Talk:Augustine of Hippo

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Quotations attributed to Augustine[edit]

I have placed some quotations attributed to Augustine in the article. As yet I have not provided any sourced quotes, and I have moved the text with which this page was started by someone at IP here. Though short introductions to articles are welcome, most pages for people should have a very brief intro, with links to the Wikipedia for more information in the header, and optionally a link in the footer with a {{Wikipedia}} link. A section for external links, and links within the information that is provided about a quotation are also welcome. I move this here simply because it seems a bit long, and I believe that most of this information should either be in the Wikipedia article or in the talk pages for articles about St. Augustine:

Aurelius Augustinus [more commonly "St. Augustine of Hippo," often simply "Augustine"] (354-430 C.E.): rhetor, Christian Neoplatonist, North African Bishop, Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. One of the decisive developments in the western philosophical tradition was the eventually widespread merging of the Greek philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian religious and scriptural traditions. Augustine is one of the main figures through and by whom this merging was accomplished. He is, as well, one of the towering figures of medieval philosophy whose authority and thought came to exert a pervasive and enduring influence well into the modern period (e.g. Descartes and especially Malebranche), and even up to the present day, especially among those sympathetic to the religious tradition which he helped to shape (e.g. Plantinga 1992; Adams 1999). But even for those who do not share this sympathy, there is much in Augustine's thought that is worthy of serious philosophical attention. Augustine is not only one of the major sources whereby classical philosophy in general and Neoplatonism in particular enter into the mainstream of early and subsequent medieval philosophy, but there are significant contributions of his own that emerge from his modification of that Greco-Roman inheritance, e.g., his subtle accounts of belief and authority, his account of knowledge and illumination, his emphasis upon the importance and centrality of the will, and his focus upon a new way of conceptualizing the phenomena of human history, just to cite a few of the more conspicuous examples.

There are certainly many more quotations of Augustine that could be added than those that I have so far provided, and I hope that whoever has created this page will find it a good place to seek quotations, and to contribute them. ~ Kalki 20:35, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I have made a correction to an egregious misquotation often attributed to St. Augustine. The original Latin can be found here: The original Latin can be found here, and an Italian translation can be found here. I have left the original mistranslation below the Latin & my translation, so that others may compare it to the original Latin and see just how atrociously bad it is. Anyone who doubts my translation of mathematicus should visit the Persues Project's translation, noting "(Post-Aug.)" listed next to the translation, "astrologer" (so that even my translation is giving more credit to the individual who originally translated it, than he is due). In addition, skeptics should read paragraph 36 of De Genesi ad Litteram, where it becomes explicitly obvious to anyone even mildly educated in Latin that Augustine is not speaking of mathematicians.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Attributed quotes[edit]

  • My mother spoke of Christ to my father, by her feminine and childlike virtues, and, after having borne his violence without a murmur or complaint, gained him at the close of his life to Christ.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 351
  • Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
    • As quoted in Majority of One (1957) by Sydney J. Harris, p. 283
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.
    • As quoted in Distilled Wisdom: An Encyclopedia of Wisdom in Condensed Form‎ (1964) by Alfred Armand Montapert, p. 270
    • "Patientia comes est sapientiae, non famula concupiscientiae; patientia amica est bonae conscientiae, non inimica innocentiae" (Patience is the companion of wisdom, not the handmaid of lust; the friend of a good conscience, not the enemy of innocence).
      From Patrologia Latina, Volume 40, p 613 --Hughh (talk) 22:53, 15 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
    • As quoted in Quote, Unquote (1977) by Lloyd Cory, p. 197
  • Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
    • As quoted in Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the Great Fallacy (1988) by Robert McAfee Brown, p. 136
  • To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
    • As quoted in The Anchor Book of Latin Quotations: with English translations‎ (1990) by Norbert Guterman, p. 375
  • By faithfulness we are collected and wound up into unity within ourselves, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity.
    • As quoted in Footprints in Time : Fulfilling God's Destiny for Your Life (2007) by Jeff O'Leary, p. 223
  • Woman, compared to other creatures, is the image of God, for she bears dominion over them. But compared unto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she bears not rule and lordship over man, but ought to obey him. The woman shall be subject to man as unto Christ. For woman, has not her example from the body and from the flesh, that so she shall be subject to man, as the flesh is unto the Spirit, because that the flesh in the weakness and mortality of this life lusts and strives against the Spirit, and therefore would not the Holy Ghost give example of subjection to the woman of any such thing.
  • The female defects – greed, hate, and delusion and other defilements – are greater than the male’s…You [women] should have such an intention…Because I wish to be freed from the impurities of the woman’s body, I will acquire the beautiful and fresh body of the man.
    • Saint Augustine as quoted by Dr Bettany Hughes Telegraph
      • Misreading of the context: Dr Hughes is quoting the Buddha, not Augustine.
  • One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: "I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon." For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.
    • As quoted in Science Teaching : The Role of History and Philosophy of Science (1994) by Michael R. Matthews, p. 195
  • Without God, we cannot. Without us, God will not.
    • As quoted in If God Be For Us : Sermons on the Gifts of the Gospel (1954), by Robert Edward Luccock, p. 38; this may be a variant translation or paraphrase of an expression in his 169th sermon: "He who created you without you will not justify you without you."
  • If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
    • Earliest quotation found in Who Said That?: More than 2,500 Usable Quotes and Illustrations (1995) by George Sweeting. Online sources always attribute the quote to Augustine, but never specify in which of his works it is to be found.
    • A variation on a quote from "Contra Faustum, Book XVII" - For to believe what you please, and not to believe what you please, is to believe yourselves, and not the gospel.

The measure of love...[edit]

Who is the author of the quote "The measure of love is to love without measure"? I've seen it attributed to St. Augustine in various places (quotes books and webs), but I don't think Augustine wrote it. I have the same problem. Some people attributed to Saint Francis of Sales, but i'm still looking for.

  • It sound's like a paraphrase from Bernard of Clairvaux's "On Loving God."

Merged with[edit]

St. Augustine, 01:31, 20 Sep 2004 Lunaverse. Content was: *Lord, grant me chastity and continence... but not yet.

merged by Aphaia 15:10, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I have read in Plato and Cicero...[edit]

I deleted the quote: "I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.". Augustine never says this in the Confessions. Augustine never read Plato, he read Plotinus. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)

  • Granted, but there is a passage in the Confessions that is similar to this misquotation (vii.9). I've added an excerpt from it. Grommel 01:42, 25 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It seems to have been a paraphrase from Book VII, ch. 21, in which Augustine recounts what he "did not find" in Plato. Shockley 11:21, 7 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quotation found[edit]

This was in the Unsourced section: "I asked the whole frame of the world about my God; and he answered, I am not He, but He made me." This is from Confessions x.6, so I removed it from Unsourced and added it in the proper place. Grommel 01:31, 25 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original sources?[edit]

Among others, these two quotations are of interest to me:

  • What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
    • As quoted in Quote, Unquote (1977) by Lloyd Cory, p. 197
  • Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
    • As quoted in Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the Great Fallacy (1988) by Robert McAfee Brown, p. 136
    • note added by user hipbone: McAfee Brown thanks "Sr. Joan Delaplane, O.P., for a quotation from Augustine (used to begin chapter 1-0) that has empowered me ever since I heard her use it" in his Acknowledgments, p. 11.

However, citation back to a quote book isn't citation at all, and the second one still doesn't really get much closer to the original. If anyone could help find where these originally came from and the original text, I would appreciate it. It's a common problem with quotes in general.

-- 20:06, 4 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Having searched everywhere for "what does love look like?", I think the quote must be a paraphrase of "what sort of countenance does love have?" from p111 of "The Works of Saint Augustine: v. 1. Sermons on the Old Testament, 20-50".

Travel quote[edit]

I do not know of anywhere in the writings of Augustine where he praises travel. The quote "The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page" and all variants should be removed unless it can be found outside of another collections of quotes.

If anything, Augustine has completely opposite sentiments which csn be documented:

"He to whom foreign travel is sweet, loves not his country: if his country is sweet, travel is bitter; if travel is bitter, all the day there is trouble." Exposition on Psalm 86, paragraph 10

"What disasters are suffered by those who travel by land or sea! What man can go out of his own house without being exposed on all hands to unforeseen accidents?" The City of God (Book XXII), chapter 22, paragraph 3

These expressions can be interpreted as statements of dim regard for travel, or simple statements of opinions or facts without definite judgment on his part. I am removing the tag as I see no strong reason to dispute the quote, but if you insist upon it one could create a "Disputed" section for it, after the sourced quotes. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 05:41, 18 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact that our earliest source for this quote was published fourteen hundred years after St. Augustine's death is sufficient reason to remove it. - Crosbiesmith (talk) 19:20, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe this quotation is from the French work Le Cosmopolite by Charles-Louis Fougeret de Monbron (1750). It is quoted in French by Lord Byron as a motto for his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Erakis (talk) 22:39, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Link to Le Cosmopolite by Charles-Louis Fougeret de Monbron (1750). -- Mdd (talk) 21:36, 4 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed the claimed quotation. A translation of the de Monbron quote is here: [1] - "The universe is a sort of book, whose first page one has read when one has seen only one's own country." - Crosbiesmith (talk) 20:28, 24 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have placed the quote in the Misattributed section, where it should remain as a long used atttribution — but I remain skeptical of so conclusive a designation — and would have probably have preferred to retain it as simply "Disputed" without somewhat stronger evidence. ~ Kalki·· 21:14, 24 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Published sources should be provided before moving these back into the article
  • Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
    • Variant: To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
  • Don't you believe that there is in man a deep [spirit] so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?
  • Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
  • For what is faith unless it is to believe what you do not see?
    • Variant translation(?): Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
  • For, were it not good that evil things should also exist, the omnipotent God would almost certainly not allow evil to be, since beyond doubt it is just as easy for Him not to allow what He does not will, as for Him to do what He will.
  • Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.
  • Go forth on your path, as it exists only through your walking. (Sermon 169).
  • God does not give heed to the ambitiousness of our prayers, because he is always ready to give to us his light, not a visible light but an intellectual and spiritual one; but we are not always ready to receive it when we turn aside and down to other
  • God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
  • God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

[Actual quote is: O good and all-powerful God, who care for each of us as though each were the only one, and for all alike with the same tenderness you show to each. (Book 3.11.19)]

  • God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.
  • He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.
  • He who is filled with love is filled with God himself.
  • Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
  • I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within.
  • I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.
  • If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don't accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.
  • If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.
  • In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?
  • Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.

The above quote is potentially sourced - Google Books lists it as existing, and is cited in the book Happiness by Randy Alcorn. It is listed with a foot note [92], but Google Books won't show me what the exact source is (bibliography not included in the preview). Link included below. Can anyone verify/validate footnote [92]? ",+man+wishes+to+be+happy+even+when+he+so+lives+as+to+make+happiness+impossible.&source=bl&ots=X5rv0QZqfH&sig=pZOYMOyrwMYd57vAkqAXyggZHCk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjGuuGNnZHKAhUO_mMKHbOGDM8Q6AEIUDAJ#v=onepage&q=Indeed%2C%20man%20wishes%20to%20be%20happy%20even%20when%20he%20so%20lives%20as%20to%20make%20happiness%20impossible.&f=false"

  • Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.
  • My mind withdrew its thoughts from experience, extracting itself from the contradictory throng of sensuous images, that it might find out what that light was wherein it was bathed... And thus, with the flash of one hurried glance, it attained to the vision of That Which Is.
  • No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.
  • Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.
  • Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
  • Punishment is justice for the unjust.
  • Renouncement: the heroism of mediocrity.
  • The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.
  • The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.

This quote is from Confessions Bk. 8.

  • The people who remained victorious were less like conquerors than conquered.
  • The purpose of all wars, is peace.
  • The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.
  • There is no possible source of evil except good.
  • This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
  • Suppress prostitution, and capricious lusts will overthrow society.
  • Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

[The above quote appears to be from a sermon on Psalm 137, the full text of which is available in "A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Anterior to the Division of East and West, Vol. 24, page 167", which is the sixth of six volumes of Augustine's sermons on the Psalms.] Google book link:

  • To abstain from sin when one can no longer sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it.
  • We are certainly in a common class with the beasts; every action of animal life is concerned with seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding pain
  • We cannot pass our guardian angel's bounds, resigned or sullen, he will hear our sighs.
  • What I needed most was to love and to be loved, eager to be caught. Happily I wrapped those painful bonds around me; and sure enough, I would be lashed with the red-hot pokers or jealousy, by suspicions and fear, by burst of anger and quarrels.
  • Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.
  • You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
  • If you were the only person on earth, Christ would have still suffered and died for you.

Incorrect on women[edit]

"Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact, be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men." is often attributed to Augustine. Quite a few google book hits[2] Listed on incorrect quotations here. John Vandenberg (talk) 02:46, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I can find no published sources prior to 2004, and don't believe I had ever even heard of it before, I would be strongly inclined to label it "Misattributed", but would be willing to place it in the "Disputed" section if anyone has any objections to such an assessment, or within the main article if anyone could come up with a citation to some particular work. ~ Kalki·· 04:57, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It does appear to be a brazen fabrication, but I can't tell where it started. Are any of the print sources worth taking seriously enough to offer a rebuttal, or are they the sort of bogus prattle that any reasonable person would deem unreliable anyway? (The pseudonymous "August Stine" is, at least, good for a laugh.) ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:36, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The reward of patience is patience[edit]

This is widely attributed to Augustine, but I haven't found a specific source in his writings. If this was his saying, it may be his most popularly recognizable quote, it certainly is to me. I heard it well over 20 years ago from a 12-stepper, without attribution to Augustine. She used to end every share with it. Only today, searching for source, did I see the alleged source. --Abd (talk) 15:20, 30 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a work ascribed to Augustine, On Patience."[3] While some of it could be restated with the aphorism, nothing was direct. Maybe I missed it.

Talk:Patience has the saying, claiming "anonymous." That was placed there by an IP editor in 2007. --Abd (talk) 01:27, 31 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added the saying to Patience. --Abd (talk) 17:01, 31 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Body and Soul maxim[edit]

"Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow." I've seen this quote attributed to Augustine, but never sourced, and can find now source myself. The earliest reference I can find is from forum posts and email signatures in 2002, but I'm not practiced in researching quotations. A Google Books/Ngram search found no books including the quote, so I'm leaning towards it being entirely made up. Trekkie4christ (talk) 22:00, 7 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many attributions to Augustine without source given. Also rendered as "We must care for our bodies as though we were going to live forever, but we must care for our souls as if we were going to die tomorrow.". IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 23:20, 7 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Often Misattributed to Augustine of Hippo[edit]

"Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point." - Phyllis McGinley, The Province of the Heart, "The Honor of Being a Woman (1959).

Quotes that do not meet WQ:Q (encyclopedic)[edit]

  • The Church Father whose teachings most widely influenced subsequent regulation of sexuality in the Western church was Augustine of Hippo (345-430). Augustine regarded sex as foul and unclean, a uniquely dangerous manifestation of human rebellion against God's designs. Sex was especially pernicious, Augustine felt, because unlike other bodily desires and pleasures it could overwhelm reason and disarm the will to do what was right, while at the same time it could also transmit original sin. Christians therefore had a moral duty to avoid sex so far as possible. Even married Christians, he believed, should strive so far as they possibly could to lead a chaste life, despite any difficulties that this might cause in the marriage.

Is this new quote actually about Augustine?[edit]

There are a couple of problems with this new quote in the "about" section. The quote starts, "By the time of Augustine (354-430 AD), the Roman Empire had become an Empire of lies. It still pretended to uphold the rule of law, to protect the people from the Barbarian invaders, to maintain the social order..."

First, a lesser problem. Because the Counterpunch article was about Chomsky and had lots of quotes from him, and a different author was not given for this specific quote, I initially assumed the author was also Chomsky. But the only place online that I found this quote using Google (including Books) is in a blog named Cassandra's Legacy written by Ugo Bardi, as the post "The Empire of Lies". Curiously, the Counterpunch article does not link to it. I suppose this could be simply inadvertent.

But even if we correct the attribution, a large problem remains: what makes that quote specifically about Augustine other than the mere mention of his name? Excise his name and leave a date, and the point of the quote is unchanged. Oddly, there are other, more substantive parts of that blog post that actually discuss Augustine and would arguably be appropriate in the "about" section. Yet the new quote has only tangential relevance to him, so why put it here? My initial impulse was to just delete it for irrelevance, but I realized it should be discussed. Zgystardst (talk) 23:10, 27 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've deleted the quote. It's been more than six months with no objections, and I noticed the user who added it has been blocked. Zgystardst (talk) 21:50, 10 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For the record, this is when the quote was added. Zgystardst (talk) 23:57, 9 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Solvitur ambulando[edit]

This one seems to be regularly attributed to Augustine. I came here looking to see a discussion of it (likely in Misattributions). But, in a surprise to me, it is mentioned nowhere on the mainpage, nor on the talk page. Anyone have any idea of the actual provenance of "solvitur ambulando" ("it is solved by walking")? Peace and Passion ("I'm listening....") 00:08, 5 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]