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I am trying to translate this line by Augustine (found here; in liber tertius (24.37)), where it seems that the sense of the passage hinges in "in eo quod":

Quia cum ea quae facta sunt, in eo quod facta sunt, quantum acceperunt, manent, sicut vel illa quae non peccaverunt, vel illa quae peccare non possunt; et singula bona, et in universo bona valde sunt.

When I take "in eo quod" as "by the fact that," I end up with a translation that doesn't make much sense:

Because when these things which have been made, by the fact that they were made, as much as they have received, remain, just as either those things which have not sinned, or those which are not able to sin.

Where have I gone wrong?

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How to parse "in eo quod"?

It appears that in eo quod is not a syntagma, but rather that the preposition in goes with manent to form a different syntagma. The syntagma maneō in quōd is used to express to "adhere to something," "abide by something," and "remain in some condition."

Examples from Lewis & Short:

  1. Pregn., to remain, last, endure, continue in any place or manner: “si in eo manerent, quod convenisset,” would adhere to, abide by that, Caes. B. G. 1, 36, 5: “in vita,” to remain alive, Cic. Fam. 4, 13, 2: “in veritate,” to adhere to the truth, id. Clu. 63, 176: “in condicione,” to fulfil a condition, id. Att. 7, 15, 3: “in sententia,” to adhere to, id. ib. 9, 2, 1: “in voluntate,” id. Fam. 5, 2, 10: “in pristina mente,” id. Sest. 27, 58: “in officio,” Hirt. B. G. 8, 47: “tu modo promissis maneas,” abide by, keep, Verg. A. 2, 160: “in pactione,” to abide by, Nep. Ages. 2, 4: “an credi posse ullum populum in ea condicione mansurum?” Liv. 8, 21, 6: “mansit in condicione atque pacto,” Cic. Verr. 1, 6, 16:

With this knowledge, we can reduce the entire clause to the core statement: ...in eō...manent. In context, this can be understood as "they adhere to that" or "they remain so."

If we expand that core, we get: in eō quod facta sunt...manent. The word quod can only be the predicative nominative governed by facta sunt, giving us: "they adhere to that which they were made" or "they remain as they were made."

If we expand further, we get: in eō quod facta sunt, quantum accēpērunt, manent, with an added parenthetical referring to the same thing as and quod. I understand this as: "they adhere to what they were made, as much as they received" or "they remain as they were made, with respect to all they received."

I would translate the entire quote as:

Because when those things that were made remain as they were made with respect to all they received, like either those things that did not sin or those that cannot sin, they are both individually good and very good in the totality.

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Here is the translation offered by the Works of Saint Augustine:

Because when the things that have been made remain as what they were made, to the extent they received it, like those things that have not sinned or those that cannot sin, they are both good individually, and in the totality they are all very good.

The meaning is clear enough. The syntax is still slightly mysterious to me, as I want to word it "in eo (loco) in quo facta sunt."

Hopefully clarifying the intended meaning (and I don't see how anything else could be meant) will at least get us started down the path of explaining the construction.

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quod facta sunt, in eō manent = what they [= entities] have been made (as/into), they remain in that state/as that thing. The singular is needed because quae facta sunt (as in the first clause) means ‘the entities that have been made’, so that the pronoun is no longer a subject complement (‘made as/into something’), but the subject itself.

Parallel to this is quantum accēpērunt, manent, which is supposed to be in eō quantum accēpērunt manent 'what amount of substance entities receive, they remain with that amount of substance,' i.e. the law of conservation of mass :-)

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  • To clarify, is this a passive transformation of a double accusative construction? Cum manent ea in eo, quod Deus ea fecit. Jun 2, 2022 at 18:03
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    @Kingshorsey Yep, we're thinking of the same thing: quae Deus fēcit, quod ea fēcit, in eō manent. Jun 2, 2022 at 18:19

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