As he [St Augustine] wrote his commentary on Genesis, he was made constantly aware of the vast body of pagan knowledge to which the Biblical account of the creation was nonsense: subtle arguments of physics ‘elaborated by men of leisure’ had already been mobilized by [Greek philosopher] Porphyry [234-305] against the Christians; a whole battery of such awkward problems, quaestiones, formed part of the intellectual atmosphere of the late fourth century.
Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (1967; new edition, University of California Press, 2000), p. 266.
Princeton historian Peter Brown (born 1935) is a well-known student of the religious culture of the later Roman Empire and early medieval Europe. Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis (354-430), known also as St Augustine, converted to Christianity -the official relgion of the Roman Empire- in 387 and became Catholic bishop of the Roman city Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) in 395. He began writing De Genesi ad literam (The Literal Meaning of Genesis) in 401, and completed it in 414.