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Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

By Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview

TRACTATE 112
On John 18.1-12

AFTER COMPLETING the great and lengthy discourse which, after the Supper, the Lord, very close now to pouring out his Blood for us, delivered to the disciples who were at that time with him, with the addition of the prayer that he directed to the Father, then John the Evangelist began his Passion as follows: "When Jesus had said these things, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron where there was a garden into which he and his disciples entered. Now he knew also, Judas who betrayed him, the place,1. because Jesus had often met there together with his disciples." What he narrates, that the Lord went into the garden with his disciples, did not happen immediately when that prayer was finished, coming to the words of which he says, "When he had said these things," but certain other events intervened which, though passed over by this Evangelist, are read in the others, just as many events are found in this one which they similarly have omitted to mention in their narration. But how they are all consistent with one another, and [how] there is no contradiction offered by one to the truth which is set forth by another, let him seek not in these discourses but in other writings that required much work.2. Let him learn of those events, not by standing and listening, but rather by sitting and reading, or by offering a most attentive ear and mind to one reading. Yet let him believe before he knows (if he can even know it in this life or cannot through some impediments), that nothing has been written by any Evangelist, as far as regards these whom the Church has admitted into canonical authority, which can

____________________
1.
This awkward translation retains the Latin word order for the sake of Augustine's exposition at the beginning of section 2.
2.
A reference to the De Consensu Evangelistarum, a work of four books written about A.D. 400 in which Augustine attempts to reconcile the apparent contradictions in the four Gospels. See PL 34.1041-1230 or LNPF 6.65-236.

-3-

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