [Aen. 3.628-629] Vergilius enim cum sui non oblitum diceret Vlixem, quid aliud intellegi voluit nisi quod meminerit sui? cum ergo sibi praesens esset, nullo modo sui meminisset nisi et ad res praesentes memoria pertineret. quapropter sicut in rebus praeteritis ea memoria dicitur qua fit ut valeant recoli et recordari, sic in re praesenti quod sibi est mens memoria sine absurditate dicenda est qua sibi praesto est ut sua cogitatione possit intellegi et utrumque sui amore coniungi.'

    eamque praemeditationem: 10.8.14.

    text of 11.18.24


    Cic. div. 1.49.109, `adfert autem vetustas omnibus in rebus longinqua observatione incredibilem scientiam; quae potest esse etiam sine motu atque impulsu deorum, cum quid ex quoque eveniat et quid quamque rem significet crebra animadversione perspectum est.' Gn. litt. 6.16.27-28, `nam et nos pro captu infirmitatis humanae iam in ipsis rebus tempore exortis possumus nosse quid in cuiusque natura sit quod experimento perceperimus, sed utrum etiam futurum sit ignoramus. est quippe in natura huius, verbi gratia, iuvenis ut senescat; sed utrum hoc etiam sit in dei voluntate, nescimus. . . . (28) si ita sunt et in praescientia dei, vere futura sunt; si autem ibi aliter sunt, ita potius futura sunt, sicut ibi sunt ubi qui praescit falli non potest.' Contrast Io. ev. tr. 104.2, `ostendit [dominus] omne tempus, et quid quando faceret vel fieri sineret, ab illo esse dispositum qui tempori subditus non est; quoniam quae futura erant per singula tempora, in dei sapientia causas efficientes habent, in qua nulla sunt tempora.'

    text of 11.19.25


    cui: G-M: `Though the grammar of the sentence would naturally refer “cui” to the subject of “doces” the logic of the passage seems to require us to refer it to the personal object (understood), “to one to whom anything which is future is non-existent”.' The argument is tortured and unnecessary: it is God `to whom there is nothing future'.

    nimis longe est modus iste: BA: `Cette ignorance est étrange, car il suffirait d'admettre que la connaissance éternelle du Verbe est transmise de quelque fa[ccedil]on aux Prophètes.' A. was perhaps more prudent in seeing that `de quelque fa[ccedil]on' masks serious logical difficulties. He suggests some possibilities at cons. ev. 1.24.37, `sive enim angeli ad illos prophetas missi sint, qui eis deum omnium creatorem unum verum deum cui universa subiecta sunt, et per sensibilium rerum congruam speciem figurate ostenderent, et quemadmodum se coli praeciperet indicarent, sive aliquorum in eis mentes per spiritum sanctum ita sublimatae sint, ut eo visu ea viderent quo et ipsi angeli vident, constat tamen eos illi deo servisse qui alios deos coli prohibuit'.

    non potero: Ps. 138.6, `mirificata est scientia tua ex me; invaluit, non potero ad illum'; en. Ps. 138.9, `mirificata est scientia tua ex me; invaluit, non potero ad illam, sed subaudis ex me. non potero ad illam ex me. cum ergo potero, non potero nisi ex te.' G-M and Verheijen put a colon after `invaluit' and a comma or semicolon after `illum' : `invaluit: ex me non potero ad illum; potero autem ex te.' Knöll and Skutella (followed by Vega and Pellegrino) read `invaluit ex me' together, followed by a comma. The conclusion of the quotation seems decisive in favor of placing the break after `invaluit'.

    Cf. nat. et or. an. 4.8.12, `vide igitur quam multa, non praeterita sed praesentia, de natura nostra, nec tantum quod ad corpus verum etiam quod ad interiorem hominem pertinet, ignoremus, nec tamen pecoribus comparemur. . . . ubi potius exclamare debemus ad deum, quod ille exclamavit in psalmo: “mirificata est scientia tua ex me; invaluit, non potero ad illam.” cur enim adiecit, “ex me,” nisi quia ex se ipso quam incomprehensibilis esset dei scientia coniciebat, quando quidem se ipsum comprehendere non valebat?' (That passage ends with Phil. 3.13.) Sim. discussion of the verse at trin. 15.7.13.

    dulce lumen: Eccles. 11.7, `dulce lumen, et delectabile est oculis videre solem'; Ps. 37.11, `et lumen oculorum meorum non est mecum.' Cf. 7.7.11, `lumen oculorum meorum'; 12.18.27, `deus meus, lumen oculorum meorum in occulto.' The occulti oculi mei are those of the homo interior of 10.6.8-9 (Io. ev. tr. 13.3, `est alius oculus, est interior oculus . . . isti oculi in intellegentia sunt, isti oculi in mente sunt'), and their light is God: en. Ps. 37.15, `latuerat ergo Adam lumen oculorum ipsius. nam lumen oculorum ipsius ipse deus erat; quem cum offendisset, fugit ad umbram, et abscondit se inter ligna paradisi. . . . iam inter arbores lumen oculorum non habebat ad quod gaudere consueverat. . . . iam confitens, iam redemptus, iam in corpore Christi est, et lumen oculorum ipsius non est cum ipso? plane non est cum ipso; sed est quidem tamquam adhuc recordantium sabbatum, tamquam cernentium in spe; sed nondum est illud lumen de quo dicitur, “ostendam meipsum illi.” [Jn. 14.21] est quiddam luminis, quia filii dei sumus, et utique hoc in fide retinemus; sed nondum est illud lumen quod videbimus.'

    text of 11.20.26


    memoria [1] . . . contuitus [2] . . . expectatio [3]: This important triad (also at 12.15.18; not discussed by du Roy) has evident links to the triad (13.11.12) esse/nosse/velle. P. Landsberg, La Vie Spirituelle 48[1936], suppl. 31-56, assigned these three temporal categories to the three sections of conf.: Bks. 1-9, memoria; Bk. 10, contuitus; Bks. 11-13, expectatio; he was followed by J. M. le Blond, Les Conversions de Saint Augustin (Paris, 1950), 50, and Knauer 160n1 (and chart on 215). For the closely parallel triad memoria/visio/voluntas explicitly linked to mensura/numerus/pondus, cf. trin. 11.11.18, quoted on 5.4.7. This pattern of timeliness distinguishes creator from creator as early as div. qu. 17. and esp. div. qu. 31., where we have a `sententia Ciceronis' (the de inventione 2.159-67; also reflected at trin. 14.11.14, quoted on 11.18.23 above) on the virtutes animi, dividing prudentia into three parts, memoria, intellegentia, and providentia (discussed by M. O'R. Boyle, RA 22[1987], 129-150); in the remote background is Aristotle, mem. 449b27, tou= me\n paro/ntos ai)/sqhsis, tou= de\ me/llontos e)lpi/s, tou= de\ genome/nou mnh/mh(see R. Sorabji, Aristotle on Memory [London, 1972]).

    contuitus: Roughly = `attention' again (see on 11.18.23, and cf. 11.28.37, `nam et expectat et attendit et meminit'). G-M are wrong to say that `only the ablative singular seems to be found elsewhere'. Though A. can use the word of ordinary sight (Gn. litt. 4.34.54, ep. 257.), the range of texts in which it (and the cognate verb contueri) resonates is impressive: mag. 12.40, `cum vero de his agitur quae mente conspicimus, id est intellectu atque ratione, ea quidem loquimur quae praesentia contuemur in illa interiore luce veritatis qua ipse, qui dicitur homo interior, inlustratur et fruitur'; Gn. litt. 12.6.15, `tria visionum genera occurrunt: unum per oculos . . . alterum per spiritum hominis, quo proximus et absens cogitatur, tertium per contuitum mentis, quo ipsa dilectio intellecta conspicitur'; Gn. litt. 12.12.25, `totus animi contuitus aut in corporum imaginibus est per spiritalem aut in rebus incorporeis nulla corporis imagine figuratis per intellectualem visionem'; s. Guelf. 2.1, `contuitu fidei'; c. Cresc. 3.18.21; epp. 43.3.6, 147.5, `neque corporis sensibus aut animi contuitu', 147.14.35, `contuitum spiritalem', 232.5; en. Ps. 10.3, `interiorem lucem veritatis mente contueri'; 40.2, `a contuenda divinitate'; 96.6, 118. s. 21.2, 118. s. 27.1, `si vero tamquam sub unius contemplationis aspectu velut audeamus cuncta contueri, nonne fit in nobis quod ait propheta, “consideravi opera tua et expavi?” [Hab. 3.1, as at 7.21.27 (last words of 7) and 10.40.65, both ascent passages]'; 134.6, `contuitum cordis'; 148.15, `invisibilia eius, per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta [Rom. 1.20] contueris'; civ. 11.21, `incorporeo contuitu'; civ. 11.27, 11.28 (quoted on 13.9.10), 17.17, 22.29 (quoting Rom. 1.20, 1 Cor. 13.12), `incorporeum deum omnia regentem etiam per corpora contuebimur'; trin. 3.7.15, 11.9.16, 14.2.4, `in eiusdem fidei temporalis retentione [1], contemplatione [2], dilectione [3], nondum talis est trinitas ut dei iam imago dicenda sit: ne in rebus temporalibus constituta videatur quae constituenda est in aeternis. . . . etiam trinitas ista quae nunc in eiusdem fidei praesentis ac manentis memoria, contuitu, dilectione consistit, tunc transacta et praeterita reperietur esse, non permanens'; trin. 14.3.5, `ut trinitas impleatur, adnumeratur tertia voluntas quae fidem in memoria constitutam et quandam eius effigiem in contuitu recordationis impressam conectit et iungit, sicut in illa corporalis trinitate visionis formam corporis quod videtur et conformationem quae fit in cernentis aspectu coniungit intentio voluntatis.'

    The most important early parallel does not use contueor/contuitus, but the parallel is unmistakeable, and it comes from one of the works most heavily under Platonic, or Porphyrian, influence: imm. an. 3.3, `porro quod sic agitur, et exspectatione opus est ut peragi, et memoria ut comprehendi queat quantum potest. et exspectatio futurarum rerum est, praeteritarum vero memoria. at intentio ad agendum praesentis est temporis, per quod futurum in praeteritum transit, nec coepti motus corporis exspectari finis potest sine ulla memoria.'

    expectatio: For a rather better summary than A. himself gives, see Guitton, Le temps et l'éternité 237: `Dans le présent psychologique lui-même, il est aisé de discerner deux mouvements intérieurs, séparables pour la conscience, bien qu'ils interfèrent l'un avec l'autre, l'expectatio futurorum qui nous porte vers l'avenir et l'extensio ad superiora qui, en définitive, nous oriente vers l'éternel. Au cours de la vie présente, l'âme ne peut pas dissocier ces courants, au moins d'une manière continue, d'où ses souffrances et ses gênes.'

    plura non proprie: `ordinary language': mag. 13.43, `ille qui loquitur eadem quidem significat quae cogitat, sed plerumque tantum sibi et aliis quibusdam, ei vero cui loquitur et item aliis nonnullis non idem significat. . . . sed tantummodo rem quam cogitat, alio quam nos nomine appellat, de qua illi statim assentiremur, si eius cogitationem possemus inspicere, quam verbis iam prolatis explicataque sententia sua nondum nobis pandere valuit.'

    text of 11.21.27


    paulo ante: 11.16.21.

    scio quia metimur: There must be something there because we measure it. The following assertion, `nec metiri quae non sunt possumus', reiterated below, has a stronger hold on A.'s thought. In the triad mensura/numerus/pondus, the first element is that in the creature which corresponds to the pure being of God. Bk. 12 (12.3.3ff) analyzes creation in logically consecutive (if temporally simultaneous) stages, where formless matter [1] is given shape [2] and set in order [3]: the first stage there is achieved by the differentiation of being from non-being.

    quo (praeterit) quo C D S Maur. Skut. Ver.:   quod G O

    text of 11.22.28


    exarsit: 10.27.38, `tetigisti me et exarsi in pacem tuam.'

    aenigma: Infrequent in this ordinary sense; the one other example cited by Mayer, Aug.-Lex. 1.141-142, trin. 15.9.16, occurs with 1 Cor. 13.12, but a rough definition there shows A.'s sense of the native meaning of the word: `nomine aenigmatis quamvis similtudinem tamen obscuram et ad perspiciendum difficilem [voluit intellegi].'

    claudere: 11.2.3, `neque adversus pulsantes claudas eam'.

    per Christum obsecro: 11.2.4, `obsecro per dominum nostrum Iesum Christum'.

    abdita: 11.2.3, `meditationibus nostris in abdita legis tuae'.

    confitebor imperitiam meam: 11.2.2, `et olim inardesco meditari in lege tua et in ea tibi confiteri scientiam et imperitiam meam'; 10.43.70, `tu scis imperitiam meam et infirmitatem meam: doce me et sana me.'

    in scripturas tuas: Though most modern discussions treat this disquisition on time as a natural reason inquiry into a question of natural philosophy, for A. it remains an exegetical inquiry into Gn. 1.1.

    da quod amo: Cf. 11.2.3, `da quod amo', and 10.29.40 (etc.), `da quod iubes'. trin. 10.1.3, `omnis amor studentis animi, hoc est volentis scire quod nescit, non est amor eius rei quam nescit sed eius quam scit propter quam vult scire quod nescit'; sim. at trin. 10.1.1; Io. ev. tr. 102.5, `amorem itaque nostrum pium, quo colimus deum, fecit deus, et vidit quia bonum est; ideo quippe amavit quod fecit.

    nosti data bona dare filiis tuis: Mt. 7.11, `si ergo vos, cum sitis mali, nostis bona data dare filiis vestris, quanto magis pater vester, qui in caelis est, dabit bona petentibus se'; text from s. dom. m. 2.21.73, `quantum ergo sperandum est daturum deum nobis bona petentibus, nec nos posse decipi ut accipiamus aliud pro alio cum ab ipso petimus'.

    suscepi cognoscere et labor est ante me: Ps. 72.16-17, `et suscepi cognoscere; hoc labor est ante me (17) donec introeam in sanctuarium domini et intellegam in novissima'; en. Ps. 72.22, `vere magnus labor, cognoscere quomodo et deus curet res humanas, et bene sit malis, et laborent boni! magna vis quaestionis! ideo, “hoc labor est ante me.”'

    aperias: Mt. 7.7-8, `pulsate et aperietur vobis . . . (8) et pulsanti aperietur', also at 11.2.3, 11.2.4, and see on 1.1.1.

    eius sancti sanctorum: Ryan translates as `of him, the saint of saints'; Pusey (`By Christ I beseech Thee, in His Name, Holy of holies, let no man disturb me') and Vega agree with him in making eius substantive, while Pellegrino follows BA (`au nom de son Saint des saints') in making it demonstrative. BA: `Ce passage est assez obscur. Augustin semble faire allusion d'après Hébr. 9.1&-15 et 10.11-19, au sacrifice du Christ qui, déchirant le voile du tabernacle, introduit dans le Saint des Saints les hommes qu'il a sanctifiés et leur donne accès aux mystères divins.' Cf. Heb. 9.3, `post secundum autem velamentum, tabernaculum, quod dicitur sancta sanctorum'; Heb. 9.12, `[Christus] per proprium sanguinem introivit semel in sancta, aeterna redemptione inventa.' en. Ps. 109.18, `quid agit, qui est ad dexteram dei et interpellat pro nobis, tamquam sacerdos intrans in interiora vel in sancta sanctorum, in secreta caelorum, ille solus non habens peccatum et ideo facile mundans a peccatis?' en. Ps. 130.4, `intravit enim in sancta sanctorum, in interiora veli, quo non intrabat sacerdos in figura nisi semel in anno. . . . et intravit in sancta sanctorum semel, et iam non moritur, nec mors ei ultra dominabitur'. The problem with BA's suggestion is that the scriptural and en. Ps. texts insist on the plural, `sancta sanctorum' : what is to be made of the singular?

    et ego credidi: Ps. 115.10(1), `credidi, propter quod locutus sum'; see on 1.5.6, `credo, propter quod et loquor'.

    haec est spes mea: 10.1.1, `haec est mea spes'.

    ut contempler delectationem domini: Ps. 26.4, `unam petii a domino, hanc requiram, ut inhabitem in domo domini omnes dies vitae meae, ut contempler delectationem domini et protegar templum eius' (also at 11.29.39, 12.11.12); en. Ps. 26. en. 2.8, `ecce dixi hoc, et exclamastis desiderio cuiusdam speciei nondum visae. excedat cor vestrum omnia usitata, et excedat intentio universas cogitationes vestras sollemnes ex carne, eductas a sensibus carnis, et imaginantes nescio quae phantasmata.'

    ecce veteres: Ps. 38.6, `ecce veteres posuisti dies meos et substantia mea tamquam nihil ante te; verumtamen universa vanitas, omnis homo vivens'; en. Ps. 38.9, `veterascunt enim hi, ego novos volo, novos numquam veterascentes, ut dicam, “vetera transierunt, ecce facta sunt nova,” [2 Cor. 5.17] nunc in spe, tunc in re. innovati enim fide et spe, quanta adhuc vetera agimus? non enim sic Christo induti sumus ut ex Adam iam nihil portemus. videte veterascentem Adam, et innovari Christum in nobis. . . . nunc ergo in hoc cursu transimus a veteribus ad nova; ipse transitus agitur cum corrumpuntur exteriora et innovantur interiora; donec etiam hoc ipsum quod exterius corrumpitur reddat debitum naturae, veniat in mortem, renovetur et hoc in resurrectione. . . . veteres dies ex Adam, veteres illos posuisti; veterascunt cotidie; et sic veterascunt, ut aliquando etiam consumantur.'

    audimus audimus C D G O Maur. Ver.:   audivimus S Knöll Skut.
    See 10.20.29.

    text of 11.23.29


    quodam homine docto: For sources, see BA 14.586 (Eratosthenes? Chrysippus? Basil of Caesarea?); for fuller discussion, U. Duchrow, Zschr. für Theol. u. Kirche 63(1966), 267-288, esp. 272. The strict sense of the text is that this theory was presented to A. viva voce by a learned contemporary. The way the scriptural text is brought in leaves open the possibility that the homo doctus was a real person known to A. from the Platonizing days in Milan--perhaps not unrelated to the homo immanissimo typho turgidus of 7.9.13.

    gyros: 5.4.7, `septentrionum gyros'; 10.8.15, `gyros siderum'.

    communes notitias: A centerpiece of Stoic logic (attacked long before in a Platonic vein by Plutarch's `de communibus notitiis', for example); on the origin of the term, see M. Pohlenz, Die Stoa (Göttingen, 1948), 1.56 and 2.32-33; already more than implicitly present in Tertullian (J. H. Waszink, Tertulliani de anima [Amsterdam, 1947], 454-455).

    luminaria caeli: Gn. 1.14, `et dixit deus, fiant luminaria in firmamento caeli ita ut luceant super terram et dividant inter diem et noctem et sint in signa et in tempora et in dies et in annos'; text as in Gn. c. man. 1.14.21, `sed “in signa et tempora” dictum est, ut per haec sidera tempora distinguantur, et ab hominibus dinoscantur: quia si currant tempora et nullis distinguantur articulis, qui articuli per siderum cursus notantur, possunt quidem currere tempora atque praeterire; sed intellegi et discerni ab hominibus non possunt. sicut horae quando nubilus dies est transeunt quidem, et sua spatia peragunt; sed distingui a nobis et notari non possunt.' Gn. litt. 2.14.28-29, `illud autem, quod dictum est, “et sint in signa et in tempora et in dies et in annos,” quis non videat quam obscure positum sit quarto die coepisse tempora, quasi superius triduum sine tempore praeterire potuerit? quis igitur animo penetrat, quomodo illi tres dies transierunt, antequam inciperent tempora, quae quarto die dicuntur incipere, vel utrum omnino transierint dies illi? . . . (29) quis in tantum secretum facile inrumpat et quae signa dicat, cum dicit de sideribus, “et sint in signa”? neque enim illa dicit, quae observare vanitatis [= curiositatis?] est, sed utique utilia et huius vitae usibus necessaria, quae vel nautae observant.' But A. also reads `in signis', etc., as at Gn. litt. imp. 13.38, `haec enim nunc dicit tempora, quae intervallorum distinctione aeternitatem incommutabilem supra se manere significant, ut signum, id est quasi vestigium aeternitatis tempus appareat.' Cf. 13.32.47, `videmus luminaria'.

    Note that A. regards it--at least for purposes of argument--as odd that the time-markers were not created until the fourth day, without making the argument--of great use here in Bk. 11--that this postponement was meant to show that time could exist without the time-markers. Note as well the concessive use of a scriptural text that might seem at first glance to support a view opposed to A.'s: `Yes, I know that scripture says that the luminaria are for telling time, but [here he relies not on scripture but on logic] they are not themselves time itself, so my main question remains open.'

    text of 11.23.30


    Gn. litt. imp. 3.8, `quod si admittimus, quaerendum est utrum praeter motum corporum possit esse tempus in motu incorporeae creaturae, veluti est anima vel ipsa mens: quae utique in cogitationibus movetur, et ipso motu aliud habet prius, aluid posterius, quod sine intervallo temporis intellegi non potest.'

    vim naturamque temporis: As early as Cassiciacum, time in its flight had symbolic force for A.: ord. 2.15.42, `etiam ibi per constantissimas temporum vices, per astrorum ratos definitosque cursus, per intervallorum spatia moderata, intellexit nihil aliud quam illam dimensionem [1] numerosque [2] dominari, quae similiter definiendo ac secernendo in ordinem [3] nectens astrologiam genuit, magnum religiosis argumentum tormentumque curiosis'; sol. 1.1.4, `deus, cuius legibus rotantur poli, cursus suos sidera peragunt, sol exercet diem, luna temperat noctem omnisque mundus per dies vicissitudine lucis et noctis, per menses incrementis decrementisque lunaribus, per annos veris, aestatis, autumni et hiemis successionibus, per lustra perfectione cursus solaris, per magnos orbes recursu in ortus suos siderum, magnam rerum constantiam, quantum sensibilis materia patitur, temporum ordinibus replicationibusque custodit.'

    orientem orientem O S Knöll Skut. Ver.:   ad orientem C D G Maur.
    In the two later occurrences of the phrase in this paragraph, only CDG and minor MSS have the ad.

    cum sol stetisset: Iosue 10.13-14, `stetit itaque sol in medio caeli, et non festinavit occumbere spatio unius diei; (14) non fuit antea nec postea tam longa dies.'

    victoriosum: Ramorino in his ed. printed victor iosue; contra, V. Ussani, Boll. di Filol. class. 17 (1910-1911) 163: A. always refers to `Joshua' as Iesus (Nave), not as Iosue.

    distentionem: `time, that ailment of the human psyche' (Durrell, Clea). O'Daly 153: `His famous description of time as a distentio animi cannot be a definition, but is, rather, a metaphor that evokes whatever accompanies or follows upon the cognitive act of measuring time. It is a colourful and highly novel metaphor, to be translated not so much by the term "extension" as by "tension" or "distraction causing anxiety." 7

    The term distentio leaves untouched the question of how we cognitively measure time, even if it graphically depicts the psychological side-effects of such a process.' The crucial word is sandwiched here between a biblical allusion and an appeal to lux/veritas. Outside this discussion of time, its cognate occurs in conf. only at 8.10.24, where its adverse qualities are evident: `nonne diversae voluntates distendunt cor hominis?' For the natural sense, see en. Ps. 44.4, `quale verbum est per quod factum est caelum et terra, et omnis ornatus caeli, omnis fecunditas terrae, diffusio maris, distentio aeris, fulgor siderum, claritas solis et lunae?' Of time, see en. Ps. 99.5, `attendimus . . . currere volumina saeculorum sine ulla perturbatione, stellas volvi quodam modo ab oriente in occidentem, peragere cursus annorum, videmus dimensiones mensium, distentiones horarum.' For a passage denying `distension' of God (hence thematically close to Bk. 11) see ep. 187.13.41, `deum ubique praesentem, et non spatiis distantibus quasi aliqua mole vel distentione diffusum, sed ubique totum' (see on 1.3.3). BA 14.587: `Augustin semble ainsi avoir pressenti ce que dira Heidegger.' 8 The natural opposites to distentio are the other compounds from the same word, intentio, attentio, and extentus--all used of `mystic' approaches to the divine eternity (see on 9.10.23 and 11.18.23); BA 14.590: `l'intentio surmonte et corrige la distensio. Augustin dit tantôt attentio et intentio pour marquer le présence de l'esprit à travers le passage du temps: le premier terme a un sens plutôt objectif, il exprime la permanence de la conscience à travers son attention à l'objet; le second a un sens plutôt subjectif, il exprime l'acte de l'esprit qui vise et unifie la totalité de ses moments.' Cf. Eccles. 5.13 (VL), `pereunt in summa distentione ac sollicitudine.' At civ. 11.6, A. defines time entirely in terms of the mutability of creatures, and distentio is notably absent.

    There is a notorious parallel in Plotinus, dia/stasis ou)=n zwh=s xro/non ei)=xe: McKenna renders as `Time, then, is contained in differentiation of life', while Armstrong offers `So the spreading out of life involves time', but the range of meanings comes close to, and probably overlaps substantially, that of Latin distentio (Liddell-Scott-Jones s.v.). The punning between intentus, extentus, and distentus is only possible in Latin. For the substance of the indebtedness, G-M rightly observe that the reference in Plotinus emphasizes Soul, not the soul. A. may here be on the cutting edge of a fruitful misreading. If he (or the translator of the platonicorum libri) did not see or want to see that anima in Plotinus is cosmic Anima, that may explain the ease with which the Plotinian trinity of hypostases could be Christianized. The result is hardly Plotinian, of course.

    The more urgent question is whether attentio/intentio came to A. first or distentio: the text of conf. does not allow us to resolve that question. Did the platonicorum libri help A. to find and appreciate Phil. 3.13 (as at 9.10.23), or did that text help him find his way to a point of Plotinian doctrine?

    lux: Jn. 1.9.

    veritas: Jn. 14.6.

    text of 11.24.31


    Having offered what all agree to be an original and largely satisfactory definition of (or at least metaphor for) time, A. leaves off direct exposition for indirect, returning to the argument that time is motion: if time is motion, then things that stand still would be outside of time, which is absurd, q. e. d.

    iubes: 10.29.40 (etc.), `da quod iubes'.

    torno: For an analogous humble example, see 11.23.29, `rota figuli'.

    non (ergo) non O1 S Knöll Skut.:   non est C D G O2 Maur. Ver.

    text of 11.25.32


    confiteor tibi, domine: Ps. 9.2, `confitebor tibi, domine, in toto corde meo' (cf. below, `ita est cor meum'); Mt. 11.25, `confiteor tibi, pater'.

    ignorare me adhuc: An example of confessing the reliquiae tenebrarum mearum (11.2.2). On the `grosse Bedeutung' in conf. of adhuc, see on 10.3.4.

    ei mihi, qui nescio saltem quid nesciam: trin. 10.3.5, `quapropter non potest [mens] omnino nescire se quae dum se nescientem scit, se utique scit. si autem se nescientem nesciat, non se quaerit ut sciat.' On `ei mihi', see on 10.28.39.

    coram te, quia non mentior: Gal. 1.20, `quae autem scribo vobis, ecce coram deo quia non mentior.' s. 133.4, `fallitur qui, cum sit falsum, verum putat esse quod dicit: mentitur autem qui falsum esse aliquid putat et pro vero dicit . . . aliud in se cogitat verum esse, aliud foras profert pro veritate. duplex cor est, non simplex: non quod ibi habet hoc profert'; s. 23.5.5 has something similar, but without cor.

    tu inluminabis lucernam meam: Ps. 17.29, `quoniam tu inluminabis lucernam meam, deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas'; en. Ps. 17.29, `quoniam non est lumen nostrum ex nobis; sed tu inluminabis lucernam meam, domine. . . . nos enim peccatis nostris tenebrae sumus.' See esp. en. Ps. 103. s. 4.2, `reddentes deo imaginem suam, erigunt ipsam mentem suam, non ad se sed ad artificem suum [1] et ad lumen [2] unde sunt, et ad calorem [3] quendam spiritalem unde fervescunt, et unde remoti frigescunt, et unde recedentes contenebrantur, et quo revertentes inluminantur; et quia pie illi dixerunt, “tu inluminabis lucernam meam, domine; deus meus, inluminabis tenebras meas,” discussis tenebris terrenae stultitiae, aperientes os et ducentes spiritum, erigunt, ut dixi, fidentem oculum cordis; et circumspiciunt mente universum mundum, terram, mare et caelum, et videntes omnia pulchre disposita, ordinata currere, digeri generibus, fulciri seminibus, mutari successionibus, currere temporibus placet eis in hic artifex, ut et ipsi placeant in artificio artifici; et exclamant prae magno gaudio, quia vere huic laetitiae nihil comparari potest, “quam magnificata sunt opera tua, domine! omnia in sapientia fecisti.”' [Ps. 103.24; cf. 11.9.11]' The structure of that paragraph resembles that of 9.10.25, even to the placement of the concluding scriptural quotation. Elsewhere in conf. echoes of this verse are closely related to moments of mystic ascent: 4.15.25, 6.1.1, 7.1.2, 11.2.2, 13.8.9. Cf. Is. 58.10-11, `orietur in tenebris lux tua et tenebrae tuae erunt sicut meridies (11) et requiem tibi dabit dominus semper' (echoed at 10.5.7, 12.15.21).

    text of 11.26.33


    sic enim videmur: mus. 2.3.3, `sequitur iam ut illud quoque animadvertas, quoniam ut in numeris ab uno ad duo est prima progressio; ita in syllabis, qua scilicet a brevi ad longam progredimur, longam duplum temporis habere debere: ac per hoc si spatium quod brevis occupat, recte unum tempus vocatur; spatium item quod longa occupat, recte duo tempora nominari.' The following discussion of syllable length has numerous points of correspondence with the content of mus., and it should be borne in mind (see excursus on 4.16.30) that mus. itself was not only about `music' (rhythm), but was itself part of a deliberate exercise in the ascent of the mind to God. Syllables as a measure, symptom, and symbol of the passing of time, often came to A.'s pen; from around the time of conf., cf. c. ep. fund. 41.47, `nam et species [2] vocis emissae praeterit et silentio perimitur. et tamen sermo noster et praetereuntium verborum decessione ac successione peragitur, et moderatis [1] silentiorum intervallis decenter suaviterque distinguitur [3]'; nat. b. 8, `sicut sermo bene compositus utique pulcher est, quamvis in eo syllabae atque omnes soni tamquam nascendo et moriendo transcurrant.' (On the preoccupation with syllable-length, rhythm, and time, see U. Duchrow, Zschr. für Theol. u. Kirche 63[1966], 273ff.) For contrast, see s. 362.28.29 (410/11), on the changed nature of human speech after the resurrection: `tota actio nostra “amen” et “alleluia” erit. . . . non sonis transeuntibus dicemus “amen” et “alleluia” sed affectu animi.'

    ita metimur: See on 7.9.13, for the relative lengths of sections of the text of conf. and how these may reflect deliberate design; the present passage verifies that A. was in the practice of counting lines of poetry and of counting pages of some other texts. At ep. 23.A*.3, A. counts himself having dictated about 6000 lines between mid-September and early December 419 (on which, see BA 46B.545); his notarii may well have been paid by the line.

    longum carmen est: mus. 6.7.17, `dic ergo, cum aliquanto correptius sive productius, dum serviam temporum legi qua simplo ad duplum pedes conveniunt, versum pronuntio, num offendo ulla fraude iudicium sensus tui?'

    distentionem: See on 11.23.30; the present passage marks the most original feature of A.'s theory, what might be called its `idealism': locating time in consciousness.

    obsecro: 6x in this book (11.2.4, 11.3.5, 11.22.28) out of 13x total in conf.; probably always an address to the second person of the trinity.

    sic enim dixeram: 11.16.21 and 11.21.27.

    text of 11.27.34


    anime meus: Here and at 11.27.36 are the only addresses to animus in conf.; he has addressed his anima several times (see on 4.11.16). See O'Daly 7-8: `Anima, as well as animus, can apply without distinction of meaning to the human soul in general. . . . Animus can, however, also mean “mind”, and is not used with reference to the souls of non-rational beings. . . . There is no obvious specific precedent for A.'s usage: he appears to reflect different aspects of the Latin philosophical tradition.' See Knauer 35n2 for close study of the word order here.

    attende: i.e., `ne te distendas'. Also in vocative to God (12.25.35) and the reader (13.24.36). In Psalms (Knauer 70n1 notes) only at Ps. 77.1, `attendite populus meus legem meam'; but intende is frequent (of a divine act: possible in eternity, suitable as a model for humans striving for eternity).

    deus adiutor noster: Ps. 61.9, `sperate in eum, omne concilium plebis, effundite coram illo corda vestra, deus adiutor noster'; en. Ps. 61.14, `securi estote. si deus pro nobis, quis contra nos?'

    ipse fecit nos, et non nos: Ps. 99.3, `scitote quoniam dominus ipse est deus; ipse fecit nos et non nos.' The position of this verse in the two presentations of successful ascents (cited at 9.10.25 and 10.6.9) makes this echo a reminder that we are on the path of the ascent again: now it is time, the creature, that reveals the eternity of the creator. This is the first occasion on which A. utters the verse in his own voice, not as the represented discourse of other creatures.

    albescit: The image is that of dawn, with baptismal overtones at sacr. 6.5.25; cf. Cassiodorus, var. 11.2.3, `facies veritatis albescat, ne mentem nostram innubilet caligo corporea.'

    ecce puta vox corporis: The sentence mimics the thought, as near as can be: we follow the vox from expectation through contuitus to memory.

    text of 11.27.35


    In acute aporia, a thought experiment demonstrates that thought and knowledge are functions of memory and not of present experience (contuitus).

    1. d[ebreve][umacr ]s cr[ebreve][amacr ]t[obreve]r [omacr ]mn[ibreve][umacr ]m: See on 9.12.32 for the numerous occurrences of this verse; the choice of this verse is never happenstance--here, e.g., God as creator is the center of attention of Bk. 11. An earlier discussion is exactly apt: mus. 6.2.2, `responde . . . cum istum versum pronuntiamus, “deus creator omnium,” istos quatuor iambos quibus constat, et tempora duodecim ubinam esse arbitreris, id est, in sono tantum qui auditur, an etiam in sensu audientis qui ad aures pertinet, an in actu etiam pronuntiantis, an quia notus versus est, in memoria quoque nostra hos numeros esse fatendum est?' So mus. 6.9.23, `sed ego puto cum ille a nobis propositus versus canitur, “deus creator omnium”; nos eum et occursoribus illis numeris audire, et recordabilibus recognoscere'.

    quantum . . . sensu: See Meijering 95 on the way A. situates the Platonists (who distinguished between forms of knowledge verifiable by appeal to the senses and those `quae mente conspiciuntur' [civ. 8.7, speaking of the Platonists, but obviously echoing Rom. 1.20]) midway between the Epicureans (who relied entirely on sense-verification) and the skeptics (who accepted no verification).

    text of 11.27.36


    affectionem: On the affectiones in memory, see 10.14.21, 10.17.26, 10.25.36.

    tendimus: = distendimus.

    intentio: See on 11.18.23.

    text of 11.28.37


    et expectat et attendit et meminit: expectatio/contuitus/memoria. Cf. Gn. litt. 2.14.29, `ut aliquid a futura expectatione per praesens in praeteritum traiceret.'

    perdurat attentio: The human experience of the present in this way anticipates eternity--`attention' endures through a sequence of presents: what is required is the cessation of temporality, which inflicts distraction upon attention. `Wenn man unter Ewigkeit nicht unendliche Zeitdauer, sondern Unzeitlichkeit versteht, dann lebt der ewig, der in der Gegenwart lebt' (Wittgenstein, Tractatus 6.4311).

    longum tempus futurum: What is missing is obvious: a `long present'. There is no such thing.

    text of 11.28.38


    On this paragraph (and A. as precursor of Kant), see P. Lachièze-Rey, Aug. Mag. 1.425-428. The same thought-experiment recurs: trin. 15.7.13, `quod licet experiri in eis dictis vel canticis quorum seriem memoriter reddimus; nisi enim praevideremus cogitatione quod sequitur, non utique diceremus. et tamen ut praevideamus, non providentia nos instruit sed memoria. nam donec finiatur omne quod dicimus sive canimus, nihil est quod non provisum prospectumque proferatur. et tamen cum id agimus, non dicimur providenter, sed memoriter canere vel dicere, et qui hoc in multis ita proferendis valent plurimum, non solet eorum providentia sed memoria praedicari.'

    expectatio mea: The tension between distention and attention (time-as-lived and eternity-as-sought).

    hoc in tota vita hominis: mus. 6.8.21, `quamlibet enim brevis syllaba, cum et incipiat et desinat, alio tempore initium eius, et alio finis sonat. tenditur ergo et ipsa quantulocumque temporis intervallo, et ab initio suo per medium suum tendit ad finem. . . . in audienda itaque vel brevissima syllaba, nisi memoria nos adiuvet, ut eo momento temporis quo iam non initium sed finis syllabae sonat, maneat ille motus in animo, qui factus est cum initium ipsum sonuit; nihil nos audisse possumus dicere. hinc est illud quod plerumque alia cogitatione occupati, coram loquentes non nobis videmur audisse: . . . quia intentione in aliud subinde exstinguitur motionis impetus, qui si maneret, in memoria utique maneret, ut nos et inveniremus et sentiremus audisse. . . . ita memoria, quod quasi lumen est temporalium spatiorum'. See also trin. 11.8.15, quoted in the excursus on memory in A. (see on 10.8.12).

    hoc in toto saeculo filiorum hominum: Meijering 100 takes up a suggestion of Duchrow to the effect that this assertion contains the whole view of history of civ. in a nutshell; the view is exaggerated but not entirely incorrect.

    filiorum hominum: Cf. Ps. 30.20, `perfecisti autem sperantibus in te in conspectu filiorum hominum.'

    text of 11.29.39


    quoniam melior est: Ps. 62.4, `quoniam melior est misericordia tua super vitas, labia mea laudabunt te.' The transplantation of the causal clause here is striking: for him to say `ecce distentio est vita mea, et me suscepit dextera tua in domino meo,' is indeed a licit confessio in praise of God. en. Ps. 62.12, `multae sunt vitae humanae. . . . quas vitas? quas sibi homines elegerunt. alius elegit sibi vitam negotiandi, alius vitam rusticandi, alius vitam fenerandi, alius vitam militandi; alius illam, alius illam. diversae sunt vitae, sed “melior est misericordia tua super vitas” nostras.' Cf. 11.1.1, `quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius'.

    distentio est vita mea: The strict Plotinian phrase ( see above on 11.23.30) would be translated distentio vitae. Here the claim is bolder: human life, bound in temporality, becomes its condition, radically disjoined (for the time being) from eternity. Cf. Eccles. 8.16, `et apposui cor meum ut scirem sapientiam et intellegerem distentionem quae versatur in terra. est homo qui diebus et noctibus somnum non capit oculis.'

    dextera tua: = Christ (see on 11.2.4).

    mediatore: 1 Tim. 2.5, `unus enim deus, unus et mediator dei et hominum, homo Christus Iesus'; see on 10.42.67.

    filio hominis: See on 11.2.4.

    in multis per multa: Of distention: cf. 2.1.1, `conligens me a dispersione, in qua frustatim discissus sum, dum ab uno te aversus in multa evanui.' Cf. ord. 1.2.3, `idcirco illam [pulchritudinem universitatis] videre non licet animae quae in multa procedit'; civ. 12.16, `ex his igitur quae in hac terrena inhabitatione multa cogito (ideo utique multa, quia unum, quod ex illis vel praeter illa, quod forte non cogito, verum est, invenire non possum)'; trin. 4.7.11, `quia enim ab uno vero deo et summo per impietatis iniquitatem resilientes [cf. dissilui] et dissonantes defluxeramus et evanueramus in multa discissi per multa et inhaerentes in multis, oportebat nutu et imperio dei miserantis ut ipsa multa venturum conclamarent unum, et a multis conclamatus veniret unus . . . et a multis exonerati veniremus ad unum . . . et per mediatorem deo reconciliati haereamus uni, fruamur uno, permaneamus unum.'

    apprehendam . . . apprehensus sum: 10.1.1, `cognoscam te sicut et cognitus sum'.

    a veteribus diebus: 11.22.28, `ecce veteres posuisti dies meos et transeunt.'

    conligar: Is. 11.12 (see on 1.3.3); cf. `dissilui' here. s. 96.6.6, `a multis curre ad unum, dispersa conlige in unum, conflue, munitus esto, mane apud unum; noli ire in multa. ibi est beatitudo.'

    praeterita oblitus: Phil. 3.12-14, `non quia iam acceperim aut iam perfectus sim, persequor autem si umquam comprehendam, sicut et comprehensus sum a Christo Iesu. (13) fratres, ego me non arbitror apprehendisse unum autem: quae retro sunt oblitus in ea quae ante sunt extentus (14) secundum intentionem sequor ad palmam supernae vocationis dei in Christo Iesu.' See on 9.10.23.

    extentus: The stronger punctuation here is required by the change in mood of the verbs from subjunctive to indicative (Warns).

    audiam vocem laudis: Ps. 25.7, `ut audiam vocem laudis tuae'; en. Ps. 25. en. 1.7, `ut discam quemadmodum te laudem'; en. Ps. 25. en. 2.11, `ut intellegam, inquit. hoc est enim audire coram deo, non quomodo sonos istos, quos multi audiunt, et multi non audiunt. . . . audire vocem laudis est intellegere intus, quia quidquid in te mali est de peccatis, tuum est; quidquid boni in iustificationibus, dei est. ita audi vocem laudis, ut non te laudes et quando bonus es; nam laudando te bonum, fis malus; bonum enim te fecerat humilitas, malum te facit superbia.' Cf. 11.2.3, 12.15.22.

    contempler delectationem tuam: Ps. 26.4, `unam petii a domino, hanc requiram, ut inhabitem in domo domini omnes dies vitae meae ut contempler delectationem domini.' See on 11.22.28.

    anni mei in gemitibus: Ps. 30.11, `quoniam defecit in dolore vita mea et anni mei in gemitibus, infirmatus est in egestate vigor meus [for this clause only, see on 11.9.11] et ossa mea conturbata sunt'; en. Ps. 30. en. 2 s. 2.5, `anni nostri isti, quos hic ducimus, in gemitibus sunt. unde? quia abundavit iniquitas, refrigescit caritas multorum. in gemitibus, non in claris vocibus; quando videt ecclesia multos in perversum ire, gemitus suos devorat apud se, ut dicat deo, “gemitus meus non est absconditus a te.” [Ps. 37.10]' en. Ps. 44.33, `quia et in illa vita aeterna non erit iam quidem gemitus peccatorum, sed tamen in divinis laudibus supernae illius ac perpetuae civitatis non deerit sempiterna confessio tantae felicitatis.'

    dissilui: Cf. 2.4.9, `turpis anima et dissiliens'.

    dilaniantur: Cf. 4.6.11, `miser est omnis animus vinctus amicitia rerum mortalium et dilaniatur cum eas amittit.'

    igne amoris tui: See on 10.27.38, `exarsi in pacem tuam'; cf. 4.12.19, `ardens igne caritatis', 5.3.4, `tu, deus, ignis edax', 13.9.10, `igne tuo, igne tuo bono inardescimus'.

    text of 11.30.40


    et stabo atque solidabor in te: Phil. 4.1, `itaque fratres mei carissimi et desideratissimi, gaudium et corona mea, sic state in domino, carissimi!' 1 Thess. 3.8, `quoniam nunc vivimus si vos statis in domino.' `Standing' in Bk. 11: from the stabilis veritas (11.8.10: cf. 11.11.13, `semper stantis aeternitatis') that causes us to `stand and listen' (11.8.10, `stamus et audimus') in an unstable temporal world (11.11.13, `cum temporibus numquam stantibus'), to this culminating declaration of intention of joining in the eternity of God. lib. arb. 3.7.21, `et si variabatur in amore istorum, munitur in illius; et si diffluebat in amore transeuntium, in permanentis amore solidabitur et stabit et obtinebit ipsum esse, quod volebat cum timebat non esse et stare non poterat inretitus amore fugientium.'

    forma: See on 1.7.12 (and cf. Gn. 1.26 [see on 13.22.32]).

    veritate: Jn. 14.6.

    quid faciebat . . .: Repeated verbatim from 11.10.12 and 11.12.14. The lengthy discussion of time is now returned to the riddle about eternity with which A. began.

    da illis, domine: Cf. Ps. 118.34, `da mihi intellectum et scrutabor legem tuam.'

    videant itaque nullum tempus esse: civ. 11.6, `quis non videat quod tempora non fuissent nisi creatura fieret quae aliquid aliqua motione mutaret, cuius motionis et mutationis, cum aliud atque aliud quae simul esse non possunt cedit atque succedit, in brevioribus vel productioribus morarum intervallis tempus sequeretur? cum igitur deus, in cuius aeternitate nulla est omnino mutatio, creator sit temporum et ordinator: quo modo dicatur post temporum spatia mundum creasse non video, nisi dicatur ante mundum iam aliquam fuisse creaturam, cuius motibus tempora currerent.'

    vanitatem loqui: Ps. 143.8, `quorum os locutus est vanitatem et dextera eorum dextera iniquitatis.' Cf. Ps. 4.3, `ut quid diligitis vanitatem et quaeritis mendacium' (see on 9.4.9).

    extendantur: Phil. 3.13: see on 11.29.39.

    et intellegant . . .: Here, after all doubt, query, and seeking, the main proposition of Bk. 11 is rendered in direct prose: God eternal, creatures temporal.

    etiamsi est aliqua supra tempora: On angelic creation (problematic because there is no mention of angels in the Gn. narration: see further at 12.2.2 on the `caelum caeli'): Gn. litt. imp. 3.7, `sed si primum facti sunt angeli, quaeri potest utrum in tempore facti sunt, an ante omne tempus, an in exordio temporis. si in tempore, iam erat tempus antequam angeli fierent; et quoniam etiam tempus ipsum creatura est, incipit necesse esse ut aliquid prius quam angelos factum accipiamus. si autem in exordio temporis factos dicimus, ut cum ipsis coeperit tempus, dicendum est falsum esse quod quidam volunt, cum caelo et terra tempus esse coepisse.' civ. 12.16, `si autem dixero non in tempore creatos angelos, sed ante omnia tempora et ipsos fuisse, quorum deus dominus esset, qui numquam nisi dominus fuit: quaeretur a me etiam, si ante omnia tempora facti sunt, utrum semper potuerint esse qui facti sunt. . . . sed ideo semper fuisse dicuntur, quia omni tempore fuerunt, sine quibus tempora nullo modo esse potuerunt; tempus autem quoniam mutabilitate transcurrit, aeternitati immutabili non potest esse coaeternum. ac per hoc etiamsi immortalitas angelorum non transit in tempore, nec praeterita est quasi iam non sit, nec futura quasi nondum sit: tamen eorum motus, quibus tempora peraguntur, ex futuro in praeteritum transeunt, et ideo creatori, in cuius motu dicendum non est vel fuisse quod iam non sit, vel futurum esse quod nondum sit, coaeterni esse non possunt.'

    text of 11.31.41


    quis ille sinus est: Io. ev. tr. 3.17, `non enim deus habet sinum . . . sed quia sinus noster intus est, secretum patris sinus patris vocatur'; en. Ps. 109.16, `sinus . . . pro secreto positus est.' Of God at 5.2.2, `plorantium in sinu tuo post vias suas difficiles', and 12.25.35; of humanity at 1.13.21, 9.2.3, 10.8.13, 10.8.14.

    sana oculos meos: For the healing of vision, see on 7.8.12, `collyrio', and for healing, see on 10.3.3 and 10.43.70 (also at the end of a book), `doce me et sana me'.

    conditor: civ. 11.21 (quoted on 11.1.1). trin. 12.7.10, `nam deus non ad tempus videt, nec aliquid novi fit in eius visione atque scientia cum aliquid temporaliter ac transitorie geritur.' trin. 15.7.13, `quis ergo hominum potest istam sapientiam qua novit deus omnia, ita ut nec ea quae dicuntur praeterita ibi praetereant, nec ea quae dicuntur futura quasi desint expectentur ut veniant, sed et praeterita et futura cum praesentibus sint cuncta praesentia; nec singula cogitentur et ab aliis ad alia cogitando transeatur, sed in uno conspectu simul praesto sint universa.'

    longeque secretius: en. Ps. 105.35, `“paenituit”: . . . quasi repentina voluntate facere dicitur quod ordinatis rerum causis consilii sui secretissimi immutabilitate disposuit, qua suis quaeque temporibus agnita, et praesentia facit, et futura iam fecit.'

    expectatione . . . memoria . . . distenditur: A variation on the triad from 11.20.26: between expectatio and memoria is not the tranquil gaze of contuitus (attentio), but the distraction of distension, not the foreshadowing of eternity but the frustration of temporality.

    distentione distentione C D O Eugipp. Maur. Ver. Vega Knauer Pell.  Knauer 142n2:   distinctione GS Knöll Skut.
    Cf. civ. 11.21 (quoted on 11.1.1).

    qui intellegit . . .: 1.6.10, `quid ad me, si quis non intellegat? gaudeat et ipse dicens, quid est hoc? gaudeat etiam sic et amet non inveniendo invenire potius quam inveniendo non invenire te'; 1.1.1 (and 10.43.70), `et laudabunt (laudant) dominum qui requirunt eum'.

    o quam excelsus es: Ps. 137.6, `quoniam excelsus dominus et humilia respicit.'

    et humiles corde sunt domus tua: Dan. 3.87, `benedicite sancti et humiles corde domino'; Sirach 25.31, `cor humile et facies tristis'; Is. 57.15, `et sanctum nomen eius in excelso et in sancto habitans et cum contrito et humili spiritu.' This reflects the echoes of the beatitudes at 11.1.1 (`ut simus pauperes spiritu et mites et lugentes . . .'), and cf. 7.9.14, 7.9.14, `quoniam [filius tuus] mitis est et humilis corde' (from Mt. 11.29, `discite a me, quoniam mitis sum et humilis corde, et invenietis requiem animabus vestris').

    tu enim erigis elisos: Ps. 144.14, `et erigit omnes elisos'; en. Ps. 144.18, `omnes ad se pertinentes. nam deus superbis resistit' (1 Pet. 5.5: see on 1.1.1). Ps. 145.8, `dominus erigit elisos'; en. Ps. 145.17, `quare elisi sunt? quia erecti erant. quare eriguntur? quia humilati sunt. cecidit atque elisus est Adam: ille cecidit, Christus descendit. quare descendit qui non cecidit, nisi ut levaretur qui cecidit?'

    celsitudo: See on 11.13.16.


    There is a parallel in the self-referential en. Ps. 36. s. 3.1, `et si verum hoc invenit in spatio vitae suae, aliter tamen invenit in lectione divina, quae fidelior est quam vita hominum'; cf. trin. 2 pr. 1, `experti difficultates laboriosas, sive in ipsa acie mentis conantis intueri inaccessibilem lucem, sive in ipsa multiplici et multimoda locutione litterarum sacrarum'.


    Even in so magisterial a tome as Mandouze's Saint Augustin, the `adventure of reason and grace' is described with only two citations of any texts from Bks. 11-13, and they from the third and fifth paragraphs of Bk. 11.


    For eternity and time defined in terms of creator and creature, see Alfaric 452 listing a dozen passages anterior to conf.


    His conclusion is admirable: Meijering 115-16, `Das elfte Buch der Bekenntnisse ist nicht in erster Linie eine systematische Abhandlung zum viel verhandelten Thema: “Schöpfung, Ewigkeit und Zeit” (das ist es erst in zweiter Linie). Es ist primär der Versuch, sich persönlich über die Art der menschlichen und der göttlichen Seinsweise einige Klarheit zu verschaffen.'


    The expression is not only biblical: cf. Cic. Tusc. 2.27.66., `quae meditare, quaeso, dies et noctes.'


    Amb. exam. 1.2.5 links this text (which he quotes as `initium quod et loquor vobis') to Gn. 1.1, and at exam. 1.4.15 links it further to Jn. 1.3.


    Only a flicker
    Over the strained time-ridden faces
    Distracted from distraction by distraction.

    (Eliot, `Burnt Norton')


    A lecture of Heidegger's, `Augustinus: Quid est tempus? Confessiones lib. XI', originally delivered at Beuron in 1959, is to appear in the near future in the Heidegger Gesamtausgabe.

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