12 April 2011

Manichees on the TV

So I'm thinking that when Saint Augustine was writing this about the founder of the Manichean heresy, he wasn't trying to foreshadow the Beck. Indeed, given the prominent mention of the motions of earth, sun, and moon, perhaps he was anticipating O'Reilly?
[Manes] wrote at great length on scientific subjects, only to be proved wrong by genuine scientists, thereby making perfectly clear the true nature of his insight into more abstruse matters. Because he did not want them to think lightly of him, he tried to convince his followers that the Holy Spirit, who comforts and enriches your faithful servants, was present in him personally and with full powers. Therefore, when he was shown to be wrong in what he said about the sky and the stars and the movements of the sun and the moon, it was obvious that he was guilty of sacrilegious presumption, because, although these matters are no part of religious doctrine, he was not only ignorant of the subjects which he taught, but also taught what was false, yet was demented and conceited enough to claim that his utterances were those of a divine person.

[This is from the Confessions, Book V, Section 5, as translated by R. S. Pine-Coffin. Love that name.]


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