2

In her autobiography Manic, Terri Cheney quotes Augustine: "Even monsters are divine creatures and in some way they too belong to the providential order of nature" (p. 88). I can't find this exact quote anywhere in the works of Augustine and I'm wondering if this is from a modern translation of City of God?

3
  • 1
    It's probably a reference to City of God book 16, chapter 8 -- possibly garbled.
    – Mary
    May 14, 2023 at 0:44
  • Thank you Mary! I did find something somewhat resembling Terri's reference: "But supposing they are men whom these marvels are recorded, what if God has seen fit to create some races in this way, that we might not suppose that the monstrous births which appear among ourselves are the failures of that wisdom whereby He fashions the human nature, as we speak of the failure a less perfect workman?"
    – ed huff
    May 14, 2023 at 1:52
  • I shall make it an answer then.
    – Mary
    May 14, 2023 at 3:50

2 Answers 2

4

Probably City of God book 16, chapter 8 -- possibly garbled.

But supposing they are men of whom these marvels are recorded, what if God has seen fit to create some races in this way, that we might not suppose that the monstrous births which appear among ourselves are the failures of that wisdom whereby He fashions the human nature, as we speak of the failure of a less perfect workman?

0
4

A very similar quote appears in Disability in Medieval Europe: Thinking about Physical Impairment in the High Middle Ages by Irina Metzler, from 2006. Discussing Medieval attitudes to deformities, Metzler writes:

Hence Augustine, in his City of God, could state that even monsters are divine creatures and belong to the providential order of nature

which is nearly word-for-word what Terri Cheney wrote in her 2008 book. Contacting Dr Metzler, she confirmed that she was paraphrasing book 16, chapter 8, as given in Mary's answer, giving "a perfectly valid interpretation of the sense behind Augustine's words."

1
  • Very interesting Clara! thank you!
    – ed huff
    Jun 2, 2023 at 11:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.