Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

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

INTRODUCTION

Eastertide has come. Some weeks earlier Augustine had begun to deliver a series of homilies on the Gospel of John, which he intended to expound from its beginning to its end.1. But the scriptural readings for Holy Week and for the Octave of Easter were fixed to some extent and he had to interrupt this major undertaking. Upon what texts would he preach?

(2) Now it was also the custom during the Easter Octave to have not only a morning liturgy each day but also an evening one.2. And those newly baptized on the Easter Vigil would attend this evening service, dressed in a white garment and gathered together in a special section apart from the others in attendance.3. It was appropriate that the sermons at this time be especially relevant to the spiritual needs of these neophyte Christians.

(3) Augustine chose in this particular year the First Epistle of John. It was short and he expected to complete its exposition within the Octave, a goal which he failed to achieve. But there were other reasons for selecting this Epistle. Augustine

____________________
1.
The 124 Tractates on the Gospel of John are found in FOTC 78, 79, 88, 90, and 92.
2.
See S. Poque, "Les lectures liturgiques de l'Octave pascale à Hippone d'après les traités de s. Augustin sur la première épître de s. Jean," RB 74 ( 1964) 224-28; F. Van der Meer, Augustine the Bishop, trans. G. Battershaw and G. Lamb ( London, 1961) 345, 381. In the morning the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic service were performed; the evening service was devoted primarily to preaching, and so there was time for a longer sermon. This partly explains how a text completely unrelated to the day's readings could be commented on. There are other examples of the same practice among the Sermones given during Eastertide, e.g., Sermones240-43 on the resurrection of the body. It should be pointed out also that bishops had much freedom in selecting texts both for the liturgy and for their sermons; see, e.g., En in Ps 86.1 ( CCL 39.1198) and 138.1 ( CCL 40.1990); Sermones 352.1 and 362.1 ( PL 39.1549-50 and 1611-12), and Sermones 174 and 176 ( PL 38.939-45, 949-53) where he combines 1 Tm 1.15 with variant readings in arguing against the Pelagians. See also Van der Meer, 414-15, and G. Willis, St. Augustine's Lectionary ( London, 1962), 5-9.
3.
See Van der Meer, 379-382.

-97-

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Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Select Bibliography for Tr in Ev ix
  • Select Bibliography for Tr in Io Ep xi
  • Tractates on the Gospel of John 112-24 1
  • Tractate 112 on John 18.1-12 3
  • Tractate 113 on John 18.13-27 9
  • Tractate 114 on John 18.28-32 16
  • Tractate 115 on John 18.33-40 21
  • Tractate 116 on John 19.1-16 27
  • Tractate 117 33
  • Tractate 118 39
  • Tractate 119 45
  • Tractate 120 50
  • Tractate 121 on John 20.10-29 56
  • Tractate 122 on John 20.30-31, 21.1-11 62
  • Tractate 123 74
  • Tractate 124 - On John 21.19-25 82
  • Tractates on the First Epistle of John 1-10 95
  • Introduction 97
  • Prologue 119
  • Tractate 1 on 1 Jn 1.1-2.11 121
  • Tractate 2 on I Jn 2.12--17 141
  • Tractate 3 on 1 Jn 2.18-27 159
  • Tractate 4 on 1 Jn 2.27-3.9 173
  • Tractate 5 on 1 Jn 3.9-18 185
  • Tractate 6 on 1 Jn 3.18-4.3 198
  • Tractate 7 217
  • Tractate 8 on I Jn 4.12-16 228
  • Tractate 9 on 1 Jn 4.17-21 246
  • Tractate 10 on 1 Jn 5.1-3 262
  • Indices 279
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