‘Augustine’s Scriptural Exegesis in De Gen. litt. inpf.’

(2010) Naoki Kamimura, ‘Augustine’s Scriptural Exegesis in De Genesi ad litteram liber unus inperfectus’, in: J. Baun, A. Cameron, M. Edwards, and M. Vinzent (eds.), Studia Patristica, 49 (Leuven: Peeters) 229–234.
Originally delivered at 15th International Conference on Patristic Studies held at Oxford University, Oxford, on 9 August 2007.
During almost thirty years of his writing career Augustine endeavoured to write an explanation on the beginning of Genesis at least five times. The second of these, De Genesi ad Litteram Imperfectus Liber, was written in 391 or 393. In his Retractationes 1.18 Augustine described at length the origin and end of his first task of interpreting literally the six days of Creation. It is at the very point that Augustine contended with a literal reading of Gen. 1:26 that he broke off his plan. Little attention has been focused on the unfinished commentary, which has been eclipsed by De Genesi ad Literam libri duodecim (401-415). Although for Augustine’s mature views on the first chapter of Genesis we must turn to his later works, it is also indispensable to consider his early exegetical reflections on «ad imaginem et similitudinem dei». Why did Augustine give up on his project of a literal interpretation at Gen. 1:26? How did he follow the exegetical principle «ad litteram»? In this paper I shall argue the significance and impact of his first literal exegesis.
Introduction — 1. Augustine’s commitment to a literal interpretation — 2. Exegetical method in De Genesi ad litteram imperfectus liber — 3. Conclusion.
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