Sunday 11 October 2009

Wise Words on Wiseacres

Augustine of Hippo may have had a hugely inflated reputation (for which James O'Donnell's biography is an excellent corrective), but occasionally he wrote something which is indeed worth repeating.

Now, it is a disgraceful thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of holy scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

... Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon holy scripture for proof, and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

Thus was it always so...

From Augustine's The Literal Meaning of Genesis.

1 comment:

  1. You had me, right up until the "Literal Meaning of Genesis" part. Irony much?