(11) What is meant by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? (#Ge 2:9). This indeed exhibits that meaning which is sought for in the letter of the Scriptures more clearly to the sight, as it bears a manifest allegory on the face of it. What is meant then under this figure is prudence, which is the comprehension of science, by which all things are known and distinguished from one another, whether they be good and beautiful, or bad and unseemly, or in short every sort of contrariety is discerned; since some things belong to the better class, and some to the worse. Therefore the wisdom which exists in this world is not in truth God himself, but the work of God; that it is which sees and thoroughly investigates every thing. But the wisdom which exists in man sees in an incorrect and mixed manner with somewhat darkened eyes; for it is found to be incompetent to see and comprehend clearly and without alloy each particular thing separately. Moreover, there is a kind of deception mingled with human wisdom; since very often there are some shadows found which hinder the eyes from contemplating a brilliant light; since what the eye is in the body, such also is the mind and wisdom in the soul.

(12) What the river is which proceeded out of Adin by which the Paradise is watered, and from which the four rivers proceed, the Phison, and the Gihon, and the Tigris, and the Euphrates? (#Ge 2:10). The sources of the Deglath and of the Arazania, that is to say of the Tigris and Euphrates, are said to arise in the mountains of Armenia; but there is no paradise there at this day, nor do both the sources of both these rivers remain there. Perhaps, therefore, we ought to consider that the real situation of the Paradise is in a place at a distance from this part of the world which we inhabit, and that it has a river running beneath the earth. which pours forth many veins of the largest size; so that they, rising up together, pour themselves forth into other veins, which receive them on account of their great size, and then those have been suppressed by the gulfs of the waves; on which account, through the impulse given to them by the violence which is implanted in them, they burst out on the face of the earth in other places, and also among others in the mountains of Armenia. Therefore, those things which have been accounted the sources of the rivers, are rather their flowing course; or again, they may be said to be correctly looked upon as sources, because by all means we must consider the holy scriptures infallible, which point out the fact of four rivers; for the river is the beginning, and not the spring. But perhaps this passage also contains an allegorical meaning; for the four rivers are the signs of four virtues: Phison being the sign of prudence, as deriving its name from parsimony; {2}{from pheidoµ, “parsimony.”} and Gihon being the sign of sobriety, as having its employment in the regulation of meat and drink, and as restraining the appetites of the belly, and of those parts which are blow the belly, as being earthly; the Tigris again is the sign of fortitude, for this it is which regulates the raging commotion of anger within us; and the Euphrates is the sign of justice, since there is nothing in which the thoughts of men exult more than in justice.