Homilies on the Gospel of John: 1-40

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New City Press, 2009 - Religion - 604 pages
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Few ancient Christian authors attempted anything like a complete commentary on the Gospel of John, among them Origen, John Chrysostom and Augustine. Of these, Augustine's must count as the greatest. Unlike Origen's, it has come down to us in its entirety and of the others that remain it is certainly the most theologically profound. John's gospel allows Augustine to range broadly over themes that were his life's work -- the Trinity, the person of Christ, the nature of the Church and its sacraments, the fulfillment of the divine plan.

The 124 homilies that constitute Augustine's commentary, however, are masterpieces not only of theological profundity but also of pastoral engagement. In the question-and-answer style that he frequently employs, for example, one can sense Augustine's real awareness of his congregation's struggles with the gospel text. And the congregation's response to Augustine, which he frequently alludes to, is an indication of the success of his dialogical preaching style.

The Johannine literature drew out the best in Augustine. The Homilies on the Gospel of John are the indispensible complement to The Homilies on the First Epistle of John, recently published in this series and they should be a part of any serious theological library.

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About the author (2009)

Saint Augustine was born to a Catholic mother and a pagan father on November 13, 354, at Thagaste, near Algiers. He studied Latin literature and later taught rhetoric in Rome and Milan. He originally joined the Manicheans, a religious sect, but grew unhappy with some of their philosophies. After his conversion to Christianity and his baptism in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives. He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war. His thoughts greatly influenced the medieval worldview. One of Augustine's major goals was a single, unified church. He was ordained a priest in 391 and appointed Bishop of Hippo, in Roman Africa, in 396. Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors in terms of surviving works, and the list of his works consists of more than one hundred separate titles. His writings and arguments with other sects include the Donatists and the Pelagians. On the Trinity, The City of God, and On Nature and Grace are some of his important writings. Confessions, which is considered his masterpiece, is an autobiographical work that recounts his restless youth and details the spiritual experiences that led him to Christianity. Many of Augustine's ideas, such as those concerning sin and predestination, became integral to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, and theologians. Augustine died on August 28, 430.