Augustine on science

From: Ted Davis (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 13:27:56 EST

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    I have been asked to support my statement that Augustine didn't use the
    Bible as a science text--a fair request. Overall, let me refer readers to
    the account of Augustine and other patristic authors by David C. Lindberg (a
    leading historian of medieval science) in God & Nature (Berkeley, 1986).

    More specifically, let me quote Augustine himself, from his "Literal
    Intepretation of Genesis," 1.19.39, as quoted by Lindberg on p. 31 of the
    above book:

    "Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the
    heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of
    the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable
    eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons,...
    and this knowledge he holds as certain from reason and experience. Now it
    is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian,
    presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these
    topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing
    situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh
    it to scorn."

    I don't suppose Mr Mortenson is within earshot?

    Ted Davis

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