05 July 2011

Words from long ago

Sometime in the first decades of the fifth century the Bishop of Hippo, a town in North Africa, wrote the following:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something, about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world ... and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics . . . If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason.

Somewhere else he wrote:
"Whoever, therefore, thinks that he understands the divine Scriptures or any part of them so that it does not build the double love of God and of our neighbor does not understand it at all.

This particular bishop became a saint, and if that weren't enough, his mother was a saint too. (He apparently didn't care too much for his dad).

he wrote a bunch of other stuff. I should read some of it sometime.


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