Even while Augustine’s purpose in this next section is likely primarily political, that is, to prove his recanting of his former belief in the teachings of Mani (Manichee), I find I must dig deeper into Augustine’s writings, and have been referred by notes (p. 77) in this translation to something Augustine wrote called Literal Commentary on Genesis. While I cannot immediately find where a copy of this is available, I am noting that there are references to it here, here, and here, for future reading.
Augustine seems to have the most interesting combination of dedicated religious faith in God and a scholarly knowledge of science. Hot Damn! This may be exactly what I’ve been seeking in my search for understanding. A reconciliation of beliefs, trust, knowledge.
And I like this:
Already I had learnt from you that nothing is true merely because it is eloquently said, nor false because the signs coming from the lips make sounds deficient in style. Again, a statement is not true because it is enunciated in unpolished idiom, nor false because the words are splendid. Wisdom and foolishness are like food that is nourishing or useless. Whether the words are ornate or not does not decide the issue. Food of either kind can be served in either town or country ware. (V.10)
Pâté de foie gras or matzo balls made with chicken liver is just a difference of fowl and presentation. Obviously Augustine has scored points with me with his metaphor of food. The meaning here is multiple: Truth can be spoken just as falsehoods from both the wealth of education and the mean common sense. Bits of knowledge passed on may be just as vital as new discoveries made. It is not the means or method, but the result that is of value.