City of God (1) - Augustine

City of God (1) - Augustine - Augustine: 354—430...

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Unformatted text preview: Augustine: 354—430 Copyright © 1994 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 009998979695941234567 For further information, please address Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. PO. Box 44937 Indianapolis, Indiana 46244-0937 Cover design by Listenberger Design & Associates Text design by Dan Kirklin Library of Congress Cataloging—in-Publication Data Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo. [Selections English. 1994] Political writings/ Augustine; translated by Michael W. Tkacz and Douglas Kries; edited by Ernest L. Fortin, Roland Gunn, and Douglas Kries; introduction by Ernest L. Fortin. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0—87220—21 1—9 (alk. paper), ISBN 0—87220—210—0 (pbk.: alk. paper). 1. Christianity and politics——Early works to 1800. I. Tkacz, Michael W,, 1950— . II. Kries, Douglas, 1958— . III. Fortin, Ernest L. IV. Gunn, Roland, 1952-— . V. Title. BR65.A52E6 1994 261 .7—-dc20 94—275 54 CIP The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI 239.48—1984. Contents Introduction Brief Chronology Note on the Editing and Translating The Retractations The City of God Book I Book II Book III Book IV Book V Book VI Book VII Book VIII Book IX Book X Book XI Book XII Book XIII Book XIV vii xxx xxxii 13 23 30 36 48 52 58 71 72 78 83 92 95 62 Boole VIII ability of the soul, for it is an abomination to attribute such changeability to the divine nature. Yet, they respond that the nature of the soul is changed by the body, since in itself the soul is unchangeable. They could just as well say that flesh is wounded by some body, since in itself the flesh is not capable of being wounded! In a word, what cannot be changed can be changed by nothing, while what can be changed by a body is able to be changed by something and therefore cannot rightly be said to be unchange- able. Chapter 6 Thus, those philosophers,3 whom we see deservedly surpassing the rest in fame and glory, realized that no material body is God. In seeking God, then, they transcended all material bodies. They realized that whatever is changeable is not the highest God. Therefore, in seeking the highest God, they transcended every soul and every changeable spirit. Next, they realized that, in any changeable thing, the form by which 111:: thing is#no matter what it is, in what way it is, or what sort of nature it is——cannot exist except through him who truly exists, since he is unchangi: - able. Hence, the matter of the whole world—its shapes, qualities, and ur— dered movements; its elements arranged from heaven to earth and whatever bodies that are in them——cannot exist except through him who exists simply. Neither can any life exist except through him—whether it is the life of nutrition and preservation, such as the life which is present in trees; or the life which in addition also senses, such as is present in animals; or the life which does these things and also understands, such as is present in man; or the life which has no need of being sustained by nutrition but only preserves, senses, and understands, such as is present in angels. The reason for this is that being and living are not distinct in him. as if he could exist without being alive. Neither are living and understanding distinct in him, as if he could live without understanding. Neither are un- derstanding and being happy distinct in him, as if he could understand without being happy. Instead, his living, understanding, and beinghapp)‘ are his very being. From this unchangeability and simplicity of God, the Platonists under- stood that he made all things and that he himself could not have been made by anyone. They considered that whatever exists is either body or life. and that life is something superior to body, and that the form of body is sensible 8. i. e,, the Platonic school. Chapler 8 63 but that of life intelligible. Consequently, they placed the intelli ible for higher than the sensible. By “sensible,” we mean those things whgich can If): sensed through the Vision and touch of the bodv. By “intelligible ” we mean those things which can be understood through the ponderin of th mind, for there is no bodily excellence—whether in the conditiin of : body, such as in shape, or in the motion of a body, such as in song—that is not Judged by the mind. Indeed, that would not be possible unless a su e rior form of these things existed in the mind without the bulgin of m: — the clamor of voice, and the extension of space or time. g S, Yet, unless the mind was also changeable, one person would not be a better judge of sensible forms than another. In fact, though a clever person 15 a better Judge than a dullard, a skilled person than an unskilled a well— trained person than one in training. Indeed, the very same person when he approves, lS certainly a better judge afterward than before. Whatever ad~ imts of more or less, however, is without doubt changeable. From this argument, the Platonists, who were clever learned and “filmed in these matters, easily concluded that the primary’form is riot in Thirst: things which have been convincingly proven to be changeable In lilL'll' View, both body and soul admit of greater or lesser degrees of for .Il1(l thus, if they could lack all form, they would not exist at all The 52;, that. something exists in which exists the primary form which is unchaih .ihle and therefore not admitting of degrees of comparison The gin t‘nrrct'tly believed that the beginning of things is there that it via?“ (t3 niudc, and that from it everything was made. Thus “what is knownnof (and, he himself made clear to them when they perceived and understoood hl‘i InViSible and everlasting power and divinity through created thin ” i Rum 1:19—20), for all visible and temporal things were created bv hingS I ft these remarks suffice for a discussion of that part of philosophy that the l latonists call “physics” or “natural philosophy.” Chapter 8 j Irri’i’iaining part of the Platonists’ philosophy is morals, which is called r In in Greek." Here the supreme good is sought, the good to which we U u erything that we do, desiring it not for the sake of something else '1 'l'hi- llNlllh}: Pb}... ’Platonists divided philosophy into three parts: “physics” or “natural phi— Which Augustine discussed in Chapter 6; “logic” or “rational philoso— “ h . . . . I". “ml l"31'! is discussed in Chapter 7 (not included in this volume); and “ethics” in.» philosophy,” to which Augustine now turns. 64 Boole VIII but for its very own sake. Obtaining it, we require nothing further in order to be happy. It is truly called the “end,” because we want everything else for the sake of this, but this we want only for itself.10 Some have said that this good which makes one happy comes from the body, others that it comes from the mind, and others that it comes from both. They saw that man himself consists of mind and body and they there- fore believed that well—being for themselves could come from one or the other of these two or from both together—from a sort of final good, through which they would be happy and to which they would refer every— thing they did, without seeking further for that to which everything must be referred. Thus, those who are said to have added a third class of goods called “extrinsic”———goods such as honor, glory, wealth, and things of that sort—did not add these things as though they were the final good. That is to say, they did not add these things as though they ought to be desired for their own sake, but for the sake of something else. This class of goods is good for good people but bad for bad people. Thus, whether they sought the good of man from the mind, the body, or both, they thought that nothing other than What derives from man was; to be sought. Those who sought the good of man in the body sought it in the inferior part of man; those who sought it in the soul in the better part; and those who sought it in both, in the whole of man. Yet, Whether they sought it in either part or in the whole, they sought it nowhere except in man. Those three different views, however, have produced not only three, but many dissenting schools of philosophers, because different philnsm— phers have held different opinions about the good of the body, the good nf the mind, and the good of both together. So then, let all these philosophers give precedence to those who have said that man is happy not by enjoying the body or the mind, but by enjoy— ing God, not as the mind enjoys the body or itself, nor as one friend enjoys another, but as the eye enjoys light, if an analogy can be made betneen those two things. If God will be my help, this analogy will be clarified. insofar as it is possible, in another place. For now, let it suffice to remem- ber that Plato determined that the final good is to live according to virtue and that this is possible only to one who knows and imitates God, and that there is no other cause of happiness. He did not doubt that to study phi- losophy is to love God, whose nature is immaterial. From this it certainly follows that the one who loves wisdom (for that is what “philosopher” means), will be happy when he begins to attain God. Although am: who attains what he loves is not necessarily happy (for many, by loving the 10. See also Augustine’s discussion of the final good or end in XIX. 1—4. Chapter 10 65 things that are unworthy of love, are miserable, and they are more mis able when they attain them), no one is happy who loves what he does ert attain. Even those who love things unworthy of love think that the :0 happy not by loving but by attaining them. Who, therefore exce it]:e most miserable, denies that anyone who attains what he loves andplovee the true and highest good, is happy? Plato says that God himself is the tru: and highest good. Thus, because philosophy reaches for a happy life, Plato wants a philosopher to be a lover of God so that b l ' ’ be happy in attaining him. i y ovmg GOd he mlght Chapter 10 A Christian educated only in ecclesiastical writings might perhaps be i n rant of the name of the Platonists and might not know of the existent: of the two kinds of Greek—speaking philosophers, the Ionian and the Italian011 Nevertheless, such a person is not so deaf to human affairs that he does n. t know that philosophers profess either the enthusiasm for Wisdom or el0 the actual possession of it. A Christian, however, is wary of those w}:e philosophize according to the elements of this world and not accordin t0 Gpd, who made the world. He is warned by the precept of the apostle 5 (Ci faithiilly hears what has been said: “Be on your guard that no one deceixies in}; ”l'(()(u:il1121?;1)1l050phy and the empty seduction of the elements of the I Neat, in order that he does not judge all philosophers to be like those Lhnstian hears the same apostle say about some of them “Because wh ty'a known of Godhas been made clear to them, for God made it clear to th:rrls‘ {turn the creation of the world his invisible and everlasting power and di: \‘lnllj are perceived, having been understood through created thin s” {Rom 1:19—20). Furthermore, speaking to the Athenians after he had sad .1 great thing about God which few can understand—namely, that “in hiin We live and move and are”—the a , postle added, “ h,“ L. sald” (Acts 17:28).” as even some ofyour own Lima: IaoniaAn school of philosophy was founded by Thales. Its most famous Phlllm h r; nEiXimander, Anax1menes, and Anaxagoras. The Italian school of "n In pdy as ounded by Pythagoras. Both of these philosophical movements {I ate prior to the time of Socrates. See XVIII. 37. See also Richard D \iL'KIrah. P ' ' i 1994" In, hilosophy Befim’ Sumner (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., i2. 54) I And if have suggested that the source of the saying “in him we live and move t IS Epimenides of Crete, who flourished in the sixth century B C 66 Boo/e VIII The Christian knows very well to be on guard even against these phi- losophers when they err on certain matters, for where it was said that God has made clear his invisible perfections through the perception and under— standing of created things, it was also said that they have not correctly worshipped God himself because they offered the divine honors due only to him to other, unworthy things: “Knowing God, they did not glorify and give thanks to him as God, but they lapsed into empty speculation and their foolish hearts were darkened. Saying that they were wise, they be— came fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image bearing the likeness of corruptible man, or birds, or four-footed animals, or serpents” (Rom 1:21—23). In this passage, the apostle is refer— ring to the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, who prided themselves on their famous wisdom. We shall argue with them about that later on. Still, we prefer them tn the rest of the philosophers, for they agree with us concerning the “In: God, the author of the universe, who is not only immaterial and above all material things, but also incorruptible and above all souls, our beginning, our light, and our good. Perhaps a Christian, ignorant of their writings, does not use in argu— mentation words that he has not learned. Perhaps he does not use the Latin word “natural” or the Greek word “physics” to name that part of philoso- phy in which the investigation of nature is treated, nor the term “rati: mal" or “logic” to name that part in which it is asked in what way one is able in comprehend truth, nor the terms “moral” or “ethics” to name that part which treats morals and the final good to be sought and the ultimate evil in be avoided. Yet he is not therefore ignorant that it is from the one, (we, and supreme God that we have the nature by which we have been made according to his image, the teaching by which we know both him and nor— selves, and the grace by which we are made happy by clinging to him. This, then, is the reason why we prefer the Platonists to the rest. The other philosophers wore away their abilities and enthusiasm in inquiring after the causes of things and the manner of learning and living. These Platonists, having recognized God’s existence, discovered there the cause of the ordered universe, the light of truth which we long to understand, and the fountain of happiness, made for drinking. Therefore, if either these Platonists or any other philosophers among the peoples think these things about God, they think as we do. It is better, however, to plead this. music with the Platonists, for their writings are better known. The Greeks, u host language is preeminent among the peoples, resoundingly praise their writ- ings, and the Latins, persuaded either by their excellence or their glor). Chapter 19 67 have studied them most enthusiastically and made them more well-known and Illustrious by translating them into our language.” Chapter 19 Shall I not summon the public itself as a clear witness against the arts of magic, on which some who are excessively wretched and impious eve pride themselves? Why are those arts so harshly punished by the sever'tn of law if they are the works of deities who should be worship ed? IsI perhaps because Christians instituted those laws which punish th]: magical ,1 . . . arts. “ . . . Dld not Cicero relate that in the Twelve Tables, which are the oldest laws of the Romans, the magical arts were listed eStablished for those who practiced them?” Finally, when Apuleius himself was accused of practicing the ma ical arts,” surely no one will claim his judges were Christians! If he knewgthat the practices with which he was charged were divine and pious and ' accord With the works of divine power, not only should he have confes 1: them but professed them, accusing instead the laws which prohibited :iid condemned things which ought to have been considered admirable and venerable. Had he done so, either he would have persuaded the judges to his own opinion or, if they had ruled in accord with the unjust laws and had punished him with death for proclaiming and praising such thin 3 th demons would have repaid him with gifts worthy of a soul which n I fear the loss of human life in order to proclaim their divine works I? uould have-been like our martyrs, who, when the Christian reli ioniw 6 charged against them as a crime, knew that salvation and the greaiilst eteas nul glory would be theirs through the Christian faith. They chose not tr- uiade temporal punishment by denying their faith, but instead, by con? and a punishment ‘ .! Augustine also discusses the problem of faith and philosophy in XVIII 41 1‘4: During the ‘fourth century, there was an increasing volume of legislation agfiamst the practice of magic. For a sample, see the Theodosia” Code IX 16 I) See Twelve Tables VIII. 8a. The i . passage in Cicero to which Au ' doca not seem to be extant. gusnne amides “I: L-?;::€lgs [([lpori/iq c. AD. 123) lived in Roman Africa. His most famous work is his “ mm exmnsliv 6112 35. Although he was a.Platonic philosopher of sorts, he also “Ml h e y on the practice of magic. After marrying a wealthy, elderly m , e was accused of usmg the art of magic to obtain her love. The apology he ilcli \ er ‘ ' ' ' i t.“- ed in his defense, which Augustine mentions in the next paragraph is still . .int. He was acquitted of the charges. , ...
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City of God (1) - Augustine - Augustine: 354—430...

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