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Sunday, June 12, 2005

The sayings of the wise are sharp as goads

I go back to my Penguin edition of the letters of Abelard and Heloise very often. Among other reasons, there are so many apt quotes. Coming as they do in a context illustrative of their meaning, they are much more striking than when one reads them in their original place. By chapter eighteen of Proverbs the pithiness no longer excites.

The other good thing about helpful people like Abelard quoting from a wide range of people is that one can look immensely erudite citing Lucan or St Augustine on baptism and not giving the quotes found in the books on whatever it is one is writing on. You can soothe your conscience by looking up the passage on New Advent or elsewhere on the web.

Here are the goodies I found today while procrastinating.

The prophets wrote books: and your forebears did much work on them. Then their successors committed them to memory. But now comes the present generation, which has copied them on paper and parchment and put them back to stand idle on shelves. (Vitae Patrum V, 10.114; V, 10.67)

Libosus also of Vaga says: "The Lord says in the gospel, 'I am the Truth.' He does not say, 'I am custom.' Therefore, when the truth is made manifest, custom must give way to truth." (Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatists, III, 6)

"Boredom with learning is the beginning of a withdrawal from God." (Abelard, lost the page so I can't give the reference) Discuss.