Against the Academicians by Saint, Bishop of Hippo Augustine

By Saint, Bishop of Hippo Augustine

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Note 6 of Book II. 32 Vergil, Aeneidos, VIII, 441. 33 Cf. Cicero, De oratore, I, 47; also Augustine, De civitate Dei, IX, 5. ' 'Take my word for it,' I said, 'this dispute is important not from the view point of words, but from that of the realities themselves; for I do not think that they were men who did not know how to give accurate expression to their ideas, but it seems to me that they selected these words both in order to conceal their doctrine from those who are too slow to comprehend and to disclose it to the more watchful.

24 After I finished speaking, we stood up. 24 Augustine's main objective in the Contra Academicos was the refutation of the skepticism of the New Academy as portrayed by Cicero in the Academica, and the proof that truth can be attained by man. Page 31 Second Book I. 1. 2 But since men, if they seek wisdom at all, do not seek it diligently, and since they are turned away from the desire of seeking it by the many and various trivialities of this life, as is the case with you, Romanianus, or by a certain insensibility of their mental powers, or by indolence, or by sluggishness of mind, or by despair of ever finding wisdombecause the star of wisdom does not appear so easily before our minds as light does to our eyeor even by a false conception of truth when it has been discovered by them, an error which is common among people, the result is that knowledge is seldom attained and only by a few people; and from this very fact it happens that the arms of the Academicians, when one meets them in a hand to hand struggle, seem invincible and, as it were, Vulcan-like (Vulcania),3 not merely to men of ordinary ability, but even to those who are keen-minded and scholarly.

Hinrich, 1908); L. Gourdon, Essai sur la conversion de saint Augustin (Paris: A. Coueslant, 1900). 6 In the Retractationes I, i, 3, Augustine explains that in using the word return [rediturus] he did not have in mind that human souls have fallen from heaven and have been cast into bodies on account of some sin, but that he had reference to their going back to God, the Author of their being: 'Alio loco de animo, cum agerem dixi: Securior rediturus in coelum, iturus autem quam rediturus dixissem securius, propter eos qui putant animos humanos pro meritis peccatorum suorum de coelo lapsos sive dejectos, in corpora ista detrudi.

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