But we should not think that we ought not to learn literature because Mercury is said to be its inventor, nor that because the pagans dedicated temples to Justice and Virtue and adored in stones what should be performed in the heart, we should therefore avoid justice and virtue. Rather, every good and true Christian should understand that wherever he may find truth, it is his Lord’s.
[Neque enim et litteras discere non debuimus quia earum repertorem dicunt esse Mercurium, aut quia iustitiae virtutique templa dedicarunt, et quae corde gestanda sunt in lapidibus adorare maluerunt, propterea nobis iustitia virtusque fugienda est. Immo vero quisquis bonus verusque Christianus est, Domini sui esse intellegat.]
On Christian Doctrine [De Doctrina Christiana], Book 2, ch. 18 / § 28 (2.18.28) (AD 397) [tr. Robertson (1958)]
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
For we ought not to refuse to learn letters because they say that Mercury discovered them; nor because they have dedicated temples to Justice and Virtue, and prefer to worship in the form of stones things that ought to have their place in the heart, ought we on that account to forsake justice and virtue. Nay, but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master.
[tr. Shaw (1858)]
We were not wrong to learn the alphabet just because they say Mercury was its patron, nor should we avoid justice and virtue just because they dedicated temples to justice and virtue and preferred to honour these values not in their minds, but in the form of stones. A person who is a good and a true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found.
[tr. Green (1995)]
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For the only reason (I came to think) for God to inspire the Bible would be so that his people would have his actual words; but if he really wanted people to have his actual words, surely he would have miraculously preserved those words, just as he had miraculously inspired them in the first place.
Misquoting Jesus, “Conclusion” (2005)
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