Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

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hlawson38
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Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:15 am

Context: Augustine declares that when God appeared to men, that appearance was shaped by Him to be accessible to the limited human understanding.
Nec mouere debet, quod, cum sit inuisibilis, saepe uisibiliter patribus apparuisse memoratur. Sicut enim sonus, quo auditur sententia in silentio intellegentiae constituta, non est hoc quod ipsa: ita et species, qua uisus est Deus in natura inuisibili constitutus, non erat quod ipse.
The bothersome phrases are: non est hoc quod ipsa . . . [and] non erat quod ipse.

Translation: Neither should it bother us that God, although he is invisible, is described [in the Bible] as appearing visibly to the [Old Testament] patriarchs. Just as a sound, by means of which a thought is established in the silence of the mind is not the same thing as the thought, so also God, in his nature invisible, is not the same as the appearance that is seen by men.

In both troublesome phrases, I read quod as a relative pronoun and supply a form of sum. Like this:

non est hoc [antecedent is sonus] quod ipsa [antecedent is sententia] est

non erat [subject: Deus] quod ipsa [antecedent is species ] erat
Hugh Lawson

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by Hylander » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:54 pm

Basically, you have this right.

The sound is not the thing [hoc] that [the thought] itself is, i.e., the sound is not the same thing as the thought. Hoc is neuter even though sonus is masculine because the sound is conceived of here as an abstract thing.

The second phrase, species . . . non erat quod ipse [not ipsa]: "the apparition was not what he [God] himself is", i.e., the apparition was not the same thing as God himself. If you supply a verb it should probably be est, not erat.

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:33 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:54 pm
Basically, you have this right.

The sound is not the thing [hoc] that [the thought] itself is, i.e., the sound is not the same thing as the thought. Hoc is neuter even though sonus is masculine because the sound is conceived of here as an abstract thing.

The second phrase, species . . . non erat quod ipse [not ipsa]: "the apparition was not what he [God] himself is", i.e., the apparition was not the same thing as God himself. If you supply a verb it should probably be est, not erat.
Well spotted, Hylander. You always add value! Especially helpful is the note on the gender of hoc. That passed right over me!

I still lack immediate recognition of the various uses of quod. Upon seeing it, I must pause, and reflect. Do you know of a mnemonic, or a checklist, or a jingle, or an essay teaching the different uses of quod?
Hugh Lawson

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by Constantinus Philo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:54 am

Is this use of quod with reference to a feminin noun not a graecism? Also, why erat instead of est?
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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by mwh » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:51 pm

No this use of quod is not a grecism. See Hylander’s explanation of hoc above. And erat not est because the species in question (God’s appearance to humans) happened in the past.

@hlawson: quod can be the neuter singular (nom. or acc.) of the relative pronoun, or it can be a conjunction meaning (roughly) “because.” Won’t that do as a mnemonic?

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by Hylander » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:19 pm

erat not est because the species in question (God’s appearance to humans) happened in the past.
I was making more of a theological than a grammatical point. I thought Augustine, if he had supplied the verb, would more likely use the present when speaking of God's essential characteristics, which I suspect he would consider eternal and unchanging. The way he appeared in the past was not what he is. In the previous sentence, he (Augustine, that is) writes cum sit invisibilis, not esset.

Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing Augustine's theology or anyone else's, for that matter.

By the way, does Augustine use quod as a conjunction to introduce indirect speech?

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by mwh » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:29 am

Well, yes, certainly. I was responding to the query about Augustine’s erat in the species clause. I said "erat not est because the species in question (God’s appearance to humans) happened in the past." God himself (ipse) is presumably what he always is(/was/will be)—just as you’d explained.

quod I think increasingly introduces what we might think of as indirect speech, virtually “the fact that”, introducing a clause, not acc.&inf. When it introduces a sentence it can mean “As to the fact that.”

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Re: Augustine, de civitate dei, book X, chapter 13: "non est hoc quod ipsa"

Post by hlawson38 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:54 am

mwh wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:51 pm
No this use of quod is not a grecism. See Hylander’s explanation of hoc above. And erat not est because the species in question (God’s appearance to humans) happened in the past.

@hlawson: quod can be the neuter singular (nom. or acc.) of the relative pronoun, or it can be a conjunction meaning (roughly) “because.” Won’t that do as a mnemonic?
Thank you, mwh. Most helpful.
Hugh Lawson

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