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THE PLOTINIAN FALL OF THE SOUL IN ST. AUGUSTINE Author(s): ROBERT J. O'CONNELL Source: Traditio, Vol. 19 (1963), pp.

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In a preceding article,1 we have tried to show that important features of the relationship between St. Augustine and Plotinus still call for some in one most of the in latter's fact, that, telling treatises (Ennead vestigation: his 4-5) had hitherto virtually escaped the notice of those influence on Augustine's thought. To one possible study we alluded only briefly, but its importance for the spirituality impels our returning to it now. Augustine, interested in tracing implication of that

history of Christian we suggested, from his earliest extant writings up to and including the Confessions, may well fall of the soul into the body.2 have been thinking in terms of a Plotinian There may seem to be a certain temerity in this proposal, and yet it is not in that sober, careful study Jens N?rregaard, entirely without precedent. of Augustine's conversion3 which still ranks as one of the most commendable


efforts at understanding his early thought, found himself obliged to en tertain just this hypothesis.4 And H. de Leusse, starting from a study of Victorinus' doctrine in that author on the soul, notes that the Plotinian teaching finds echoes scattered through the writings of the


young Augustine.5 The list of Plotinian

claimed Augustine read treatises which N?rregaard the and in been into called indeed, the debate on has, meantime, question,6 the topic of Augustine's has advanced Neo-Platonism considerably since
* For

as indicated: the following works reference we abbreviate convenient Augustinus = 1954, I, II, III depend AM, (3 vols.), Acts of the Augustinian Magister Congress,! Paris, der Klassischen Pauly-Wis Altertumswissenschaft, Real-Encyklopaedie ing on the volume. = RE. uvres series of sowa-Kroll-Witt er, Stuttgart, 1894ff., Augustinienne Biblioth?que = BA A 6). An of the volume de Saint Augustin, 1933ff., Paris, (e.g. plus series-number cient Christian Writers 1946ff. = ACW Md., series, Westminster, plus the volume-number we the chapter numbers, omit In from works ACW regularly Augustine's 22). citing (e.g. except e.g., 1 9 where Confessions 'Ennead VI civitate Dei), (as in the De indispensable to Conf. 5.19. shortens 5.10.19 of Saint Augustine/ 4-5 in the Works citing in Revue only book and section: so,

des ?tudes Augustiniennes,

1-39. (1963) 2 See the conclusion of the above article, 39. 3 cited as Bekehrung. Henceforth Bekehrung 1923). (T?bingen Augustins 4 Ibid. 238. He that Augustine interprets this theory subsequently immediately appends extent does Augustine The question in the light of Genesis. is, to what interpret Genesis light of this theory? de Leusse, 'Le Probl?me Afer,' Plotin.

des ?mes chez Marius Victorinus de la pr?existence de science religieuse 29 (1939) Recherches esp. 198 and 236ff. 197-239, 6 et l'Occident Plotin 66-7., henceforth: 1934) (Louvain Henry, By Fr. Paul

in the 5 H.

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the publication of his work.7 No one, on the other hand, has shown that Augustine read any of Marius Victorinus' work aside from some translations so that de Leusse's of the Enneads, indications can hardly be said to have met with an enthusiastic reception. But if the door is open to a more extensive Plotinian

influence on Augustine's recent held tenable in than has been moreover, years, and if, thought generally in our former article is a valid one for the "pattern-method" we advocated uncovering such influence, then the discussion may enter a new phase, and the question whether Augustine really held the fall of the soul that these authors found in his writings calls for serious reconsideration.
Gilson's Rejection of the 'Fall'

ceived; it is well thought out, ably argued, and lucid enough to lay bare the categorical refusal to regard the key issues. Gilson starts from Augustine's body and the entire sensible universe in terms which he understands as Or igen's: as a place of punishment for souls which once pre-existed sinned, and were plunged into the body as the result of that sin: pugne profond?ment ? la pens?e d'Augustin.
sur la transcendence il n'a mais Il y a dans cette conception de l'homme un pessimisme

our position here, our objective is far from shining at his expense: he abides or means no ill-con is he The articulates hasty by position question, surely.

presence of such a doctrine in Augustine's writings has been firmly rejected by no less a scholar than Etienne Gilson in his near-classic work, If we examine the terms of his ?tude de saint-Augustin.8 Introduction ? The

in heaven,


au corps, de l'?me absolue par rapport hi?rarchique avec a horreur et il m?me admis, repouss? l'hypoth?se jamais Tel ne seraient de prisons. les corps dont humanit? d'une que qu'autant en en g?n?ral et le corps humain l'univers sensible le con?oit Orig?ne, comme de supplice; et des instruments lieux des ont ?t? cr??s particulier a donc ce que Dieu a fait est bon; le corps ?t? cr?? tout pour Augustin, ou un ch?timent une cons?quence sa bont? et non comme pour intrins?que une pri comme ne dans ?tre saurait du p?ch?; y l'?me, enfin, pr?cipit?e nous venons elle s'unit d'en la description selon donner, son, mais que ? lui l'anime par et amour, le meut comme du une force ordonnatrice et conservatrice dedans.9

Certes, il a toujours




7 For a

a recent

Porphyrian I (Paris 1958) 91-111. Augustiniennes 8 rather than We cite from this work Introduction. 1943) 67ff. Henceforth: (2d ed. Paris The Christian from its recent American (New Augustine translation, Philosophy of Saint it reproduces than the former, which less accessible York 1960) since this latter is doubtless 9 Ibid. without change. significant

on this question?though slanted in some regards toward perhaps Recherches and Neo-Platonism' J.J. O'Meara,'Augustine hypothesis?see summary

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texts on the Gilson goes on to support his view by appeal to two major question. The first occurs in Book XI of the De ciuitate Dei where Augustine

expresses his astonishment that a man as versed as Origen in the litterae ecclesiasticae could put forth the theory he there describes.10 The second occurs in Letter 166, written to Jerome, and there astonishment has become the horror to which Now Gilson alludes.11

the first factor of uncertainty in all this is the relative lateness of these texts: they both date from the year 415, some twenty-nine years after Au gustine's conversion.12 And the period between 386 and 415 was a critical one in Occidental Christianity, precisely in regard to the theory which con cerns us here. For during these years there broke forth the first anti-Origenist crisis in the West.13





It must be remembered in this connection that Origen's glory shone with out eclipse practically up to the end of the fourth century; that Jerome him of the opposition to his ideas, self, so soon to become the standard-bearer as the most eminent of the church's teachers after the could rank him in 381 Apostles themselves, and as late as 392 enthusiastically enshrine him in his De viris Mus tribus. Ambrose, who has been called the Bishop of the West of his time, exploited his exegetical works with neither stint nor scruple,14 after the term and there is good reason to think that up until 399?perhaps remained ignorant of the details of of the Confessions?Augustine own professed ignorance Origen's error.15 If, therefore, we admit Augustine's of the litterae ecclesiasticae during several years after his conversion,16 his ination
10 De

11 27. 166.9. 1-2. civ. Dei 11.23. Ep. 12 See G. . discussion Goldbacher's and de 35 A La cit? 1; 10, Dieu, (Paris 1959) Bardy, 58.44. edition of Augustine's in the Vienna of chronology letters, GSEL 13 For the details on this de l'?glise see P. de Labriolle, in L'histoire (Fliche controversy Grand de le ? l'?lection la de De Mort Th?odose (Paris 1947) Chapter Gr?goire III, Martin) II 31-46; I,

J?r?me Saint and his principal source, F. Cavallera, 1922) esp. (2 vols., Louvain J?r?me. Henceforth: 193-286. 14 See F. H. The Life and Times of St. Ambrose continuous] Dudden, (2 vols, [pagination Ambrose-. Oxford Henceforth: 1935) 2,457, 15 See J?r?me for information. is clearly a request 67 to Jerome, which Cavallera, Ep. same on the in the table corrects the approximation II 48 (see the text which page) given prefers 399 as the date of this letter. 16 See 21.3 (date: 391). More directly for time to study, Ep. especially his plea to Valerius A 6, (2d ed. 1952) F.J. 3.59. our libero arbitrio De 126, Thonnard, touching question, See also G. of 395, nine years after his conversion. in the neighborhood dates this book remarks, mine ibid. 495-9 and precious of information, latter work A 12 (1950) 567. This r?visions, of the Saint's works. on the chronology particularly in Les


is a

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4 confidence in Ambrose's


orthodoxy, and the general reputation which Origen a pos enjoyed up to the turn of the century, itmust be left open at least as an Or sibility that Augustine could once, in perfectly good faith, have held later he doctrine which repudiated. igenist
on the








two concessions Gilson the question only sharpens if we juxtapose allows first that in his early works The course of his the has made in study. of the soul;17 the second Augustine appears to have held the pre-existence admits that of the four hypotheses presented in the third book of the De libero arbitrio concerning the origin of the soul, Augustine never chose one to the exclusion of the others, since *la foi n'en condamne aucune ... et aucune But n'est seems impos?e comme certaine par la raison.'18 The book in question sees them at as to date from 395,19 in which case the possibilities Augustine date are the following: that advanced
There are these four are

tion, that it is newly created when

pre-exist elsewhere sent by God



the into the



it comes of those who

each person is born, that souls which

bodies are born,



or that they come down (labantur) of their own will. We should not lightly accept any of these opinions. Either this question has not yet been worked out scurity and difficulty, or if this has been done, these works have not yet come into my hands. At all events, our faith must keep us from holding or unworthy anything about the substance of the Creator which is false in passing that itwould
decided by Catholic commentators on Scripture, because of its ob


of Him.20

be difficult to find a more appropriate term ? e ? than the labantur a e ?a for the Plotinian expression of the fall fourth hypothesis.21 His avowal of ignorance which expresses Augustine's which might settle the question, is also litterae ecclesiasticae respecting any his with But tendency to think of the soul as pre-exist coupled interesting.22 personal choice must lie between the last ing, it is clear that Augustine's two hypotheses: which raises the question, what does the fourth hypothesis Notice

18 Ibid. 94-5. Introduction, 19 See note 16 supra. 20 De Dom Mark lib. arb. 3.59, translation: Pontifex, 21 It contains and 'fall' both the senses of 'deviate' 17 the occurrence (cf. our article, 22 The terms recalls his of the cited latter supra against in a locus which n. 1), see Ennead librorum catholicis Origen, De there YI


AGW 22, (Westminster 1955). by the Greek term. For conveyed read is good reason to think Augustine different, but the substance


(a divinorum


tractoribus) are civ. Dei 11.23.1-2.

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To arrive at any clarity on this issue, itwould be indispensable to illuminate the entire context, thereby reviving a controversy whose flames still slumber.23 For that context bristles with difficulties, not to say with confusion: and we would suggest that Augustine is not entirely exempt from responsibility seems beyond question is the fact that Augustine is here discussing two troubling aspects of human existence, our ignorance, and our difficulty in doing good.24 He begins by assuring his readers that these two aspects of our life are surely a punishment, and, since God is just, on the latter score. What

punishment for some sin.25 The purpose which brings him to examine the four hypotheses is, accordingly, that of proving that however the soul is con ceived as having arrived in this vale of tears, God's justice is beyond reproach.26 Now this is how he reasons But
of their Creator He He did own accord to


the fourth hypothesis:

we can easily sent and

if souls existing elsewhere are not sent by the Lord God, but come
in bodies, see that whatever

ignorance and difficulty result from the action

to blame. is in no way if He Even ... of their freedom not deprive them therefore be utterly without had

of their own will,



to beg

since Himself, ... seek and strive



God's justice, therefore, is put beyond man's complaint. But the hypothesis is none other than that of a voluntary fall of the soul into the body, into ig norance and difficulty, into a place of punishment. The divine Justice is

uncompromised precisely because the soul has chosen freely and consequently deserves everything that follows from that free choice. One can only infer that this choice is itself the sin forwhich the soul is punished, the essence Consider ing birth in this life on account now ofwhich it is embodied the sin preced in a sensible universe:

of what Augustine much later found to be Origen's position. the difference between the third and fourth hypothesis: either God has sent the soul without fault on its part, or the soul has sinned.

Starting from his pre-existence position, which of these two must Augustine choose? His way of appending a hasty quandoquidem etiamsi eas ipse misisset28
de Montcheuil article by Fr. Y. in his M?langes religieuse th?ologiques (Paris 1946) (1933), (reprinted cr?er l'homme dans l'?tat d'ignoran 'Dieu pouvait-il 93-111, in answer to Fr. Charles Boyer's 11 (1930) In 1954 it still showed no signs of abat ce et de difficult?/ 32-57. Gregorianum De Lubac to Augustinus see of Le the contributions Bouriier, Trap?, Boyer, Magister, ing: controversy de science dates from 23 the publication AM III 247-61. and the discussion, 24 De as put by Evodius, ibid. 1.23. the question lib. arb. 3.53. Compare 25 Ibid. 52, 54. 3.51, 26 See Ibid. 3.53: ut et adversus Deum murmurare also his d?sistant; quiescant, of each ibid. 54-8 of the hypotheses, ilio aliud de [seil, creatore] (sentire) 27 Ibid. 3.58 . 28 Ibid. and the summary-conclusion, quam est. 59: we should 23 The of an


treamtent not think

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6 'even if He had


sent them Himself

to his


of the fourth

hypothesis, is at least suggestive: the misisset seems to put us momentarily back into the framework of the third hypothesis, which has already been thoroughly treated: why go back to it?

in holding firmly to both ends of that chain and trying to persuade us that the apparent opposition is, in the final analysis, illusory. And yet, the objection comes, that opposition is quite real: and here we cannot but agree. That agreement leads us to examine another element of Gilson's text, cited above. 'Pour Augustin,' he assures us, 'tout ce que Dieu a fait est bon; le corps a donc ?t? cr?? pour sa bont? intrins?que et non comme ' une cons?quence ou un ch?timent du p?ch?. We have underlined the terms which show a passage of the author's thought from the properly historical plane to the level of inference: an inference which shows the sure philosophic is at work, for these two views are, in fact, hardly compatible. it be that Augustine's thought at this point suffers from a lack of co herence ? Can instinct which

Now itmay just be that Augustine is not back-tracking at all. The distinc tion between these two hypotheses may in his mind not be a disjunction after all; he may not feel either obliged or entitled to choose one to the exclusion of the other. The good Plotinian, in fact, cannot choose between the soul's one and for of the peculiarities of Plotinus' doctrine consists falling being sent;

The possibility must be left open, at least for the moment. The justification of chess, it has been said, lies in the fact that even grand masters make mistakes; one might suggest by a distant analogy that itmust sometimes be the business of the historian of philosophy to transcribe faithfully the inner contradictions which his philosophic instinct? and admiration ? would tempt him to on If is not coherent the situation suppress. Augustine's thought entirely of the embodied soul, he was not the first to suffer under that stigma....









its entirety. In his basic work on the subject, Ennead IV 8, on The Soul's Descent into theBody he begins with a careful summary of the two conflict
29 La de Plotin entire chapter, pp. 47-69, (Paris 1928) 68. The philosophie for an understanding of the diverse tensions in Plotinus' theory of the soul. 30 Sixth in the chronological is relatively order, this treatise early. is valuable

For it is precisely that doctrine of the soul, fallen, yet at the same time sent, into a world which is simultaneously bad and beautiful, which led Br?hier to speak of an 'undeniable contradiction' in Plotinus' thought.29 It arose from his desire to remain a faithful exponent of the Platonic tradition in

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ing sides of Plato's thought on the soul's immersion in the sensible universe,31 before proceeding to his own effort of reconciliation. The pessimistic accent ' ' found in the Phaedo and the Phaedrus, whereby some fault of its own has plunged the soul into matter, is balanced by the more optimistic view of the 'sends" the soul down into Timaeus, where the demiurge, out of goodness, the sensible universe to impart beauty to it, by conferring on it the intelligible perfection of the Ideas.

plane of reflective thought; but reflection and affectivity do not always har ' ' monize. Thus there is a possibility that the shift of accent wrhich is generally admitted

Plotinus is, therefore, conscious of the ambivalence in the master's thought, and that from the very beginning of his philosophical activity.32 He refuses the privilege of taking a one-sided view of the matter33 ? at least on the

work.34 The turning point in this development Harder has placed at the moment when Plotinus realized that his earlier views gave entirely too much encouragement to the Gnostics who for a considerable time became the target of his fiercest opposition.35 Thus, in his later works, he points much more to the beauty of the sensible world, which so reflects the goodness of God

in Plotinus' thought only complicates that original ambivalence, the pessimistic accent to dominate toward the beginning, and gradu allowing ally to give way to the more Stoic optimism which characterizes his riper

in the least; the two theses remain true and still require reconciliation, or, in Br?hier's term, perpetuate the undeniable contradiction. And Plotinus must constantly renew his effort to show that fault is integrated Not into the necessary operation of the immutable

and the perfection of the Ideas that itmust rightly be called God's 'youngest is 'sent' to child,' indeed, the 'manifest god.'36 The soul, consequently, confer beauty on this world: does it follow that it has not sinned and 'fallen' into that world?

laws of the universe, that the

32 31 Ibid. See note 30, supra. 1, entire. 33 As seem to or the have done, opting for either the pessimistic of his many predecessors La r?v?lation d'Herm?s 2 See A.J. (Paris Festugi?re, optimistic Trism?giste position. 1953) a first hallmark is already of the Plotinian at reconciliation 63-96. This attempt theory. ' 34 See H. s.v. Plotinos' 'Plotin et les Gnos 547-8; but see also H.C. Puech, Schwyzer, RE sur de Entretiens Fondation Sources V; hence Plotin, Hardt, l'Antiquit? Classique, tiques,' esp. also uvres-G?n?ve 159-174; 1960) forth, Sources (Vand 'Numenius 183. Compare ibid. E. R. Dodds' study, the subsequent discusi?n, 175-190, and Ammonius' 1-32 (discussion, than Schwyzer was prepared development from a semi and taking clearly,

33-61). The resulting picture is one of more decided for RE. Its direction is away to admit when writing his article generally of this development, toward a more Stoic optimism. dualism Unaware Gnostic his Plotinus without than perhaps, 35 Sources 185. 36 Enn. V 8.12.9. . 35. regard the Plotinus This for chronology, of any given treatise dates Augustine treatise. from Plotinus' shows the tensions

even more






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soul's liberty and cosmic necessity are really one and the same, and finally, that we are fallen because we desired to fall, but that mute, spontaneous desire is itself put in us by the Logos which irresistibly rules our falls and
our returns.37


troubled Plotinus, giving his doctrine a characteristic set of inner tensions, which may serve to make it all the more identifiable ifwe find it reproduced in Augustine.

The very lucidity of Gilson's estimate of the situation, then, was sufficient for examining his position. His analysis suggests that if there is in coherence in Augustine's thought, that incoherence is the very one which









doctrine on this point is so characteristic entitles some might consider a methodological shortcut. Instead of first proving, treatise by treatise, that Augustine read the Enneads we are about to invoke as points of comparison between his and Plotinian doctrine, we to expose the two doctrines, highlighting their parallel patterns of mean The fact that Plotinus' us to what inner tension, and and complexity leaving the reader free to draw his own conclusions on the question of direct dependence on Plotinus. We intend to facilitate that conclusion somewhat by presenting precise portions from a limited number of Plotinian texts whose


appears highly probable, diiect dependence, however, we prefer to treat as a confirmation of our prim ary conclusion: that Augustine's doctrine of the soul and its situation in the its direct source, faithfully Plotinian. body is, whatever I 6, V 1, III There should be no difficulty against our invoking Enneads 2-3 and IV 3: Augustine refers explicitly to them in the De civitate Dei

treatises, placing them in parallel with on the the Plotinian direct dependence treatise at times almost transparent. This suggestion of

and the grounds are excellent for thinking that he read them before his writ ings at Cassiciacum.38 G. Verbeke has presented strong evidence for linking immortalitate animae with Ennead the De IV 7, on the Immortality of the evidence could be adduced

Soul,Z9 and additional

37 JZjli?L. + ? 77 \7 O. ? O ; "XiLii". iV and IV 3.12-13. Note

to corroborate his view.40

Dlntinnc J.IU Ulllu? rohirnc l^luill? the latter


two treatises

^ 77??, XXXO . lU.?^ll. 19 OC?tt nnHl?nrt ?^nKlow, Ulli] llVkLllllg pl UUlVlll Ali are expressly referred to in De civ. Dei;

see Henry, 122-3. Plotin, 38 See our nn. 14 and 15. article, cited above, n. 1, especially 39 et immortalit? de chez saint AM l'?me I 329-34. Augustin' 'Spiritualit? 40 A number of additional occur in suggestive those listed by Verbeke) arguments (besides note particularly the curious argument in both treatises: parallel concerning sleep in Erin. a special study, which would be imm. animae deserves 23. The question IV 7. 85 and De

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suggest that in addition to the above, Augustine shows convinc III 7 (On Eternity and Time), of having read and assimilated Enneads ing signs IV 8 (On the Soul9s Descent into theBody), and V 8, (On Intellectual Beauty). We propose, however, to use them as additional (though at times pivotal) We would points of comparison, without insisting here on the mass could be brought forward for direct dependence.43 Augustine and the Doctrine of Ennead of evidence which

also lays claim on our attention.41 We have, I, 4, on Happiness, a finally, called attention in preceding article42 to the importance of Ennead VI 4-5, the twin-treatise on omnipresence. Treatise

IV 8

of Cassiciacum are richly sown with enigmatic reflections The Dialogues on the soul's condition in the body; difficult to understand outside of a doctrine of the fall of the soul into the body, they often become easy and obvious in the light of Plotinian teaching. The various terms which describe the soul in its fallen condition, for example, ? oblita, demersa, implicata, progressa ? lexicon of the soul's fallen con echo the little Neo-Platonic among them44 dition which Plotinus

IV 8.45 More presents in his opening section of Ennead some seem 'less souls division is the among whereby significant, perhaps, a for holds fall which diversified fallen' than others; like Plotinus, Augustine ' ' more easily than others.46 explains why certain souls can mount to the vision
and perhaps also on his philosophic forma working methods and harmony theories of the soul with combats the entelechy to assume led Augustine (ibid. 17 arguments (ibid. 84 and 85); this seems to have parallel one and the same theory). that they were 41 See as a hypothesis read this treatise that Augustine 138. Taking be Plotin, Henry, some obscurities in those writings. fore Gassiciacum would, we suggest, illuminate 42 Art. . 1, supra. cit. 43 fashion suggested could be construed after the hypothetical Or, if preferred, our method revealing tion. Plotinus, on Augustine's for example, in Augustine's obscurities text and in these treatises help explain itself constitute evi however, deforming it) would (without, thought if possible, to be confirmed, dence of their relevance, by further data of a more philological remarks in our former article, pp. 4-5 and nn. 21, 26, and See the methodological nature. in n. 41. The fact that of his the movement 31. 44 Such see for example De at Gassiciacum, abound expressions the Academics, edition of Against b. vita 1-5; and J.J. O'Meara's references. to Book 1, with 45 Enn. IV 8.1. 46 Cf. Enn. classes). Note IV 8.5.17-29 and De Sol. bear 1.23, b. vita 3-5 those sperare, ord. AGW 1. 29 and 12, notes 2. 30-1; 8 and 9



f?rtasse and charity

especially His admonitione. (ibid. 12-14)


(three classes of souls) and Sol. 1. 23-25 (two in the higher class nec doctore indigent, sed sola amare satis est. But of faith, hope the notions



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For both authors, this ascent must start with the exercise of that Platonic reminiscence which revives the soul's former contact with the higher world,47 and Augustine's early emphasis on the purifying value of the disciplinae lectualist nature liberales almost certainly stems from a Plotinian of this 'return of the soul.'48 understanding of the intel

IV 8. Our reference treatise for the doctrine just exposed has been Ennead And the key term which Plotinus there uses to describe the soul's ideal station and a classic expression in Neo is a , drawn from Plato's Timaeus,^ Platonism. Theiler has ably shown the importance of that notion inAugustine's

found works, at the same time endeavoring to demonstrate that Augustine His not but in in it, Plotinus, uncompromising repudiation of Porphyry.50 a source as measure for doctrine has met direct in Plotinus any Augustine's with almost universal rejection, even on the part of those sympathetic toward the hypothesis that Augustine was exposed to Porphyrian readings in addition to those he admittedly made in Plotinus.51 However, the evidence for these readings, as occurring before the De consensu evang?list?mra, remains entirely

indirect,52 whereas add to Augustine's drawn the notion found it?

the circle of Plotinian treatises scholars have seen fit to early reading-list is once again expanding. Had Augustine of from Plotinus, then, where would he have a

III 2-3, Oddly enough, in only two loci. The first of them is in Ennead on Providence, which we know he read, but where the notion is found without IV 8,54where Its only other occurrence is in Ennead extended development.53

47 Enn. 48 This with



Cf. Sol. clear

2 entire,


is particularly the ascent through

in Sol. 2.14-17

2, where 34-5. and

the disciplinae,

34-5. especially the reminiscence theory is in close of the De ordine's It explains much 30-31 where its connection

connection concentra the re

tion on the ordo studiorum,



is stressed. gressus animae 49 Enn. IV 8.7.1-11, esp. line 5. 50 und Augustin 1933)17ff. Henceforth: (Halle Porphyrios 51 See for 12. 22-3 and notes; in ACW O'Meara example, ques 52 en Occident ed. Paris 159ff.

Porphyrios. P. Courcelle,




1948) (2d in Augustine's for themes influence of inferring Porphyrian early works Consisting See our article with Porphyry. later associates which the aging bishop (cited note 1, above) and the cita ACW note 39, and also O'Meara, 12, note 110 of the Introduction especially features the fuga a corpore theme in this O'Meara tions given there. Note how importantly of Pro to show that the universality is concerned Ill 2.9.20, where Plotinus for his actions. of responsibility does not deprive man vidence 54 Enn. as we shall shortly is different from the above, its connection Here IV 8.7.5. on the occurrence of the for this information are indebted to Mr. G. Pollet see. We a toward notion in Plotinus, Lexicon. information he was enabled to furnish thanks to his researches a Plotinian regard. 53 See Enn.

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describes the soul's position in reality as an intermediate one, be tween the pure intelligibles and the sensible realm, such that it pertains to her very nature to govern and order the sensible world, communicating to it the perfection she draws from her contemplation of the ideas. This function, he


her entering 'into,' engaging in intimate contact with it. Like the entourage of a king who never leaves his palace, she can govern that world

is careful to note, she can fulfill while remaining entirely recollected in contemplation, enfolded in the unity of the universal soul, with which she is fundamentally at one. Her government of the sensible world does not










As revealing on Augustine's IV 8 is on Plotinus', anthropology as Ennead is that little-studied, perhaps because highly disconcerting work, the De Genesi contraManichaeos. Here, Augustine's 'spiritual exegesis' permits him to take extraordinary liberties with what is often the most obvious meaning of the scriptural text, something of which he seems at times uncomfortably aware. He justifies his resort to the transferred sense with a number of reasons,

spirit,' is beyond question, for his model in exegetical method is most prob ably Ambrose, whose 'subjective, capricous, arbitrary' interpretation suc as Dudden ceeded, puts it, in making virtually 'anything mean anything.'57 of spiritual The point, however, is this: for such an arbitrary application exegesis the literal and obvious sense of Genesis can hardly be said to be norma tive. And yet, some normative outlook must be sought to explain the mean to 'put into' the terms of the sacred text. ing Augustine manages

'worthy laying particular stress on the need to explain Genesis in a manner of God,'55 and therefore calculated to retort the 'sacrilegious' expos? of the same work proposed by the Manichees.56 His sincerity in all this, his 'Catholic

to reduce the scriptural author's very substantial Eve to a mere exemplum a kind of symbolic figure standing for the inferior, sensible, 'animal part,,'
55 See De Genesi.) De Genesi contra Manichaeos 2.3. (henceforth: especially ' 56 Ibid, and of the has purged Genesis 2.19, where his spiritual exegesis sacrilegious in para it was God who encouraged carnal intercourse Manichaean whereby interpretation ibid. 1.30. dise; cf. his ingenious theory of copulatio spiritalis, 57 See Dudden, Ambrose, Vol. 2, 459. See also ibid. 458 for the principle ' Lucani di Ambroggio La Expositio secundum cf. P. Roller?, evangelii essegesi', Agostiniana (Turin 1958) esp. 14-17; 129-132; 137-40.

That normative outlook, we would suggest, is identifiably Plotinian: beneath the verba of the sacred author, Augustine succeeds in unearthing the res of the Enneads. And it is the doctrine of Ennead IV 8 which persuades him


o? digna Deo; and come fonte della

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12 subject to the 'virile'


Augustine describes in the pregnant term medietas animi, taking his starting point from the happy coincidence that Genesis speaks of the two trees situated in medio paradisi: Ennead 7. IV 8. a , e a , a
De 12: Genesi Productum contra Manichaeos, autem ex terra 2. om

ratio; she is accomodata ad obtemperandum, while the contact with itself remain in constant contemplative governing This hierarchic position of the soul and submission to subsistent Wisdom.58 ratio must

e 1-17 : , , ?? a e a e Lvov e a a e e a e a a ?a e a e a a a a , a a e ,e a a e
... e ... a a a e , e a

ne illud lignum accipimus omne illud gaudium spiritale; id est, supereminere

terram, renarum Lignum et non involvi atque obrui ter cupiditatum autem vitae implicamentis. in me plantatum


dio paradisi, sapientiam illam signifi cat, qua oportet ut intelligat anima,
in meditullio

a a a a , a a

a , e a , e a ,a , e a a

e a

a e

e a e a e a e a
e -

habeat supra

omnem se tarnen

ut quamvis
naturam esse



se esse




a ?a e e a a a e

et neque in dexteram declinet, Dei: sibi arrogando quod non est, neque ad


corpoream, naturam

e i e ' e a a e e ,a a e a a a a , a a e a e a e a I a e a? a a al , e e e e a , a
a a e

nendo quod est; et hoc est lignum vitae

plantatum ipsa in medio




Ligno autem scientiae boni et mali,

item medietas animae et ordinata


integrit?s significatur, nam et ipsum lignum in medio paradisi plantatum est; et ideo lignum dignoscentiae boni et mali dicitur, quia si anima quae
d?bet tendere, in ea id quae est anteriora in Deum, sunt et ea ad fuerit, quod se ex quae

a ? ?

. a e ?v e a e a a a ? a e a e e a ee a, a e a a .
Genesi extent be 1. 30; cf. 1.27-28, is the animalis from e and the allegorical pars to


sunt oblivisci
voluptates, conversa

(Phil. sine Deo

seip et

est, corp?reas deserto Deo sam,

sua potentia






58 De To The bids what us


passage cautious;

truly a and

of the creation of man and woman. interpretation of a substantial and individual man? 'part' ' back when of the parts' of the soul speaking us is all-pervasive here warns seems most immediately obvious to this the rest of the work and assigning and of the whole. We shall see meaning the animalis Neo is pars manifestly

that Augustine may to us. How settle the question? By consonant ambiguous phrase a meaning that the functional relationship Platonic.

which symbolic atmosphere not be using the term in a sense which examining with the obvious the ratio


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initium ejus


peccati. poena

Et fuerit




discit experiendo quid num et malum in deseruit, quod hoc Et ei erit cecidit. gustasse fructu mali. arboris . . . dignoscentiae

consecuta, inter bo intersit quod de et


significant similarity between these texts is one of doctrinal Plotinus' a , is translated by the term medietas key term, pattern: with the explanation that the soul is which animi, Augustine paraphrases rerum e in meditullio a 'ordered' (cf. ...). quodam The paragraph from the De Genesi then presents a finely compressed statement Now the most her natural generate IV 8: the soul must supereminere, retain of the doctrine presented in Ennead relation of governor of the sensible world, without letting it de

e into an involvi, obrui, an implicatio (cf. e ) earthly pleasures. Her gaudium should remain spiritale, and Augustine has already explained this as referring to the delights of intellectual contemplation,59 So firmly has he exactly in accordance with Plotinus' mind on the matter.

memory, the Platonic reminiscence of the intelligible: again, good Plotinian doctrine.62 The notion of an aversio whereby the soul has 'deserted' God,

couple furnishes a semi-biblical for a perfectly Plotinian insight.60 The spiritual is, for both thinkers what is prior, ante, while the corporeal is posterior, post,61 in a realm which the soul should school herself to forget in order to revive that other kind of of that term so that the dextera-sinistra hook

grasped the doctrine concerned, he can re-express it in terms reminiscent of various other treatises, reminding us that the things in this spiritual world really exist, those in the sensible universe not 'existing' in the true sense

59 De rum. itual

and sensible

of 'man' and the rational the spiritual marriage 'woman,' symbolizing was to forth of human immortalium nature, spirituelles foetus bring gaudio parts has already made the soul part of that "spir that Augustine It must be remembered Genesi 1.30: is irrigated by the intel

on the libri platonieomm distinction. is in terms of this classic Platonic 61 of beings in Conf. 3.9, the priora to the hierarchy allusion See, for example, Augustine's the denomi while the corporeal universe opera Dei being the spiritalia, implicitly receives can be found frequently in Plotinus, The same distinction but especially nation of posteriora. relevant where to Augustine's image is its use in Enn. V 8.12-13, paradise are linked. not temporal) posteriority (natural, inferiority and 62 As contained in Enn. IV 3.25ff., which Augustine read, and which K. at Cassiciacum: I. 511-19. see 'La Th?orie augustinienne de la m?moire the notions Winkler of

which is symbolized by the viridi agri (2.4) which the of Verbum (2.6). ligible light 60 Cf. first step in his reflections Conf. 7.16-17, where Augustine's creation"


active AM

? son point

de d?part/

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insert exegesis of the verse in question. Why should Augustine Augustine's that peculiar assurance, one that seems to have nothing to do with his exeget ical task at the moment, concerning the profit the soul can draw from her The spiritual meaning of 'tasting the fruit of knowledge fallen existence? of good and evil' provides be slightly adjusted by the side: the soul can gain an good she has deserted. We a starting point, but one whose meaning must interpretation he gives it. The fall has a positive

shows Augustine already beginning to read this treatise in the light of Ennead VI 4-5, a practice which climaxes in the Confessions.63 The doctrinal pattern, then, is identical in both texts: was the one modelled on the other? An indication making this probable is found at the end of

experiential and comparative knowledge of the shall see that this parallelism of association points to an identity of problematic in both authors;64 but it is, at the same time, here. bizarre enough, arbitrary enough in the context which is Augustine's Its explanation becomes easy, however, once we admit it was suggested by the same reminder occurring in the same context in Plotinus' Ennead IV 8.










the initium of the fault lies in superbia; which reminds For Augustine, us that for Plotinus as well, the fault which can disturb this delicate balance is a desire whereby the soul tires of being with the intelligible whole, and ' ' on her own ? ad seipsam, as Augustine puts it. The result wishes to be of this desire, Plotinus explains in the same treatise, is that the soul retires into herself, leaves the whole-soul to become isolated and partial, a fragment

capable of surveying and dealing only with fragments: notably, with that part of the corporeal universe which she chooses to be her own body.65 Thus she plunges into the very heart of the sensible universe, becomes sunk in sense, enters into contact with a part which becomes her own, and entirely preoccupies ? in Augustine's her. This preoccupation, term, immersion, intimate contact ? this involvi, obrui, implicatio as distinct from her former supereminentiam

63 See our article, cited in note previous in which and therefore works of Augustine his attention. 64We

As might be expected, 1, above. one or other treatise of Plotinus

there are moments seems to dominate


the occur which shares the problematic shall see shortly that Augustine explains sense than mere could textual rapprochements in a deeper of this anomalous passage is never clearer than in the Plotinian that problematic ever do it; at the same time, however, the fall. IV 8.

of the need to 'justify' text which here served to remind Augustine we have merely it here. summarized IV 8.4.11-28: \ 65 See Enn. 66 . 12, in parallel with Enn. cf. the text above cited and Ibid.;

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the soul, draws her attention away from the vision of intelli her fallen state.67 constitutes and gible truth, To the mechanism of that fall we shall return shortly; but for the moment itmust be remarked that one term in various forms suffices to describe man's iswhat weakens fallen state which Augustine sees as ensuing post peccatimi, in contrast with it is the soul's existence ante peccatum.68 It is a vita mortalis, mors vit?lis; more it with when in condensed vitae or, is, form, mortalit?s, compared hujus vita, simply mors.10 Augustine may well have found Plotinian en couragement for selecting this term to capsule the properties of our fallen situation;71 what ismore manifest is that Plotinus, rather than Genesis, war ranted his treating as consequences of our fall a number of elements which the alia
67 Plotinus, the soul 'pure' spirituality; therefore, would reject the thought of the soul's but one which makes a natural relation with the body and the sensible universe, sort of way. in an absent 'to' (not 'in') that universe, present present the distinction: anima whereas the the anima is the subject peccaret), fall was there a homo as created with term homo seems more of peccatum to our appropriate (De Genesi 2.5: fallen condition:

preserves it ideally 68 Note

antequam only after that text to admit


force of that admission into paradise, creation was of man Manichaean

labor?ns in terra, (ibid). obliged by the sacred Though seems to reduce the from the clay of the earth, Augustine reminder that this was before he was transported the immediate that man's divine idea flaw of the

seems to mean This consummaretur Dei (ibid. 2.10.) so that the normative itself completed by that consummation, can say that the basic Hence is that of a spiritual creature. Augustine ut a Verbo hominem, anthropology cum arises

errent qui post peccatum from its starting point: multum that damnatus in hujus vitae mortalitatem est-, (ibid. 1.29). Add in angelicam terms a commutatio we look forward to a renovatio, a liberatio which Augustine in virtue of which, Christ, we by following the spiritual Adam, form?m (ibid. 1.29; 2.32), become once more the spiritual creation, the viride agri, having been restored to the paradise consid?rent which we lost by sin (2.10). Cf. De quant, animae 78, where the soul is naturally par angelo, of sin. and inferior only in consequence 69 nescio unde venerim hue; cf. ibid. 9: admits: the context: Augustine Conf. 1.7. Note ... fuine alicubi aut successerit iam aetati meae mortuae die mihi, utrum alicui infantia mea as the Confessions he leaves be resolved in a doubt which may proceeds, Thus, aliquisl the question infantia mea, quae non memini. open: Ibid. 10, he praises God de primordiis ET 70 Cf. De Genesi De ibid. 1.19. 26; 2.15, 38, 40). 1.29; Compare (for other variations, a similar com of sin, and De Genesi 2.15 where definition lib. arb. 2.53, the culminating pression is achieved, IV 7.11 the with the term mors and now standing for the entire complex of fallen-condition and stone in properties. 71 Cf. Enn. contrast See also with animata-exanime, the Plotinian


Augustine's the latter then but striking

ibid. 9, line 23, where distinction

the term De

the coincidental

cannot yet sets great or, Zeus ! by mortality among mortals, estimate of death, we hold, must be that it is better than life in the be the proficient, whose ' mean very little to us; there ismuch evidence to suggest Such verbal correspondences body. a great deal to Augustine. that they meant

of Augustine's original store by wood and stones,

anima 16, between seems an echo of this terminology. termed mortuum, in stone, death) (wood, grouping of the same terms I 4.7.20-26: death-bed Enn. 'One that quotation, imm.

is applied animae

to wood

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the Hebrew author unquestionably thought proper to man as God created him: thus, labor,72 carnal procreation,73 the need to resort to sense knowledge, language, symbolic communication of all sorts,74 the opacity of a body which

concealment and simulation possible,75 none of these, in Augustine's view, were proper to man (or, more exactly the soul) as originally intended; all such things came upon us quia post peccatum mortales facti sumus. Again, a comparison with Ennead IV 3, which we know Augustine read, makes the structured correspondence of teaching almost transparent: Ennead IV 3.
^! De Genesi contra Manichaeos 2.

e a ?? 18. 1-4 : a e e a * e a ; a e e e

a a a a

a e

e a a -

30: Hoc ipsum enim quod in hac vita quisque natus, difficultatem in
veniendi veritatis habet ac ex corpore. .. et Spinae tortuosarum necessitate has et aures in vultus suum? de difficile corrupti sunt tribuli ... per hos veritate resistere ergo per ut sudet



punctiones Et quoniam oculos et per admonemur,

quaestionum jam ipsa est ista non

phantasmatibus... plexitate, manducet cujus

9-22 : a ?a e

e ?

e e e

e ae
a e

a?e a -

a a a a e a

a e

, a e a I


ea e a , e e a e a . e a , a e
e al a a

panem ... vero irrigabat peccatum creaturam in fonte [Deus spiritalem] in ut intellectum teriore, loquens ejus, ... non sed verba extrinsecus exciperet 5: Ante fonte suo, hoc veritate, ideo habet ... ut de intimis est, satiaretur. in suis

manante 6. Et cessariam nis nus noster


jam .. .doctrinam

terra ne de huma Domi

, "



' '


a e


propterillam imbrem sancii forinsecus aridi laboranti

e a e
a a a 1

a a
a e

e e '

? e



Evangelii non quaerat in terra, tate consti

pluviam_Homini in peccatorum id est,


e e

a e
a e ?


a a
e e 'a e a ,


[intelligitur] necessariam
verbis de divinam nubibus pluviam.

esse de

humanis tanquam


72 De Genesi 2.15. 78 Ibid. 1.30. 74 Ibid. 2.5, 6; cited below. 75 Ibid. 2.32, cited below, 7? See note 68, supra.

. 17.

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9 e I a e . E a ' e ? ? a a e e a a a a ? , a a e e I

e a a a e a e

a *

a a

32: ?eque
coelestibus dendum est, sic

later e

in Ulis corporibus
cre cor mo et ma

cogitationes in his quemadmodum sed sicut ilia nonnullis in vultu apparent sic in motus et

latent: poribus tus anirnorum

e e e .

xime ac

in oculis,

perspicuitate corporum latere non habi in men

simplicitate omnes omnino arbitror. tationem angelicam tiuntur. Itaque illam

coelestium animi illi merebuntur

commutationem qui ... nulla


adjustments Augustine has worked here are all in function of his exegetical task and of the modification of problematic imposed by his Christian None of them, however, can hide the fact that the inner preoccupations. The logic of Plotinus' position has been grasped with admirable acuity. Thus, the use of reasoning is due to difficulties, perplexities, which are symbolized a. This 'labor' Augustine by the 'thorns and thistles' of 'this life': e a

assures us, is what the author of Genesis must mean by Adam's punishment. In the higher sphere of existence, (e e , e ), all our knowledge was poured into us by that fons spoken of in Genesis, one that interiorly ir ? and at rigated the viride agri which symbolizes the spiritual creation77 this point Plotinian


Remarkable paradisiac cf. a a

state, though a body of a transparency (perspicuitas, simplicitas, a a)79 such that everyone's inner thoughts are immediate or simulation being to his known there, no concealment ly companions it that this And is both describe reciprocal awareness possible.80 significant
77 De 78We Genesi have 2.10.

all these are consequences of the peccatum animae, the fall from paradise. is the fact that both authors entertain the idea of a body in the

in its pursuit of truth:78 human words, all the work of communication, (and this for Augustine symbol, advice and consultation includes the entire regime of scriptural, prophetic and apostolic authority), turn outwards

translation of the the Augustinian manans reproduces Ficinus' . Having lost contact with this interior font, the soul

tried to show (art. cit. note 1, above, pp. 28-37) that in the Confessions Augustine the imaginative most often uses the Plotinian 5.7.1-14)as image of the 'Head' (Enn, VI and dealing At this point in his career, however, of this intus-foras distinction. backdrop but not identical concept of the intima, the corresponding with the analogous image is drawn rather from Enn. 79 Gf. also the renders become 80 De possibility the term the dual Genesi 2.23 Ill a 7, as we shall of Plotinus' with shortly see. Gf. note 'We the have "tunics description 68, above. of the fall in Enn. VI lost that 4.14.25. Mackenna we are

suggestively thing.'

the phrase: ours). link between

first simplicity, and

(Italics this develops and

of mortality"

the resulting

of dissimulation


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18 in identical a Now


the fact of these properties of human existence faithfully echoes Plotinus'; that we know from other evidence that he did read this treatise, and the tight pattern whereby he reproduces the same interconnected scheme of consequences, make it highly probable that he had this passage clearly in mind (if not before his eyes) when writing his Genesis commentary. are not, therefore, in the world of 'pure spirits': the commutatio in angelicam formam means that the soul will once again don a celestial body it once had. We are entitled to think of this corpus codeste as a body, and We

analogies, namely, the expressiveness of the human a ) and of the human eye ( ). the parallel just cited proves at least that Augustine's



yet in a sense quite different from our ordinary use of the term.81 It would ? hardly be just, therefore, to speak of paradisiac man as truly 'incarnate' certainly, the robust author of Genesis would hardly have recognized the Adam he wrote about.






soul, therefore, retains even in paradise her natural relation to the it is a radical degeneration of that relation which constitutes its fallen state. And yet (and here Plotinus admits he is advancing a personal opinion) the soul is never entirely fallen. His final suggestion in Ennead The sensible: with IV 8 would have it that the soul's highest portion remains in unbroken contact the intelligible order, still engaged in contemplation.82 Of this highest activity, our everyday consciousness would seem to bear not the slightest trace. The tinus must

objection from experience, therefore, is a normal one, and Plo contend with it. In Ennead V 8 (on Intellectual Beauty) one of his hearers poses the question squarely: how can the soul be in [the realm of intellectual] beauty, and yet fail to see it?83 That question, allowing formodifications of problematic,84 is entirely anal to For both the in the De musica. which faces ogous difficulty Augustine
81 This

seems the force of Plotinus' a where Henry-Schwyzer a (accepting Vitringa's in heaven; it. Gf. Erin. V. 8.3. 21ff. for Plotinus' of corporeality reading) place acceptance here he seems to warn that that body will not be the kind familiar to our ordinary experience. ' Mackenna ( though they may occupy bodies in the heavenly region ') and Br?hier cer probably a . ont of a leur corps dans le ciel') work from a different positioning tainly ('tant qu'elles 82 Enn. IV 8.8.1-9: Plotinus the admission that it 'clashes offers the suggestion with ' of Plo with the general view. This is, in fact, one of the most characteristic and personal tinus' views on the soul and her fallen in Augustine. of the same theory 84 In De musica our everyday condition, 83 making Enn. all the more V significant 19-20. 8.11. the traces there is in


of the illusory is trying to show how much 6.7-8, Augustine that the body can act upon the soul in its fallen state:

such a ca

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by a

admit that sense experiences would at times vividly persuade us that we are naturally The reply in both cases tacitly supposes 'embodied.' the Plotinian doctrine that true health, which correlates with our exercise of the higher and therefore most proper activity, is invariably accompanied 'diminution,'

at least of such corporeal



musica ergo

6. quaecumque aut obiciun faeiunt,

11. 24-31
a ,

e e e

e a e


e ?

9-10: huic

Gorporalia corpore

a e a

a e a e e a e
? a

? , ? , a a *

e a

e e a a e e

corpori tur ... in ipso aut



quod operi ejus [seil, animae]

versetur renititur cultate Ideoque congruat. et mat?ri?m... adversanti ... et hoc vocatur dolor

aut ad
cum dif

ficulter impingit, fit attentior ex diffi

aut la bor. Morbidam quoque perturbationem ... iste Sed (10:) est... anima in untiate quadam autem alteri similia cum va cot? ...


a a a
e a a


e a

o I I


o i


corporis sensus noxium quiete, letudinis, sensione nonnulla, pus tiones_ l?benter

attente ...

agit instrumentum

a a

a e ?v . e e

s?milibus ut adjungat, repellatque quod

est... si ea Agit quae haec insunt

. . .

familiari quasi cesserunt_Gum ut ita dicam, exserit

afficiunt, associ?t,

tate, cor ac atientiores congrua in obsistit


actionibus et moleste

33-38 :
e a a

a e
,a e

9 a *




e a a e
e a .

a ,

e ,e a e e e


?v a

Here vested

duces Augustine's

an identity of doctrine is expressed in the same basic analogy, and in a constellation of corresponding terms: Ficinus' translation repro sanitas, morbus, quietior, familiare, tranquilla, changing

on its part5 he advises his disciple, would He then goes be real cause for wonder. pacity on (ibid. 9-10) to elaborate we see IV 4.22ff. from think: Enn. Plotinus, may (with help seems to have in Enn. which Augustine in the light of additional suggestions interpreted I 4.10 where is remarkably his celebrated the present theory of problematic paralleled) as an active sensation That attention becomes 'attention of the soul to the passio corporis.' some difficultas one in its normal the soul encounters activity, animating sharpest when of contemplation is traced which the distraction from the higher activity which produces to its cause in De musica 6.37ff. The cause is, as one might guess, the fall of the soul.

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reminder in De entirely from bodily concerns.85 Thus Augustine's animae 79 that those activities obtrude upon our attention quantitate only we which exercise with greater difficulty. The truth of the matter may be ? ? that the soul is constantly engaged in all seven levels, even potest esse ' in the highest contemplative activity ? its noblest portion never, in Plotinus ' ' come down. For this reason, too, he has previously observed term, having that the souls' re-ascent resembles nothing more than a cessatio, less a kind of knowing than a lack of it? e e? a 'diminution of con a '86 From this standpoint it becomes plain why Augustine has felt sciousness. obliged repeatedly to return to the subject of the soul's 'immobility' in,his ? a corollary of the Plotinian teaching whereby the pinnacle early works87 of the soul remains entirely at peace, tranquil and changeless in the empyrean. Potest esse: Augustine abstains from affirmation, and the uncertainty does For Plotinus' doctrine ultimately implies the rejection of any of 'being saved.' is already an accomplished Salvation fact, and the an the soul do need that of ascent fact effort is intellectual only thing grasp by whose function is to bring consciousness into line with what her true onto need him credit.

state of health; their evidence, accordingly, is more deceptive on our real ontological condition than informative. Their clamorous claim on our atten ' ' tion both authors associate with disturbance, tension, and otherness ? an to ut feels add to which ita dicam alteritas the Augustine obliged apologetic ? a disrupted state he may well have found translating Plotinus' a contrasting with the companionate, tranquil 'unification' proper to health: a tranquillity whose upper extreme is, in both authors, the soul's ability to abstract

' ' his consensione to the cognate consensu. Vivid sense impressions leave shocks ? rather than clear knowledge; they go with a state of sickness alien, unnatur ' ' ? more rather than with the al, incongruous natural, familiar, congruous

enthusiasm for the is. But such was Augustine's logical status unalterably Neo-Platonic illumination of Milan, ? after which (Conf. 7.17) he could ' more easily doubt his own existence ( e e e e a ) than a avr?v ? the reality of that Supernal Truth these books had told him of that it took him some time to grasp the dangers of this implication of the master's



6.49 and E Compare De musica is shown to take our minds in at the same time.

. I 4.10, where completely

in intellectual (see note 84) absorption off any routine lower activity we may be

in Plotinus' to system, all elevation corresponds V 149, note 1?? of the exact (Br?hier, Enn?ades propos from Ennead V 8.11 cited above, p. 19), see H.R. careful "'Bewusst' passage Schwyzer's und 'unbewusst' bei Plotin" in Sources, 341-378. excused for holding, Augustine maybe as regards corporeal the same view as Br?hier. consciousness, essentially 87 See De imm. animae 3-4 (comparing with Enn. IV 7.9); De ord. 2. 3-7, 18-21. On whether,

engaged 86 De

55. quant, animae de conscience' 'diminution

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in i an






personal, the soul.



therefore eminently









(a): Fault

and cosmic order are identical of the fall itself: is it so evident that the

To return now to the mechanism

problematic in both authors is parallel on the fundamental identity of 'fault' ' ' and being sent ? Again we are faced with an example ofAugustinian spiritual exegesis which at first sight appears utterly inexplicable. Why does he take

the articulation which exists between the preoccupied with understanding sinner's action and the action of the sinless God:88 an articulation rendered ' all the more delicate in a participation scheme wherein the action of the sec ' ' ' To this nettling issue ondaries always reduces to the action of the First. in terms which strongly it comes he back in the De libero arbitrio,89 answering recall the definition of iniquitas which lies at the core of the Confessions' account of his Neo-Platonic
88 This question the real is one

such pains to draw our attention to the expression in Genesis whereby God Close 'dismisses' the sinful soul, rather than 'excluding' it from paradise? shows him onwards examination of Augustine's writings from Cassiciacum


In all these instances, the background

ord. 2.11-13 and 18-21; are performed of Providence Plotinus' 10, and 12; III

is whether

in De of the background implications of the stultus (translate: the actions is whether Deus omnia

the overt in ordine; seems to of


question imply; cf. ibid. 1, 1, aut certe mala 'On the problem is the same, cf. sections

agit as the universality committi. vol?ntate omnia Dei Providence,' Enn. Ill 2.7, and


4, where

before this question. to hide his acute embarassment he is unable referred to (as well as in De ord. 2. 22-3), the only solution offered is that the actions drives Augus What of the stultus do not elude God's logically subsequent ordering activity. to point out the need of an ordo studiorum before being fit to gain tine in both instances from rather than a that this is an escape is his own awareness insight into such question which he has posed entirely too squarely to get out of it that easily. solution of the questions such that the sinner can commit for a scheme is looking sin, and God not commit is foiled, and the exigencies solution of the Manichees it, while at the same time the dualistic observed. of participation theory are conscientiously 89 See De is beguiling if one takes voluntas of the question the statement lib. arb. 1.4:

3.3, and In the De ord.


to know how God can give us a free will whose hi a chosiste manner. really wants Augustine the auctor of the sins we commit. very free act is reducibly His, without making Him 90 De lib. arb. 2. 53; cf. Conf. 7.22 and De quant, animae 78. The structure of both thought and image in all these texts is the same: our fall plunges us from the Summa, God, our 'com mon' is a into the ima of of (contemplative) beatitude, desire to the from God through proud 'turning away' as his way out of the to Augustine this structure appeals with in connection and 89, above, we shall see presently object and its root creation; corporeal have something proprium. Why in notes 88 difficulty mentioned the pondus motif.

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that identity of fault and universal cosmic necessity to which he has felt obliged to return time and time again.94 The De musica presents the remark able parallel on the carmen universitatis which shows Augustine's mind adop ting Plotinus' thought to a point that is downright disturbing: IV 3. a ae e , e e a
e a De musica

is heavily tinted by the treatise on omnipresence, Ennead VI 4-591, but the IV 392 and par innermost solution seems to have been suggested by Ennead to showing which two Plotinus the devotes93 sections ticularly by lengthy


6. inferiori infra sunt, super

12, 12-26 : es0 a ' a a e a e a , a a e e ? a a a a a ?

a e e a a ,

a a e a * a
bus nos ita

29: ...



invideamus inter ...

a ae e

e e e
a a a ' e

nosque ipsos et illa quae sunt, ... ordinemus, ut delectemur. pondus ordinat sunt, est nisi animam

illa quae nos supra solis ...

ioribus quasi ergo ma, terna est et

Delectatio animae. .... illa

quippe Delectatio vero sum ae nullum et ad idem et est; ordi idem revo annis

superiora manet

Quae in quibus

e e

a a ?

e e

e a e a

e a a a
a a a

' -



a a

e a

tempus, unde tempora ... dum nantur redit, cai, et et c?eles diebusque lustris,

aequalitas? nulla quia coeli

incommutabilis, Ubi mutabilitas conversio fabricantur


ad corpora et mensibus siderum et


a ,
e a



a a a a a a a e a e . a

a ,

a e a ? a a a e e a a e a a a a a

legibus aequalitatis tionis dina obtemp?r?t. terrena

unitatis Ita

orbibus, et or suo carmini


orbes subjecta, rum numerosa successione universitatis 30: ordini dentia associant.

temporum quasi

a a al a a .

a -

inordinata nescientes

nobis multa In quibus videntur eorum et perturbata, quia meritis assuti sumus, pro nostris quid pulchrum de nobis gerat. divina Provi

Starting with a recall of the soul's intermediate position in the 'order' of reality (just as Plotinus does in the section preceding) Augustine goes on
91 See 92 See citing 93 E 94 E our article, pp. 15-20. 123; the solution is drawn from the very section he finds Augustine

Henry, Plotin, in De. civ. Dei. . IV 3. . IV 8.5, be. 12-13.

Iff. and




is evidently


by the problem,

as well

he might

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to sketch the fall as one which The accent as much minder is characteristic if not more

us to the order of temporal realities. of the De musica which stresses the fall into time 'binds'


and return are both, therefore, the work of the cosmic order, of that providence which rules the periods of history (a cyclic conception which Augus tine was later firmly to reject, and in explicit connection with this same text)95 ' ' leading the things of this realm to be of one voice and plan with the Supreme so that Out of this concordance rises as it were one musical utterance.'

re than the fall into the body; but it reflects Plotinus' ' ... their descent have into themselves contact, by put ' and they stand henceforth in harmonious association with the cosmic circuit, ' ' tied to it (cf. context) with bonds which Zeus the father periodically dissolves. that the souls

But in the section following (IV 3.13) Plotinus goes to some pains to show that the inalterable law does not draw its power 'from without' but that it is interior to the beings which execute it: its action is also theirs. How does ' it operate ? Each several entity is overruled to go, duly and in order, towards that place and kind to which it characteristically tends, that is towards the ... to which its individual constitution inclines it; image of its primal choice there is therefore no need of a sender ... of its own motion it descends ... as ... neither under by a magician's power or by some mighty traction compul ' ' sion nor of freewill but more by a kind of leap of the nature as moves men ' to the instinctive desire of sexual union or, in the case of some, to fine conduct. And Plotinus ends with another image, one which illumines both Augustine's ... Delectatio quasi pondus est animae, and his curious exegesis of Genesis' dimisit ilium: Ennead 13. 27-33 : ... e , a e a
e a a

IV 3. a e e






?vorfj a ,
e ,a e

a e a a
e -

34: Et ,
non, rum



est, dimisit,
suo sibi pa inter


a e a

a a a

a a a e e e e e

e a a a , ? a e e a e , e a .

e a a

pondere tanquam videretur urger i. congruum malus homo titur plerumque vivere coeperit, noluerit: pondere pellitur; reluctantem, et si ex

peccatorum locum in Quod cum


se illa malae illi

in melius bonorum suae eum non

commutare congregatione, consuetudinis excludunt l cupientem.



Amor meus pondus meum: the celebrated phrase of the Confessions9* is not so different from the De musicals: Delectatio quippe pondus est animae; at
95 In De note 96 92 Conf. civ. Dei 13.10. 10.30.30 See the precisely context. in connection with E . IV 3.12; see Henry, loc. cit.


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each of his life's turnings he finds God has governed him by those stimuli interni which are none other than his own profoundest inclinations, those pondera in the deep heart of that mystery, man.97 For an understanding of the Augustinian doctrine of freedom and grace, it would seem imperative to ask how far he went cosmic law which in adopting the Plotinian is suggested here. 'curiosity*. problematic of freedom and

(b): Pride,

concupiscence, and

in terrenae cupidi yet, in that very paragraph, he speaks of an 'implication' tates, in corporeae voluptates: are we to understand that the fault of superbia is identical with a species of cupiditas^ This

superbia, has already been suggested by students of the question.98 But the identity of that primal fault ismore complex: we have seen already that Augustine relates it to a superbia whereby the soul, sibi arrogando quod non est, chooses at the same time sua potentia tamquam sine Deo fru?." And

trine is not entirely easy here. The root fault Plotinus designates by the term a; the likelihood that a Latin, especially one interested in erecting a Plotinian intellectus of the Biblical fides, would translate this with the term

Law and fault are, therefore, one: another extremely characteristic tension in Plotinus' teaching can be found inAugustine as well, and related persuasively to a precise text which we have every evidence Augustine read. But what of the fault itself? Here another set of tensions greets us, for Plotinus' doc

a frequently contains tension too is found in Plotinus, whose ' ' a note of excessive zeal for the ordering of the sensible universe, not entirely unconnected with the kind of desire for sense-delights which the Orphic strain in the Platonic tradition, complicated by Plotinus' own semi-Gnostic leanings, finds uniformly reprehensible.100 Thus, in the early treatise on beauty which ' so struck Augustine, he describes the soul's ugliness ? dissolute, unrighteous, teeming with all the lusts ... thinking only of the perishable and the base ...

97 Con The the term idea without internis; 4. 22, pondera; f. 7.12: stimiilis 7.23, pondus. occurs e.g. 5. 14 and 23. frequently, ' 98 See W.M. Initium on pride as the first omnis peccati Green, superbia. Augustine in Classical Publications 407-31. W. 13 (1949) sin,' U. of California Theiler, Philology in both Augustine 28, tries to show that the concept which he finds so important Porphyrios, and Plotinus, must therefore have been in the Porphyry who (he would have it) transmitted to Augustine. Neo-Platonic thought 99 De Genesi 2.12, cited above, p. 12. 100 See the of the fall in Enn. IV 8.4.11-28 in addition to the texts cited below, description notes 101, 103. Note was that a certain 'interference' reading of all likely in Augustine's these texts, so that he found the coloration more neutral of one in the occasionally language of the others.

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reproduction which they held to be the chief of all sins; and it is interresting that they traced that sin to the principle of concupiscence, ,102just as on to the question, the alien Plotinus traces it, both here and in his last word

? in terms which only too faithfully echoed the friend of unclean pleasures'101 revulsion toward the sexual both Augustine's experience and the Manichaean

first It is not, therefore, surprising that Augustine's principle, matter.103 serious efforts to seek out a definition of sin start with the terms libido and

cupiditas,10* and that his later efforts to make this emphasis rime with the a ready and more Christian superbia, found the ambiguity of Plotinus' concerns us here, waiting to help him. Even more relevant to the text which is Plotinus' insistence at a number of points that matter is the primal evil,105 that consequently the initiative for the fall of the soul comes from below, 'rabble of pleasure, from that sensible universe which like an undisciplined a attentions.106 This may for the soul's sets desires and fears,' up howling

is, however, actually a triad of sins which dominate Augustine's moral thinking from the De Genesi onwards. Theiler has underlined the im portant r?le played in the De vera religione by what at first sight appears to be the 'triple concupiscence' of St. John's first Epistle, and he has labored There

curious insistence, not once but twice in the De Genesi explain Augustine's that the only path temptation can take to the virile contra Manichaeos,107 'feminine' principle in each of us. ratio is the lower, animal

to show that it reproduces a Neo-Platonic moral triad that 'must have been' curiositas and superbia are, assuredly, terms in Porphyry.108 Concupiscentia, seem the Johannine concupiscentia carnis, con to from derive which would on explicitly cupiscentia oculorum, and ambitio saeculi to which Augustine later
relates them.109

But world

in the the only difficulty here is explaining the explanation. Why should Augustine have chosen, as his constant set of moral categories,

101 Enn. 76-8.

1949) 68-71 and (Paris to that Honoratus claims Augustine concupiscence. credendi 36: quod apud utilitate De all he found true in Manichaeism: he has conserved effort to erect an intellectus of his hardy eos verum didiceram, teneo. Any understanding intention carries risks with it. a in such in that bear mind must itself) (legitimate fidei 103 Enn. = as Br?hier notes (Enn?ades 51st of the 54 treatises) which, I 8 (chronologically I. 6. the same theory of evil as the treatise on Beauty I, 51) embodies 104 De lib. arb. 1.8ff. fondateur, Note the relation of with 105 See note 103 above. 106 Enn. VI 4.15. 107 De and 39. Genesi 2.20 108 36ff. Gf. I Jo. Porphyrios, 109 De musica 6.44.

I 6.5.22ff. 102 See H.G. Puech,


see the following son Le Manich?isme,


as well, I 6.6. sa doctrine



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but The

a triad of sins to which nothing in the ecclesiastical tradition seems to have accorded a similar importance? What we wish to suggest as an explanation is this: Theiler is correct in thinking that Augustine found the Johannine triad inmore or less reasonable accord with an appealing Neo-Platonic triad, the Neo-Platonist correlates in question was, after all, most probably Plotinus. for Augustine's superbia and concupiscentia we have consequently,

possible already suggested: the key facet of the question, of the curiositas notion.110

is the origin

introduction of the category into his writings. Theiler's mistake, ifmistake there be, is partly accounted for by the fact that he starts his investigation of Augustine with the relatively systematized De vera religione, then some what blandly assures his readers that the earlier works present ein ?hnliches Bild.111 Partly, too, his confidence reposes on the use of the triad in the second

supposed that this final category was taken bodily fromPorphyry, Having where it was presumably directed against the imagination and its works, Theiler must suppose a constancy in Augustine's use of it, which precludes the tentative work of adaptation which in point of fact characterizes his initial

book of the De libero arbitrio, which he mistakenly assumes is prior to the De Genesi contra Manichaeos,112 when it is, in fact, subsequent to it, and profits accordingly from the initial effort of systematization which we are about
to observe.

first occurrence of the triple concupiscence in Augustine's writings is 1.40.113 found, unless we are seriously mistaken, in De Genesi contraManichaeos But its very firmness there suggests that it may have been inserted after the The For completed, to lend the entire work a certain unity of design. in the course of the second book is nowhere near so firm. its appearance In the course of his exegetical task Augustine is led to comment on the punishment imposed on the serpent; the biblical text he is using presents a
110 Its presence 98 above. 111 Ibid. 57.

second book was

in Porphyry




from its presence

in Plotinus;

see note

the adjustments overlooks Theiler in Plotinus in order must make Augustine the provisional of his Some of the portions synthesis of the De vera religione. work where that labor is most evident on the are, for that very reason, most illuminating to achieve real sources which Theiler, U2 See note book De than Genesi is remolding: hence the importance of the De Genesi contra Manichaeos, like most accords attention. scholars, only passing 16. Bardy's be it observed, arguments, impose a later date for the second for the first, but it remains quite possible that it was written shortly after the De musica and De magistro, which show many analogies he

contra Manichaeos, it. with 113 is explaining Augustine of the first book. His formal stitutes a conclusion added

the allegory exegetical later.

of the seven task

and is in the finale days of creation, is over, and it is possible that this portion con

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structure which

has been

and he reads God's



of the terram manducabisl hesitates: this, he suggests Augustine ' ' at first, could refer once again to earthly cupidities. But the solution does not satisfy: it involves duplicating the symbolic force of the venter. Only then does the happy idea seem to occur to him that this third member arms him with a neat sally against the materialism and sensism of his Manichaean adversaries,
... et curiositas. tarnen

His taste for parallelism a reference to the same sins as provoked the fall of the soul: the pectus means pride, superbia; the venter refers to desiderium carnale. Alas, what is to be

from our modern translations, et ventre repes, et leads him to see in the condemnation of the serpent eliminated as Pectore

and he proposes
certe genus Terram temporalia

tentationis manducat, terrena. his verbis et figuratur, tenebrosa quod p?n?tr?t, est


tertium enim qui

profunda (2.27).



its next occurrence, one is at first tempted to grant Theiler Examining that this notion might indeed have originally been directed against imagina tion and imaged thinking, and that its Porphyrian pedigree might be showing.115 in the case before us, as in so many instances, we must take into account the exigencies of controversy: Augustine is hardly bashful in making adapta tions when they serve the cause. Once arrived at the prophetica explanatio of this same punishment, all his hesitation has left him; the triad is directed

squarely against what he conceives to be the major errors of the Manichees, and it is this clearly polemic reference which has molded the triple concupis cence into final shape: Non
non sit; quid qui

enim decipit

sunt, cito credunt quod aut desideriis carnalibus lascive terrena faciunt, sapiunt,

[diabolus] nisi aut superbos, qui sibi arrogantes quod

summi Dei et animae humanae audiunt una eademque implicates, qui non sed gens ipsi faciunt terreno oculo et sp?ritalia libenter quid quod aut curiosos, (2.40)116

tenebrarum; inquirunt.


neatly packaged
114 Gen. seems 2. 27. 115 2.14.

likelihood is, therefore, that Augustine did not find this triad already for him in Porphyry; but the question of the origin of curio
The triad, in which of those peculiarities the are really a doublet, venter and pectus mentions see De Genesi is using; of the translation Augustine

to be one

curiositas that Augustine's reflects a Porphyrian If, that is, one admit with Theiler is the fact that it is for which his major the imagination, piece of evidence polemic against We would in Augustine. found in that connection suggest, on the contrary, that its terminal of Ennead VI is a result of sifting it through the anti-image function in Augustine analysis See note anti-Manichaean 116, infra. point. 4-5, a process which had definitely 116 The main is this finds in his former intellectual defect that Augustine comportment into spiritalia terreno oculo; see Conf. 5.19 and our article (cited note 1 of inquiring habit above) especially the texts cited in notes 13 and 33.

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sitas still calls for resolution. We suggest that Augustine found it in the Plo tinian treatise on Time and Eternity, Ennead III 7. And it is in the De musica that Augustine briefly tips his hand and cues us in this direction. of the De musica Guitton has well characterized the preoccupation the title, with

'Le Temps Po?tique,'117 forAugustineseems to have done little but transpose Plotinus' considerations on temporal measures, intervals, and their All the soul's creative ac relativity, into a series of metrical applications. an amor to in he there links fact, generalis actionis which urges her to tivity, create a 'mendacious' array of numbers in imitation of the immobile perfec tion of the eternal world.

III 7 is faithfully In all this, the context of Ennead reflected;118 but as if to clear up any remaining doubts, Augustine gives an its Plotinian origin becomes etymological definition of curiositas wherein

a.119 the process of the fall in Ennead IV 8, without mentioning the term But, as Br?hier has alertly remarked,120 the description of the fall presented ? is in Ennead V 1.1? again, a treatise which we know Augustine read121 a is explicitly IV 8, in which the term largely a r?sum? based on Ennead related to the description of the fall presented in the earlier treatise. But there Plotinus adds another note as well: he mentions that the fall plunges

definition, however, is rooted in a context which speaks of the fall of the soul: what possible connection could there be here? Plotinus has described That

the soul into a

sphere of 'genesis,' hence of time and becoming. On that connection Augustine has seized, studied the description of the origin of time III 7, found there a potent image of the soul's fall, and, struck in Ennead

117 See Le A cursory et saint Augustin chez Plotin Temps et V?ternit? (Paris 1933) 102-30. of time will suggest that the discussion of the eleventh book of the Confessions own III 7. of Plotinus' and eternity there follows quite treatise, faithfully the pattern examination Notice, in both authors Ill 7.1 and Conf. the picturesque observation (Enn. a the is until put; Augustine's question actually simple question 11.17) as a distentio animi (11.39) reproduces Plotinus' own a a definition of time, moreover, ... Ill 7.11. 41, in the same section we are about to cite in parallel ,which occurs in Enn. for instance, 'time' that seems


all follow of the fall into time. The intermediate his description steps of the argument once it is seen how much Augustine to couch the ref the pattern set by Plotinus, manages in terms of the metrical which constitute his De observations of contrary views utation

of this treatise. musica adaptation 118 Of which see Enn. Ill 7.11. of our text is simply a r?sum?; the last sentence 119 Enn. in a weary desire of and IV 8.41 Iff: the soul becomes self-centered; 'partial ' own. a to of its Both underlined terms find their each very way, place they standing apart (the translation on such terms about 120 to ea insistence is Mackenna's) stand for Plotinus' ; cf. Augustine's parallel as suum, proprium, ad seipsam in the texts (De Genesi 2.22 and 24) we are examine. V Plotin, 15 note 127, 1 (referring to Enn. V 1.1). confirmed by O'Meara, AGW 12, 161.

121 Henry,


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image of superbia, he has evolved a descrip by its resemblance to a Biblical tion of the fall from its contemplative paradise in terms of this entire array of connected elements:
Ennead V 1. De Genesi Videmus contra per Manichaeos his esse verbis per 2. su ... sua

e I. 1-8 : T? a a a , e a a a e a a ea a
e a a

a a a e e e

e a a ; a e e a A

e e e e e a


perbiam ut sub potestate invidentis ut cum per pora 24: suam Deo

peccatum esse Deo potius sibi ne

persuasimi sed in nollent, sine Domino se ... ipsi regerent... nimis amareni, velie illa medietate erant, et

quasi et

a e ? a
e a

a e a e e

. e

a e a e a

ea a e a

e a

potestatem esse pares Deo


subjecta Quis se

subjecti habebant_ abscondet est! suo ...



Dei, nisi qui deserto Deo a


conspectu loquitur (Jo. 8.44). quisqu?s conversus, illustratore

a e e e

a a '

a a


amare quod mendacium ... Ab aversus et non eaergo

suum de

ipso, incipit

a ,



est, de rectore

loquitur veritate [divina] et ad seipsum atque

Deo Ennead II, 12-29 : e e a e 9 e e e e al al e a ae a e e *E ' e a e a e a e a e e , a a a ... e a e a a e a al e e a a e a. e , e " III, 7. e e a , a a e e a a a a a e a a , a e , e. -

sed de suis motibus quasi

. Un de aversus nuditatem sibi ex eo quod et ad ... suam non

seipsum vidit, habe

exsultat... conversus, et displicuit bat aliquid imela

the corruptible body].

6: Quando autem

the cooper [seil, proprium are symbols of mendacii which




nondum irrigabatur, sua. intima jecerat perb iae hominis in quoniam tumescens timo, et jecit bene

per superbiam pro su Initium enim

, a e e a ' e ea ? e

, e a , e , a e e a , ? e I a '

a Deo. Et apostatare exteriora per superbiam non in fonte irrigari coepit insultatur illis verbis sua pro

pheticis et dicitur: Quid superbii terra

cinis? intima Quoniam sua (Eccli. De musica in vita pro 10.9-14). 6.

a e a e e

e a e a e e *

a e

e -

a con 39-40: Avertit [seil., animam amor de cor aeternorum] templatane . et inquietam por ibus operandi faci t... ... amor vanissimae Avertit cognitio nis quibus ... et hoc insunt agit quasi sensualibus regulae numeris quaedam

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30 e

artis rios?tas Generalis imi tallone nascitur vero et ex his cu gaudentes: . curae nomine... ipso amor aciionis vitio anima ... a super ma

e e

, e
a a

e ,

, a a a i
e e



a , e
e e e e a a


e a

a e

? a

bia proficiscitur, luit Deum imitari te itaque Initium et Non

e e ....

e e ,
a e

quod servire. Rec quam Deo est in sanctis libris: scriptum hominis apostatare superbiae Initium omnis autem superbia, peccati melius quam super demon in eo

a Deo: bia. e strar


potuit i quid sit et cinis, intima

terra projecit

ibi dictum

est: Quid

sua in vita quoniam sua*! (Eccli. 10.9-14)


than the power to make of his Plotinian sources, the timid, unimaginative schoolboy adaptations work of synthesis we are claiming here is indeed incomprehensible. Augustine was, however, no mere schoolboy: he was a highly talented thinker, and had at this point been engaged for about five years in the demanding task of erecting a Plotinian intellectus which he was confident corresponded in substance to the faith of the Church. His close study of Plotinus?one in which verbal correspondences played a frequently exaggerated r?le, since he was by profes

If we

are willing

to concede Augustine

no more

with its subordination cf. a nead V e

sion a grammaticus and rhetor?has resulted in insights which permit him to read one treatise in the light of others, juxtapose, combine, superpose, even upon occasion fuse elements from one with analogous elements from others. Thus the pivotal idea of the first text here cited is the medietas notion ) which implications; and yet, the love of its own power (potestas: tempts the soul to insubordination, is taken from E li

a gives it an almost Christian 1.1, where the connection with This connection to V 1 Ennead is further confirmed ring. by the soul's 'exulta tion in its own freemovement' found in the second text, reproducing almost ... e a e a e e a , a a verbally the a ... of V 1.1. Instead, however, of the a theme, flight 'running away,' ' ' Augustine prefers to think in terms of the desertion and the aversio-conversio couple which we have endeavored elsewhere to show in their relation to En nead VI 4-5.122 It was, moreover, that same treatise on omnipresence which

furnished a partial stimulus for the commune-propri um dialectic which is here represented by the terms proprium, amare quod suurn est, and their analo gues.123 It is clear from the context that Augustine means this aliquid proprium
122 See our art. cit. note 1 above, pp. 18-20. especially 123 Ibid. pp. 21-27 and also here, notes 119 and 90, above. Note once again that other treatises reinforce the importance of the proprium at the same time compelling Augustine concept, to amalgamate their meanings into one that answers to his own complex preoccupations.

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a 'lying image' of the superior, intelligible is, for the Neo-Platonist, on world which it is modelled.124 Among other things involved in the soul's primal sin, however, is this desire to have a body, aliquid proprium, some thing suum: and we are in the fourth hypothesis of the De libero arbitrio. world

reasons: first, because the opacity of the corruptible body allows for simula tion and concealment of private thoughts, and hence the deceptions of hypoc risy; but secondly, and more fundamentally, because the entire corporeal

to stand for the animal skins which symbolize the corruptible body conferred on the soul after the fall: having lost the original transparency of the corpus codeste, the soul is plunged into the realm of mendacium, and that for two

III 7 and notably to the image is governed more by the relation to Ennead a e of soul as a seed, desirous of ruling itself (se ipsi regerent: a an a out to 'weaker its and insides ) greatness,' image uncoiling ? which Augustine has found evocative of that other, present in Ecclesiasticus, moreover, the process whereby the proud man: projecit intima sua. Here, ' e e a is one of abandoning a spiritual unity in itself (a ) to deploy e a e that unity in an outgoing search of the material non-self (

The play on interior versus exterior is common both to Plotinus and to St. Paul, making it a choice item for the type of concordism to which Au gustine is committed. We have attempted to show its meaning in terms of Ennead VI 4-5125with special reference to the Confessions; but its value here

Once again, the thought-movement of the text from Ennead III 7 is framed by the notions of the soul's 'imitative' action, creative of an image of eter nity: a reminder which brings us to the De musica text, where the same preoc cupation is evident.

into the spatialized world ual unity in both authors, a 'swelling outwards' of body, a distentio animi into the dispersion of time.128

ingly in abandoning that non-self which is non-being, the source of the eges tas structure recalls Plotinus' 'weaker greatness' here: copiosa whose paradoxical e e e a .127The soul's sin, therefore, involves a loss of spirit

a a ), a close analogy of Plotinus' assurance in Ennead VI. 4-5,126 that the ' ' alien which cloaks us fromwithout is really unconnected with our authentic self, our true identity: the way of return to primal unity consists accord

In both authors, the fall from eternity to time is a fall

124 See mendacium 125 Art. 126


2.9ff where in terms

Augustine of image and

is working reality. 29-37.

out this whole


of veritas,



1, above, pp. a certain amount from Enn. of interference IV 3, the Plotinian theory of Showing as arising from the fall into the opacity of the terrestrial body; see pp. pi. 18-19 language above. 127 See Ennead VI 5.12 and art. cit., note 1 above. 128 por this distentio notion see note 118 above.

cit. note

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from the superior occupation of immobile contemplation to the essentially degraded sphere of action: the root of the fall Plotinus places in the soul's a e a a desire to be on its own (? ), and, given the ? a e ea e a of Ennead V 1.1, Augustine is entitled to supply a which he found in a perfectly identical connection there; hence, here the the amor generalis actionis, the amor de corporibus agendi which reflects Plo tinus' concern in Ennead III 7, Augustine roots quite legitimately in superbia. But Plotinus' diagnosis goes further: the soul, he tells us, was of a 'restless' Or should that term be translated as 'curious?' a


the term is, in fact, deliciously ambiguous, meaning both 'restless' Ficinus' and translation: 'curious' Br?hier: (hence inquieta) curieuse). revealing that both poles of the ambiguity are preserved in Augustine's the love of action on bodies makes

(thus It is text:

is, therefore, a connection between the De Genesi 2.6 6.40: the later text actually illuminates the genesis of the former, by bringing together the two key images which collide there: ... a e a Plotinus' e and the biblical projecit intima sua. of the curiositas is also laid bare: its counterpart Finally, origin Augustine's . Far from finding it none is other than Plotinus' ambiguous a ready-made in Porphyry, Augustine has gone to considerable pains to elabo clesiasticus. There text and De musica have rate that concept, and in his elaboration of it, numerous disparate elements entered: Plotinus, the Bible, and his anti-Manichaean polemic being the chief among them.

the soul inquieta and at the same time to curae ab rise curiositas, nomine, and sends her out on the quest gives ipso for vana cognitio. And the text goes on to portray superbia by citation of the very same text we have seen in De Genesi 2.6, the projecit intima sua of Ec



from its fallen experience; and the same pattern is reproduced in Augustine. properties of the fallen state, the vita mortalis, are perfectly Plotinian as well, including a third peculiarity of Plotinus' theory, to wit, the suggestion

in its own right. The same tension we found characteristic of Plotinus' view of the matter: a view which showed other important strains as well. The a explanation allowing for a fall of the soul through its own fault, immediately calls forth the reminder of the good which the soul can draw

We holds a began with Gilson's perceptive reminder that if Augustine fall of the soul, his theory must be fraught with incoherence: the body must simultaneously be a place of punishment, and, as a creature of God, beautiful

that the highest portion of the soul never 'comes down,' remains immobile in contemplative bliss. To an objection drawn from experience both authors

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reply in strikingly similar terms, and in function of the same basic whereby consciousness diminishes as the soul re-ascends.


Logos, the principle of cosmic order, and he is anxious to 'justify' that order as far as possible. The identity between choice and cosmic law, we noted, is something he strains to prove, eventually coming round to an image: his desire, 'weighing on' the soul, we suggested, is the counterpart of Augustine's celebrated pondus. Nor have we exhausted

Why does Plotinus pass from his description of the soul's fault to a reminder of the good it can draw from the fallen experience? The reason is that the soul's spontaneous choice is ultimately identical with the operation of the

the list of tensions in Plotinus' theory: there is a or a a final one, regarding the fault which results in the fall. Is it kind of a^ Or are the two the same thing? The question becomes more acute in Augustine's case, where a Christian superbia rimes even less easily with concupiscentia carnis. And the situation becomes temporarily more confused ifwe take into account the third member of Augustine's moral triad, curiositas. Tracing the genesis of this triad in his work, we are led to Plotinus' a , its ambiguity entirely preserved in the ambiguous Saint's explanation of curiositas in a text where its origin becomes manifestly Plotinian, after all. Do the parallels we have presented actually prove a direct Plotinian source The question may remain secondary for each of these items in Augustine? but it has its importance nonetheless. It seems beyond question that Augustine drew these ideas from a faithful exponent of the Plotinian doctrine in all its complexity; that Porphyry may have found some of the tensions in that

teaching to eliminate some theory indigestible, and modified his master's of them, is a possibility to be envisaged. Moreover, the tendency in recent treatises the Saint scholarship to expand once more the circle of Plotinian ' even in We shall make further favor. scales Plotinus tilts the probably read, no effort to hide our own growing conviction that Augustine read each of in this explanation of his teaching on the soul; but presentation of the evidence would, in each case, require as much space as this article itself. To that task we hope shortly to return. the treatises we have used





In closing, we should like to point to several areas of obscurity inAugustine's writings which still pose problems to researchers, indicating briefly how the on them. The first is that theory here presented might well cast some light troubling set of hypotheses in the De libero arbitrio: the confusion here, we have suggested, may be due in some measure to Augustine's own indecision.

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In 395, he feltmost comfortable with the doctrine of the soul's pre-existence and fall into the body, hence he may well treat of the final hypothesis with a great deal more sureness than the other three. It was, after all, the Plotinian solution which of Genesis. His he found invaluable later discomfort with exegesis led have howrever, may Origenism, somewhat, thus introducing a certain het in combatting the Manichaean

him to touch up these passages erogeneity of conception which


only complicates the original difficulties. area of difficulty deals with Augustine's doctrine of faith and The second reason. Norregaard has pointed129 to the disturbing fact that the exigency for authority does not seem universal enough to cover Plato and Plotinus, to

admit the existence of a

not all souls are equally fallen, not all stand therefore in equal need of author ity to speed them on their return. Scholars,

but those two. One can go further and show that Augustine seems to 'few' who need no teacher, only an initial admonitio, since their mental vision is clear enough for them merely to 'turn and see.'130 In the Plotinian hypothesis, the reason for that distinction becomes clear:

Hexaemeron man's

considered a classic locus in ancient exegesis for explaining in and the entire scheme of human history. The Saint creation, place himself tells us that what Moses had primarily in view in these first chapters, was not a description of God's order or manner of creation, but the prophetic ' ' ? a history in which Adam explanation of the entire history of humanity132 was it has been frequently said, seems to stand for each one of us.133 Augustine, sees human history through the lens of that conversion experience he has ex portrayed in the Confessions: we would suggest in turn that he saw that itself in terms of a Plotinian exegesis of Genesis. His fall is typical

the lights in the desire to demonstrate profound?and complex?than seen the De Genesi that have him. has We which God conferred upon exegesis contraManichaeos furnishes inmore than one instance the key to Augustine's This is perfectly consonant writh the tradition whereby the anthropology.

finally, are still discussing the problem of the unity of the Con fessions. Why, specifically, does Augustine append those final three books real reason seems to have been more of exegesis of Genesis?131 Augustine's


142ff. Bekehrung, 130 Sol. 1.23: note the But fortasse, however. which still leave this possibility open. m of this question por the latest discussion to Les Confessions BA Introduction Solignac's 132 De Genesi 2.4. 133 See De ibid. 41: Adam mihi Genesi 2.4 and labor?t jam Adam has become Augustine

cf. Conf. and 13-14 an


and De




abundant (Paris 1962)

bibliography, I 19-26.

see Fr. A.

et cum

non Christus, sed Christianus; also ibid., 39: decipitur Adam, . Ipse det mulieri escam etc. Cf. Conf. 4.29, where in agro suo... or the reverse: Iusseras enim ...ut terra spinas et tribuios parerei ad panem meum. labore pervenerim

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and curiosity. In the first nine books of the Confessions he has told the story of his vita mortalis, mors vit?lis, and it culminates in a conversion whose nucleus is an illumination, one that reveals to him the full dimensions of his ontological status. In the tenth book, he examines his present state of soul in terms of that same triple concupiscence. Only in the final three books he to his reader the implications of what has preceded, does fully discover

'man,' his return representative of Everyman's return, and the key to that archetypal history he presents for the first time in the De he is, and we are, souls, fallen into the universe Genesi contraManichaeos: of space and time and body, through the triple sin of pride, concupiscence

of the fall of

presenting him with the key to his experience, the key to all huir?an experience, ? the fall and return of that man each one of us is, Adam. Fordham University

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