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Letters, Volume 6 (1*–29*) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 81)

Saint Augustine

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-9

Select Bibliography

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pp. ix-xii

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pp. 1-6

A DISCOVERY OF PATRISTIC TEXTS is a significant event in the study of Christian antiquity. This usually comes in the form of a Syriac or Armenian translation of a Greek work long thought to be lost. Location of Latin works is rarer. Since Augustine of Hippo (354-430) has long...

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Letter 1

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pp. 9-13

Letter 1* fills in much of what had remained unknown about letter 250 of the basic collection of Augustine's letters. In letter 250, Augustine wrote to a young bishop named Auxilius in order to convey his unhappiness about an excommunication imposed on a Roman...

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Letter 1*A

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pp. 14-16

The Latin text of this letter was first published by Lambot in RBen 51 (1939), 109-121. Divjak found a slightly different text in the Marseille and Paris mss. of the new letters. He collated five mss. (as against Lambot's two) and the text was published in his collection...

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Letter 2

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pp. 17-30

Letter 2,* the second longest in this series, presents some answers to questions which had been raised since the 1939 publication of ep. 1*A. Who was Firmus, this person so eager to get the books of the City of God? We now know that he is not to be identified with the

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Letter 3

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pp. 31-37

The fourth century was a key period for the promotion of the ideal of consecrated virginity. Ambrose and, above all, Jerome stand out as essential figures in this effort. Indeed, Jerome is sometimes extreme in his expressions, promoting virginity by the denigration of...

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Letter 4

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pp. 38-43

In all the previously known letters of Augustine, only one was addressed to an Eastern bishop, ep. 179 to John of Jerusalem (summer, 416). Augustine had asked John to send him a copy of the proceedings of the Palestinian council of Lyddal/Diospolis of December...

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Letter 5

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pp. 44-48

An African bishop whose identity is uncertain, had two specific questions for Augustine. One is a theological question based on the liturgy of baptism: If baptism gives an unconditional forgiveness of all sins, they why does the newly-baptized or, in the case of an infant,...

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Letter 6

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pp. 49-59

This letter stands out in the new collection of Augustine's letters because letters from the bishop of Hippo to significant figures in the Greek church were fairly rare among the previously known letters. There is the correspondence with Jerome in Bethlehem, of course,...

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Letter 7

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pp. 60-64

This letter gives us a glimpse into the activities of Augustine the pastor as one concerned with the Church's money and, in particular, with donations made to the Church. The count of Africa, Boniface (see ep. 17*, Introduction), probably in earlier years when he was...

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Letter 8

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pp. 65-68

Here we have another unusual letter. Augustine writes to Victor after receiving a complaint from a Jew by the name of Licinius. The latter reported that Victor had swindled him by purchasing land from his mother. The problem was that Licinius' mother no longer...

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Letter 9

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pp. 69-73

This brief memorandum, directed to Augustine's episcopal colleague and closest confidant, Alypius, bishop of Thagaste, concerns yet another incident of violence. It seems that a prominent layman, someone holding a position of honor ("honor vel curiae vel fori," section...

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Letter 10

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pp. 74-80

The new letters make us more aware of the activities of Augustine's friend, bishop Alypius of Thagaste, and of his travels in Italy on behalf of the African bishops. In the later stages of the Pelagian conHict and for some time afterward, one by-product of his travels...

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Letter 11

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pp. 81-98

Consentius, the author of two lengthy letters in this collection which are, after 20*, the longest of the group, was a Spanish layman. While it is not impossible that he was a monk or cleric, his activities and lifestyle seem to make this unlikely. He lived on Minorca in the...

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Letter 12

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pp. 99-108

Unlike the previous letter with its vignettes concerning Priscillianism in Spain, ep. 12* has little of substance to say. One commentator has called it a sort of panegyric on laziness. Like Firmus in ep. 2*, Consentius possessed works of Augustine but had been remiss in...

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Letter 13

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pp. 109-111

Stories of clerical or monastic scandals are hardly absent from Augustine's letters though the percentage of such material seems higher in this collection of new letters. In ep. 13* we have such a story that speaks for itself. This is the cleric's version of the incident, one

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Letter 14

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pp. 112-113

This is a covering note for the letter which follows. A man who works for Dorotheus, a layman of whom Augustine thinks highly, has committed a serious crime of which Dorotheus is unaware but which Augustine believes must be brought to his attention and punishment...

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Letter 15

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pp. 114-116

This is the memorandum for which ep. 14* was the cover letter. The second half of it contains the details of the case which concerns an employee of Dorotheus. These details, the crime and the name of the perpetrator, are to be withheld by the bearers of the letter unless...

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Letter 16

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pp. 117-120

This is only the fifth letter extant between Augustine and Aurelius, bishop of Carthage and Primate of Africa. It would also be the latest in date of the five. But to attempt to judge the importance and the extent of the relationship between the two men by these few letters...

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Letter 17

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pp. 121-122

This brief letter adds a little to the previously known correspondence between Augustine and the Roman general Boniface. (See also ep. 7*.) Boniface came into Augustine's life fairly late, c. 416, when he was a tribune active in the defense of the southern frontier against...

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Letter 18

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pp. 123-125

The Catholic Church in North Africa seems to have had a vocation shortage. It was not necessarily simply a shortage of candidates but a shortage of worthy and capable candidates. "Worthy" in this context may be a relative term but we know that in Augustine's mind high...

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Letter 19

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pp. 126-130

The correspondence between Jerome and Augustine, two of the greatest Latin fathers, stands out among the most interesting exchanges in history. Augustine is seen to be respectful of the older man, a genuine searcher after enlightenment in the realm of scriptural...

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Letter 20

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pp. 131-149

This is the longest of Augustine's letters in this collection, and also one of the most interesting. It brings new information about one of the most painful cases of Augustine's later years, the case of Antoninus, the young bishop of Fussala. In the previously known...

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Letter 21

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pp. 150-152

Letters 21* and 26* are dearly related to each other and both to the wider problem seen in several of the letters of this new collection, viz. the recruitment of clergy of satisfactory quality. In these letters, the names of the characters are not known from other sources and...

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Letter 22

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pp. 153-161

Here Augustine reports on current issues to Alypius, who is probably in Italy on episcopal business. Augustine's advanced age is apparent in his inability to attend this council, which must have been held in a mountainous region. The issue of the shortage of clergy in North...

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Letter 23

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pp. 162-164

Both of the manuscripts of the new letters found and studied by Johannes Divjak have letters 23* and 23*A linked together as if they were one letter. The editor points out that while ep. 23* is addressed to Renatus (PCBE, "Renatus 1," pp. 959-960), section 3 of ep. 23*A...

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Letter 23*A

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pp. 165-170

As noted in connection with ep. 23*, this letter is to be kept apart as a separate letter though obviously, the issue of the episcopal succession in Caesarea in Mauretania is discussed in both as it is also in ep. 22*. Since this letter is to be separated from ep. 23*, even though...

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Letter 24

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pp. 171-174

Closely linked in su~ect matter to ep. 10*, letter 24* also gives us valuable insight into the social state of the late empire. Augustine who, as a bishop in the Christian empire, is also empowered to act as ajudge or arbitrator in civil cases and whose decisions will be legally...

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Letter 25

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pp. 175-178

Because of the addressees, notably Deogratias, Theodorus, Comes and Titianus, this letter is associated with ep. I73A of the corpus of letters. Ep. I73A is a short letter on the suqject of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. In dosing, Augustine recommends that they read a work...

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Letter 26

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pp. 179-180

(1) A man from Suppa named Donantius once came to live in our monastery while his father was in Hippo living out his last years supported by the church's charity. When Donantius could stand it no longer, he succeeded in getting the elderly Xanthippus of blessed memory, who was unaware of the facts...

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Letter 27

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pp. 181-185

This letter is unusual, apart from its content, since it is a letter written neither by nor to Augustine. Within the Augustinian epistolary corpus, there are letters such as ep. 32 from Paulinus of Nola to Romanianus but it concerns Augustine exclusively. Ep. 88 is from the...

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Letter 28

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pp. 186-192

The new letters contain relatively little about one of the great preoccupations of Augustine's episcopate, viz. settling the Donatist schism. The reason for this is that most of the letters come from the last fifteen vears of his life and the Donatist schism was setded at least...

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Letter 29

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pp. 193-195

Paulinus of Milan is known almost exclusively as the biographer of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, Augustine's early inspiration and mentor. Apparently, he worked as a notarius for Ambrose in the latter's final years. Ambrose's successor, the neoplatonist philosopher-priest, Simplicianus...


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pp. 197-211

Index of Persons

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pp. 199-203

Subject Index

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pp. 204-206

Index of Citations

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pp. 207-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780813211817
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214481

Page Count: 220
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation