One of the most extensive resources on the internet for the study of early Christianity

“Augustine on Philosophy and Theology / Christianity and Pagan Learning

from De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), 40 (60, 61) - Latin text with English translation

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more about our use of cookies here.

Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

earlychurchtexts.com

  • Is like an electronic encyclopedia of the first five centuries of Church History, with extensive links (subscription version only) to information on around 800 people and themes, and around 230 Church Councils;

  • Is a Reader in Early Christian History and Theology with 225+ carefully prepared on-site texts (Greek and/or Latin with English translation alongside) from the first five centuries of the life of the Church. These cover a range of significant themes and represent several authors (a sample text is here and a complete list of on-site texts here). All have dictionary lookup links. There is also an introduction to each text (to help in understanding its context and significance) together with background notes linked with the text, carefully prepared printable versions, a site search engine and many other helpful features;

  • Gives easy access to complete Greek and Latin texts which are in the public domain and translations (where found available) from the first five centuries. There are carefully indexed links to authors and their works, including an index of commentaries, homilies etc. by biblical book. Nearly all of the Greek and Latin texts from this period contained in the Migne Patrologia series are covered. Some other sources are also used. The texts used are the scanned versions available at Google Books and elsewhere. A distinctive feature of the Early Church Texts website is that where English translations have been found available online they can easily be read immediately alongside the original Greek and Latin. (A complete list of authors represented is here. A sample text is here.)

Try out the feature rich subscription version of the Early Church Texts website for just $5 for a trial period or $30 for a year ($15 student rate). Click here for more information. Check out the video demo of the site. Click here to go to the Early Church Texts Home Page for the publicly available version of the site which has just the original Greek and Latin texts with dictionary lookup links.

 

iPad at Amazon

Click on picture for more details.

 For UK click here.

--------------

 Relevant books
 available at Amazon

Many Augustine translations
and studies with links to Amazon

A selection below

 

Peter Brown biography

--------

Allan Fitzgerald

--------

Henry Chadwick
a short indroduction

--------

William Harmless.
Extracts from several of Augustine's main works

--------

Henry Chadwick's translation of "Confessions"

--------

R.W.Dyson's translation of "The City of God"

--------

R.P.H. Green's translation of "On Christian Teaching"

--------

Gareth Matthews' translation of "On The Trinity" (books 8 - 15)

 

Chapter 40.—Whatever Has Been Rightly Said by the Heathen, We Must Appropriate to Our Uses.


60. Moreover, if those who are called philosophers, and especially the Platonists, have said aught that is true and in harmony with our faith, we are not only not to shrink from it, but to claim it for our own use from those who have unlawful possession of it. For, as the Egyptians had not only the idols and heavy burdens which the people of Israel hated and fled from, but also vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, and garments, which the same people when going out of Egypt appropriated to themselves, designing them for a better use, not doing this on their own authority, but by the command of God, the Egyptians themselves, in their ignorance, providing them with things which they themselves were not making a good use of; in the same way all branches of heathen learning have not only false and superstitious fancies and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which every one of us, when going out under the leadership of Christ from the fellowship of the heathen, ought to abhor and avoid; but they contain also liberal instruction which is better adapted to the use of the truth, and some most excellent precepts of morality; and some truths in regard even to the worship of the One God are found among them. Now these are, so to speak, their gold and silver, which they did not create themselves, but dug out of the mines of God’s providence which are everywhere scattered abroad, and are perversely and unlawfully prostituting to the worship of devils. These, therefore, the Christian, when he separates himself in spirit from the miserable fellowship of these men, ought to take away from them, and to devote to their proper use in preaching the gospel. Their garments, also,—that is, human institutions such as are adapted to that intercourse with men which is indispensable in this life,—we must take and turn to a Christian use.


61. And what else have many good and faithful men among our brethren done? Do we not see with what a quantity of gold and silver and garments Cyprian, that most persuasive teacher and most blessed martyr, was loaded when he came out of Egypt? How much Lactantius brought with him? And Victorinus, and Optatus, and Hilary, not to speak of living men! How much Greeks out of number have borrowed! And prior to all these, that most faithful servant of God, Moses, had done the same thing; for of him it is written that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. And to none of all these would heathen superstition (especially in those times when, kicking against the yoke of Christ, it was persecuting the Christians) have ever furnished branches of knowledge it held useful, if it had suspected they were about to turn them to the use of worshipping the One God, and thereby overturning the vain worship of idols. But they gave their gold and their silver and their garments to the people of God as they were going out of Egypt, not knowing how the things they gave would be turned to the service of Christ. For what was done at the time of the exodus was no doubt a type prefiguring what happens now. And this I say without prejudice to any other interpretation that may be as good, or better.

 

 

 

 

Mac Users please note that the site may not work with Safari versions lower than version 4. (It has been tested with version 4.0.3.) It will work with Firefox, which can be downloaded from here.

Please note that for all features of the site to work correctly javascript must be enabled and the operation of "pop-up" windows must not be blocked. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

original Latin text
from De Doctrina Christiana, Book 40
Migne Latin
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina
 

 

Back to Entry Page