‘Augustine’s First Exegesis and the Divisions of Spiritual Life’

(2005) Naoki Kamimura, ‘Augustine’s First Exegesis and the Divisions of Spiritual Life’, Augustinian Studies, 36 (Augustinian Institute, Villanova University) 421–432.
Originally delivered at the Inaugural Conference of Western Pacific Rim Patristic Society, held at University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, on 26 September 2004.
Augustine’s first exegesis, Two Books On Genesis against the Manichaeans (De Genesis contra Manichaeos libri II), is clearly an apologetic work. As the title shows, it is directed against the Manichaeans. However, Augustine approved an admonition from some learned Christians that he should write this work in a simple fashion for the uneducated (parvuli). Therefore, we can distinguish the intended audience between the Manichaeans and the unlearned Catholic. Beginning with chapter 23, the Genesis story of creation is given a prophetic interpretation. Augustine shows how it symbolizes the seven ages of human history and the seven stages of the soul. The latter appears repeatedly in his early works. Which was the reader of these figurative interpretations, the uneducated Catholic or the Manichaeans? I would argue this problem in relation to his exegetical theory and practice, then consider these interpretations in his early developments.
Introduction — The Audience of the De Genesi contra Manichaeos — The Divisions of Spiritual Life — The Imagery of the Reader of the Scripture — Conclusion.
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