Gratia in Augustine’s Sermones ad Populum during the Pelagian Controversy

Do Different Contexts Furnish Different Insights? 

Series:

During the last decades, the doctrine of grace of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) has been studied in depth. The occurrence of grace in Augustine’s ca. 580 sermones ad populum has not yet been systematically analysed. This monograph studies the presence of grace in sermones preached during the period of the Pelagian controversy – a debate precisely on the relation between divine grace and human freedom. Does Augustine deal with grace differently in these sermones and his anti-pelagian tractates? First, the gratia content of the sermones does not differ from that of the systematic treatises. Second, the treatment of this topic differs on occasion, a difference determined by the biblical, liturgical, rhetorical and contextual framework of the sermones. This book explores the anthropological-ethical perspective of grace in Augustine, which results in a correction of the image of an Augustine overemphasising God and neglecting man, and in a plea to see continuity in his thinking on grace.
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Biographical Note

Anthony Dupont (Ph.D. Theology, Leuven, 2009) is as a post-doctoral researcher of the FWO (Research Foundation Flanders) attached to the Research Unit History of Church and Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the KU Leuven, Belgium. He has published articles on Augustine’s doctrine of grace and his preaching. His field of research and teaching is Late Antiquity and Early Christianity.

Review Quotes

"Ein Paradestück der neueren Augustinus-Forschung... Insgesamt bestätigt die Arbeit von Dupont die Fruchtbarkeit des eingangs skizzierten Neuansatzes in der Augustinus-Forschung, speziell in der Gnadenlehre. Die Erhellung augustinischer Texte vor dem Hintergrund ihrer historischen und pragmatischen ‹Kon-Texte› erweist sich als überaus ertragreich, nicht zuletzt beim Bemühen, wirkliche oder vermeintliche Antinomien des augustinischen Bergmassivs – bzw. besser: des augustinischen Organismus – der ‹Gnadenlehre› besser zu verstehen und sich produktiver an ihnen abzuarbeiten."

Christof Müller in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 124 (2013)

Table of contents

Acknowledgements
Bibliography
Authors Christian Antiquity
Augustine
Writings
Letters
Sermons
Consulted critical editions
Critical editions of sermones ad populum used in this monograph
Translations of sermones ad populum
German
English
Italian
Dutch
Spanish
Consulted translations of Augustine
Bibliography secondary literature
Introduction
Chapter 1. Status quaestionis on research into Augustine’s sermones ad populum and gratia
1. Augustine’s sermones ad populum
1. 1 Augustine’s formation as homilist
1. 2 Genre, occasion, context, public and significance of a sermo
1. 3 Preparation and style of Augustine’s sermones
1. 4 The content of Augustine’s sermones and the importance of their study
1. 5 Chronology and dating of the sermones ad populum
1. 5. 1 A. Kunzelmann
1. 5. 2 Date lists
1. 5. 3 P.-M. Hombert
1. 5. 3. 1 Hombert’s method
1. 5. 3. 2 Hombert’s re-dating
1. 5. 3. 3 Some remarks on Hombert’s method
2. Gratia and the Pelagian Controversy
2. 1 The Pelagian controversy: a historical overview
2. 1. 1 The first phase: Caelestius and Pelagius
2. 1. 2 Second phase: Julian of Aeclanum
2. 1. 3 The third phase: so-called ‘semi-Pelagianism’
2. 1. 4 Concluding observations on the Pelagian controversy
2. 2 An evolution in Augustine’s thought on gratia?
2. 3 The treatment of gratia in anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum
Chapter 2. Fides as gratia and as human task
1. The gratia status of fides in Augustine’s thought
2. Fides in the sermones 143, 144, 168
2. 1 Sermo 143
2. 2 Sermo 144
2. 3 Sermo 168
3. Overview of the thematization of the gratia fidei within the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum
3. 1 Sermo 365
3. 2 ‘Early’ traces, prior to 416/417
3. 3 ‘Later’ traces, after 416/417
4. Scriptural comparisons
4. 1 Jn. 16,8-11
4. 2 Jn. 1,12
4. 3 Hab. 2,4 (Rom. 1,17, Gal. 3,11)
4. 4 Gal. 5,6
4. 5 Eph. 3,17
4. 6 Rom. 4,5
4. 7 Jn. 6,44
5. Conclusion
Chapter 3. Sermones 293-294: Baptismus Paruulorum in the First Phase of the Pelagian Controversy
1. Augustine’s theology of infant baptism and original sin prior to sermo 294
2. Sermones 293 and 294
2. 1 Context of sermones 293 and 294
2. 2 Sermo 293
2. 3 Sermo 294
2. 4 A comparison of two tractates from the same period
2. 5 The baptismus paruulorum continued: the debate with Julian
3. Infant baptism in the sermones ad populum
3. 1 Sermones ad populum situated in Carthage 413
3. 2 Infant baptism in the corpus of the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum
4. Scriptural comparisons
4. 1 Mt. 9,12-13 (Lk. 5,31-32; Mk. 2,17)
4. 2 Mt. 1,21
4. 3 Jn. 3,5
4. 4 Jn. 3,13
5. Conclusion
Chapter 4. Prayer as indication of human sinfulness
1. The meaning of prayer in Augustine’s thought
2. Five paradigmatic anti-Pelagian sermons on prayer
2. 1 Sermo 115
2. 2 Sermo 351
2. 3 Sermo 348A
2. 4 Sermo 181
2. 5 Sermo 114
3. Other traces of prayer in the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum
3. 1 Prayer leads to understanding and faith
3. 2 Prayer as a remedy against sin
3. 2. 1 The universal need for help
3. 2. 2 Help in the struggle against concupiscentia
3. 2. 3 The connection to Mt. 6,12
4. Scriptural comparisons
4. 1 Mt. 6,9
4. 2 Mt. 6,12
4. 3 Mt. 6,13
4. 4 Lk. 18,10-14
4. 5 Lk. 18,1-7
4. 6 2 Cor. 13,7
5. Conclusion
Chapter 5. The theme of human sinfulness in the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum
1. Augustine’s concept of sin
2. Augustine’s sermones on peccatum
2. 1 Connection with other themes in Augustine’s anti-Pelagian sermones
2. 2 Excursus I: early sermones on sin
2. 2. 1 Sermo 283
2. 2. 2 Sermo 125
2. 2. 3 Sermones 72A, 2 and 142
2. 3 Excursus II: Sermones 151 - 156 and their exegesis of Rom. 7,5 - 8, 17
2. 3. 1 Sermo 151
2. 3. 2 Sermo 152
2. 3. 3 Sermo 153
2. 3. 4 Sermo 154
2. 3. 5 Sermo 155
2. 3. 6 Sermo 156
2. 3. 7 Sermo 154A
2. 4 Eight sermones on sin in the Pelagian controversy
2. 4. 1 Sermo 174
2. 4. 2 Sermo 176
2. 4. 3 Sermo 299
2. 4. 4 Sermo 30
2. 4. 5 Sermo 163
2. 4. 6 Sermo 163A
2. 4. 7 Sermo 170
2. 4. 8 Sermo 335B
3. Sin in the anti-Pelagian sermones ad populum as a whole
4. Scriptural comparisons
4. 1 1 Tim. 1,15-16
4. 2 Gal. 5,16-17
4. 2. 1 Gal. 5,16-17
4. 2. 2 Gal. 5,17
4. 3 Rom. 6,12-13
4. 4 1 Jn. 1,8-9
5. Conclusions
Conclusion
1. Scripture
2. Liturgy 556
3. The Art of Preaching
4. Concrete Context and Target Group
5. Unique Thematisation
6. Chronological Continuity
7. Lacunae?
8. Further Research
9. Conclusion

Readership

All those interested in intellectual history, the history of Late Antiquity, Patristic exegesis, Christian Rhetorics, theological debates on grace, and the history of the Church, as well as philosophers, theologians and philologists.

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