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RECHERCHES AUGUSTINIENNES

VOLUME VIII

MMORIAL
ATHANASE SAGE

TUDES AUGUSTINIENNES
8, rue Franois-Ier
Paris se
r972

Supplment la Revue des tudes augustiniennes

Le Pre Athanase Sage


(1896 - 1971)
IN MEMORIAM

Le prcdent volume des Recherches augustiniennes, paru en mars


1971, se fermait sur un article du Pre A. Sage ; ce devait tre l'ultime
contribution notre Institut de l'un de ses plus anciens membres.
Quelques mois plus tard, le 13 aot 1971, il s'teignait Draguignan,
terrass par une congestion crbrale. Ce nous est un pieux devoir
d'ouvrir ce volume, que nous ddions sa mmoire, par un rappel
de sa vie et de son uvre.
Il tait n le 20 aot 1896 La Tour-du-Pin (Isre) dans une famille
nombreuse et trs chrtienne o s'panouiront deux vocations sacerdotales. Aprs ses tudes secondaires dans les Institutions de Miribelles-chelles et du Rondeau, Henri Sage entrait au noviciat des
Augustins de 1' Assomption, le 5 juin 1919, mettant sa vie religieuse
et son apostolat futur sous le patronage d'un grand docteur de l'glise,
saint Athanase. Inspiration providentielle, car en mule de son
saint patron, c'est l'tude des sciences ecclsiastiques qu'il allait
consacrer toute sa vie sacerdotale. Ds son ordination, le 24 juillet 1927,
il fut affect la formation des futurs prtres dans les scolasticats de
sa Congrgation, fonction qu'il remplira durant prs de trente ans,
au titre de professeur puis trs tt de suprieur, Scy prs de Metz,
Lormoy prs de Paris et Lyon.
Travailleur acharn, dou d'une intelligence suprieure, il devint
vite un matre dans les diverses disciplines ecclsiastiques, plus particulirement en thologie dogmatique, en liturgie et en spiritualit.
Lecteur assidu des Pres de l'glise, c'est vers saint Augustin qu'allrent ses prfrences et c'est de la pense augustinienne qu'il s'imprgna en lisant et relisant les uvres du grand Docteur. Les notes abondantes que nous avons recueillies aprs sa mort tmoignent de sa
grande familiarit avec les onze volumes de la Patrologie de Migne.

GEORGES FOLLIET

Par une heureuse circonstance, le P. Sage se trouvait ds 1938


aux cts du P. F. Cayr lorsque celui-ci lanait la publication des
Oeuvres de saint Augustin, des tudes annexes, et de la revue L'Anne
thologique. A l'entreprise naissante, le P. Sage apporta un concours
des plus prcieux et qui ira grandissant ; ainsi se trouva-t-il dsign
comme membre de notre Institut ds sa fondation, le 20 janvier 1943
Mais si durant ces annes de guerre, il ne put faire bnficier les tudes
augustiniennes de toute sa comptence comme il l'aurait dsir,
absorb qu'il tait par ses lourdes responsabilits de suprieur, il
exera tant l'intrieur de sa maison qu'au dehors un rayonnement
intellectuel de premire valeur. Ses premiers articles, entre autres
ceux relatifs la thologie du sacrifice, parus dans L'Anne thologique, attirrent 1' attention.
Dcharg de tout enseignement en 1953, suite un grave accident
de sant d tant d'annes de dvouement, il va pouvoir s'adonner
Paris puis Rome, un travail intellectuel plus intense et consacrer
tout son temps, dans la mesure o sa sant le lui permettait, l'tude
d'Augustin et l'histoire ou la spiritualit de sa Congrgation. En
ce dernier domaine, le P. Sage a crit des ouvrages fondamentaux et
qui feront date. Mais c'est sur son uvre augustinienne qu'il nous
faut insister.
Rticent toute interprtation tendancieuse de saint Augustin,
agac mme par ces vieilles thses anti-augustiniennes toujours
renaissantes, c'est dceler les ides fondamentales et essentielles
de la pense de saint Augustin qu'il appliqua toutes ses recherches,
plus particulirement en ce qui touche aux problmes de la grce
et de la spiritualit. A l'encontre des abstractions d'cole qui faussent
la doctrine augustinienne en la rduisant un anthropocentrisme,
le P. Sage dmontre, textes l'appui, qu'aux yeux d'Augustin ce
qui est premier c'est Dieu, et que ses affirmations essentielles concernent la toute-puissance de Dieu, son infinie sagesse, la totale gratuit
de ses dons, son action providentielle dans l'histoire et son intervention salvatrice par le Christ.
C'est dans cette optique que le P. Sage a approfondi en plusieurs
articles les questions touchant la grce, la prdestination, au
pch, la vie chrtienne, voire la vie religieuse. Pour retrouver la
synthse de sa pense que l'on relise son dernier article sur la contemplation o est dveloppe sa profonde vision du thocentrisme augustinien qui fut jusqu' sa mort 1' objet de ses mditations.
La bibliographie qui suit ne mentionne qu'une partie des crits
du P. Sage. Trs souvent sollicit par des directeurs de journaux

A LA MMOIRE DU PRE ATHANASE SAGE

ou de revues pastorales, il ne refusa jamais son concours. Tous ceux


qui ont ainsi bnfici de sa haute comptence et de son dvouement
joignent leur hommage celui que l'Institut des ~tudes augustiniennes
se devait de lui rendre.
Georges

FLLIET

BIBLIOGRAPHIE DU PRE ATHANASE SAGE

1939

Les Engagements actuels de l'Esprit.


p. 17-22. Milieux et vie chrtienne.
p. 257-259.

1942

L'inquitude de l'Unit. - L'{J.nne thologique, t. 3, 1942, p. 198-208.


Philosophie et christianisme. (E. Brhier - A. D. Sertillange). - L'Anne thologique, t. 3, 1942, p. 318-330.

1943

Le Thomisme de . Gilson.

1944

Chronique de Philosophie (Laberthonnire; Hayen; Geiger; DemHn;


Marchal; Jolivet; Guitton; De Gandillac). L'Anne thologique,
t. 5, 1944, p. 182-190.

1945

En marge du Sacrifice de la Messe. Le rle du pain et du vin. - L'A nne


thologique, t. 6, 1945, p. 75-95.
L'attrition suffisante. - L'Anne thologique, t. 6, 1945, p. 96-104.

Sens chrtien,
Sens chrtien,

lre
lre

anne, 1939,
anne, 1939,

L'Anne thologique, t. 4, 1943, p. 520-533.

A propos du Sacrifice de la Messe en rponse M. le Chanoine Masure.


- L'Anne thologique, t. 7, 1946, p. 232-243.
1952

"Doctrina Sacra n. - L'Anne thologique augustinienne, t. 12, 1952,


p. 79-87.
I~a doctrine et le culte de Marie dans la famille augustinienne.
Maria,
Etudes sur la Sainte Vierge, t. II, Paris, Beauchesne, 1952, p. 679-712.

1953

Saint, Augustin et la prire du canon " Supplices te rogamus n. - Revue


des Etudes byzantines (Mlanges Martin Jugie), t. 2, 1953, p. 252-265.
crits spirituels du Serviteur de Dieu Emmanuel d' Alzon, fondateur
des Augustins de l'Assomption et des Oblates de l'Assomption. Rome,
Maison Gnralice, 1956, 1503 p.
Un Matre spirituel du dix-neuvime sicle. Les tapes de la pense du
Pre Emmanuel d'Alzon. Rome, Maison Gnralice, 1958, 230 p.
Vie de perfection et conseils vangliques dans les controverses plagiennes - Sanctus Augustinus, vitae spiritualis magister, t. I, Romae,
Analecta augustiniana, T958, p. 195-220.

1959

Commentaire du Guide spirituel de vie intrieure. " Cahiers d' Alzon n,


srie annexe. Bar-le-Duc, d. Saint-Paul, 1959, 176 p.
Il peccato in Sant' Agostino. - Il Peccato, Collana Studi cattolici, Roma,
Edizioni Ares, 1959, p. 134-156.

BIBLIOGRAPHIE DU PRE ATHANASE SAGE

Revue

1960

La prdestination chez saint Augustin d'aprs une thse rcente.


des tudes augustiniennes, t. 6, 1960, p. 31-40.

1961

La Rgle de saint Augustin commente par ses crits. Paris, La Vie


Augustinienne, 1961, 288 p.
De la grce du Christ, modle et principe de la grce.
Revue des tudes
augustiniennes, t. 7, 1961, p. 17-34.
Les deux temps de grce. - Revue des tudes augustiniennes, t. 7, r961,

p. 209-230.
1962

La dialectique de l'illumination.
Recherches augustiniennes, II, r962,
p. llI-123.
Faut-il anathmatiser la doctrine augustinienne de la prdestination ?
- Revue des tii,des augustiniennes, t. 8, 1962, p. 233-242.

1963

Le caractre de l'piscopat. - Unitas, l6e anne, vol. 9, 1963, p. 422-437.


El pecado en San Agustin. -El pecado en las fuentes cristianas primitivas.
Traducci6n de Jos Luis Martin. Enciclopedia de la tica y Moral
Cristianas, vol. II. Madrid, Rialp, 1963, p. 218-249.

1964

"Praeparatur voluntas a Domino.


t. IO, I964, p. I-20.

1965

La volont salvifique universelle de Dieu dans la pense de saint Augustin.


Recherches augustiniennes, III, 1965, p. 107-13 r.
Saint Augustin et l'Immacule Conception. - Revue des tudes augustiniennes, t. l l, 1965, p. 305-306.

1966

J?remires constitutions des Augustins de l'Assomption, 1855-1865.


Edition prsente et annote par les PP. Athanase Sage et Pierre
Touveneraud. Rome, Maison Gnralice, 1966, 246 p.
Augustinisme et thologie moderne. - Revue des tudes augustiniennes,
t. 12, 1966, p. 137-156.

1967

Pch originel. Naissance d'un dogme.

Revue des tudes augustiniennes,

Revue des tudes augustiniennes,

t. 13, 1967, p. 211-248.


1968

La Rgle de saint Augustin.


Revue des tudes augustiniennes, t. 14,
1968, p. 123-132.
Quatre essais sur notre vie assomptioniste. - Esprit de !'Assomption,
Approches et Recherches, pp. 125-189. Rome, Maison Gnralice, 1968.

1969

La Rgle de saint Augustin. Traduction et commentaire. Paris, La Vie


Augustinienne, 1969, rr6 p.
Le pch originel dans la pense de saint Augustin de 412 430. - Revue
des tudes augustiniennes, t. 15, 1969, p. 75-112.
L'Eucharistie dans la pense de saint Augustin. - Revue des tudes
augustiniennes, t. 15, 1969, p. 209-240.

1971

La contemplation dans les communauts de vie fraternelle. augustiniennes, VII, 1971, p. 245-302.

Recherches

La vie religieuse selon saint Augustin. Paris, La Vie Augustinienne,


1972, 272 p. (Dans la premire partie sont runies quelques instructions,
la plupart indites; dans la seconde partie est reproduit le Commentaire
de la Rgle de saint Augustin paru en 1961).

L'illustration symbolique des " Confessions "


augustiniennes dans les "'Flammulae Amoris"

L'Ermite augustin Michel Hoyer a fait paratre Anvers, en 1629, un


petit livre de format in-rz intitul Flammulae Amoris Sancti Patris
Nostri Augustini Versibus et Iconibus Exornatae1. Les dvots de l'poque
prisaient ce genre de littrature spirituelle, inspire par les grands mystiques du xvre sicle et o l'amour pour la divinit prenait la forme
d'tincelles ou d'allumettes2 . Parmi les livres de pit augustinienne
dits au xvue sicle, rares sont ceux qui portent, comme celui-ci, de
nombreuses illustrations3 . Le propre des vingt-cinq gravures que nous
examinons ici est d'accompagner des paraphrases en vers de paroles de
saint Augustin que l'on a voulu mettre en vedette. Il s'agit d'abord de
dix passages des Confessions, puis de textes emprunts des traits
apocryphes attribus Augustin et qui prsentent aussi l'aspect de
confessions : le Manuale, les Meditationes, les Soliloquia animae; enfin
l'Epistola ad Macedonium, apocryphe attribu Possidius et l'pisode
lgendaire dit de<< l'enfant la cuiller ii, qui remonte Pierre de Natali.
Hoyer s'est adress un bon graveur de l'cole anversoise qui a sign
chaque image : << Guil. Collaert excud. ii. Ce Guillaume Collaert, lointain
parent d' Adrien Collaert dont nous avons publi une estampe augustinienne4, s'inscrivit la ghilde de Saint Luc en 1627 et travailla jusque
vers l'an r666, date o l'on sait qu'il venait de mourir 5 .
r. MICHEL ROYER, Flammulae A maris Sancti Patris A ugustini Ver si bus et J conibus
Exornatae, Antverpiae, Verdussen, 1629. Cf. F. RuBIO, Una curiosidad bibliografica:
Flammulae anzoris S.P. Augustini, dans La Ciudad de Dios, t. CLXXXIV, r970,
pp. ro7-n6.
2. Voir L. COGNET, La spiritualit moderne, Paris, 1966, p. 238 ; J. et P. COURCELLE,
J conographie des. Augustin. Les cycles du XV Je et du XVJJe sicle, Paris, 1972, p. 159
3. J. et P. COURCELLE, op. cit., pl. XXXII-LXXIX et CLIV-CLVIII. Il s'agit
des gravures de Bolswert, Wandereisen et Mariette.
4. Ibid., pl. XXII-XXVI.
5. Cf. E. BENEZIT, Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveur>,
t. II, Paris 1949 1 p. 578.

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

Mme si le graveur puise son inspiration, de prfrence, dans les Confessions, son but n'est nullement de dcrire selon l'ordre chronologique les
tapes de la vie d'Augustin, mais d'illustrer telles de ses paroles, qui
figurent, en deux lignes, au-dessous de chaque image et en expliquent le
sens. Aux prises avec des penses abstraites, il a d recourir constamment l'allgorie, mais a russi dans sa tmraire entreprise, puisque le
livre fut rdit en 1632 et en 1639. Nous suivrons forcment l'ordre
plus ou moins arbitraire qu'il a adopt et nous nous garderons de rtablir
le fil chronologique des pisodes successifs narrs dans les Confessions,
puisqu'il ne s'agit pas ici d'une Vie ou d'un cycle n augustinien. Chaque
image sera dsigne par la lgende explicative que Collaert lui-mme a
place au-dessous.

S. P. Augustinus
P.

2.

L'image initiale est la plus banale : Augustin reprsent comme Pre de


l'glise (PL I, fig. r). Ermite par sa robe noire ceinture de cuir, vque
par sa mitre, sa chape et sa crosse, Augustin foule aux pieds trois livres
et trois personnages reprsents en buste, qui sont les hrtiques auteurs
de ces livres. Celui de gauche, en bonnet et caraco, montre encore de
l'index le texte de son trait grand ouvert devant lui ; droite, les deux
autres personnages se font face : celui qui est vu de dos porte une coiffure
l'orientale; l'autre porte un chapeau et un rabat d'ecclsiastique.
L'expression amre de leur visage fait contraste avec les traits sereins
d'Augustin. Peut-tre ces trois personnages nettement diffrencis
dsignent-ils un Manichen, un Donatiste et un Plagien, qu'Augustin a
combattus successivement. Mais il serait imprudent de vouloir identifier
chacun d'eux.
Augustin ne les regarde pas. Son visage large la barbe longue est
lgrement lev vers le ciel et parat joyeux. Il porte la main gauche la
poitrine en serrant sa crosse dans son bras. Sa main droite soutient un
livre ouvert sur lequel est pos un difice circulaire surmont d'une croix.
C'est l'image de l'glise, figure sous forme d'un baptistre qui voque
celui du Latran ; le livre qui soutient l'glise est soit la Bible soit une
uvre d'Augustin.
Du coin suprieur gauche surgit un ange qui vient poser sur la mitre une
couronne de laurier. Il brandit de la main gauche le cur embras et
perc d'une flche, emblme traditionnel de la ferveur d'Augustin. Celui-ci
est reprsent dans sa gloire ; un grand nimbe l'aurole et des rayons
divins percent une nue dessine droite et viennent frapper son visage.

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES "CONFESSIONS,,

Un trs fin paysage forme le fond de la gravure. On distingue, droite,


un monastre sur une colline, gauche une baie avec un navire devant
une ville lointaine reconnaissable ses clochers. Sur la rive gauche, un
surgeon feuillu jaillit d'un tronc d'arbre. Tant de symboles n'altrent pas
la simplicit de cette image-frontispice, une des plus belles de l'illustration
en dpit de la banalit du sujet.

II

Quid enim sum mihi sine te, nisi dux in praeceps ?


AUGUSTIN, Conf. IV,

I, I, ZI,

P.

d. Labriolle, p. 67.

IO.

L'image est confuse premire vue, mais le passage des Confessions


en claire le sens. Augustin, jeune rhteur imberbe en costume romain,
est juch au bord d'un rocher fendu au milieu par de larges degrs ; ses
cheveux et son manteau flottent au vent. Le bras lev, il dclame, tandis
que Satan le pousse vers le prcipice (Pl. I, fig. z).
L'artiste s'est complu cette figure de Satan qui surgit de verdures:
corps velu, chevelure faite de longs serpents qui s'agitent, manteau sombre.
11 menace Augustin de l'index droit. Entre Augustin et Satan, un petit
Cupidon ail, demi-nu, un carquois pass la ceinture, s'accroche et
pousse aussi le jeune homme6. Des nues, o se lit le nom hbraque de la
divinit, sortent des rayons qui viennent seuls au secours d'Augustin.
Au pied du rocher sont accumuls plaisir les monstres infernaux. La
queue recourbe en forme d'hameon d'un monstre marin se dcoupe
au-dessus du groupe o voisinent des ttes unicornes vomissant des
flammes, ainsi qu'une tte de vautour et une face humaine glabre qui
reprsente sans doute un damn. Au premier plan, droite, on voit
sortir d'un massif de fleurs, qui symbolisent sans doute les volupts ou les
fleurs de rhtorique, un serpent qui darde sa langue. La gravure trs fine
fait bien ressortir chaque lment de la composition.

6. Tout ceci correspond AUGUSTIN, Conf., IV, z, z, I, d. Labriolle, p. 67: Docebam in illis annis artem rhetoricam et uictoriosam loquacitatem uictus cupiditate
uendebam ... In illis annis unam habebam non eo quod legitimum uocatur coniugio
coguitam, sed quam iudagauerat uagus ardor iuops prudeutiae .

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

IO

III

Retinebant me nugae nugarum et vanitates vanitatum.


AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII,

II, 26, I, p. I97.

P. I8.

Les artistes du xvne sicle flamand ont mis la mode l'allgorie de


Continence 7 . Mais trente ans avant les peintres, Guillaume Collaert
imagine Augustin aux prises avec le personnage de Vanit, mentionne
lors de la scne du jardin de Milan par antithse avec Continence (Pl. II,
fig. r).
Cette belle jeune femme occupe le centre de la gravure. Son manteau
rejet sur l'paule droite dvoile son buste dont le justaucorps fait ressortir le dcollet et moule les formes. Sa chevelure enrubanne retombe
en boucles sur ses paules et est surmonte d'une couronne impriale en
forme de globe. Une branche de laurier met le comble sa gloire. Elle
porte un collier muni d'un lourd pendentif. De la main gauche elle tend une
tte de cheval de bois au jeune Augustin figur comme un enfant - mme
s'il avait en ralit trente-deux ans lors de la scne du jardin. Vanit se
tient derrire une table au tapis somptueux o sont accumuls toutes sortes
d'objets destins aux plaisirs purils ou futiles : mandolines, violon,
crcelle, balles, raquette ... Cupidon ail, dont on aperoit le haut du
carquois, s'amuse faire voler en l'air des bulles de savon au moyen
d'une pipe.
Un paysage est esquiss trs lgrement au fond, derrire un arbre
feuillu. Dans le ciel, une nue paisse retient les rayons divins dont aucun
ne s'chappe vers la terre. Cette image est nouvelle, notre connaissance,
et devait rester unique dans l'iconographie augustinienne.
IV

Instabas in occultis meis, Domine, flagella ingeminans pudoris et timoris.


AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII,

II,

25, 5, p.

I978 .

P. 26.

Ce texte n'tait pas ais illustrer. Voiciques'avance,droite,l'Amour


7. Voir

J. et P. COURCELLE, op. cit., p. 91 et 124, et pl. XC etCXXXIII. Pourle

xvnre sicle, voir P. COURCELLE, Les' Confessions' des. Augustin dans la tradition
littraire. Antcdents et postrit, Paris, 1963, pp. 673, 675, 679, 681-682 et pl. 33, 36,
46, 48-49.
8. Voici le texte complet d'AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, II, 25, 5, p. 197 : Et instabas
tu in occultis meis, Domine, seuera misericordia flagella ingeminans timoris et pudoris .

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES "CONFESSIONS"

II

divin. C'est encore Cupidon, mais nimb cette fois 9 . Il entrane avec lui
Augustin aux traits de jeune adolescent. Il lui montre dans le lointain un
personnage aux bras tendus, accroch par la chevelure un arbre touffu
et transperc par la lance d'un cavalier qui dbouche de derrire les rochers.
La monture du vaincu s'enfuit au galop et sa lance gt par terre (Pl. II,
fig. z).
Une ville est dessine au fond sur une colline ; des verdures et des
fleurs animent l'avant-plan.
Il semble donc que, pour figurer la terrible punition de l'homme tratre
Dieu, Collaert ait recouru l'pisode biblique clbre d'Absalonlo.

Sic aegrotabam et excruciabar, voluens ac versans me in luctu meo.


AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII,

II,

25, r, p. 19711 .

P. 32.
Augustin est figur ici comme un soldat romain tendu sur le sol, la
tte releve. Cupidon aux yeux bands vient de lui dcocher une flche
en plein cur. Mais 1'Amour divin, reconnaissable son nimbe, vient
s'agenouiller son ct, lui serre le bras, s'apprte retirer la flche
(Pl. III, fig. r). Cette fois, la nue cleste laisse percer quelques rayons
vers la scne. Comble de symbolisme, un cerf couch, gauche, a le
poitrail perc d'une flche.
Au loin l'on aperoit, gauche, un donjon o flotte une oriflamme, et
droite une voile sur la mer, l'horizon. La maladresse avec laquelle le
graveur dessine les mains et les jambes fait contraste avec la finesse
exquise de ses arrire-plans.

9. Sur la christianisation d'rs, cf. F.-J. DI.GER, Christus als himmlischer


Eros und Seelenbrautigam bei Origenes, dans Antikc und Christentum, t. VI, 1950,
pp. 272-275 ; H. CROUZEI., Origines patristiques d'un thme mystique : le trait et la
blessure d'amour chez Origne, dans Kyriakon, Festschrift ]. Quaste1i, t. I, Mnster,
1970, pp. 309-319. Dans le domaine latin, cf. ARNOBE I.E JEUNE, In Ps., XLIV,
P.L., t. LIII, 388A.
10. III Reg. (Vulgate), XVIII, 9-15.
II. Voici le texte complet d'AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, II, 25, l, p. 197 : Sic aegrotabam et excruciabar accusans memet ipsum solito acerbius nimis ac uoluens et
uersans me in uinculo meo, donec abrurnperetur toturn, quo iam exiguo tenebar.
Sed tenebar tamen .

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

12

VI

Fames mihi erat intus ab interiori cibo, teipso, Deus meus.


AuTUSTIN,

Conf., III,

r, r,

6, p. 45.

P. 40.
Cette image ne se comprend que si l'on regarde d'abord la petite scne
grave au fond et droite. Un gardien de porcs abat des glands avec son
bton; c'est l'enfant prodigue auquel Augustin lui-mme se compare,
rduit manger des gousses bonnes pour les porcs12 . Voici maintenant, au
premier-plan, Augustin affam de nourriture intrieure (Pl. III, fig. z).
Il s'agenouille devant l'Amour divin qui a lch son arc pour lui ouvrir les
bras ; celui-ci arrive de la Cit divine figure comme un baptistre illumin
d'un soleil blouissant, sur la colline au fond et gauche.

VII

Quamdiu ? Quamdiu ? Quare non hac hora finis turpitudinis meae ?


AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII,

12, 28, 22, p. 19913

Cette phase de la tempte intrieure d'Augustin au jardin de Milan est


figure trs simplement et de manire frappante. Augustin est assis sur un
rocher, au pied du figuier reprsent comme un tronc dessch dont un

I2. Cf. AUGUSTIN, Conf., I, I8, 28, I5, p. 24 : Non enim pedibus aut spatiis
locorum itur abs te aut reditur ad te, aut uero filins ille tuus minor equos aut currus
uel naues quaesiuit aut auolauit pinna uisibili aut moto poplite iter egit, ut in longinqua regione uiuens prodige dissiparet quod dederas proficiscenti dulcis pater,
quia dederas, et egeno redeunti dulcior ; III, 6, II, l, p. 53: Et longe peregrinabar
abs te exclusus et a siliquis porcorum, quos de siliquis pascebam ; IV, 16, 30, I6,
p. 88 : Tarn bonam partem substantiae meae sategi habere in potestate et fortitudinem meam non ad te custodiebam, sed profectus sum abs te in longinquam regionem,
ut eam dissiparem in meretrices cupididates ; cf. II, 10, 18, 9, p. 42: Factussum
mihi regio egestatis . La parabole de l'enfant prodigue se lit chez Luc, xv, 12-32.
13. Voici le texte complet d'AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, 12, 28, 20, p. 199: Iactabam
uoces miserabiles : ' Quamdiu, quamdiu cras et cras ? Quare non modo ? Quare non

hac hora finis turpitudinis meae ? '

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES "CONFESSIONS

I3

surgeon pousse des feuilles, non sans allusion biblique et symbolique.


Il est vtu non plus l'antique, mais d'un grand manteau collet, et
chauss de bottes. Il lve les deux mains pour aider l'Amour divin qui lui
dessille les yeux en lui enlevant le bandeau des amours profanes (Pl. IV,
fig. r).
La divinit, prsente au-dessus des nuages, en haut et gauche, sous
forme de son nom crit en hbreu, dirige la scne, puisque des rayons
percent en oblique et viennent illuminer Augustin.

VIII
Tolle lege, talle lege.
AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII, rz,

29,

4, p.

200.

P. 56.
La scne du Talle, lege parat peu soigne (Pl. IV, fig. 2). Peut-tre
l'artiste aura-t-il nglig quelque peu cette scne trs traditionnelle, trop
connue15 , pour accorder ses soins, de prfrence, aux images qu'il inventait. C'est le seul pisode o il n'ose ajouter aucun symbole.
Augustin, envelopp dans un manteau ample, est ici un personnage rel et
portant son ge. Assis au pied d'un haut figuier, la tte nue appuye sur
la main gauche, il a des traits tourments, verse de grosses larmes. Du
coin suprieur droit surviennent les paroles Talle, lege, rptes deux fois
selon le texte mme des Confessions ; elles sont portes par les rayons qui
s'chappent des nuages. La scne est trs dpouille: ni jardin, ni prsence
ou proximit d' Alypius. On voit seulement les livre des ptres, qu' Augustin va bientt ouvrir.
Au fond gauche, un monastre typiquement flamand, grav avec le
plus grand soin, meuble lgamment le dcor et correspond peut-tre la
maison voisine ii que mentionne habituellement le texte augustinien.

14. Luc XIII, 6-8.


r5. Voir P. COURCELLE, Les' Confessions' des. Augustin. Antcdents et postrit,
pp. 64r-688 et pl. r-54; Recherches sur les' Confessions' des. Augustin, 2 d., Paris,
r968, pp. 486-508, et pl. III-IX.

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

IX
Rapiunt indocti caelum, et nos cum doctrinis nostris ubi volutamur ?
In carne et sanguine.
AUGUSTIN,

Conf., VIII, 8,

I9,

5, p.

I9I 16 .

L'auteur se moque del' ordre chronologique, tel quel'attestentlesCon/es-

sions. L'allgorie reprend maintenant ses droits. Augustin, rhteur laur,


est accompagn de Vanit, figure comme ci-dessus17. Un petit Cupidon,
qui n'a aucune apparence chrtienne, s'accroche lui. (Pl. V, fig. I).
De son index droit tendu, Augustin dsigne les illettrs qui s'emparent
du ciel>>. Selon le texte des Confessions, il s'agissait d'asctes menant une
vie rmitique. Ces curs simples sont figurs gauchement ici comme des
enfants au nombre de neuf, qui montent vers le ciel par le plus court
chemin et tendent les bras vers le haut.

Ecce cor meum, Deus, ecce cor meum quod miseratus es in imo abyssi.
AUGUSTIN,.

Conf., II, 4,

9, I9,

p. 36.

P. 72.

L'Amour divin vient de percer d'une flche le cur d'Augustin; il appuie


terre son arc; le carquois gt ses pieds; de sa main droite il montre l'effet de son acte sous la pousse de la flche: Le cur vole enflamm vers la
divinit dont les rayons ont inspir Amour. Les chanes du pch, figures
par d'paisses entraves, sont rompues et retombent terre (Pl. V, fig. 2).
16. Voici le texte exact d'AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, 8, 19, 4, p. 191 : Inuado
Alypium, exclama : ' Quid patimur ? Quid est hoc, quod audisti ? Surgunt indocti et
caelum rapiunt, et nos cum doctrinis nostris sine corde ecce ubi uolutamur in carne et
sanguine! ' Cf. Matth., XI, lz : Regnum coclorum uim patitur et uiolenti rapiunt .
Sur l'influence de ce passage des' Confessions' voir P. COURCELLE, Nouuaux aspects
de la culture lhinienne, dans Revue des tudes latines, t. XLVI, 1968, pp. 389-391 et
400-401.
17. Voir ci-dessus, p. ro, et ci-dessous, pl. II, fig. r.

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES "CONFESSIONS"

C'est une version christianise du corps-prison et du vol de l'me platoniciens18.


Par contraste avec l'allgorie pousse ici jusqu' l'extrme, la jolie baie,
1' arbre et la maison du fond rappellent la ralit quotidienne.

XI
Quis accepit manum meam ut ex tenebris, quas amabam, me educeret?
PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN, Solil. animae, c. 33 (et non 37), P.L., t. XL, 892D19 .
P. 80.
Ce texte a inspir l'artiste l'une de ses plus jolies gravures. Elle demande
peu d'explications. L'Amour divin tire deux mains Augustin qui s'lve
en fendant d'pais nuages proches encore de terre, comme l'indiquent les
arbres, la rivire, la colline (Pl. VI, fig. r). Cette fois, le graveur a su allier le
symbolisme la grce des personnages ; il atteint la simplicit dans la
composition.

XII
I nebria cor meum sobria ebrietate amoris tui.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN, Meditationes, 37, P.L., t. XL, 933B 20 .

P. 88.
L'illustrateur se fait ici plus gauche. L'Amour divin tient lev le cur
d'Augustin. Une main cleste incline la coupe de la << sobre ivresse >> pour
18. Sur ces mtaphores platoniciennes, cf. P. COURCELLE, Tradition platonicienne
et traditions chrtiennes du corps-prison (Phi'don 62b, Cratyle 4ooc), dans Revue des
tudes latines, t. XLIII, 1965, pp. 406-443 ; L'me en cage, dans Parusia, Studien
zur Philosophie Platons und zur Problemgeschichte des Platonismus, Festgabe fr
Johannes Hirschbcrger, Frankfort am Main, 1965, pp. l03-rr6 ; Le corps-tombeau
(Platon, Gorgias 493a, Cratyle 4ooc, Phdre 25oc), dans Revue des titdes anciennes,
t. LXVIII, 1966, pp. 101-122 ; La Consolation de Philosophie dans la tradition
litt/raire .. ., Paris, 1967, p. 192, n. 2 ; 363 ; 368 ; Tradition no-platonicienne et tradition chrtienne des ailes de l'me , dans Platina e il N eoplatonismo in Oriente e
Occidente, Convegno interna::ionale dell'Accadernia nazionale dei Lincei, Roma, 5-9
octobre 1970 (sous presse).
r9. Le texte complet porte : ( Inuoluebar in tenebris ; filius tenebrarum tenebras
meas amabam, quia lumen non cognoscebam; caecus eram, caecitatem amabam, et
ad tenebras per tenebras ambulabam. Quis inde me eduxit, ubi eram homo caecus in
tcnebris et umbra mortis ? Quis accepit rnanurn meam, ut inde me educeret ?
20. Le texte complet du PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN, Meditationes, 37, P.L., t. XL, 933B,
est : Inebria cor meum sobria ebrietate rimoris tui ; obliuiscar quae uana sunt et
terrena .

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

16

inonder ce cur, figur cette fois comme un vase susceptible de recueillir


le liquide (Pl. VI, fig. 2). Le paysage du fond est nouveau: collines, moulin
vent, batelier guidant une barque la gaffe.

XIII
Percute, Domine, hanc mentem pia cuspide dilectionis tuae.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Meditationes, 37, P.L., t. XL, 935 D

21 .

P. 96.
Guillaume Collaert connaissait sans aucun doute les gravures augustiniennes de Bolswert, recueil publi Malines quatre ans plus tt. On
sait que cet album connut aussitt le plus franc succs. Cette image est
inspire directement de l'une de celles de Bolswert22 La Vierge couronne,
assise sur des nuages, tient sur ses genoux l'enfant Jsus qui darde une
flche immense vers le cur d'Augustin (Pl. VII, fig. r). Celui-ci est g,
en chape d'vque et robe d'Ermite, et tend les bras en signe d'acceptation.
Sa crosse et sa mitre gisent ses pieds. Cette image convient sans aucun
doute la forme de pit du xvne sicle, car elle allait tre maintes fois
reprise23 Elle s'accorde mal avec les personnages habituels de Collaert et
l'inspiration gnrale de ses gravures. Il ajoute seulement des toiles dans
le nimbe de la Vierge, selon la tradition de l'Apocalypse 24 , et un ange qui
brandit le cur transperc d'Augustin.

XIV

Amor ubi venerit, ceteros in se omnes traducit et captiuat afjectus.


PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Manuale, r8, P.L., t. XL, 959.

P. ro4.
Augustin recouvre ici sa forme habituelle d'adolescent. Il porte nouveau
un bandeau sur les yeux. L'Amour divin, qui a pos son arc devant la
zr. Voici le texte exact du PSEUDO-AUGUS'I'IN, Meditationes, 37, P.L., t. XL,
935D : Percute, Domine, percute, obsecro, hanc durissimam mentem meam praeualida cuspide dilectionis tuae .
22. Voir J. et P. COURCELLE, Iconographie des. Augustin, Les cycles du XVIe
et du XVIIe sicle, pl. XLVII.
23. Ibid., pl. CXVI, CXLIX.
24. Apoc., XII, r : In capite eins corona stellarum duodecim .

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES CONFESSIONS"

I7

table, enchane toutes ses affections (Pl. VII, fig. z). Sur cette table,
recouverte bourgeoisement d'un tapis, est pose en vidence une cage
couronne de lauriers. On distingue l'intrieur un cur enflamm et
ail. Le symbole de la cage de l'me remonte jusqu'au-del de Platon et
persista toutes les poques dans les textes et sur les monuments figurs.
Mais il avait chez Platon une tout autre signification : les sens corporels
comme gele de l'me25 . Rares sont les textes o le symbolisme est invers,
comme ici26 ,
Des rayons clestes clairent l'Amour. Un symbole nigmatique est
grav dans un nuage, l'angle suprieur gauche : un serpent qui mordsa
queue et trace ainsi un cercle, un cycle, autour de deux palmes entrecroises. Ce cycle n'est-il pas un symbole d'ternit ?

XV
Fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum,
Domine, donec requiescat in te.
AuGusTIN,

Conf, I,

I, I, IO,

p.z.

P. IIZ.

Le cur sans repos n d'Augustin a inspir l'artiste une image de tempte : tout au fond, un trait de foudre menace une nef sur la haute mer
dchane27 . lVIais cette nef reparat au premier plan, intacte, superbement
dtaille, et accoste. L'Amour divin manie les cordages et amne la voile
(Pl. VIII, fig. I). Le navire porte en poupe un tendard marqu d'un
cur transperc; dans le mme sens, le pavillon au haut du mt a pour
marque une couronne d'pines. Sur la rive, un enfant nimb tend les
bras cet Amour ; ce doit tre Jsus, non Augustin, car il est assis sur
la croix, pose elle-mme sur la colonne de la flagellation ; l'entour, on
25. Voir P. COURCEI,I,E, L'me en cage, dans Parusia, Studien zur Philosophie
Platons und zur Problemgeschichte des Platonismus, Festgabe fr Johannes Hirschberger, Frankfurt am Main, 1965, pp. lo3-n6 ; A. GRABAR, Un thme d l'iconographie
chrtirnne: l'oiseau dans la cage, dans Cahiers archologiques, t. XVI, 1966, pp. 9-16;
O. HJORT, L'oiseau dans la cage, exemples mdivaux Rome, ibid., t. XVIII, 1968,
pp. 2l-3L
26. Sur le claustrum-clotre bufique aux moines, cf. mon art. cit, p. II6 ; G. PENco, M onasterium-carcer, dans Studia monastica, t. VIII, 1966, pp. 133-143. H. TouBERT, Le renouveau palochrtien Rome au dbut du XII sicle, dans Cahiers
archologiques, t. XX, 1970, pp. 146-147 ( propos de la mosaque absidale de SaintClment de Rome.)
27. Sur la mtaphore de la tempte, cf. AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, 12, 28, 3, p. r99 :
Oborta est procella ingens ferens ingentem imbrem lacrimarum .

18

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

voit ple-mle sur la plage les autres instruments de la Passion : les ds,
avec lesquels la tunique du Christ fut tire au sort, la lance, la couronne
d'pines, les verges. L'ide est que des souffrances providentielles peuvent
seules mener la terre ferme, comme ce fut le cas pour Augustin28 . Le
cur sans repos >> d'Augustin allait tre plus tard, pour Murillo, le sujet
d'une toile immense29 .
XVI

Polum penetrabo mente, et desiderio tecum ero.


PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Manuale, 14, P.L., t. XL, 957 30 .


P.

120.

L'Amour divin, qui a band son arc, vise et atteint d'une flche lecur
d'Augustin. Cette flche l'emporte et le fait voler vers les rayons clestes
(Pl. VIII, fig. 2). Non loin de cet Amour divin, une jeune femme au profil
pur est assise et regarde la scne, mains croises sur les genoux. On songe
d'abord Monique plutt qu' une figure allgorique; mais, vu le texte
illustr, il s'agit plutt d'une contemplative quelconque qui cc pntre le
ciel en esprit>>.
Une route escarpe conduit une glise environne de verdure et
juche sur une colline. Quatre oiseaux s'envolent vers la gauche, comme
effarouchs par la flche.
XVII

Fons vitae, da sitienti animae meae semper ex te bibere.


PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Meditationes, 37, P.L., t. XL, 933B.


P.

128.

Le graveur s'est plu dessiner une haute fontaine. Cette fontaine comporte des cc putti>> joufflus qui crachent l'eau; elle est surmonte d'un
28. Sur le tempte providentielle en ce qu'elle mne au port, voir tout le prologue
du De beata uita d'Augustin ; cf. C. BoNNER, Desired Haven, dans Harvard Theological Review, t. XXXIV, 1941, pp. 49-68.
29. Voir J. et P. COURCELLE, Iconographie d3 s. Augustin. Les cycles du XVI
et du X V IJe sicle, pl. C:XL VIII.
30. Voici le texte complet du PSEUDO-AUGUS'l'IN, Manualc, 14, P.L., t. XL, 957 :
Idcirco super custodiam meam stabo et uigilantibus oculis psallam spiritu, psallam
et mente, et totis uiribus meis te factorem ac refectorem meum collaudabo, polum
penetrabo mente et desiderio tecum ero, ut in praesenti quidem miseria solo corpore
tenear ...

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES "CONFESSIONS"

I9

vase en forme de cur, d'o jaillit un jet d'eau vertical encore plus
abondant. L'Amour divin tend une coupe pleine Augustin (Pl. IX,
fig. r). On voit, au fond et droite, une petite glise. Le soleil et la lune
dominent la scne, puisque Augustin veut boire jour et nuit la source de
vie.
XVIII

Lubricae aetatis motus, actusque leues coercet


PsEuno-AuGUSTIN, Manuale, r9, P.L., t. XL, 960 31 .
P. r36.

Au second plan, sur un tang gel, l'Amour divin patine lgrement,


bras tendus, une jambe leve, tandis qu'Augustin, muni lui aussi de
patins, fait une lourde chute sur la glace. Au premier plan, le voici relev,
qui s'attache 1' Amour divin et parvient ainsi en toute scurit la
berge (Pl. IX, fig. 2).
Des arbres et une petite ville indiquent l'arrire-plan. L'artiste n'a pas
rsist au plaisir de concevoir l'image symbolique de la glissade morale
comme une petite scne de genre.

XIX

Libros de Trinitate, quos susceperat Sanctus Augustinus,


pueruli monitu relinquit.
Actus varii 32
P. r44.
Augustin apparat ici sous les traits d'un Ermite flamand, avec son
chapeau plat bords larges, son visage massif et sa barbe paisse. C'est
l'une des scnes lgendaires les plus prises de l'iconographie augusti3r. Le texte complet du PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN, Manuale, 19, P.L., t. XL, 960, est:
Amor ... carnales affectus comprimit, mores emendat, reformat et innouat spiritum,

lubricae aetatis motus actusque leues cocrcet . L'image de la glissade morale des
adolescents provient des Confessions o Augustin se dcrit lapsantem in lubrico
(IV, 2, 2, 6, p. 67; cf. VI r, r, 4, p. rr7: Ambulabam per tenebras et lubricum ).
32. Cette lgende est rapporte notamment par PIERRE DE NATALI, Catalogus
Sanctorum, VII, 128, dans Acta Sanctorum, aot, t. VI, 357F.

20

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

nienne 33 . Augustin est nimb ; son De Trinitate ouvert dans la main droite,
il fait de la gauche un geste vers l'enfant-] sus accroupi sur le sable ;
celui-ci montre la fois le trou et la cuiller avec laquelle il essaye vainement d'y verser la mer pour l'emplir (Pl. X, fig. I). Un rayon divin perce
les nues.
De petites voiles, au loin, et l'esquisse d'une chapelle, gauche, ne
sauvegardent pas cette image de la banalit.
XX

Cor humanum in desiderio aeternitatis non fixum,


nunquam stabile potest esse.
Psi:tuno-AuGUS'l'IN, M anuale, 25, (et non M editationes)
P.L., t. XL, 962B.
P. 152.
L'artiste s'est donn grand mal pour illustrer ce texte. Il a imagin un
arbre feuillu sur lequel soufflent deux angelots. Les feuilles tombent. Au
premier plan, gauche, l'Amour divin cueille des feuilles de 1' arbre et les
place dans une corbeille ; son arc est pos en vidence, debout contre le
tronc de l'arbre. Un autre ange, au second plan droite, tasse dans un sac
les feuilles qui tombent. Chacune de toutes ces feuilles est marque d'un
cur (Pl. X, fig. 2). Au-dessus de l'arbre, l'il de la divinit est enferm
dans un cadre fait d'une branche en bourgeons et d'une autre feuillue.
Par ce symbolisme laborieux, le graveur tente de faire saisir que les
sentiments tombent comme feuilles mortes si le cur humain n'est pas
fix dans le dsir d'ternit.
XXI

Hinc pascor a vulnere, hinc lactor ab ubere.

C. LANCILO'l"l'US, S. Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis episcopi ...


V ita, Anvers, 16r6, p. 262.
P. r6o.
Le graveur intercale dans la suite de ses illustrations une image pieuse
d'un got contestable qui fut mise la mode, semble-t-il, par Kartarius
33. Voir n.otamment J. et P. CouRCEI.I.E, Iconographie de s. Aug1tstin. Les cycles
du XV sicle, pl. LX, C, CV, CXV; Les cydes du XVI et du XVII sicle, pl. VIU,

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES CONFESSIONS"

21

la fin du xv1e sicle 34 . Augustin, vtu la fois de la robe d'Ermite et de


la chape d'vque, est agenouill, de face. Au-dessus de lui, dans deux
mandorlas >>, le Christ en croix et la Vierge l'abreuvent respectivement
d'un jet de sang et d'un jet de lait. (Pl. XI, fig. r). Sur le sol sont dposs
sa crosse et sa mitre sa droite, un livre ouvert sa gauche.
Verdures et architectures dnotent seuls la personnalit de l'artiste.

XXII

Inimicus noster tetendit ante pedes nostros laqueos infinitos.


PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Soliloquia animae, r6, P.L., t. XL, 878A 35 .


P. r68.

Cupidon, qui a dpos sur le sol son arc et une flche, tend un pige en
forme de filet o passe sans encombre 1'Amour divin, protg par des
rayons clestes. Ce dernier tient son arc dans la main droite et, de son
index gauche, fait un signe triomphant Augustin assis au pied d'un
arbre lev (PL XI, fig. 2). Augustin pose une main sur la poitrine et
carte l'autre en signe d'admiration.
Dans le lointain, gauche, on voit, plac sur l'herbe, un large miroir
vers lequel se prcipitent deux alouettes ; le visage d'un guetteur regarde
par-dessus la colline si les oiseaux se font prendre. Ce symbole complte
le prcdent.
Le graveur fait merveille ds qu'il peut utiliser une scne de la vie
quotidienne des fins allgoriques.

XIII, XXVI, XXX, XXXV, XCIII, CVI, CXXIX, CL. Cette lgende apparat
frquemment aussi, en dehors des cycles , sous forme de tableaux l'tat spar.
34. Voir J. et P. COURCELLE, Iconographie des. Augustin. Les cycles du XVJe et
du XVIIe sicle, pl. X.
35. Voici le texte complet du PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN, Soliloquia animae, r6, P.L.,
t. XL, 878A : Inimicus, ut occidat, semper uigilat sine somno. Ecce tetendit ante
pedes nostros laqueos infinitos et omnes uias nostras impleuit decipulis ad capiendas
animas nostras .

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

22

XXIII

0 Amor, qui semper ardes, et nunquam extingueris,


accende me totum igne tuo.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN,

Manuale,

IO,

P.L., t. XL, 956 35 .

P. IJ6.
Augustin, qui reprend ici son apparence d'me mystique, prsente son
cur enflamm au Sraphin qui lui apparat sur des nuages, environn
d'une grande (( mandorla >> rayonnante (Pl. XII, fig. I).
Des fleurs l'avant-plan, une glise dans la verdure, esquisse droite,
agrmentent avec bonheur cette pitre image.

XXIV

Sanctus Augustinus Pater Patrum, Doctor Doctorum,


abyssus Sapientiae.
PsEuno-Possrmus, Epist. ad M acedonium,
d. C. LANCILOTTUS, op. cit., p. 2 vo.

Augustin en gloire, sorte de statue dresse sur un rocher, tient de la


main gauche son cur enflamm, de la droite sa crosse. La source de
sagesse sort de sa bouche et est recueillie en bas dans une vasque. Prs de
celle-ci, une femme nimbe porte la tiare pontificale ; la clef de Saint
Pierre est dpose, bien en vue, sur la margelle (Pl. XII, fig. 2). Ainsi,
l'glise abreuve l'aide de deux cuelles les diffrents reprsentants de la
postrit spirituelle d'Augustin : c'est naturellement un Ermite qui boit le
premier, un genou terre ; puis viennent un Prmontr et un Chanoine,
puis d'autres en groupe serr. Les rayons divins illuminent la grande figure
fminine. On voit quel point les hommes de ce temps chrissaient les
allgories, mmes celles d'un got douteux.

36. Le texte complet du

PSEUDo-AuGUS'l'IN,

Manuale, ro, P.L., t. XL, 956, est :

0 amor qui semper ardes et nunquam extingueris, dulcis Christe, bone Iesu, charitas
Deus meus, accende me totum igne tua, amore tuo, dulcedine tua, dilectione tua ...

L'ILLUSTRATION SYMBOLIQUE DES

cc

CONFESSIONS)>

23

XXV

Triumphus Sancti Augustini


P. 192.
La gravure la plus potique et la mieux russie est certainement la
dernire. Cette fois, la scne se passe au-dessus du joli paysage habituel.
Le char de feu port par des nues noires s'envole vers le ciel o est finement dessine une vaste glise illumine du soleil divin : la Cit de Dieu.
Nouvel lie, Augustin est figur comme un simple Ermite, sans aucun
appareil de la dignit piscopale (Pl. XIII). Nimb, il est genoux, le
buste trs droit, et joint les mains. Son char est emport par trois chevaux
aux naseaux fumants, aux crinires et aux queuesflottantes. Des flammes
jaillissent derrire eux. Cette image, que l'on pourrait dire annonciatrice
de Chagall, montre que l'artiste est capable du meilleur comme du pire.
Elle fait oublier ses inventions les plus contestables.
Le lecteur aura remarqu que Collaert signe modestement ses gravures
par la seule mention excudit, non prcde d'invenit comme il serait de
rgle. Il est donc vraisemblable que l'Ermite Michel Royer, auteur du
livre, a fourni l'illustrateur des indications prcises, lui a suggr des
symboles, les rminiscences bibliques, les rfrences aux Confessions et
aux crits inauthentiques, uvres augustinisantes du xn sicle, pour la
plupart. Tout cela suppose un homme cultiv et nourri de lectures spirituelles.
Sur les yingt-cinq images, cinq seulement (I, VIII, XIII, XIX, XXI)
paraissent copies sur un modle prexistant. Cinq aussi - qui sont les
mmes, une exception prs - nous montrent en Augustin l'vqueErmite, (I, XIII, XIX, XXI, XXV), selon l'usage de l'cole anversoise.
La dernire, qui dcrit 1' enYol d'Augustin sur son char, copie les reprsentations d'lie, mais n'en est pas moins d'une belle vigueur.
Pour le reste, l'auteur et le graveur ont cherch figurer de faon
concrte l'ardeur mystique d'Augustin. Au dbut surtout apparat le
personnage paen de Cupidon, instigateur traditionnel des dsirs charnels
ou profanes, qui vient parfois de pair avec Dame Vanit, personnage
allgorique tir des Confessions elles-mmes. Par la suite, Cupidon prend,
au contraire, l'aspect de l'Amour divin - comme le montre son nimbe et les traits d'un jeune mentor ou d'un double du jeune Augustin, dont il
partage tantt les souffrances tantt les ardeurs. Parfois mme, Augustin
n'apparat pas du tout (X, XV, XVI et XX) ; en dehors de ces cas exceptionnels, il est figur le plus souvent comme un enfant ou un jeune adolescent, sans aucun signe particulier. Les auteurs ont bien compris que les

JEANNE ET PIERRE COURCELLE

Confessions dcrivent moins l'histoire personnelle d'un individu que les


pripties morales propres la jeunesse humaine.
L'usage du symbole que reprsente le cur embras, perc d'une flche
et muni d'ailes, nous semble d'une frquence excessive, mais est conforme
au got de l'poque et s'inspire de mtaphores chres l'auteur des
C onfessions 37 .
Il faut faire valoir 1' actif du graveur la nettet de sa taille, la finesse
des paysages esquisss l'arrire-plan : roches, fleurs, voiles sur des plans
d'eau, collines, villes lointaines. En revanche, Collaert dessine des visages
dnus d'expression - 1' exception de celui d'Augustin lors de 1' pisode
du Talle, lege, seule scne narrative. Il prte ses personnages des mains
et des pieds aux contours maladroits.
Malgr tous ces dfauts, on retiendra comment le livre VIII des Confessions - et en particulier la scne du jardin de Milan - sont analyss avec
soin. A elle seule, cette scne fournit six images (III, IV, V, VII, VIII, IX),
mme si l'auteur ne se soucie pas d'en reconstituer la suite chronologique 38 ,
mais seulement d'extraire six flammulac. Les vers de Royer leur sujet sont
une paraphrase verbeuse, encombre de souvenirs classiques39 Seul
Wandereisen pratique aussi, vers la mme date, la manire symbolique
pour illustrer en images une Vie d'Augustin; mais ses symboles sont
pdants et macabres40 . Ceux de Collaert, au contraire, sont le plus souvent
jolis, neufs, parfois dignes d'mouvoir.
Jeanne et Pierre COURCELLE
37. AuGUSTrn, Conf., VIII, 7, 18, 8, p. rnr : Illa (sarcina uanitatis) te adhuc
premit umerisque liberiorihus pinnas redpiunt, qui neque ita in quaerendo adtriti
sunt nec decennio et amplius ista meditati ; IX, 2, 3, r, p. 210 : '' Sagittaueras tu cor
nostrum caritate tua, et gcstahamus uerba tua transfixa uisceribus ''
38. Cette suite chronologique serait l'ordre : IX, V, IV, III, VII, VIII, qui correspondrait AUGUSTIN, Conf., VIII, 8, 19, 5, p. 191 ; VIII, II, 25, I, p. r97; VIII, II,
25, 5, p. 197; VIII, II, 26, 1, p. 197; VIII, 12, zb, 21, p. 199 ; VIII, rz, 29, 4, p. 200.
39. Voici par exemple comment est dcrite la scne du Tolle, lege , p. 58 :
O quoties gemitus, quoties suspiria rupit
Ficulnasque findit voxque iecurque comas.
0 quoties Dryades singultibus implorare :
Miscuit et gemitus garrula Dina suos.
Et numero vox lapsa domo disuerherat aures
(Aethereo si non vox ea lapsa polo)
' Tolle, lege ' (exanguis voluit sua lumina circum)
Et liquido inclamat altera ' Tolle, lege '.
Ohstupuit, steterunt gemitus lacrymaeque cadentes,
Nescius hanc suadam ferre salutis opem,
Haeret, an haec hlandae triuialia carmina pupae,
Haeret, an haec pueri ludicra forte canant.
Nec videt haec pueros, nec promere carmina pupas.
' Arcanum sed inest hic mihi numen ', ait.
' Forte sacros Superi mandant reserare libellos '.
Et mandant, certe verba iubentis erant '.
Continuo currit, legit ; et, mirabile dictu,
Obuia sunt animo caelica sensa suo.
40. Cf. J. et P. CoURCHLLH, Iconographie des. A~tptstin. Les cycles du XVJe et
du XVIIe s-icle, pl. LVIII-LXXIX.

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LE TRIOillPHE D'AUGUSTIN

Verbum in the early Augustine (386-397)*

During the past three-quarters of a century, one of the major issues in


Augustinian studies has been that of the relation of Neoplatonic and
Christian elements in his thought, especially in the period before the
writing of the Confessions 1 . Since Pierre Courcelle published his study
of those same Confessions in 1950, it has generally been admitted that
Augustine received these two traditions together2 Yet the question of
how and where the relationship between them is focussed for him still
remains 3 .
Paper presented to the Sixth International Conference on Patristic Studies,
Oxford, september II, I97I.
r. Excellent reviews of major literature regarding this problem are found in
Sister Mary Patricia GARVEY, St. Augustine : Christian or Neoplatonist ? (Milwaukee : Marquette Univ. Press, I939), pp. I-38, and Pierre COURCELLE, Recherches sur les Confessions de saint Augustin (Paris : E. De Boccard 2 d. l 968), pp. 7-1 r.
2. COURCELLE, Recherches .. ., pp. 138, l68-I74, 253, et passim. See also his Late
Latin Writers and their Greck Sources, trans. Harry E. Wedeck (Cambridge : Harvard Univ. Press, Ig69), Chs. 3 and 4. Courcelle is followed by A.-H. ARMS'.!'RONG,
Spiritual or Intelligible Matter in Plotinus and St. Augustine , Augustinus 111 agis ter
(Paris: tudes Augustiniennes, Ig54), p. 28r. Cf., Robert J. O'CoNNELL, St. Augustine's Confessions : The Odyssey of Soul (Cambridge : The Belknap Press, Ig69),
pp. 93-94. O'Connell disagres with Courcelle's thesis that Augustine's discussions
with Simplician were concerned with the consonance of Neoplatonism and John I.
Yet O'Connell too believes that Christianity and Neoplatonism were closely identified in Augustine's mind. In fact, this is a major thrust of his work. Cf. also
Peter BROWN, Augustine of Hippo (London : Faber and Faber, I967), p. 79, n. l.
Brown comments that this work of Courcelle, has laid the foundations of all modern
views of Augustine's evolution in Milan . For the importance of Courcelle's work,
see also Eckard KoNIG, Augustinus Philosophus : Christlicher Glaube und philosophisches Denken in den Frhschriften A ugu!''inus (Studia et Testimonia Antiqua XI ;
Mnchen : Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1970), p. 15.
3. The fact that this is still an unsettled and highly complex question is illustrated in two important recent works : Ragnar HOL'rE, Batitude et Sagesse : Saint
Augustin et le problme de la fin de l'homme dans la philosophie ancienne (Paris :
tudes Augustiniennes, 1962), and Robert J. O'CoNNELL, St. Augustine's Confessions... These two works, while displaying careful scholarship, disagree widely

26

D. W. JOHNSON

Happily, Augustine himself offers us a tentative focus of the issue in the


Seventh Book of the Confessions. Here he tells us that in the Books of
the Platonists )) 4 he found the substance, though not the identical language
of the Gospel of John. He found that the Verbum was God, Creator,
Life, Light, and the giver of that power by which men can become sons of
God. But, )) he says, that the Verbum was made flesh and dwelt
among us, I did not read there )) 5 .
This witness, together with Augustine's frequent use of Verbum suggests
that it may represent a viable focus for studying his early thought 6 .
Sorne scholars, such as C. N. Cochrane and H.-G. Gadamer have held
that he uses Verbum in an essentially Christian way, finding in it the real
involvement of Godin the world through creation and Incarnation. Thus
he was able to overcome that basic dualism which was endemic to classical thought. Gadamer in particular believes that Augustine's use of
cc Word )) as God's consubstantial speech enabled him to exert a positive
influence over against the dualistic separation of thought and speech
which is so typical of the western tradition 7

on the question of whether Neoplatonism or Christianity exercised the major influence


on Augustine's thoughts. My own comments on the views of the above authors
and of the general question of how these two forces influenced Augustine's thought
wLl be treated at appropriate places thoughout this paper.

+ The question of just what books these were, and of Augustine's Neoplatonic
sources in general is highly complex and much debated. The following is only a
sampling of some of the more important judgments on this question : P. HENRY,
Augustine and Plotinus , The.Journal of Theological Studies, XXXVIII (J anuary,
1938), l-23. Father Henry is particulary interested in stressing the result of a
historical-critical analysis which would lead to the reading Platini ... rather than
Platoni ... >l in de beata vita, p. 8. He has elaborated this thesis in his Plotin et
l'Occident, (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, 15, 1934), pp. 82-88. A contemporary
treatment of some modern jugdments is found in Olivier DU ROY, L'intetligence de la
foi en la Trin:t selon saint Augustin (Paris: tudes Augustiniennes, 1966), pp. 68-72.
Pierre Courcelle in his Late Latin ... agress that the Enneads esp. On the Beautiful,
were important for the early Augustine, but insists that these philosophical books
also included the De Regressu A nimae of Porphyry (pp. 168-189). However, Courcelle's citations in support of his thesis are almost all from a later period, usually
from De Civ. Dei. But he does receive added support from John J. O'l\IEARA,
The Young Augustine : The Growth of St. Augustine' s M ind up to his Conversion
(London : Longman's, Green, 1954), pp. 131-155. Cf., P. HADO'l', La structure
de l'me, image de la Trinit chez Victorinus et chez saint Augustin , Studia Patristica, VI, (Oxford, 1959). Texte und Untersuchungen (Berlin, 1962), pp. 435-40.
5. Conf. VII, 9, 13-14. P.L., 32, 741.
6. See, for example O'MEARA, The Young Augustine ... , p. lZ. O'Meara believes
that the focus of the entire Confessions is on the discovery of the Incarnate Word.
7. Hans-Georg GADAMER, Warheit und Methode (Tbingen: J. C.B. Mohr, 1960),
Secs. I and II passim, pp. 389-94, 396-40I. Charles Norris COCHRANE, Christianity
and Classical Culture (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1957), esp. pp. 75-81, 157-62,
336-7, 362-3, 370, 383-86, 399-419, 436-7, 459-60, 474. See also H. PAISSAC, Thologie du Verbe: Saint Augustin et Saint Thomas (Paris: Les ditions du cerf, 1951),
Chs. II-III.

VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

27

But a large number of students of Augustine have viewed Verbum as


a term growing out of Neoplatonic roots, comparable to the Plotinian
Nous or Divine Mind. In their eyes his use of it is an important evidence
of the inroads of a Plotinian mind-set on his Christian theology8.
This attitude is displayed in Otto Scheel's influencial work on
Augustine's Christology. The point at which Scheel finds the Neoplatonic impact on him to be most clearly evident is precisely in his doctrine
of Word ! Before 39r, according to Scheel, the new couvert identifies
Christ with Wisdom, and in turn equates both with the Verbum of John I.
Although some specifically Christian elements are contained in his
teachings, Verbum really equals the archetypal numbers and Platonic
reasons, seen by contemplation. Thus, for Augustine, W ord is basically
an unscriptural concept, equal to the Greek cosmos noetos, or Nous. This,
in turn, has disastrous results for Augustine's doctrines concerning Jesus
Christ, in which the dominant force is a cosmologically determined Logos
Christology where Verbum speculation stands in sharp contrast to the
historical Christ, and the historical aspects of redemption are appropriately denigrated 9 It is Scheel's opinion that this early Neoplatonic
influence had important effects on the later period, leading to inner
contradictions when combined with catholic teaching by the bishop of
Hippo10 .
It is clear that Augustine's philosophical quest for wisdom does corne
naturally to mind as a setting for his treatment of Verbum. Augustine
himself makes it quite clear that his quest for a happy life was closely
associated with a search for truth11 .
Yet for him as well as for his predecessors and contemporaries such a
search was inevitably doomed to failure unless carried out with an eye to
the telos or goal of human life. In Augustine's case this goal was the
possession of truth ( veritas) or wisdom ( sapientia) - the true measure

8. Two examples of this are Prosper ALFARIC, L'volution intellectuelle de Saint


Augustin (Paris: mile Nourry, r9r8), pp. 373-397, and A. D. R. PoLMAN, The Ward
of Gad According ta Saint Augustine, trans. A. J. Pomerans (New York: Eerdmans,
r96r), pp. 30-32. Polman states that Augustine's treatment of Verbum, particularly in the early period, is proof positive of a N eoplatonic influence which tends
to obscure the full significance of God's Word as proclamation.
9. O. SCHEEL, Die Anschauung Augustins ber Christi Persan und Werk, Tbingen,
r9or, Bk. II, 20-79, passim.
10. Ibid., pp. 60, q5, 147, r68-r76, 466-467.
rr. Conf. III, 4,7-5,9, P.L., 32, 685-6; V, r3,23-r4,25, VI, 4,5-5,8, VII, 7,rr-r3,19,
P.L., 32, 7r7-r8, 72r-23, 739-44. For the dominance of Wisdom speculation and
its close association with the happy life, Cf., Robert J. O'CoNNELL, St. Augustine's
Early Theory of Man (Cambridge : The Belknap Press, 1968), pp. 205-6. Also see
H.-I. MARROU, A History of Education in Antiquity, trans. George Lamb (New York:
Mentor Books, r956-r964). Marrou finds the quest for a happy life to be the major
concern in Greek and Latin education, pp. 391-394, 426-7.

28

D. W. JOHNSON

of hurnan life at its fullest12 . Since happiness is only secure when its
object is unchangeable, wisdorn must be entirely spiritual in nature
vastly different frorn the knowledge ( scientia) of the corporeal world of
becorning. Wisdorn can only proceed frorn God hirnself, who illumines the
rnind with his own Wisdorn - Christ the power and Wisdorn of God, who
dwells within13
It seerns only natural then, to suppose that in the early period and
perhaps beyond, Augustine would use Verbum within the context of this
philosophical quest, treating it as something akin to Wisdom, the divine
Truth known by contemplation, which attracts men, but is not attracted
to them.
But it is precisely this natural and common supposition that I wish to
call into question in this paper. In opposition toit I suggest that Verbum,
as used by Augustine in the period 386-397 does not grow out of Neoplatonic
roots, i.e., is not identical in meaning to Sapientia or Wisdom, but intends to
convey the idea of the expressive, concerned and involved God of Christianity.
Further, this term does not take the cosmos noetos of the Greeks as its model,
but is modeled, rather, on the expression of thought, and therefore more akin
in meaning to speech14 , than to Sapientia1 5.
r2. De beata vita 4, 23-33, P.L., 32, 970-975. A very thorough and helpful study
of the relation of happiness and Wisdom in Augustine's early works is found in
HoL'tE, Batitude ... , esp. Chs. r and 5, pp. rr-r9, 63-72. Cf., BROWN, Augustine ... ,
pp. 40-45. The coupling of the good or end of man with his search for truth is
clearly within the Platonic tradition and can be traced back to Plato himself.
Robert E. CUSHMAN, Therapeia : Plato's Conception of Philosophy (Chapel Hill :
Univ. of N. Carolina Press, r958), pp. r6-30. Cf., also BURNABY, Amor Dei, Ch. 3,
Beata Vita , pp. 45-84.
r3. Clear and concise treatments of Augustine's search for Wisdom are found in
tienne GILSON, The Christian Philosophy of Saint Augustine, trans. I,.E.M. Lynch
(New York : Random House, r960), Pt. I, Pt. II, Ch. r, pp. 3-r2ti, and in HOL'rE,
Batitude ... , Ch. 5, pp. 64-72. Cf., Vernon J. BOURKE, Augustine's Quest of Wisdom
(Milwaukee : The Bruce Publishing Co., r945). But perhaps the best summations
are given by Augustine himself in De lib. arb. II, 3, 7-r5, 39, P.L., 32, r243-r262,
and in De doct. christ., I, Chs. 3-ro, P.L., 34, 20-23, C.C. 32, 8-12.
14. Throughout this pape1, the usage of MIGNE, Patrologia, will be followed in
regard to the capitalization of Verbum. Wherever the context and usage of the
term would seem to suggest that Augustine intends it to refer in some way to the
Second Person of the Trinity, it will be capitalized. Wherever its usage is not personal in this sense, i.e., where it seems to refer to a common, rather than a proper
noun, lower case letters will be used. This device will be used here, as it is in Migne,
only as a helpful means of clarification. I have found, however, that in the numerous plact:s where the term is found in Migne, the judgments about capitalization
almost universally correspond to what my own exegesis would suggest. Cf. Alfred
ScHINDLER, W art und Analogie in Augustins TrinitiUslehre (Tbingen : J. C.B. Mohr,
1965), p. 86. Schindler comments that the distinction between the two usages is
usually quite clear. It must be remembered, of course, that this is a convenience,
and does not correspond to Augustine's own usage.
15. The Western church in general tended to translate the logos of John I into
terms oriented toward speech (sermo, verbum) rather that into tenus more closely
related to rational concepts (ratio). SCHINDLER, Wort und Analogie ... , pp. n5-r17.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

29

This thesis differs, of course, not only from that of Scheel, but also from
such important modern interpretations as those of Alfred Schindler and
Ulrich Duchrow. Schindler, while admitting some speech i> aspects of
Verbum, believes that these are not central to Augustine's thought and
tend to recede behind Logos speculation16 . For Duchrow, the Augustinian VerbitJn is almost exclusively associated with a sight-oriented illuminism rather than with speaking and hearingl 7 .
While gladly acknowledging my debt to their careful and extensive
research, I feel compelled to disagree with themon thiscentralissue. My
reasons for holding this view are as follows :
r.

The Man of Words

Augustine was certainly a philosopher, but not only that. He was also
a man of words. He began as a rhetor by training and profession and
ended as a Christian preacher and Biblical commentator18 . Never did he
completely escape from concern over virtuosity with language19 .
This dimension of Augustine's life and thought is being taken into
account by an increasing number of scholars who believe that his entire
spiritual development was extensively influenced by his concepts of communication. Among them one may count K. Kuypers, Joseph Finaert,
and most recently, C. P. Mayer 20 .
16. ScHINDLER, Wort und Analogie .. ., 75, 86-92, 94, 103, rr8, 192-3, 218, 232-3,
239-4I.
17. Ulrich DUCHROW, Sprachverstandnis und Biblisches Haren bei Augustin
(Tbingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1965), pp. l-2, 98-9, 104-5, 109-10, 137-47, 174-97, 240-42.

r 8. For the importance of rhetoric and language in Augustine and in the ancient
world see H.-I. MARROU, A History of Education in Antiquity, trans. George Lamb
(New York : Mentor Books, 1956 (1964), pp. 327-8, 381-90, 416. The practice of
rhetoric was closely connected with wor!dly success in Augustine's mind. Conf.
VIII, Chs. 5-12, P.L., 32, 753-64. The comments of Courcelle are helpful on this
point. His explanation of Augustine's conversion as a turning away from such success seems convincing. CouRCELLE, Recherches ... , p. 190. Cf., Cornelius Petrus
MAYER, Die Zeichen in der geistigen Entwicklung und in der Theologie des fungen
Augustinus (Wrzburg: Augustinue-Verlag, 1969), pp. 108-9. The important part
played by the profession of rhetoric for the success oriented North African is treated
in BROWN, Augustine ... , pp. 2r-2, 35-8, 65-72.
19. Erich AUERBACH, Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin A ntiquity
and in the Middle Ages, trans. Ralph Manheim (New York: Bollington Foundation,
1965), Ch. l, pp. 27-58. Cf., F. VAN DER MEER, Augustine the Bishop : Church and
Society at the Dawn of the Middle Ages, trans. Brian Battershaw and G. R. Lamb
(New York : Harper Torchbook, 1961), pp. 405-23, 543-6r. Augustine's fascination with verbal fireworks is set in the context of the Baroque style of Roman
North Africans of this period by BROWN, Augustine .. ., pp. 22-3. Also MAYER, Die
Zeichen .. ., p. 222.
20. K. KUYPERS, Der Zeichen- und Wortbegrijf im Denken Augustins (Amsterdam:
N. V. Swets, 1934) Joseph FINAER'r, Saint Augustin Rhteur (Paris: Socit d'dition Les Belles Lettres, 1939). Finaert asserts that Augustine never lost his concern

30

D. W. JOHNSON

Augustine's own writings bear ample evidence of his concern for words.
His first work, the Principles of Dialectic, deals almost exclusively with an
analysis of words as signs. His work entitled The Teacher, written about
three years later, concentrates on the question of communication through
spoken signs, and his On Christian Doctrine, written in early 397, tries to
apply select rules of rhetoric to Christian preaching.
It would be difficult to imagine that this abiding interest in language
exerted no influence on his concept of the divine Word. It is just as
reasonable to suppose that when he heard the term Verbum his thoughts
turned instinctively to speech, as to assume that he thought, automatically, of Wisdom21.
It is of course very weJl known that Augustine holds words and all
signs in 1ow regard during the early period. This is seen most clearly in
De magistro where the major thesis is that words cannot teach at al122 .
The roots of this stance toward verba may be found as early as Principia
dialecticae 23 In one place in this work he defines a word as the sign of a
thing24 , and in another as simply the utterance deprived even of its signing
function 25
for rhetorical eloquence. But he also contends that such eloquence never existed
for its own sake in Augustine's mind. See esp. his important observation that even
Augustine's written works were usually originally spoken, pp. 13-16. A. D. R.
Por,MAN, The Ward if Gad .. ., also concentrates on Augustine's interest in language,
bnt in Polman's case, the focus is on the language of Scripture, rather than on
rhetoric itself. MAYER, Die Zeichm ... , Specific teachings from the tradition of rhetorical education also probably inflnenced some Augustinian doctrines, e.g., the Trinitarian analogies; cf., SCHINDI,ER, Wort und Analogie ... , pp. 56-60.
2r. This problematic exists even in the Greek usage of Logos, which refers to both
speech aud reason ; cf., KUYPERS, Der Zeichen ... , pp. 60-64. The double nature
of Logos (Verbum) is found in classical, hellenistic, biblical and patristic uses, with
the speech aspect prevailing at some times, while the reason aspect prevails
at others. The reader is referred to the following excellent studies : Rendel HARRIS,
The Origin of the Prologue to St. ] ohn' s Gospel. SCHRENK, yro, 'Jc6yo, pfia,
aMro, Theologisches Worterbuch zu1n Neuen Testament, d. Gerhard Kittel (Stuttgart : W. Kohlhammer, 1942), IV, pp. 69-148. G. W. H. LAMPE, A Patristic Greek
Lex:on (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1964), pp. 807-11.
22. De mag. II, 36-38, P.L., 32, 1215-1216; 38, P.L., 32, 1216.
23. The Principia dialecticae was thought to be spurious by the Benedictine
editors, and is so presented in Migne, P.L., 32, 1385, 1410. Yet modern authors
have become increasingly less skepbcal about its authenticity. Today it is nearly
universally regarded as authentic. Cf., ScHINDLER, Wort und Analogie ... , p. 76,
KUYPERS, Der Zcichen ... , p. 13 and Belford JACKSON Semantics and Hermeneutics
in St. Augustine's De doctrina christiana (Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Yale
Univ., 1967), p. 87. The question of authenticity is also discussed in H.-I. MARROU,
Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique (4th ed., Paris : 1958), pp. 576-8,
and in Jan Pinborg, Das Sprachdenken der Stoa und Augustins Dialectic , Classica
et Medieavalia, XXIII, r49-5r.
24. Prin. dial. v, P.L., 32, r4ro.
25. Ibid., r4rr. The distinction between verbum and vox is not found in the
prin. dia!., and only develops much later in conjunction with the concept of inner
word. The earliest clear indication of this distinction is found in Sermon 288,

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

31

In both definitions word is analyzed in a highly dualistic manner, where


the word as sign is radically severed from the meaning which it somehow
conveys. This stance toward speech is reflected not only in De magistro,
but also in Augustine's continuing insistence that the substance of an
issue must be the object of our concern rather than the words in which it
is expressed 26 .
This doctrine of language is quite consistent with the spirit of a Platonic
body-soul dualism which pervades Augustine's anthropology from this
period27 . For him the soul in its pristine state stands midway between
the body, which is mutable in both space and time, and God, who is
mutable in neither, the soul itself being mutable only in time. When it
inclines above toward God, it is not only happy but asserts a proper and
rational control over the body, just as God providentially orders the
world. But in the case of fallen man, the soul proudly and imperialistically turns away from God toward what is lower than itself. But in so
doing, it becomes subject to the body and its passions and is miserable 28 .
In De Genesi contra M anichaeos Augustine specifically relates the need
for words as a means of communication to man's fall through pride. Man,
he insists, had no need of the words of the prophets before the fall but
was watered by God with an interior font (which, it must be noted, is not
referred to as W ord). But swelling toward exteriors through pride, he
was no longer nourished in this way and, therefore, needed rain from dark
clouds, i.e., doctrine in obscure human words2 9
dated about 405. Here Augustine calls J esus the verbum, while John is the vox,
the voice crying in the wilderness. Cf., SCHlNDLER, Wort und Analogie ... , pp. 99-101,
KUYPERS, Der Zeichen ... , pp. 13, 67-70.
26. C. Acad. III, 13, 29, P.L., 32, 949; II, II, 25, P.L., 32, 931 ; De mag. 8, 22-24,
P.L .. 32, 120-709 ; De quant. anim. 32, 65, P.L., 32, 1071-73. Augustine's insistence
on separating merely rhetorical eloquence from meaning may be seen as one expression
of his break with a concern for eloquence as an end in itself, as well as un indication
of his break with the smooth explanations of reality given by the Manicheans. Cf.,
FINAERT, Saint Augustin .. ., l-9, and MAYER, Die Zcichen ... , pp. 104-107, also
DucHROW, Sprachversttindnis ... , pp. 42-89.
27. Othmar PERLER, Der Nus bei Plotin itnd das Verbum bei Augustinus als
Vorbildliche U1'Sache der Welt (Freiburg-Schweiz : Studia Freiburgensia, 1931),
pp. 76-7. Following Pinborg, Das Sprachdenken ... , Perler finds Stoic roots in the
Augustinian analysis of language. JACKSON, Scmantics ... , pp. 120-15 2 also believes
that Augustine is here more under Stoic than Neoplatonic influence. So also
SCHINDLER, Wort und Analof;ie ... , p. 76. But MAYER, Die Zeichen ... , pp. 236-39,
has observed that the Stoic terms are really enlivened with a Platonic spirit. For
an informative analysis of Plato's own treatment of this question, cf., GADAMER,
Warhrit ... , Pt. III, Ch. 2.
28. Ep. 18, 2, P.L., 33, 85; De musica VI, 5, 9, P.L., 32, lr68; VI, 5, r3, P.L., 32,
l r70 ; VI, 4, 7, P.L., 32, rr66-7.
29. De Gen. c. Man. II, 4, 5-5, 6, P.L., 34, 198-9. Helpful treatments of the
effect of the fall on Augustine's doctrine of knowledge and signs can be found in
Ulrich DUCHROW, Signum und Superbia beim jungen Augustin (386-90) , Revue
des tudes Augustiniennes VII (1961), pp. 369-72, and in HLTE, Batitude ... ,
pp. 207-250, 283-293. Cf., O'CNNELL, Early Theory ... , p. 138, where O'Connell

D. W. JOHNSON

32

Yet along with these negative conclusions there are aspects of this same
doctrine of language which tend to balance them, and even give a
guardedly positive evaluation of speech.
First, the mere corporality of uttered words is not in itself a degradation,
nor is reason's involvement in them. When the soul rationally organizes
sound, it is merely asserting its rational and proper control over the body.
In fact, Augustine clearly parallels the soul-body relationship with that
of the relation of the meaning and sound of words, even referring to
meaning as the cc soul>> of a word 30 It is only when man grasps at the
lesser good and therefore becomes dependent on corporeal communication
that degradation takes place 31
Yet this dependency itself issues in a partially positive evaluation of
speech32 , as may be seen even in De magistro. Because man is now turned
away from the inner truth, words and signs in general perform the necessary and invaluable fonction of admonishing us to look to reality, even
though they cannot display that realityaa.
De magistro also shows that words have a particular fonction in an area
which is important for the Christian faith - the realm of historical
knowledge. Of course, we could not even understand an historical narrative unless we already knew the meanings of the terms that are used. Yet
the way in which these terms are related could not have been known
beforehand. Therefore, hearing the words, we really learn nothing new,
but we can came to believe something new by trusting the authority of
the narrator 34 . An important fonction of words, then, cornes from their
close association with belief and authority. This cannot help but have
some impact on his Christian theology.
Yet when the last word on the matter has been said, words are still
held in low regard. This in itself could mean that Augustine cannot have
speech in mind when he refers to the Verbum of God. But it can also
suggest the opposite : It is just as possible that from the very beginning
Augustine the rhetor intended to present the divine Verbum as God's
asserts that the Christian doctrine of sin did affect Augustine's otherwise Plotinian
concept of fall. Cf., BURNABY, Amor Dei ... , p. 58.
30. De quant. anim. 32, 65, P.L., 32, 1071-73. Also notice the great care with
which Augustine analyzes words as syllables, rests and beats in De mus. II, l, l,
IV, 14, 21-24, P.L., 32, 1099, rr40-4r.
3r. Othmar Perler, among others, feels that the sound itself is degrading; cf.,
PERLER, Der Nus ... , p. 76.
32. Ulrich Duchrow makes the interesting observation that for Augustine, this
apparently negative evaluation has its positive side. Since the proud soul of man
is eager to dominate other persans, God protects men from the imperialism of
others by requiring men in the fallen state to communicate in this indirect way.
DucHROW, Signum und Superbia ... , p. 372.
33. De mag. II, 37, P.L., 23, 1215.
34 Ibid., IZI5-I6.

Cf., De mus. VI, 13, 4I, P.L., 32, n85.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

33

active self-expression but was unable to do so because of this insufficient


doctrine of language. This, as we shall see, is the case, and only when the
original bifurcation of speech was tempered with a clear concept of inner
word would he be able to express his original intention 35 .

z. The Lack of' Verbum' in the Earliest Period


It is almost universally admitted by students of Augustine that the
Neoplatonic influences on his thought were at their strongest during the
first few years after his conversion. One might naturally suppose then,
that if Verbum is in fact filled with Neoplatonic meaning, it would play
an important role in his works from this period.
That both Christian and Neoplatonic concepts of Verbum were active
aspef'tS of the saint's early thought has become so widely accepted by
commentators on Augustine that it is not only seldom questioned, but is
often used as a basis for discussing the la ter development of his thought 36 .
Such an approach hardly seems unjustified, since he, himself bears
witness to this very development in the Confessions, as we have already
seen 37
With this in mind, we now proceed to ask about how Augustine does in
fact use Verbum in the first few years after hs conversion. The answer
is as simple as it is surprising: In his early writings in the period 386-89,
Augustine never once uses Verbum as a proper noun ! The witness of the
scholars and of the Saint himself notwithstanding, he simply does not use
it.
Yet the literature is peppered with << Word >>citations from these early
writings. For example, Prosper Alfaric and Sister Mary Patricia Garvey
hold highly differing views of Augustine's early thought. But both refer
to the Inner Teacher of De magistro as the Word >> 38 . Yet Word >> is
not used in this passage.
35. ScHINDLER, Wort und Analogie ... , pp. ro4-rr4. Schindler gives an excellent
survey of the background and roots of the concepts of inner word . He shows
that these roots can he found in the Stoa, in Marcellus of Ancyra, Tertullian, Lactantius, and Victorinus among others. Schindler maintains
and I believe rightly so that whatever the roots of the concept, Augustine recasts it in terms of his own problems and concerns. See also Anhang II. In this appendix Schindler lists Augustine's
references to inner word and cognate phrases. Cf., DUCHROW, Sprachverstiindnis ... , pp. 122-48.
36. See, for example, Roy W. BA'I''I'ENHOUSE, The life of St. Augustine, A
Companion ta the Study of Augustine, ed. Roy W. Battenhouse (New York: Oxford
Univ. Press, 1955) p. 30.
37. Conf. VII, 9, 13, P.L., 32, 740. Cf., The treatment of the relations of Christianity and Neoplatonism in the Confessions with the treatment of that same issue
in De civ. Dei X. In the latter work, the relation of the two does not center in
Verbum.
38. ALFARIC, L'volution .. ., p. 413. Alfaric also cites De ord. as using logos (p. 95).

D. W. JOHNSON

34

Ragnar Holte, too, translates references from the early works as


Parole 39 ll.

A number of Augustinian scholars have followed in this same path


either by citing texts incorrectly or at least by working according to the
assumption that Verbum was an important aspect of his thought during the
early period 40 . There seems to be an ingrained tradition in Augustinian
scholarship going back at least to Scheel, which stresses his Johannine or
Neoplatonic use of Verbum, but which has no basis whatever in the early
texts themselves 41 . The strength of this tradition is illustrated in Du
Roy's work on the understanding of the faith in the Trinity. Out of the
vast host of commenta tors on the early Augustine, Du Roy is the only one,
to my knowledge, who has seen that Verbum is not used until De Genesi
contra Manichaeos 42 Yet in this same work he makes the surprising
statement that at Cassiciacum and beyond, Augustine uses Verbum as the
equivalent of the Neoplatonic Intellect !43
Neverthele8s, not only is the term missing in the early works 44 , but some
of them give clear indication that it is actually being avoided.
39. HoLTE, Batitude .. ., pp. 330, 331, 334, 336. He also refers to logos in C. Aca.
III, 19, 42 (p. 95).
40. GILSON, The Christian Philosophy .. ., p. 74. Gilson refers to Word in the
context of the Inner Master >lof De mag. Cf. POLMAN, The Ward of God .. ., pp. 13-14,
20. Polman leaves no doubt that in his mind Augustine's references to Christ are
equivalent to references to Word -and a very Neoplatonic Word at that. Cf. also
Albert C. Ou'!LER, The Person and Work of Christ, A Companion ta the Study of
St. Augustine, ed. Roy W. Battenhouse (New York : Oxford Univ. Press, 1955),
pp. 345-346. Cf., Robert J. O'CoNNELL, Early Theory ... O'Connell refers in several
places to Vcrbum or Logos thought in the early Augustine. It is the Incarnate Word
that adminishes in De mag. (p. i98). He declares that the Wisdom and Truth of
De beata vita answers to both the Plotinian Nous and the Christian Logos (p. 196).
He further affirms that in the Soliloquies, Augustine removes the subordination from
Plotinus' Nous and implicitly equates it with the Christian Vcrbum (p. 221). Cf.,
also, pp. 239, 257.
4I. ScmmL, Die A nschauung .. ., pp. 29-32. With regard to his citations, Scheel
is nowhere guilty, as far as I can determine, of misleading references to the term
Word. >l What he does do, after careful research, is present us with the multiple
equation : Son = Truth = Wisdom = Virtue of God. He then brings this all
under the general heading of Verbum speculation. Yet the formula itself has no
reference to Verbum ! Unless one reads this section of Scheel with considerable
care, however, it is exceedingly easy to read Word into the equation as though
Augustine himself had used it. This is the feeling >l with which Scheel leaves us,
and it has by now become a tradition.
42. Olivier DU ROY, L'intelligence de la foi en la Trinit selon saint Augustin
(Paris : tudes Augustiniennes, 1966), pp. 148, 269-71, 428-9.
43. Ibid., 66, 95, ro2, 457.
44. Sorne of the writings from this period clearly have such limited reference to
Christ that it is impossible to draw any firm general conclusions about them.
De ordine uses terms which could be construed as christological only very sparingly,
with Christ , Son >l, and Son of God >l being used in those few instances : De
ord., I, 8, 21 and II, 5, 16, P.L., 32, 987, 991, 1002. The Magnitude of the Soul refers
simply to Son of God >l : De quant. anim, 33, 76, P.L., 32, 1077. On Music adds

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

35

In the first book of On Free Will, for example, Augustine refers to the
Son in the foJlowing manner :
One equal to Himself, whom we call the Son of God, whom we endeavor
to describe more fully when we call Him the power and Wisdom of
God. By Him He made all things which He made of nothing 45
Here we find the equivalence of the term Son of God not only with
Wisdom of God JJ, but also with the power of God J>. This is an explicit
attempt to cc fill out )) the term Son of God - to expJain it, as he says,
cc more fully >J.
But if this is what Augustine is endeavoring to do, why
does he not add Verbum Dei, especially since this passage concerns creation ? It cannot be that he had no first hand knowledge of John I at
this time, because in the very next sentence he refers to that precise chapter.
Yet when giving a fuller list of titles to the Son of God, he omits the term
which is used in the very chapter which he cites for the doctrine he is
discussing !
This same procedure of omitting Verbum yet referring to the Fourth
Gospel recurs repeatedly in The Marals of the Catholic Church. In one of
these places he again explains I Corinthians r : 24 : ... the Apostle says
that the Son of God is the power of God and the Wisdom of God ... as in the
Gospel these two things are expressed in the verse, ' all things were made
through him ' ... ' and the life was the light of men 46 . There can be
absolutely no doubt bere that the cc Gospel>> referred to is John, the
chapter is the first, and the teachings concern creation and illumination
- yet Verbum is not used !
The oft mis-quoted passage from The Teacher makes the point even
more clearly :
Concerning universals of which we can have kuowledge, we do not listen
to anyone speaking and making sounds outside ourselves. We listen to
Truth which presides over our minds within us, though of course we may
be bidden to listen by someone using words. Our real Teacher is he who
is so listened to, who is said to dwell in the inner man, namely Christ,
i.e., the unchangeable power and eternal Wisdom of God (Christus,
id est incommutibilis Dei Virtus atque Sempiterna Sapientia) 41

De magistro is really in large part a study of what words are and do.
The negative conclusions concerning the possibility of one man teaching
the term Wisdom of God , in one place explicitly connecting it with the Incarnation, and in another place with being in Christ (in light ) : De musica VI, 4, 7 and
16, 52, P.L., 32, II66-7, II<JO. The Marals of the Manichecs refers to one Lord
Jesus Christ, one of the earliest refPrences to Jesus: De mor. Man., 14, 33, P.L., 32,
1359
45. De lib. arb. I, 2, 5, P.L., 32, 1224.
46. De mor. eccl. cath., 16, 27, P.L., 32, 1322. See also 13, 22, P.L., 32, 1320-21,
and 27, 59, P.L., 32, 1335
47. De mag. II, 38, P.L., 32, 1ZI6.

D. W. JOHNSON

another hang largely on the unreliability of exterior words. N ow if


those who use such spoken words cannot teach, we can learn from the
interior Teacher. Who is he ? Both the logic and the rhetoric of the
book demand one answer-- the Word of God. That a number of scholars
have misquoted this passage in exactly this fashion is evidence enough of
that. Yet it is just that term which is not mentioned at all - it is
avoided. Christ ll, <<power of God ll, Wisdom of God i> - all of these
are used -- but not Word of God ll.
The question naturally arises ; Why is there a complete absence and
even avoidence of Ver bum as a proper no un in this early period ? >i I t can
hardly be that he was totally ignorant of the term. He was already
influenced by writings and persons which made extensive use of verbum
speculation. Logos was used in Neoplatonic thought, even though not
as all-pervasively as some commentators would lead us to believe 48 . The
Wisdom speculation with which Augustine was clearly familiar had been
connected with the Logos of John long before Augustine 49 . Ambrose,
who had some influence on the young man, also made use of it 50 .
How can this refusal be accounted for ? If Augustine's thought was
highly Platonic at this time, as I believe it was, and if Verbum was
a basically Plotinian concept, then its absence seems very odd. But
if it is more closely associated in Augustine's mind with lowly words,
then it would be quite natural for him to avoid it in referring to the
Son of God. He avoids the term because it has a linguistic meaning for
him. Thus it is tied in with his doctrine of language, which in itself
is dualistic. Yet dualistic though it may be, it is still a doctrine of
language, not of Wisdom. This suggests that when he does begin to use
the term, its usage should be viewed as being associated with speech
and communication, not with Nous.

3. Similarity and Dissimilarity in Augustine's Usage of ' Verbum'


and ' Sapientia '.
Augustine begins to use Verbum as a proper noun in De Genesi contra
48. The passage most frequently cited in the literature is the Enneads, I, 2, 3.
C::f., J. TROUILLARD, La mdiation du Verbe selon Plotin i>, Revue Philosophique de
la France et de !'tranger, r46 (Paris: 1956), pp. 65-6.
49. c::f., supra, n. 2r.
50. C::ouRCELLE, Recherches ... , pp. 93-r24. C::ourcelle has shown that there are
important Plotinian influences in the sermons of Ambrose, and even direct references
to the Plotinian Logos. These references were in sermons which could very well be
the very ones which Augustine heard in 386. C::ourcelle also believes that Augustine's
meetings with Simplician were really discussions of the relation of Neoplatonism
with the Prologue to the Gospel of John (pp. r68-174). If this is in fact true, then
it seems even harder to understand why Augustine does not use Verbum in the
early period. The case for such discussions is not strong, however. C::f., O'c::ONNELL,
St. Augustine's Confessions ... , pp. 93-4. For a more modest evaluation of Ambrose's
impact on Augustine, cf., ALFARIC, L'volution ... , pp. 367-372.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

37

Manichaeos 51 , his first writing with a clearly Christian orientation.


The use of the term then continues with increasing frequency through
397 and beyond. A study of the ways in which he uses it from his first
commentary on Genesis through De doctrina christiana shows that it
represents a highly complex set of ideas, and is not readily reducible to
any one single concept. In some of the ways in which it is used it appears
to be very similar in meaning to Sapicntia. But in a number of other
cases this apparent identity is difficult to maintain.
During this period Verbum (variously Verbum Deus, Verbum apud
Deum, Verbum Dei, etc.) is used as a proper noun on 72 distinct occasions.
Sapientia is used 67 times. In 20 of these places the two terms are used
in evident apposition (e.g., Verbum et Sapientia Dei). The following
table shows the contexts in which the terms are used, whether separately
or together.
TABLE
CN'l'EX'l'S OF REFitRENCES

'l'O

VERBUM AND SAPIEN'l'IA (389-397)

Verbum

Verbum
and Sapientia

Sapientia

Incarnation

1: 30

2: IO

3: 2I

Second Person of the Trinity

4:9

5:4

6: IO

Illumination

7:3

8:3

9 : 12

Creation

10: 6

11: 2

Speech

13: 4

14:

Context of
reference

De Gen. c. Jvl an.


Enarr. in Ps.

De /ide et sym.
De lib. arb.

12: 4

II,24,37, P.L.,34,215.
3,3, P.L.,36,73-4. C.C.,38,8.
3,9, P.L.,36,77. C.C.,38,11-13.
I0,12, P.L.,36,138. C.C.,38,82.
20,2, P.L.,36,165. C.C.,38,n5.
21,II,3, P.L.,36,172. C.C.,38,123.
21,II,10-II, P.L.,36,174. C.C.,38,126.
26,I,5, P.L.,36,197. C.C.,38,152.
27,2, P.L.,36,2u. C.C.,38,168.
4,IO, P.L.'40,187.
III,10,30, P.L.,32,1286. C.C.,29,293.
III,10,31, P.L.,32,1286. C.C.,29,294.

5r. De Gen. c. Man. I, r, 3 ; II, 4, 5 ; II, 8, ro ; II, 20, 30 ; II, 24, 37 ; P.L., 34,
173, 198, 201, 21I, 215.

D. W. JOHNSON
Expositio ad Rom.
Expositio ad Gal.
Enarr. in Ps.

De div. quaes.

De agone christ.
De doct. christ.

De ver a relig.
Acta c. Fort.
De /ide et sym.
De div. quaest. 83
C. Ep. Fund.
De agone. christ.
De doct. christ.
Enarr. in Ps.

De vera relig.
De util. cred.
Enarr. in Ps.

De /ide et sym.
De Gen. imp.
Expositio ad Gal.
Enarr. in Ps.
De div. quaest. 83
C. Ep. Fund.

De agone christ.
De doct. christ.

De ver. rel.
Enarr. in Ps.
De fide et sym.
Ad Rom. Inc.
Enarr. in Ps.
De div. quaest. 83

P.L.,35,2077.
P.L.,35,2078.
24, P.L.,35,2122.
101,S1,1, P.L.,37,r294. C.C.,40,1425.
IOl,S1,2, P.L.,37,1294-5. C.C.,40,1426.
101,Si,2, P.L.,37,1295. C.C.Ao,1277.
148,8, P.L.,37,1942. C.C-,40,217r.
56,5, P.L.,36,664. C.C.,39,697-8.
54,3, P.L.,36,629. C.C.,39,656.
100,3, P.L.,37,1285. C.C.,39,1408
71,3, P.L.,40,82.
71,6, P.L.Ao,83.
72,2, P.L.,40,85 (2 refs).
75,2, P.L.Ao,87.
10,ll, P.L.,40,297.
21,23, P.L.,40,302.
I,34,38, P.L.,34,33. C.C.,32,28.
I,VI,
I,IX,

16,30, P.L.,34,134. C.C.,32,205.


9, P.L.A2,II6.
4,6, P.L.Ao,184.
80,1-3, P.L.,40, 93-95.
7,8, P.L-,42,178.
20,22, P.L.,40,301-2.
17,19, P.L.,40,300.
23,25, P.L.,40,303.
I,9-13, P.L.,34,23-4. C.C.,32,11-13.
33,Si,6, P.L.,36,303. C.C.,38,277.
17,33, P.L.,34,136. C.C.,32, 207.
55,uo, P.L.,34,170. C.C.,32,257.
15,33, P.L.,42,89.
l,3, P.L.,36,67. C.C.,38,2.
4,2, P.L.,36,79. C.C.,38,14.
5,8, P.L.,36,86. C.C.,38,23.
8,5, P.L.,36,uo. C.C.,38,50.
9,15, P.L.,36,124. C.C.,38,66.
8,II, P.L.,36,114. C.C.,38,54.
12,6, P.L.,36,140. C.C.,38,85.
4,8, P.L.Ao,186.
lA, P.L.,34,22r.
27, P.L.,35,2125.
33,S2,4, P.L.,36,309. C.C.,38,284.
l l, P.L.,40,14.
25, P.L.,40,17.
65, P.L.,40,60.
6,7, P.L-,42,177.
8,9, P.L.,40,297.
ll,12, P.L.,40,297.
I,14, P.L.,34,24. C.C.,32,13.
3>4, P.L.,34,124. C.C.,32,190.
36,66, P.L.,34,15r.
18,II,7,8, P.L.,36,16r. C.C.,38,110.
21,II,7, P.L.,36,174. C.C.,38,125.
4,5, P.L-,40,184.
3, P.L.,35,2090.
54,20, P.L.,36,64I.
69, r sq P.L.Ao,74-78.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARL Y AUGUSTINE

De doct. christ.
Enarr. in Ps.
De /ide et sym.
De agone christ.

De lib. arb.
De vera relig.
Enarr. in Ps.

De /ide et sym.
De Gen. imp.
De div. quaest. 83

III,2,3, P.L.,34,66. C.C.,32,78.


9,35, P.L.,36,130. C.C.,38,73-+
3.4, P.LAo,183-4.
9,18, P.L.,40,187.
l,l, P.L.,40,29I.
II,15,39, P.L.,32,1262. C.C.29,264.
5,8, P.L.,34,126. C.C.,32,193.
43,81, P.L.,34,8r. C.C.,32,24r.
2,6, P.L.,36,7r. C.C.,38,5.
3,1, P.L.,36,73. C.C.,38,8.
9,7, P.L.,36,120. C.C.,38,6r.
12,l, P.L.,36,140. C.C.,83,84.
4,5, P.L..{0,184.
5,20, P.L.,34,228.
16, P.L.,40,15.

De vera relig.
De div. quaest. 83

42,79, P.L.,34,157. C.C.,32,239.


59, P.L.>4oA7
64,7, P.L.,40,58.

Enarr. in Ps.

18,I,3, P.L.,36,154. C.C.,38,102.


lOl,S1,l, P.L.,37,1294. C.C.,40,1-2.
33,S2,6, P.L.,36,310. C.C.,38,285.

De Gen. c. Man.
De vera relig.

II,12,17, P.L.,34,205.
3,3, P.L.,34,124. C.C.,32,189.
12,24, P.L.,34,132. C.C.,32,202.
40,75, P.L.,34,155. C.C.,32,236.
55,112, P.L.,34,17r. C.C.,32,259.
6,8, P.L.,36,95, C.C.,38,32.
8,6, P.L.,36,IIr. C.C.,38,32.
9,2, P.L.,36,II7. C.C.,38,59.
16,59, P.L.,34,243.
26, P.L.,40,17.
59, P.L-,40A7
I,8,9, P.L.,34,22. C.C.,32,II.

Enarr. in Ps.
De Gen. imp.
De div. quaest. 83
De doct. christ.

10 De Gen. c. Man
Enarr. in Ps.
De Gen. imp.

Enarr. in Ps.
De div. quaest. 83

11 Acta c. Fort
De /ide et sym.

12 De vera relig.
De Gen. imp.
De lib. arb.

I,2,3, P.L.,34,173.
32,I,6-9, P.L.,36,275. C.C.,38,245.
5,19, P.L.,34,227.
16,61, P.L.,34,244.
148,7, P.L.,37,194r. C.C.,40,2169.
63, P.L.,40,54.
13, P.L.,42,117.
2,3, P.L.,{0,183.
39,72, P.L.,34,154. C.C.,32,23+
l,2, P.L.,34,22r.
3,6, P.L.,34,222.
III, 15,42, P.L.,32, 1292. C.C.,29,300.

13 De vera relig.

55,n3, P.L.,34,172. C.C.,32,259-60.


8,2, P.L.,36,109-10. C.C.,38,49-50.
24, P.L.,35,2123.

14 De div. quaest. 83

62, P.L.,40,54.

Enarr. in Ps.
Expos. ad Gal.

39

D. W. JOHNSON

The references found above are exhaustive, and in each case the
item is categorized in terms of what has seemed to me to be the main
thrust of the passage. Yet Augustine presents his material in such a
form that it would be misleading for us to leave these references totally
separated from one another. If one examines the above catena he
will find that in more than half of the cases (6r), the references do not
stand alone, but are related to one or more of the other kinds of usage.
An examination of some of these passages is instructive :
a) By far the most common relation is between the Word (or Wisdom,
or Word and Wisdom) as the Second Person of the Trinity, and the
Incarnation (29 times). But ahnost half of these citations are in the
form of contrasts between eternality and temporality, rather than of
correlations.
b) The Second Person as Creator is related to the Incarnation 9 times.
Six of these are correlations ; 3 are contrasts.
c) The Creator is often related to the Incarnation (6 times), but is also
contrasted with it (4 times).
d) Creation and speech are related 4 times
always as Word.
e) "Inner teacher" and Incarnation are never correlated, but are contrasted 6 times.
f) Word as speech and Word as enlightenment are never related or contrasted.
g) The Incarnation itself is never referred to as a word, but rather the
Word is Incarnate.
It is also necessary to note that verbum Dei (sometimes simply verbum) is used 34 times as what seems to be a technical term for Scripture
and preaching :
De Gen. c. Man.

De vera relig.
Enarr. in Ps.

De serm. Dom. in monte


De fide et sym.
Expositio ad Rom.
Ad Rom. inc.
De mendacio
Expos. ad. Gal.
Enarr. in Ps.

II,5,6, P.L.,34,199.
II,8,IO, P.L.,34,2or.
II,20,30, P.L.,34,2II.
II,21,31, P.L.,34,212.
38,71, P.L.,34,153. C.C.,32,234.
l,3, P.L.,36,68. C.C.,38,2.
3,1, P.L.,36,73. C.C.,38,7.
8,3, P.L.,36,IIO. C.C.,38,50.
9,7, P.L.,36,n9. C.C.,38,6r.
10,10, P.L.,36,137. C.C.,38,8r.
28,8, P.L.,36,214. C.C.,38,17r.
I,21,71, P.L.,34,1265. C.C.,35,80.
II,7,27, P.L.,37,128r. C.C.,35,II6.
4,9, P.L.,{0,186.
!,XVII, P.L.,35,2082.
15, P.L.,35,2098.
19, P.L.,35,2rn3.
8,37, P.L.,{0,512.
60, P.L.,35,2145.
IOl,S1,{, P.L.,37,1297. C.C.,40,1429.
ro1,S1,5, P.L.,37,1297. C.C.,{0,1429.
ro1,S1,7, P.L.,37,1298. C.C.,40,143r.
145,r, P.L.,37,1884. C.C.,40,2ro5.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

De div. quaest. 83
Ad Simp.

De agone christ.
De doct. christ.

Ep. 21
36

41

148,11, P.L.,37,1945. C.C ..{0,2173.


56,17, P.L.,36,673. C.C.,39,707.
61,2, P.L.,40>{9.
82,1, P.L.,40,98.
I,2,19, P.L.,{0,124-5. C.C.,44,49.
l,l, P.L.,{0,29I.
pro. 6, P.L.,34,18, C.C.,32>{.
II,12,17, P.L.,34,43. C.C.,32>{3.
3, P.L.,33,89.
l,l, P.L.,33,138.

The above statistics admittedly reveal that there are striking similarities in the ways that Verbum and Sapientia are used. The most
common usage for both terms, whether separately or together, is in
reference to the Incarnation. Likewise, they are both used frequently
as the Second Person of the Trinity. Neither is used very frequently
in passages where the primary thrust deals with either creation or speech.
It would certainly seem that the two terms are closely associated in
Augustine's mind.
But of equal importance is the fact that the table reveals some differences in the way they tend to be used. For example, while illumination,
Verbum occurs in such settings only 3 times. Even in these contexts,
we may note, the emphasis on the connection between Word and enlightenment is usually not strongly made.
An item which shows that there may be a distinction between Verbum
and Sapientia is that Sapientia is never directly referred to when by
itself in contexts concerned with divine speech, and is so treated only
once wben coupled with Verbum. Yet the latter term is used in this
way a total of five times. This is an admittedly small number, but
one must add to it this fact : of the six times where Verbum is used
in a setting where the reference is primarily to creation, four of them refer
to that creation through the Word as some kind of speaking. Sapientia, when used alone in the context of creation is never related to speech.
Remember, too, that verbum is used for Scripture or preaching no less
than 34 times. This makes the proclamation >> meaning of the term
second in numerical frequency only to uses connected with the Incarnation. If these two uses
both of which imply an expressive, active
and self-revealing God - are added together, their sum is more than
double the combined total of occurrences of a11 otber references. It is
I4 times as large as. the frequency of references to illumination - hardly
a strong case for taking Verbum to be a focal termina Neoplatonic doctrine of contemplation. This proclamation >i usage in itself would
tend to encourage Augustine to think of Verbum more in connection with
language than with that complex of ideas centering around Sapientia.

4. ' Verbum' as Divine Speech.


An examination of some of Augustine's direct references to Verbum
gives a somewhat clearer indication that he is struggling to express

D. W. JOHNSON

a concept of Divine Word whicb parallels human expression but finds this
difficult or impossible due to his own analysis of human language.
In bis enarration on Psalm 8, for example, he concludes that the Church
is analogons to the winepress mentioned in the Psalm, and therefore,
the Divine Word must be comparable to the grape which is crushed in
it. Just as that grape is both husk and pulp with the two being separated in the crusher, so, he says, the Divine Word takes up the sound of
a voice that it might declare itself, the sound prevailing as far as the
ears but the understanding proceeding into the memory 52
Here the Word is not itself speech but is speaking. Yet one cannot
but be reminded of the bifurcation of words which was stated as early
as De principia. Yet now it is the inner truth which is Verbum - a problematic situation which would tend to push Augustine in the direction
of a concept of cc inner word, a development which did in fact take place
later on. But even at this earlier time it is clear that communication by
the Divine W ord runs closely parallel to the same model that Augustine
uses for human speaking 5 3.
There are many references to W ord as speech which are found in
contexts wbere Augustine's interest in centered on some other issue.
In one of these places he is exegeting Psalm 27 : I, cc My God, be not
silent from me ii. Assuming that these words are properly assigned
to Christ, he interprets them as meaning that the human nature is pleading
not to be separated from the Divine Word 54 . The Verbum is here
presented as speech, although indirectly, i.e., its opposite is silence.
Another of his early enarrations deals with the same concept, but positively. By his interpretation, Psalm. 18 : 2, cc Day to day uttereth
speech, means that the Spirit grants the Word and Wisdom of God to the
spiritual, while cc night to night pronounces knowledge ii refers to the
dispensation of the flesh granted to the fleshly5 5 .
But by far the greatest number of passages where Augustine refers
to Word as speech is found within the context of creation through the
Word. It is clear from a host of the saint's sayings that he conceives
of creation through the Word as speaking, or at least as analogons to
speaking. In one of the most pointed of these he asks :
How does he here show that they were made through the Word (V erbum) ?
" He spoke and they were made ; he commanded and they were created. ,,
No one speaks, no one commands, except by a word (verbum) .
52.
53.
2123.
54.
55.
56.

Enarr. in. Ps. 8, 2, P.L., 36, rog-10. C.C., 38, 49-50.


Also see De div. quaest. 83, q. 62, P.L., 40, 54, and Expos. ad Gal. 24, P.L., 35,

Enarr. in. Ps. 27, 2, P.L., 36, 21r. C.C., 38, 171-2.
Enarr. in. Ps. 18, I, 3, P.L., 36, 154 C.C., 38, 102.
Enarr. in Ps. 148, 7, P.L., 37, 1941. C.C., 40, 2169. Cf., Ad Sim. I, q. 2, 8,
P.L., 40, u6. C.C., 44, 33; De vera relig., 55, 113, P.L., 34, 172. C.C., 32, 260;
Enarr. in Ps. 32, I, 9, P.L., 36, 275. C.C., 38, 245.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

43

But one must remember, of course, the temporality of words and the
timelessness of God. These two ideas taken together would suggest
that human words should be contrasted to, rather than compared with,
God' s W ord. This indeed is the case. The confusion introduced into his
thought by the temporal and corporeal nature of words is manifest in
his uncompleted commentary on Genesis, where we find one of his
major attempts at dealing with creation as spoken. Trying to understand ((Fiat lux, he actually suggests that these words might be the
Son himself. He says :
But it is still permissible to ask whether this which was said was said to
the only begotten Son (Filio unigenito dictum est) or whether that which
is said is the only begotten Son (Filius unigenitus est), which saying
(dictum) is called the Word of God (verbum Dei), (Jn. r : r) 57
Here Augustine directly relates the term usually reserved for proclamation
verbum Dei - to the Divine Son, and relates both to creation
through a word which it is possible to refer to as speech. Yet he immediately draws away from the implications of this possibility by warning
against the impiety that this Word was corporeally or temporally uttered
as are ours.
In this passage as elsewhere he is clearly concerned with the Verbum
as spoken but finds the concept slipping through his fingers due to the
temporality of speech. It must be noted, however, that here as in all
the other contrasts that he makes between our words and God's Word,
what prevents their doser association is always this temporality, often
accompanied by corporality, and never the fact that that active expression is inappropriate to Divinity 58
Remember that not only words, but the soul itself is mutable in time.
Thus the very contrast between our words and the W ord might even
suggest the basis of an analogy between the two, where our temporal
soul expresses itself in temporal words, while the eternal God expresses
himself in an eternal One.

5. ' Verbum' and Trinitarian Unity.


Since speech proceeding from a mind is not often thought to be identical to that mind itself, the teaching of Verbum a<> God's active self57. De Gen. imp. 5, rg, P.L., 34, 227.
58. Cf., tienne GILSON, Philosophie et Incarnation selon Saint Augustin (Universit de Montral, 1947). Gilson believes the central paradox for Augustine to be
expressed in the question, " how is the Being who is immutible - the ' I Am ' of
Exodus II, able to enter into a relationship with man, who is engaged in the order of
time and becoming ? (pp. g sq.), i.e., how can this God be the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob ? (pp. 13 sq.) Gilson insists - and I believe that the present
research tends to bear him out - that the two realms are never completely unified
for Augustine, but are brought into a " dialectical relationship - the temporal
becomes a candidate for the eternal through the Incarnation.

44

D. W. JOHNSON

expression would seem to make it correspond to a Plotinian subordination


of the Nous. This would be the case if Augustine's Verbum speculation
were set within the context of a general tendency toward subordinationism. A number of scholars have reported just such a subordinationism of the Second Person during the early period59. Yet this is
really bard to find, especially in passages referring to W ord or Wisdom,
where the emphasis is overwhelmingly on the side of unity6o.
59. SCHEI,I,, Die Anschauung ... , pp. 27-37; AI,FARIC, L'volution ... pp. 522-23 ;
SCHINDI,ER, Wort und Analogie ... , pp. I4-15, 19-25.
60. The identity of Father and Word or Wisdom is clear throughout the period
389-97. See :
De vera relig.
43,81, P.L.,34,r59. C.C.,32,24r.
De vera relig.
55,rro, P.L.,34,170. C.C.,32,257-8.
Enarr. in Ps.
5,8, P.L.,36,86. C.C.,38,23.
De Gen. imp.
I,2, P.L.,34,22r.
De lib. arb.
II,15,39, P.L.,32.
De div. quaest. 83
I6, P.L.,40,15.
De vera relig.
36,66, P.L.,34,15r. C.C.,32,230-3r.
Enarr. in Ps.
21,II,3, P.L.,36,172. C.C.,38,r23.
De /ide et sym.
3,4, P.L.,40,183.
Enarr. in Ps.
ro1,S',2, P.L.,37,1295. C.C.,40,1427.
Augustine also uses John I: I to prove unity, viz.,
De vera relig.
36,66, P.L.,34,15r. C.C.,32,230.
Enarr. in Ps.
21,II,7, P.L.,36,174. C.C.,38,r25.
54,3, P.L.,36,629. C.C.,39,656.
54,20, P.L.,J6,642. C.C.,39,67r.
De doct. christ.
III,2,3, P.L.,34,66. C.C.,32,78.
Scheel tries to show that subordinationism is evidenced by Augustine's assignment
of creation to the Second person, with the usual per being dropped. SCHEEI,,
Die Anschauung... pp. 33-4. However, a survey of uses shows that the per is
used in 23 out of 25 occurrences, viz.,
De Gen. c. Man.
I,2,3, P.L.,34,173.
De vera relig.
39,72, P.L.,34,154. C.C.,32,234.
43,81, P.L.,34,159. C.C.,32,24r.
55,113, P.L.,34,172. C.C.,32,260.
Acta c. Fort.
9, P.L.,42,II6.
Enarr. in Ps.
r3, P.L.>42,u7.
9,35, P.L.,36,130. C.C.,38,74.
De /ide et sym.
2,3, P.L.,40,183.
De /ide et sym.
4,6, P.L.,40,184-5.
9,18, P.L.,40,19r.
De Gen. imp.
I,2, P.L.,34,22r.
5, 19, P.L.,34,227.
De lib. arb.
III,10,30, P.L.,32,1286.
Ad Rom. inc,
4, P.L.,35,2090.
Enarr. in Ps.
IOl,S',2, P.L.,37,1294-5. C.C.,40, 1426.
ror,S 2,10, P.L.,37,131r. C.C.,40,1446.
I48,7, P.L.,37,I4I. C.C.,40,2169.
roo,3, P.L.,37,1285. C.C.,39,1408.
De div. quaest. 83
80,1, P.L.,40,93.
De agone christ.
I,I, P.L.,40,29r.
r7,r9, P.L.,40,300.
20,22, P.L.,40,302.
23,25, P.L.,40,303.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

45

In fact, before 400 A. D. Augustine tended to center his attention so


exclusively on the unity of God that he experienced profound difficulties
in treating the doctrine of the Trinity. This tendency can best be explained, I believe, by the supposition that his idea of God included both
Neoplatonic and Christian elements. When a Plotinian concept of the
henological character of the One is combined with a Christian doctrine
of homoousion, a near-modalistic emphasis on divine unity is one logical
outcome 61 . But it is important that he solves >> this problem precisely
in terms of a concept of Verbum which is clearly and explicitly distinguished from Sapientia 62
His progress in this regard may be followed by examining a few key
passages from varions periods of his career. In the well known Letter
to Nebridius (Ep. rr) he attempts to explain why the Son alone is called
Incarnate 63 . But the best explanation that he can offer is that the
Trinity, like any one being, exists in three modes : it is, it is this or that,
and it continues to be. The basic reality is one, but is only understood
as three due to the jaundiced view of the observer. He says :
Therefore, although ail things are done in the highest commonness
and inseparability, nevertheless they were properly demonstrated
distinctively on account of the weakness of us, who have lapsed from
unity into variety.
Even the famous unum est>> of the Soliloquies does not go further
than this 64 A Neoplatonic insistence upon divine simplicity may well
be operative in this passage, but it is important to notice that Verbum
is not mentioned in it.
The problem of the relations of the trinitarian Persons is taken up
again in On Faith and the Creed, written four years after Letter II. Here
Of the remaining two, one uses in , following the passage he is exegeting (De
Gen. imp. 2, 6, P.L., 34, 222), and the other drops the per, again out of faithfulness
to Scrpture, but then adds it later in the same paragraph (Enarr. in Ps. 32, I,
6-9, P.L., 36, 275. C.C., 38, 245).
6r. A number of scholars have insisted on unity as a prime theme in the early
Augustine e.g. W. WlNDELBAND A History of Philosophy, trans. James H. Tufts
(New York : the Macmillan Co., r921) pp. 276-280. K. KUYPERS, Der Zeichen ... ,
pp. 32, 40, 75. Cyril C. RICHARDSON, The Enigma of the Trinity , A Companion
to the Study of St. Augustine, ed. Roy W. Battenhouse (New York : Oxford University Press, 1956) pp. 239, 247. Albert C. Ou'.tLER, The Persan and Work
of Christ, A Companion to the Study of St. Augustine, ed. Roy W. Battenhouse
(New York : Oxford University Press, 1956) pp. 348-9. It is interestng to notice
that Robert J. O'Connel!, who fnds a Plotinian presence on almost every page
of Augustine's early works, insists that he emphatcally denies any subordination of
the Logos from a very early period. Early Theory ... , pp. n6, 265.
62. SCHEEL, Die Anschauung .. ., pp. 159-62., PERLER, Der Nus .. ., pp. 109, rr5-17,
I20-2I., SCIIINDLER, Wort und Analogie .. ., pp. 89, 113-14, 217-22.
63. Ep. II, P.L., 33, 75-6. Cf., De div. quaest 83, q. 18.
64. Sol. I, l, 4, P.L., 32, 871 ... unus Deus tu,,. una aeterna vera substantia ... Ubi
qui gignit, et quem gignit unum est.

D. W. JOHNSON

Augustine is able to assert both the homoousion and the distinction of


persons simultaneously, showing some progress over the Letter to Nebridius. He is able to accomplish this by comparing the divine Word
with expressions of human thought in language. Just as we try to
express what is in our minds by words (... et quidquid secretum in corde
gerimus, per signa huiusmodi ad cognitionem alterius proferatur.), so,
he says, the Son is properly called the Verbum of the Father, since it
is by Him that the Father is made known 65 .
Yet Augustine immediately backs away from applying the analogy
fully. But the reason for this is that words are corporeally uttered
signs and therefore of another substance than the speaker. He does
not find fault with the analogy because the Word is something other
than God's expression of his own mind, this latter being in fact the
main thrust of the passage. Again we find that Augustine treats Verbum as speech, but bis analysis of what speech is makes it difficult for
him to express his intention.
It is only when that concept of language changes - perhaps under
the influence of these very theological considerations - that he is able
to conceive of verba themselves as inner spiritual realities, and thus to make
full use of his understanding of V erbum in resolving his theological difficulties.
But this shift does not corne completely clear until De Trinitate 66
By Book V of this massive work there emerges a distinction between
what is said of the Persans substantially, and what is said relatively.
All three Persans are one as God, he says, but they are relationally
distinguishable from one another 67 . In Book VII he expliC'itly relates
this distinction to the concepts of Wisdom and W ord. Since God is
wise as God, therefore Wisdom is properly predicated of all three Persans substantially. But Verbum is not Sapientia ! It is attributed
to the Second persan relatively. It is Wisdom that is born 68
In the later books of De Trinitate the ana1ogy of inner word is
expressly united with begetting of the Son. He who can understand
a verbum, says Augustine, not only before it sounds - note the difference
from the earlier concept of word as vocal sign - but even before it is
pondered in the heart, he may understand, however dimly, In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God 69 l>.

65. De /ide et sym. r, 3, 3-4, P.L., 40, r83-4.


66. But for his gradua! evolution in this regard one may point to Conf. IX, ro,
23-25, P.L., 32, 773-775., and Enarr. in Ps. 44, 4-6, P.L., 36, 496-98. C.C., 38,
496-498.
67. De Trin. V, II, r2-14, r5, P.L., 42, 9r8-2r. C.C., 50, 218-223.
68. De Trin. VII, 2, 3, P.L., 42, 936. C.C., 50, 249-50.
69. De Trin. XV, ro, r9, P.L., 42, ro7r. C.C., 5oa, 485.

' VERBUM' IN THE BARLY AUGUSTINE

47

So we see that when Augustine had arrived at a more adequate concept


of words, he was able to make explicit that distinction between Verbum
and Sapientia which we had found implicitly existing in earlier periods.
It also helps to confirm that discovery. Since the two terms were evidently not identical before 390 - Verbum was avoided at that time,
while Sapientia was used - and since they are clearly distinguished
from one another by De Trinitate, it seems quite natural to suppose
that they were not identical in the in-between time.
It is also instructive to notice that Augustine did not overcome the
more N eoplatonic problems of his trinitarian thought by discarding
the use of Verbum. He rather solves them by letting that specific
concept corne into full play. By De Trinitate his theory of language was
catching up with his theological insight, thereby enabling him to express
his faith. The bifurcation of speech remains problematical for him but
now the divine Word is clearly God's self expression.

6. Incarnation and Signification.


We have noted previously that the Incarnation of the Word was
the most frequent context of usage of Verbum in the early Augustine,
and that looking back, he later focussed his major differences with
Neoplatonism at this point. A brief examination of his concept of the
nature and fonction of the Incarnate Word will show that here, too,
linguistic considerations are operative.
Otto Scheel and T. J. van Bavel have both noticed that the early Augustine approached the Incarnation somewhat differently than either the
Alexandrian school or its rival at Antioch. He sees it as a revelatory
sign - as God's address to men 70 .
A study of the rare but crucial passages where Augustine refers to the
Incarnation before 389, i.e., before he begins to make use of Verbum
as proper noun, reveals that he treated it in ways which closely parallel
the way in which he analyzed words. Both are corporeal concessions to
man's corporality; both are outward signs bearing inward truth
(or Truth) ; both are associated with authority and belief rather
than with rational understanding ; as such, both are only stimulators, necessary beginning points on the road to understanding 71 . In
70. SCHEEL, Die Anschauung .. ., pp. 24-6, 46, 52-5, 58, 61-3, 67-70, 76-8, Tarsicius J. VAN BAVEL, Recherches su1 la Christologie de saint Augustin (Fribourg :
ditions Universitaires Fribourg Suisse, 1954), pp. 6-1 r. For a differing opinion,
cf., Adolf VON HARNACK, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (4th ed. ; Darmstadt :
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1909 (1064), pp. 130-32.
7I. HoLTE, Batitude ... , pp. 77-96. Holte's convincing study of C. Aca. shows
that the necessity of the authority of the Incarnation is the major conclusion of
that work. In this, Holte sets himself in opposition to W. THIMME, Augustins
geistige Entwicklung in den ersten Jahren nach seiner Bekehrung, 386-91 , Neue

D. W. JOHNSON

each the inner spiritual reality is clearly distinguished from the corporeal signification. And, finally, both are eventually surmounted
by that very inward spiritual and intellectual understanding which
they themselves make possible 72
From 389 onward he begins to make explicit parallels between words
and Incarnation, referring to it as a corporeal demonstration 73 , and
even comparing Christ's celestial and earthly presence with the sound of
a word which is present everywhere but is received by each person in its
entirety 74 . One of the clearest of these references is found in De doctrina christiana where he asks :
And how did he corne, except that the \Vord was made flesh and dwelt
among us (Jn. I : I4) ? For just as when we speak, in order that that
which we hear in our mmd may enter the mind of the hearer through a
corporeal ear, the word which we hear in our heart becomes sound,
and is called speech ; nevertheless our thought is not converted into that
sound, but remaining complete within itself, it assumes the form of the
voice by which it insinuates itself into the ears without any destruction
or mutation : so the Word of God, not being changed, was nevertheless
made flesh, and lived among us".
Thus the Incarnation is God' s word to man. By the condescension
of truth, humanity is given that temporal authority which it may believe
in order to begin its journey home 76 . By this condescension, proud man
is taught humility 77 Being forced to look within he sees that God is

Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und Kirche, ed. Bonwetsch-Seeberg (Berlin,
r908), pp. 38 sq. For Thimme, Augustine's appeal to Christ is not an intregal part
of his thinking at this early date. Cf., HARNACK, Lehrbuch ... , pp. I23 sq. n. 4,
for an incisive summary of Augustine's development in this regard.
72. C. Aca. III, r9, 42-3, P.L., 32, 956-7; De ord. II, 26-7, P.L., 32, 1007-8 ;
De mus. VI, P.L., 32, II66-68, II70.
73. De div. quaest. 83, q. 62, P.L., 40, 54; cf., De civ. Dei X, r3, P.L., 4I, 29I-92
c.c., 47, 287.
74. De div. quaest. 83, q. 42, P.L., 40, 27; cf., Ep. r37, 2, 6f., P.L., 33, 5r8.
75. De doct. christ. I, I3, P.L., 34, 24. C.C., 32, r3.
76. Expos ad Gal. 24, P.L., 35 2I2I-23 ; De civ. Dei, IX, r5, P.L., 4r, 268-9.
C.C., 47, 262-3. X, 24, P.L., 4I, 300-02. C.C., 47, 297-8 ; XI, 2, P.L., 4r, 3r7-I8.
C.C., 48, 322. Cf., Grard PHII,IPS, L'influence de Christ-Chef sur son Corps
mystique suivant Saint Augustin, Augustinus Magister, I954 p. 808. Cf., also
DU ROY, L'intelligence ... , pp. 129-30. De lib. arb. II, 2, 6, P.L., 32, I243, and
H. HoHENSEE, The Augustinian Concept of Authority , Folia (Supplement II,
r954). Hohensee also gives clear documentation for the close association of credere
and /ides with auctoritas, pp. 57, 73.
77. De doct. christ. I, II, II, P.L., 34, 23. C.C. 32, I2.; De quant. anim 33, 76,
P.L., 32, 1066-7; De lib. arb., III, ro, 30, P.L., 32, r286; De div. quaest. 83, 43,
P.L., 40, 28 ; Cf., also Enatr. in Ps. 147, 25, 26, P.L., 1933-34. C.C., 40, 2r60-62 ;
Ep. r40, 5, I8, P.L., 33, 545-46. Also De lib. arb., III, ro, 30, P.L., 32, r286 ; De
Gcn. c. Man. II, 24, 37, P.L., 34, 2r5 ; C. Ep. Fund. 37, 42, P.L., 42, 202. Cf.,
M.F. BERROUARD, Saint Augustin et le ministre de la prdication- le thme des
anges qui montent et qui descendent ,Recherches augustiniennes, II, r 962, pp. 463-65,

'VERBUM' IN THE BARLY AUGUSTINE

49

already present there 78 And further, by the lowering of the exalted


One, man disco\-ers that God really is concerned for him and values
him 79
When one combines this significatory >> concept of the Incarnation
with Augustine's bifurcation of language into meaning and sound, the
result would tend to push him toward an excessive emphasis on the
distinction between the two natures80 and a denigration of the human
nature. That Augustine did this is well known. It emerges at its
clearest in the notorius passage from De doctrina christiana, where he
insists that the Lord wishes nothing temporal to keep us lingering behind,
but wants us to pass beyond all this, his own Incarnation included81 .
It is evident that the Platonic dualism which informed Augustine's
view of language crept into his doctrine of the Incarnation as well,
constituting a continuing threat to its viability. Yet his basic intention
of proclaiming an expressive and concerned God is just as evident, and
is constantly threatening to break through the linguistic bonds which
restrain it. This intention is expressed, I believe, in his clear desire to affirm the unity of the Incarnate One as strongly as he asserts the distinction of the natures. As early as 392 he says that God took up this man
in such a way that he became one with Him (ut simul cum ea Deus fieret),
that the soul of this man so inhered in and, as it were, coalesced with the
Word (quae ita inhaesit et quodammoda coaluit), that the Word was not
and also R. ARBESMANN, Christ the medicus humilus in St. Augustine, Augustinus
Magister, I964, pp. 623 sq. A vivid example of the destruction of pride by its
opposite, humility, is given in the Enarration on Ps. 33, S1, 4-5, P.L. 36, 302-3.
Here David is seen as a figure of humility [Christ], while Goliath is pride [Satan].
In the battle between the two, the humility of the Incarnation destroys Satan.
78. De doct. christ. I, II, 12, P.L., 34, 23. C.C., 32, I2 ; De div. quaest. 83, q. 42,
P.L., 40, 27; De div. quaest. 83, q. 73, 2, P.L., 40, 85; De gen. c. Man. II, 24, 37,
P.L., 34, 2I5. A lively treatment of the importance of the presence of God in
Augustine's thought is found in O'CONNELL, Early Theory ... , pp, 33-4. See esp.
Ep., I4o, 3, 6, P.L., 33, 540-4r.
79. For the early period : De vera relig. I6, 30, P.L., 34, I34-35. C.C., 32, 205-6.
Cf., BURNABY, Amor Dei .. ., pp. I68 sq. For the later period: de Trin. VIII, 5, 7,
P.L., 42, 952. C.C., 50, 276 ; De civ. Dei VII, 3I, P.L., 41, 220-2r. C.C., 47, 212-13.
For }esus himself as an example of God's grace: De Trin. XIII, r7, 22, P.L., 42,
ro3r. C.C., 5oa, 412 ; Ench. XXXVI, P.L., 40, 250. C.C., 46, 68 ; Ench.
XL, P.L., 40, 252. C.C., 46, 72.
80. Enarr. in Ps. 20, 2, P.L., 36, 165. C.C., 38, II5. Cf. HARNACK, Lehrbuch ... ,
p. 127 ; Enarr. in Ps. 9, 35, P.L., 36, r30-3r. C.C., 38, 74; Enarr. in Ps. 54, 3,
P.L., 36, 628. C.C., 39, 656 ; Ep. ad Rom. inc. 4, P.L., 35, 2090 ; De /ide et sym. 4,
6, P.L., 40, 184; Expos. ad Rom, LXXXIV, P.L., 35, 2077.
Sr. De doct. christ. I, 34, 38, P.L., 34, 33. C.C., 32, 27-8. Cf., also Enarr. in Ps. 58.
S2, 7, P.L., 36 7rr. C.C. 39, 750-51 ; I8, I, 3, P.L., 36, 154. C.C., 38, 102;
De lib. arb. III, IO, 30, P.L., 36, I286. and for the later period : Enarr. in Ps. 83,
8, P.L., 37, ro6r. C.C., 39, 1152-3; 103, S. 3, 3, P.L., 37, 1360. C.C., 40, 1501 ;
De Trin. I, 9, I8. P.L., 42, 382. C.C., 50, 52-3 ; I, ro, 20, P.L., 42, 834. C.C., 50,
56; I, 12, 27, P.L., 42, 840. C.C., 50. 66-8; XIV, 2, 4, P.L., 42, 1038. C.C., 50,
66-8.

D. W. JOHNSON

50

even laid aside at the Passion82 In the same year he would have Christ
say, << for from this, that the eternity of your Word does not cease to unite
[unire] itself to me, it happens that I am not such a man as the rest of
man ... 83 .
I submit that it is precisely this unity that makes the Incarnate Word
God's preeminently and uniquely true Word !
Augustine's dissatisfaction with words in general is that unlike the
consubstantial Word, they necessarily make use of a nature other than
that of the original idea in the mind, and thereby leave the way open for
obscurity, lies, and misunderstanding84 . But if a mind were to take
that nature by which signs are made into union with itself, it would be
able to speak truth through it. A man living in harmony with God
can properly and rationally order his body according to God's will. A
man perfectly united to God would be able to speak God's own truth.
Later on in his career he says; ... the only way that is infallibly secured
against all mistakes is when the very same person is at once God and man,
God our end, man our way85 .
In the Incarnation God speaks in a proper way, not in the best, or
exclusively spiritual way, but still in a manner that expresses rather
than violates the order of reality as Augustine conceived it.

***
The general conclusion resulting from the research presented in this
paper is that during the period from 386 to 397 Augustine treats Verbum
primarily as the expression or address of God to the World, i.e., as
something more like word )) than like Mind or Nous. Thus Verbum is
far from being one more evidence of a Neoplatonic mind-set operating
behind a thin Christian veneer, but rather aids in overcoming or altering
some of the very Neoplatonic doctrines which would otherwise tend to set
his views crossgrained to the basic texture of the Christian tradition.
This conclusion is, of course, quite narrow, since it concerns only one
term in Augustine's vocabulary. Yet some broader implications do
suggest themselves, other than the obvions one that the term ought

82. Enarr. in Ps. 3, 3, P.L., 36, 73-4.

C.C., 38, 8.

83. Enarr. in Ps. 27, 2, P.L., 36, 21r. C.C., 38, r68. See also, Enarr. in Ps. 18,
I, 7, P.L., 36, r55. C.C., 38, 103 ; Ep., r4, 3, P.L., 33, 80. Cf., VAN BAVEL,
Recherches ... , p. 93.
84. De /ide et sym. 3, 4-4, 5, P.L., 40, r83-184. Cf. De Trin. XV, r2, 22, P.L., 34,
1075. C.C., 5oa, 493-4 ; Ench. XVIII, P.L., 40, 240-24r. C.C., 46, 58.
85. De civ. Dei XI, 2, P.L., 4r, 3r7-3r8. C.C., 48, 322. See also, C. Acad., III,
43, P.L., 32, 957 ; Ep. 149, II, r7, P.L., 33, 636 ; 157, III, r4, P.L., 33, 680; Enarr.
in Ps. r7, r2, P.L., 36, r49. C.C., 38, 96; De Trin. XIII, 19, 24, P.L., 42, 1033-4.
c.c., 5oa, 415 ; Ench. XXXVI, P.L., 40, 250-5r. c.c., 46, 69-70.

'VERBUM' IN THE EARLY AUGUSTINE

5I

to be understood in the way that I have suggested whenever it is encountered throughout the Augustinian corpus.
First, a minor point, on periodization. Augustine's Christian development has customarily been divided into three major periods : from conversion until ordination, i. e., until 39r ; then the period of the presbyteriate; and fina1ly the period of the episcopacy, from 395 until 43086 .
But since the important term Verbum arises de nova in his works in 389,
it might be more helpful to <livide the study of his deyelopment into
the period before he went into retreat at Thagaste in 389, and the period
following his work there. That this is an important year in Augustine's
life is further evidenced by the appearance at this time of his first works
with a specifically Christian orientation87
Second, the very fact that Verbum and Sapientia are now similar,
now different, reveals a deep tension within Augustine's thought which,
to my knowledge, he never fully resolved. One of the harshest critics
of contradictions within bis thought is Robert J. O'Connell, who sees
Augustine's early picture of reality as almost exclusively Neoplatonic
in spirit and content.
He believes that the inner tension in the bishop's viewpoint can be
traced back, for the most part, to the two pictures of reality - emanation
and omnipresence - which he took over uncritically from Plotinus.
These two basically inconsistent explanations of the world lead to Augustine's self-contradictory thought, which is illustrated in his confused use
of images and results in a nearly total denigration of everything except
God88
But Etienne Gilson, I believe, is nearer to the heart of the matter when
he sees the problem in terms of tensions between Neoplatonism and
Christianity, rather than believing it to be a carry-over entirely from
Plotinus himself89 . And he is nearer yet when he poses the question more
in terms of a contrast between Augustine's essentially Christian doctrine
of creation and his Plotinian doctrine of illumination, which presupposes an
emanationist metaphysic9o.
86. For example, SCHEEL, Die Anschauung .. ., pp. 7-1r.
87. Cf., BROWN, Augustine .. ., pp. 132-37.
88. O'CoNNELL, The Confessions .. ., pp. 81-88, 178-85. Cf., ARMSTRONG, The
Architecture .. ., pp. l-28 for a discussion of the two aspects of the One, which correspond to two different concepts of Deity. The first, or positive aspect, is similar
to Stoic thinking about God, while the second, or negative aspect, is more like
that of Aristole's God. A parallel confusion applies, mutatis mutandis, to the Nous
(pp. 49-82, esp. 59-60, 62). Cf., DU RoY, L'intelligence ... , esp. pp. 419, 451-56.
89. GILSON, The Christian Philosophy .. ., pp. 197-205, cf., HoLTE, Batitude ... ,
p. 352.
90. Ibid., 105-rrr. But Gilson tries to rescue Augustine from an ontologist
view of illumination. The work of Ronald H. NASH, The Lightof the Mind: St. Augustine's Theory of Knowledge (Lexington, Ky : Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1969) is also
based on the premise that Augustine adopts a Neoplatonist epistemology (p. 4).

52

D. W. JOHNSON

My reasons for saying this grow out of the present study of Verbum.
We have to admit, of course, that there is present in Augustine a teaching
of enlightenment as ascent or return of the soul, corresponding well with
an emanationist view of the origin of the world as a descent or fall. Yet
it is just here that Ver bum hardly fonctions at all, and is usually replaced
by Wisdom JJ, Truth )), Inner teacher )), etc. Word plays no part at
all in the Soliloqities, or in the description of the ascent of the soul in The
Magnitude of the Soul. Nor is it involved in the discussions of rationality
in The I mmortality of the Soul, nor does it equal the cc Inner Teacher )) of
the De magistro. The proper context of the term is almost never illumination, but rather God's speech, an idea consistent with a Christian
doctrine of creation91 . Its basic orientation is therefore out of a matrix
of thoughts other than those of emanation 92 . But it is in its close relationship with Wisdom that the inner tension between a Christian doctrine
of creation and a Plotinian return JJ is evident. The problem is not so
much a matter of descent and return, which holds out the possibility of
being treated with consistency, but of creatio ex nihilo and return, which
are inconsistent in principle 93 It is when these two aspects of Augustine's
thought are combined that Verbum becomes enmeshed in the concomitant
inconsistencies. Such is the case in those instances where Genesis is
interpreted as both creation and allegory of return as in the thirteenth
While giving a good summary of the varions positions taken on this issue by interpreters of Augustine, Nash's book fails in its major purpose, which is to show that the
Augustinian illuminism is in fact ontologist (pp. 112-122). ViktorWARNACH, Erleuchtung und Einsprechung bei Augustinus, Augustinus Magister (Paris: tudes
Augustiniennes, 1954), Vol. I, pp. 437-8, tries to rescue the saint from a thoroughgoing
ontologism by insisting that in Augustine's doctrine we see not the essence of God,
but an aura >J which streams forth from that essence. The question is still open,
but the close connection between Augustine's illuminism and a Neoplatonic
epistemology cannot, I believe, be denied.
9r. DucHROW, Sprachvcrstandnis ... , insists upon an illuminist >J view of Verbum
in Augustine (pp. l09-ro, 138-43, 146-7, r74-97). That Augustine stresses seeing
rather than hearing >J is admitted. Yet this very fact suggests the correctness
of the present analysis of a doubleness >J in Augustine's thought - God speaks ,
but man sees . It is also necessary to note, however, that Duchrow relies heavily
on \V'arnach, Erleuchtung ... >J, without considering Schindler's criticisms of Warnach's position that enlightenment is in-speaking >J, SCHINDLER, Wort und A nalogie .... pp. 95, 134, 233-35. It is also important to notice that Warnach assumes
that very identity of Word and Wisdom which we are calling into question, often
by reading Verbum in passages where Augustine uses Sapientia (e.g .. p. 440).
92. Cf., Christopher J. O'TooLE, The Philosophy of Creation in the Writings of
St. Augustine (Washington, D.C. : Catholic Univ. of America Press, 1944), pp. 1-9.
O'Toole gives solid documentation for the belief that Augustine has a clear and
pervasive doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, rather than a doctrine of Emanation. O'Toole
shows (p. 90) that Augustine is particularly insistent that the soul is created. Cf., C.
Faustus, I, 12-13 ; De anima et eius orig., IV, 24 ; De Gen. ad litt. II, 7 ; Cf. also,
GARVEY, St. Augustine .. ., 60-61, and HARNACK, Lehrbuch ... , III, 112, n. 4
93. O'CoNNELL, The Confessions .. ., pp. 83-84. O'Connell himself notes that it is
when Augustine is dealing with anthropological questions rather than with metaphysical ones that his emanation style comes out. >J

'VERBUM' IN THE BARLY AUGUSTINE

53

book of the Confessions and the early books of De Genesi ad litteram 94 .


Here Augustine's answers become confusing to the reader, and indeed
unsatisfactory to himself 95 .
Ragnar Holte has suggested that there are two streams running through
Augustine's thought which are distinct but never completely separated :
the way of revelation and the way of illumination. With regard to the
Second Person of the Trinity, these two streams are captured in Paul's
statement that Christ is both the power and the Wisdom of God 96 . I
would only add that this same doubleness applies in the relation of W ord
and Wisdom. For Augustine, Christ is not only the Power and Wisdom
of God, but just as certainly the Verbum and Sapientia Dei.
Douglas W.

JOHNSON

94. O'TooLE, The Philosophy ... , p. 30. O'Toole states that [the explanation
of the turning of the creation to God through his vocatio or revocatio in Conf. XIII]
is clearly an adoption by Augustine of the Neoplatonic doctrine of the 'return to
the One ', although he rejected entirely the emanationist elements implied in it ...
For spiritual matter the turning to the Creator just described implies also an enlightenment or illumination.
95. Retract., II, 24, P.L., 32, 640.
96. HOLTE, Batitude ... , pp. 340, 366. For an interpretation of the doubleness
of Augustine's thought which sees both aspects as Neoplatonic in origin, see DU RoY,
L'intelligence ... , pp. 265-7, 415f, 420-21, 438-40, 450, 452.

The Manuscripts of St. Augustine's

Tractatus in Euangelium lohannis


A Preliminary Survey and Check-List1

One striking consequence of modern study of Augustine's Tractatus


in Iohannem has been the dissolution of their unity, a unity that for
centuries has been taken more or less for granted. In the first place,
it is no longer possible to regard Tract. 55-I24 as the product of extempore
preaching exactly like Tract. r-54 and Augustine's numerous other sermones. It has been claimed that they were dictated by Augustine in his
r. In the preparation of this study I have incurred debts of gratitude to a host of
scholars, librarians, friends and others throughout Europe and in the U.S.A. who
in response to my enquiries have examined manuscripts and furnished information
and photographie copies. In only a small minority of cases have I drawn a blank.
To mention by name all to whom I am indebted would be a lengthy operation and I
must ask to be excused this duty. My special thanks, however, must be addressed
to G. Folliet and his colleagues at tudes Augustiniennes for examining on my
behalf a considerable number of manuscripts in the Bibliothque Nationale and for
other valued assistance ; to Dr. Karl Dachs and his staff of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich for like helpfulness ; and similarly to the Directors and their
assistants of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana at Florence, the Biblioteca
Nazionale 'Vittorio Emanuele III' at Naples, the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,
and the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. I have benefited greatly from the
first-fruits of the many-volumed Die Handschriftliche berlieferung der Werke des
Heiligen Augustinus - vol. I /1, Italien : Werkverzeichnis ; I /2, Italien : Verzeichnis
nach Bibliotheken, by Manfred BERI,EI'.tNER (Sitzungsberichte der Osterreichische
Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philos.-Hist. Klasse, 263, 267 ; Vienna, 1969, 1970),
and I am glad to express my appreciation of the co-operation of other members of
the team engaged on this project under the direction of Professer Rudolf Hanslik
of the Kommission zur Herausgabe des Corpus der Lateinischen Kirchenvatcr. I
received draft lists of manuscripts of the Tractatus from Johannes Divjak (France),
Erich Roth (S.-W. Germany), Franz Rmer (Great Britain), and Barbara Giorgi
(Rolland and Belgium). Finally my thanks are due to Edinburgh University Court
for grants from the Earl of Moray Endowment to defray most of the expenses
involved.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

study, conceivably for other preachers to deliver. Much more plausibly,


in my opinion, they may well represent the' private preaching ' of which
Possidius speaks 2, that is to say, homilies or expositions addressed to a
restricted or domestic circle of hearers. The debate continues 3 , but
by now it is at least established that whatever their origin Tract. 55-124
belong to a decidedly different genre from Tract. l-54.
Secondly, the recognition of this distinction between the two main
parts or halves of the work has been followed by a readiness to accept
other divisions, which seem at last to be opening up a solution to the
most difficult dating problem presented by any of Augustine's major
works. The Tractatus were not all produced in the same year or couple
of years. Indeed, it is most unlikely that even Tract. l-54 belong to a
single phase of Augustine's career. If the conclusions of Mlle La Bonnardire are to be followed, Trr. l-16 should be dated in A.D. 406-7, Trr. 17-23
not before 418, and 24-54 in 419-20 at the earliest 4 . More recently,
M.F. Berrouard has argued that Trr. l-16 were preached between December 406 and mid-407, Trr. 17-19 and 23-54 in the summer of 414 and
20-22 in 418-419 5 . Whether or not either of these sets of conclu~ions
proves definitive in the long terrn, future labourers in this field will feel
no compulsion to exorcize any indications that might assign the Tractatus to different stages of Augustine's episcopate, as the Maurist editors
and Lenain de Tillemont once did 6 . The acceptance of the possibility
that the Tractatus were composed in separate sections or blocks over a
number of years has broken through an otherwise intractable impasse7.
2. Vita Augustini 7 (PL 32, 38-39).
3. Cf. especially J. HUYBEN, De Sermoenen over het Evangelie van Johannes.
Bijdrage tot de Chronologie van Augustinus' Werken, in Misclanea Augustiniana
(Rotterdam, 1930), pp. 256-274 ; M. LE LANDAIS, Deux annes de prdication de
saint Augustin, in tudes Augustiniennes (Thologie, 28; Paris, 1953), pp. 38-48;
A.J .H. VAN WEEGEN, Preek en Dictaat bij Sint Augustinus : Syntactisch-Stilistische
Studie over de Tractatus in Ioannis Evangelium (Nijmegen-Utrecht, [1961]) ;
A.-M. LA BoNNARDIRE, Recherches de chronologie augustinienne (Paris, 1965),
pp. 120-126; A. ZWINGGI, Die fortlaufende Schriftlesung im Gottesdienst bei Augustinus, in A rchiv fr Liturgiewissenschaft 12 (1970), pp. 121-124, 128.
4. Op. cit., pp. 19-rr8. Cf. H. RoNDET's review, RSR 53 (1965), pp. 651-658.
5. La date des Tractatus I-LIV in I ohannis Evangelium de saint Augustin,
in Recherches Augustiniennes, vol. 7 (Paris, 1971), pp. 105-168.
6. The Maurists' Admonitio, PL 35, 1375-1376 (cf. also ibid., 1579 n. (a)) ;
TILLEMONT, Mmoires pour servir l'histoire ecclsiastique des six premiers sicles,
second edit. (Paris, 1710), vol. 13, pp. 708-709.
7. The earlier, wildly contradictory, attempts at dating the Tractatus are summarized by LA BONNARDIRE, op. cit., pp. 63-64, and BERROUARD, Homlies sur l' vangile de saint jean !-XVI (Bibliothque Augustinienne, 71 ; Paris, 1969), pp. 29-36.
Berrouard here accepts La Bonnardire's date for Trr. r-16, and reinforces it by
further evidence in La date ... (op. cit., n. 5 above), pp. 107-rr9. ZwrnGGI, op. cit.,
pp. 99-129, follows La Bonnardire for the whole collection, and also suggests some
further detailed connexions between several of the Tractatus and the liturgical
assemblies of the Church at Hippo. We still have our doubts (cf. JTS n.s. 17 (1966),
pp. 183-184, and n.s. 22 (1971), p. 252 ; cf. G. MADEC, RA 13 (1967), p. 140) about
A.D. 405 as a terminus post quem for Trr. 1-16, but now is not the time to develop
them.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

<<

TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

57

Thirdly, evidence is now accumulating that the manuscript tradition


of the Tractatus embodies a diversity which none of the editions has disclosed, except to a minor extent that of R. Willems in Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina ( = CCL), vol. 36 (Turnhout, 1954)8 . The present
writer has already published some of the evidence for this diversity
in an article which concentrated on the omission of Tract. 20-22 from
several manuscripts and from copies of the work used by some mediaeval
writers 9 . The list of the manuscripts of the Tractatus which it is the main
purpose of this study to present, is largely a by-product of that more
restricted enquiry and some at least of its limitations are to be explained,
if not excused, on this ground. But in the course of that earlier enquiry
certain obvious criteria for grouping the manuscripts began to emerge,
and the endeavour to compile a list as complete as possible offered a
suitable opportunity for pursuing this classification as far as it could be
taken.
These circumstances explain why it is that in the following pages a
wealth of detail can be presented concerning the area of Tract. 17-23 but
only a very incomplete collection of data is available concerning most of
the other features under discussion. Despite these deficiencies there
seemed some value in indicating the kind of criteria that enable a start
to be made on classifying the mass of the manuscripts. But again the
reader must be cautioned against excessive expectations. These criteria
are rnostly of an externat nature, and hardly justify talking about distinctive textual types, though if these are ever to be detected among the
manuscripts of the Tractatus one would expect them, in part at least,
to coinoide broadly with some of the groupings established in this study.
Two reviewers of willems' edition called respectively for ' a complete
list of the known manuscripts ' and ' a serious reconsideration of the
whole history of the manuscript tradition ' 10 , perhaps unaware of the
dimensions of the task. The number of manuscripts listed here bears
comparison with the totals compiled by Andr Wilmart for the Confessions
(258 manuscripts), the De Trinitate (233), the City of Gad (376) and the
Enarrationes in Psalmos (368) 11 . These figures, published in 1931, most
probably all need to be considerably increased. The total for the De

8. For reviews, mostly critical, of this edition see M.P.J. VAN DEN HouT, in
Augustiniana 5 (I955), pp. 298-308 ; G. For,I,IET, in RA 3 (I957), pp. 403-405 ;
c. MoHRMANN, in vc IO (I956), p. 6I ; B.M. PEEBI.ES, in Traditio II (I955), pp. 424426; L. BIEI.ER, in Scriptoriitm IO (I956), p. 323; E. DES PI.ACES, in Biblica 37 (I956),
pp. 367-368.
9. Tractatus 20-22 of St. Augustine's In Iohannem, in ]TS n.s. 15 (1964), pp. 3I7330.
Io. VAN DEN HOUT, in Augustiniana 5 {I955), p. 298; For,r,rET, in RA 3 (1957),
p. 404.
Ir. La Tradition des grands ouvrages de Saint Augustin, in Miscellanua Agostiniana,
vol. II (Rome, 1931), pp. 257-3I5.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

58

Trinitate is now over 30012 . But even if the application of different principles of inclusion, for instance, in the case of selections in homiliaries,
renders my provisional total for the Tractatus of about 340 manuscripts
not strictly comparable with any others, nevertheless it is high enough
to scotch the suggestion of Miss Ruth J. Dean that the surviving manuscripts are significantly fewer than for Augustine's other main works13 .
Her claim that only four complete copies of the Tractatus earlier than the
tenth century are known to exist is also unduly pessimistic. (In fact,
of her four Cologne 6914 contains only Tract. 55-124 while Paris, B.N. lat.
1959 can be described as complete only with the major qualifications to
be indicated below).
At this stage we may conveniently list the pre-tenth century manuscripts of the Tractatus. The principles followed in determining the limits
of this list are prefaced to the complete check-list on pp. ro7-ro9 below.
Contents are given according to the numbering of the Tractatus in the
editions; S. 125 is Sermo 125 (PL 38, 688-698). At the end of each item
is noted in brackets the title given to the individual Tractatus in the body
of the manuscript, except for those which do not specify any at all or
for which the relevant information is not available. In some cases more
than one title is employed. The diversity of these titles will shortly be
discussed.

VI

/vn

Carlsruhe Ettenheimmnster 462


of 75-80, III-II2

+ Engelberg 59

; fragments

vrr /vnr

Monte Cassino 523 E; fragments of

vm in.

Vatican 3835, 3836 ; selections (Agimond's Homiliary) (sermo,


omelia)

vm2

Munich 14653 ; 30-54 (as' 27-51 ') (sermo)

II2-II3

(sermo)

12. W.J. MOUNTAIN, Additional Manuscripts of St. Augustine's De Trinitate ,


in Sacris Erudiri 16 (1965), pp. 198-202, adds 69 manuscripts, and FOLLIET, in
RA 13 (1967), p. 333, two more.
13. An Early Fragment of a Manuscript of St. Augustine's Sermons on the Gospel
According to St. John, in JTS 36 (1935), p. rr3, followed by WILLEMS, in CCL 36, x.
14. In the sections of this article preliminary to the list itself, manuscripts are
referred to as briefly as is reasonably possible, but sufficient indication is always
given to enable them to be located in the actual list where fuller details may be
found. The century is indicated by capital Roman figures : IX /x means the turn of
the ninth and tenth centuries, i.e., circa A.D. 900, while IX-X means ninth or tenth
century. Page and line references to the Tractatus always relate to the edition in
CCL 36. There is now available in print an index of Incipits which includes the
individual Tractatus and not merely the beginning of the first one. Initia Patrum
Latinorum, ed. J.M. CLMENT (Corpus Christianorum; Turnhout, 1971) utilizes the
edition of the Tractatus in CCL 36.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

vm

59

Paris, B.N. lat. 10399 ; fragments of abbreviation of 42-43, 49


ex.

Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 ; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-123 (many omissions)
(sermo)
Berlin Phillipps 1662 ; 1-19, 23-35 (tractatus)
Vatican Palat. 207 ; 24-54 (sermo)
Paris, B.N. lat. n635 ; 55-124
Munich 18092 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary) (sermo)
Berlin Phillipps 1676; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)
(sermo)
Troyes 853 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)
Vienna 1616 ; selections (Homiliary) (omelia)
Paris, B.N. lat. 2034 ; 5

vm/Ix

Rome, Vallicell. A. 14; l-17, S. 125, 20-124 (ometia)


Berlin theol. lat. fol. 346 ; 1-54 (sermo)
Munich 14286 ; abbreviation of 30-124
Gottingen Mller III
Hersfeld C. 165 ; fragments of 102-103,
105 and?
Munich 4547 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)
Verona, Capit. LII ; selections (Homiliary)

VIII

IX in.

Carlsruhe Aug. XLVII ; l-124 (sermo, tractatus, omelia)


Tours 289 ; 10-19, 23-38 (sermo)
Carlsruhe Aug. LXXVI ; 1-21 (sermo)
Stuttgart H.B. VII 17 ; 2-21 (sermo, homilia)
Wolfenbttel 4094 ; l-23 (tractatus)
Wolfenbttel 4102 ; 24-54 (tractatus)
Munich 29046, 29055a, 29162
Augsburg Fragm. 14 ; fragments of 99-124 (sermo)
Carlsruhe Karls. 1438 ; 51 (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)
Vienna 1014 ; selections (Homiliary)

Ix1

Lucca 21 ; l-124 (omelia, sermo)


St. Gallen 168, 169 ; l-54 (sermo, omelia)
Munich 6287 ; l-13 (sermo)
Salzburg a VII 33 ; 15-19, 23-36 (tractatus)
St. Gallen 241 ; abbreviation of 1-18, 20 (sermo)
Vienna 725 ; fragments of n6-n7
Wertheim Fragm. 2; fragments of 6
Munich 4564; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)
Munich 14368 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)

Ix1 and IX med.


Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 ; 14-54 (sermo, tractatus, liber)
IX

med.

Wrzburg M. p. th. f. 74 ; l-13 (sermo)


Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 124 ; 55-124 (sermo)

60

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Avranches 109 ; part of IO


Paris, B.N. n. a. lat. 2322; selections (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)

(omelia)
IX2

Verona, Comun. 3034 ; fragments of 55-77 (homelia)

IX

Chartres 6 ; 1-124 (sermo, tractatus, homelia)


Florence S. Marco 644; l-I7, S. 125, l8-I24 (sermo)
Basel B. III. 3 ; l-I9, 23-24, 55-124 (sermo)
Angers 175 ; 2-18, 20, I9, 23-54 (tractatus)
Verona, Capit. XXXVI ; 1-17, S. 125, 18, 20-21, 19, 22-53

(sermo)
Cologne 69 ; 55-124 (omelia)
Le Mans 260 ; 54-124 (omelia)
Paris, B.N. lat. 974 ; fragments of 34-36
Paris, B.N. lat. 1960 ; 55-124
Vatican 637 ; extracts of 1-18, 20, 19, 21-123
Paris, B.N. lat. 2012, ff. I, 136 ; parts of 24, 26
Valenciennes 166 ; part of IO
Vatican Regin. 307 ; extracts of l, 36
Vienna 697; fragments of 1-2
Carlsruhe Aug. Fragm. 98 ; part of 17
Carlsruhe Aug. XV ; selections (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)
Carlsruhe Aug. XIX ; selections (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)
Carlsruhe Aug XXIV ; 24 (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)
Manchester, Rylands 12 ; selections (Homiliary)
Munich 17194 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)
Wolfenbttel 4096 ; part of 15 (tractatus)

IX ex.

Vercelli XLVI; 1-124 (omelia, sermo)


Paris, B.N. lat. 9604 ; selections (Paul Deacon's Homiliary)
Vatican Regin. 195 ; selections (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary)

IX/X

Vatican S. Pietro C 105 ; selections (Homiliary) (sermo)

IX~X

Orlans 161 ; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-124 (many omissions) (sermo)


Berne ro3 ; 1-19, 23-52 (sermo)
Fulda A. a. 3 ; 22-54
Paris, B.N. lat 1918 ; fragments of 37, 39
Dsseldorf B. 80 ; fragments of 121

For subsequent centuries the approximate totals are as follows :


X, 14; X-XI, 6 ; XI, 38 ; XI-XII, 7 ; XII, IOO ; XII-XIII, 6 ; XIII, 24 ; XIII-XIV, 4;
XIV, 22; XV (and XVI), 47.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE <<TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

6r

The proportionate distribution here is roughly parallel with that


established by Wilmart for the Confessions, De Trinitate, City of God and
Enarrationes in Psalmos, except that the marked predominance of twelfthcentury exemplars is paralleled - and indeed greatly exceeded - only
in the case of the Enarrationes 1 5.
Thus from the period prior to the tenth century (if we omit from consideration manuscripts dated ' ninth or tenth century '), there survive
seven basically complete copies of the Tractatus, Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 ;
Rome, Vallicell. A. 14; Carlsruhe Aug. XLVII; Lucca 21; Chartres 6;
Florence S. Marco 644 ; Vercelli XLVI. However, of these seven
three are marked by one or other of the ' standard ' irregularities to be
discussed in due course and one of these three has more serions deficiencies, while of the other four, which one describes hesitantly as perfect
copies, Chartres 6 suffered bomb damage in 1944, and is practically useless
in its lower 6-8 lines. But quite apart from exemplars of the whole
work, even a cursory glance through the seventy odd items listed above
will reveal the diversity of material with which the student of the manuscript tradition of the Tractatus has to corne to terms.

TITLES

This diversity is immediately apparent in the variety of titles used not


only among the varions manuscripts but even within individual codices.
Possidius lists the work as Tractatus de evangelio I ohannis a capite usque
in finem in codicibus sex16 In all the printed editions Tractatus alone
appears, and it is commonly regarded as the term Augustine himself
chose for these expositions of John's Gospe117 . But in the centuries of
tradition separating the library at Hippo from the printing press, nothing
is more patent in both the manuscripts and quotations in other writers
than the rarity of tractatus compared with sermo and homilia. Having
indicated above the usage as far as it is known to us in the earlier manuscripts, we will now catalogue the manner of citation in later authors,
but with two cautions. First, we cannot always assume that a writer
intends to reproduce the actual title in his copy of the work, and secondly,
we must in any case distinguish between the overall title it bears at the
beginning, and perhaps also at the commencement of a new part such as
Tract. 55-124 as well as at the end, and the title or titles given to the individual tractatus. As we shall shortly see, these two often do not concide.

15. Op. cit., pp. 310-31r. Wilmart listed 147 manuscripts of the Enarrationes
from the twelfth century, out of a total of 368.
16. Indiculum X<.5, ed. WILMAR't, in Mise. Agost., vol. II, p. 182.
17. E.g., BERROUARD, Homlies (op. cit.), p. 25, with further references.

62

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Leo I quotes Tr. 78 from Augustine's Expositio evangelii secundum


Iohannem 18
Eugippius's Excerpta include a paragraph from homilia X evangelii
secundum Iohannem 19
Cassiodorus twice refers to the work as Augustine's expositio on John 2 0
Fulgentius's usage reveals some of the possible variants. His quotation
from Tr. 22 is introduced by : Augustinus in expositione Evangelii
secundum I ohannem, cum de ipso Domini sermone tractaret, sic ait,
but he twice cites Tr. I4 as a homilia 21
The patristic florilegium of the Second Council of Seville, A.D. 6r9,
drawn up by Isidore, follows Leo I in quoting Tr. 78 from Augustine's
expositio I oannis Evangelistae 22
At the Lateran Synod of A.D. 649 under Martin I, Tr.
homilia vicesima secunda23

22

was cited as

Bede's Augustinian florilegium on Paul refers to several Tractatus between 36 and rn8 invariably as (h)omelia, but his two other references, to Trr. 3 and 7, use the term sermo 24 However, we cannot
immediately conclude from this evidence that Bede's manuscripts
used different titles in different sections of the Tractatus.
Alcuin's writings reveal a wide range of usage, referring variously to
Augustine's homilia evangelicae expositionis, sermo, evangelicae
praedicationis homilia, homilia evangelica 25 , etc. Homilia is his
most frequent term, and indeed he once quotes Tr. I4 after the
18. Ep. 165: 6 (PL 54, u8r; ACO II, 4, 128).
19. Excerpta 276 (283) (CSEL 9, r, 879).
20. De Instit. Divin. 7 (PL 70, III9) ; Expos. in Pss. II : I (CCL 97, 40).
2!. Ep. 14 : 17, 27, 34 (CCL 91, 405-406, 418, 426-427).
22. J. MADOZ, El Florilegio patristico del segundo Concilia de Sevilla, in Miscellanea
Isidoriana (Rome, 1936), p. 213.
23. MANS! X, ro73-I074.
24. I. FRANSEN, Description de la collection de Bde le Vnrable sur l' A pdtre, in
RB 7r (r96r), pp. 66, 45, 48.
25. Adv. Felicem 2 : IO; Adv. Haeresin Felicis 67, 68; Adv. Elipandum 2 : 12,
I : 19 (PL IOI, 153, u6, 269, 254). I am assuming that the three references to
Tract. VII, Tract. XIV and Tract. XXV found in Migne's text of Adv. Elipandum
3 : 18 (PL ror, 284) are editorial, though such identifications of sources normally
appear in the footnotes. Cf. also the mention of A ugustini homeliatico (v.l., omeliaco)
sermone explanationes in the Epistle of Gisla and Rectruda prefaced to Alcuin's
Commentary on John (PL roo, 739). The workDe Processione S. Spiritus I, 2 (PL IOI,
68, 79), which is falsely attributed to Alcuin (see E. DUEMMI,ER in MGH Epp. IV
[Karol. Aevi II], p. 482), refers to Augustine's expositio evangelit.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. !OH."

63

words in opere Homiliarum titulo quartodecimo. but proceeds in


the next chapter to refer to sermo XXII 26 . Or again he turns
to Augustine's pulcherrimum opus, Homiliarum siquidem [in]
Evangelium Ioannis, only to refer to Tr. r4 as a sermo 27
Popf Hadrian I quotes from liber XXXVIII super Iohannem evangelistam28, while the documents of the Council of Frankfurt (A.D. 794)
contain the following variants : expositum evangelii and omelia
(Ep. of Franch bishops to Spanish bishops), sermo (Ep. of Hadrian
I to Spanish bishops), vicesima sexta omelia in expositione (Ep. of
French bishops) 29
Amalarius of Metz displays no consistency in his numerous citations in
Liber Officialis, referring \'ariously to tractatus, omelia, sermo 30 .
He is thus the first writer to my knowledge who uses the term
tractatus, though Fulgentius had much earlier used the verb
tractare.
One of the opponents of Amalarius, Florus of Lyons, drew upon very
many of the Tractatus for his Augustinian florilegium on Paul's Epistles,
and invariably employs the title tractatus 31 . In other works which have
been ascribed to him afresh in recent decades he quotes from Tr. 53 as
sermo 5r expositionis, appeals to what Augustine says in tractatibus quos
in expositionem J oannis evangelistae ad populum loquitur, and refers
to Trr. 49 and 66 as the bishop's tractationes evangelii 32 . Also at Lyons,
archbishop Amulo once quotes from Tr. 53 as Augustine's quinquagesimus
tractatus 33 .
Other ninth-century writers continue the variety of usage as before.
Prudentius of Troyes cites the Tractatus nearly always as homilia, but
26.
27.
28.
29.
150.
30.

Adv. Haeresin Felicis 27, 28 (PL IOI, 98).


Adv. Elipandum 3 : r8 (PL ror, 283-284).
Ep. 2 : 2, to Charlemagne (MGH Epp. V [Kara/. Aevi III], p. r2).
MGH Legum Sect1"0 III, Concilia II (Concilia Aevi Kara/.), pp. 113, r25, 145.

E.g., 2 : 7 : 4, 3 : 24 : 7, 3 : 26 : 3, ed. J .M. HANSSENS, Amalarii Episcopi


Opera Liturgica Omnia, vol. 2 (Studi e Testi, 139) Vatican City, r948, pp. 2r6, 339,
344
3r. C. CHARLIER, La compilation augustinienne de Florus sur !'Aptre. Sources
et authenticit, in RB 57 (1947), p. 174
32. Ps.-AMULO, A ugustini Sentcntiae de Praedestinatione et Gratia, cap. 5 (Sent.
I-VII) (PL rr6, r32-133); Ps.-REMlGIUS OF LYONS, Libellus de Tenenda Immobiliter
Scripturar Veritate 8 and De tribus Epistolis 16 (PL r2r, 1I02, lor3). For Florus's
authorship of the Sententiae see CHARLlER, Les manuscrits personnels de Florus de
Lyon et son activit littraire, in Mlanges E. Podechard (Lyons, 1945), pp. 76, 80,
and of the works of Remigius, WlLMAR'l', Une Lettre sans adresse crite vers le milieu
du JXe sicle, in RB 42 (1930), pp.157-162, and CHARLlER, in Mlanges Podechard,
p. 79.
33. Ep. 2 to Gottschalk (MGH Epp. V [Karol. Aevi III], p. 375 = PL n6, 93).

DAVID F. WRIGHT

on one occasion as sermo 34 . Tr. 26 is quoted by Paschasius Radbertus


from Augustine's expositio beati I ohannis evangelistae sermone vigesimo
sexto 35 . Ratramnus on three occasions refers to the work as Augustine's
expositio 36 ,while John the Deacon in several quotations names his source
either simply as homilia or as in expositione Iohannis homilia 37
We have no need to pursue this enquiry any further among the early
users of the Tractatus in I ohannem. For the moment we merely observe
that the evidence indicates the predominance of homilia, the popularity
also of sermo and expositio, and the rarity of tractatus, except in Lyons
in the first half of the ninth century.
In turning again to the manuscripts, we would expect to discover amid
this variety of nomenclature some criteria of classification, but the
Maurists' Admonitio immediately warns us against over-optimism. Even
within the confines of their largely homogeneous group of manuscripts
they encountered tractatus, sermo and homilia'JS. They also reproduce
an extended title found in three of their copies, which we may conveniently
discuss at this stage :
A urelii A ugustini Doctoris Hipponensis episcopi Homiliae in Evangelium Domini I esu secundum I oannem I ncipiunt quas ipse colloquendo
prius ad populum habuit et inter colloquendum a notariis exceptas eo quo
habitae sunt ordine verbum ex verbo postea dictavit.
This introduction occurs in the following manuscripts, none of them
earlier than the end of the eleventh century :
Durham, Cath. B. II. r6 ; xr ex. ; Durham
Cambridge, Trinity rr6 ; XII in. ; Canterbury
London, B.M. Royal 3. C. X ; XII in. ; Rochester
Oxford, Balliol 6 ; XII in. ; Gloucester region
Cambridge, St. John's 9 ; xn; Welbeck
Oxford, Christ Church 88 ; A.D. rr67 ; Buildwas
Rouen A. 85 ; XII; Rouen (the Maurists' Audoenensis)
Rouen A. 9r ; XII; Jumiges (the Maurists' Gemmeticensis)
London, Lambeth 44 ; XII ex. ; Lanthony
34. De Praedestinatione contra Joan. Scotum 4 (' scrmo '), 10, 13, 16 (PL n5, Io53,
II45, II79-II80, IZ42).
35. Ep. ad Fredugardum m/3 (CCL Conf. Med. I6, I64).
36. De Praedestinatione Dei r, z ; De Corpore et Sanguine Domini 78 (PL IZI, 30,
43, I6o-r6r).
37. E.g., E;cpositum in Heptateuchum, ed. J.B. PITRA, in Analecta Sacra et Classica I, p. r67 ; fragment of patristic Florilegium on Gospels, ed. PrTRA, in Spicilegium
Solesmense I, p. LXI. Gottschalk's works quote the Tractatus on many occasions,
normally without using any term approximating to a title (and hence always without
numbers), though he once describes Tr. III as an omelia in De Pracdestinatione II,
ed. C. LAMBOT, Oeuvres thologiques et grammaticafrs de Godescalc d'Orbais (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, zo) Louvain, 1945, p. 223.
38. PL 35, I377I378 ; CCL 36, XIII.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

65

Oxford, Bodl. Auct. D. r. IO ; XII /xm ; Missenden


Oxford, Bodl. Canon. Pat. r82 ; xm ; N. Italy
Oxford, M erton XIV ; XIV
Rome, A ngelica r77 ; XIV ; Rome
It also appeared in the l\faurists' Pratellensis, but this manuscript
has not been identified in modern times.
In addition, in at least ten manuscripts the same sentence is found
at the conclusion of the work, with of course Expliciunt substituted for
Incipiunt. Three of the ten also have it as the introductory title.
Oxford, Bodl. Bodl. 3or ; XI ex. ; Exeter
Oxford, Balliol 6 ; XII in. ; Gloucester region
Cambridge, St. John's 2I6 ; XII; Chicksands
Lincoln 9 ; XII ; Lincoln
Oxford, Qtteen's 386 ; XII
Rouen 467 ; XII ; Rouen
Rouen 468 ; XII ; Jumiges
Tours 292 ; XII ; Tours
Oxford, St. ] ohn' s I ; XIII /XIV ; Reading
Oxford, M erton II ; XIV in.
And again the codex Pratellensis used by the Maurist editors.
It is certain that further scrutiny would increase the number of manuscripts in both of these groups. At the moment only a few continental
representatives offset the preponderance of English exemplars. The
evidence is indicative of an origin in England or Normandy, in a centre
where the textual tradition of the Tractatus had attained - or preserved ? - a normalized form. In none of these manuscripts does any of
the irregularities discussed in this article occur, and Oxford, Queen's 386
is the only one to give the separate numeration of ' r-70 ' for Tract. 55-124.
Sufficient evidence has been adduced so far to demonstrate that the
title tractatus appears very rarely in the tradition prior to the tenth
century 39 . Confirmation of its continuing rarity in at least two branches

39. It is used in Wolfenbttel 4094 (rxin.; Trr r-23) and 4ro2 (rxin.; Trr. 24-54),
both from Weissenburg, and also for each of the sermons in a thlrd manuscript from
the same abbey, 'Nolfenbttel 4096, the ninth-century Augustinian homiliary from
which G. Morin published so many unknown sc'Ymones. Though tractatus as a designation of an ordinary sermon, especially one expounding a passage of Scripture, is
well attested for Augustine's era (cf. BERROUARD, Homlies, pp. 26-29, and the
studies of G. Bardy and C. Mohrmann referred to there), it is not the term normally
employed to describe what the editions present as his Samones. Indeed,
BERROUARD, ibid., pp. 28-29, points out that tractatus itself, as distinct from the
verbs tractare and pertractare, occurs only once in the Tractatus but sernio frequently.
(On this single, and singular, occurrence of tractatus see n. 68 below.) Thus there
may well be some exceptional local factor behind the use of tractatus in these Weissenburg codices. Alternatively it could be argued that since Wolfenbttel 4096
obviously stands in a close relation to the earliest transmission of Augustine's

66

DAVID F. WRIGHT

of the tradition can be obtained by reference to the lists of manuscripts


lacking Trr. 20-22 (below, pp. 81-82) andincluding S. 125 (below, pp. 90-94).
Even when tractatus features in the overall title of the work, at the beginning
or end of a manuscript, not only does its use in the singular (indicated by
incipit or explicit, sometimes prefaced by In nomine sanctae et individuae
Trinitatis) 40 frequently betray misunderstanding of its meaning, but it is
also followed in several codices by sermo and /or homilia as the designations
for the individual homilies. Thus with sermo : Berlin theol. lat. fol. 343
(for Trr. 55-124) ; Graz 397, and 4rr and 438 ; Lrida Roda l ; Reims 92
(Explicit sermo centesimus vicesimus quartus. Explicit tractatus ... Augustini ... secundum Iohannem); Vatican Palat. 207; with homilia : Cologne
69 ; with homilia and sermo : Barcelona S. Cugat 2r. Similarly, in Oxford,
Bodl. Canon. Pat. 147, the introductory title is Expositio, Tr. l appears
as an homelia, the rest each as a sermo, and finally cornes Explicit liber
Tractatuum. Were fuller details available, there is no doubt that many
other codices would qualify for inclusion at this point, such as Lisbon
Alcob. 402 (Tr. r24 is a sermo only to be followed by Tractatus ... expliciunt) and Utrecht 3. J. l (53), for which the catalogue entry suggests
sermo as the usual title (or perhaps merely Sermones as the opening title),
yet Tr. l begins as an omelia and the work concludes Explicit liber tractatuum. However, there are of course a number of copies in which the
occurence of tractatus in the title of the whole collection is followed by
the regular use of tractatus for each item (e.g. Paris, B.N. lat. 3329).
There are other instances of a lack of accord between the designations
at the outset of the work and at the commencement of each Tractatus.
Thus In hoc corpore continentur ... homeliae introduces the repeated use of
sermo and tractatus as well as homelia in at least three manuscripts :
Angers 176 ; Orlans 161 ; Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 (The position of these
last two manuscripts among the earliest witnesses in one branch of the
tradition suggests that several others may also display this inconsistency
between homilia, sermo and tractatus. See pp. 87-88 below.) In Basel
B. III. 3 Trr. 55-124 are preceded by Capitula sermonum LXX, but Tr. 55
forthwith commences as an omelia.

sermons, we should treat its use of tractatus as a sign of primitive tradition, and
likewise for codices 4094 and 4102.
For a tenth-century catalogue of Lorsch Abbey and a ninth-century one of Fulda
in which tractatus is the title used, see below p. 78. I have there identified one
of the Fulda codices with Berlin Phillipps 1662, which is one of the group of
manuscripts omitting Trr. 20-22. Almost all the others in this group employ sermo,
but Salzburg a VII 33 probably uses tractatus throughout. Mention should also be
made of Vatican Palat. 207 (vur ex. ; Lorsch), which has Trr. 24-54 as' 21-51 ',
severally entitled sermo, but bears the introductory title Tractatus ad populum.
Concerning Wolfenbttel 4102, containing Trr. 24-54 and using the title tractatus but
probably numbering '22-52 'rather than '21-51 ', see n. 76 below.
40. Occurring in Barcelona S. Cugat 21 (incipiunt tractatus) ; Paris, B.N. lat. 3329
(incipit liber tractatuum) ; Reims 92 (incipit tractatus) ; and no doubt others also.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

67

Abundant evidence could be adduced, even as a result of my restricted enquiries, to illustrate the fluidity of usage within individual manuscripts. The appearance of different titles for Trr. 1-54 and 55-124 will
be taken note of below in the pages on the division of the work into these
two parts. The list of manuscripts containing S. 125 also given below
tells its own tale of inconsistency, which cannot be entirely ascribed to
the insertion of S. 125. Thus in Madrid 193 Tr. 17 ends as homelia, S. 125
ends as omelia but Tr. 18 begins as sermo, and in Naples VI. B. 7 the standard term, even for S. 125, is (h)omelia, but sermo is used at the end of
Tr. 18 and the commencement of Tr. 19.
One of the oldest complete exemplars of the Tractatus, Carlsruhe Aug.
XLVII, displays remarkable variety. After the initial title of Sermones,
tractatus designates the first five items, omelia appears for the end of
Tr. 5 and the beginning of Tr. 6, and then after the reappearance of tractatus for Trr. 6 /7, sermo is the title for Trr. 7 / 8 and 8 / 9. Thereafter
tractatus predominates until the end of Tr. 22, though not without one
omelia and a few cases of sermo. Sermo holds the field for the rest of the
first half, except that omelia twice puts in an appearance, for Trr. 50 /SI
and 54. Throughout Trr. 1-54 these individual titles are found variously
with the Explicit alone, with the Incipit alone or with both. In the
second part of the collection Incipit sermo - is the invariable usage.
Chartres 6, another of the early copies of the whole work, is in complete
agreement with Carlsruhe Aug. XLVII for the section Trr. 17-23 (17 begins
as sermo, ends as omelia ; 18 ends tractatus ; 19 ends sermo ; 20-22 end
tractatus ; 23 ends sermo), and the presumption must be that the agreement
extends throughout the collection and establishes a kinship between the
two manuscripts.
Other early manuscripts disclose similar variations. Stuttgart H.B. VII
17 (1x in.) normally uses sermo, but Tr. 19, though beginning as sermo,
ends as homelia, while the reverse holds for Tr. 20, and then Tr. 21 starts
as homelia. Vatican Palat. 206 of the tenth century generally employs
sermo but Tr. 33 closes as omelia. Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 consists
of an early ninth-century codex largely supplemented in mid-century.
Sermo is the regular usage of both parts, but tractatus and liber each occur
once in the additions. In Rome, V allicell. A. 14 omilia is employed
throughout, except that Tr. 4 is introduced as a sermo.
There is little point in further documentation of such variations 41
4r. In Angers 175, Tr. 15 begins as sermo XV and ends as oniilia XVI. Bamberg
II8 mostly gives only numbers, but Trr. 17 and 18 end as omiliae, but 22 as sermo.
In Bernkastel-Kues 32 Trr. l-42 are called homiliae, and 43-124 sermones, strongly
suggesting it is itself a composite codex or goes back to one in the tradition.
Homelia, sermo and tractatus are all used by Oxford, Bodl. Canon. Pat. 182 (all three
titles occur within the first five Tractatus), Orlans 76 (73) (see n. 180 below and
cf. the details given above concerning Orlans 161), and, according to the catalogue,
Durham, Cath. B. II. r6. Valenciennes 80 employs tractatus throughout except for
Trr. 13, r8, 57, 68, 90, 95 and 97, which are severally called sermones. For the
distinctive usage of Paris, B.N. lat. 12194 and 12195 see n. 195 below.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

68

lt remains to be said that in many manuscripts the numbers of the indi-

vidual Tractatus often appear alone, and that the inclusion of one or
other of the terms we have been discussing seems to observe neither rhyme
nor reason. This is the case, for instance, in Berlin Phillipps 1662 (tractatus)
and Troyes 536 (sermo).
It may be thought premature to attempt to draw any conclusions from
the evidence we have adduced, illustrative and almost accidental as it
admittedly is rather than systematic and exhaustive. But in addition
to the obvious lesson it teaches, that significant and unexpected gains
in the association of manuscripts with each other are held out by this
method of approach, it raises several questions about the interpretation
of Possidius's Tractatus de evangelio lohannis ... in codicibus sex. Are we
right to assume that this description tells us anything beyond the kind
of title that may well have met Possidius's eyes as he opened the first
codex ? Does it require us to believe that throughout the six volumes
each exposition was introduced as a tractatus ? Can it be held to exclude
the possibility not only that the successive expositions merely bore numbers but even that sermo (rather than homilia) put in an occasional or
even frequent appearance ? If, as now seems highly probable, the Tractatus were produced in blocks at intervals covering more than a dozen
years, would one expect the six manuscripts to have presented a tidy
uniformity throughout ? No doubt we are groping in the dark, for
we do not know what took place between the taking down of these
sermons by stenographers and the eventual emergence of the t'ix codices.
We cannot say to what extent editorial or redactionist activity unified
the collection into a consistent whole. We can only suggest that the
testimony of the manuscript tradition can hardly be said to support the
conclusions normally drawn from Possidius's reference 42 . At most it
could be that tractatus featured only in the initial title (with the individual
sermons introduced rnlely by numbers as in the oldest manuscript fragments, Carlsruhe Ettenheimmnster 462 + Engelberg 59. In the next
oldest, Monte Cassino 523 E, sermo appears without a number). And it
could be argued that some uses of tractatus as a title in the manuscripts
reflect a knowledge of Possidius's description, which did not preclude
the misunderstanding of tractatus as a singular noun, in just the same way
as it is so easily mistranslated today in both French and English.
PREFACES

The Maurist editors of the Tractatus printed between their Admonitio


and the commencement of the work itself a Praefatio Incerti Auctoris,

42. If, as BERROUARD, Homlies, pp. 25, 28, strongly argues, tractatus was
Augustine's deliberately chosen title, why did he twice refer to Tr. 99 as a sermo in
De Trinitate r5 : 27 : 48 (PL 42, 1095-1096) ? See also un. 39 above and 68 below.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH. "

69

beginning Omnibus divinae Scripturae paginis Evangelium excellit 43 Like


their Louvain predecessors they had failed to find it in any manuscript
of the Tractatus, were well aware that it did not corne from Augustine's
pen but nevertheless reproduced it from Erasmus's edition. Whence
Erasmus derived it will probably never be known. It did not appear
in the earlier editions of the work. The Praefatio is however printed as
the prologue to the Glossa on John in Migne's edition 44 , but whether it
owes this position to the probable creator of this section of the Glossa,
Anselm of Laon 45 , I cannot but doubt. The Maurists encountered this
preface paucis mutatis verbis apud Bedam et Alcuinum in Ioannem.
Alcuin's Commentary on John's Gospel is prefaced by, inter alia, his Epistle
to Gisia and Rectruda which in a more expansive introduction to the
Evangelist loosely incorporates most of the sentiments and phrases of
the Praejatio 46 This introduction is reproduced almost verbatim at
the outset of Ps.-Bede's Exposition on John's Gospel 47 , for this Exposition,
as far as the end of chapter r2 of the Gospel, is of course none other than
the Commentary of Alcuin.
With this history it is not surprising that the Praefatio J ncerti A uctoris
is frequently found in manuscripts relating to the Gospel of John, usually
and perhaps invariably48 as the chief glossa on the prologue of Ps.-Bede,
Hic est Johannes evangelista unus ex discipulis Dei 49 . Nor would it be
surprising if it had found its way into manuscripts of Augustine's Tractatus on John, especially as several copies preface the Tractatus with the
text of the Gospel (see below). In fact, it appears, to the best of my
knowledge, in only one manuscript of the Tractatus, Klosterneuburg 27 of
the fifteenth century, and then at the end of the codex, as the second of
two prologues to the Gospel of John (the first is Hic est Johannes evangelista) following the completion of the Tractatus themselves 50 The
43. PL 35, r377-r380; CCL 36, XIV.
44. PL rq, 355-356.
45. 13. SMALLEY, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, second edit. (Oxford,
r952), p. 60.
46. PL IOO, 740-743.
47. PL 92, 635-638.
48. All the occurrences of the Praefatio Incerti Auctoris known tome connect it
with Hic est I ohannes evangelista, but I have not begun to make a thorough search
of the catalogues. Though it does not appear among the prologues listed by
Wordsworth and White in their edition of the Vulgate of John (see next note), it is
probable that on some occasions it occurs separately from Hic est Johannes evangelista.
49. PL 92, 633-636. Also in Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri Iesu Christi
Latine .. ., edd. J. WRDSWOR'I'H and H.J. WHITE, pt. I, IV (Oxford, r895), pp. 485-487,
with references to the older literature.
50. Ff. 2r5r-2r6v. I owe my knowledge of this occurrence to information provided by Professor Julian G. Plante, the Curator of the Monastic Manuscript
Microfilm Library, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. After the end
of the Praefatio as printed (... virginem virgini cominendavit) the version in this codex
continues without a break Et nota quod vinum aliud est nuptiale, aliud spirituale
... / ... omnia appareant nova quae a Christo novo homine constituuntur. I have not
identified the source of this allegorical treatment of the miracle at Cana.

70

DAVID F. WRIGHT

connexion with the Tractatus in this manuscript is thus fairly tenuous,


but it may suggest that perhaps Erasmus was aware of the Praejatio
in a copy of the Tractatus.
This possibility, together with the question of the origin of the Praejatio, has recently been raised in a new context by the publication of the
Commentary on John by Salonius 51 , the son of Eucherius, bishop of
Lyons, who as bishop of Geneva flourished around the middle of the
fifth century. This Commentary, in the form of a series of questions
and answers on selected portions of the Gospel, is dependent not only on
Augustine's Tractatus but also on the Praejatio Incerti Auctoris, at any
rate in the opinion of its first editor, C. Curti 52 . Though at this stage
one could not rule out the possibility that both Salonius and the I ncertus
A uctor are dependent on a common source, the similarities suggest a
relation of direct dependence between the two. In view of the obscurity
of Salonius's treatise (Curti knows of only five manuscripts), there exists
an a priori likelihood that it is Salonius who has used the Praejatio and
not vice-versa. If this is the case, not only is the origin of the Praejatio
pushed back into the fifth century, to a time probably only two or three
decades later than the completion of the Tractatus, but it is also feasible
that Salonius knew the Praejatio in some connexion with Augustine's
Tractatus, which are by far his most important source in the Commentary.
However improbable this might seem, in the light of the almost total
absence of the Praejatio from the manuscript tradition of the Tractatus,
it is at any rate time for the sources and origin of the Praejatio to be
freshly examined with the aid of the new evidence of Salonius53.
Care should be taken not to confuse the Praejatio I ncerti A uctoris with
a different preface which begins Omnis divina Scriptura bipertita est and
is taken from Augustine's De Genesi ad Litteram r : r-2 (PL 34, 245-247).
It breaks off from this work with the words In principio fecit Deus caelum
et terram (col. 247 line rg), and concludes De iUa vero caelesti generatione
si quaeris ... Johannes ipse testatur : Ecce agnus Dei, ecce qui tallit peccata
mundi. This preface is found in at least three manuscripts of the Tractatus, and probably in several others
Schaffhausen r8 ; xr; Schaffhausen
Engelberg r5 ; XII ; Engelberg
Colmar 23 ; A.D. r474; ? Colmar
The first and third of these are marked by the transposition of Trr. r9
and 20 and their numbers (a feature to be discussed below). I have been
51. C. CuRTI, Due Commentarii Inediti di Salonio ai Vangeli di Giovanni e di
Matteo: Tradizzione Manoscritta, Ponti, Autore (Turin, 1968), and Salonii Episcopi
Genavcnsis De Evangelio Iohannis, De Evangelio Matthaei (Turin, 1968).
52. Cf. De Evangelio I ohannis r, 3-5, 7-8, ed. CURT!, Saloni: Episcopi, pp. 16-24.
Cf. also Due Commentarii, pp. 32-35.
53. Cf. CURTI, Due Commentari;, pp. 32-33. Cf. Postscript p. 143.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

7r

unable to secure relevant information concerning Engelberg 15, and hence


cannot say whether it is likely that ail manuscripts containing this preface also display this transposition. The converse is certainly not true.
It is presumably pure coincidence that the Tractatus should have attracted
to themselves two prefaces with such similar beginnings. It is impossible
to suppose that one of them was introduced out of confusion with, or even
as a counter to, the other5 4 .
THE TEXT OF THE GOSPEL
In several manuscripts, and most probably in many more unknown
to me, the Tractatus are preceded by the Gospel of John, normally iuxta
eam translationem quam beatus Augustinus exponit
Gotha I. 57 ; x-xI ; Mainz
Durham, Cath. B. II. 16 ; xr ex. ; Durham
Cambridge, Trinity II6 ; XII in. ; Canterbury
London, B.M. Royal 3. C. X; xu in.; Rochester
Oxford, Balliol 6 ; XII in. ; Gloucester region
Munich 3714 ; xn ; Augsburg
Rouen A. 85 ; XII; Rouen 55
St. Omer 23 ; XII
Oxford, Bodl. Anet. D. r. IO ; XII /xIIr ; Missenden
Oxford, Bodl. Canon. Pat. 182 ; xm ; N. Italy
Rome, Angelica 177; XIV; Rome
Klosterneuburg 27 ; xv; Nienburg (here the Gospel appears after the
T r actatus) .
Apart from four manuscripts (Gotha, Munich, St. Omer and Klosterneuburg) all of these reappear in the list drawn up on pp. 64-65 above of
copies of the work containing the extended title noted by the lVIaurists.
As in that list, English exemplars preponderate, but the inclusion of the
Gospel cannot be regarded as of excludvely English origin. It belongs
to a standardized branch of the tradition. All of these manuscripts,
with the exception of Klosterneuburg 27, contain Tract. 1-124 continuously
numbered without any of the divergent features soon to be discussed.

54. The Ps.-Bedan prologue to the Gospel Hic est Johannes evangelista appears,
together with the Gospel, in Gotha I. 57, Klosterneuburg 27 (see above), and probably
Munich 3714. It may well also be the prologue to the Tractatus themselves in
Innsbruck 108 and Munich 45I5. In Nantes II, to judge from the Incipit given in
the catalogue, S. 44 (PL 38, 258-262 ; cf. LAMBO'I', CCL 4I, 5I3) is presented as the
prologue for the Tractatus.
55. The Maurists' collations in Paris, B.N. lat. I I66o, f. 5ov, mention the inclusion
of the Gospel text in their codex 7, i.e., Gemmet-icensis, which is now Rouen A. 9I, but
this appears to be an error for codex I, Audoenensis, now Rouen A. 85.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

72
DIVISION INTO TWO PARTS

Tractatus 1-54 and' 1-70' ( = 55-124)


It is well known that in many of the oldest manuscripts of the Tractatus
the use of two numbering sequences divides the collection into two parts,
l-54 and' l-70 ' 56 . This division is to be distinguished, by virtue of this
separate numbering arrangement, from any other partition of the Tractatus. Of the manuscripts prior to the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries
listed on pp. 58-60 above, eighteen are relevant to this enquiry, i.e., contain
at least part of Trr. 55-124 with numbers. Fifteen follow the numbering
' l-70 ', and three (Carlsruhe Aug. XL VII; Chartres 6; Vercelli XLVI) have

' 55-124

'57.

From the earliest writers to make use or show knowledge of the Tractatus, Alcuin 58 , Amalarius of M:etz 59 , and Prudentius of Troyes 60 obviously
had manuscripts numbering the second part ' l-70 ', while both Bede 61
and Florus 62 in their respective Augustinian florilegia on Paul bear testimony to the continuons numeration present in all the editions 63 . As
far as I have been able to discover, although there are several writers
from Salonius onwards who obviously knew the Tractatus as a single work,
in no one else does the manner of citation or reference furnish any relevant
evidence until we reach Abelard, who in Sic et Non quotes according to
the singl<> sequence of numbers 64 .
Nevertheless there is an adequate basis in the manuscripts alone for
holding that the division into two parts and the 'l-70' numeration go
back to Augustine's own library. If Possidius had found the Tractatus
numbered l-124 we might have expected him to mention the fact. He
regularly specifies the number of books in the works he lists, and also

56. Cf. WILLEMS, CCL 36, YII ; WRIGHT, op. cit., n. 2 on pp. 328-329.
57. Lucca 2r gives no numbers at all for Trr. 55-124, except that on f. r39r Tr. 67
ends as sermo XIII and Tr. 68 begins as XIII!. It is possible that these numbers
are not original here.
58. Adv. Haeresin Felicis 68 (PL ror, rr6) quotes Tr. 75 as' sermo XXI'.
59. Liber officialis 3 : 24 : 7, 3 : 26 : 3, ed. HANSSENS, op. cit., pp. 339, 344, respectively cite Trr. rr8 and 120 as' omclia sexagesima quarta' and' sermo LXV'.
60. De Praedestinatione contra Joan. Scotum r3 (PL rr5, rr8o) quotes Trr. 6r and
86 as 'homilia 7 de Coena Domini, homilia 32 de Coena Domini '.
6r. FRANSEN, op. cit., p. 66.
62. CHARI.IER, op. cit. (n. 3r above), pp. 174-175.
63. Except that Bede and Florus both used manuscripts lacking Trr. 20-22 and so
numbering' r-r2r '. See below.
64. Sic et Non 69 ('tract. CV'), 83 ('serina CXXIII '), 96 ('tract. LXVI')
(PL 178, q40, q68, q85). BERENGAR OF TOURS, De Sacra Coena adv. Lanfrancum
43 (ed. W.H. BEEKENKAMP, Kerkhistorische Studien, II; The Hague, r94r, p. q6)
cites a sentence from Tr. 40: 2 lines r8-r9 with the erroneous reference, ' [omelia] LX'
i.e., an original ' XL ' has been accidentally transposed.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

73

gives the totals of the different categories of Enarrationes in Psalmos65. It


is difficult to conceive how an originally continuous numbering from l to
124 should later have given way to two separate sequences, whereas on
the other hand not only is it easy to envisage the two sequences being
merged into one within one codex, but we can even detect traces of the
process in the occasional manuscript like Lisbon Alcob. 402 which observes
the numbering' 55-124 ' but prefaces it with a list of capitula numbered
' l-70 '. Indirect confirmation of the antiquity of the twofold division
is provided by the host of manuscripts which contain either l-54 or 55-124
but not both. In catalogues both ancient and modern Trr. 55-124 not
infrequently appear as Sermones LXX de Cena Domini or even Liber de
Cena Domini without any further identification66.
G. Folliet has expressed the hope that a thorough examination of the
manuscript tradition would help to resolve the stubborn question whether Tract. 55-124 were originally preached or not 67 . However, the sole
assistance such an exercise is likely to provide is confirmation, if that
is needed, of the widely held belief that these Tractatus formed a separate
part within the whole collection even at Hippo. The main issue has
still to be settled on the basis of internal criteria alone, for the mere
existence of this original partition tells us nothing about the literary
genre of Tract. 55-124. Nor can anything certain be deduced from
the fact that in a number of manuscripts Trr. l-54 are severally entitled
homiliae and Trr. 55-124 (' l-70 ' as often as not) sermones :
Lucca 21 ; IX; Lucca
Vercelli XLVI ; IX ex. ; N. Italy
Berlin Phillipps 1663 ; x ; Clermont
Oxford, Queen' s 386 ; xn
Berlin theol. lat. fol. 342, 343 ; xn 2 ; Liesborn
Stuttgart theol. et. phil. fol. 132 ; A.D. 1444 ; Wiblingen
Berlin, Preuss. Kulturbes. 22 ; xv2 ; Cologne
Colmar 298 ; A.D. 1474; ? Colmar
plus the Maurists' codex from Carcassonne Cathedral (collated in
Paris, B.N. lat. rr661, ff. lo7r-161r).
65. Cf. ZWINGGI, op. cit., p. 124.
66. Cf. G. BECKER, Catalogi Bibliothecarum Antiqui (Bonn, 1885), catal. 77
p. 181 : St. Bertin, twelfth century, Augustini liber super Ioannem; Augustini liber
de cena Domini et decem cordis. II. vol. ; catal. 125, p. 254 : St. Vaast, Arras, twelfth
century, Augustinus super Iohannem ; A ugustini duo in cena. M ittelalterliche
Bibliothekscataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz, vol. 3 : Bistum Augsburg, ed.
P. RuF (Munich, 1932), catal. 23, p. 75 : Benediktbeuern, mid-thirteenth century,
Agustinus super Iohannem ... Tractatus Agustini de cena Domini. Among the
standard modern catalogues cf., e.g., the entries for Colmar 298 ; Douai 271 ;
St. Omer n6. Similarly, some catalogues give the contents as ' 70 sermons /Tractatus' when in reality l-54 and l-70 are ail present: so for London, B.M. Harl. 3171;
Oxford, Queen's 386; and probably Innsbruck 108.
67. RA 3 (1957), p. 404.

74

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Thi~ motley assortment proves nothing Not only is the reverse differentiation evidenced in Modena, Capit. O. III. 14 (xr ; Modena), so that
Trr. r-54 are sermones and the rest omeliae, but no dfference of meaning at
all pertinent to the point at issue eau be imagined between homilia and
sermo. The usage of these manuscripts is probably to be explained as the
consequence of fusing together part one from an avenue of tradition where
homilia was current and part two from an area which used sermo.
Thus although a mass of manuscripts give evidence in a variety of
ways of a break between Trr. 54 and 55, none of the different introductions to Trr. 55-r24 affords any grounds for distinguishing them from the
preached sermons Trr. I-54 68 And since all the participants in the con-

68. Nevertheless, special interest attaches to the variety of ways in which the
manuscripts introduce the second half of the collection and Tr. 55 itself commences.
The opening sentence, Coena Domini secundum Iohannem, adiuvante ipso, debitis est
explicanda tractatibus, et ut nabis passe donaverit explananda, appears in several
manuscripts not as the exordium of this particular homily but almost as an introductory rubric to the whole of the second series of Tractatus : Rome, ValliceU. A. 14 ;
Bamberg II8 (where the sentence in question is on f. 198v, and Tr. 55 does not begin
(with Ante diem ... ) till f. 2oov) and 119 ; Florence 14 dext. 5 and Mugell. 5 ; London,
B.M. Addit. 18313 and Burney 291 ; Cologne 69; Basel B. III. 3 (this list would no
doubt be considerably longer were fuller information available). BERROUARD,
Homlies, p. 28, points out that this opening sentence includes the sole occurrence
of the noun tractatus in the whole collection. The sentence has something of the
ring of a semi-formal introduction, which certainly indicates a resumption of expositions of the Gospel but does not point to any particular kind of exposition. In this
context tractatus may well be Augustine's deliberate choice of designation, but see
nn. 39 and 42 above. ZwINGGI, op. cit., p. 125, suggests that Augustine's composition or delivery of Trr. 55-124 was in response to a request, after Trr. 1-54 had been
brought together into one corpus, that he complete his exposition of the Gospel.
This would account for the somewhat unspontaneous tone of the opening of Tr. 55.
In some other manuscripts the first twosentences of Tr. 55 are missing and the ho mily
begins Pascha, fratres, non sicut quidam existimant ... : Carlsruhe Aug. XLVII (and so
by presumption Chartres 6 - see above p. 67 and n. 150 below) ; Heidelberg IO, r 2 ;
London, B.M. Royal 3. C. X; Oxford, Bodl. Canon. Pat. 182, BaUiol 6, St. John's I.
Again it must be certain that further inspection would enlarge this group. In
addition item 88 in pt. I of Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, which is a compilation from
Trr. 55-63, begins in the same fashion, which renders it highly probable that Alan's
source also had this Incipit. The second of the sentences in question, which is
John 13 : r, has probably become detached from the opening of Tr. 55 after the
first sentence had suffered the same fate. For then it could be readily confused
with a summary of or introduction to the lection preceding the homily proper. This
Incipit thus represents in all probability a secondary development.
One further variation can be briefly noted. In Basel B. III. 3, the initial four
words Coena Domini secundum Iohannem have become detached from adiuvante
ip.so etc., which according to the catalogue description appear to follow straight on
from Incipit eiusdem omelias [sic] euuangelii secundum Iohannem adiubante ipso etc.
(G. MEYER and M. BURCKHARDT, Die Mittelalterlichen Handschriften der Universitatsbibliothek Basel, Beschreibendes Verzeichnis, pt. B, vol. l (Basel, 1960), p. 208).
A similar detachment of the first four words (which in fact form a handy and not
inappropriate title for Trr. 55-124) appears to be evidenced in Amiens 569.
These and other variations in the introduction to the second half of the collection
provide the researcher with further criteria for classifying the manuscripts See
also n. 200 below.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

>>

75

tinuing debate are agreed that Trr. 55-124 are not sermons of quite the
same kind as Trr. l-54 the manuscripts have no light to throw on this
controverted issue, apart from the separate numeration, which in itself
is of elusive significance but probably of greater moment, as we shall
suggest, when considered together with Mlle La Bonnardire's (and
Berrouard's) dating of the sections of the Tractatus.
1

This part of our discussion must finally ask when the consecutive
numbering ' l-124' first makes its appearance. The earliest conclusive
witness is Bede whose florilegium on the Pauline Epistles compiled from
the writings of Augustine reveals the numbering ' l-121 ' (i.e., omitting
20-22). This work was composed, it seems, before A.D. 731, quite possibly in the 72o's. On the assumption that Bede himself did not inaugurate
this system of numeration, his testimony probably takes us back to Rome,
or possibly S. France, in the latter half of the previous century, for it
was then and thence that Benedict Biscop collected the core of the distinguished library of Wearmouth and Jarrow. We shall argue below,
in connexion with the omission of Trr. 20-22, that the evidence points to
the South of France, and especially Lyons and Vienne, rather than
Rome. For the complete numeration ' l-124' the earliest witnesses
are the ninth-century manuscripts Carlsruhe Aug. XLVII (rx in.), the
related Chartres 6, and Vercelli XLVI (rx ex.). The wide geographical
spread of these exemplars suggests that the numbering system they present emerged somewhat earlier, though not necessarily as early as the
date required by Bede's usage. We clearly lack the evidence to decide
with confidence whether, in the line of tradition in which the omission
of Trr. 20-22 occurred, it antedated the emergence of the single sequence
of numbers, though I surmise, for reasons which should become apparent
subsequently in discussing this omission, that it did. In any case, the
continuous numeration made its appearance in two arms of the tradition,
one omitting and the other retaining Trr. 20-22, most probably by the
latter decades of the seventh century and the middle of the eighth century
resp ectively.
Another feature that delimits a recognizable group of manuscripts,
the inclusion of Sermo 125 after Tr. 17, must also have originated before
the ' l-124' numbering. Of the five pre-eleventh-century manuscripts
in this group that contain part two of the Tractatus four have the numeration
' l-70 ', while evidence is not to hand concerning the fifth, Madrid 193
Indeed, of the fifteen manuscripts earlier than the twelfth century, only
one, Monte Cassino 21 EE and 22 EE, definitely follows the numbering
through to 124. In addition to Madrid 193 information is required for
Florence Aedil. 8 and Paris, B.N. lat. 8912.
Another smaller yet still significant group of manuscripts lacks Trr. 2122 and transposes Trr. 19 and 20 and their numbers. Its two oldest
representatives which contain Tract. 55-124, Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 (vm ex.)
and Orlans 161 (rx-x), both number them' l-70 '. Although I do not
possess the appropriate details concerning other exemplars such as Paris,

DAVID F. WRIGHT

B.N. r2r94 and r2r95 (x), and hence cannot say when the numbering
through to 124 first appears in the manuscripts of this group, the evidence
clearly indicates that their distinctive features took their rise before the
unbroken sequence of numbers was introduced, at least in this area of
the tradition, as in the other areas already examined.
FURTHER DIVISIONS

Possidius found the Tractatus in the library at Hippo in codicibus sex,


a description which of itself tells us nothing about an intended division
into parts properly so called 69 . However, in the light of the growing
consensus that the Tractatus were produced at intervals over a number
of years in separate blacks, some of these codices may have contained
discrete groups of expositions, each representing one stretch of preaching.
We shall return to this question.
Two manuscripts, to my knowledge, display a fresh introduction before
Tr. II2:
Vatican 637 ; IX ; continuous extracts interrupted only twice by
rubrics in capitals, Incipit de Cena Dominica ( = Tr. 55) and Nunc
de Domini Passione sic Exorsus est Aevangelista
Bruges 20 /r92; XII; after Tr. III corne Explicit de Cena : Incipit de
Passione
Since I stumbled across this feature only by chance, it is highly probable
that a number of other copies also disclose it. It is perhaps of liturgical
inspiration but further examination of the older manuscripts might reveal
evidence for a primitive origin.
Much more frequently encountered is some kind of division of Trr. r-54
into two parts, with Trr. 55-124 forming the third or last part of the collection. The evidence derives mainly from Germany and German-speaking Switzerland :
(I)

St. Gallen r68; rx1 ; r-21 and Incipit omelia XXII. The text of 22 is
in:
St. Gallen 169 ; rx1 ; 22-54
St. Gallen 241 ; rx in. ; abbreviated text of r-r8, 20 (' r-rg ')
St. Gallen 155 ; x ; 55-124 as' r-70'

A catalogue of the Abbey Library at St. Gallen in the mid-ninth century


lists Augustini super evangelium Iohannis volumina tria 70 , and another
catalogue includes among the additions in the years A.D. 841-872 Sancti
69. Against WH,I,EMS, CCL 36, VII.
70. BECKER, op. cit., catal. 22, p. 45 ; Mittelalterliche Bibliothekscataloge ... , vol. l :
Die Bistmer Konstanz und Chur, ed. P. LEHMANN (Munich, 1918), catal. 16, p. 74.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE ''TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

77

Augustini super Iohannem partem II. et tertiam 71 We need not spell


out the correlation between the surviving codices and these catalogue
entries, but merely point to the fact that in codices 168-169 and 241 two
different divisions between parts one and two are in evidence (if we may
regard codex 241 as containing part one).
Carlsruhe Aug. LXXVI; IX in. ; 1-21 and Incipit omelia XXII ...

(n)

This manuscript is almost certainly the first codex mentioned in an


entry in a catalogue of the Reichenau Abbey Library of A.D. 821-2 :
In Ioannem evangelistam sermones XXI in codice I. Item in alio codice
sermones XXXIV. Item in tertio codice usque ad finem evangelii7 2 .
(m)

Stuttgart H.B. VII 17 ; IX in. ; Constance ; 2-21 (incomplete at


beginning and end).
Fulda A. a. 3 ; IX-X; Constance; 22-54

These two manuscripts present a division parallel to that portrayed


in St. Gallen 168-169 and the Reichenau catalogue entry.
(IV)

Basel B. III. 3 ; consists mainly of two codices containing respectively 1-19, 23-24 (' 1-21 ') and 55-124.

Morin was of the opinion that these divisions suggested an origin


in the Reichenau - St. Gallen region 73 but the contents of part one in
this manuscript differs from both of the models surviving from these
ab beys.
Wrzburg M. p. th. f. 74 ; IX med. ; 1-13. Probably from Freising
(cf. Munich 6287 ; Ix1 ; l-I3 ; Freising), but at St. Kylian's by
the middle of the century, where also were

(v)

Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 ; IX1 and IX med. ; 14-54 (composite)
as secunda pars.
Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 124; IX med.; 55-124 (' 1-70 ') as tertia pars.
Here we have a threefold division, but with yet another variation in
the partition of Trr. 1-54 into two sections, certainly exemplified for
Wrzburg around the middle of the ninth century 74 and probably also
for Freising.

7I.
72.
73.
183.
74.

BECKER, catal. 24, p. 55 ; LEHMANN, catal. 17, p. 83.


BECKER, catal. 6, p. 4 ; LEHMANN, catal. 49, p. 244.
Deux nouveaux sermons retrouvs de Saint Aitgustin, in RB 36 (1924), pp. 182-

B. BISCHOFF and J. HOFMANN, Libri Sancti Kyliani: Die Wrzburger Schreibschule und die Dombibliothek im VIII. und IX. Jahrhundert (Wrzburg, 1952),

pp.

122, 131, 133

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Vatican Palat. 206; x; Lorsch; 1-33 divided into Sermones !-XXI,


and Sermones XXII-XXXIII preceded by a separate listof
capitula.
The second part of this manuscript, containing twelve Tractatus, may
bear some relation to an entry in a tenth-century catalogue of Lorsch
Abbey library : Tractatus Sancti Augustini in Iohannem XII in uno
codice. In alio LI!. In tertio LXX75 . But the difference of title tractatus against sermones, probably counts against this identification. Instead the Lorsch catalogue may possibly attest a further threefold division, into l-I2 (cf. above for manuscripts containing 1-13 at Freising
and Wrzburg), ' 13-52' (i.e., probably 13-54 with some omissions, the
cataloguer perhaps working from the last number in the manuscript),
and' 1-70 '.
(vI)

Vatican Palat. 207 ; VIII ex. ; Lorsch ; 24-54 (' 21-51 ') as pars
media.
This manuscript agrees with Basel B. III. 3 in the implied earlier omission of Trr. 20-22 but not in the line of division. [See now n. 213 A below. J
(vn)

Wolfenbttel 4094 ; IX in. ; 1-23 as pars prima


Wolfenbttel 4102; IX in. ; 24-54 as pars II, numbered apparently
as' 22-52 ' 76 .
Of these two codices from Weissenburg Abbey the second agrees with
Vatican Palat. 207 in content but not precisely in numeration. A catalogue of the Abbey library before A.D. 1043 lists Tria volumina super
Iohannem7 7. Though this entry probably refers to our two manuscripts,
their inconsistent numbering of the Tractatus suggests they have diverse
connexions in thE' tradition.
(vrn)

(1x) A catalogue of the library of Fulda Abbey lists the following :


Tractatus sancti Augustini in evangelium sancti Iohannis libri XXXII
in uno codice. Item a XXXII usque ad LI in altero volumine. Item a
LI usque in finem in tertio volumine 78 .
If the numbers have been correctly transcribed, this entry presumably
covers three manuscripts containing respectively 1-19 and 23-35 (' 1-32 ') ;
75. BECKER, catal. 37, p. 84.
76. The catalogue indicates ' 21-51 ' as the numbering but on what grounds I
cannot say. (It also states that the order of the Tractatus is displaced, but again I do

not know to what this refers.) The present numbering of the first three items,
Trr. 24-26, I have confirmed from a microfilm copy as' 22-24 '. Though the manner
in which ' INCP TRAC XXII ' etc. appears in the manuscript suggests that these
headings were not present when the manuscript was executed, there is no sign in this
part of it that an earlier numeration of '21-23' has been obscured. Nevertheless,
the codex remains in one or two respects something of a puzzle.
77. BECKER, catal. 48, p. 133.
78. BECKER, catal. 128, p. 267.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

cc

TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

79

36-54 (' 33-51 ') ; and 55-124 (?' l-70 '). To my knowledge none of these
has been identified in modern times, but Berlin Phillipps 1662 admirably
fits the bill for the first of them. It uses the title tractatus for each of
the expositions, contains l-19 and 23-35 numbered consecutively' l-32 ',
and according to Lowe was written in an important Anglo-Saxon centre
in the Mainz-Fulda-Hersfeld region 79 . The only problem is that of
date. This manuscript belongs according to Lowe to the end of the
eighth century but was given to St. Vincent's Abbey, Metz, by Bishop
Deodericus in the latter half of the tenth. Becker places the Fulda
catalogue in the twelfth century, so that if our identification is to have
any validity it would be necessary either to regard the catalogue as a
copy of a much earlier one or to suppose that it refers to a lost manuscript
which was a copy of Berlin Phillipps 1662 but remaine.d at Fulda when the
latter was removed. Fortunately neither of these hypotheses is needed
for the catalogue was in fact drawn up shortly before the middle of the
ninth century8, a date which is confirmed by the identification we have
here proposed.
(x)

Munich 14653 ; VIII 2 ; Regensburg; contains now probably Trr. 30 :


6-54 (numbered' 27-51 ') in 182 folios, having lost its first quire.
Calculations suggest that it originally comprised Trr. 29-54.

Salzburg a VII 33 ; rx in. ; Salzburg ; contains Trr. 15-36 : 9 but


lacks 20-22. The original extent of the manuscript (possibly
Trr. 15-54 ?) is unknown.
We have exhausted the chief evidence for the division of Trr. l-54 into
two parts, but before assessing its significance we may note some supporting data:
Princeton Friend I ; XI /XII ; Tournai ; 39-124 as sermones in extrema
parte euuangelii secundum I ohannem.
Bamberg rr9 ; XII ; 55-124 (' 1-70 ') as ultima pars (yet in Bamberg n8;
XI ; also from the Cathedral, 55-82 are pars secunda)
Laon 317 ; XII ; Vauclair; 1-38 as pars prima.
Berlin, Preuss. Kulturbes. 22 ; xv ex. ; 54 is the last in the secunda pars ;
presumably 55-124 (' 1-70 ') are the tertia pars. This would agree

(xI)

79. CLA VIII, no. 1055.


80. Becker was merely copying A. MAI, Spicilegium Romanum, vol. 5 (Rome, 1841)
pp. 212-2I5, but Mai gives no date. T. GOTTLIEB, ber Mittelalterliche Bibliotheken
(1890 ; reimpression, Graz, 1955), p. 32 no. 58, brought the catalogue into the ninth
century. (His reference to E. EDWARDS, l'vlemoirs of Libraries, vol. r, London, 1859,
p. 385, is erroneous. Edwards never mentions the Fulda catalogue in this work.)
According to K. CHRIST, Die Bibliothek des Klosters Fulda im r6. J ahrhundert : Die
H andschriften- V erzeichnisse (B eiheft zum Z entrai blatt fr Bibliothekswesen, 64 ;
Leipzig, 1933), pp. 65-66, the more precise date was first given by LEHMANN, Quot
et quorum libri fuerint in libraria Fuldensi, in Bok- och biblioteks-historiska studier
tillagnade Isak Collijn (Uppsala, 1925), pp. 47-57, at p. 51,

DAVID F. WRIGHT

80

with the library catalogue of Leander Van Ess, at Darmstadt, where


the manuscript lay in the early nineteenth century81 .
Colmar 298 ; A.D. r474 ; ? Colmar ; 55-r24 (' r-70 ') is tertia pars. I
have no information where the earlier division occurs, if at all.
Finally, the Maurists' lost codex Carcassonensis presented Tr. r24 as
sermo septuagesimus in extrema parte (Paris, B.N. lat. rr66r, f. r6rr).
These last items of evidence serve mainly to press home the point that
emerges with darity from the ninth- and tenth-century material, that
there is no such thing as a standard or regular division of Tract. r-54 into
two parts. The pattern identified by Willems, whereby part one consists
of Trr. r-r9, 23-24 (' r-2r ') and part two of Trr. 25-54 (' 22-5r '), in fact
occurs, contrary to his daims, in only one manuscript, Basel B. III. 3,
while Zwinggi's suggestion that the manuscripts indicate the commencement of a new series of sermons with Tr. 24 has the support of only two
codices, Vatican Palat. 207 and Wolfenbttel 410282 In reality the
dividing line is drawn at a variety of points ranging from Trr. r2/r3
(? Lorsch) and 13/r4 (Freising, Wrzburg) to 35 /36 (Fulda). Nevertheless, it falls most frequently in the region of Trr. 21-25, and in four
cases (St. Gallen, Reichenau, Constance, Lorsch) between 2r and 22. But
the diversity is such that were it not for the fact that part three, Tract.
55-124, has obvions daims to be regarded as more than merely a division
for convenience, one would be inclined to treat' three parts' as simply
synonymous with ' three codices '. However, there is more to be said
on this question subsequently8 3 .

THE OMISSION OF

Tractatus 20-22

This feature of a considerable number of the older exemplars of the


Tractatus was dealt with in a previous artide84 . It is uniquely intriguing
8r. Sammlung und Verzeichniss Handschriftlicher Bcher aus dem VIII etc.
]ahrhundert ... welche besitzt Leander Van Ess (Darmstadt, 1823), p. 34, no. 187, (1):
A ugustini Omeliarum super Evangclio I oannis Partes 3.
82. WILLEMS, CCL 36, VII (cf. MEYER and BURCKHARDT, op. cit., p. 207); ZWINGGI,
op. cit., p. II9, rightly criticizing Willems but basing his own suggestion on the
limited evidence presented in my earlier study. In any case, Vatican Palat. 207
with its implication of an earlier omission of Trr. 20-22 comes from a different branch
of the tradition from Wolfenbttel 4ro2, on which see n. 76 above. On the alleged
break in the preaching between Trr. 23 and 24 see p. ro4 below with n. 123.
83. Two catalogues refer to the Tractatus in four volumes (or to more than one
copy of the work ?). The monastery of Pffers in A.D. lr55 had IIII libri Augustini
super Iohannem (BECKER, catal. 94, p. 207; LEHMANN, catal. 96, p. 485), and in
A.D. r4r9 the Prior John Rtloss brought to Salvatorberg Chartreuse, Erfurt, from
La Grande Chartreuse, Augustinum super Iohannem, quatuor volumina (LEHMANN,
vol. 2 : Bistum Mainz: Erfurt (r928), p. 223). Here we may not be too far from
Possidius's codices sex.
84. op. cit. (n. 9 above). Cf. LA BONNARDIRE, op. cit., pp. rr7-n8 n. I ;A.C. DE
VEER, in RA I2 (1966), p. 274 ; ZWINGGI, op. cit., pp. rr7-rr8 ; BERROUARD,

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

81

among the various irregularities displayed by the manuscripts of the


Tractatus because, as I believe, I have convincingly demonstrated, the
sequence of Augustine's preaching runs from Tr. 19 to 23 ff., and ::;.0-22
form a separate treatment of the same passage, John 5 : 19-30, dealt
with by Trr. 18, 19 and 23. The question immediately raises itself whether
the absence of these three Tractatus from several manuscripts is connected
in any way with their not belonging at the time of preaching to the series
of the Tractatus. But first we must draw up a more complete list of the
manuscripts which lack Trr. 20-22 and as a consequence number 23 ff.
as ' 20 ' ff. The list also indicates the title that the several Tractatus
bear in each exemplar :
Berlin Phillipps 1662 ; VIII ex. ; Fulda (tractatus). Tr. 20 has been
inserted by a tenth-century hand in the course of 23 : 2.
Tours 289 ; IX in. ; Marmoutier (sermo)
Salzburg a VII 33 ; rx1 ; Salzburg (tractatus)
Basel B. III. 3 ; IX ; (sermo)
Paris, B.N. lat. 1961 ; IX
Berne 103 ; IX-X ; Troyes (sermo)
Troyes 536; x; Troyes (sermo)
Paris, B.N. n. a. 1. 2247 ; XI /xu ; Cluny (sermo)
Berlin Ham. 55 ; XII; Cteaux (sermo). Trr. 20-22 inserted by another
hand, interrupting 23 : 2.
Ghent 167 ; XII ; Trves (sermo ?)
Lrida Roda l ; XII; Roda (sermo)
Troyes 200 ; XII ; Troyes (sermo ?)
Brescia A. II. I I ; XII-XIII ; Brescia (omelia)
Padua 1650 ; XIII ; Padua (omelia). Trr. 20-22 later inserted between
25 and 26.
Mantua C.V. 4 ; XIII-XIV; San Benedetto Po (sermo)
Munich n303 ; xv /xVI; Polling (sermo)
ln addition there are a few copies whose numbering is probably to be
explained by the earlier omission of Trr. 20-2285 :
Munich 14653 ; vm2 ; Regensburg ; 30-54 as' 27-5I' (sermo)

La date (op. cit.), pp. ll9-12r. I have since found that I was anticipated in the
discovery of the intercalation of Trr. zo-zz b:v H. Rondet; cf. RSR 53 (1965), p. 655.
85. Concerning Wolfenbttel 4ro2 see n. 76 above. A catalogue of the library
of Chur Cathedral in A.D. 1457 lists : Augustinus super Iohannem sermones centum
XXI; idem super epistolam Iohannis apostoli sermones decem (ed. LEHMANN, Ein
Bcherverzeichnis der Dombibliothek von Chur aus dem J ahre 1457, in Erforschung des
Mittelalters. Ausgewahlte Abhandlungen und Aufsatze, vol. z (Stuttgart, 1959),
p. 178, no. F 17.) This may well have been a manuscript lacking Trr. zo-zz but
misnumbering may have been solely responsible. Chur's connexions with St. Gallen
where the omission is not attested, speak against the possibility of omission, but not
conclusively.

82

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Vatican Palat. 207 ; VIII ex. ; Lorsch ; 24-54 as ' 2r-5r ' (sermo, but
introductory title of Tractatus ad populum)
Modena, Est. a. W. r. r3 ; xrn ; San Prospero ; r22 : 9-r24 as ' (rr9)r2r ' (sermo)
Turin G. III. 28 ; xv ; Turin ; 49-50, 52, 55-66, ro3-r2r all numbered
three less than in the editions (sermo).
The indirect evidence of two other manuscripts deserves to be mentioned. The original core of Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 (rx1 ; probably Benediktbeuern) contained Trr. r4-r6, r9, 23-32, 36-45 and 48-54
numbered' r4-44' (mostly sermo). The absence of Trr. 20-22 from this
sequence obviously cannot be isolated from the other lacunae for which
collectively there is no simple explanation available. But when the ten
missing Tractatus were later inserted (rx med. ; Wrzburg) they were
not numbered consistently : r7-r8 and 20-22 were given their' correct'
numbers, but 33-35 and 46-47 were provided with numbers three behind
the standard numeration. This oddity will be further discussed at a
later stage in this article. It appears to suggest that the Wrzburg
scribe got Trr. 33-35 and 46-47 from an exemplar which lacked Trr. 20-22
or in its numbering reflected a prior lack of them.
Information concerning Valenciennes 80 supplied by courtesy of
. Bleuzen seems to furnish another strand of evidence C'Oncerning
an original absence of Trr. 20-22. This twelfth-century codex frorn
St. Amand-les-Eaux, which was very probably utilized by the Louvain
editors of the Tractatus (see n. 227 below), norrnally prefaces each Tractatus with the text of the Gospel passage it expounds copied in extenso,
not merely indicated by its opening and closing words. However, this
is not the case with Trr. 20-22, though it holds true for the Tractatus that
precede and follow these three. For Trr. 20-22 the text of the Tractatus
itself follows imrnediately upon' Incipit tractat. S. Aug. XX' etc. Unless
the restriction of this peculiarity to Trr. 20-22 be ascribed to chance
factors, it suggests that Valenciennes 80 preserves a trace of the insertion
at an earlier stage in the tradition of Trr. 20-22 into a fonn of the work
which had previously lacked them. What is surprising is that this echo
of an original absence of these three Tractatus should still be detected in
a manuscript which, according to the available evidence, appears on
other grounds to present a fairly standardized version of the Tractatus.
No other irregularity occurs in the region of Trr. r7-23, and the numbering is continuous throughout from r to 124, with no break of any kind
between Trr. 54 and 55. It is quite possible that further examination
would disclose other rnanuscripts, especially in N.-W. Europe, which
distinguish Trr. 20-22 from their neighbours in the rnanner of Valenciennes
80.
In addition to this direct and indirect manuscript evidence, some later
writers who drew upon the Tractatus were obviously using copies lacking
Trr. 20-22. The details for Bede, Alcuin and Florus of Lyons have been

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. JOH.,,

83

given previously8 6 . To these there is only one certain witness to be added.


Amalarius of Metz (d. 850 /r) often cites the Tractatus in his Liber Officialis. The numbers he gives are ' correct ' for Tr. 17 but always three
less for Tr. 26 onwards87 (He cites them variously as sermo, omelia,
and tractatus). It is possible that other writers should be invoked here,
but positive e-,;idence of sufficient extent is not available. Many writers
quote from the Tractatus without numbering them, and in any case in the
older editions reproduced in Migne it is often difficult to decide whether
the numbers in the printed text belong to the original or are editorial
insertions88 When numbers are available, they are frequently one or
two out, and often inconsistently so, which reflects not only the greater
ease with which Roman numerals are miscopied compared with Arabie
but also the loose numbering in so many of the manuscripts89 . Furthermore, uncertainty often reigns over the question whether a writer is
making direct or indirect use of the Tractatus. The sole pertinent reference in Amulo, Archbishop of Lyons, quotes from Tr. 53 as ' 50 ' 90 .
Prudentius of Troyes in De Praedestinatione contra I oan. Scotum quotes
Trr. 27 and 53 by their standard numbers but Tr. 42 as' 39 ' 91 . Citations like these may well attest codices lacking Trr. 20-22, but we would
be unwise to place any weight on such isolated references.

86. WRIGHT, op. cit., p. 32r.


In a work reclaimed for Florus by Charlier (see
n. 32 above), Ps.-AMur,o, Augustini Sententiae de Praedestinatione et Gratia 5 (PL rr6,
132), he refers to Tr. 53 as' sermo 51 '. His Pauline Florilegium (see n. 31 above)
numbers it ' 50 '. This minor inconsistency may have man y explanations, and in
any case is no bar to the point we are making about Florus's usage.
87. Cf., e.g., 2 : 6 : 4, 2 : 7 : 4, 3 : 5 : 6, 4 : 23 : 2, 6, 4 : 27 : 6-8, ed. HANSSENS,
op. cit., pp. 214, 216, 273, 473f., 489f.
88. E.g., PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini 6: l (PL 120,
1282), apparently alludes to Tr. 26, but the explicit reference in Migne's text is
editorial, as the footnote shows in the new edition in CCL Cont. Med. r6, 34-35. But
see below, p. 85. The same must hold for the several references in RATRAMNUS,
De Praedestinatione, bks. r and 2, in PL r21. The identification of Tr. 26 as his
source in De Corpore et Sanguine Domini 78 in PL r21, 160-161, is shown to be
editorial in BAKHUIZEN VAN DEN BRINK'S edition (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke
Nederlandse Akademie van Wettenschappen, Afd. Letterkunde, Niewe reeks 61 : 1 ;
Amsterdam, 1954). Such instances could be multiplied.
89. BERNOI,D OF CONSTANCE (d. IIoo), Apologeticus 15, cites Tr. 41 by the correct
number, but Tr. 27 as XXIII omelia (a corruption of XXVII ?) in Libellus de
Vitanda Excommunicatorum Communione (MGH Libelli de Lite ... II, p. 77; III,
p. 600). The Liber Canonum against Henry IV passed by the Synods of Mainz and
Quedlinburg in A.D. ro85 quotes Tr. 27 correctly but 50 as XLVIII (8, 15; ibid. I,
pp. 480, 488). These inconsistencies may well be due to second-band quotation.
90. See above, n. 33.
9r. De Praedestinatione ro, 13, 16 (PL II5, 1145, 1I79, 1242). The Capitula de
Tungrensi Episcopatu Proposita 4 from the French King Charles III (the Simple) in
A.D. 920 include a quotation from Tr. 50 as homilia XL VII (MGR Legum Sect. II,
vol. II : Capitularia ... , p. 380 no. 290). MANEGOI,D OF LAUTENBACH (d. after 1!03)
in his Liber ad Gebehardum 5, 37 (ibid. I, pp. 319, 376) cites Tract. 98 as XVIII!
(sic ; no doubt a corruption of' XCVIII!') and 88 as LXXXV.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Over against a tradition marked by the absence of these three Tractatus


there are of course many early manuscripts in which they are found in
their proper place with or without some other irregularity. The pre-tenthcentury copies may be summarily listed : Berlin theol. lat. fol. 346 ;
Rome, Vallicell. A. 14 (plus S. 125, minus Trr. 18-19) ; Carlsruhe Aug.
XLVII, and LXXVI (ends with Incipit of Tr. 22) ; Stuttgart H.B. VII
17 (ends at 21 : 12) ; Wolfenbttel 4094; Lucca 21 ; St. Gallen 168, 169
(and 241, abbreviation of Trr. l-18, 20) ; Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 ;
Chartres 6 ; Florence S. Marco 644 (plus S. 125) ; Vatican 637 (extracts,
order 20, 19, 21 ff.) ; Verona, Capit. XXXVI (plus S. 125, order 20, 21, 19,
22 ff.) ; Vercelli XLVI; Fulda A. a. 3 (begins with 22 but to be taken
together with Stuttgart H. B. VII 17 above). A mention should also
be made of the Maurists' basic manuscript, a codex Fossatensis written
c. A.D. 840 and according to the collations in Paris, B.N. lat. rr66o containing Trr. 20-22 in their standard position. From the tenth century
onwards such regular exemplars increase in frequency. Numerically,
they considerably outweigh those lacking Trr. 20-22 in every century.
The witness of the manuscripts to the presence of these three Tractatus
is corroborated by the evidence of ecclesiastical writers :
Fulgentius of Ruspae in a letter written probably in the third decade
of the sixth century quotes from Tr. 22 and appears to imply its
' correct' position in the collection of expositions on John 92 .
Caesarius of Arles may possibly display dependence on Trr. 20 and 21
in his minor works De Mysterio S. Trinitatis 93 and Breviarium adversus
Haereticos 94 , but the indications are not coercive and the wider influence
of Augustine's writings may account for the parallels.
At the fifth session of the Lateran Synod of A.D. 649 convened by
Pope Martin I a collection of patristic texts was read out that included
a sentence from Tr. 22: 15, Sancti Augustini ... ex interpretatione evangelii
secundum Ioannem in homilia vicesima secunda 95 . (This collection was
subsequently sent with Martin's encyclical letter in a Greek version to
Constantinople, where it was read again at the seventh session of the
sixth General Council in 68r. At the tenth session the texts comprising
the collection were subjected to scrutiny for authenticity, but the account
of this procedure suggests that the Patriarchal library lacked a copy
of the Tractatus96).
92. Ep. 14: 17 (PL 65, 407-408): Idem beatus Augustinus in expositione Evangelii
secundum I oannem, cum de ipso Domini sermone tractaret ...
93. De Mysterio 4, 15, ed. MORIN, vol. II, pp. 168, 176.
94. Breviarium, ed. MORIN, vol. II, especially pp. 190-19r.
95. MANSI X, 1073-1074. Cf. B. ALTANER, Augustinus in der griechischen
Kirche bis auf Photius, in Kleine Patristische Schriften, ed. G. GLOCKMANN (TU 83 ;
Berlin, 1967), pp. 89-90 ; HEFELE-LECLERCQ, vol. 3, I, pp. 443-444.
96. MANSI XI, 421-422 ; ALTANR, op. cit., pp. 91-92 ; HEFELE-LECLERCQ,
vol. 3, I, pp. 491, 498.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

cc

TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH. ,,

85

We have invoked Bede in his Pauline florilegium as a witness to the


absence of Trr. 20-22, but there are some grounds for thinking that in
Homilies l : 23 (CCL 122, 169) he echoes Tr. 20 and perhaps also 21.
Though the parallels by no means amount to incontrovertible evidence,
they are probably most naturally explained as the result of dependence
on these Tractatus. However, I am not yet fully persuaded on the
point. The subject-matter of the Tractatus in this area overlaps to a
considerable extent, and Bede's homily is dealing with John 5 : l-18
which Augustine expounds in Tr. 17. It is possible that dependenceon
this Tractatus and Bede's wider knowledge of Augustine afford an adequate explanation. Hence I do not consider it necessary to revise the
conclusion that Bede used a manuscript lacking Trr. 20-22, though it is
right to point out that the evidence on which it is based is theoretically
open to other interpretations. Bede's florilegium cites Trr. 3 and 7 by
their correct numbers, both as sermo, and fifteen others between Trr. 36
and 108 by numbers three less than normal, each as tractatus 97 . The
numeration does not prove the absence of Trr. 20-22, though this remains
to my mind the most obvions key to the discrepancy. But the difference
of title must make us ask whether Bede did not utilize a composite
manuscript or manuscripts which contained all the 124 Tractatus but
somehow preserved a numbering arrangement suggestive of the loss of
three of them. It is no more than a possibility but it cannot be entirely
discounted.
Pope Hadrian I in a letter to Charlemagne in A.D. 791 quotes from
Tr. 39 as liber XXXVIII super Iohannem 98 , which may reflect some minor
irregularity but probably attests the presence of Trr. 20-22.
Paschasius Radbertus in a letter dated c. A.D. 856 introduces a
lengthy quotation of Tr. 26 with the formula, Item eiusdem beati Agustini
in expositione beati Iohannis euangelistae sermone vigesimo sexto 99 , which
is firm evidence that his copy of the Tractatus had Trr. 20-22 in their usual
place.
Finally, Aelfric of Eynsham, whose activity spans the latter decades
of the tenth century and the first two decades of the eleventh, certainly
had access to a regular copy of the Tractatus. Two of hishomilies disclose
respectively an unquestionable dependence on Tr. 21 and a possible use
of Tr. 20100 .
97. FRANSEN, op. cit., p. 66.
98. See n. 28 above.
99. Ep. ad Fredugardum III/3 (CCL Gant. Med. 16, 164).
100. Homilies of Aelfric: A Supplementary Collection, ed. J .C. POPE, vols. l and 2
(Early English Text Society, 259 and 260 ; Oxford, 1967, 1968) : Homil. 25c, lines 1-10
(vol. 2, pp. 756-757), depends on Tr. 21 : 7, and Homil. 8, lines 190-202 (vol. 1,
pp. 365-366; cf. p. 370), may possibly reveal knowledge of Tr. 20: 3. (Hom;z. 25c is
actually one of three passages published by Pope which are additions to AELFRIC'S
Catholic Homilies II : 25, ed. B. THORPE, The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church.
The First Part, Containing the Sermones Catholici, or Homilies of Aelfric, vol. 2,
London, 1846, p. 368.)

86

DAVID F. WRIGHT

W e have no doubt omitted many writers prior to the eleventh century


who may be presumed to have used complete copies of the Tractatus, but
positive indications of the presence of Trr. 20-22 are lacking, i.e., neither
is any of these three evidently cited nor are citations of later Tractatus
furnished with numbers101.
W e will return to the task of interpreting this conflicting evidence concerning Trr. 20-22 after we have catalogued other manuscript irregularities
in the same region of the Tractatus. In the meantime the absence of
these three Tractatus can probably be traced back in the manuscript
tradition at least to S. France, and to Lyons and Vienne in particular,
and possibly even further south to the area of Lrins and Marseilles. The
earliest witness to their omission is Bede, whose testimony concerning
the Tractatus leads us back, so we have argued above, through the
book-collecting activities of Benedict Biscop to Rome or possibly southern
France in the latter half of the seventh century. However, we have also
seen that a copy of the Tractatus containing Trr. 20-22 is attested at Rome
in A.D. 649 at the Lateran Council. Furthermore, the surviving witnesses
to the loss of these Tractatus reveal no Italian connexions prior to the
twelfth or thirteenth centuries. Our attention is therefore directed to the
south of France. Not only did Benedict haye early and repeated contact
with Lyons, Bede also tells us that he increased his haul of codices at
Vienne102 . The association of this tradition of the Tractatus with Lyons
becomes explicit in Florus the Deacon in the first half of the ninth century,
still earlier than any extant manuscript testimony, and is corroborated
in Amalarius of Metz and probably also Amulo, archbishop of Lyons. It
so happens that at least part of the Tractatus reached southern Gaul only
a decade or so after the collection was completed. In the first recorded
reference to the work John Cassian quotes Tr. z in his treatise against
Nestorius written in A.D. 430-r 103 . Now Benedict Biscop had received
his monastic training at Lrins not far from Casdan's foundations at
Marseilles. It is thus not impossible that the line of tradition omitting
Trr. 20-22 extends back to this very early stage in the collection's history.
Its subsequent diffusion as attested by Alcuin and the extant manuscripts
is readily comprehensible on this basis, whether by way of Wearmouth - Jarrow and York to Alcuin's Carolingian centres on the continent or more directly from the Rhne valley. And of course Cassian's
southern Gaul is no distance in time or space from Augustine's Hippo ...

10r. For citations in Prudentius of Troyes see ahove p. 83 with n. gr. They are
not open to confident interpretation one way or the other.
102. Vita Beatorum Abbatum 4 (ed. PLUMMER, vol. I, p. 367). Cf. P.H. BLAIR,
The World of Bede (London, r970), pp. 124, 160. Ceolfrid also augmented the
library of Wearmouth-Jarrow, but his role appears to have been a secondary one,
and is less precisely documented.
103. De Incarnatione Domini contra Nestoriitm 7 : 27 (CSEL 17, 385-386). The
quotatio11 is introduced simply by Augustinus inquit.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

THE OMISSION OF

Tractatus 21-22
Tractatus 19

WITH THE TRANSPOSITION OF

AND

87

20

Sorne fifteen to twenty manuscripts are distinguished by the absence


of Trr. 21-22 and the reversal of the order and numbers of Trr. 19 and 20,
with Trr. 23 ff. consequently appearing as' 21 ' ff.
Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 ; VIII ex. ; N. France
Angers 175 ; rx ; Angers
Orlans 161 ; IX-X; Fleury
Paris, B.N. lat. 12194 ; x ; St. Germain-des-Prs
Angers 176 ; XI ; Angers
Paris, B.N. lat. 12197 ; xn in. ; St. Germain-des-Prs
Angers 177 ; XII ; Angers
Nantes I I ; XII
Orlans 76 ; XII ; Fleury
Paris, B.N. lat. 14291 ; XII ; Paris (St. Victor)
Berlin theol. lat. fol. 342 ; xn 2 ; Liesborn
Paris, B.N. lat. 1963 ; XII /xm ; Le Liget, dioc. Tours
Paris, B.N. lat. 15295 ; XIII ; Sorbonne
Paris, Mazarine 635 ; XIII ; Paris (Grands Augustins)
Erfurt Ampl. Quarto 170 ; XIV1 ; Italy or France (extracts)
Paris, B.N. lat. 17393 ; XIV ; Paris
Rome, Naz. S. Andr. d. Valle n6; xrv; Rome
To these unambiguous witnesses the following less certain ones may
be added :
Berlin Phillipps 1662 : the original codex (vm ex. ; Fulda) lacked
Trr. 20-22. A tenth-century corrector has inserted Tr. 20 but not the
other two, which may indicate that he worked from a copy lacking Trr. 2122.
However, the fact that he has placed Tr. 20 not before Tr. 19 but
so as to interrupt Tr. 23 : 2 makes the problem more elusive. In the
latter half of the tenth century this codex was given to St. Vincent's Abbey,
Metz.
Wolfenbttel 4102 ; IX in. ; Weissenburg ; contains Trr. 24-54 now
probably numbered' 22-52' (but see n. 76 above).
St. Gallen 241 ; rx1 ; St. Gallen; abbreviated text of Trr. l-18, 20. This
is equally consistent with the next irregularity we shall be dealing with.
Among citations in later literature two at least are consistent with this
irregularity, that is, they number Tractatus after 22 two less than the
standard numeration :
The Epistle of the French bishops at the Council of Frankfort (A.D. 794)
quotes Tr. 28 as ' vicesima sexta '10 4 .
104. M GH Legum Sectio III, Concilia II (Concilia Aevi Karol.), p. 145

88

DAVID F. WRIGHT

The Epistle of the Council of Aachen to King Pippin (A.D. 836) cites
Tr. 50 as' quadragesima octava '105.
Since we are obviously dealing here with a predominantly French,
even northern French, tradition, the former of these two references is
probably more germane to our enquiry. Other citations mentioned
above1 06 may also attest the currency of manuscripts with this irregularity, but the evidence is not clearcut.
There is more to be said about two of the three oldest exemplars in
this group, Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 and Orlans 161 (the Maurists' Floriacensis)I07. In the second part of the collection (which they number

105. Ibid., p. 760.


ro6. Cf. nn. 86 and go above.
ro7. These details are based on the ::\Iaurists' collation of Orlans 161 in Paris,
B.N. lat. n66o, ff. l61r-221r, where it appears as their codex 2. A letter of C. Daubin
to F. Delfau (17 /3 /1673) on ff. 22rv-222r expands on the faults of the manuscript,
and lists the number of lines missing from each Tractatus. The letter wrongly says
the codex transposes' 29' [sic] after 20. Cf. R.C. KUKUI,A, Die Mauriner Ausgabe
des Augustinus, in Sitzungsber. der Kaiser!. Akad. der Wissensch., Phil.-Hist. Classe
138 (Vienna, 1897), p. 50. By a providential error I was able to identify the same
features in Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 Having requested a microfilm copy of Trr. 17-23
and the beginning of 55 I received instead a film of Trr. l-4, 14-19 and 53-123 : 5,
which is where the manuscript now ends, th us lacking the lUuch-reduced version of
Tr. 124 found in Orlans l6r. Sorne other features of this Paris manuscript, brought
to my notice partly by G. Folliet and . Bleuzen, should be mentioned. (a) In the
course off. ro4v the copyist originally omitted part of Tr. 28, from the last few lines
of ch. 5 to the first section of ch. 9, the continuation of which runs straight on to
what is now f. 107r. To make good the lacuna he inserted ff. 105-106 which contain
the missing paragraphs. Ralf of f. ro6r and the whole of f. lo6v were not needed
and left blank. (b) Tract. 122 ends four lines early with the words ' ... pertinentes
indicant pisces ' (9 line 40). Part of the omission, Sequitur de prandio Domini cum
istis septem discipulis (122: 9 lines 40-41), occurs instead as a title for Tr. 123 between
'Incipit LX Nonus VIII' [on which oddity see below] and the Incipit pr0rer,
' In eo quod tertio ... ' (The early ending of Tr. 122 is naturally paralleled in Orlans
161, but not, it seems, according to Paris, B.N. lat. u66o, the subsequent use of
Sequitur de prandio etc.) (c) We have already taken brief note (see p. 66 above) of
the variety of titles used in this manuscript (and in Orlans 161). The introductory
designation is homeliae, which persists until the end of Tr. 3: 'Explicit homelia III:
Incipit quartus [sic] : III I '. Thereafter in the first half of the collection sermo
predominates but homelia is not forgotten ; e.g., Tr. 20 (' 19 ') begins as serina, ends
as omelia. In part two, sermo is current as far as the beginning of Tr. 62, but from
its Explicit onwards tractafus holds the field to the end without a rival (although it
does not invariably appear ; sometimes the number is alone). (d) The numbering
in the second half obviously occasioned some difficulties. Trr. 55-57 seem originally
to have featured as ' 53-55 ' (Tr. 54, the last in part one, is ' 52 '). However, the
erasure which later allowed them to be renumbered' l-3 ', presumably by the same
scribe, is not discernible, on microfilm at any rate, after the beginning of Tr. 57.
Subsequently the' l-70 'numbering must have got slightly displaced, and corrections
by the addition of l in each case are decipherable probably from the end of Tr. 75
(' 2r ') to the commencement of Tr. 86 (' 32 '). On f. 21ov after the end of Tr. 98
(' 44 ') a sixth of the page is surprisingly left blank, and f. 2nr begins in large
capitals INCIPIT TRACTATVS QVADRA GESIMVS.... A word erased looks
very much like (the correct) QVINTVS ; at any rate a small 'V' is now visible

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

cc

TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

89

' 1-70 ') they both omit passages from nearly every Tractatus. The
exceptions are Trr. 55, 70, 71, 81, 82, 84, go, 94. Tr. 109 is omitted
entirely, and in each of at least four Tractatus (96, 97, 105, 124) a total
of a hundred or more lines are missing. It must be very probable, given
the fact that these are the two oldest manuscripts in this group to contain
Trr. 55-124 (Angers 175 only goes as far as Tr. 54), that others are also
marked by these largescale omissions. Two criteria for easy identification are quickly specified : Tr. 58 (' 4 ') begins' Nunc est ut beato Petra ... '
(58 : 2 line 3), and Tr. 109 is wholly absent.
I have noticed also that both these exemplars together with Angers 175
and Paris, B.N. lat. 12194 give' Notum est non rude est ... ' as the Incipit
for Tr. 15 (editions:' Non rude est ... '), which again I would expect to be
common if not universal in manuscripts of this type. However, it was also
found in the mid-ninth-century codex Fossatensis used by the Maurists
(so the collation in Paris, B.N. lat. u66o, f. 28r), which was otherwise
a highly regular copy of the Tractatus.

THE TRANSPOSITION OF

Tractatus 19

AND

20

At least seventeen manuscripts reverse the order and numbering of


Trr. 19 and 20, but without omitting Trr. 21-22.
Vatican 637 ; IX; Rome; extracts only, but obviously drawn from
a copy in which Trr. 19 and 20 were reversed.
Schaffhausen r8 ; XI; Schaffhausen
Graz 397 ; XII ; Seckau
London, B.M. Addit. 10936 ; XII ; Halberstadt
Munich 2556 ; xn ; Alderspach
Munkh 4515 ; XII ; Benediktbeuern
Munich 9540 ; xn ; Oberaltaich
Munich 15807 ; XII ; Salzburg
Munich 21512 ; XII; Weihenstephan

above the gap. The absence of Tr. 109 should mean that Trr. lI0-124 be numbered
'55-69' instead of '56-70 '. In fact from the end of Tr. u8 (' 63 ') to the end
of 122 (' 67 ') alterations are apparent by the addition of l to an original ' 62-66 '.
The final number in the manuscript is the oddest of all, LX Nonus VIII at the
beginning of T1. 123. The copyist originally wrote LX Non1.1s VII. ThL~ suggests
that he must have been working from a copy which reflected the normal ' 1-70' of
the complete second half, and on this occasion forgot to omit the ' correct ' number
for Tr. 123 before penning his own, doubly faulty, LX ... VII, which was later, by
himself or someone else, corrected (within the terms of this manuscript) to LX ... VIII.
(In Paris, B.N. lat. n66o many of the numbers for the Tractatus in part two of
Orlans 161 from 15 (originally ' 14' ; = Tr. 69) have been altered by the original
writer. No reason is apparent.)
It is quite clear by now that Paris, B.N. lat. 1959 was the model, whether direct or
indirect, for Orlans 161, and that the scribe of the Paris manuscript was himself
responsible for the abridgement of the second half of the collection.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

90

Munich 22216 ; XII ; Windberg


Admont 165 ; xu2 ; ? Admont
Graz 438 ; XII /xm ; St. Lambrecht
Ulm 6681-89; XIV in. ; Swabia
Venice II.102 ; XIV in. ; Padua
Stuttgart fol. 132 ; xv ; Wiblingen
Munich 18022 ; A.D. 1460 ; Tegernsee
Colmar 298 ; A.D. 1474 ; ? Colmar
In addition, St. Gallen 241 (Ix1 ; St. Gallen), which has an abbreviated
text of Trr. l-18, 20, is consistent with this irregularity as far as its evidence goes.
Despite its wide dissemination in the eleventh and subsequent centuries
in the regions of S. Germany, this peculiarity cannot be regarded as
having originated there. It also cannot be considered in isolation from
the group of manuscripts which not only reverse these two Tractatus
but also omit Trr. 21-22. In turn this twofold irregularity cannot be
entirely separated from the omission of Trr. 20-22.

THE INCLUSION OF

Sermo 125

Sorne fifty manuscripts of the Tractatus insert Sermo 125 (PL 38,
688-698) after Tr. 17. This is not the place to present a full study of
S. 125, which is not known to have survived in any manuscript outside
the Tractatus, but some time can usefully be spent capitalizing upon its
presence in order to further our classification of the manuscripts of the
Tractatus. For not only do these fifty or so exemplars forma group apart,
they also fall into two main sub-groups according to two different I ncipits. (No manuscript has yet revealed the Maurists' Incipit, which
must be their own emendation. It will shortly be referred to again).

Incipit A : H aec auribus et cordibus vestris nota sunt reparant tamen dicentis aff ectum
Manuscripts with this or a very similar Incipit nearly always number
S. 125 as' 18' (or one more than the preceding number if for some reason
Tr. 17 is numbered otherwise), and continue with Trr. 18 ff. as' 19' ff.
In these manuscripts the Tractatus are regularly called homiliae or sermones,
only once tractatus. Even within this main group there are some deviations to take note of, and hence sub-division is necessary.
I.

Florence S. Marco 644; IX; Incipit sermo XVIII De eadem re


Florence S. Marco 619 ; x; Incipit sermo XVIII
Madrid 193; x; Incipit XXVIII (sic) De eadem lectione (dicentis vel
audientis)
Florence 16 dext. 4 ; XI ; De eadem lectione homelia XVIII (dicentis
vel audientis)
Florence 16 dext. 5 ; XI ; Incipit sermo XVIII

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE <<TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

9r

Florence Aedil. 8 ; XI ; ... Explicit tractatus XVIII


Vatican 7615; xr ; Incipit [omelia] XVIII de eadem lectione (dictis
audientis efjectum)
Vatican Ross. 303 ; XI ; Incipit omelia XVIII (dicentis vel audientis
ejjectum)
Barcelona S. Cugat 21 ; xu ; De eadem lectione homelia XVIII (dicentis vel audientis)
Florence Mugell. 5 ; XII ; Incipit sermo XVIII (Nec auribus)
Naples VI.B.7 ; XII ; Incipit homelia XVIII ldicensis vel audientis
ejjectum)
Vorau ro4; xn; Incipit homelia XVII (Tr. 17 is XVI) (mata ... dicentis
vel audientis ejjectum)
Florence Conv. Soppr. 557 ; xm ; Incipit sermo XVIII ex eadem re
Volterra 6778; XIV; ... ExplicitsermoXVIII (Tr. 17 endshomeliaXVII;
18 begins sermo XVIII)
Bernkastel-Kues 32 ; xv ; Homilia XVIII de eadem lectione (dicentis
vel audientis)
Florence 12, II; xv ; Incipit sermo XVIII
Vatican 481 ; xv ; Homelia XVIII incipit jeliciter (dicentis vel audientis effectum)
Vatican Chig. A.VIII.241; xv; Incipit [sermo] XVIII
Vatican Urb. 68 ; xv; Incipit sermo XVIII joeliciter (effectum ... Exit
sermo decimus septimus octavus (!))
Venice Z. 59 ; xv ; Incipit sermo decimus octavus de eadem lectione
2. Florence Fesul. 7 ; xv ; S. 125 is De eadem lectione homelia, with no
number ; Tr. 17 is ' 19 ', 18 is ' 20 ' (dicentis vel audientis)
3. London, B.M. Burney 291; XII; Trr. 18-19 are missing ; S. 125 is XV;
Tr. 17 begins correctly, ends as XIII! (dicentis vel audientis)
Naples VI.B.17; XII; Trr. 18-19 are missing; S. 125, apart from an initial capital, runs straight on from Tr. 17, forming together with it
sermo XVIII!, so that Tr. 20 emerges with the correct number
(auribus vestris et cordibus)
4. Vatican S. Pietro C 96; XI-XII; Homelia XVII ex eadem lectione (tamen
audientis efjectum). The order i$ Tr. 17 (' 16 '), S. 125 (' 17 '),
Tr. 20 (' 18 '), 18 (' 21 '), 19 (' 22 '), 21 (' 23 '),etc.; i.e., numbers 19
and 20 are not used.
5. Naples VI.C.20; XII; Incipit sermo XX (Tr. 17 is XVII II). Incipit:
Hec nec auribus nec cordibus vestris ignota sunt reparant tamen
audientis effectum. This Incipit forms a kind of bridge to that of
the second main group of manuscripts (cf. Prague, Univ. VI.C. 17
below), but for obvions geographical reasons should be regarded as
a refinement of type A.

92

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Incipit B : Nec auribus nec cordibus vestris reparant tamen audientis


ejfectum ...
Most manuscripts displaying this Incipit present S. r25 without a separate number, and sometimes as the continuation or second half of Tr. r7
without a break of any kind. Many copies omit Trr. r8 and rg (cf. under
type A. 3 above London, B.M. Burney 29r and Naples VI.B.r7), while
others are irregular in other respects, so that again we must sub-divide.
Where no contrary indication is given, S. r25 appears unnumbered.
r. Manuscripts omitting Trr. r8 and rg, and numbering Trr. 2off. as' r8' ff.
Rome, V allicell. A. r4 ; VIII /rx ; De eadem lectione ... Explicit [omelia]
XVII
Florence r4 dext. 5 ; x ; De eadem lectione ... Explicit homelia XV (which
is the number of Tr. r7)
Paris, B.N. lat. 89r2 ; xr 2 ; Sermo de eadem lectione ... Explicit omelia
XVII
Berlin theol. lat. fol. 675 ; XII ; De eadem lectione ... Explicit XIIV
Heiligenkreuz IO ; XII ; originally no numbers at all, beginning of
S. r25 marked solely by initial capital; later, [Omelia] XVIII.
Klosterneuburg 26 ; XII ; Item, unde supra ... Explicit omelia XVI
(the number of Tr. r7). A corrector has inserted above the line
nota sunt after vestris and dicentis vel after audientis.
Paris, B.N. lat. r964 ; XII ; Item in eodem, De unitate et aequalitate
patris et filii... (Nec auribus anec [sic J cordibus vestris reparant
tantum audientis)... Explicit XVII. (Both Trr. 2r and 22 are' rg ')
Zwettl rg; XII; S. r25 is numbered separately, Incipit [omelia] XVIII
Prague, Univ. VI.C.r7; xrv; Item unde supra sequitur... (Hec (? Nec)
auribus... vestris ignota sunt quae tractanda su nt reparant... affectum) ... Explicit omelia XVI (number of Tr. r7)
Brno A. 9 ; xv ; De omelia ut supra... Explicit omelia decima VI
(number of Tr. r7)
Klosterneuburg 27 ; xv ; Item unde supra... Explicit omelia XVI
(number of Tr. r7)
London, B.M. Addit. r83r3 ; A.D. r466 ; De eadem lectione ... Explicit omelia XVI ( number of Tr. r7)
Melk 354 ; xv; Item unde supra ... (affectum)... Explicit Omelia XVI
(number of Tr. r7)
Naples VI. D. 3 ; A.D. r500 ; no numbers (Et auribus ... )
According to a letter received from M. Kostilkova, Prague, Kapit.
A. 73 /6 (XIV) lacks not only Trr. rS-rg but also zr. S. r25 forms the
second part of Tr. r7 (' r6 ') and is followed by 20 and 22, which makes
it unparalleled. Also to be included here is a manuscript from Carcassonne
Cathedra! which was one of the Maurists' two authorities for S. r25 :

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. !OH."

93

De eadem lectione... (affectum) 108 . Their other base was the edition by
Jacques Sirmond109 from a codex belonging to St. Vincent's Abbey, Metz,
which in default of evidence to the contrary we may presume to have been
a copy of the Tractatus. Sirmond's Incipit is diffrrent again : Nec
auribus nec cordibus vestris rudia reparantur, tamen audientis... We have
no way of knowing whether this represents Sirmond's emendation, though
the absence of this precise Incipit, and especially the word rudia, from
all the extant manuscripts undoubtedly suggests it does. The Maurists
certainly indulged in emendation and produced: Nec auribus nec cordibus vestris rudia repetuntur : reparant ta men audientis affectum ...
Several manuscripts of Incipit B do not lack Trr. r8-r9 but display some
rearrangement in their position :

2. Three have the order Tr. r7, S. r25 (in each case as Sermo XVIII),
Trr. r8, 20, 2r, r9, 22 ff.
Verona, Capit. XXXVI ; IX ; (Tr. 20 is unnumbered, De eadem lectione)
Modena, Capit. O.III.r4 ; XI ; (Tr. zo again unnumbered, but an
earlier XVIII(? XVII II) seems to have been erased)
Cesena D. III. 3 ; XV.
3. Two manuscripts place Trr. r8-r9 between 20 and 2I :
Paris, B.N. lat. r739r ; xrr ; S. r25 is the latter part of Tr. IJ (Item
de eadem lectione... Explicit omdia XVII), 20 is ' r8 ', r8 unnumbered (Incipit alia de eadem lectione), r9 as ' r8' again (Item alia
incipit de eo quod... Explicit XVIII), 2r as ' r9' etc.
Porto r3 ; xnr ; original arrangement and numeration was : r7 (Sermo
XVII), S. r25 (Sermo XVII), 20 (XVIII), r8 (unnumbered), r9
(XVIIII), 2r (unnumbered and untitled), 22 (Explicit homelia XX),
etc. One or more ' correctors' have created such confusion that
Tr. r7, hitherto correct, is now XVIII, four items are each numbered XVIII!, none is XX and Tr. 22 is XXI.
108. Copy in Paris, B.N. lat. 11661, ff. 161r-165v. For the omission of Trr. 18-19,
f. 128v.
109. S. Aurelii Augustini ... Sermones Novi numero XL (Paris, 1631), pp. 170-193
(no. 15) and notes, unpaginated, ad fin. The study of P. PETITMENGIN,' A propos

des ldions patristiques de la Contre-Rforme: Le Sa'nt Augustin" de la Typographie


Vaticane', in Recherches Augustinicnnrs, vol. 4 (Paris, 1966), pp. 199-251, throws much
light on Sirmond's discovery of unpublished Augustinian sermons, but is unable to
identify the manuscript from which he drew Sermo 125 (see pp. 231-233, 236-237).
The quite plausible suggestion that Sirmond consulted the codex S. Vincentii Metensis
at the College of Clermont proves no more fruitful in locating its present whereabouts,
if it is still extant. To this study I owe the information that all but one of Sirmond's
forty new sermones of 1631 had previously been published against bis wishes as an
appendix to volume ro (the Sermones) of the Paris edition of the Opera Omnia of
Augustine in 1614, where S. 125 appears as the third sermon on pp. 390-393. I have
been unable to gain access to the 1614 edition in Edinburgh.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

94

4. One codex has the order 18, 20, 19, 21 :


Paris, B.N. lat. 16850 ; xu ; S. 125 is [Omelia] XVIII de eadem lectione110.
5. Another has 18 and 19 between 23 and 24 :
Vich 27 ; xn ; S. 125 is the second part of Tr. 17, De eadem lectione ...
(audientes) ... Explicit homelia XVII. See further n. 125 below.
6. Finally, three manuscripts with Incipit B have no omission at all :
Monte Cassino 21 EE ; XI; De eadem lectione. Ubi ait ... (audientes) ...
Explicit Tractatus XVII
Vatican 483 ; XI ; S. 125 numbered separately as [SermoJ XVIII ut
supra.
Charleville 246B ; XII; S. 125 numbered separately as [Sermo] XVIII
de eadem lectione (Later both Trr. 21 and 22 are' 22 ')
One further feature of manuscripts containing S. 125 deserves to be
mentioned. In nearly all of those which are also marked by the omission
of Trr. 18-19, Tr. 21 has the Incipit Qua potuimus Jacultate tractavimus,
i.e., lacking the first seven words. Of eighteen manuscripts at present
known to have this Incipit, all but one (Lisbon Alcob. 402) include 5. 125,
and of these seventeen all apart from Naples VI.B.17 belong to the B
group. Indeed, all of the B group manuscripts lacking Trr. 18-19 have
this feature, except for Prague, Kapit. A. 73 /6, which apparently lacks
Tr. 21 altogether (see above). One of the two A group manuscripts
lacking Trr. 18-19, Naples VI.B.17, also presents this beginning for Tr. 2I.
On1y four of the eighteen (Lisbon Alcob. 402 ; Modena, Capit. O.III.14 ;
Porto 13 ; Vich 27) contain Trr. 18-19, and only one of them, Lisbon
Alcob. 402, puts them in their standard position. The eighteen are :
Berlin theol. lat. fol. 675
Brno A. 9
Florence I4 dext. 5
Heiligenkreuz IO
Klosterneuburg 26
Klosterneuburg 27
Lisbon Alcob. 402
London, B.M. Addit. 18313
Modena, Capit. O.III.14
Naples VI.B.17
Naples VI.D.3
Paris, B.N. lat. 1964

no. The subsequent numbering is very careless : Tr. x8 begins as ' 19 ', ends as
is ' 19 ' ; 19 begins as ' 20 ', ends as ' 21 ' ; ... 23 begins as '24 ', ends as
is ' 22 ', etc.

' 18 ' ; 20
' 2 I ' ; 24

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

95

Paris, B.N. lat. 8912


Porto 13
Prague, Univ. VI.C.17
Rome, Vallicell. A.14
Vich 27
Zwettl 19
The task of introducing some order into the profusion of this widely
diffused and variegated branch of the tradition must be attempted on
another occasion. It will require aboYe all the art of a detective. For
the present it must suffice to state boldly that it is a markedly Italian
tradition, and to speculate whether Bishop Deodericus, the founder of
St. Vincent's Abbey, Metz, was not an early agent of its diffusion. From
his journeys in Italy in the latter part of the tenth century he brought
back many codices to stock the new Abbey's library. Verona supplied
a good number, such as Berlin Phillipps 1676, Bishop Egino's copy of
Alan of Farfa's homiliary. The ninth-century manuscript Verona,
Capit. XXXVI is proof that a copy of the Tractatus containing S. 125
was to be found there at the time of Deodericus's visit111 .

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THE IRREGULARITIES


IN THE REGION OF Tractatus 17-23

It remains to ask how we may explain the diverse disorder in so many


manuscripts in this particular sector of the collection. It is a tantalizing
question whose answer admits of little more than speculation and guesswork. We begin with the omission of Trr. 20-22. In my earlier study
I tentatively proposed that this feature might derive from one' original'
copy of the Tractatus, on the twofold grounds that these three sermons
not only are absent from some early manuscripts, both extant and attested by mediaeval writers, but also do not belong to the sequence of
Augustine's Johannine expositions at this point112. After doubting
for a time the viablity of this explanation, I am disposed to advance
it again as a genuine possibility. Reasons for connecting the tradition
marked by this omission with southern Gaul as early as the middle of
the seventh century, and perhaps even two centuries earlier in the age
of John Cassian, have been expounded above. If valid, this reasoning
would of necessity imply that the unambiguous testimony of both Fulgentius and the Lateran Synod of A.D. 649 to the presence of Tr. 22 in
their copies of the Tractatus relates to another branch of the tradition and
does not involve us in placing the disappearance of Trr. 20-22 after A.D.
649.
III. The only copy of the Tractatus known to have belonged to St. Vincent' s is
Berlin Phillipps 1662 from Fulda. No extant catalogue of St. Vincent's lists a copy
of the Tractatus.
II2. Op. cit., p. 328.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

96

It is difficult to believe that the absence of Trr. 20-22 from certain


early manuscripts is unconnected with the fact that they constitute a
trio of sermons separate from the rest of Trr. r-54. If these two circumstances were unrelated, we would be confronted by a remarkable coincidence of irregularities and would surely be pardoned for misreading
its significance. In this context it must be clearly established that although
our different modern designations for them effectively disguise the point,
Tractatus 20-22 and Sermo r25 belong to precisely the same category.
Both are sermons on passages in John's Gospel which were not preached
in the series of consecutive, if interrupted, preaching that we know as
Tractatus r-54, and yet both have survived solely in manuscripts of the
Tractatus. Both cover ground that the regular sequence of sermons also
covered: Tr. IJ and S. r25 both expound John 5 : r-r8, and the two trios
of Trr. r8-r9
23 and Trr. 20-22 both expound John 5: rg-30 (Tr. 23 also
runs quickly through John 5 : 3r-47). Any future edition of the Tractatus should at least include S. r25 in an appendix, and it would not be
inappropriate to rename it Tractatus r7A. Of course it cannot be denied
that Trr. 20-22 and S. r25 appear to stand in quite different relations to
the Tractatus as far as the manuscript tradition is concerned. For the
circumstances that apparently demand explanation are the omission of
the former, but the insertion of the latter. Further reflection, however,
shows that the contrast is an elusive one. For if an explanation is to be
sought for the omission of Trr. 20-22, one is also required for their prior,
even ' original ', insertion. They disappeared from a position to which
they never really belonged. Indeed, it may well transpire that they never
belonged at all to one form of the collection and hence cannot be described as having disappeared or dropped out. Their absence would then
be one not of omission but of non-inclusion.

In what follows the discussion revolves around three factors :


(r) the division of the whole collection of the Tractatus into three
or more codices ;
(n) the overlapping of the subject-matter dealt with in Tractatus
r8-23 (and Tr. r7 and S. r25) ;
(m) chronological breaks in Augustine's preaching in this area of the

Tractatus.
These are all factors which have a possible bearing upon the origins
of the disorder we have encountered, and particularly the absence of
Trr. 20-22. They all relate, though not with equal force, both to the
very beginnings of the tradition in Augustine's own library at Hippo
and to any subsequent stage at which irregularities may have entered
in. They are essentially complementary ; their validity in any attempted
explanation of the irregularities is bound to be cumulative.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

cc

TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

97

(r) The division of the whole collection of the Tractatus ))


into three or more codices.
Possidius knew it in six codices113 . (Nowhere else in the Indiculum
does he specify the number of manuscripts a work occupied, even for
more extensive ones like the City of Cod and the Enarrationes in Psalmos).
One can hardly regard the use of six codices as necessitated by the size
of the collection. Nevertheless they may conceivably have been of
roughly equal dimensions in which case the end of the second would have
occurred somewhere in the region we are considering. We can but
speculate. But since the omission or intrusion of tractatus or sermones
is most likely to have taken place at the beginning or end of codices,
the fact of division could be highly significant. For instance, the omission of Trr. 20-22 is intelligible as the result of bringing together a codex
containing Trr. l-19 and another comprising Trr. 23-54. It must be
immediately admitted that no exemplars attesting dividing-lines at
precisely these points, i.e. between 19 and 20, and 22 and 23, have survived or are mentioned in mediaeval catalogues. Nevertheless, as we
saw above in discussing threefold divisions of the Tractatus, divisions
occur at several different points, and in particular between 21 and 22,
23 and 24, and 24 and 25. There is sufficient fluidity for other possibilities not to be ruled out. Indeed, the undoubted variation in the dividing-line is grist to my mill, for it asserts the currency of codices perhaps
calling themselves pars prima and pars secunda which if brought together
would not in many cases comprise the whole of Trr. l-54. The resulting loss of one or more tractatus would be made all the easier if Trr. l-54
originally contained no numeration, which I am coming to consider a
distinct possibility, especially if they were preached over a span of many
years. (We will develop this suggestion below, in considering the third
of the factors I have proposed). The sequence of the lections supplies
its own order, so that a system of numeration is certainly not essential.
Furthermore, if Augustine's ' master copy ' embodied the numbering
from I to 54, it becomes less easy to conceive of omissions and transpositions in the transmission. However, we need not place any great imporl r3. ZWINGGI, op. cit., pp. 124-125, suggests that the six codices each contained
one of the six series of sermons into which he believes that La Bonnardire, with the
assistance of the present writer, has dissolved the Tractatus, viz., Trr. 1-12 ; 13-16 ;
17-19 and 23 ; 20-22; 24-54; 55-124. This attractive theory is, however, not
without its weaknesses. In my judgment La Bonnardire has failed to prove a
break between Trr. 23 and 24 (see p.ro4 below with n. 123), and it must be doubted
whether Trr. 13-16 constitute a group distinct enough to warrant a separate codex.
According to La Bonnardire, they follow Tr. 12 after an interval of less than four
months, and Trr. r-r 2 themselves span a period of five months. Nevertheless,
Zwinggi's proposals seem to me to be along the right lines, and incidentally provide
him with a simple explanation for the omission of Trr. 20-22, viz., that the codex
containing sol el y these three sermons never featured in one branch of the transmission
of the Tractatus, or in other terms (see p. 95 above) one ' original edition ' lacked
Trr. 20-22.

98

DAVID F. WRIGHT

tance on this point, for the manuscripts present abundant evidence of


misnumbering, which would facilitate the conjunction of codices representing different divisions of the first half of the collection.
Most of the manuscript divisions of Trr. l-54 discussed above belong
to mainly Germanie regions of central Europe including northern Switzerland. They date largely from the ninth century. There may be
some significance in the fact that three of the four earliest exemplars
to lack Trr. 20-22, Berlin Phillipps 1662, Salzburg a VII 33, and Basel
B.III.3, fit into this setting. If no such divisions are attested for
Southern Gaul, where we have located the earlier phases of this tradition,
the cause may be simply the paucity of available manuscript evidence.
Possidius assures us that the introduction of divisions into Trr. l-54
was not a ninth-century development.
The composite codex Oxford, Bodl. Laud. Mise. 139 may illustrate
the possibility I am putting forward, namely, the coming together of
two codices originating from different divisions of Trr. l-54 into two
parts. The basic manuscript comprised Trr. 14-16, 19, 23-32, 36-45 and
48-54 numbered consecutively ' 14-44 '. The gaps were made good
at St. Kylian's, Wrzburg in the mid-ninth century, but whereas Trr. 17-18
and20-22 were inserted with their correct numbers, Trr. 33-35 and 46-47
were given numbers three below the normal114. As the influence of the
original manuscript's numeration cannot explain this discrepancy, it is
feasible that the Wrzburg scribe was drawing on two codices, one containing at least Trr. l-22 and the other at least Trr. 33-54 but numbered
three less than the standard numeration. The numbering in the second
codex would presumably presuppose the earlier loss of Trr. 20-22 which
were however present in the first. Hence the two did not belong together
in a two-part division of Trr. l-54. The same point is illustrated by the
two Weissenburg manuscripts Wolfenbttel 4094 and 4ro2, containing
respectively Trr. r-23 and Trr. 24-54 numbered probably' 22-52 '. Now
the latter numbering may have arisen from a scribal slip, but if Wolfenbttel 4ro2 were to be joined with another manuscript containing Trr. l-21
the result would be the omission of Trr. 22-23. Similarly if Wolfenbttel
4094 were united with a codex numbering 26-54 as ' 24-52 ', the loss of
Trr. 24-25 would ensue.
It would be foolish to place excessive reliance on the details of the
argument in this section. The importance attaches to the undoubted
fact of the divisions, and this is but one strand in a triple thread of reasoning.
(n) The overlapping of the subject-matter dealt
with in Tractatus )) 18-23 (and Tr. 17 and S. 125)
The omission of Trr. 20-22 could pass unnoticed because it left no
gap in the continuity of Augustine's exposition. Indeed, it decidedly
improved the smoothness of the transition from sermon to sermon
114. See n. 186 below, and also n. 125.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

99

A simple analysis of the way John 5 is dealt with115 will put the point
beyond doubt.

Tr.

IJ : vv. I-I8
I25 : vv. I-I8
(in intention ; little of the Tr. actually deals
Tr. I8: v. I9

S.

with it)

Tr.

I9 :

Tr.
Tr.
Tr.
Tr.
Tr.

20: v. I9
2I : vv. 20-23
22 : vv. 24-30
23 : vv. 31-47 (briefly), 19 and finally a quick run through 20-30.
24 : ch. 6 : 1-14

VV.

Ig-30 (Augustine aimed to return to v.

I9 after
expounding the rest of the lection but left
himself no time to do so)

It is undeniable that the loss of Trr. 20-22 causes no difficulty, but


rather removes considerable awkwardness. The same would be true
of S. IZ5 if it had originally belonged to the series but was subsequently
omitted. If this remains improbable, the fortunes of Trr. 20-22 and S. I25
present a curious contrast. The former's omission removed reduplication,
the latter's insertion produced it. Not surprisingly, therefore, the two
features are never found together in one manuscript.
What has just been said about the omission of Trr. 20-zz applies with
scarcely less force to the omission of any one or two of them. It would
have taken an extremely shrewd reader or copyist to discern the anomalous situation resulting from the presence of only one or two of the intercalated trio at Tractatus, while on the other hand the loss of any one of
them reduced the degree of duplication.
Even the transposition of Trr. I9 and 20 effects some tidying up, as
a glance at the above analysis will demonstrate. When it is unaccompanied by any other change its contribution is admittedly limited, but
when it occurs together with the omission of Trr. 2I and 22 it produces
a sequence of exposition which, except for the persistent difficulty of
John 5 : Ig, no longer involves Augustine in doubling back on his tracks.
The intrusion of S. IZ5 cannot be understood in these terms at all.
Hence it would not be consistent to claim that the omission of Trr. I8
and Ig, which in several manuscripts accompanies S. 125 but is never
found without it, also decreases the element of repetition and has no
adverse effects.
Thus all the irregularities that mark the manuscripts in this region
of the Tractatus, except for the inclusion of S. I25, possess the character
II5. WRIGHT, op. cit., pp. 318-319, and ]TS n.s. 17 (1966),
DIRE, op. cit., p. 106. ZWINGGI, op. cit., p. 125, suggests that

p. 185; LA BONNARthe duplication of the


exposition of ] ohn 5 may have been a contributory factor in a copyist's omission of
Trr. 20-22.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

IOO

of improving upon the order of Augustine's exposition as represented


by the regular sequence of Trr. r7-23. In itself, this consideration, on
the principle of lectio difficilior, might appear to be proof of their secondary nature, were it not that the problem each of them at least partly
resolves is caused by the presence of Trr. 20-22, which is itself in a real
sensE a secondary feature. And if duplication in the original is tolerated here, why not also between Tr. I7 and Tr. r7A ( = S. r25) ? Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that this section of our argument not only
explains how an omission or transposition caused by some other factor
could have gone unnoticed, but also raises the possibility that a perceptive copyist could have felt justified in producing such an omission or
transposition. This would provide a very simple explanation of the loss
of Trr. 20-22, for these are the three sermons a copyist working through
from Tr. I7 would most naturally omit, as a cursory glance at the above
analysis quickly reveals. Yet this is an explanation which I find too
simple to be fully satisfying.
(m) Chronological breaks in Augustinc's preaching

in this area of the

cc

Tractatus

>>

Here we take up consideration of the implications of Mlle La Bonnardire's and 1\1. Berrouard's dating of the Tractatus, which embody the
conviction that previous attempts to date the collection have foundered
on the persistent refusa! to allow that Augustine prod uced them ' par
fragments '. If, as seems to me almost undeniable, the Tractatus were
thus composed in segments over a period of several years, it is a priori
likely that such groups of Tractatus would have found their way into
Augustine's library in separate codices.
But before we apply this reasoning to the problems of Trr. I7-23,
a further note about Trr. 55-I24 is in order in this context. We have
argued above, in agreement with other students of the issue, that the
numeration' r-70 ' goes back to the library at Hippo. Now La Bonnardire placed Trr. I-I6 in the years 406-7 and the rest in or after the year
4r8. This would mean that Trr. I-I6 and r7-54, which were separated
by more than a decade, have somehow received a consecutive numeration, while Trr. r7-54 and 55-r24, which on this explanation were probably all produced within three or four years11 6, have been allotted separate numbering systems. If Trr. r7-54 could thus be regarded as the
continuation of a series broken off in mid-course eleven or twelve years
earlier, while Trr. 55-r24 were evidently distinguished from the thirtyseven (or thirty-four) sermons delivered in the previous three or four
years, then we have a weighty indication that the separate numeration
' I-70 ' reflects some difference of origin or genre between Trr. 55-r24
rr6. LA BONNARDIRE, op. cit., does not fix a tevminus ad quem for Trr. 55-r24
but appears to incline towards a date soon after A.D. 42r ; cf. pp. 87, rr7, 140-r4r.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

101

and the earlier sermons. This evidence does not of course define the
nature of the difference between the two parts of the collection ; it merely
confirms what is strongly suspected 011 other grounds, that such a difference truly exists. In case it should seem that this line of reasoning
depends on too ma11y assumptions, we must spell out clearly that the
only assumption it requires is one for which evidence is not lacking, namely,
that Trr. 55-124 were either numbered ' l-70 ' in Augustine's library
or demarcated from Trr. l-54 in such a way that the introduction of this
numbering ensued at an early stage thereafter. It does not necessitate
any particular belief about the numeration of Trr. l-54 ; they may originally have lacked numbers altogether.
However, if Berrouard's revised dating of Trr. 17-19 and 23-54 is
accepted, the argument of the preceding paragraph loses much of its
force but is not entirely nullified. Berrouard agrees with La Bonnardire in placing Trr. l-16 in 406-7, but brings Trr. 17-54, with the exception of Trr. 20-22, forward to 414. As he has not yet pronounced 011 the
date of Trr. 55-124, it is too early to say whether he has finally opened up
a gap of several years between Trr. 54 and 55, but this is certainly a consequence of combining his dating for Trr. 17-19 and 23-54 with La Bonnardire's for Trr. 55-124. Trr. 17-19 and 23-54 thus corne to occupy a year
roughly equidistant betwee11 Trr. l-16 and Trr. 55-124. This set of circumstances undoubtedly weakens the above argument which contrasts
in the case of Trr. 17-54 and Trr. 55-124 temporal proximity of origin
with separate systems of numeration, but in so far as Trr. 17-54, even
on Berrouard's showing, were delivered as long after Trr. l-16 as Trr. 55124 were after Trr. 17-54 the argument retains some of its validity.
The possibility voiced above that Trr. l-54 may originally havelacked
numeration altogether pinpoints the type of question raised by their
composition in separate blacks, in relation to the circumsta11ces and manner in which the blocks were brought together to form one collection11 7.
II7. Zwinggi's study is of relevance in this connexion. He shows (op. cit., pp. 126129) on the basis of La Bonnardire's dating of the Tractatus that they implement
only to a very limited extent the principle of lectio continua, the importance of
which in Augustine's preaching has been much exaggerated. He also points out
(pp. 124-125) that Possidius lists the Tractatus in a category which includes in
addition only the Enarrationes in Psalnios, distinguishing between the dictated and
the preached Enarrationes, while the Tractatus on John's First Epistle appear
elsewhere among the Tractatus Diversi (Indiculuni X 4 1-5, X. 148; lYiisc. Agost.
vol. II, pp. 181-182, 204). The juxtaposition of the Tractatus on the Gospel and the
Enarrationes Zwinggi attributes to Possidius's recognition that like the latter the
former were' ein Sammelwerk '. It is not only the absence of a title for Possidius's
category comprising these two collections that casts some doubt upon this explanation. Merely in being expositions of the whole of major biblical books and in virtue
of their consequent size, the Enarrationes and the Tractatus are unparalleled among
Augustine's homiletic output. From this stand point the ten sermons on I ] ohn
rightly belong elsewhere, and no doubt appropriately to a category that also includes
a short series of sermons on Genesis r and other small batelles like De cpiphania
tractatus septeni ... Per vigilias paschae tractatus viginti Ires (Indiculum x. 58-62,

102

DAVID F. WRIGHT

La Bonnardire <livides Trr. I-54 into three segments, I-I6 dated in A.D.
406-7, 17-23 probably in 418-9, and 24-54 in 419-20 or 420-I. If this
reconstruction is correct, it means that in 4I8 or 4I9 after more than a
decade had elapsed since Tr. I6, Augustine preached Tr. I7 without
the slightest hint that he was resuming the consecutive exposition of
John's Gospel. The opening of Tr. 17 contains no backward or forward
reference. This contrasts markedly with his forceful reminder at the
start of Tr. I3 of his previous sermons on John which he had had to
discontinue on embarking upon the exposition of John's First Epistle
during the Easter Octave. La Bonnardire calculates the interval between Trr. I2 and 13 as less than two months11s. A similar backward
reference at the beginning of Tr. 15 suggests a lapse of time since Tr. 14,
but according to La Bonnardire it eau only have been a fortnight or
so at the most119 . No doubt in preaching Tr. 17 Augustine could not
expect his congregation to recall sermons delivered ten years earlier,
but his sudden unexplained resumption is still rather odd. The difficulty is scarcely eased by Berrouard's date of 414 for the series of sermons
beginning with Tr. 17, for the interval since Tr. 16 is still one of seven
years. Do we envisage Augustine checking up among his manuscripts

r70-r75 ; Mise. A gost., vol. II, pp. r95, 205). If Possidius was aware of the diversity
among the Traetatus, it is surprising that he has failed to indicate it, even in terms of
the distinction between dictation and preaching he a pp lies to the Enarrationes.
Zwinggi's further suggestion that the bringing together of the sections of the Traetatus should be thought of as analogous to the collection of the Enarrationes into one
corpus raises some interesting questions. How did Possidius know which Enarrationes had been preached and which dictated ? Was an index or inventory available ? Certainly Augustine possessed a catalogue of bis works which Possidius
used (cf. WII,MART, Mise. Agost., vol. II, pp. r58-r60). Does this then preclude the
possibility that Possidius's description of the Enarrationes reflects the circumstances
in which he found them in the library at Hippo, i.e., still in sections according to
their diverse origins and not arranged after the order of the Psalms ? This state
of affairs is no doubt rather unlikely, for the numbering of the Psalms afforded the
easiest and most obvious of methods of arrangement. Likewise the Traetatus would
arrange themselves in accordance with the Gospel text (except in the case of the
slight difficulty over Trr. 20-22) without the need for any additional enumeration.
Thus Possidius's sex eodices probably indicates that his examination of the Traetatus
revealed their lack of a continous numeration, and in this respect they were like the
Enarrationes. (It should not be forgotten that on several Psalms, most notably
Ps. rr8 (rrg), Augustine produced more than one enarratio, so that if the individual
enarrationes were to be numbered consecutively they would total many more than
r50). But if Possidius's description of sex eodices suggests tous that the Traetatus
are similar to the Enarrationes also in being ' ein Sammelwerk ', it is doubtful
whether Possidius was aware of this further similarity.
rr8. Op. cit., PI. 52-53. It must be mere coincidence that in two early or midninth-century codices, Wrzburg M.p.th.f. 74 and Munich 6287, both probably from
Freising, pars prima comprises only Trr. r-r3, while the tenth-century Lorsch
catalogue lists a part one containing only twelve Tractatus, presumably r-12. But
see n. rr3 above.
ng. Ibid., pp. 56, 53.
begins with Tr. 15.

Among early manuscripts Salzburg a VII 33 (rx') alone

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

rn3

to discover the point he had reached in the Gospel back in A.D. 407 ?
Had he never preached on John 5 (where Tr. 17 resumes) or any subsequent chapter since that date, and had no such sermons found their way
on to his shelves alongside Trr. r-r6 ? Questions like these are multiplied
in one's mind by the idea of the composition of the Tractatus in groups
over a number of years. It has already been suggested in this study
that breaks like those posited by La Bonnardire make it at least possible
that when Trr. 1-54 first reached completion (with or without Trr. 20-22)
different titles, especially sermo, and perhaps even homilia, in addition
to tractatus, were in evidence among them and continuous numeration
was absent. Similarly, the intervals between the batches of sermons
would have allowed occasional sermons to insert themselves, such as
Tr. r7A (S. r25) and perhaps Trr. 20-22.
When, however, we turn to the details of La Bonnardire's dating in
relation to our problem area, we encounter no tailor-made solutions to our
questions. Berrouard's dates, on the contrary, are in one important
respect positively helpful in our enquiries. La Bonnardire's major
dividing-line between Trr. r-16 in A.D. 406-7 and Trr. l7-r24 in the years
beginning 4r8-9 120 does not favour any straightforward hypothesis for
the intrusion of S. r25, which always occurs after Tr. 17 and never before
it. In a footnote added while her book was in the press Mlle La Bonnardire appears to accept my isolation of Trr. 20-22 from their setting in
the Tractatus but sees no immediate reason for dating them differently
from Trr. r7-19 and 23 121 . More recently, however, Berrouard has argued

120. RONDET, in RSR 53 (1965), pp. 656-657, believes that La Bonnardire's


dating of Tr1'. 17-124 needs to be revised. He suggests a date a year or two earlier.
12!. Op. cit., pp. 1I7-rr8 n. r. Augustine's reference in Tr. 22: 10 to lucerna illa
in the church suggested both to the Maurists (PL 35, 1579 n. (a)) and to TILI,EMONT,
op. cit., pp. 710-71 r, that it was preached by the light of a lamp, i.e., in the winter
months. Both authorities swallowed their surmises because Tr. 27 was obviously
delivered on August ro (St. Laurence). La Bonnardire's dating (p. 108) places
Trr. 17-23 between Easter and August, which would require some revision for
Trr. 20-22 if the suspicions of the Maurists and Tillemont were after all correct.
ZWINGGI, op. cit., p. l 19, suggests very interestingly that Trr. 20-22 were preached
to the Hippo congregation at large but Trr. 17-19 and 23 to a more restricted and
better instructed audience, perhaps consisting largely of clergy, monks and nuns.
If this was the case, then in the light of the same writer's claims for the rest of
Trr. 1-54 in this regard, it is Trr. 17-19 and 23, not Trr. 20-22, that should be treated
as constituting the insertion. This would mean, however, that John 5: r-18 (Tr. 17)
and 31-47 (expounded, albeit briefly, only in Tr. 23) never featured in the ongoing
exposition of the Gospel to the normal mixed congregation of the Christian community at Hippo (see the analysis on p. 99 above). Zwinggi's account of the duplication of coverage between Trr. 18, 19 and 23 and Trr. 20-22 is also inconsistent
with Berrouard's recent study, which shows, in my mind convincingly, that Trr. 17-19
and 23 belong with Trr. 24-54 in one series of sermons, and argues that Trr. 20-22
were delivered a few years later. Zwinggi does not of course consider what kind of
audience is reflected in Sermo 125, which like Tr. 17 expounds John 5 : r-18. The
exordium immediately suggests a body of hearers well-versed in the Scriptures, or at
least in Augustine's expository sermons, but there is no other indication, except

DAVID F. WRIGHT

at length and with persuasive force that Trr. 20-22 reflect a more advanced stage in Augustine's controversy with Arianism than the parallel
exposition of]ohn 5 : 19-30 in Trr. 18, 19 and 23, and has assigned their
production to the years 418-9, soon after Contra Sermonem Arianorum
but four or five years later than the same writer's date of 414 for Trr. 1J-I9
and 23-54122 . If Berrouard's conclusions are sound, then the first half
of the collection would have been complete, in the sense that Trr. r-19
and 23-54 provide an exposition of the whole of John 1-12, some years
before Trr. 20-22 were delivered. Thus one could regard Trr. 1-19 and
23-54 as constituting the original ' edition ' or ' version ' of the first part
of the corpus, and a genuine possibility emerges that this version could
have enjoyed some circulation before Trr. 20-22 were even preached,
let alone inserted into their present position between Trr. 19 and 23.
There is no inherent improbability in this suggestion that Trr. r-54,
with or without Trr. 20-22, were known and read outside Augustine's
library even before Trr. 55-124 were composed. Inde<'-d, the separate
numeration of Trr. 55-124 and the frequency of manuscripts containing
only one half of the collection speak in its favour. Furthermore, such
public knowledge of Trr. 1-54 alone could easily have led to requests for
the completion of the exposition of the Gospel and thus to the production
of Trr. 55-124 (see further n. 68 above). Of course the separate circulation of Trr. 1-54 does not of itself argue the absence of Trr. 20-22. It
merely renders more likely the possibility, given the datings proposed
by Berrouard, that an' original edition' of the Tractatus lacked not only
Trr. 55-r24 but also Trr. 20-22.
The next point of diyision in La Bonnardire's dating scheme falls
between Trr. 23 and 24, which again is of no obvions assistance in explaining the disorder prior to Tr. 23. But elsewhere we have already seriously
questioned whether the evidence justifies a break between 23 and 24,
and have been confirmed in our doubts by Berrouard's recent demonstration that Trr. 17-19 and 23 belong closely with Trr. 24-54 as one series
of sermons123 .
But if most of the details of these proposed chronological divisions
do not correspond precisely to the manuscript dislocations, it remains true
that the chief area of discontinuity in the first half of the Tractatus is
almost exactly the same both in the manuscript tradition and in the

perhaps in the last paragraphs, that the bishop might be addressing a gathering of
spiritales. LA BoNNARDIRE, op. cit., p. rr8 n., put forward the very tentative
proposal thatthetwosets of sermons on John 5: 19-30, Trr. r8, 19 and23 and Trr. 2022, were preached in different places.
122. La date (op. cit), pp. 140-141, 146-159, 164.
123. LA BONNARDIRE, op. cit., pp. 87-88, rn4-105, 117; WRIGH'I', in ]TS n.s. 17
(1966), p. 185 ; BERROUARD, La date, pp. 121-130. The reason given by La B.,
pp. 87-88, for treating Trr. 24-54 as a separate group leads logically to the inclusion
of Trr. 17-23 as well, as she shows on p. 105.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

>;

ro5

dating schemes of La Bonnardire and Berrouard. This can hardly


be pure coincidence. It rather reinforces the general tenor of our
argument that the distribution of the Tractatus in their original six codices
reflected the different years in which they were preached, and that this
distribution is indirectly reflected in a host of extant manuscripts, not
merely those ending or beginning in this region but even more so those
that lack or transpose one or more of Trr. 18-22 or include S. 125.
This endeavour to unravel the disorder of Trr. 17-23 has so far concentrated mostly on the absence of 20-22 and to a lesser extent on the
presence of S. 125 which presents a somewhat analogous case. We are
not claiming to provide exhaustive explanations of how everything
happened, but merely to suggest the kind of contexts and considerations
which make the irregularities at least less incomprehensible. Without
some element of speculation even this much would be impossible, and
when we move on from the omission of Trr. 20-22 to other irregular
features it becomes even more inevitable.
Concerning S. 125 there is perhaps little more to be said. It must be
remembered that we have no grounds whatsoever for supposing that it
enjoyed any length of life in isolation from the Tractatus. Scope for its
insertion may have been provided by the breaks in the Tractatus around
Tr. 17 that have been discussed above. But even if its insertion can be
conceived of as formally analogous to the original introduction (or
subsequent reintroduction ?) of Trr. 20-22, for both actions would result
in double coverage of the pericopes with which they deal, a genuine
difficulty remains. Mlle La Bonnardire has suggested that the dogmatic issues posed by John 5 : 19 may have been responsible for Augustine's
combining in the Tractatus two sets of sermons on John 5 : 19-30, i.e.
Trr. 18-19 and 23, and Trr. 20-22, but this reasoning would not apply
to the non-controversial sermons on John 5 : r-18124 .
For the other irregularities classified earlier in this article we can merely
throw out some guesses along the lines drawn above and trust they will
appear intelligent. The features in question may in part have originated
from the fusing of two codices deriving from different two-part divisions
of Trr. r-54. Thus the omission of Trr. 18-rg and the insertion of S. r25
which always accompanies it could both have occurred in bringing together two manuscripts containing Trr. r-17 and 20-54. (The unravelling
of the relationships between the divergent Incipits the manuscripts
present for S. 125 should in due course help in assessing the status of the
different irregularities that are found in the same exemplars). The

124. Op. cit., n. l on pp. 117-118. A. KUNZELMANN, Die Chronologie der Sermones
des hl. Augustinus, in J'>iJ.isc. Agost., vol. II, pp. 470-471, brought Tr. 17 and S. 125
into close connexion by virtue of their common subject-matter, and regarded the
previous sermon referred to in S. 125 : 7 as Tr. 17. La Bonnardire, p. 107, points
out that these two sermons are Augustine's sole expositions of John 5 : 1-18 which
disclose that this pericope had been read liturgically first.

106

DAVID F. WRIGHT

transposition of Trr. 19 and 20 together with the omission of 21 and 22


could have resulted from the correction of a copy lacking Trr. 20-22
from one which had only Trr. l-20. For the obvions place for Tr. 20
is before Tr. 19 and not after it, according to the analysis of contents
given above. Then the transposition of 19 and 20 unaccompanied by
any other irregularity would be explicable as resulting from a subsequent
final correction in terms of the replacement of 21 and 22. We may well
be on the right track if we allow for the possibility that attempts to
(re-)introduce one or more of Trr. 20-22 caused disorder, simply because
their absence occasioned no obvions lacuna for them to (re-)occupy. There
is some evidence in the manuscripts to support this hypothesis1 25. And
there is always the chance that a copyist has tidied the order and coverage
of Augustine's exposition, for instance, by transposing Trr. 19 and 20.
All the well-attested irregularities produce a smoother continuity in this
area.

DISTINCTIVE TYPES OF TEXT

This article has established some clearly distinguishable branches of


the manuscript tradition of the Tractatus, branches which are not easily
correlated with the three classes of manuscript generally identified,
namely, French and Belgian (Louvain and Maurist editions), Italian,
and German126 . For if the inclusion of S. 125 at its earliest recognizable
point and in subsequent centuries belongs to the Italian tradition, the
125. In Berlin Phillipps 1662 (vnr ex. ; Fulda) the original absence of Trr. 20-22
has been corrected only for Tr. 20, inserted by a tenth-century scribe on folios
which interrupt Tr. 23 : 2. Somewhat similarly in Berlin Ham. 55 (xn ; Cteaux)
Trr. 20-22 have been re-inserted by a secondary although roughly contemporary
hand on 13 ff. which interrupt Tr. 23 : 2, which means that they have been placed as
nearly as possible between Trr. 19 and 23 where they belong. But in Berlin, Preuss.
Kulturbes. 22 (xv' ; Cologne) this has led to the order 19, 23, 20-22, 24, all numbered
consecutively. Vich 27 (xn ; Vich) is an intriguing manuscript in this regard.
Homeliae 17-23 are : 17 + S. 125 (unnumbered), 20-23 (' 21' at beginning, '20'
at end), 18-19, 24. After the end of 19 (' 22 ') there occurs the Incipit of T1'. 23 with
the instruction ' Require retro'. Since S. 125 has the Incipit which elsewhere is
very often accompanied by the absence of Tr. 18-19, it seems clear that in this
manuscript, or more likely in its original, this deficiency has been made good from a
manucript that lacked Trr. 20-22 (so that 23 followed 19). Lrida Roda l (xn 2 ;
from Roda near Vich) attests the local presence of an exemplar omitting 20-22. In
Padua 1650 (xnr : Padua) Trr. 19, 23-25 are numbered ' 19-22 ', but then fol!ow
correctly numbered Trr. 20-22 after a note Hec omelia et duae quae sequuntur oblivione
transpositae sunt quia ordo earum post XVIII! capitulum est. Next cornes Tr. 26
unnumbered, and Tr. 27 as ' 26 '. I can explain this whole state of affairs only in
terms of the use of two exemplars, one lacking and the other containing Trr. 20-22.
Perhaps the former comprised only Trr. l-19, 23-25. Finally, we have indicated
above (see p. 82) grounds for believing that Valenciennes 80 reflects an earlier
insertion of Trr. 20-22 into a branch of the tradition where they had previously been
unknown, though without any resultant disorder.
126. Cf. WILLEMS, CCL 36, XI-XII.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE

cc

TRACT. IN EVANG. !OH."

107

omission of Trr. 20-22 has at an early stage quite widespread connexions.


Similarly, although the French and Belgian group of exemplars has corne
to be regarded as textually uniform, the oldest French manuscript,
Paris, B.N. lat. 1959, omits Trr. 21 and 22, transposes Trr. 19 and 20,
and presents numerous lacunae in the second half of the collection. This
manuscript is supported by several others from France, especially in
the north of the country.
But our discussion has been limited to what one can call' external'
features of the tradition, i.e., the order and presence or absence of whole
tractatus (and Sermo 125). It has not extended to a comparison of textual
readings, and hence I cannot yet say whether the groups of manuscripts
thus demarcated embody distinctive types of text in any more than minor
details. On the basis of a collation of Vienna 725 (rx1 ; N. Italy), containing fragments of Trr. n6-n7, with two other early Italian manuscripts
Ruth J. Dean very hesitantly suggested the possibility of an Italian
text-tradition127 , but Willems denies any significant difference between
the French-Belgian, Italian and German traditions128 . (For Willems
the German tradition is marked by the division of the work into three
codices). Willems may possibly be right, but his conclusion as he presents it rests on inadequate foundations129 , and much spade-work remains
to be done.

INTRODUCTION TO A CHECK-LIST OF THE MANUSCRIPTS

The list that follows this introduction has been drawn up in the circumstances outlined near the beginning of this article, and consequently
displays various deficiencies. It is intended to be exhaustive, but no
doubt has several omissions, most likely for Spain (and Portugal), Austria, parts of Germany and Switzerland. With regard to homiliaries
and lectionaries containing selections from the Tractatus I have been
unable to devise any perfectly adequate and precise principles of inclusion.
Most pre-tenth-century manuscripts have been included, but ignorance
and the unavailability of analyses have irnposed limitations on the fulfilment of this general principle. (The listing of ninth-century copies of
Paul Deacon's homiliary is doubtless incomplete, but this is no serious
loss). Nevertheless, homiliaries represent a fair proportion of the manuscripts prior to the tenth century, as a glance at pp. 58-60 above will show.
In addition, some later homiliaries have been included, in particular
those evidencing an unusually heavy indebtedness to the Tractatus (e.g.
Madrid 194 ; Naples VI. B. 2) or a direct use of patristic sources (e.g.
127. Op. cit., pp. rr7-rr8.
128. CCL 36, XI-XII.
129. Details of the extent of Willems' collations are given by
A ugustiniana 5 (1955), pp. 298-299.

VAN DEN

Hour, in

108

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Grenoble 32 and 33), or a distinctive type of collection (e.g. Vatican


4222; Vienna 1616). Moreover, occasional uncertainty whether extracts
and fragments derive from homiliaries or not has normally been resolved
by inclusion.
With regard to homiliaries, some further comments are in order.
H. Barr has distinguished between the ancient type of patristic homiliary,
such as those of Alan of Farfa, Paul Deacon and even Raban Maur's
earlier collection of seventy Homilies on the Principal Festivals 130 , which
reproduced textually the sermons of the Fatlwrs, the dicta authentica
catholicorum atque orthodoxorum Patrum, and the Carolingian type, which
dealt in homilies closely related to the text of the liturgical reading
of Scripture, more akin to exegetical commentary and indulging in the
reshaping and fusion of patristic material to produce centos or virtually
new texts1 31 . This involved greater recourse to commentaries than ordinary sermons, but works like Augustine's Tractatus on John qualified
under both heads. Since the latter type of homiliary engages in much
heavier manipulation of its sources, by way of abbreviation, insertions,
provision of continuity, etc., its emergence offered a convenient point
at which to draw the line for the purposes of drafting this list. Hence
we have included hardly any of the Carolingian or later more strictly
mediaeva1132 types, with the occasional exception such as the l\fondsee
homiliary in Vienna rnr4, which in turn was the principal and direct
source of a Bavarian homiliary of the second quarter of the ninth century
and influenced other Carolingian models like the collections of Smaragdus
and the later Raban Maur133 .
We have also omitted a group of Florentine homiliaries of the eleventh
and twelfth centuries in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana134 , from
which the readings varying from the Maurist text of the Tractatus were
conveniently assembled in the first half of the last century by A.B. Caillau
and B. Saint-Yves135 , and a similar corpus of eleventh century compilations
130. Homiliae de Festis Praecipuis, PL lio, 9-134, compiled at Ful<la in the years
814-26.
l3I. BARR, Les homliaires carolingiens de l'cole d'Auxerre (Studi
Testi, 225)
Vatican City, 1962, pp. 139-141; Un homliaire bnventain du XI sicle (Vatican
lat. 4222), in Mlanges Eugne Tisserant, vol. 6 (Studi e Testi, 236) Vatican City, 1964
p. 94; RA 13 (1967), p. 413.
132. The mediaeval type utilized post-patristic authors like Bede ; BARR, in
RA 13 (1967), p. 413.
133 BARR, L'homiliaire caroligien de Mondsee, in RB 7r (r96r), pp. 7r-ro7,
especially 78-90 ; Les homliaires carolingiens .. ., pp. 4-29 and passim; H. GRGOIRE,
Les homliaires du Moyen Age. Inventaire et analyse des manuscrits (Rerum Ecclesiasticaritm Documenta : Fontes, 6) Rome, 1966, pp. 9-r r.
134 GRGOIRE, op. cit., p. 9. To his list one could add codices Plut. 2r.10 and
30 sin.r.
135 PL 47, r200-122r. The occasional reference to Monte Cassino's manuscripts
is also included. The chief Monte Cassino homiliaries are codd. rrH, rzH, rooHH,
l02H, ro5GG, ro9GG, r loGG, u6GG, 305H.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.,,

ro9

at Monte Cassino. Also left out is another group of composite homiliaries


of the eleventh and succeeding centuries now in the Biblioteca Vallicelliana
at Rome136 . Homiliaries of all three groups make considerable use of the
Tractatus, but fairly adequate analyses of them are available in the familiar
catalogues.
Despite Barr's distinction between the' sermons ' of the early patristic
homiliaries and the ' homilies ' of the Carolingian and ' mediaeval '
collections, it should not be imagined that abbreviation etc., did not
have a place in the compilation of the former. I have sometimes been
uncertain whether or not an item from the Tractatits in a homiliary represents the full text or an abridgement. The more recent analyses mark
a great advance in this respect, but a more detailed breakdown of parts
of Paul Deacon's collection is probably called for if my suspicions are
correct. A microfilm examination of Manchester, Rylands IZ, a Luxeuil
homiliary of the ninth century deriving many items from Paul Deacon,
reveals that two with the same Incipit and Explicit as Paul Deacon,
pt. II, nos. IOZ and rn3, disclose considerable omissions not indicated
in Grgoire's analysis13 7.
This check-list also excludes manuscripts of the works of other writers
who draw upon or quote from the Tractatus, even though in the case
of, e.g., Eugippius, some very early manuscripts survive138, and likewise
of the collection of Augustine's sermons known as De Verbis Domini
et Apostoli, in which according to the recent list of contents drawn up by
Dom P. Verbraken139, Tr. 33 appears as item 47, and part of Tr. 71 as item
56.
In listing more than one library in the same city or town strict alphabetical order has been observed, and ::imilarly with the various collections in the major libraries, except that the basic fonds ' Vatican lat. '
appears first. Manuscripts which obviously belong together as companion
volumes have normally been listed together. Folio numbers are not
specified except where the manuscript contains other material, which for
this purpose does not include Augustine's text of the Gospel of John,
lists of capitula, prefaces, indexes, etc., associated with the Tractatus
themselves. For manuscripts, especially homiliaries, containing parts
of the Tractatus amid other writings, I have given the precise extent of
the Tractatus extract (e.g. ff. 6L;v) wherever the information could be
had. Sometimes I have had to be content with the folio number on
136. GRGOIRE, op. cit., p. II. Agan, other manuscrpts could equally be
mentioned.
137. Ibid., p. ro9. The detals are given below, n. 163.
138. Cf. LOWE, A List vf the Oldest Extant Manuscripts of Saint Augustine, in
Mise. A gost., vol. II, p. 246.
139. La Collection de Sermons de Saint Augustin De Verbis Domini et Apostoli ,
in RB 77 (1967), pp. 27-46, at p. 31 ; list of manuscrpts, pp. 42-46. 'hat Tr. 71
is not complete is indcated at PL~39, 2431.

IIO

DAVID F. WRIGHT

which the extract begins, and sometimes only with the number of the
item. The century is indicated in capital Roman figures : IX /x means
the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries, i.e., circa A.D. 900, and IX-X
means ninth or tenth century.
The contents of the manuscripts are given in Arabie numerals and,
solely in the list itself and nowhere else in this article, not even in the
footnotes to the list, in italics. Furthermore they are identified according to the numeration of the Tractatus in the printed editions but in
the order in which they appear in the manuscripts. The use of the separate numbering ' r-70' for Trr. 55-I24 is indicated by' (a) ' at the end
of the statement of contents. The preceding sections of this study show
how often the numbering in the manuscripts diverges from that of the
editions, but it seemed unnecessarily burdensome to spell out the details
in every instance. The divergences of significant groups of manuscripts
have in any case been dealt with abovel4o.
With regard to the sections of individual Tractatus, it has been considered necessary to indicate contents only by reference to the sections or
chapters in which a manusc ri pts or extract begins or ends. This means
that ' 8 : 3-4 ' does not specify the whole of chapters 3 and 4 of Tr. 8,
but merely that the item begins at some point in Tr. 8 : 3 and ends somewhere in Tr. 8 : +
In specifying provenances, immediate and ultimate, I have deliberately
given fairly explicit geographical indications, normally anglicized, which
expert mediaevalists and palaeographers may think superfluous. They
may however be appreciated by th ose who like the writer are neither mediaevalists nor palaeographers and are often frustrated by shorthand references to scriptoria, abbeys and the like which are beyond their ken.
The preparation of this list and the acC'ompanying discussions has
been rendered possible only by the admirable co-operation of a great
number of librairies and individuals in response to written enquiries.
Its improvement in terms of greater completeness and doser accuracywill
benefit from similar contributions by librarians, archivists and others
with direct access to the manuscripts, and especially by future cataloguers,
who, one would express the hope, will make it their concern to examine
manuscripts of the Tractatus with eyes open for the distinguishing features
documented above.

140. It has occasionally been a problem to know how far to trust catalogue entries
which may be mere transcriptions of the manuscript's numbers but alternatively
may identify contents according to the numeration of the editions. If a catalogue
states that a manuscript contains ' l-122 ', experience has taught that it is most
probably a complete copy of Trr. 1-124 with some misnumbering or omission
somewhere along the way.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. !OH."

III

A CHECK-LIST OF THE MANUSCRIPTS


ABERDEEN, King's Coll. 219; St. Paul's Cath., London; XII ex.; 1-124
ADMONT, Stijtsbibl. 165 and 166 ; Austria (? Admont Abbey) ; xrr 2 ;
165, ff. lr-1S8v, 1-18, 20, 19, 21-45; 166, ff. lr-rrrv, 46-124
AMIENS, Bibl. Munie. 569 ; Selincourt Abbey, dioc. Amiens ; XII ;
ff. lr-rozv, 55-124
ANGERS, Bibl. de la Ville 175 (167) ; Abbey of St. Sergius, Angers ; IX ;
2: 13-18, 20, 19, 23-54: 8
176 (168) ; Abbey of St. Aubin, Angers; XI ;
1-18, 20, 19, 23-54
177 (169) ; All Saints' Abbey, Angers; XII ; 118, 20, 19, 23-54
ARRAS, Bibl. Munie. 45 (35) ; Abbey of St. Vaast, Arras; xv; 1-124
(mutil., lacks many folios)
849 (539) ; Abbey of St. Vaast, Arras; XI in. ;
1-54 (lacks ff. 86, 94, 100, 113)
AVRANCHES, Bibl. Munie. ro9 ; Reims ; IX med. (ff. 77-end) ; f. 179r,
10: 12-13
BAMBERG, Staatl. Bibl. Mise. Bibl. rr8 (B. II. rr) ; Bamberg Cath. ;
XI ; 1-82 (a) 141
Mise. Bibl. rr9 (B. III. l) ; Bamberg Cath. ; xn ;
55-124 (a)
BARCELONA, Archiva de la Corona de Aragn S. Cugat 21 ; Abbey of
San Cugat del Valls, near Barcelona; XII; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. Szv_
87r), 18-124 (a)
BASEL, Offentl. Bibl. der Univ. B. I,II. 3 ; ? N. Switzerland (then Chartreuse of Val Ste. Marguerite, Basel); IX; ff. 3r-155v, 1-19,
23-24; ff. 158r-2S9v, 55-124 (a) ; many lacunae 14 2
BERLIN, Deutsche Staatsbibl. Ham. 55 ; Cteaux Abbey ; XII ; 1-19,
23 : 1-2 [20-23 : 2] 23 : 2-1241 43
141. F. LEI'l'SCHFH and H. FISCHER, Katalog der Handschriften der Koniglichen
Bibliothek zu Bamberg, vol. l (I) (Bamberg, 1895-1906), pp. lOO-IOI. See nn. 68
above and 200 below.
142. Pully described by MEYER and BFRCKHARD'l', op. cit. (n. 68 above), pp. 206210, who give details of the lacunae and their completion by later hands, as well as
evidence of the liturgical use of both sections of the manuscript, which were originally two separate codices. For Morin's questionable linking with the exemplars
attested for Reichenau and St. Gal]en see p. 77 above. He got his Serm. Morin 12
(ff. 1r_3r) and 13 (ff. 155v-157v) from this manuscript.
143. On the subsequent insertion of Trr. 20-22 into this manuscript which originally lacked them see n. 125 above. Thirteen sheets, ff. 84-96, have been intruded,
in effect between Trr. 19 and 23, but because they in fact interrupt Tr. 23 : 2 the
beginning of Tr. 23 was recopied. Cf. Berlin Phillipps 1662 and Preuss. Kutturbes. 22.

II2

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Phillipps r662 ; Fulda Abbey (then St. Vincent's


Abbey, Metz, and College of Clermont, Paris) ; VIII ex. ; 1-19,
23: 1-2 [20 ; x] 23: 2-351 44
Phillipps r663 ; College of Clermont, Paris ; x ;
1-124
Phillipps r676 ; St. Zeno's Cath., Verona (then
St. Vincent's Abbey, Metz, and College of Clermont, Paris) ;
A.D. 796-9 ; item 96, 51 : 1-8 ; 98, compilation /rom 55-56, 58-59,
61-63; ro3, compilation /rom 120 : 1-5; rr9, 121 : 5, 122 : 1 ; r85,
cento includ. 92 : 1-2, 93 : 2-4, 96 : 1, 4 (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, ' Egino's Codex ')145
theol. lat. fol. 342 and 343 ; Liesborn Abbey,
dioc. Mnster ; xn 2 ; 342, 1-18, 20, 19, 23-33 ; 343, 34-124 (a)
theol. lat. fol. 346; (? Corbie Abbey or N.-W.
Germany, then) Werden Abbey, dioc. Cologne; VIII/IX; 1-54146

144 For Fulda as the provenance of this codex see pp. 78-79 above, and for the
insertion of Tr. 20 on ff. 160-167 by a tenth-century hand see n. 125 above. The
implication is that the corrector was working either from a manuscript that ended
with Tr. 20 or from one which lacked Trr. 21-22. For complete corrections of the
absence of Trr. 20-22, cf. Berlin Ham. 55 and Preuss. Kulturbes. 22. B. BISCHOFF in
his study Pa;iorama der HandschriftenbPrlieferung aus d,01 Zeit Karls des Grossen,
inKa rl der Grosse: Lebens1Rerk und Nachleben, edd. W. RRAUNFEI,S et al., vol. 2 :
Das Geistige Leben, ed. Bischoff (Dsseldorf, 1965), p. 248 n. 114, relates this manuscript to the Hersfeld school rather than to Fulda itself, and links it with another copy
of the Tractatus, the codex of which fragments survive in Gittingen Mller III and
Hersfeld C. 165. On the Berlin codex see also W. KOEHI,ER, Die Karolingischen
Miniaturen, vol. 3 (Berlin, 1960), pp. 99, 109.
145 Described, but without details of foliation, by V. RosE, Die HandschriftenVerzeichnisse der K oniglichen Bibliothek zu Borlin, vol. 12, pt. 2 : Die Lateinischen
Merrman-Handschriften drs Sir Thomas Phillipps (Berlin, 1892), pp. 81-95. Written
under Bishop Egino of Verona, it is almost entirely based on Alan of Farfa's Roman
collection of some three or four decades earlier ; cf. the comparative tables in
GRGOIRE, op. cit., pp. 231-236. (A. CHAVASSE, Le Scrmonaire des Snts-Philippeet-jacques et Le Sermonaire de Saint-Pierre, in Eph. Lit. 69 (1955), pp. 17-24, thinks
both collections have used independently of each other the ancient homiliary of
St. Peter's, Rome). Hence the impreciseness of Rose's analysis can be overcome by
using Grgoire's analysis of Alan's collection. Items 96, 98, 103, II9 and 185 are
Alan, pt. I, nos. 86, 88, 93, and pt. II, nos. 15 and 82. For precise details of the
content of item 98 see Grgoire, pp. 43-45; item 103, pp. 46-47; item 185, pp. 64-65.
Grgoire's study does not entirely supersede that of E. HoSP, Il Sermonario di Alana
di Far/a, in Eph. Lit. 50 (1936), pp. 375-383 and 51 (1937), pp. 210-241, summarily
reproduced by J. LECI,ERQ, Tables pour l'inventaire des homiliaires manuscrits, in
Scriptorium 2 (1946), pp. 197-205. Alan's collection enjoyed a great vogue in
Bavaria, and Hosp's analysis was based solely on manuscripts preserved at Munich ;
see codices 4547, 4564, 14368, 17194 and 18092 in this list. For a detailed breakdown
of the contents of items drawn from the Tractatus reference should be made to
Grgoire, who sometimes refers back to Hosp.
146. On the back cover is pasted a fragment of another rx-x century manuscript
containing the end of Tr. 104 and the beginning of Tr. 105 numbered as' Sermo 51 '.
Cf. RosE, op. cit., vol. 13 (Verzeichniss der lateinischer Handschriften), pt. r (1901),
p. 80.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

113

theol. lat. fol. 675 ; Abbey of St. Hubert, in the


Ardennes; XII ex.; 1-17, S. I25 (ff. 72r-76v), 20-124 : 3 (a)
Preuss. Kulturbesitz 22 (Phillipps 57I) ; Cologne
(? Chartreuse of St. Barbara) ; xv2 ; ff. Ir-386r, 1-19, 23, 20-22,
24-124 (a)
BERNE, Burgerbibl. I03 ; l\fontiramey Abbey, near Troyes ; IX-X ;
ff. sr-I62v, 1-19, 23-52 : 8
BERNKASTEL-KUES, St. Nikolaus Hospital (Cusanusstift) 32 ; Italy
(Florentine); xv; 1-17, S. I25 (ff. 77v-82r), 18-124
BLOOMINGTON, Univ. of Indiana, Lilly Lib. Ricketts I6o; S.-E. Italy
(or Dalmatia ?) (Beneventan, Bari-type) ; xI/xn; 19 : 8-12
BORDEAUX, Bibl. Munie. II ; St. Mary's Abbey, La Sauve Majeure, near
Bordeaux; xrr in. ; ff. 2I3v-2I5v, extraets jrom 1 : 1-? (' brief,
not in order ')
BOULOGNE, Bibl. Munie. 56; Abbey of St. Bertin, St. Omer; xr; 55124 (a)l47
BRESCIA, Bibl. Civica Queriniana A. II. II ; Abbey of Sts. Faustinus and
Jovita, Brescia; XII-XIII; 1-19, 23-110: 3(a)147bis
BRNO, Univ. Knih. A. g (IV.Z.a.6) ; Augustinian Hermits, Brno; A.D.
I47I ; ff. 2r-IIov, 1-17, S. 125, 20-124
BRUGES, Grootseminarie 20 /I92 ; (? l\fonastery of St. Donatian, Bruges) ;
XII ; 1-124
BRUSSELS, Bibl. Royale 48 (rn58) ; Corsendonck Priory, prov. Antwerp;
XV ; ff. Ir-IgJY, 1 : 7-124
903-4 (rn57) ; Corsendonck Priory ; XIV ; ff. 3rI26 v, 1-48 ; ff. I29r-149 v, 49-65 ; ff. I50r-I54r, 74-79 ; ff. I54 v_
I62r, 95-100; ff. I62 v-Igor, 104-124 ; ff. Igor-2rnv, 66-73, 8094, 101-103
I83I-3 (932), f. I4Irv; X; 29 : 4-7
47I2 (rn56) ; St. Mary's Abbey, Villers-la-Ville,
near Namur ; XIII ; 44-124
5565 (rn53) ; St. Peter's Abbey, Gembloux ; XI ;
1-124 (the Louvain editors' Gemblacensis)
938I-2 (rn54) ; St. Laurence's Abbey, Lige ;
XII ; 1-124
II. III6 (rn55) ; St. l\fary's Abbey, Aulnoye, near
Cambrai; XIII; vol. I (Phillipps 4697), 1-38; vol. II (Phillipps
4724), ff. Ir-I6Iv, 39-124
147 Written soon after the death of Abbot Odbert of St. Bertin in 1007.

Cf.

E. LESNE, Les Livres, Scriptoria et Bibliothques du commencement du VIII la


fin du XI Sicle (Histoe de la Proprit Ecclsiastique en France, 4 [Mmoires et
Travaux des Facults Catholiques de Lille, 46], Lille, 1938), pp. 239-240.
147 bis. In the first part of this manuscript Trr. r-19, 23-54 are divided into
smaller unnumbered homilies, somewhat as in Vich 27 and Cambrai 558.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

CAMBRAI. Bibl. Munie. 363 (344) ; Cambrai Cath. ; xrn ; ff. 205r-399 v,
1-124
529 (488) Abbey of Roly Sepulchre, Cambrai ;
XII-XIII; 1-124
558 (516) Cambrai Cath. ; XII ; ff. lr-74 v, 55124148
CAMBRIDGE, Corpus Christi Coll. 17; XII; ff. lr-241r, 1-124
344 ; XIII /XIV; ff. 85r-246v, 1-124
St. John's Coll. 9; Welbeck Abbey, Notts.; XII; 1-124
46; RexhamPriory, Northumberland; XII; 43-124 (a)
216 ; Chicksands Priory, Bedfordhsire; XII; 1-124
Trinity Coll. rr6 ; Christ Church Cath. Priory, Canterbury ;
XII in. ; 1-124
Fragm. ; xn ex.; 40: 11-41 : 3, 120: 2-121 : 31 4 9
Univ. Lib. Ii. 3. 28; XII; 1-111 : 5, 113: 3-124
Kk. 4. 5.; Cath. Priory of Roly Trinity, Norwich;
XIV; ff. rr-r44r, 1-124
Pembroke Coll. 136 ; XV ; ff. 16 v-ro3 v, 1 : 76 : 15, 25 : 6-124 : 5
Pembroke Coll. 209 ; xv; 1-124 : 7
Peterhouse r54; XV; ff. 3ov-254v, 1-124
CARLSRUHE, Badische Landesbibl. Aug. XV ; Reichenau Abbey ; IX ;
f. 33rv, 121 : 4-5 ; ff. 74r-76v, compilation /rom 67-71 ; ff. 79v82r, 105-107 : 4 (Paul Deacon's Romiliary, pt. II)
Aug. XIX; Reichenau Abbey; IX; ff. 3v-5r,
51 : 9-13; ff. 64r-67r, 80-82; ff. 7ov-73v, 83 : 2-86; ff. 74r-77v,
87-91 : 4 (Paul Deacon's Romiliary, pt. II)
Aug. XXIX ; Reichenau Abbey ; IX ; ff. 6r-8r,
24 (Paul Deacon's Romiliary, pt. I)
Aug. XLVII; Reichenau Abbey; IX in. ; 1-12415o
Aug. LXXVI ; Reichenau Abbey ; IX in. ; 1-21
(and introductory rubric to 22) (cf. St. Gallen r68)

148. See preceding note.


149. Not mentioned in M.R. James's catalogue, but listed by H. ScHENKL, Bibliotheca Patrum Latinorum Britannica II, II (Vienna, 1897), p. 70, and confirmed from
a xerox copy supplied by the Librarian, l\Ir. Philip Gaskell.
150. For the variation in the titles used in this manuscript see p. 67 above, where
evidence is given indicative of an affinity to Chartres 6. In the Carlsruhe codex
(f. 82v) the numbers at the end of Tr. 18 and beginning of Tr. 19 were originally one
less in each case and have been corrected. The same seems to have happened in
Chartres 6, f. 78r. Heidelberg 10, 12 probably belongs with these two manuscripts.
It has the same introductory ru bric to Trr. 55-124 as Carlsruhe, Item de eodem libro
sermones, and like Carlsruhe begins Tr. 55 with Pascha, fratres... This latter feature
(see n. 68 above) and the numeration ' 1-124' (see p. 75 above) suggest that in
Carlsruhe and Chartres we have early exemplars of a secondary, normalized state of
the tradition.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

II5

Aug. Fragm. 98 ; Reichenau Abbey; IX; 17 : 7-15


Fragm. Ettenheimmnster 462
Engelberg,
Stiftsbibl. 59 ; Italy (then Abbey of Ettenheimmnster, dioc.
Strasbourg) ; vr /vn ; fragments : Carlsruhe, 75 : 5-76 : 2, 79 :
2-80: 2; Engelberg, 77: 5-78: 2, 111: 4-112: 1 (a)151
Karls. 1438 ; Abbey of Gottesau, near Carlsruhe ;
IX in., ; ff. lrv, 3r-4 v, 51 : 10-13 (Paul Deacon's Homiliary, pt.
II)
CBSENA, Bibl. Malatestiana D. III. 3 ; Franciscan Couvent, Cesena ;
XV; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 79r-83r), 18, 20-21, 19, 22-124
CHLON-SUR-SANE, Bibl. Munie. 2 (2) ; Abbey of La Fert-sur-Grosne,
near Chlon-s.-S. ; xn ex. ; 1-124 : 6
CHAN'l'ILLY, Muse Cond 121 (607) ; St. Mary's Abbey, Himmerod,
near Trves; A.D. n54; ff. lr-202v, 1-124
CHARLEVILLE, Bibl. Munie. 246B ; St. Mary's Abbey, Belleval, dioc.
Reims; A.D. u56-7; vol. I, 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 79r-83r), 18-43;
vol. II, 44-124
CHAR'l'RBS, Bibl. Munie. 6 (17) ; Chartres Cath. ; IX; 1-124 (damaged by
war aetion) 152
COLMAR, Bibl. de la Ville 298 (23) ; (? Collegiate Church of St. Martin,
Colmar) ; A.D. 1474; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124 (a)153

I5I. The oldest exemplar of any part of the Tractatus (not early eighth century,
as A. BRUCKNER, Scriptoria Medii Avi Helvetica, vol. 8 (Geneva, I950), p. 15). The
manuscript was eut up for book-binding in the late fifteenth century, probably at
Ettenheimmnster. There survive the remains of 4 ff., 2 in each place. Concerning
the Engelberg fragments, which were later at Offenburg in the same Strasbourg
region, I have been unable to secure more detailed information than the catalogues
provide. I am indebted to Dr. Kurt Hannemann for a xerox copy of the fragments
of the Carlsruhe folios, whose precise contents were originally as follows : f. Ir,
Tr. 75: 5 line I8 (diligimus) to 76: 2 line 3 (mansionem) ; f. Iv, 76: 2 lines 3 (apud)
to 27 (tempus) ; f. 2r (right half only), 79 : 2 lines I6 (remptori) to 4I (nullum) ;
f. 2v (left half only), 79 : 2 line 4I fhabebat) to 80 : 2 line 3 (jructum toll). The
Tractatus bear no title; we merely have FINIT XXI INC XXII, and EXP XXV.
The following variants from the CCL text are discernible with greater or lesser
degrees of clarity : f. Ir, the first word of 76 : I cannot easily be Interrogantibus, but
what it is instead is indeciph~rable ; line 6, [Iscari]othis ; line 8, [? fact]urus (CCL,
factum) ; 76: 2 line 2, meus meus : f. Iv, 76: 2 line 5, suis se ; line 6, ipsa causa est ;
line 9, diliguntur (diligunt'); line II, sonant; line 12, [habu]erunt ; lines 20-21,
perse [? ?] (per os eius) ; line 22, om. de 2 ; lines 22-23, delectionem, mansionem;
line 25, esse potuit; line 26, illam (illa) : f. 2r, 79 : 2 line 19, sanguines ; line 21,
restores ; line 23, intellegerent; line 28, ergo (enim) ; line 31, idem dicit: f. 2v, 80 : r
lines ro-rr, [pro]pietatem; line 13, propietates; line 14, om. utique ; line 15, est;
80 : 2 lines 2-3, probably dittography of omnem palmitem ... tollet eum after et (line 3).
152. See n. 150 above.
I53 Not identified as the Tractatus in Iohannem either by Catalogue gnral des
manuscripts des Bibliothques publiques de France, vol. 56 (Paris, 1969), p. 10, despite
a full description, or by C. SAMARAN and R. MARICHAL, edd., Catalogue des manuscrits en criture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste, vol. 5

II6

DAVID F. WRIGHT

COLOGNE, Erzbisehoj. Diozesan-Bibl. 69; Darmstadt; IX; 55-124 (a)


CoPENHAGEN, Kongel. Bibl. Gl. kgl. S. 33 fol. ; St. Mary's Abbey, Bordesholm, near Kiel; A.D. 1487 ; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124
DARMSTADT, Hess. Landes- u. Hoehsehulbibl. 797; Chartreuse of St.
Barbara, Cologne; XIV /xv; ff. 5or-8or, extraets from 1 : 1-123 : 3
DIJON, Bibl. Munie. 167 (134) ; Cteaux Abbey ; ff. 19or-194 v, xm,
92-94
DONAUESCHINGEN, Frstl. Frstenberg. Ho/bibl. Fragm. B. III. 20 ; x;
24: 3-6
DOUAI, Bibl. Munie. 254; Abbey of Anchin, near Douai; xn; 1-54
255 ; Abbey of Sts. Rictrudes and Peter, Marchiennes, near Douai; x/xr; 1-55
271 ; Abbey of Sts. Rictrudes and Peter, Marchiennes ; xn ; ff. rv-78v, 55-124 (a)
DSSELDORF, Landes- u. Stadtbibl. B. 80; Roly Trinity Abbey, Essen;
IX-X; ff. 23r-24 v, 121 : 4-5, 5-end
DURHAM, Cath. Lib. B. II. 16 ; Durham Cath. ; XI ex. ; 1-124
B. II. 17 ; Durham Cath. ; XI ; 1-124
Univ. Lib. Cosin V. II. 3 ; xv1 ; ff. lr-3oov, 3 : 3-124
ENGELBERG, Stiftsbibl. 15 ; Engelberg Abbey; XII; 1-124153 a
PINAL, Bibl. Munie. 13 ; Abbey of Moyenmoutier, Vosges; x; 1-30
ERFURT, Wissenseh. Allgemeinbibl. Amplon. Octav. 20 ; ? Italy (then
Collegium Amplonianum, Erfurt Univ.) ; ff. 13or-132v, xrv1 ,
extraets /rom 18-20, 5, 14
Amplon. Quart. 170 ; ? Italy (? France) (then
Collegium Amplonianum) ; XIV1 ; ff. 145r-16ov, extraets /rom
1-9, 11-18, 20, 19, 23-45: 8
ETON, Coll. Lib. 101 ; Eton Coll. ; vol. I (ff. lr-181r), xv, 1-124
FLORENCE, Bibl. Medieea Laurenziana Plut. 12, I I ; xv; 1-17, S. 125
(ff. ro7r-rr3r), 18-124 (a)
Plut. 14 dext. 5 ; Roly Cross Couvent, Florence ;
x;2: 4-17,S. 125(ff.79r-84v),20-49: 8,69: 1-78: 1,49: 8-69: l(a)
Plut. 16 dext. 4 ; Roly Cross Couvent, Florence ;
XI; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 64v-6Sr), 18-124: 7 (a)
Plut. 16 dext. 5 ; Holy Cross Couvent, Florence ;

(Paris, 1965), p. 573, where it is regarded as uncertain whether the date is that of the
archetype or of this copy.
153 A. Written during the abbacy of Frowin, c. rr42 /3-u78. This is one of the
very few manuscripts (two others being Valencia, Bibl. Univ. 31 and 39) of which I
have no information beyond that furnished in the printed catalogues. Irregularities
cannot be ruled out.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

II7

XI; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 65v-69r), 18-124 (a)l53b


Aedil. 8; Florence; xr; ff. lL123v, 1-17, S. 125
(ff. 32v-34r), 18-124
Conv. Soppr. 557 ; Vallombrosa ; xm ; 1-17, S. 125
(ff. 7or-73v), 18-124
Fesul. 7 ; Lateran Canons, Fiesole, near Florence ;
XV; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 46v-49r), 18-124 (a)
Mugell. 5 ; Franciscans (Observants) of Bosco,
region of Mugello, N.-E. of Florence; xn; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 56r59r), 18-124 (a) 153c
S. Marco 619 ; St. Mark's Couvent, Florence ;
x; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 5rv-54r), 18-124 (a)
S. Marco 644 ; St. Mark's Couvent, Florence ;
IX; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 55r-58v), 18-124 (a)
FULDA, Hess. Landesbibl. A.a.3 ; Constance Cath. (then Abbey of Weingarten, dioc. Constance) ; IX-X; 22-54
GHENT, Rijksuniversiteit, Centr. Bibl. 167 ; Abbey of St. Maximin, near
Trves; xn ; 1-19, 23-124
GIESSEN, Universitatsbibl. 677 ; St. l\1ark's Abbey, Butzbach, S. of
Giessen ; xv 2 ; 37-124
678 ; St. Mark's Abbey, Butzbach ; xv2 ; ff. 2rl4or, 1-37: 3
GoTTINGEN, Niedersachs. Staats- u. Universitatsbibl., Deutsches Seminar
Mller III, ff. lr-zv
Hersfeld, Stadt. Museum C. 165 (z ff. in
binding) ; Germany153 d ; VIII /rx ; Gottingen, f. lrv, 102 : 5103 : 1 ; f. zrv, 105 : 5-7 (a) ; Hersfeld, ?
GOTHA, Forschungsbibl. l\Iembr. I. 40 ; Augustinian Canons of Neuwerk,
near Halle; XI-XII; f. l39v, 34: 10-end
l\Iembr. I. 57 ; St. lVIartin's Cath., Mainz ; x-xr ;
ff. z3Lz6zv, 1-124

r53 B. On this manuscript see E.B. GARRISON, Studies in the History of Medieval
Italian Painting, vol. 2 (Florence, r955-6), pp. 56-60, 69, where on the strength of
its Florentine illumination it is dated qui te precisely 'very early in the third quarter
of the twelfth century '. (In vol. I (r953-4), p. 60 and Index Garrison refers to this
codex as Plut. r6 dext. 4 [sic] containing Augustine's Commenla;y on Luke (!).
It is correctly listed on pp. r38, 152, but in vol. 3 (r957-8), pp. 158, 187, 198-r99 and
Index it appears still as the Commentary on Luke, though rightly as Plut. r6 dext. 5.)
r53 c. See GARRISON, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 27, 160-r64, 176, where it is confidently
assigned to a date early in the second quarter of the twelfth century. The scribe
identifies himself in the colophon as 'Aretinus ', i.e., from Arezzo, which confirms
the strong evidence of the illumination in favour of an origin in the Florentine region.
An additional note at the end asserts that it was given to the Franciscans of Bosco,
by the Medici brothers, Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo, in 1438, suggesting to
Garrison that it may have come from Castelfiorentino, to the south-west of Florence,
where three other volumes donated by the Medici in the same year had previously
lain.
r53 D. For its Hersfeld origin according to Bischoff see n. 144.

II8

DA V ID F. WRIGHT

Membr. I. 68; xv in. ; f. 84r, 124 : 5- ?


GRAZ, Universitatsbibl. 397 ; Augustinian Canons of Seckau, N.-W. of
Graz; xn; vol. I, 1-18, 20, 19, 21-45; vol. II, 46-78
4n and 438 ; St. Lambrecht Abbey, W. of Graz ;
xu/xm; 438, 1-18, 20, 19, 21-45; 4II, ff. Ir-Io7r, 46-124
GRENOBLE, Bibl. de la Ville 32 (IOr) ; La Grande Chartreuse ; xu1 ;
ff. r9v-25r, 9 ; ff. 42v-44 v, 24; ff. 86r-88v, 101 ; ff. 88v-89v,
94: 3-6; ff. 89v-9rv, 102: 1-end; ff. roov-I02r, 92; ff. nov-rr2v,
12 : 11-end; ff. n2v-rr8r, 45; ff. n8r-r22v, 26 : 2-13; ff. r29vI3rr, 11 : 3-7 (Homiliary, pt. I : Temporale)154
33 (I02) ; La Grande Chartreuse ; xn1 (ff. r-203),
xm-xrv (ff. 204-245); ff. nr-I3r, 1 : 8-13; ff. 2rr-26v, 124 :
5-end, 1-5; ff. 6or-63r, 4 : 10-end; ff. ro2v-I04v, 70; f. ro5r,
71 : 1-2 ; ff. IOS v-I06 v, 67 ; ff. rr7r-rr9 v, 80-81 ; ff. I22 v-r24r,
51 : 9-end; ff. r44r-r45r, 87; ff. r72r-r74r, 83 : 2-84; ff. r98v2orv, 85-86; ff. 24rv-242r, 119 : 1-3; ff. 2r5r-2r6r, 80 : 1-2;
f. 238rv, 27: 1-6; f. 205rv, 12: 11 ; ff. 205v-206 (bis)r, 40 : 2-4;
ff. 207v-2nr, 52 : 6-13 (Homiliary, pt. II : Sanctorale) 155
's-HEERENBERG, Huis Bergh Inv. r95 ; Augustinian Canons of Flne,
dioc. Lige; A.D. rr25 ; fragments of 124 : 6-8155 a
HEIDELBERG, Universitiitsbibl. Salem IO, r2 ; St. Mary's Abbey, Salem,
dioc. Constance; xu; ff. 2r-r4ov, 39-124156
HEILIGENKREUz, Stiftsbibl. IO ; Abbey of Heiligenkreuz ; xn1 ; 1-17,
S. I25 (ff. 54 v-57v),, 20-124
HEREFORD, Cath. Lib. P. 9. 5; St. Kenelm's Abbey, Winchcombe, Glos. ;
xu in. ; ff. rr-r99r, 1-124
INNSBRUCK, Univ.-Bibl. I08 ; Abbey of St. John Baptist, Stams, W. of
Innsbruck ; A.D. r347 ; 1-124 (a)
KLOSTERNEUBURG, Stiftsbibl. 26 ; St. Mary's Abbey, Nienburg, near
Magdeburg; XII; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 73v-77v), 20-124
27 ; St. lVIary's Abbey, Nienburg; xv; 1-17,
S. r25 (ff. 5zr-55v), 20-124
154 Cf. R. 'I'AIX, L'homiliaire cartusien, in Sacris Erudiri 13 (1962), pp. 67-112,
especially pp. ro4-112, where taix stresses the singularity of this ' pure ' type of
lectionary, composed at La Grande Chartreuse soon after the formation of the Order
for its new Jiturgy and compiled directly from the writings of the great Fathers,
rejecting later authors.
155 See preceding note. The date of ff. 204-245 is given as xrr-xv by SAMARAN
and MARICHAI,, op. cit., vol. 6, p. 469.
155 A. G.I. LIEF'I'INCK, M anusnits dats conservs dans les Pays-Bas, vol. r
(Texte), Amsterdam, 1964, p. 24.
156. BrscHOFF, Kreuz und Buch im Frhmittelalter und in den ersten ] ahrhunderten der spanisc.hen Reconquista, in his Mittelaltediche Studien, vol. 2 (Stuttgart, 1967),
p. 284, dates this codex in the twelfth century (but mistakenly identifies it as the
Sermones de Verbis Domini). So too LOWE in CLA VIII, n. 1119. See also
n. 150 above.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

n9

LAON, Bibl. Munie. 3r7 ; Vauclair Abbey, near Laon; XII; 1-38
LEIPZIG, Karl-}Vlarx-Univ. Bibl. lat. 250 ; Dominican Couvent, Leipzig ;
XIII; 1-124
LE MANS, Bibl. Munie. 260; St. Peter's Abbey, La Couture, Le Mans;
IX; 54 : 7-end, 55 : 2-124 (a) (the Maurists' codex Abbatiae de
Cultura)
LRIDA, Catedral Bibl. Roda r ; St. Peter's Abbey, Roda, near Vich,
Barcelona; xII 2 ; ff. rr-r5rv, 1-19, 23-122 : 71 57
LIGE, Universit, Bibl. Gnr. n7 C (nz) ; Friars of Roly Cross, Lige ;
XV; 1-124
r25 C (n3) ; xv; 1-124
LIL!ENFELD, Stijtsbibl. 164; Lilienfeld Abbey; XIV; ff. rr-79r, 1-39
LINCOLN, Cath. Lib. 9; St. Mary's Cath., Lincoln; XII; 1-84, 113-124
r86 ; XIV /xv; ff. 1r-2r6v, 1-124
LISBON, Bibl. Nac. Alcob. 402 (XXIV) ; Abbey of Alcobaa, N. of Lisbon ; XIII ; 1 : 3-124
LONDON, Brit. Mus. Addit. ro936; St. Mary's Abbey, Huysburg, near
Halberstadt; XII; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124
Addit. ro937 ; La Grande Chartreuse (then Salvatorberg Chartreuse, Erfurt) ; xn ; 1-1241 58
Addit. r5408 ; XV; 1-124
Addit. r7289 ; St. Mary's Abbey, Le Parc, near
Louvain ; xm ; 1-43 (the Louvain editors' Parcensis)
Addit. r83r3 ; ? Abbey of Prato, near Florence
(then Dominican Convent, Vienna) ; A.D. r466; ff. rr-2oov,
1-17, S. r25 (ff. 54 v-58r), 20-124159
Burn. 29r ; St. Mary's Abbey, Poppiena, near
Florence; XII ; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 66r-7or), 20-124 (a)
Harl. r9r6 ; Glastonbury Abbey ; XII ex. ; ff.
rr-r8or, 1 : 8-124 (a)
Harl. 3n4 ; Abbey of Sts. Mary and Nicolas,
Arnstein, near Koblenz ; XIII ; ff. rLr34 v, 34-124
Harl. 3r7r ; A.D. r477; 1-124 (a)
Royal 3. C. X; Cath. Priory of St. Andrew, Rochester ; XII in. ; 1-124
Royal 5.B.XIII; Cath. Priory of St. Andrew,
Rochester ; XII ; ff. 1r-48r, extracts, beginning at 1 : 8
Royal 6. A. XIII; XII; ff. 168r-172v, 1

157 For information concerning t.his manuscript I am indebted to Fr. Josep


of Valencia.
158. For identification of provenance cf. LEHMANN, op. cit. (nn. 70, 83, above)
vol. 2, pp. 223, 238, 449, 536.
159 vVritten by one ' Thomas Herraunt ' of ' Praitensee '.

J anini

I20

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Lambeth Palace 44; Lanthony Priory, Glos. ; xrr ex. ; 1-124


William H. Robinson Trustees (via Sotheby & Co.) Phillipps
rn95; x in., 1-43 beg. (ff. lr-15zv) ; x/xr, 43-54; xr, 55-124 (a)
LuccA, Bibl. Capit. Feliniana 21 ; St. l\fartin's Cath., Lucca; rx1 ;
1-124 (lacunae) 1 6
MADRID, Bibl. Nac. 193; Royal Library, l\Iadrid; x; 1-17, S. 125 (ff.
77r-Szr), 18-1241 61
194 ; l\Ionte Cassino ; x ; f. l4r, 120 : 6-9 ; f. l6v,
122; f. z7v, 121 : 1-4; f. 34 v, 121 : 4-5; f. 3JY, 46; f. 39v, 47;
f. 44r, 54; f. 47v, 80; f. 4Sv, 81 ; f. 49v, 94; f. 5rv, 102; f. 53r,
103; f. 54r, 104; f. 6zv, 92; f. 63v, 93; f. 66r, 32; f. 77v, 11;
f. rr7r, 123 : 4 ; f. 123 v, 66 ; f. l6rv, 51 : 9-13 (Homiliary, pt.
II)162

160. This manuscript has been very briefly described by L. SCHIAPARELLI,


Il codice 490 della Biblioteca Capitolare di Lucca e la Scuola Scrittoria Lucckese,
(sec. VIII-IX) (Studi e Testi, 36) Vatican City, 1924, pp. 104-105, and BERJ.,EITNER,
op. cil., vol. I/2, p. 122. Preliminary examination of a microfilm copy suggests the
work of careless scribes, or a poor original. The Tractatus are nnmbered correctly
as far as the beginning of Tr. 27 and severally entitled omcli~. though this designation appears only irregularly. The numbers between Trr. I 3 and I 7 have undergone
erroneons correction by the deduction of one in each case. From the end of Tr. 27
no numbers or titles are found, except at the commencement of the second part
(Incipiunt Sermones ... a Cwa Domini) and between Trr. 67 and 68, where finit
sermo XIII incipit XII II is perhaps secondary. Severa! folios have been lost, one
in each case between ff. 32 /33 (lacuna of Tr. IO : 9-11 : 1), 38 /39 (13 : 2-6), 47 /48
(15 : 25-end), 51 /52 (17 : 14-18 : 2), 88 /89 (34 : 7-35 : 3), go /91 (36 : 4-8), 96 /98
(39: 6-40: 4), 149/150 (86: 2-88: 2), 153/154 (94: 1-95: 2), 176/177 (118: 4-119: 4),
178/179 (121: 5-122: 6), 180/181 (123: 5-124: 2). In addition, on f. 79v the text
omits Tr. 28: 5-9. Inside the back cover is pasted the top half or so of a leaf of another
copy of the Tractatus, written in a large clearlateCarolingianminuscule, probablyof
the first half of the twelfth century, containing in the first column Tr. 102 : 4 lines 24
(palam) to 35 (Deo}, and in the second 102: 5 lines 2 (an potiits) to 14 (colimus).
Each column now contains 19 lines. The leaf has been turncd to the right through
ninety degrees before pasting. A stray folio bound in as f. 97 appears to be of an
early date. but its script is so faint as to be all but totally illegible on microfilm.
Oberleitner gives Bischoff's name as his authority for the date of Lucca 21,
presumably alluding to BrSCHOFF's study Scriptoria e Manoscritti Mediatori di
Civilt dal Sesto Secolo alla Ri/arma di Carlo Magno, in Centri e Vir di I rradia::ione
della Civilt nell' Alto M edioevo (Sctlimane di Studio del Centra Italiano di Studi sull'
Alto Medioevo, I I ; Spoleto, 1964), at p. 485, where he mentions this manuscript as
one of several written shortly after the famous MS. 490 (produced c. 800) and
betraying a persisting Visigothic influence.
161. According to Inventario General de Manuscritos de la Biblioteca Nacional,
vol. l (Madrid, 1953), p. 144, ff. lr-3r contain fragments of the Tractatus in a twelfthcentury hand.
11"2. C. LAMBOT, Sept sermons indits de S. Augustin dans un komliaire du JJ1ontCassin, in RB 48 (1936), p. n4 with n. r. The analysis in Inventario General (see
previous note), vol. l, pp. 144-156, being unaware of Lambot's study, lacks many of
his identifications, including all those for the Tractatus. Lambot observes that if
one judges by the space they occupy the Tractatus are not always complete. This
homiliary is related by both content and script to others preserved at Monte Cassino.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

121

John Rylands Lib. lat. rz ; Luxeuil Abbey ; IX ; f. Srv,


12 : 12-13; ff. Sv-gr, 45 : 1-2; f. grv, 26 : 2-3; ff. rzv-r6v, 124
(abbrevn.) ; ff. 3rr-35 v, 67-72 (abbrevn.) ; ff. 53 v-54 v, 123 : 4end (abbrevn.) ; ff. 64v-66v, 51 : 9-13; ff. 7rv-73r, based on 11-12
(?); ff. 74v-75v, 80 : 2-end; ff. Sgr-gzv, 87-91 (abbrevn.); ff.
94 v-97r, 80 : 1, 81-83 (abbrevn.) ; ff. rzov-rz5r, 83 : 2-86 (slight
abbrevn.) lLuxeuil Homiliary)l63

MANCHESTER,

163. This manuscript is not included in the list of codices indubitably written at
Luxeuil given by LowE in CLA VI. pp. xv-xvn. It was similarly passed over in
silence in LowE's earlier study The " Script of Luxeuil . A Title Vindicated, in
RB 63 (1953), pp. 132-142. Earlier still P. SALMON in Le Lectionnaire de Luxeuil
(Paris, ms. lat. 9427) (Collectanea Biblica Latina, VII ; Rome, 1944), p. XLIV
included it among those manuscripts for which a Luxeuil origin could be affirmed
with confidence, though he dated it in the eleventh century.
It was described by L.W. JONES, Dom Victor Perrin and Three Manuscripts of
Luxeuil, in Bull. of John Rylands Lib. 23 (1939), pp. 166-168, 178-181, and analyzed
with little identification of contents by M.R. JAMES, Catalogue of the Latin Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library at Manchester, vol. 1 (Manchester, 1921), pp. 33-37.
James, following Perrin, dates it eighth or ninth century, but its dependence on
Paul Deacon's homiliary rules out the eighth. It has about 30 items in common
with Paul, some two-thirds of its total, but arranged with virtually no regard for
Paul's order. I have examined the items from the Tractatus by microfilm (see
above p. 109), with the followng results:
ff. 89r-92v : same Incipit and Explicitas Paul Deacon, pt. II, no. 103, for whch
GRGOIRE, op. cit., p. 109, gives the contents as Trr. 87: 1-91 : 4. Ourmanuscript's
contents are as follows : Haec manda vobis ut diligcmus invicem. Maneat ergo
dilectio : ipse est enim fructus noster unde alibi dicit, Et posuit nos ut fructum adfcramus,
hoc est, ut invicem diligamus (= 87 : r lines 7-8, 86 : 3 line 12, 87 : r lines 14-15) ;
then 87 : 2 to line 2 (sustincrc}, and line 5 (Si mimdus) to end of 87 ; 88 : 1 line 13
(Non est) to 2 line ro (servabunt), omtting intra in gaudium Domini lui (r lines 2526); SS: 4 line 13 (Ergo) to end; 89: r lines 16 (Si non) to 33 (factus est); Unde
et aposta/us ait, Quicumque ... iudicabuntur (3 lines 5-7) ; S9 : 4 lines 14 (Hi sunt)
to 27 (humana) ; 90: 1 to line 2 (odit}, 3 line 27 (Quornodo) to end of 90; Deinde ait,
Si opera ... , 91 : 1 line 7 to 2 line 5 (prophetas), id est, heliam et heliseum; 2 lines S
( F ecit) to ro ( quinque), ... quinquc panibus et du obus piscibus saciavit. Et talia
miracula plurima quae nemo aliits fecit. Dicit Marcus, ... 3 lines 14 to 20 (sanavit eos) ;
4 complete.
ff. 94v-97r : same Incipit as Paul Deacon, pt. II, no. 100, which Grgoire, p. 109,
gives as Trr. 80, Sr, 82, but different Explicit. Contents: So : I lines 2 (secundum)
to S (vitis ver a), and ro (Sic enim) to I I (avis), and 14 (ab illa) to end of r ; Vel ita,
Ego sum vitis vera, id est, sapientia, innocentia, iustitia vera, id est, non per gratiam
sed per naturam. Ex quo vos accepistis ut sitis sapientes, innocentes et iusti ; Sr : 1
line 5 (Manete) to 2 line 5 (superborum); 2 line 21 (Qui enim) to end of 2; 3 lines 2
(Qui) to 4 (facere), and 8 (Sive ergo) to 12 (ferre), and 16 (Si quis) to 4 line 3
(vobis); 4 lines 12 (Quando si) to 16 (vcrba eius) and line 19 (Tune) to end;
82 : r lines 2 (In hoc) to 7 (gloria est) ; Sequitur, si ergo in hoc ... , lines 13 to 20
(caelis est) ; 2 line 7 (Sicut) to 3 liner (dilectione mea) ; 3 lines 9 (Tamquam) to 16
(diligimus), and lines 21 (Quid est) to 22 (gratia mea}, line 25 (non crgo) to end of 82
(apparently; script very faint) ; S3: 1 lines 2 (Hatc} to 9 (nostriim) ; Sed illc etiam
ante hominis susccptioncm in illa aeternitate gaudebat, quando nos elegit ante mundi
constitutionem (cf. lines 9-10) ; lines 24 (Gaudimn) to 30 (resurgentium).
ff. 12ov-125r : same Incipit and Explicit as Paul Deacon, pt. II, no. 102, which
according to Grgoire, p. 109, contains S3 : z-S6. Contents : S3 : z beginning to
84 : 2 line rr (vitam) ; 2 line 45 ( Diligamus) to S5 : 3 line 4 2 ( glorictiw) ; S6 beginning
to 2 line 22 (merita) ; 2 line 26 (Audi, ingrate) to end of 86.

I22

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Bibl. Comun. C. V. 4 (363) ; Abbey of San Benedetto Po, near


l\fantua; XIII-XIV; 1-19, 23-124
D.V. 3 (466) and D.V. 4 (467) ; Abbey of San Benedetto Po; XI; D.V. 3, 1-48; D.V. 4, 49-124
MELK, Stijtsbibl. 354 (323. F 23);? l\felk Abbey; XV; ff. lr-172v, 1-17,
S. 125 (ff. 52v-55v), 20-124 med.163a
642 (795 0 32) ; ? Melk Abbey ; XV ; ff. 174 v_
l79v, 5 (' sermo quartus ')
MILAN, Bibl. Ambrosiana F. 60 sup., ff. 5orv, 52r-54r ; Abbey of Bobbio
(?) ; VIII ex.; extracts from 1-? 49163b
H. 146 inf. ; Avignon ; x, ff. 23v-27v, compilation from 67-71 ; ff. 27v-31r, 105-107 : 4 (both items from Paul
Deacon's Homiliary, pt. II) ; ' somewhat later ' : ff. 63r-64 v,
12 : 12-end ; ff. 64 v-67r, 45 ; ff. 67r-72r, 26 (probably from Homiliary)l64
MANTUA,

In addition, ff. 31r-35v may bear some relation to Paul Deacon, pt. II, no. 23,
which is an abbreviated form of Trr. 67-71 (GRGOIRE, op. cil., p. 96). Theitem
here is constructed from Trr. 67 : l line 5 (Ne mortem) to 72 : 3 line 28 (et nos.
Sequttur de eo quod dicit, Quia ego ad Patron vado : quodcumque petieritis [Patrem,
mg.] in nomine meo, hoc /aciam. Cf. 73 : r.) The same methods of compilation
have been followed as are illustrated above.
163 A. For my knowledge of these two Melk codices I am indebted to the obliging
assistance of Professor Plante (see n. 50 above). In MS. 354, where the Tractatus
appear as ' Omeliae ', Tr. 5 is unnumbered, and other dislocations occur with the
omission of Trr. 18-19 and subsequently, so that Tr. 124 is 'Homilia CXV '. The
manuscript contains also the collection of Sermones ad fratres iri eremo (ff. l 77r. 199v)
and Augustine's Tractatus in Epistulam I ohannis (ff. l99v-225r). Melk 642 is a
volume of miscellaneous, mainly homiletic, material.
163 B. On this codex see Low:E, CLA III, no. 339, with further bibliography in
the Supplement volume, p. 50, nos. 336-340 (where two corrections are needed : the
article by Natale is on pp. 54-74, not 3-18, and Collura gives a photograph of only
f. 41r). In CLA it is connected with the Tractatus of Augustine only in R.A.B.
MYNORS' Index of Authors, Supplement, p. 73. According to BISCHOFF, Wendepunkte in der Geschichte drr lateinischen Exegese im Frhmittelalter, in Mittelalterliche
Studien, vol. l (1966). p. 269 n. 141, the contents of these folios were first identified
in 1961 by E. Dekkers as an almost complete exposition of John l: l-11 : 9 in the
form of excerpts from the Tractatus.
164. BERI,EI'tNER, op. cit., vol. I /2, p. 143, though with no identification of the
first item or recognition of the second as Paul Deacon, pt. II, no. 25, so that the
reference to the title of Tr. 104 is beside the mark (cf. GRGOIRE, op. cit., p. 96). The
other three items listed (in a ' somewhat later hand ') most probably derive from
another homiliary. Parts of Trr. 12, 45 and 26 in the same order are found also in
Manchester, Rylands 12, ff. 3r.9v (see above), Reims, Bibl. Alunie. 427 (St. Thierry ;
x-xr), ff. 137r-15JY, and Graz, Universitatsbibl. 88 (Seckau; XII 1 ), ff. 26r-3or, and
<loubtless in other manuscripts also. But though the Incipits are the same in each
case for Trr. 45 (beginning) and 26 (2 line 6, Magna gratiae), they differ for Tr. 12
(II line 39, Quomodo qui, Reims and Graz ; 12 line 3, Ergo quantum, Rylands and
Milan), and the extent of the extracts is not constant (the first item ends at 12: 13
line 17 (lucem) in Rylands 12; the second at 45 : 2 line 25 (contemnunt) in the same
manuscript, and at 45 : 8 (end) in Graz 88 ; the third at 26: 3 line 14 (Patrem meum)
in Rytands 12 and at 26: 8 line 9 or 15 (erat Verbum) in Graz 88).

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

>>

123

MomtNA, Bibl. Capit. O. III. I4 ; [? St. Geminianus' Cath.] Modena ;


XI; 1-17, S. 125 (as' 18 '), 18, 20-21, 19, 22-124 (a)
Bibl. Estense a W. I. 13 (L. 672) ; Abbey of San Prospero, near
Reggio (then St. Peter's Abbey, Modena) ; A.D. 1273 ; ff. 277r282r, 122 : 9-124 (numbered' 119-121 ')
MONTE CASSINO, Bibl. dell' Abbazia 21EE (56, 214) and 22EE (51, 222) ;
Monte Cassino; XI 2 ; 21EE, 1-17, S. 125 (pp. 235-248), 18-38;
22EE, 39-124
l70L (312, 246) ; Monte Cassino ; XI ; pp. 246-248,
includes 55 : 1
523E (407, n8) ; ? N. Italy or France1 64b ; VII/
VIII; f. lrv (pp. 201-2), 112 : 1-2 (
44 : 1) ; f. 2rv {pp. 203-4),
113 : 4-end (abbrevn.)165
Fragm. ; Monastery of Sts. Cosmas and Damian,
Tagliacozzo, near Avezzano (Beneventan) ; XIII ; one fol., fragment of 60166
MONTPELLIER, Bibl. Munie. 16; Abbey of St. Guillem-du-Dsert, N. of
Montpellier ; XII1 ; item l, 3-10

I64 B. Located by BISCHOFF, Panorama .. ., p. 251 n. 139, in the central or western


parts of N. Italy.
165. Cf. WRIGH'I', op. cit., p. 323 n. 2.
WILLEMS in CCL collated only ff. lr
(p. 201) and 2v (p. 204), containing the continuons text of Trr. 112 : 1 to line 8
(Sciebat autem et locum) and 113 : 6 line 7 (ex discipulis) to end. Tr. 112 is introduced as a sermo without a number. The other two pages are Jess straightforward.
F. rv (p. 202) carries on where f. 1r ends (with the misplacement of locum, as noted by
Willems) as far as Il 2 : I line 10 (suis). Next comes an insertion from Tr. 44 : r
lines 4-7, with some variants from the CCL text : Hortor (Proinde peto et admoneo)
caritatem vestram, fratres (not in CCL), ut in his (iis) quae aperta sunt sermonem
nostrum non requiratis; nam nimis longum est (erit) in singulis immorari. After the
omission of 112 : l lines 10-28, which in meaning are similar to the insertion from
Tr. 44 (cf. in eis quae manifesta sunt non immorantes), we have lines 28-29: ut hoc ubi
opus est causa puscente (poscente) faciamus. The text jumps to II2 : 2 lines 2
(Sciebat, inquid, locum Iitdas qui ... ) to 6 (tempus), omitting inquit (line 3), and
reading Ubi (Ibi), plus obina and obes. The script on f. 2r (p. 203) is Jess clear,
particulary at the foot. It contains Tr. 113 : 4 lines 21 (non ostentatione) to 27
(cor meum}, 113 : 5 to line 3 (pontificem ), and 113 : 6 lines 4 (Erat autem) to 7 ( e ttu),
with the following variants: n3: 4 linea 22-23, homo prebeat (praebeat homo); 25,
iniusta (iniuste) ; II3 : 5 Jine 2, om. eum and reads misit, inquid, Annas Iesum
ligatum; n3 : 6 line 6, om. (?) iam; 7, inserts ministri after ei.
Thus the two pages not collated by Willems reveal a text rather different in
character from that suggested by his collations. The presence of a sentence from
Tr. 44 in Tr. II2 : I is not amenable to any simple explanat\on. Nor is it readily
obvious why the scribe compressed his text at the foot f. 2r (which contains one line
more than ff. rv and 2v, 23 against 22), with the last complete Jine squashed in height
and a further two words, et tu, written below the far right end of this additional line.
The text runs on without a break on to f. 2v.
166. Cf. LowE, A New List of Bcneventan Manuscripts, in Collectanea Vaticana in
honorem Anselmi M. Gard. Albareda, vol. 2 (Studi e Testi, 220) Vatican City, 1962,
p. 225, based on M. INGUANEZ, Frammenti di codici A britzzesi, in Miscellanea Giovanni Mercati, vol. 6 (Studi e Testi, 126) Vatican City, 1946, p. 276. The fragment
could not be located in June r97r.

124

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Bibl. de la Facult de Mdecine r52 ; Oratory, Troyes ; X; ff. 299 v_


302v, 1 : 1-8
240. Concerning this manuscript see below, in
note 205
MUNICH, Bayer. Staatsbibl. 2556 and 2557 ; Abbey of Alderspach, near
Passau; XII; two vols., 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124167
37I4; Augsburg Cath. ; XII; 1-124
45r5 ; Benebiktbeuern Abbey, dioc. Freising ; XII ;
1-18, 20, 19, 21-124
4547; S. Bavaria (then Benediktbeuern Abbey);
vrn/Ix; item r5(b), 121 : 5, 122 : 1; 82, cento includ. 92 : 1-2,
93: 2-4, 96 : 1, 4 (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, pt. II)l68
4564; Benediktbeuern Abbey; Ix1 ; f. 2rrr, 51 :
1-8; f. 2r6v, compilation /rom 55-56, 58-59, 61-63; f. 24zr, compilation /rom 120 : 1-5 (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, pt. I)l69
6287; Freising Cath. ; Ix1 ; 1-13
9540 ; Abbey of Oberaltaich, near Regensburg ; XII ;
1-18, 20, 19, 21-41
rr303 ; St. Saviour's Abbey, Polling, dioc. Augsburg; XV /XVI; 1-19, 23-124
r4286 ; Abbey of St. Emmeran, Regensburg ;
VIII/IX; 30-124 (a) (prob. abbrevn.)170
r4368 ; Abbey of St. Emmeran, Regensburg ;
Ix1 ; f. 33r, 121 : 5, 122 : 1 ; f. r46r, cento includ. 92 : 1-2, 93 :
2-4, 96 : 1, 4 (Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, pt. II)1 71
r458r ; Abbey of St. Emmeran, Regensburg ;
XI ; f. rz5r, extract /rom 29
r4653 ; Abbey of St. Emmeran, Regensburg ;
vm 2 ; 30 : 6-54 (numbered' 27-51 ') 172

167. Though the catalogue gives the contents as n8 sermons, I suspect the whole
work is present, with misnumbering.
168. According to K. GAMBER, Cod;ces Liturgici Latini A ntiquiores (Spicilegii
Friburgensis Subsidia, I) Fribourg, 1963, p. 293, the best manuscript of the summer
part of Alan's collection. Wrongly listed as '457' in the studies of Hosp and
Leclercq (see n. 145 above).
169. This manuscript was the basis of Hosp's analysis of pt. I (see n. 145 above).
170. From the plate in LOWE, CLA IX, no. 1293, off. l4v, where Ti. 34 begins at
ch. 2, and a microfilm of ff. lr-3r, it is probable that this manuscript gives only an
abridged text. Tractatus 30-54 are numbered' 31-56' (' 49' is not used).
l7I. The basis of Hosp's analysis of pt. II (see n. 145 above).
172. The codex consists of 183 ff., but part of Serm. App. 160 appears at the end
probably occupying f. 183. The catalogue specifies Trr. 30-55 as '26-51 ', but
examination of plates and a section of microfilm, confirmed by enquiry of the
Staatsbibliothek, has corrected this. The codex has lost its first quire, so that if it
commenced with the beginning of a Tractatus it must originally have contained
Trr. 29-54.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE <<TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

125

15807 and 15808 ; Salzburg Cath. ; xn; two vols.,


1-18, 20, 19, 21-124

17194 ; Freising (then Schaftlarn Abbey, dioc.


item r, 24; 79, 51 : 1-8; Sr, compilation jrom
55-56, 58-59, 61-63 (mainly Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, pt. II)173
18022; Tegernsee Abbey, S. of Munich; A.D.
1460; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124
18092 ; Tegernsee Abbey ; VIII ex. ; includes
Freising) ;

IX;

51 : 1-8; compilation jrom 55-56, 58-59, 61-63; compilation jrom


120 : 1-5 (i.e., Alan of Farfa's Homiliary, pt. I, items 86, 88,

93)174
21512 ; Weihenstephan Abbey, dioc. Freising ;

XII ;

1-18, 20, 19, 21-48

22216 ; Windberg Abbey, near Straubing ;


1-18, 20, 19, 21-45

XII ;

29046
29055a
29162 + Augsburg, Staatsu. Stadtbibl. Fragm. lat. 14 ; Benediktbeuern Abbey, dioc. Freising ; IX in. ; fragments : Augsburg, 99 : 4-6, 101 : 4-5; 29046,
106: 3-5, 113: 4-114: 4, 115: 2-5, 117: 5-118: 1, 123: 4-5, 124:
1, 2 ; 29055a, 109: 2-4, 110: 1, 2-3, 111: 5-112: 1; 29162, 106:
6-107 : 1, 108 : 4-end (a) 17 5
NANTES, Bibl. Munie. I I ; XII ; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-124 (mutil. at end)
NAPLES, Bibl. N az. VI. B. 2
XI in.; ff. 9ov-99r, 15;

; Troja Cath., near Foggia (Beneventan)


ff. 99r-103r, 38; ff. r37v-r42v, 43; ff. r42vr43v, 42 : 14-end; ff. r66r-169r, 33; ff. r69v-r74r, 44; ff. r77vr83r, 10; f. r83rv, 11 : 2; ff. r84r-189v, 29-30 : 7; ff. r96r-2oor,
37; ff. 2oor-208v, 49 : 1-25; ff. 208v-2rov, 31 : 8-end; ff. 2rov215r, 28 ; ff. 215r-218v, 48 ; ff. 223r-224r, 49 : 26-end ; ff. 225r227r, 51 : 1-8 ; ff. 227r-230 v, 52 ; ff. 27or_271r, 59 ; ff. 27rr-272r,
60; ff. 273v-285v, 112-118; ff. z86v-288v, 55 : 1-6; ff. 288v289v, 56; ff. 294r-296r, 119-120: 51 7 6

173 Used in Hosp's analysis (see n. 145 above). ROSE, op. cit. (n. 145), pp. 81-95,
gives a table of comparison with Berlin Phillipps 1676 (Egino). Ff. 28-172 contain
81 items, corresponding with omissions to Egino, items 1-98. They are preceded by
some pieces from Paul Deacon's collection.
174 According to GAMBER, op. cit., p. 292, the best manuscript of pt. I of Alan's
collection. Used by Hosp (see n. 145 above), but no details of foliation or numeration are available.
175. Cf. B. BISCHOFF, Die Sdostdeutschen Schreibschulen und Bibliotheken in der
Karolingerzeit, vol. l (second edit., Wiesbaden, 1960), pp. 31-32. Munich 29055a
was formerly Gttingen, C'niversitatsbibl. Fragm. Kasten 3, I.
176. For a detailed analysis of the Tractatus in this homiliary for the first part of
the liturgical year I am indebted to the Director of the Biblioteca Nazionale. Lam bot
recovered two unpublished sermons from it : Sermons indits de S. Augustin sur
l'aveugle-n del' vangile, in RB 50 (1938), pp. 185-193.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

I26

VI. B. 6; XII; 1-17 : 11, 19 : 5-23 : 8, 32 : 8-124


(other lacunae ?) 177

VI. B. 7; XII; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 7rv-74v), 18-124 (a)


VI. B. r7 ; Church of San Domenico Maggiore,
Naples ; XII; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 76v-8rr), 20-124
VI. C. 20 ; Chartreuse of St. Laurence, La Padula,
dioc. Capaccio; XII; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 88r-93r), 18-54
VI. D. 3; Eboli (? St. Peter's Abbey), prov. Salerno; A.D. r500; 1 : 7-17, S. r25 (ff. 54r-57r), 20-124: 8
NovARA, Bibl. Capit. XXII; Novara Cath. ; xr; 1-93: 4178
NUREMBERG, Stadtbibl. Cent. I. sr ; Dominican Couvent, Nuremberg ;
xv1 ; ff. rr-r3ov, 1-22, 24-124 (many lacunae) 1 79
ORLANS, Bibl. Munie. 76 (73) ; Abbey of Fleury, St. Benot-sur-Loire;
XII ; 2 : 2-15 ; 19, 15 : 21-18, 20, 19, 23-27 : 4, 30 : 3-41 : 3, 41 : 542; 15, 43: 2-100: 1, 101 : 3-102: 4, 104: 2-112: 3 (a)lBO
r45 (r22); Abbey of Fleury; x-xI; pp. rr5-r24,1
r6r (r38) ; Abbey of Fleury; IX-X; 1-18, 20, 19,
23-108, 110-124 : 8 (a), considerable omissions /rom 55-124 (the
Maurists' Floriacensis)lBl
rgr (r68) ; Abbey of Fleury ; XI ; pp. 24r-245,
extracts includ. 26 : 11-13, 62 : 11s2
r77. The lacunae occur between ff. 60 and 6r, and 76 and 77. There may be
others.
178. As Tr. 93 is numbered' gr ' (OBERI,EITNER, op. cit. I /2, p. 182), there may be
irregularity at an earlier stage. Further details have been unobtainable.
179 The whole manuscript lacks 79 folios, of which about 44 are missing from the
Tractatus, but the absence of Tr. 23 seems 'intentional ', as the numbering runs on
from 22 to 24 (' 23 '). Cf. K. SCHNEIDER, Die Handschriften der Stadtbibliothek
Nrnberg, vol. 2 : Die Lateinischen Mittelalterlichen Handschriften, pt. r : Theologische Handschriftm (Wiesbaden, 1967), p. 52.
r8o. I am obliged to M.F. Hauchecorne, the Conservateur of the Bibliothque,
for clearing up the confusion of the entries in the successive Orlans catalogues
of 1820 and 1885 /1889 (1889 merely reproduces part of the r 885 entry). The codex:
has lost the original folios r-v, r,xxxr (between the present pp. r33 and 134), cxxrxcr,r (between pp. 228 and 229), cr,xxrx (between pp. 302 and 303), cr,xxxvu (between
pp. 316 and 317), two (of which the lower third remains) between pp. 497-498, two
(of whih scraps survive) between pp. 5or and 502, and three after p. 515 and before
pp. 516-517 of which only a few words of each line are left, from the latter sections of
Tr. rr6. The first few items are entitled severally homelia, but thereafter sermo is
the usual title, but tractatus also sometimes occurs. The numbering in the second
part jumps from 43 to 54, and then reverts from 58 to 46.
l Sr. This manuscript is ascribed to the ninth century in LOWE, CLA Supplement,
p. 38, no. 1804. On the contents see aboYe, pp. 66,88-89. Two quires of this manuscript, pp. 263-278 and 419-434, formed for a time ff. 3-18 in Paris, B.N. n.a.l. 2243.
They were returned to Orlans in 1886. The original numbering of Trr. '18-22'
(= the editions' 18, 20, 19, 23, 24) has been corrected to' 19-23 ',and further corrected in the case of' 21' and '22' to the editions' '23' and' 24 '.
182. The tex:t varies considerably from the editions : so P. CouRCEI,I,E, in RA 2
(1956), p. 450 n. +

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

127

334 (283) ; Abbey of Fleury ; xr ; pp. 157-160,


67- ? (extracts ?)

OXFORD, Balliol Coll. 6 ; W. England (Gloucester region) ; xn in.


1-124183
Bodleian Lib. Auct. D. r. IO ; St. Mary's Abbey, Missenden,
Bucks. (then St. George's Chapel, Windsor); XII/xm; 1-124
Bodl. 153 ; Winchester ; xv in. ; ff. 73r-139r,
abbrevn. of 1-124

Bodl. 301 ; (? Normandy, then) St. Peter's Cath.,


Exeter; XI ex. ; 1-124184
Canon. Pat. lat. 147 ; N. Italy (Florence) ; XII ;
ff. 1r-235r, 1-124 (a)l85
Canon. Pat. lat. 182; N. Italy; xm; 1-124
Lat. theol. C. IO ; England ; XII in. ; f. roorv,
121 : 3-122: 3; f. IOrvr, 23: 9-11 ; f. IOrArv, 22: 9-10, 12-13
Laud. Mise. 124 ; St. Kylian's Cath., Wrzburg ;
rx med. ; 55-124 (a)
Laud. Mise. 139; (?) Benediktbeuern Abbey, dioc.
Freising (original MS) and St. Kylian's Cath., Wrzburg (additions) ; Ix1 (original MS), IX med. (additions) ; ff. 1L2rv, 14-16: 7
(ff. 22r-38v, 16 : 7-18) ff. 39r-49v, 16 : 7, 19 : 1-18 (ff. 5or-7ov,
19: 18-23: 1) ff. 7rr-123v, 23: 1-32: 8 (ff. r26r_r38v, 32: 8-36: 2;
f. r39rv, 36 : 4-5) ff. r24r-125 v
r4or-189 v, 36 : 2-45 (ff. 189 v_
198 v, 46-48 : 1) ff. r99r-234 v, 48 : 1-54 : 7186

183. Perhaps from Winchcombe Abbey, Glos. Cf. N. KER, English Manuscripts
in the Century a/ter the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960), pp. 7, 41, 53.
184. KER, op. cit., p. 24 ; o. PACHT and J .J .G. ALEXANDER, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Boldeian Library Oxford, vol. l (Oxford, 1966), p. 35.
185. In this manuscript Tn. 19-54 were originally numbered ' 20-55 ' but have
subsequently been corrected. See GARRlSON, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 134-136, 168.
Comparative study of its illumination places it in the second quarter of the twelfth
century, and confirms the Florentine provenance indicated by the notes connecting
it with the city in the period 1247 to 1320 found on a folio added at the end.
186. Cf. WRIGHT, op. cit., pp. 322f., with references to BISCHOFF, Die Sdostdcutschen Schreibschulen, p. 38, and BISCHOFF and HOFMANN, Libri Sancti Kyliani,
pp. 20-21, 41, 122. The script of the core of the manuscript is close to that of the
Benediktbeuern school in the first half of the ninth century, but it is not inconceivable that it was written elsewherc, though hardly at Wrzburg itself, by a scribe
trained at Benediktbeuern. The original core contained Trr. 14-16, 19, 23-32, 36-45,
48-54, numbered '14-44 '. The Wrzburg scribe who inserted the ten absent
Tractatus (bracketed in the list above ; the foliation is that of the composite volume)
followed a variety of procedures. Between ff. 21v and 39r (originally consecutive)
he copied on f. 22r (a half sheet, eut laterally ; verso is blank) the end of Tr. 16
(which reappears in the original on f. 39r) before supplying Trr. 17-18. But between
ff. 49v and 71r he removed a sheet containing the end of Tr. 19 and the start of 23.
On f. 5or he transcribed the end of 19 together with its number in the original, ' 17 ',
then intercalated 20-22 with correct numbers, and finally copied the end of 23 from
the original, but numbered it ' 19 ' instead of ' l 8 ', on the lower half of f. 7ov (top
and recto blank). Likewise for the insertion of Trr. 33-35 he removed a folio and

I28

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Laud. Mise. r43 ; St. Mary's Abbey, Eberbach,


near Heidelberg; xn; ff. rr-ro8v, 37-124
Laud. Mise. r44 ; XII ; ff. rr-ro5 v, 1-37 : 1
e l\Ius. 6 ; St. Edmund's Abbey, Bury St. Edmunds ;
xr/xn; pp. r-440, 1-124
Christ Church 88 ; Abbey of Sts. Mary and Chad, Buildwas,
Shropshire; A.D. rr67; ff. rr-r72r, 3: 5-48 : 9, 77: 1-124
Magdalen Coll. XCIII; Charterhouse of Jesus of Bethlehem,
Sheen, l\i!iddx. ; xv1 ; ff. r33r-r36r, 49 : 1-2S1B7
Merton Coll. II; XIV in. ; 1-124
XIV; XIV; ff. 273r-308v, 1-23 beg. ; ff. 309r3r9v, end 110-124
Queen's Coll. 386; XII; 1-124 (a)lBB
St. John's Coll. I; St. Mary's Abbey, Reading; xrn/xIV; ff.
rr-32rv, 1-124
PADUA, Bibl. Univ. r650; Augustinian Hermits, Padua; XIII; 1-19,
23-25, 20-22, 26-124189
PARIS, Bibl. Mazarine 6r3 (963) ; Priory of Val St. Martin, Louvain;
XIV; 44-124
635 (z87) ; Grands Augustins, Paris; xm; ff. 72v24rv, 1-18, 20, 19, 23-124
Bibl. Nat. lat. 974 ; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux, near Valenciennes, IX; fragments, f. rrrv, 36 : 7-11 ; f. rzzrv, 34 : 10-35 : 5
lat. rgr8 ; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux ; IXx ; f. I vr, 39 : 1-5 ; f. r54rv, 37 : 6-91 90
copied out 32 : 8-36 : 2 on ff. r26r-13Sv, but since the excised folio belonged between
ff. 123'" and 124r the or der for the text is now : 123v, r26r-r 38v, 124r-r25v (139rv), I 4or.
(F. l39rv by the second hand supplies about two-thirds of the omission of Tr. 36: 4-6
from the original's f. l25v.) Before introducing Trr. 46-47 the corrector erased the
beginning of 48 from the lower half off. I 89v and replaced it with the beginning of 46.
Hence he had subsequently to supply the opening of 48 (f. l98v) before the original
resumed. On p. 98 above we have ventured a possible explanation of the later
scribe's inconsistency in numbering Trr. 17-18 and 20-22 correctly but 33-35 and
46-4 7 three less than correctly (this also applies to his re-copying of the beginning and
end of the Tractatus on either side of these last two insertions). In addition to the
intercalation of the ten missing Tractatus, and probably subsequently to it, certain
lesser lacunae in the original manuscript were made good by other Wrzburg hands.
See BISCHOFF and HOFMANN, Libri Sa.ncti Kyliani, p. 4I.
187. Partly written by John Dygon, recliisus apud Shee11, in A.D. 1438. Cf. on
Dygon (Dygoun) KER, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, second edit. (London,
1964), pp. 179 (where he is assigned to a reclusory listed separately from the Charterhouse at Sheen), 290 (presbitcr et reclusus de Bethelchem de Shene), 305 ; A.B.
EMDEN, A Biographical l?egister of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, vol. I
(Oxford, 1957), p. 615.
188. Hic est liber Sancte Marie de JYl. ... ei (partly erased, f. 194v).
r89. See n. 125 above.
190. Though clearly listed separately from the rest of the codex in P. LAUER,
Catalogue gnral des manuscrits latins, vol. 2 (Paris, 1940), p. 238, these two folios
are not so distinguished in SAMARAN and l'vIARICHAI,, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 95.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

129

lat. 1959 ; N. France ; VIII ex. ; 1-18, 20, 19,


23-108, 110-123: 5 (a), considerable omissionsjrom 55-123 191
lat. 1960 ; St. Martial's Abbey, Limoges ; IX ;
ff. lr-191r, 55-124
lat. 1961 ; IX (ff. lr_232r)' X-XI (ff. 232 v-333 v) ;
1-19, 23-124 (incomplete at end)
lat. 1962 ; XII; 1-52 (incomplete)
lat. 1963 ; Chartreuse of Le Liget, dioc. Tours ;
xn/xm; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-54
lat. 1964; XII; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 52v-55v), 20-124
lat. 1965; XII-XIII; ff. lr-259r, 1-124
lat. 1966 ; XIV ; 1-124
lat. 1967 ; XIII in. ; 1-124 : 5
lat. 2012 ; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux, near
Valenciennes ; IX (ff. Irv, l36rv) and XII in. ; f. Irv, 24 : 2-6 ;
ff. lr-97v, 55-124 ; f. l36rv, 26 : 1-4
lat. 2034; N.-E. France (then St. Martial's Abbey,
Limoges) ; VIII ex.; ff. l58v-159v, 5: 1, 17 (?) - end
lat. 2n7: XIV; f. 24rv, extracts, 6: 25-26, 7: 11-14
lat. 2154 ; St. Peter's Abbey, Moissac, Tarn-etGaronne ; XI-XII ; ff. 72 v_ ?, extracts, beginning at 1 : 7192
lat. 2877 ; St. Martin's Abbey, Tournai ; XII ;
f. rnv, extracts, 27 : 6, 26 : 11
lat. 3329, ff. 8r-205r ; XII ; 1-124
lat. 8912 ; Abbey of Echternach, near Trves ;
XI 2 ; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 63v-66v), 20-124
lat. 9604 ; St. Martin's Abbey, Marmoutier, near
Tours; IX ex. ; f. 66v, 51 : 9-13; f. nor, 80-82; f. lIIr, (incomplete at beg.) 83 : 2-86 ; f. n2r, 87-91 : 4 (Paul Deacon's Homiliary, pt. II) 193
l9I. See pp. 88-89 above with n. 107.
192. According to the catalogue ff. 72v-u IV contain 297 extracts from the Tractatus and the Enarrationes in Psalmos, beginning with Tr. I : 7 line 32, Videt se
quisque gestare anus carnis. A similar series of excerpts from the Tractatus in Tortosa
230 has the same Incipit (cf. B. BER'rOMEU, Los C6dices l'viedievales de la Catedral de
Tortosa, Barcelona, 1962, p. 382). Whether the collections of extracts end alike it is
impossible to say on the basis of the information provided. The Explicit (f. 5or)
given for this item in the Tortosa catalogue derives not from the Tractatus but from
Sermo 40 : l (PL 38, 244), and no Explicit is given in the Paris catalogue. The two
manuscripts appear to have at least one further item in common, but nothing more
in either of them cornes the Tractatus.
193. Analyzed together with Paris, B.N. n.a. 1. 2322 (see n. r97 below) by
L. DELISLE, Notices et Extraits, vol. XXXI (1884), pt. l, pp. 194-195, 3r2-3r4, but
wrongly identified as the second part of Alcuin's homiliary. It differs from the
analysis of Paul Deacon's collection for the summer and the commune sanctorum
given by GRGOIRE, op. cit., pp. 93-1q, in the following particulars (numbers refer
to pt. II in Grgoire) : lacks nos. 1-31 and begins in the course of 32 ; no. 37 is fol
lowed by no. 57, which is missing from its own place, and then nos. 39 and 38 ;

DAVID F. WRIGHT

130

lat. !0399 ; Abbey of Echternach, near Trves ;


abbrevn., f. 4zvr, 42 : 1-43 : 1 ; f. 43rv, 49 : 2-18
lat. rr635 ; Corbie Abbey (then Abbey of St.
Germain-des-Prs, Paris) ; VIII ex. ; 55-124 (a) (perhaps the
Maurists' Corbeiensis)194
lat. r2r94 and r2r95 ; Abbey of St. Germain-desPrs, Paris; x (r2r94, ff. 2r7r-2r8v : xn) ; r2r94, 1-18, 20, 19,
23-38 ; r2r95, 38 : 8-124 (probably one of the Maurists' Germanenses duo 195 )
VIII ;

nos. 58, 60, 70, 79 and 80 are missing; no. 82 is the alternative noted by GRGOIRE,
p. rn5, in Vatican 8563 ; no. 93 is lacking; nos. II9-134 are missing.
194. Identified as the Maurists' Corbeiensis tentatively by DEAN, op. cit., p. 117
n. 4, and firmly by WILLEMS, CCL 36, IX. I know of no evidence to indicate the
contents of the Maurists' codex (it is not mentioned in Paris, B.N. lat. II660-1, their
main volumes of collations for the Tractatus). Dean's alternative suggestion that
this might be their Fossatensis is clearly unacceptable. According to B .N. lat. n66o,
ff. 18r-48r, the Fossatensis contained the whole work.
195 These two codices are companion volumes comprising a single copy of the
whole work. MS lat. 12194 originally ended (f. 216v) at Tr. 38: 8 line 17 (ex Aegypto
populum suum}, but a later scribe has supplied the completion of Tr. 38 on ff. 217r218v. MS lat. 12195 begins at Tr. 38 : 8 line 7 (Nisi credideritis quia ego sum}, which
means that it provides an overlap of a few lines between the two codices. The use
of different titles in the course of these manuscripts merits a brief analysis (in which
the numbers of the Tractatus are those of the editions and not those in the manuscripts, where, as indicated above, Trr. 19 and 20 are transposed, and as a result of the
omission of Trr. 21 and 22, 23-124 are numbered' 21-122 '). It is difficult to discern
any design in the way individual Tractatus are entitled. Tr. l begins : 'Incipit
Tractatus Sei Augustini de euangelio secundum Iohannem. Ab eo quod scriptum est:
In Principio ... ', which looks like an introductory title to the whole work merged
with that for Tr. l - hence the use of tractatus in the singular. Thereafter titles are
used as follows: tractatus for Trr. l-5, 13-14 and 26-27 ; omelia for the end of Tr. 49
(which begins as sermo) and the beginning of 50 ; and sermo on every other occasion
where a designation occurs at all, except for one real peculiarity. Tr. 29 (' 27 'in the
manuscript) begins: 'Incipit sermo XXVII Sei Augustini de euangelio Sei Iohannis
de eo ubi ait, I am autem die /esta ... ', where the re-appearance of the references to
St. Augustine and John's Gospel is odd. But it ends simply Explicit liber septimus,
followed immediately by Incipit liber octavus. Ab eo quod ait, Nonne Moyscs ... ',
introducing Tr. 30 (which ends as' sermo XXVIII'). G. Folliet (to whom I am
obliged for most of my knowledge of these two codices) has suggested that ' liber'
means chapter of the Gospel, but although Tr. 29 deals with part of John 7, so too
does Tr. 30, and the exposition of chapter 8 does not begin until Tr. 33. In any case,
why this unparalleled reference to the chapters of the Gospel ? It is possible, though
not easily conceivable, that behind ' liber ' stands the Latin for ' twenty ', for then
the numbers of these two Tractatus would be correct in the sequence in this manuscript. But I am at a loss to imagine how this corruption could have occurred.
Throughout the two manuscripts, with an inconsistency that seems almost random
but allows for patches of uniformity, the Tractatus appear most often with a title at
the end (e.g., 'Explicit sermo XI') but not at the beginning ('Incipit undecimus '),
less frequently with a title in both places (e.g., for Trr. 92-ro2), more rarely with one
only at the beginning (e.g., for Trr. 50-61), and sometimes with a title in neither
position. With like irregularity, an Explicit is totally lacking on some sixteen
occasions (e.g., for Trr. 50-61), and a few times the word ' Incipit' before 'sermo '
etc. is absent.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE cc TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

13r

lat. 12196 ; Abbey of St. Germain-des-Prs ; XII ;


1-54 (perhaps one of the Maurists' Germanenses duo1 96)
lat. 12197 ; Abbey of St. Germain-des-Prs ; XII
in. ; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-38
lat. 14291 ; Abbey of St. Victor, Paris ; xn ;
1-18, 20, 19, 23-124
lat. 15295 ; The Sorbonne ; XIII ; 1-18, 20, 19,
23-124
lat. 16850 ; Oratory, Paris; XII ; 1-17, S. 125
(ff. 75r-78r), 18, 20, 19, 21-124
lat. 16852 and 16853 ; Abbey of Sts. Cornelius and
Cyprian, Compigne, N. of Paris; XIII in. ; 16852, 1-54; 16853,
55-124
lat. 17390 ; Notre-Dame Cath., Paris; XII; 55124
lat. 17391 ; Priory of St. Martin-des-Champs,
Paris; XII; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 66r-7or), 20, 18-19, 21-124 (a)
lat. 17392 ; College of Navarre, Paris ; XII ; 43124
lat. 17393 ; Couvent of Jacobins, rue St. Jacques,
Paris; XIV ; ff. 1r-196r, 1-18, 20, 19, 23-124
nouv. acq. lat. 2247 ; St. Peter's Abbey, Cluny ;
XI /xn ; 7 (lacuna at beg.)-19, 23-64 : 1 (some folios damaged)
nouv. acq. lat. 2322 ; St. Martin's Abbey, Marmoutier, near Tours; IX med. ; f. 24r, 121 : 4-5 ; f. 4rv, compilation
/rom 67, 69-71 ; f. 46r, 105-107 : 4 ; f. n4r, 51 : 9-13 ; f. r5ov,

According to the Maurists' prefatory Admonitio (CCL 36, XIII) among their
manuscripts were vetustissimi Germanenses duo. However, in Paris, B.N. lat. 11660
only one codex from St. Germain-des-Prs is collated, which cannot be identified
with the two-volume copy in MSS lat. 12194 and 12195. (See the following note.
In addition, the original catalogue or press numbers of these two manuscripts at
St. Germain-des-Prs were 195 and 196, whereas the one whose collations survive
was 197, according to MS lat. II66o, f. 5or.) It remains possible, however, in
default of further information concerning the second Germanensis vetustissimus,
which, if we may judge from a varia lectio noted on Tr. 87: I (PL 35, 1853 n. r), was
probably a complete copy of the work, that it is now Paris, B .N. lat. 12194 and l 2195.
I know of no evidence to exclude this identification. If it is erroneous, then there is
no other extant candidate for the second Maurist manuscript from St. Germain-desPrs.
196. See the last paragraph of the preceding note. The codex Germanensis
collated as codex 6 in Paris, B.N. lat. u66o apparently contained only Trr. l-54, for
it does not feature in the collations for the second half. Paris, B .N. lat. 12196 is the
only manuscript extant from St. Germain-des-Prs which could possibly be identified as the Maurists' one (which BERROUARD, Homlies, p. 114, regards as unknown
today). It is, I think, early enough for them to speak of it as vetustissimus, and
examination may well reveal the original St. Germain-des-Prs press mark, 197,
which the Maurists' codex bore. The sequence of numbers between these three
manuscripts, MSS lat. r2194 to 121961 is probably parallel to their original sequence.

132

DAVID F. WRIGHT

80-82 ; f. I55 v, 83 : 2-86 ; f. I58r, 87-91 : 4 (Paul Deacon's Homiliary, pt. II) 197
nouv. acq. lat. 244r ; Beauvais Cath. (then Cistercians of Chaalis (Troussures Chteau), dioc. Beauvais) ; XI ;
1-124
nouv. acq. lat. 26rr ; xrr ; 58 (end)-94 (incomplete),
95 (end)-99 : 9
nouv. acq. lat. 2639, f. rrrv ; XII ; 121 : 3-122 : 2
Bibl. Sainte Genevive 235 ; Abbey of St. John Baptist, Le Jard,
S.-E. of Paris; xrr; ff. 3v-4v, 17: 1-11

PISTOIA, Archiv. Capit. del Duomo C. r58 ; xr; 1-124


PORTO, Bibl. Publ. Munie. r3 (no. 39) ; Porto Cath.
S. r25 (ff. 9or-95r), 20, 18-19, 21-40

A.D. r26r

1-17,

PRAGUE, Knih. Metrop. Kapit. A. 73 /6 ; XIV ex. ; ff. rr-r97v, 1-17, S. r25,
20, 22-124
A. ro8 /3 ; St. Vitus' Cath., Prague; xv1 ; ff. r98v204 v, 1-2
Univ. Knih. VI. C. r7; Augustinian Couvent of St. Giles, Tfeb011
(Wittingau), S. of Prague; XIV; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 79r-83r), 20124
XII. B. II; Monastery of Goldenkron, dioc.
Prague ; A.D. I408 ; ff. 2r2r-2z7v, selections
PRINCETON, University, Dcpt. of Art and Archaeology Friend r; St. Martin's Abbey, Tournai; xI/xrr; ff. rv-r73v, 39-124198

197 See n. 193 above. Analyzed by DELISLE, op. cit., pp. 193-194, 298-312. A
complete copy of part two of Paul Deacon's homiliary, differing from Grgoire's
analysis exactly as does Paris, B .N. lat. 9604 except that nos. 79-80 are present in
this manuscript, as are of course nos. 1-31 and 119-134. After no. 94 (b) a rubric for
St. Martin directs the reader to nos. 108-109 below ; similarly after no. ro3 a rubric
refers to nos. 54-55 above. At the end occur Ps.-BEDE, Homilies III: 70-71 (PL 94,
450-455 ; cf. CCL 122, 383), which do not appear in the table of contents.
198. This manuscript may be the one that appears in the Phillipps catalogue as
no. 2037, which was almost certainly one of the major portion of the collection,
q6 manuscripts in all, bought by Phillipps from St. Martin's Abbey, Tournai,
in l 822-3, which was fraudulently sold by a man in Brussels charged with their
safekeeping (cf. A.N.L. MUNBY, Phillipps Studies 3 (Cambridge, 1954), p. 22). Its
absence from Schenkl's catalogue of the Cheltenham library indicates its failure to
reach there. Thus though the Princeton manuscript, for details of which I am
grateful to Professor Kurt Weitzmann, bears none of the identification marks noted
by MUNBY, Phillipps Studies 4 (1956), p. 165, this would not be surprising in the
circumstances. However, the fact that it does not display the pressmark ' B. 28'
mentioned in Phillipps' catalogue may tell against the identification. The Louvain
editors of the Tractatus used a codex Tornacensis containing the whole work, which
may equally have become Phillipps 2037. If it survives today, it remains unidentified.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE ''TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

>>

133

REIMS, Bibl. Munie. 92; St. Mary's Abbey Man ... ensis (? Germany)
(then Abbey of St. Remi, Reims) ; XII ; 1-124 (a) 1 99
93 and 94 ; Abbey of St. Remi, Reims ; XII ; 93,
1-38; 94, 39-124 (together form one Remigiensis used by Maurists)
ROME, Bibl. Angelica 177 (B. 7. 6) ; Couvent of St. Augustine de Urbe,
Rome ; XIV; 1-124
Bibl. Naz. Centr. S. Andrea della Valle u6 ; Church of San Andrea
della valle, Rome; XIV; 1-18, 20, 19, 23-35 : 7
Bibl. Vallicelliana A. 14 ; S. Italy (then Rome) ; VIII /rx and
(ff. l69r-178r) XII ; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 93L98v), 20-124 (a) 2 00
199 The Maurists' Admon-itio (PL 35, 1378-1380} mentions only one Remigicnsis
among their manuscripts, but in their collations in Paris, B.N. lat. u66o, ff. 49r221r, two Remigienses are encountered, codices 4, which may be Reims 92, and 8,
which is listed in two parts and is certainly Reims 93 and 94. If Reims 92 is codex 4,
then according to these collations its text includes several glosses, especially in the
region of Trr. 5 ff. Reims 92 fits the bill in numbering Trr. 55-124 as ' 1-70 '.
200. On the liturgical significance of this manuscript see WILLEMS, CCL 36, rx-x,
and G. Low, Il codice Ms A. 14 della Biblioteca Vallicclliana (del sec. IX) e il sua
contributo alla liturgia romana, in Miscellanea Liturgica in H onorem L. Cunibrrti
Mohlbcrg, vol. 2 (Bibliotheca 'Ephcmerides Liturgicae ', 23) Rome, 1949, pp. 245-266.
BERLEITNER, op. cit., vol. I /2, p. 228, repeats the error of A. REIFFERSCHEID, in
Sitzungsber. der Kaiser!. Akad. der Wissensch., Phil.-Hist. Classe 53 (Vienna, 1866),
p. 335 n. IO, that the omission is of Trr. 18-20. As a result of the disordering of the
sheets indicated by Reifferscheid, the present order of the text is as follows: T1'1'. r- 2:
13, 4 : 7 (f. 14r)- 5 : 4, 2 : 16 (f. 18r)-4 : 4, 5 : 4 (f. 24r)- etc. Thus in the process
two folios have been lost, containing respectively Tr. 2 : r 3-16 and Tr. 4 : 4-7. The
twelfth-century ff. 169'-178r supply the loss of Trr. 37 : l0-41 : 8. Rubrics and
headings in later manuscripts similar to those found in Vallicell. A. 14 demonstrate
its connexions with a widely influential line of tradition. The heading to the
Capitula for the first half is as follows (f. rr} : In nomine Dei summi incipi$tnf capitula
in expositum euangdii sancti Iohannis dita a sa-,icto Agustina in primis de [what
cornes next is not legible on microfilm ; probably as Reifferscheid gives, natale
Domini nos tri I esu Christi, which is the completion in the parallels noted below].
This formulais found in Naples VI. B. 7, in manuscripts from the region of Florence
such as Florence 16 dext. 4 and Mugell. 5 and London, B.l\!I. Burney 291, and in
essence in Durham, Cath. B. II. 17 (expositionem ... Aitgustino venerabile episcopo),
which in other respects is far distant from these Italian exemplars. A trace of its
influence may even be discerned in manuscripts like Oxford, St. John's I, where Tr. r
begins after the bare heading In natali Donnni. 8imilarly, the index of lections
from part two of the collection (cf. CCL 36, IX n. 7) is prefaced with the rubric
(f. 3v} : Hoc in libella ,inscruntur omelns Aureoli Augustini expositum in Iohanms
euangelium et unicuiqite euangelii lectiones per haec capitula repperies adnotatas.
Together with the index itself this formula (with the variant Aurelioli) recurs in
Bamberg II8 but situated after Trr. l-54 as part of the introduction to the second
half (f. 199r). In Florence 16 dext. 4, Lincoln 9 and Vich 27, on the other hand it
occupies a position comparable to that in Vallicell. A. 14. In Vatican 7615 the
index of lections, which precedes the list of Capitula for part two, bears the title
Item incipiunt capitula eiusdem Augustini super Iohanne partis II a cena Domini
usque in finem et per hacc capitula repperies adnotatas (so BERLEITNER, op. cit.,
vol. I /z, p. 289), which represents the fusing of the end of the rubric discussed above
with the heading for the Capitula of part two found in Vallicell. A. 14 (f. 3r) and in
several other manuscripts. These connexions between ValliceU. A. 14 and other

DAVID F. WRIGHT

r34

ROUEN, Bibl. Munie. 467 (A. 85); Abbey of St. Evroult, S.-W. of Rouen
(then Abbey of St. Ouen, Rouen) ; xn ; 1-124 (the Maurists'
Audoenensis) 200 a
468 (A. 9r) ; St. Peter's Abbey, Jumiges, dioc.
Rouen ; xn ; r-r24 (the Maurists' Gemmeticensis)
ST. GALLEN, Stiftsbibl. r55 ; St. Gallen Abbey; x ; 55-124 (a)
r68 and r69; St. Gallen Abbey; Ix1 ; r68, 1-21
(and introduction to 22) ; r69, 22-54 (for r68 cf. Carlsruhe Aug.
LXXVI)
24r ; St. Gallen Abbey ; IX1 ; pp. 65-r72, abbrevn.
of 1-18, 20
ST. OMER, Bibl. Munie. 23 (two vols.) ; vol. I, xu, 1-40; vol. II, xm, 41:
10-124 : 8
rr6; Abbey of St. Bertin, St. Omer; xv; 55-124

(a)
SALISBURY, Cath. Lib. 67 ; Salisbury Cath. ; XII in., and XIII (ff. rr24 v, 227r-229v); 1-124
SALZBURG, Bibl. der Erzabtei St. Peter a VII 33 ; St. Peter's Abbey,
Salzburg; Ix1 ; 15-19, 23-36 : 9201
SCHAFFHAUSEN, Stadtbibl. r8 ; All Saints' Abbey, Schaffhausen ; XI ;
1-18, 20, 19, 21-124
S!ENA, Bibl. Comunale F I 2, ff. 9r-205r ; St. l\Iary's Cath., Siena ; XII
in.; 1-124201 a
STUTTGART, Wrttemberg. Landesbibl. H.B. VII r7; Constance Cath.
(then Abbey of Weingarten, dioc. Constance) ; IX in.; 2: 2-21 : 12

copies of the Tractatus would probably be found to be far more extensive were fuller
information available.
In the opinion of M.P.J. VAN DEN Hou'!' (Augustiniana 5 [I955], p. 297) the
variant readings displayed by this manuscript ' ne sauraient s'expliquer que par des
erreurs des divers stnographes ', which is for him confirmation that all the Tractatus,
and not merely Trr. I-54, were truly preached to a congregation. I donotsharethis
scholar's view of the origins of Trr. 55-I24 (he is persuaded by the arguments of
M. Le Landais), and have not yet been able to examine the kind of variations he
adduces, to ascertain whether or not they support the inferences he draws.
zoo A. The earlier location of Rouen 467 (A. 85) at St. Evroult is established by
G. NoR'l'IER, Les Bibliothques Mdivales des Abbayes Bndictines de Normandie
(new edit.: Bibliothque d'Histoire et d'Archologie Chrtiennes, Paris, I97I),
pp. rr4-II5, IZZ, I90, [zoo].
zor. Cf. K. FORS'l'NER, Die Karolingischen Handschriften in den Salzburger
Bibliotheken (Ende des 8. ]h. bis Ende des 9. jh) (Mitteilungen der Gesellschajt fr
Salzburger Landeskunde, 3 Erganzungsband) Salzburg 1962, p. 35. The omission
has been confirmed in a communication from Dr. Adolf Hahnl.
zoI A. I learnt of this manuscript (which is not listed in BERLEI'l'NER, op. cit.)
from the description by VIVIANA JEMOLO in Censimento dei codici dei secoli XXII, in Studi Medievali II {I970), at pp. Io75-Io76.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH. ))

135

theol. et phil. fol. r32 ; Abbey of Wiblingen,


near Ulm ; A.D. r444 ; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124 (a)
TARRAGONA, Museo Dioeesano; XIII in.; 39 : 4-106 : 1 (some laeunae) 202
ToRTOSA, Catedral Bibl. 230 ; xrn ; ff. 7r_?, extraets, beginning at 1 : 720 3
TouRs, Bibl. Munie. 289 ; St. Martin's Abbey, Marmoutier, near Tours;
IX in. ; 10 : 12-16 : 3, 19 : 16-end, 23-38 : 4204
290 ; St. Martin's Abbey, Marmoutier ; xr ; 43124: 7
29r ; St. Gatian's Cath., Tours ; XI ; ff. 9r-r55r,
43-124
292 ; St. Gatian's Cath., Tours ; XII ; 1-124
293 ; St. Gatian's Cath., Tours ; XI ; ff. rr-24rr,
1-42
TRENTO, Bibl. Comun. r568 (on permanent loan to Soprintendenza alle
Belle Arti, Castello del Buoneonsiglio, Trento) ; XIV; 1-124
TRVES, Stadtbibl. r25 /7r ; Italy; x /xI ; 1-124
r26 /r236 ; Priory of Eberhardsklausen, near Trves ; A.D. r483 ; 1-124
TROYES, Bibl. Munie. n6; XIII; 1-121 beg.
r99 ; Abbey of Clairvaux ; XII ; 1-124
200 ; St. Peter's Abbey, Montier-la-Celle, Troyes ;
XII ; 1-19, 23-124
536 ; St. Peter's Abbey, Montier-la-Celle ; x ;
1-19, 23-38, 41
853 ; N. Italy (then region of Ravenna, and St.
Paul's Abbey, Besanon) ; VIII ex. ; f. 27v, 121 : 5, 122 : 1 ; f. Sor,
eento (mutil. at beg.) inelud. 92 : 1-2, 93 : 2-4, 96 : 1, 4 (Alan of
Farfa's Homiliary, pt. II)2os

202. For my knowledge of this manuscript I am indebted to Fr. J. J anini of


Valencia.
203. See n. 192 above.
204. Between ff. 28 and 29 (Trr. 16 : 3 and 19 : 16) probably 16 folios have been
lost.
205. Analyzed briefly by LECI,ERCQ, op. cit. (n. 145 above), pp. 197-198, and
GRGOIRE, op. cit., pp. r8-2r. CIIAVASSE, op. cit. (n. 145), argues for its importance
as an early witness to the homiliary of St. Peter's, Rome, independent of both
Alan's and Egino's versions. It merits a full-scale study in its own right. Asto its
provenance, Wrr,MAR'I', in JTS 28 (1927), p. 122 n. 2, followed by Leclercq, p. 197,
identified it as the Cathedral Chapter of Laon. LOWE, CLA VI, no. 840, noted its
connexion with Ra venna, and a tenth-century ex-libris of a St. Mary' s Ab bey, presumabl y in the same region (Grgoire, p. l 8, suggested Pomposa), while 'I'AIX, in RA l l
(1965), p. 9 n. 2, reported the opinion that it cornes from St. Paul's Besanon without
adducing any evidence. The evidence for taix's report is given in an article
contributed by him jointly with B. DE VREGII,I,E to Scriptorium 24 (1970), pp. 27-39,
Les Manuscrits de Besanon, Pierre-Franois Chifflet et la Bibliothque Bouhier.
Sorne notes of Pre Chifflet (1592-1682) preserved in Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibl.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

TURIN, Bibl. Naz. Univ. G. III. 28 ; Bibl. Ducale, Turin; xv; ff. rr3r, 49: 26-50; ff. 3r-4v, 52; ff. 4v-r5r, 55-66; ff. 15v-39v, 103-121:
3206

ULM, Stadtbibl. 6681-89 ; Swabia (then Neithart Family Lib., Ulm);


XIV in. ; pp. 1-248, 1-18, 20, 19, 21-1242 07
UPPSALA, Universitetsbibl. C. 636, ff. 84r-85r ; France (then Franciscan
Couvent, Stockholm) ; XIV; 92 : 1
UTRECHT, Bibl. der Rijksuniv. 3. ]. l (53); Augustinian Canons, Utrecht;
XV; 1-124
VALENCIA, Bibl. Univ. 3r; 1\!Ionastery of San Miguel de los Reyes,
Valencia; xv; ff. 3rv-214 v, 8-124
39; Monastery of San~Miguel de los Reyes, Valencia; XV; 1-124
VALENCIENNES, Bibl. Munie. 80; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux, near
Valenciennes ; xn ; 1-124 (almost certainly the Louvain editors' codex S. Amandi ; see n. 227 below)
166; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux; IX ; f. 2rv,
10: 2
498; Abbey of St. Amand-les-Eaux; XI; inside
back cover, fragments of 6-8
VATICAN CITY, Bibl. Apost. lat. 48r ; XV; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 68r-7rv),
18-124 : 5 (a) 208
lat. 482; xn ex.; 1-124 (a)
lat. 483 ; Monastery of the Holy Cross m Jerusalem, Rome; XI; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 82v-87r), 18-124 (a)
Phillipps r866 (Rose-rec. I7), f. 46r, list the volumes he inspected at the ancient
Abbey of Canons Regular of St. Paul at Besanon early in the seventeenth century
and among them 'Aliud Homiliariurn ex sanctis Leone et Augustino ', which the
writers identify (p. 29) as Troyes, Bibl. Munie. 853, a location it reached via the
Bouhier family library at Dijon.
This manuscript is pr~ceded in Chifflet's list by 'Homiliarium vetus absque
principio et fine ', which Etaix and de Vregille identlfy as Montpellier, Bibl. de la
Facult de Mdecine 240. Of this homiliary from the first half of the ninth century
no printed analysis exists, bnt since it is composed chiefly of Alan of Farfa's collection (loc. cit., and TAIX, RA II {I965), p. 9, where he publishes from it new sections
of two sermons by Caesarius), it presumably contains the selections frorn the Tractatus normally found in copies of Alan's homiliary, viz. Trr. 5r : I- 8 ; a compilation
from 55-56, 58-59, 6I-63 ; another from I20 : I-5 ; I2I : 5, I22 : I ; and a cento
including 92 : I-2, 93 : 2-4, 96 : I, 4 (
pt. I, nos. 86, 88, 93 ; pt. II, nos. 15, 82, in
the analysis in GRGOIRE, Les Homliaires du Moyen Age.)
206. For a careful analysis of thrs rnanuscript's contents (it is not listed by
Oberleitner) I arn grateful to Professor Stelio Bassi, the Director of the Biblioteca.
The Tractatus are numbered three less than in the editions.
207. Dr. Sieber of the Stadtbibliothek has infonned me that the Tractatus are
numbered up to u9, which in default of other evidence I assume to reflect rnisnurnbering rather than precise contents.
208. Belonged to Cardinal Filippo Calandrini, bishop of Bologna A.D. 1447-76.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

137

lat. 637; Church of St. Vincent at the Vatican;


ff. r26r-r6ov, extracts from 1-18, 20, 19, 21-123: 5 (incomplete
at end) 209

IX;

lat. 3835 and 3836 ; Basilica of Sts. Philip and


James, Rome ; VIII in. ; 3835, ff. 29v-32r, 51 : 1-8 ; ff. 229r239v, 67, 69-71 ; 3836, ff. 98r-rorv, cento includ. 92 : 1-2, 93 : 2-4,
96 : 1, 4; ff. ro4v-ro7r, 7 : 7-10, 13-14, 15-16; ff. ro7r-ro9v,
7: 17-18, 19-22 (Agimond's Homiliary, pts. II and III) 210
lat. 4222 ; S. Italy (Beneventan) ; xr1 ; f. 22rv,
4 : 1-6 ; ff. 43r-46r, 1 ; ff. 59r-6ov, 124 : 1-8 ; ff. 94r-ro2r, 5-6 ;
ff. ro8r-rr2r, 8 : 2-9 (abbrevn. ?) ; ff. rr9r-r2ov, 16 ; ff. r69v17rv, 17: 1-10 (Homiliary) 211
lat. 7615; XI; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 66r-7or), 18-122 : 9
(a)
lat. 13501 ; S. Italy (Beneventan) ; xr 2 ; f. 41rv,
fragments of 34 : 4-9
lat. 14004 ; S.-E. Italy (then Archiepiscopal Seminary, Capua; Beneventan, Bari-type); XI; 2: 15-101 : 1, 115: 5124
Arch. S. Pietro C 96; St. Peter's Basilica, Rome;
XI-XII; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 61r-64r), 20, 18-19, 21-124 (a) 212
Arch. S. Pietro C ro5 ; St. Peter's Basilica, Rome;
IX /x ; ff. 277r-279r, 51 : 1-8 ; ff. 28rv-282r, compilation from 5556, 58-59, 61-63 (mutil. at end) (Homiliary, pt. I)213
209. See pp. 76-89, above.
210. The analysis of G. Low, Ein Stadtromisclus Lehtionar des VIII.
]ahrhunde1ts, in Ri!mischc Quartalschrift 37 (1929), pp. 15-39, is superseded by GRGOIRE's,
L'homliaire romain d'Agimond, in Eph. Lit. 82 (1968), pp. 257-305. Scholars are
agreed that Agimond's collection is closely related to earlier Roman homiliaries,
which possessed a primitive African base. Cf. C:HAVASSE, op. cit. (n. 145 above) ;
Le calendrier dominical romain au si.-rime sicle, III : Un homliaire romain dit
sixime et du septime sicle', in RSR 41 (1953), pp. 111-122; Le sermonairll d' Agimond:
Ses sources immdiates, in Kyria.hon: Festschrift Johannes Quasten, edd. P. GRANFIELD
and J .A. JuNGMANN, vol. 2, Mnster, Westf., 1970, pp. 800-810.
21r. BARR, Un homlia.ire bnventa.in ... (op. cit., n. 131 above), pp. 89-II9,
especially pp. 94-97. Although more a collection of 'homilies' than 'sermons'
(see pp. 108-109 above), it represents a good textual tradition and is very largely
independent and original both in content and in arrangement.
212. For its unusual numbering see p. 91 above. This manuscript is briefly
described by FRANCA DE MARCO in Censimento dei codici dei secoli X-XII, in Studi
Medieva.li rr (1970). at pp. 111-112. It is assigned to the eleventh century and to
central Italy as its area of origin. An index to the Gospel and accompanying
Tractatus appears on ff. lr-2v.
213. Analyzed by LW, Il pi antico Sermonario di San Pietro in V a.ticano, in
Rivista. di Archeologia. Cristiana 19 (1942), pp. 143-183, who demonstrates its close
affinities, even its ' absolute identity ', with Egino's collection, Berlin Phillipps 1676,
i.e., with the Roman homiliary of the early eighth century known usually as that of
;\Jan of Farfa (see n. 145 above). It is probably independently based on the ancient
and authentic homiliary of St. Peter's ; cf. the articles of A. C:havasse listed in nn. 145
and 210 above. It ends imperfectly with Maundy Thursday.

10

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Borg. lat. 371 (M. VII. 9);

XI;

ff. lr-2 v, fragments

of 50 : 2-5

Chig. A. VIII. 241; xv; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 85r-9or),


18-124 (a)

Palat. lat. 176; X-XI; ff. 87v-161r, extracts (perh.


similar to Vat. lat. 637, ff. 126r-16ov - see above)
Palat. lat. 206 ; Abbey of Sts. Mary and Nazarius,
Lorsch, dioc. Mainz ; x ; 1-33
Palat. lat. 207; Abbey of Sts. Mary and Nazarius,
Lorsch ; VIII ex. ; 24_5421sa
Regin. lat. 195 ; France (? N. Italy) (then Corno,
N. Italy) ; IX ex. ; ff. 31r-39v, compilation from 55-56, 58-59,
61-63 (Alan of Farfa's Romiliary, pt. I, 88)
Regin. lat. 307 ; N. France ; rx1 ; extracts, f. l84r,
36: 1 ; f. l85r, 1: 13; f. l86r, 1: 16-18
Ross. 303 (VIII. 239); XI; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 55v58v), 18-124 (a)
Urb. lat. 68 (114) ; XV; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 77r-81r),
18-122 : 3

VENDME, Bibl. Munie. 38; Abbey of Roly Trinity, Vendme; XI;


1-43: 9 (?) (one of the Maurists' Vindocinenses duo) 21 4
41; Abbey of Roly Trinity, Vendme; XI; 43 :
9 (?)-124 (a) (probably the second of the Maurists' Vindocinenses
duo)21s

136; ? Abbey of Roly Trinity, Vendme; xn;


42 : 14-124 (a)
213 A. This manuscriptis included in LOWE, CLA Supplement, no. 1769, p. 115, as
written at Lorsch Abbey late in the eighth century. This revised dating and ascription to Lorsch (it later belonged to Heidelberg University before removal to
the Vatican) necessitate valuable adjustments at several points in our study. In
particular, we are able to locate precisely another witness to the omission of
Trr. 20-22 in a region of central Europe where it is already well attested. Moreover,
it now becomes a possibility that this codex is the second of the three containing
parts of the Tractatus listed in the Lorsch catalogue discussed above on p. 78 : In alio
[codice] LII [Tractatus]. But even if the cataloguer failed to notice that the
manuscript begins with Tr. ' 21 ', and not with the first Tractatus, it ends with
Tr. ' 51 ', not ' 52 ', so that the identification remains doubtful. Lowe gives the
contents as Trr. 21-51 ; they are of course Trr. 24-54. I have not seen B1SCHOFF'S
study, Lors ch im Spiegel seiner Handschriften, in Die Reichsabtei Lorsch. Festschrift zum
Gedenken an ihre Stiftung 764 (Hessis<,he Historische Kommission; Darmstadt, 1964).
214. The Maurist editors of the Tractatus claimed to have used codices Vindocinenses duo (PL 35, 1379-1390). In Paris, B.N. lat. n66o, one of their collections of
preparatory material, codex sis Vindocinensis 25M (a small '2' appears unobtrusively above the word). It does not feature among the collations after Tr. 43 : 9.
Thus although Vendme 41 is probably a companion volume to Vendme 38 and
therefore the Maurists' second Vindocinensis, the two manuscripts have been collated
separately. This no doubt explains why they are listed as two codices while the
two-volume Reims 93 and 94 appears as one Remigiensis (see above, n. 199)
215. See previous note.

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH.

139

VENICE, Bibl. Naz. Marciana lat. Z. 59 (1797) ; St. Mark's Church,


Venice; xv; ff. Ir-216v, 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 6or-64r), 18-124
lat. Z. 60 (1690) ; St. Mark's Church, Venice;
XII ; ff. 5r-185 v, 1 : 4-40 : 4
lat. II. 18 ; XIII ; ff. n5r-n7v, extracts from 1-4
lat. II. 102 (2148) ; St. l\fargaret's Church, Padua ;
XIV in. ; 1-18, 20, 19, 21-124 (a)
VERCELLI, Archiv. Capit. XLVI (58) ; N. Italy; IX ex. ; 1-124
VERONA, Bibl. Capit. XXXVI (34) ; St. Zeno's Cath., Verona; IX ;
1-17, S. 125 (ff. nr-125r), 18, 20-21, 19, 22-53: 13
LII (50) ; Burgundy ; vm /Ix ; ff. 7rv-76r, 7 :
7-10, 13-14, 15-16; ff. 76r-79r, 7: 17-18, 19-22 (Homiliary)216
Bibl. Comun. 3034; St. Zeno's Cath. (then Abbey of St. Zeno
the Greater) Verona; Ix2 ; jragmentary remains of 55 : 1-57,
61-64, 66-77 : 1 (a)217
VICH, Bibl. Capit. 27 (II) ; Vich Cath. ; XII; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 6rv-65r),
20-23, 18-19, 24-124218

VIENNA, sterr. Nationalbibl. 655 ; St. Mary's Abbey, Garsten, near


Linz; XII ex. ; ff. lr-n8v, 55-(?) 124 (a)219
216. TAlX, Un homiliaire ancien dans le ms. LII de la Bibliothque capitulaire de
Vrone, in RB 73 (1963), pp. 289-306; GRGOIRE, op. cit., p. 8. This Burgundian
collection seems to be based on a lost Roman homiliary. The extracts from the
Tractatus are found also in Agimond's homiliary, pt. III, Vatican 3836, ff. 104v-109v.
While there is general agreement that this manuscript was written in a monastery,
perhaps one of little prominence, in Burgundy and reached Verona soon afterwards,
and certainly by the early ninth century (see also LOWE, CLA IV, no. 505 ;
R. HANSLlK, Benedicti Regula [CSEL 75; Vienna,1960],p.XLVII),therearetextual
and palaeographical reasons for linking parts of it with the Abbey of Sts. Peter and
Praejectus at Flavigny (diocese of Dijon, Cte d'Or). Its origin therefore remains
unclear. A Burgundian foundation connected with Flavigny would presumably
meet the situation. See TAIX, art. cit., p. 299 ; BISCHOFF, Panorama .. ., p. 242
n. 66 ; B. FISCHER, Bibeltext und Bibelreform unter Karl dem Grossen, in Karl der
Grosse : Lebenswerk, vol. 2, p. 169. The inclusion of the codex in G. TURRINI's

Millennium Scriptorii Veronensis dal IV 0 al XV 0 Secolo: Esempi di Scrittura Veronese ... (Verona, 1967), pl. 13, is unaccompanied by any indication that the author is
not claiming it for the Verona scriptorium (a possibility which TAIX, loc. cit.,
emphatically rejects). Turrini places the manuscript unambiguously in the eighth
century, and also dates codex XXXVI (see my list above) more precisely to the end
of the ninth century.
217. Ou this reconstructed codex see the works of G. MOSCHE'!''.l'I and M. CARRARA
listed in Clavis Patrum Latinorum (second edit.), no. 278. More precise indication
of contents is given by CARRARA,
pii't antico Codice della Biblioteca Comunale di
Verona, pp. 10-1 r. Trr. 56, 72 and 75 are complete, 55, 62, 70 and 73 virtually so.
The manuscript seems to have been a companion volume to Verona, Capit. XXXVI.

218. On this manuscript, for details of which and for other assistance I am indebted to Dr. M.S. Gros, see n. 125 above. The Tractatus are sub-divided into liturgical
homilies ; cf. n. 147 above.
219. Denis's catalogue describes the contents as sermons I-LXIV of the second
part. Misnumbering may disguise the presence of the whole of Trr. 55-124.

DAVID F. WRIGHT

697 ; IX ; fragments inside covers, end 1-beg. 2


725 ; ? N. Italy (then Baumgartenberg Abbey,
near Linz) ; rx1 ; front flyleaf, 116: 7-117: 2220
!014; Abbey of Sts. Peter and Michael, Mondsee,
near Salzburg; rx in. ; extracts, ff. r6r-19r, includ. 92 : 1-2; ff.
I9r-2rv, includ. 74 : 1-2; ff l46L148r, includ. 123 : 5; ff. l89vI9ov + n8rv, includ. 51 : 9-13 (Homiliary, pt. II) 221
1616; N. Italy (or W. Switzerland) (then Salzburg
Cath.); VIII ex.; ff. 28r-3rv, 124 : 1-4; ff. 79r-8Sv, 50 (Homiliary)222
4287 ; xv ; ff. 104r_n6r, extracts
Schottenklosterbibl. 58 (50 g. l) ; xv; f. 222v, 15: 23-26 ; ff. 23rv232r, 33 : 5-end; f. 232v, 38 : 5-10; f. 39orv, 26 : 1-?; ff. 39Ir392v, 26: 12-16; ff. 392v-395r, 27: 1-?
VOLTERRA, Bibl. Comun. Guarnacci 6778 (LXI. 8, 5 ; 22), ff. l-2IO ;
Church of St. Cecilia the Less, Volterra; xrv; 1-17, S. 125 (ff.
64v-6Sr), 18-124
VORAU, Bibl. des Chorhcrrenstijtes 104 (XIV) ; Austria (? Augustinian Canons, Vorau) ; xn ex. ; 1-17, S. 125 (ff. 65r-6Sv), 18-124: 3223
WERTHEIM, Frstl. Lou:enstein-Wertheim-Rosenbergsches Archiv Fragm. 2;
(? St. Kylian's Cath., Wrzburg, then) Bronnbach Abbey, dioc.
Wrzburg; rx1 ; 6 : 1-3, 9-12
WINCHESTER, Cath. Lib. II; Cath. Priory of St. Swithin, Winchester;
xr/xn; ff. Ir-26Ir, 1-124
WLFENBTTEL, Herzog-August-Bibl. 4094 (IO) ; Abbey of Sts. Peter
and Paul, Weissenburg; IX in. ; 1-23
4096 (I2) ; Abbey of Sts. Peter and Paul, Weissenburg; IX; ff. l77L179r, extracts jrom 15 : 1-14 (Augustinian
Homiliary) 224
220. DEAN, op. cit. In her edition of the text of this fragment Miss Dean has
inserted the heading Tractatus CXVII in one of the lacunae. It is far more likely
that Sermo [Homilia] LXIII was in the original.
22I. Copied between Srr and 8r9, cf. BARR, L'homiliaire carolingien de Mondsee,
in RB 7r (r96r), pp. 7r-ro7. See above p. ro8.
222. Cf. LAMBOT, Sermon indit de saint Augustin pour une fte de martyrs dans un
homiliaire de type ancien, in RB 68 (r958), pp. r87-r99; GRGOIRE, op. cit., pp. r3zI4L Lambot puts the composition of the homiliary presented in this manuscript circa 650-750, and regards it as based on an African collection of the early sixth
century, which itself goes back to a more primitive compilation. According to
Lambot, Bischoff suggests the manuscript was written in a scriptorium between
N. Italy and Burgundy, perhaps the Abbey of Sts. Peter and Andrew, Novalesa,
W. of Turin, or St. Maurice, Agaune, S. of Lake Geneva.
22 3. P. FANK, Catalogus Voraviensis, seu Codices M anuscripti Biblithecae Canoniae
in Vorau (Graz, r936), p. 5r. As a result of the disordering of the sheets the text is
to be read in the following order: ff. r"-174v, r83r-r9ov, r75r-1S2v, l91r-233v.
224. MORIN, Les Tractatus S. Augitstini du ms. 4096 de Wolfenbttel, in RB 31
(1914-19), p. 150. This remarkable collection of Augustinian sermons goes back to

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

141

4102 (r8) ; Abbey of Sts. Peter and Paul, Weissenburg ; IX in. ; 24-54 225
WRZBURG, Universitatsbibl. M.p.th.f. 74; S. Bavaria (? Freising) (then
St. Kylian's Cath., Wrzburg) ; IX med. ; ff. rr-94r, 1-13226
M.p.th.f. r24 ; XII ; 55-124 (a)
ZURICH, Zentralbibl. Z. XIV. r7 (614) ; XII ; f. rrv, 87 : 1-88 : 3; ff. 2r3v, 122: 8-123: 5; f. 4rv, 124: 4-5
ZWETTI., Stiftsbibl. r9; Zwettl Abbey; XII; 1-17, S. r25 (ff. 64v-6Sr),
20-124
THE MANUSCRIPTS USED

BY

THE LOUVAIN EDITORS

For their edition of the Tractatus, which was published in r576 at


Antwerp in volume 9 of their Opera Omnia, the Louvain editors used
seven manuscripts (vol. 9, p. 457) of which three can be identified
today:
r. Parcensis, Trr. r-43 = London, B.M. Addit. r7289
2. Floreffiensis, Trr. r-43
3. Gemblacensis, Trr. I-r24 = Brussels 5565
4. Tornacensis, Trr. r-r24
5. Cambronensis, Trr. r-I24
6. S. Amandi, Trr. r-124 = almost certainly Valenciennes 80227
7. Carthusiensis, Trr. r-r24
I know of no candidates for identification as the remaining four,
unless London, B.M. Addit 10937, of the twelfth century, be the codex
1

the activity of Caesarius of Arles, according to Morin. On its use of the term
tractatus see above n. 39.
225. See n. 76 above.
226. In Die Sdostdeutschen Schreibschulen, pp. l 15-116, Bischoff a~serted that the
scribe of this manuscript, one Tiso, must have originated in the Freising school even
if his script subsequently underwent variation elsewhere. This connexion with
Freising, which Bischoff qualifies somewhat in Libri Sancti Kyliani, pp. 42-43, is
probably confirmed by Munich 6287 (1x 1 ; Freising) which alone of other early
manuscripts also contains Trr. l-13 and no more.
227. According to the editors' Castigationes et Variae Lectiones (vol. 9 1 p. 457)
their codex S. Amandi contained the whole work, and Valenciennes 80 is the only
known copy from St. Amand-les-Eaux which fulfils this requirement. Two items
of information received through . Bleuzen confirm this identification. A piece of
parchment sewn into the last sheet of the codex bears the date 1570, a probable
indication of the year the manuscript was collated for the Louvain edition which
appeared in 1576. Secondly, the last words of Tr. 14 in Valenciennes 80 are Deus
bibit mortem ne mors biberet hominem (Maurists, PL and CCL: uicit ... uinceret), which
was the reading in the Louvain edition. However, since all the manuscripts used
for this edition, as well as ail earlier editions, presented this reading, this last point is
of limited significance. For one distinctive feature of Valenciennes 80 see p. 82
above,

!42

DAVID F. WRIGHT

Carthusiensis. It was brought from La Grande Chartreuse to Erfurt in


the fifteenth century (see n. 158 above).
THE MANUSCRIPTS USED BY THE MAURIST EDITORS

The Maurists' edition of the Tractatus appeared in the second part


of their third volume (Paris, 1680). Their Admonitio22B lists fourteen
manuscripts, but it omits at least one and is probably inconsistent in
the way it counts pairs of codices together forming a single copy of the
work. Nor do they specify the contents of their manuscripts, though
in several cases these can be determined from the collations in Paris,
B.N. lat. n66o and n66I.
I. Fossatensis, Trr. 1-124 ; circa A.D. 840
2. Germanensis (vetustissimus), Trr. 1-54 = probably Paris, B.N.
lat. 12196 (see n. 196 above)
3. Germanensis (vetustissimus), Trr. 1-124 (?) = perhaps Paris,
B.N. lat. 12194, 12195 (see n. 195 above)
4. Corbeiensis = perhaps Paris, B.N. lat. n635, containing Trr. 55124 (' 1-70 ') (see n. 194 above)
5. Remigiensis, Trr. 1-124 in two parts = Reims 93, 94
6. Remigiensis, Trr. 1-124 (55-124 as ' 1-70 ') = probably Reims
92 (see n. 199 above). Not mentioned in the Admonitio.
7. Gemmeticensis, Trr. 1-124 = Rouen A. 91
8. Floriacensis, Trr. 1-124 = Orlans 161 (see above p. 88 and
n. 181)
9. Audoenensis, Trr. 1-124 = Rouen A. 85
10. Becheronensis, Trr. 1-2J229
II. Pratellensis, Trr. 1-124
12., 13. Vindocinenses duo, Trr. 1-124 = most probably Vendme
38 and 41 (see n. 214 above)
14. Carcassonensis, Trr. 1-17, S. 125, 20-124 (55-124 as' 1-70 ')
15. A bbatia de Cuttura = Le Mans 260, containing Trr. 54-124

The Maurist editors also took note of the variant readings listed by
their Louvain predecessors from their seven manuscripts, which explains
how on occasion they could refer to more manuscripts than their own
228. PL 35, 1379-1380; CCL 36, XIII.
229. This manuscript from the Cistercian house of La Merci-Dieu on the River
Gartempe in Haute-Vienne disappears from the collations in Paris, B.N. lat. n66o,
ff. 1r-1r, after Tr ..: 27. Itis referred to in the edition only on Trr. r and 2 (PL 35,
1384 n. l, 1389 n. l, 1390 n. r).

THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE "TRACT. IN EVANG. IOH."

143

maximum, once even to seventeen manuscripts230 . Of the unidentified


codices, the Fossatensis and most probably the Becheronensis must now
be regarded as lost. It is possible that the Pratellensis and the Carcassonensis still survive, but in the latter case the mass of exempla rs
including S. r25 throws up not a single serious candidate for identification.
MANUSC'.RIPTS LOST OR MISSING
For the sake of completeness I include the following information about
a few manuscripts known of in modern times
Chartres r54 (ro6) : destroyed in the war.
Mnster, Universitatsbibl. (Regia Bibl. Paulina) 4r (2r5) : destroyed
in the war.
Poznan, Archiuum i Bibl. Archidiecezji I4 : destroyed in the war.
Trves r24 : lost between r83r and r89r.
Trves r27 : lost.
Phillipps 2037 : location perhaps unknown
see n. r98 above.
Phillipps 4477 : last observed when offered for sale by Jacques Rosenthal of Munich early in r899 (see Wright, op. cit., p. 326 n. r). Enquiries in Munich have failed to discover the buyer.
David F. WRIGHT

POSTSCRIPT: J.P. Weiss and R. taix have shown that the Commentary
on John ascribed to Salonius by C. Curti (see p. 70 above) is a Carolingian
production, a dating which its otherwise remarkably early use of the Praefatio
Incerti Auctoris (or in fact of Alcuin ?) must confirm. See Weiss's review in
Revue des tudes Latines 46 (1968), pp. 481-482, and his studies in Studia
Patristica 19 (TU 107 ; Berlin, 1970), pp. 161-167, and SE 19 (1969-70), pp. 77114, and Etaix's review in RHE 65, (1970), pp. 133-135. According to
P. Verbraken in RB 80 (1970), pp. 341-2, Etaix earlier accepted Curti's ascription.

230. On Tr. r : 9 (PL 35, 1384 n. r). Cf. also the reference to thirteen manuscripts
on Tr. 54 : 3 (PL 35, 1786 n. 2), a total which equally cannot be reached solely from
the Maurists' own codices. The Louvain editors' Parcensis is explicitly mentioned
on Tr. 5 : 14 (PL 35, 1421 n. 1). Fifteen are referred to on Tr. 12: 12 (PL 35, 1490
n. l), which must include at least one manuscript in addition to their own (so VAN
DEN Hou'!', in Augustinia11a 5 [1955], p. 302 n. 7, correctly but working only from
the Maurists' Admonitio), and perhaps two if their qrbeiens'i conta,ined only
Trr. 55-124 (see above).

Un fragment de manuscrit des Tractatus

in Euangelium Iohannis de s. Augustin


dcouvert Vzelay en 1966

L'article trs document de D.F. Wright, qui prcde, tait dj compos, lorsque nous avons eu connaissance de la dcouverte rcente
Vzelay d'un fragment de manuscrit, 130 X 135 mm, comportant au recto,
et au verso deux extraits du Tractatus 75 in Euangelium Iohannis de
s. Augustin1. Ce fragment est aujourd'hui conserv l'Htel de Ville
de Vzelay.
C'est au milieu des dblais provenant d'une ancienne salle de l'abbaye,
situe au-dessus de l'actuelle Chapelle-Basse, que R. Pirault2 eut la bonne
fortune de dcouvrir, au cours de l'hiver 1966-1967, ce fragment ainsi que
d'autres documents dont une lettre, date de 1240, de l'abb de Flavigny
l'abb de Vzelay, un authentique des reliques des. Lazare et de ses surs
Marie-Madeleine et Marthe, probablement du xne s., et deux quittances
dates respectivement de 1309 et 1414. De ces documents tous trs prcieux
pour l'histoire de l'abbaye ou de la basilique, le manuscrit du Tractatus 75
aurait un intrt tout particulier s'il tait un vestige des richesses de la

I. C'est grce l'amabilit de M. Pierre Petitmengin, bibliothcaire de l'cole


Normale Suprieure de Paris, que nous avons eu connaissance de cette dcouverte
signale dans Deutsches Archiv fr Erforschung des Mittelalten, 27, 1971, 597-598.

2. Robert Pirault (Frre Sylvestre, O.F.M), a fait part de ses dcouvertes dans
L' cho d'Auxerre, n. 80 (mars-avril 1969), p. 6-Io; n. 81 (mai-juin 1969) p. 24-28 ;
n. 86 (mars-avril 1970), p. 15-18 ; n. 89 (septembre-octobre 1970), p. 3-7. Pour le
ms du Tractatus 75, voir n. 80, sous le titre Comment furent dcouverts en 1966-1967 les
manuscrits de Vzelay ; aux p. 7 et 8 fac-simil du manuscrit. C'est en dcembre 1966
que R.P. a dcouvert le fragment manuscrit du Tractatus 75.

GEORGES FOLLIET

bibliothque, puisque, mis part un Brviaire 3 du xrve s., aucun autre


manuscrit ne parat subsister. Quoi qu'il en soit, ce fragment mrite
considration, car il est probablement le seul tmoin d'un manuscrit
disparu.
Au recto, dans la marge suprieure, on peut lire, bien que l'encre en soit
quelque peu efface, le chiffre LXXV, c'est le numro du Tractatus dont
deux extraits, de r6 lignes chacun, figurent au recto et au verso. !/incipit
(1. r-3) ad quod ait 'qui diligit me diligetur a patre meo ... meipsum' ii
correspond la seconde partie du titulus. Suit le dbut du Tractatus (1. 4r6) cc Post promissionem ... per naturam ii, soit dans l'd. Willems, CCL 36,
p. 5r5, r-9. Au verso les r6 lignes: <c uidebat [hJominem ... praesent [is poJ
suit temporis ii, appartiennent aux 2 et 3, d. Willems, p. 5r5 fin, dernier
mot - p. 5r6, 3, r. 5. Entre ces deux extraits correspondant chacun
environ r3 lignes dans l'dition devait figurer au recto le texte intermdiaire correspondant galement r3 lignes de l'd. Willems. Le fragment
qui nous est parvenu serait donc le quart d'un folio dont les dimensions en
hauteur et en largeur devaifnt tre le double, soit 260 mm >< 280 mm, le
texte tant rparti sur deux colonnes de 32 lignes traces la pointe sche.
L'examen des tranches, celle de l'intrieur et celle du bas, rvle des
coupures franches ; ce qui conduit prnser, comme l'avait dj suppos
R. Pirault, que le folio complet a t coup en quatre pour les besoins d'un
atelier de reliure, et que tel a t probablement le sort de l'ensemble du
manuscrit auquel ce folio a appartenu.
La double mention du numro et du titre du Tractatus porte au recto
indique en effet que le folio a fait partie d'un manuscrit contenant sinon
l'ensemble tout au moins une srie des Homlies sur l'vangile des. jean
dans leur numrotation actuelle. Le dbut du titre devait figurer au recto,
aux deux ou trois dernires lignes de la premire colonne, dans les termes
habituels : <c Incipit homelia (ou' tractatus' ou' sermo ') LXXV de eo
quod ait Iesus' Non relinquam uos orphanos' ii. D'autre part si l'on tient
compte du classemfnt des manuscrits des Tractatus in Euangelium
I ohannis en deux groupes, suivant la numrotation sous laquelle les
Tractatus s<-: prsentent (voir art. de D.F. Wright, p. 72-75 : tradition
ancienne, les r24 Tractatus numrots successivement r-54, et r-70 ;
tradition postrieure au xe s., numrotation suivie r-r24), le manuscrit
d'o est extrait le fragment de Vzelay appartient au second groupe.

3. Manuscrit conserv Lyon, Bibl. mun. 555 (473), parchemin, 165 >< II4 mm,
485 feuillets. Voir V. LEROQUAIS, Les Brviaires manuscrits des bibliothques publiques
de France, t. II, n. 319, p. 181-184. Dans son dition des Sermons de Julien de Vzelay (coll. Sources chrtiennes), t. I, p. 19, n. 3, D. Vorreux signale, comme provenant

de Vzelay, un manuscrit de l'Histoire Lausiaque qui, au tmoignage de Rosweyde


(PL 74, 393 noter), aurait servi la premire dition de ce texte, et le Commentaire
de Servius sur les Gorgiques ( =~ Reginensis 1495) qui fut copi dans le scriptorium
de l'Abbaye.

LE MS. DE VZELAY DES '' TR. IN EVANG. IOH.

En l'absence de toute dition critique des Tractatus, il y a peu de chose


dire du point de vue textuel. Notons seulement les variantes suivantes,
par rapport aux ditions connues : dans le titre, la citation du verset
jean 14, 21 est plus complte. Au recto, on lit, 1. 13 enim >> au lieu de
ergo ll, et 1. 15 uoluit >> au lieu de uoluerit >> qui s'impose. Au verso,
la variante la 1. 15 fuerat >> est galt ment fautive, Sfule la leon erat
permet la comprhension de la phrase.
Pour la date, les experts auxquels nous avons montr les reproductions
photographiques du fragment ont confirm celle qu'avait propose
R. Pirault, savoir la fin du XIe ou 1E dbut du xrre s. L'criture n'est pas
des plus rgulires : double forme des lettres d g p s et grandeur variable
des caractres. Le P initial de Post, au recto ligne 4, dont la haste descend
jusqu' la ligne 8, est trac l'encre rouge; un point de mme couleur
vient en surcharge l'intrieur de toutes les lettres capitales : au recto
1. 8 N(on), 1. 9 O(rphanos), 1. II N(am), 1. 13 Q(amuis) ; au verso 1. let
2 V(idebat), 1. 3 S(ed), 1. 7 H(inc), 1. IO Q(uid). Les avaries subies par le
parchemin ont quelque peu terni le coloris que l'on devine peine sur la
reproduction photographique.
De l'avis autoris de M. Fr. Avril, l'criture de ce fragment du Tractatus 75 in Eu. Iohannis serait apparente l'criture des scriptoria
normands, la forme de la lettre g avec la boucle infrieure ouverte en
serait une des caractristiques. L'examen d'une vingtaine de manuscrits
en provenance de Fcamps ou du Mont-Saint-Michel ne nous a pas conduit
la dcouverte d'une criture identique, malgr certains rapprochements,
voir par exemple ms. Paris, B.N. lat. 989, XI s., fol. 6.
A partir de l'inventaire de tous les manuscrits connus des Tractatus
qu'a dress D.F. Wright (ci-dessus p. rr1-141), nous avons aussi tent
quelques recherches parmi les manuscrits mutils ou fragments subsistants ici ou l, mais en vain. Pour l'instant le manuscrit de Vzelay vient
donc s'ajouter la liste des 345 manuscrits recenss.
Georges FOLLIItT

Cette note, malheureusement bien sommaire, n'a pu tre rdige que grce au
concours bienveillant du R.P. Hugues DEI.AUTRE, Recteur de la Basilique de
Vzelay, qui nous a facilit l'examen du manuscrit et nous en a communiqu les
reproductions photographiques ; nous lui exprimons notre gratitude ainsi qu'
MM. Franois AVRIL et Jean VZIN, conservateurs au Cabinet des manuscrits de la
Bibliothque Nationale de Paris, qui nous ont fait bnfici de leur haute comptence.

-US.

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tW$ "1"'p}Jdt

$~

UJ?.lt fUtt

"

1.1'!1.tttO ttUL
UW1 ..S1
f

:t1.

tt

Vzelay, Htel de Ville, ms.

(recto)

S. AUG USTIN , Tract. in Euang. !oh., 75, I

rrfum~

tp~m

f~

~UAnt 11L'tl 16llt uia"

"11

u~u co'lrt'CA-An&.m

n~ntb~

uurilu' t1Curdnnon~i non fw, ..


'me fot'la<1~11ttdl~itffi di .

... ,........ _,. tt1.0'1tc~(( ttllttzduf1~tA' 1ten

.,,

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wdtttfmr-t

dtd \#"quu. ~ uu.io o:.~


dt flla"~tr uu.\tl't'. ruos "1fr de

tro ~ mft qwa UUdtn.~:"l11t


,.\rut~ uaq; ~~f. qlldh~ ttt1pfo

~~~u1 -a.<

Uccurw~
t"l'Cr'

Vzelay, H t el d e Yille, ms.

(Yerso)

S. A UGUS TI!\', T1,act. in Euang. !oh., 75, 2-3

Rom. 14, 23h dans l'uvre de saint Augustin


(Omne quod non est ex fide, peccatum est)

On peut regretter avec J.-M. Lagrange que saint Augustin n'ait pas
compos un commentaire complet de l' ptre aux Romains : Nous
aurions, crit-il, le chef d'uvre des commentaires anciens >> et il ajoute :
Peut-tre aussi, dans une tude qui et suivi de trs prs l'enchanement
des penses de l' Aptre, Augustin aurait-il adouci certaines interprtations qui serrent trop prs des mots et des phrases isoles de leur contexte.
Il n'en est pas moins vrai qu'Augustin a pntr plus fond qu'aucun
ancien dans la pense de saint Paul dont il s'est assimil la doctrine 1 >>.
Nous ignorons si, dans sa critique discrte, l'auteur visait aussi l'emploi
qu'Augustin a fait de Romains 14, 23b 2 Comme nous allons le voir, trois
exceptions prs qui ne tin'nt pas consquence 3 , l'vque d'Hippone ne
cite de Rom. 14, 23 que la phrase finale (23 b) : Omne (autem, enim) quod
I. M.-J. LAGRANGE, Saint Paul. ptre aux Romains, Paris, 2e d. I922, p. IX.
Saint Augustin nous a laiss : Expositio quarundam propositionimi ex epistula
apostoli ad Romanos (PL 35, 2063-2088 ; CSEL 84 /I, pp. 3-52), Epistolae ad Romanos inchoata expositio (PL 35, 2087-2Io6 ; CSEL 84 /I, pp. 145-I8I), un commentaire
de Rom. 7-8, II, 8, I8-24 et 9, 20 en D< div. quaestionibus 83, quaest. 66, 67 et 68
(PL 40, 60-74; BA IO, pp. 234-282) ; de Rom. 7, 7-25 et de Rom. 9, 10-29 en De
diversis quaestionibus ad Simplicianum I, quaestio I (PL 40, 103-IIo ; CC 44,
pp. 7-23 ; BA IO, pp. 4Io-440) et quaestio 2 (PL 40, I 10-I28 ; CC 44, pp. 24-56 ;
BA Io, pp. 442-508). Ces uvres, mmes prises ensemble, ne forment pas un commentaire complet. Cependant c'est dans 1' pitre aux Romains qu'Augustin trouve
l'inspiration principale de sa doctrine sur la grce, voir Ph. PLA'tZ, Der Romerbrief in
der Gnadenlehre Augustins, Wrzburg, I938 et D. DEMMER, Luther interpres. Der
theologische N euansatz in seiner Romerbriefexegese unter besonderer Bercksichtigung
Augustins (Untersuchungen zur Kirchengeschichte, 4) Witten I968.
2. Voir cependant M.-J. LAGRANGE, op. cit. pp. 322-340.
3. En De moribus ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus manichaeorum, II, 14, 32
(BA l, pp. 300-304) ; Contra Adimantum, 14, 2 (BA 17, pp. 288-292) ; C. Iulianum
pelagianum, IV, 3, 24 (PL 44, 750). Rom. 14 est cit en entier en De Scriptura sacra
Speculum (PL 34, 998-999), dont l'authenticit augustinienne n'est pas admise par
tous.

ALBERT C. DE VEER

non est ex jide, peccatum est, en donnant au mot /ides le sens thologique de
foi qui justifie et rend chrtien. Est-ce conforme la pense del' Aptre?

LA PENSE DE L'APTRE EN ROM.

r4,

23

Lev. 23b clt l'intervention de l'Aptre dans le litige qui, au sein de la


communaut romaine, opposait les forts et les faibles dans la foi sur
l'obligation de s'abstenir de viande et de vin soit certains jours soit
tous les jours 4 Il fait suite la conclusion de l'expos (v. 22-23 a), fournissant celle-ci pour ainsi dire sa dernire justification5 . La formule est
frappe comme une sentence qui ne souffre pas d'exception et on peut se
demander si l'Aptre, dpassant le cas prcis dont il s'agit, n'y exprime
pas le principe fondamental qui doit inspirer toute conduite spcifiquement chrtienne. La rponse dpend du sens quel' Aptre donne au mot foi
pistis, (!ides) employ trois reprises dans les seuls v. 22-23.
Nombreux sont les commentateurs 6 qui veulent voir dans ce mot un
synonyme de conscience, plus prcisment de bonne conscience voire
simplement de bonne foi au sens populaire du mot : au v. 23b l'Aptre
rappellerait un principe qui vaudrait pour les paens aussi bien que pour
les chrtiens, savoir qu'on doit toujours agir avec une consciPnce assure
de bien faire; agir contre sa conscience assure c'est pcher (v. 22b) ;
c'est pcher aussi que d'agir avec une conscience douteuse (v. 23 a). Les
tenants de cette opinion s'appuient plus spcialement sur le texte grec du
v. 23 a qui, correctement traduit7, poserait prcisment le problme de la

+ Sur la question difficile de savoir qui taient ces faibles dans la foi et quelles
influences ils avaient subies, voir par ex. M.-J. LAGRANGE, Les faibles et les forts
dans ptre aux Romains, Paris, 2e d. r922, pp. 335-340.
5. Nous croyons que les v. 22-23 s'appliquent aux faibles aussi bien qu'aux forts,
ce qui en souligne le caractre de conclusion gnrale ; voir A. FEUILLET, art. cit la
note suivante, pp. 364-365.
6. Sur l'opinion des anciens et des modernes on peut consulter R. CoRNELY,
Epistola ad Romanos, Paris, r896, pp. 722-726 ( rectifier sur certains points) et
M.- J. LAGRANGE, op. cit., pp. 322-340. Il faut ajouter de nombreuses tudes parues
depuis, par ex. Ch. H. DoDD, The Epistle to the Romans, Londres r949, G. Rrccro'.l'TI,
Le Lettere de San Paolo tradotte e commentate, Rome, 2e d. r949, Otto MICHEL,
Der Brie/ an die Ramer, Gttingen r955. Voir aussi: R. ARNAUD, Quidquid non est ex
/ide peccatum est Quelques interprtations patristiques, dans L'Homme devant Dieu.
Mlanges ... H. de Lubac, vol. I, Paris, l 963, pp. r27-145. Nous nous inspirons principalement de A. FEUILLE'.!', Les fondements de la morale chrtienne d'aprs l' ptre aux
Romains, dans Revue Thomiste, 78e anne, t. 70, 1970, pp. 357-386 ; on y trouvera
une abondante littrature. L'auteur s'inspire souvent, son tour, d'une monographie
de G. THERRIEN, Le discernement moral dans l' ptre aux Romains, Rome, Universit
du Latran, 1968.
7. Les versions latines ont toutes la leon : qui autem discernit, ou plus rarement :
qui autem diiudicat et les anciens commentateurs latins n'ont pas t embarrasss
pour lui trouver un sens parfaitement dfendable dans la logique du contexte.
Mme Rufin, dans sa traduction arrange du Commentaire d'Origne, dont nous ne

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

conscience douteuse. On y lit en effet : Celui qui a des doutes, s'il mange,
est condamn parce que sa conduite ne procde pas de la foi, autrement dit,
d'une conscience assure de bien faire. Ce serait le cas du faible dans la foi
qui, branl dans ses convictions par les critiques du fort, mais sans tre
pleinement convaincu par ses arguments, se laisserait nanmoins entraner par son exemple manger de tout (cf. v. 13, 15, 20). L'exgse qui
identifie purement et simplement foi et conscience 8 est cependant sujette
caution pour plusieurs raisons.

Le sens du mot ' doute ' chez saint Paul


A supposer mme qu'il faille lire au v. 23 a : celui qui a des doutes, ou
mieux 9 : celui qui hsite, il ne s'ensuivrait pas que l'Aptre parle du doute
au sens que l'thique profane ou la morale scolastique donnent ce mot.
Le verbe grec qu'il utilise n'est employ pour exprimer le doute ou l'hsitation qu' partir du Nouveau Testament. Le doute dont il s'agit s'y
dfinit toujours en fonction de la foi, dont il est, dans la mesure o il
existe, le contraire, mais sans laquelle il ne peut pas exister : la foi est,
pour ainsi dire, son support. Le doute fait du croyant non pas un infidle
(infidelis : sans foi), mais un tre divis, le vir duplex anima dont parle
saint Jacques (1, 8), celui dont le comportement, soit dans la prire
(lac. l, 6), soit dans l'agir ((lac. 2, 4; cf. Matth. 21, 21; Marc II, 23) est
en contradiction avec la foi qu'il professe. L'attitude que le N.T. appelle
hsitation ou doute est de caractre religieux et ce titre d'ordre existentiel
plutt que d'ordre intellectuel : elle s'exprime dans l'acte mme plutt
qu'elle ne le prcde. Il est fort probable que telle soit aussi la pense de
l'Aptre en Rom. 14, 23 : en face du croyant proclam heureux parce qu'il
ne se condamne pas soi-mme dans la dcision qu'il prend, puisque ct.lle-ci
{Stconformela foi qu'il professe (v. 22), saint Paul dresse le croyant qui
hsite, dont la conduite n'est pas conforme la foi qu'il professe, qui est
existentiellement divis en lui-mme (v. 23 a) 10 . Si telle est la pense de
possdons plus que quelques fragments grecs (voir : J. ScHRER, Le commentaire
d'Origne sur Rom. III, 5- V, 7, Le Caire, 1957), cite : qui autem discernit mais pour
expliquer : qui hoc modo discernit, hoc est, qui dubitat utrum ... (PG 14, l 255).
8. La plupart des exgtes, il est vrai, prcisent qu'il s'agit d'une conscience
claire par la foi aux v. 22-23, prcision qu'ils abandonnent pour le v. 23 b, pour
pouvoir en faire un principe universel valable pour les paens aussi bien que pour les
chrtiens (voir par ex. CoRNEI,Y, Epistola ad Romanos, pp. 723-726).
g. La Vulgate en effet traduit owxpivecr0m, sauf en Rom. 14, 23a !, le plus souvent
par haesitare (par ex. Matth. 2r, 21 ; Marc II, 23 ; Rom. 4, 20 ; lac. l, 6) rarement
par dubitare (par ex. Act. ro, 20). La nuance est particulirement sensible en franais,
le doute tant l'attitude de l'esprit rflexif qui n'arrive pas dcider si une chose
est vraie ou fausse, licite ou illicite, l'hsitation tant, elle, l'attitude de l'homme
tout entier qui manque d'assurance dans l'agir.
10. Le sens premier de taKpivecr()m (moyen) est : distinguer une chose d'une
autre ( discernere !) , d'o en gnral: dcider une question ou encore: examiner
pour dcider d'o finalement : hsiter, douter . Ce dernier sens cependant ne se

ALBERT C. DE VEER

l'Aptre, ce n'est pas d'une conscience douteuse au sens scolastique qu'il


s'agit ; d'ailleurs, on ne trouve pas la moindre amorce de ce problme dans
l'expos qui prcc1e. Ds lors le mot fides ne peut tre synonyme, sans
plus, de conscience, de bonne conscience ou de bonne foi.

Le sens du mot 'pch' chez saint Paul


L'exgse que nous critiquons, pour peu qu'on la pousse bout, n'viterait que difficilement l'erreur d'attribuer l'Aptre une conception philo. sophique ou naturaliste du pch. Or, sans entrer dans les multiples
aspects du problme, pratiquement tous abords dans l' ptre aux Romains11, on constate que saint Paul conoit le pch, soit comme un
tat, soit comme un acte opposs l'uvre de justification et de sanctification inaugure dans l'homme par la foi du Christ et la rception du
baptme12 . Les exhortations morales qu'il prodigue dans ses lettres, en
particulier dans 1' ptre aux Romains, qu'on les considre dans leurs
motivations doctrinales ou dans leurs vises pratiques, ne permettent
pas le doute sur ce point. Le chrtien, arrach par la mort du Christ une
situation de pch dans laquelle il est n fils de colre (Eph. 2, 3), esclave
du pch (Rom. 6, r7), a t introduit par la foiauChristmortetrFssuscit
et par le baptme dans une nouvelle situation de relations, filiales avec
Dieu, fraternelles avec le prochain (Rom. 6 et 12, 4-5). Il s'agit pour lui de
vivre cette nouvelle vie dans sa double dimension, personnelle (Rom.
I-8) et communautaire (Rom. r2-r5), en rglant sa conduite surlesprincipes
qu'il possde dans sa foi au Christ (Rom. I2, 4 et 6-2r), sous peine de ruiner
l'uvre du Christ en lui-mme ou dans ses frres.
La manire dont !'Aptre rsoud le litige entre les forts et les faibles de
la communaut de Rome est significative cet gard. Le litige porte sur
une matiff indiffrente en soi. Les forts, qui peuvent se rclamer avec
saint Paul du Seigneur Jsus (v. q, cf. Marc. 7, r-2 et r4-r9; Matth.
r5, II-20), sayent que tout est pur; aussi mang0nt-ils indiffremment de
tout, et ils le font pour le Seigneur car ils rendent grce Dieu. Les faibles
dans la foi croient devoir s'abstenir pour des motifs drivs de leur foi
moins claire, puisque, s'ils s'abstiennent, ils le font aussi pour le Seigneur
et rendent galement grce Dieu (v. 6). La foi commande l'attitude des
uns et des autres, la foi dans le Christ qui est mort et a repris vie pour
devenir le Seigneur des morts et des vivants (v. II). C'est ce niveau

rencontre qu' partir du N.T. Il dfinit une attitude spcifiquement religieuse


dans le domaine de la foi, voir: Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament, III,
pp. 948-95 r.
rr. On sait que !'Aptre reconnat l'existence d'une loi de nature non crite,
la loi de la conscience (Rom. z, r4-r6), qu'il fait appel des considrations d'ordre
naturel et qu'il lui arrive de s'inspirer du stocisme vulgaris, voir : A. FEUILI,E'l',
art. cit, pp. 3 75-3 76.
rz. Voir: Theolog. Wo;terbuch z.N.T., I, pp. 3rr-3r7.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

153

suprieur que Paul se place pour dnouer le litige : le faible ne doit pas
condamner le fort, car Dieu a t accueillant pour lui et, qu'il reste ferme
ou qu'il tombe, cela regarde son Matre (v. 4 et IO). Quant au fort, il ne doit
pas mprisu le faible (v. 3 et IO) : en effet, si le faible estime un aliment
impur, il l'est pour lui, et s'il en mangeait, cela ne pourrait tre pour le
Seigneur. Il ne faut donc pas l'attrister pour un aliment car ce n'est
pas se conduire sdon la charit (v. 14) ; il faut encore moins lui donner du
scandale en l'entranant par l'exemple manger des aliments qu'il croit
impurs, et devenir ainsi la perte du frre pour lequel le Christ est mort
(v. 15). Ne dtruisons pas pour un aliment l'uvre de Dieu (v. 20). Dtruire l'uvre de Dieu, en soi-mme ou dans le frre, voil le pch !
Le pch, comme le doute, se dfinit donc en fonction de la foi au Christ
dans sa double dimension pE>rsonnelle et communautaire : le mot fides
en Rom. 14, 23b s'opposant peccatum ne parat donc pas pouvoir tre
purement et simplement synonyme de conscience; s'il l'tait, on ne
comprendrait pas pourquoi le risque de contrister ou de scandaliser
autrui priverait du droit de la suivre en dE's matires indiffrentes en soi.

Le sens du mot' foi 'chez saint Paul


Le mot foi a un sens propre dans le vocabulaire du Nouveau Testament
qui est aussi, quelques nuances prs, celui de saint Paul1 3. Il serait
surprenant qu'en Rom. 14, 22-23 l'Aptre, sans nous en avertir, lui donne
brusquement un tout autre sens et cela dans l' ptre mme o il insiste
spcialement sur la ncessit radicale de la foi qui ne peut tre compense
par aucun acte humain14 . La foi est fondamentalement un don de Dieu par
lequel l'hommf qui l'accepte devient bnficiaire de l'uvre de salut
opre par le Christ. Ce que cela comporte de transformations radicales de
st.s rapports avec Dieu et avec le prochain, nous l'ayons brivement
indiqu plus haut en parlant du pch. Sa conduite ne peut plus tre ce
qu'elle fut auparavant; l'Aptre dit : Ne vous conformez pas au monde,
mais soyez transforms par le renouvellement de votre esprit pour discerner
quelle est la volont de Dieu, ce qui est bon, ce qui lui est agrable, ce qui est
parfait (Rom. 12, 2-3). La foi qui renouvelle l'esprit devient pour le chrtien
le principe du discernement dans la conduite de sa vie.
Mais Dieu rpartit chacun la foi selon une mesure diffrente (Rom.
12, 3) : la foi peut avoir des lacunes (I Thess. 3, ro), elle peut faire des
progrs (II Cor. IO, 15) ; il y a une plnitude de la foi (Rom. 4, 21 ; cf. 14, 5)
qui semble bien s'opposer ce que nous avons appel plus haut l'hsitation
dans la foi ; il existe enfin chez d'aucuns une faiblesse dans la foi (Rom.
14, I suiv.). Cette dernire expression voque naturellement la faiblesse
de conscience dont il est question en I Cor. 8, 7-12. Il ne s'ensuit pas que
foi et conscience soient synonymes, mais que chez le chrtien la foi claire
13. Voir: Theolog. vVorterbuch z.N.T., VI, pp. 218-224.
14. Voir: R. ARNAULD, art. cit la note 6, p. 128.

11

154

ALBERT C. DE VEER

la conscience pour savoir ce qu'il doit faire. Bien que tous les croyants
aient la mme foi dans le Christ, leur jugement sur ce qu'ils doivent faire
ou s'abstenir de faire en raison de leur appartenance au Christ peut
diverger parce qu'il est conditionn par la mesure mme de la foi qui leur a
t rpartie (Rom. 12, 3). Que la foi se prsente ainsi avec un caractre
subjectif, et c'est l le sens habituel chez saint Paul, ne doit pas nous
tonner, puisque la relation nouvelle qu'elle comportE avec Dieu et avec le
prochain ne peut s'actualiser que dans la de individuelle. Ce qui importe
c'est que chacun soit pleimment convaincu (Rom. 14, 5) de la conformit
de son jugement avec les exigences de la foi qu'il a dans le Christ.
Il n'est donc pas justifi de dpouiller le mot foi en Rom. 14, 22-23 du
sens dont il est revtu partout ailleurs dans les ptres pauliniennesl 5 .
Seulement, la foi est ici envisage dans ses rapports avec la vie morale,
dans sa double dimension personnelle et communautaire. Ce sont les
convictions de foi qui doivent toujours commander les dcisions morales
des chrtiens. En rsumant son long expos par la sentence du v. 23 b :
tout ce qui ne procde pas de la foi, de la conviction que la foi donne, est
pch, l'Aptre n<' fait que tirer une conclusion du principe nonc par lui
en Rom. 12, 2 : la foi unie la grce du baptme renouvelle chez les chrtiens leur discernement moral1 6

LOCALISATION DES CITATIONS DE ROM. 14,


DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

23 b

Dans le relev des citations de Rom. 14, 23 b faites par Augustin, nous
suivrons autant que possible l'ordre chronologique de ses uvres. Nous
prsenterons la citation dans son contexte immdiat afin d'attirer l'attention sur les textes scripturaires qui souvent l'accompagnent, et de permettre ainsi une premire intelligence du sens qu'Augustin lui donne.

r. De gestis Pelagii, 14, (entre le 27 aot et le 21 septembre 417) :


" Hic forte dicet : ego non ex operibus, sed ex fide dixi apostolum dignum
fuisse, cui tantae illius gratiae donaretur ; non enim opera, quae bona ante non
habuit, sed tamen fides eius hoc meruit. Quid enim ? putamus quod fides non
operetur? immo ipsa veraciter operatur, quae per dilectionem operatur (Gal. 5, 6).
Quantumlibet autem opera infidelium praedicentur, eiusdem apostoli sententiam
veram novimus et invictam : omne quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. q,
23 b). Ideo vero saepe dicit non ex operibus, sed ex fide nobis iustitiam deputari
(cf. Rom. 4, 4, 9, 23 etc.) cum potius fides per dilectionem operetur (Gal. 5, 6)
ne quisquam existimet ad ipsam fidem meritis operum perveniri, cum ipsa sit
initium, unde bona opera incipiant, quoniam, ut dictum est, quod ex ipsa non est,
15. En Gal. 5, 22, le mot /ides, insr qu'il est dans une liste de vertus faisant suite
une liste de vices, pourrait faire exception et signifier la fidlit dans les relations
humaines. Seulement, la fidlit est prsente comme le fruit de l'Esprit chez ceux
qui appartiennent au Christ Jsus et ne peut donc tre inspire que par la foi.
16. Voir : A. FEUILLET, art. cit, p. 366.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

155

peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b). Hinc et ecclesiae dicitur in Cantico canticorum :
venies et transies ab initio fidei (Cant. cant. 4, 8, selon les Septante). Quapropter
quamvis bene operandi gratiam fides impetret, ipsam certe fidem ut haberemus,
nulla fide meruimus, sed in ea nobis danda, in qua dominum sequeremur, misericordia eius praevenit nos (cf. Ps. 58, II). An ipsam nobis nos dedimus et ipsi
nos ipsos fideles fecimus ? Prorsus etiam hic clamabo : ipse f ecit nos et non ipsi
nos (Ps. 99, 9), nisi vero aliud apostolica doctrina commendat, ubi ait : dico
autem per gratiam dei, quae data est mihi, omnibus qui sunt in vobis, non plus
sapere, quam oportet sapere, sed sapere ad temperantiam, sicut unicuique deus
partitus est mensuram fidei (Rom. 12, 3). Hinc est quippe et illud : quid enim
habes quod non accepisti ? (I Cor., 4, 7) quando et hoc accepimus, unde et incipit
quicquid in nostris actibus habemus boni (PL 44, 340-341 ; CSEL 42, pp. 8990 ; BA 21, pp. 5ro-5r2).
2. Epistula 188, 3, 13 ( Juliana, mre de Dmtriade; entre octobre
417 et avril 418) :
" Satis enim di ci non potest quantum cupiamus in eorum hominum scriptis ...
apertam confessionem illius gratiae reperiri, quam vehementer commendat
apostolus, qui etiam ipsius mensuram fidei, sine qua impossibile est deo placere
(Hebr. rr, 6), ex qua iustus vivit (Rom. l, 17), quae per dilectionem operatur
(Gal. 5, 6), ante quam et sine qua omnino nulla cuiusquam bona opera existimanda sunt, quoniam omne quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. q, 23 b),
dcum dicit unicuique partitum (Rom. 12, 3) : nec sola revelatione scientiae nos
divinitus adiuvari, ut pie iusteque vivamus (cf. Tit. 2, 12), quae sine caritate
in/lat (I Cor. 8, l), verum etiam inspiratione caritatis ipsius quae plenitudo legis
est (Rom. 13, ro) ... (PL 33, 853 ; CSEL 57, p. 129).

3. De gratia Christi et de peccato originali, I, 26, 27 (entre le


20 septembre 418) :

ler mai et le

Quid autem boni faceremus, nisi diligeremus ? Aut quomodo bonum non facimus, si diligamus ? Etsi enim dei mandatum videtur aliquando non a diligentibus,
sed a timentibns fieri, tamen ubi non est dilectio, nullum bonum opus imputatur,
nec recte bonum opus vocatur : quia omne quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est
(Rom. 14, 23 b) et/ides pcr dilectionem operatur (Gal. 5, 6) PL 44, 374; CSEL 42,
pp. 147-148).

4. Epistula 194, 3, 9 ( Sixte prtre romain, fin 418)


" Restat igitur ut ipsam fidem unde omnis iustitia suroit initium, propter
quod dicitur ad ecclesiam in Cantico canticomm : Venies et pertransies ad initium
fidei (Cant. cant. 4, 8 selon les Septante), restat, inquam, ut ipsam fidem non
humano, quod isti extollunt, tribuamus arbitrio ... sed gratuitum donum esse
fateamur, si gratiam veram, id est sine meritis, cogitamus, quia, sicut in eadem
epistula legitur, deus unicuique partitur mensuram fidei (Rom. 12, 3). Opera
quippe bona fiunt ab homi.ne, fides autem fit in homine, sine qua illa a nullo
fiunt homine ; omne enim quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b)
(PL 33, 877 ; CSEL 57, p. 183).

5. De nuptiis et concupiscentia, I, 3, 4 (fin 418, dbut 419) :


(I, 3, 3) "Donum dei esse etiam pudicitiam coniugalem, beatissimus Paulus
ostendit, nbi de hac re loquens ait : Vola autem omnes homincs esse sicut meipsum : sed unusquisque proprium donum habet a deo, alius quidem sic, alius vero
sic (I Cor. 7, 7).

ALBERT C. DE VEER

(I, 3, 4) " Quid ergo dicimus, quando et in quibusdam impiis invenitur pudicitia coniugalis ? utrum eo peccare dicendi sunt, quod dono dei male utantur,
non id referentes ad cultum eius a quo acceperunt ? An forte nec dona dei
putanda sunt ista, quando haec infideles agunt, secundum apostoli sententiam
dicentis : Omne quod non est ex fide, pcccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b) ? Quis autem
audeat dicere donurn dei esse peccatum ? Anima enim et corpus... etiam in
peccatoribus dona dei sunt, quoniam deus, non ipsi ista fecerunt. De lus autem
quae faciunt dictum est: Omne quod non est ex fide, pcccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b)
(PL 44, 415; CSEL 42, p. 214).

6. Ibidem, I, 4, 5 :
"Vera igitur pudicitia ... dicenda non est, nisi quae verae fidei mancipatur ...
tantum valet fides, de qua dicit apostolus: Omne quod non est ex fidc, peccatum est
(Rom. 14, 23 b) ; et de qua item scriptum est ad Hebraeos: Sine fide impossibile
est placere deo (Hebr. II, 6) (PL 44, 416 ; CSEL 42, p. 216).

7. De continentia, 12, 26 (entre 4I6-4I9 ?) 17 :


Numquid enim continentiam, quam munus dei verissime dicimus, dicturi
sumus esse peccatum ? Absit a nostris cordibus tam detestanda dementia !
Beatus autem apostolus ait : Omne quod non est ex fidc, peccatum est (Rom. 14,
23 b). Quae igitur non habet fidem, nec continentia nominanda est (PL 40,
368; CSEL 41, p. 176; BA 3, p. 88).

8. De adulterinis coniugiis, I, 28,


Io juillet 422):

20 (entre le

2I dcembre 4I9 et le

" Cum vero coepisset gentibus evangelium praedicari, iam coniunctos gentiles
gentilibus comperit coniuges : ex qtbus si non ambo crederent, sed unus aut
una infidelis cum fideli consentiret habitare, nec prohiberi a domino dehuit
fidelis infidelem dimittere nec iuberi : ideo scilicet non prohiberi, quia iustitia
pern1ittit a fornicante discedere, et infidelis hominis fornicatio est maior in
corde ; nec vera eius pudicitia cum coniuge dici potest, quia omne quod non est ex
/ide, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b) ; quamvis veram fidelis habeat pudicitiam
etiam cum infideli coniuge qui non habet veram (PL 40, 462-463 ; CSEL 41,
pp. 367-368 ; BA 2, p. 148).

9. Contra duas epistulas pelagianorum, I, 3, 7 (entre le ZI dcembre 4I9 et


le IO juillet 422) :
Nec potest homo boni aliquid velle, nisi adiuvetur ab eo qui malum non
potest velle, hoc est gratia dei per I esum Christum dominum nostrum (Rom. 7, 25).
Omne rnim quod non est ex fidc, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b). Ac per hoc bona
voluntas quae se abstrahit a peccato, fidelis est ; quia iustus ex fide vivit (Rom. l,
17). Ad fidem autem pertinet credere in Christum. Et nemo potest credere in
eum, hoc est venire ad eum (cf. Ioh. 6, 44), nisi fuerit illi datum" (PL 44, 553554; CSEL 60, p. 429).

IO. Ibidem, III, 5, I4:


" ... Quare nisi propter fidem ? Quae licet sine operibus nen1inem salvat (cf.
lac. 2, 14), ipsa enim est non reproba (cf. II Tim. 3, 8) /ides quae per dilectionem
r7. Voir: A.-M.

LA BONNARDlRE,

La date du De continentia >>de saint Augustin,

dans Revue des tudes augustiniennes, 5, r959, pp.

121-127.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

157

operatiw (Gal. 5, 6) ; tamen pet ipsam etiam peccata solvuntur, quia iustus ex
fide vivit (Rom. l, 17) : sine ipsa veto etiam quae videntur bona opera, in peccata
vertuntur; omne enim quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b)" (PL 44,
598 ; CSEL 60, p. 503).
II.

In Iohannis evangelium tractatus 86,

(aprs 420)

Cur ergo diceret Non vos me elegistis (Ioh. 15, 16) nisi quia misericordia eius
praevenit nos (cf. Ps. 58, II) ? ... Non est ut dicas: Ideo electus sum, quia iam
credebam. Si enim credebas in eum, iam elegeras eum. Sed audi : Non vos me
elegistis (loh. 15, 16). Non est ut dicas: Antequam crederem, iam bona operabar;
ideo electus sum. Quid enim est boni operis ante fidem, cum dicat apostolus :
Omnc quod non est ex fide, peccatum est (Rom. q, 23 b) ? "(PL 35, 1851 ; CC 36,
p. 542).

r2. Contra Iulianum pelagianum, IV, 3, 24 (entre le 2I dcembre 4rg et


le IO juillet 422) :
Nam testimonium illud quod ex apostolo posui : Omne quod non est ex fide,
peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23b), sicut tibi visum est accepisti et exposuisti, non ut
sapit, sed ut sapis. De cibis enim apostolus loquebatur. Verum cum dixisset :
qui autem discernit, si manducaverit, damnatus est, quia non ex fide (Rom. 14, 23 ),
hanc peccati speciem de qua agebat, generali voluit probare sententia mox
inferens : Omne quod non est ex /ide, peccatiiin est (Rom. 14, 23 b). Sed ut hoc tibi
de cibis tantum intellegendum esse concedam, quid de alio dicturus es testimonio
quod identidem posui ; nec inde aliquid disputasti, quia non invenisti quomodo
in tuam posses detorquere sententiam quod ad Hebraeos scriptum est : Sine
fide enim impossibile est placere (Hcbr. r r, 6) ? Nempe ut hoc diceretur, de tota
vita hominis agebatur, in qua iustus ex fidc vivit (Rom. r, 17) ; et tamen cum
sine fide impossibile sit placere deo (He br. II, 6), tibi virtutes sine fide sic placent,
ut eas veras praedices eisque bonos esse homines ; et rursus, quasi te pnituerit
laudis illarum, steriles pronuntiare non dubites,, (PL 44, 750).

r3. Ibidem. IV, 3, r7 (reprise textuelle d'un passage du De nuptiis et

concupiscentia, I, 3, 4, que Julien d'clane aYait cit pour le critiquer) :


Anima enim et corpus ... "etc., voir texte n 5 (PL 44, 752).

r4. Ibidem, IV, 3, 32 :


cc ... noxia voluntate : qualis voluntas, nullo christiano dubitantc, arbor est
mala quae facere non potest nis fructus malos (cf. Matth. 7, 17-18), id est, sola
peccata. Omne enim, velis nolis, quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b).
Et ideo deus istas arbores non potest diligere, et si tales permanserint, disponit
excidere (cf. l\/latth. 7, 19) : quia sine fide impossibile est placere (Hebr. II, 6) "
(PL 44, 755).

r5. Epistula 217, 3,

IO

( Vitalis de Carthage ; aprs 423, avant 427)

cc Quid ergo operatur haec potestas (diaboli) in filiis diffidentiae (Eph. 2, 2),
nisi opera sua mala, et in primis maximeque ipsam diffidentiam et infidelitatem
qua sunt inimici fidei, per quam scit eos posse mundari...? Itaque aliquos eorum,
per quos amplius decipere affectat, sinit habere nonnulla velut bona opera, in
quibus laudantur, per quasque gentes, praecipueque in gente Romana, qui
praeclare gloriosissimeque vixerunt. Sed quoniam, sicut ve:racissima scriptura

ALBERT C. DE VEER

dicit : Omne quod non est ex /ide, peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b) et sine fide impossibile est utique placere deo (Hebr. r r, 6), non hominibus ; nihil sic agit hic princeps
quam ut non credatur in deum, nec ad mediatorem, a quo solvuntur opera
eius (cf. I loh. 3, 8) credendo veniatur (cf. Ioh. 6, 44) " (PL 33, 982 ; CSEL 57,
pp. 410-4rr).
r6. De praedestinatione sanctorum,

IO,

20 (en 428 ou 429) :

" An forte opera bona gentium deus promisit Abrahae in semine ipsius, ut hoc
promitteret quod ipse facit, non autem promisit fidem gentium, quam sibi
homines faciunt, sed ut promitteret quod ipse facit, illam praescivit homines
esse facturos ? Non quidem loquitur sic apostolus ; filios quippe promisit deus
Abrahae, qui fidei eius vestigia sectarentur : quod apertissime dicit. Sed si opera
gentium promisit, non fidem, profecto quoniam non sunt bona opera nisi ex fide :
iustus enim ex fide vivit (Rom. r, 17) et omne quod non est ex fide, peccatum est
(Rom. r4, 23 b) et sine fide impossibile est placere (Hebr. II, 6), nihilominus ut
impleat quod promisit deus, in hominum est potestate ... Quod si veritas et pietas
nos credere vetat, credarnus cum Abraham, quoniam quae prornisit potens est et
facere (cf. Rom. 4,2r). Promisit autem filios Abrahae ; quod esse non possunt, si
non habeant fidem; ergo ipse donat et fidem "(PL 44, 975 ; BA 24, pp. 524-526).
r7. Sermo Guelferbytanus XI, 6 (5) (date inconnue, mais tardive en raison
des erreurs trinitaires vises ?) :
" Et si non estis idonei cogitare, tamen fidem tenete ; ipsa perducit, ipsa facit
ut opera vestra bona acceptentur deo : omne enim quod non est ex /ide, peccatum
est (Rom. r4, 23 b) " (Miscell. Agost., II, p. 478).

J. Stelzenberger28 ajoute Epistula r2r, z, r3 : et omne qitad non est ex


jide, peccatum est)) (PL 33, 467 ; CSEL 34 /2, p. 734), mais la lettre est de
Paulin de Nole Augustin et ne peut entrer en ligne de compte. On ignore
si Augustin a repris ce texte dans sa premire rponse (vers 4r3) qui s'est
gare (voir Ep. r49, r, 2). Dans sa deuxime rponse (probablementde4r5),
il ne relve pas la citation de Rom. r4, 23 b, bien qu'il en frle le sujet
(voir Ep. r49, 2, 23-3, 3r ; CSEL 54, pp. 368-376) 19 .
Bien des raisons justifieraient de complter notre dossier par la lettre
de Ianuarianus Valentinus, abb d'Adrumte, que G. Morin a dcouverte
et publie dans la Revue bndictine, r8, r9or, pp. 247-253, d'o elle a t
reproduite en BA 24, pp. 228-244. De Ianuarianus on ne sait rien sinon
qu'il tait prtre. Mais son expos doctrinal de la grce est augustinien
d'un bout l'autre et les tmoignages scripturaires qu'il contient sont
ceux qu'Augustin avait cits au cours de sa polmique avec les plagiens.
Rom. r4, 23b notamment s'y retrouve encadr par Hebr. II, 6 et Rom. r,
r7 comme c'est souvent le cas chez l'vque d'Hippone:

18. J. STELZENBERGER, Conscientia bei Augustinus. Studie zur Geschichte der


Moraltheologie, Paderborn, r959, p. 69 n. 96 et pp. 73-74.
19. Pour les dates des lettres signales voir : P. COURCELLE, Les Confessions de
ainst Augustin dans la tradition littraire, Paris, r963, Appendice III, pp. 582-590.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

159

Notum est cette quod ad Hebraeos ait idem doctor, quia sine /ide impossibile
est placere (Hebr. l l, 6) et quod in Romanorum epistula ait: Omne quod non est ex
/ide peccatum est (Rom. 14, 23 b). Haec autem fides, ex qua iustus vivit, sicut
scriptum est : Justus autem ex /ide vivit (Rom. l, 17), ipsa est procul dubio
initium omnium bonorum operum nostrorum ... (Rcv. bn., 19, 1901, p. 248 ;
BA 24, p. 232).

Cette lettre de Ianuarianus, intervenant dans le conflit qui troublait les


frres d'Adrumte, doit avoir t crite entre 425 et 427, avant ou aprs
le De gratia et libero arbitrio d'Augustin (voir: BA 24, pp. 44-45 ; 213-215).

Conclusion
Un constatation s'impose : Augustin n'invoque titre d'argument la
sentence del' Aptre que dans ses uvres tardives (417-429) ; encore ne le
fait-il que dans ses uvres antiplagiennes ou dans un contexte qui
trahit sa proccupation de combattre le plagianisme, l'exception
peut-tre du Sermo Guelf. XI qui vise des erreurs trinitaires. Ainsi ne la
cite-t-il pas en De Trinitate XIII, 6, ni en De civitate Dei, XIX, 25, alors
que ces livres datent de l'poque antiplagienne, le premier d'environ
419, le dernier de 425, et qu'aux endroits indiqus, Augustin s'en prrnd
aux vertus des paens tant loues par les plagiens.
Pour souligner l'importance de cette constatation, rappelons que dans
les premires annes de son sacerdoce, Augustin a eu l'occasion de citer
en entier ou par fragments et de commenter le chapitre 14 de Romains.
Est-il possible de dcouvrir dans le commentaire qu'il en fait des lments
qui permettent d'entrevoir la manire dont il comprend alors le mot
fides et par consquent la sentence del' Aptre en Rom. 14, 23 b ?
L'INTERPRTATION DE ROM. 14
AVANT LA CONTROVERSE ANTIPLAGIENNE

Saint Augustin cite le chapitre 14 de Romains en son entier dans le


De moribus ... manichaeorum, II, 14, 32 (en 389) et le Contra Adimantum,
14, 2 (en 394) sans s'arrter sur lev. 23b dans le commentaire succinct
qu'il en donne, bien que, dans le premier passage, la sentence de l'Aptre
et naturellement trouv sa place pour confirmer la condamnation de
l'asctisme manichen qu'Augustin labore partir de l'intentionnalit
de l'acte moral (voir : De moribus, II, 13, 27).
Plus significative encore me parat tre l'absence de tout commentaire
direct de Rom. 14, 23 b dans l' Expositio quarundam propositionum ex
epistula apostoli ad Romanos (en 393-395), alors que lev. 22 y est expliqu
et que de nombreuses questions concernant la grce y sont abordes 20
20. PL 35, 2085-2086 ; J. DlVJAK vient d'en publier une nouvelle dition en
CSEL 84/r (1971), pp. 3-52, le commentaire de Rom. r4, pp. 48-50. Il a rduit
l'unit la numrotation composite de certaines questions en PL et les ditions ant

r6o

ALBERT C. DE VEER

Il ne faut cependant pas oublier qu'ici les questions ne sont pas choisies
par Augustin seul mais proposes aussi par les frres de Carthage au
cours de leur lecture en commun de 1' pitre 21 Cette circonstance suffirait
expliquer l'omission du v. 23 propos duquel les frres n'auraient pas
soulev de problme ; encore serait-il intressant de savoir pourquoi.
Quant Augustin, il n'ayait pas encore cette poque d'ide prcise et
rflchie sur la place de la foi dans la gratuit absolue de la grce22 . La
porte qu'il donnera plus tard la sentence de l'Aptre devait alors lui
chapper. Nanmoins, nous dcouvrons dans le commentaire fragmentaire
du chapitre I4 des lments d'interprtation qui mritent d'tre signals.
Augustin ne commente de Romains r4 que les versets ou des fragments
des versets r-3 : Expositio 70 (78) ; 4 : Ibid., JI (79) ; 5-6 : Ibid., 72 (80)
et 22, avec insertion de r6 : Ibid., 73 (Sr). Avant d'en analyser l'interprtation il convient d'en examiner le texte23

Le texte des versets de Rom. I4 cits dans l'Expositio


La version latine des versets qu'Augustin commente ici s'loigne de
celle du De moribus, II, r4, 32 et se rapproche de celle du Contra Adimantum, r4, 2. Dom D. de Bruyne a donn un aperu des variantes en mettant
enregardsurdeuxcolonnes,le textedel'un etde l'autre; il suppose que le
texte de l'Expositio est conforme celui du C. Adimantum, quelques
variantes prs24 et considre ce dernier comme tant le rsultat d'une
rvision minutieuse faite sur le grec par Augustin lui-mme25
Il nous est difficile de partager son avis. A y regarder de prs, on a
l'impression que l'auteur choisit parmi les leons attestes par les manuscrits celles qui sont le plus favorables sa thse, sans donner les raisons de
son choix 26 . De plus, dans l'hypothse d'une rvision faite par Augustin,
rieures (par ex. la question VII-VIII en PL 35, 2064 devient chez lui question 7,
IX devient 8, XIII-XVIII, r2, etc.); il obtient ainsi en tout 76 questions alors que
dans les ditions prcdentes il y en avait (en apparence !) 84. Divjak met l'ancienne
numrotation entre crochets.
2r. Voir : Retract. I, 23 (22) : Cum presbyter adhuc essem, contigit ut apud
Carthaginem inter nos qui simul eramus, ad Romanos apostoli epistola legeretur, et
quaedam interrogabar a fratribus ... (BA r2, pp. 408-410). Pour la date possible
de ce sjour, voir: O. PERI,ER, Les voyages de saint Augustin, Paris ,r969, p. 162.
22. Lire les aveux d'Augustin lui-mme en Retract. I, 23 (22).
23. CSEL 84/1, pp. 48-50.
2+ D. DE BRUYNE, Saint Augustin reviseur de ta Bible, dans MisceUanea Agostiniana II, Rome, r93r, pp. 524-526.
25. D. DE BRUYNE, art. cit, p. 526.
26. Par exemple : s'il lit en De moribus II, 14, 32, au v. 2 manducet, il retient en
C. Adim. 14, 2 manducat attest par CTGSV, tandis que Zycha (CSEL 25 /1, p. 149)
choisit manducet que De Bruyne signale en note (p. 526) pour l'Expositio o il est
retenu dans le texte par Divjak (CSEL 84/1, p. 48). Par contre, s'il retient au v. 22
discernit en De moribus, il le rejette avec Zycha (p. l5I) en C. Adim. pour l'y remplacer par diiudicat, bien que discernit soit attest par les mmes mss CTGSV et retenu

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

161

on ne s'explique pas pourquoi n'aurait pas t conserve pour le v. 5 la


version du De moribus II, 14, 32, diem inter diem qui correspond mieux
l'original grec que alternas dies du C. Adimantum, q, 2 et de l'Expositio
72 (80). Finalement, l'auteur ne semble pas tenir compte du fait que, dans
l'Expositio, Augustin commente le texte d'un codex lu en commun
Carthage et qu'il n'y exprime pas de remarques sur la correction de son
texte par rapport aux codices grecs comme il prendra l'habitude de le faire
dans ses ouvrages postrieurs. Ne serait-il pas plus simple de chercher
l'explication des variantes dans le fait hautement vraisemblable que dans
le De moribus, ouvrage rdig en Italie27 , Augustin cite Rom. 14 d'aprs
un codex italien28 et en C. Adimantum et dans 1' Expositio d'aprs un
codex africain ?
Pour les versets cits de Rom. 14, le texte de l'Expositio en CSEL 84 /r,
est conforme celui des Mauristes, sauf pour le v. 3 o l'diteur a retenu,
sur la foi d'un certain nombre de manuscrits mais contre le consensus d'un
certain nombre d'autres et celui des diteurs antrieurs29 , la leon suivante:
Qui manducat non manducantem non iudicet hoc est spernat. Je ne refuserai
pas de voir dans cette leon le texte authentique d'Augustin la condition
cependant de considrer les mots iudicet hoc est comme une glose introduite par Augustin pour pouvoir insrer plus commodment la citation
biblique dans la suite des ides qu'il a entrepris de dvelopper.
Quant au v. 23 qui n'est pas cit ni comment dans l'Expositio, on
aimerait savoir quelle en tait la formulation dans le codex qu'Augustin
commentait devant ses frres. On ne peut que suggrer des hypothses.
Il est peu probable qu'on y lt : qui autem haesitat ou dubitat, traduction
qui correspondrait au sens original grec actuellement retenu par la
plupart des exgtes, mais qui n'en serait pas moins unique dans les
versions latines connues 30 . A en juger d'aprs le De moribus, II, 14, 32 et
le C. Adimantum, 14, 2, on a d y lire plutt soit: qui aidem discernit soit:
qui autem diiudicat. Dans l'hypothse d'une rvision sur le grec la leon :

par Amerbach, les Lovanienses et les Mauristes ! L'dition des textes scripturaires
cits par les Pres comporte des difficults au second degr du fait que les copistes
peuvent toujours tre souponns d'accommoder les citations la leon qui leur est
familire : voir G.G. WILLIS, St. Augustine's Text of the Acts of the Apostels, dans
Studia Evangica V, r968 (TU ro3), pp. 22-225 et D. DE BRUYNE, art. cit, p. 522 (!)
27. Voir : Retract. I, 7 (6) : ... cum Romae essem ... scripsi duos libros, unum de
moribus ecclesiae catholicae et alterum de moribus manichaeorum , (BA r2, p. 298).
28. D. DE BRUYNE, art. cit, p. 524, fait remarquer que ce codex italien ne donne
pas le texte de l'Ambrosiaster ni de la Vulgate, mais un texte intermdiaire. On est
d'autant plus tonn de le voir accomoder la Vulgate le v. 22 en De moribus, en
introduisant la forme interrogative l o, tout comme l'Ambrosiastcr (CSEL Sr /r,
p. 450) et PLAGE, Expos. in Romanos (Texts and Studics, IX, p. r rr). les diteurs
l'omettent. Il crit en effet : Tu fidem habes ? penes temct ipsum habe coram Deo
(p. 526).
29. CSEL 84 /r, p. 48, apparat.
30. Voir note 7.

162

ALBERT C. DE VEER

qui autem diiudicat rejoindrait la leon: non in diiudicationibus du Y. r en


C. Adimantum et s'loignerait de : non in disceptationibus qu'on lit au v. r
en De moribus 31 . Mais comment expliquer alors qu'en C. Iulianum pelagianum, IV, 3, 24 (voir note texte n ro) o Augustin prtend donner le
sens exact vis par saint Paul, il suive encore la leon: qui autem discernit,
leon qui correspond d'ailleurs au sens premier du mot grec traduire 32 ?
Le commentaire
En Rom. 14, r-6, Augustin lit une mise en garde contre le jugement
tmraire 33 . Ds le v. r il s'oriente rsolument vers cette interprtation.
La mise en garde, adresse ici selon lui aux forts, il la retrouye au v. 3
adresse cette fois aux deux catgories de fidles, les faibles et les forts
qu'il vient de caractriser en commentant le v. 2. L'Aptre interdit
formellement aux faibles de juger les forts. Quant aux forts, il leur dfend
de traiter les faibles avec mpris, ce qui revient aussi leur interdire de
juger, car le mpris repose sur un jugement; c'est ce qu'Augustin fait
dire l'Aptre en intercalant une glose dans le texte qu'il cite : Qui
manducat, non manducantem non iudicet hoc est spernat 34 . Il omet de citer
la finale du v. 3 pour passer au v. 4 qui, galement tronqu de sa finale,
lui permet d'exposer sa doctrine du jugement tmraire sans tenir compte
du fait que l'Aptre s'en prend en ralit aux seuls faibles. On peut rsumer
cette doctrine comme suit: Non seulement nous pouvons mais nous devons
juger les comportements manifestement mauvais, ceux pour lesquels le
dlinquant ne peut en appeler sa bonne intention, tel l'inceste dont il est
question en I Cor. 5, r ; par contre, nous devons nous abstenir de juger les
comportements qui peuvent tre inspirs aussi bien par une bonne intention que par une mauvaise, tel le fait de manger indiffremment de tout
ou de s'abstenir de certains aliments : Dieu seul en est le juge. Exploitant
cette distinction entre comportements indiffrents en soi et comportements essentiellement mauvais, et induit en erreur, semble-t-il, par le mot
iudicat de sa version latine du v. 5, Augustin se lance, sous rserve d'ailleurs d'une meilleure exgse, dans une explication spirituelle des v. 5 et 6

JI. Voir : D. DE BRUYNE, art. cit, p. 524.


32. Voir note ro.
33. Dans le commentaire on ne rencontre pas l'expression temerarium iudicium,
mais on y lit : infirmi firmos temere iudicabant (Expos. 70 (78), p. 49). Augustin
traite plus au long du jugement tmraire, partir de M atth. 7, r-2, en De sermone
domini in monte II, r8, 59-6r (CC 35, pp. r54-157), ouvrage qui selon l'ordre des
Rctractationes prcde de peu l'Expositio (voir: Retract. I, 18 (19) et 22 (23). On y lit
l'expression temerarium iudicium et une dfinition: 1\ Duo sunt in quibus temerarium
iudicium cavere debemus : cum incertum est quo animo quidquid factum sit, vel
cum incertum est qualis futurus sit qui nunc vel bonus vel malus apparet (CC 35,
p. 157). A comparer les deux commentaires, celui de l'Expositio se prsente, tant du
point de vue de la doctrine que de l'expression littraire, comme le rsum de ehli du

De sermone domini in monte.


34- Voir p. 161.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

qui s'carte du tout au tout de la pense de l'Aptre et qui, ce titre, ne


nous intresse pas directement ici35.
Augustin n'a pu lire au v. I une mise en garde contre le jugement
tmraire adresse aux forts qu'en raison de l'expression : non in diiudicationibus cogitationum qu'il lisait dans son texte. Il y voit l'quivalent de
non iudicet du v. 3, le verbe iudicare tant pour lui le mot clef de Rom. I4,
I-6. Par consquent il donne au mot cogitationum le sens de penses ou
d'intentions intimes caches dans le cur par opposition au comportement
extrieur qu'elles inspirent. Aussi peut-il paraphraser les v. I b et 4 a en des
termes identiques. 36.
Est-ce dire que la situation de controverse dcrite par l' Aptre, et o il
s'agissait moins de juger des intentions que de dbattre du fond de la
question, lui ait chapp 37 ? Il ne semble pas ; sinon aurait-il pu caractriser la situation par ces mots : Les forts mprisaient les faibles avec
opinitret et les faibles jugeaient les forts la lgre )> 38 , aprs avoir
identifi au pralable mpris et jugement ? C'est bien une situation de
lutte qu'il dcrit ainsi, de controverse, o chacun non seulement jugeait
des intentions de l'autre, mais prtendait encore trancher la question de
fond, les deux dmarches tant d'ailleurs, un certain degr d'affrontement, insparables.
Toutefois Augustin n'insiste pas sur le fond de la question, mais sa
pense transparat travers le commentaire du v. 2 qu'il enchane ainsi :
C'est pourquoi l'Aptre poursuit et dit : Alius quidem credit manducare
omnia ; qui autem infirmus est, olus manducet ; car en ce temps-l dj
beaucoup taient forts dans la foi et savaient que, selon l'enseignement du
Seigneur, ne souille pas ce qui entre par la bouche mais ce qui en sort

35. Expos. 72 (80), pp. 49-50. Augustin voit exprime au v. 5 l'opposition, non pas
entre deux hommes, mais entre l'homme et Dieu. Celui qui juge les jours alternes ,
c'est l'homme qui condamne aujourd'hui un tel qu'il proclamera demain homme de
bien; celui qui juge tout jour, c'est Dieu qui sait ce que vaut un tel aujourd'hui
et ce qu'il vaudra demain. Dans nos jugements gardons-nous donc de dpasser les
limites assignes l'intelligence de l'homme : unusquisque in sua sensu abundet, nous
dit !'Aptre (v. 5). Encore s'agit-il de bien juger l'intrieur de ces limites; c'est ce
que l'Aptre suggre quand il dit au v. 6 : qui sapit diem, domino sapit. Juger avec
sagesse au jour prsent veut dire en effet qu'en condamnant quelqu'un aujourd'hui juste titre pour une faute manifeste, nous n'cartions pas la possibilit de le
voir se corriger 1' a venir.
36. Expos. 70 (78) : {<quasi ferre audeamus sententiam de alieno corde quod non
videmus >) (p. 48) ; Expos. 71 (79) : nec audeamus de alterius corde quod non videmus, ferre sententiam (p. 49). C:f. De serm. dom. in n;onte II, 18, 59 : in occulta
cordis ferre sententam (CC 35, p. 155).
37. Voir M.- J. LAGRANGE, op. cit. p. 323, ad V. l).
38. Expos. 70 (78) : Firmi enim infrmiores contumaciter contemnebant et
infirmi firmos temere iudicabant >) (p. 49).

ALBERT C. DE VEER
(Matth. 15, II-20) ; aussi prenaient-ils indiffremment toute nourriture
sans faire violence leur conscience 39 )).
En dclarant que les forts s'inspiraient pour leur conduite d'une parole
du Christ, Augustin laisse entendre qu'il donne au mot credere le sens
thologique, celui d'tre convaincu en raison de la foi qu'on a dans le
Christ. Il redira la mme ide, mais en la formulant autrement, dans son
commentaire du v. 22 : .. parce que bonne est la foi par laquelle nous
croyons que tout est pur pour les purs40 )).
A la suite de 1' Aptre, Augustin donne naturellement raison aux forts
sur ce point. Quant aux faibles, il les prsente comme des scrupuleux qui,
en raison de leur foi moins claire et moins solide, croyaient devoir
s'abstenir de viande et de vin par crainte de tomber, leur insu, sur des
matires offertes aux idoles 41 . Il souligne le tort qu'ils avaient de tenir
pour souills ceux qui en mangeaient et en buvaient indiffremment sans
tenir compte de ce scrupule, mais il ne met nullement en doute l'authenticit de leur foi dans le Christ, dont leur scrupule est sa manire la
preuve 42 . Par contre, il semble suggrer que les forts, dans leur mpris
pour les faibles, jugeaient l'authenticit de leur foi douteuse : on ne voit
pas en effet sur quoi d'autre aurait pu porter leur jugement, interdit par
l'Aptre.
De Rom. 14, 6 Augustin passe directement au v. zz b : Beatus qui non
iudicat semetipsum in quo probat. La version latine dcalque mot mot le
texte grec 43 dont le sens est clair : Heureux qui ne se condamne pas lui-

39. Expos. 70 {78) : Quia illo iam tempore multi iam firmi in fide et scientes
secundum scientiam domini non com.maculare ea, quae in os intrant sed quae exeunt,
indifferenter sumebant cibos salva conscientia {p. 48). L'diteur a rem.plac sentcntiam ( cdd.) par scientiam sans en donner la raison ; se refre-t-il au v. 14 : Scia et
confido .. ? La correction de in eos (edd.) en in os est plus heureuse. On peut hsiter
sur la manire de traduire salva conscientia >J ; voir : J. S'!'ELZENBERGER, Conscientia
bei Augustinus, pp. 74-75.
40. Expos, 73 (Sr) : quoniam bona est haec fides qua credimus omnia munda
mundis ... (p. 50).
4r. Expos. 70 (78), p. 48. Comme Augustin voit dans les faibles en foi des chrtiens
qui venaient de la circoncision (voir : Expos. 74 (82), p. 5r), on s'attendrait l'entendre dire que leur faiblesse en foi consistait se croire toujours tenus par les prescriptions lgales du judasme, mais il la dfinit d'aprs le cas de I Cor. 8, 7-r3 et ro, r4-33.
En De serm. dom. in monte II, r8, 59, o il cite Rom. r4, 3-4, Augustin met en scne
des asctes qui jugent que boire et manger de tout, c'est manquer d'esprit de pnitence et de matrise de soi (CC 35, p. r55).
42. On pourrait tre tent de voir dans le scrupule des faibles tel qu'Augustin le
dcrit l'attitude d'une conscience douteuse, mais y voir de prs, Augustin n'insiste
pas sur le doute mais sur l'ignorance ( nescientes ) ; voir ce propos sa rponse
la consultation de Publicola sur le mme sujet en Ep. 47, 4 (vers 398).
43. La Vulgate lit : in eo quod probat, leon que les diteurs et D. De BRUYNE
(art. cit, p. 526) retiennent pour le De moribus II, 14, 32, tandis que Zycha y retient
in quo (CSEL 25, r, p. r50). Cette dernire leon se rencontre aussi chez l' Ambrosiaster
Expos. in Romanos, r4, 22 (CSEL Sr, p. 450) et chez PI,AGE, Expos. in Romanos, q,
22

(Te:>:ts and Studies IX, p.

III),

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

mme dans l'acte qu'il se dcide accomplir )), c'est--dire : qui ne fait pas
ce qu'il est convaincu de ne pas devoir faire. Cela vaut pour les faibles
aussi bien que pour les forts 44 . Augustin cependant croit que l'Aptre
s'adresse ici aux seuls forts 45 . C'est qu'il organise tout son commentaire
en fonction de la leon : in quo probat. Son effort se porte d'abord
identifier la ralit laquelle se refre le relatif in quo, identification
rendue ncessaire par le fait qu'Augustin donne au verbe probat, sans s'en
expliquer davantage, le sens rflexif, celui, pensons-nous, de se montrer
agrable Dieu 46 Pour lui donc in quo se rfre en premier lieu bonum
nostrum mentionn au v. 16 : Non ergo blasphemetur bonum nostrum.
Ce bonum nostrum n'est rien d'autre que la fides dont il est parl au v. 22 a :
Tu fidem quam habes penes temetipsum, ha be coram deo. Celle-ci, Augustin
la dfinit : fi des qua credimus omnia munda mundis ... )). La formule
omnia munda mundis rappelle Tite l, 15 o elle est insre dans un contexte
qui parle de garder une foi saine (v. 13) et d'incroyants dont l'esprit et la
conscience sont souills (v. 15). Mais point n'est besoin de croire qu'ici
Augustin pense spcialement ce texte, puisque la formule se trouve
amorce en Rom. 14, 20 : omnia quidem sunt munda et que par ailleurs son
contenu est justifi par l'appel l'enseignement du Christ en Rom. 14, 14 :
Scia et confido in Domino Iesu quia nihil commune per ipsum. Saint Paul,
ce disant, s'inspire de Marc 7, 1-2 et 14-19, comme l'emploi du terme rare
commune le suggre ; Augustin, nous l'avons vu propos du v. 2, se rfre
l'enseignement du Seigneur rapport en A1atth. 15, II-20.
A la lumire de ces rapprochements, l'expression fides qua creditur ))
exprime certes une conviction, mais en mettant l'accent sur la foi plutt
que sur la conviction que la foi inspire; il faut en dire autant de l' expression qui fait suite : << et in ea fide nos probamus )). Aussi le pch contre
lequel Augustin, la suite du v. 22 b, met les forts en garde, ne consiste-t-il
pas agir contre sa conviction intime - c'est le sens vis par saint Paul !
- mais causer du scandale en s'obstinant abusivement dans son bon
droit ( eo bono abusi ll) et pcher ainsi contre les frres ( ne peccemus
in fratres ))). Il s'agit en ralit du pch contre la charit, ou en d'autres
termes, contre la foi qui agit par la charit (Gal. 5, 6). Augustin n'insiste
pas sur cet aspect. Il ne mentionne mme pas la charit. Il n'avait pas
rappeler son auditoire des vrits qui allaient de soi. Ayant expliqu le
v. 22b : Beatus qui non iudicat semetipsum in quo probat, il suffisait de
parler, la suite de l'Aptre (Rom. 14, 13 ; 20 ; 21) de scandaliser les
faibles)) pour voquer l'esprit l'anathme jet par le Seigneur sur les

44. Voir: A. FEUILLE'.!', art. cit n. 6, p. 365.


45. C'est aussi l'opinion de Plage : Qui non suam firmitatem probando se
considerat, sed alterius infirmi salutem >l (Texts and Studies IX, p. III)
46. Il dit en effet quelques lignes plus loin : et in ea fide nos probamus , ce qui
rappelle II Cor. 13, 5 : vosmetipsos tentate si estis in /ide : ipsi vos probate. Quant au
sens, il convient de se rapporter Rom. 14, r8 : qui enim in hoc servit Christo placet
Deo et probatus est hominibus.

I66

ALBERT C. DE VEER

fauteurs de scandale : Malheur l'homme par qui le scandale arrive !


(Matth. r8, 7).
Augustin ne commente pas le v. 23, et il est hasardeux de vouloir
suppler son silence. Nous risquons cependant l'explication que voici.
A la lumire de l'interprtation donne du v. 22, lev. 23, dans la version:
qui autem discernit (ou diiudicat) ne devait plus poser de problme spcial
ni Augustin ni ses frres de Carthage. Ils y auraient vu condamner,
croyons-nous, l'oppos de l'homme proclam heureux au v. 22, celui qui
cause effectivement le scandale; car en exerant son discernement celui-ci
voit parfaitement qu'il ne devrait pas manger, mais en s'obstinant dans sa
conviction sans gards pour ses frres plus faibles, il passe outre et mange.
Sa conduite n'est pas conforme la foi, c'est--dire, la foi agissant par
la charit. Il est donc condamn, parce que tout ce qui ne procde pas de la
foi est pch 47 .

Conclusion
Le commentaire qu'Augustin nous offre de Rom. r4 dans son uvre de
jeunesse sacerdotale qu'est l' Expositio est trs fragmentaire et, en raison de
la version qui lui sert d'appui, il s'carte plus d'une fois, dans le dtail des
versets, du sens vis par l'Aptre. Nanmoins l'analyse que nous venons
d'en proposer a permis de constater que sur le sens du mot /ides en Rom. r4,
Augustin est pour l'essentiel fidle saint Paul ; cela transparat dj
travers le commentaire qu'il labore des v. r-6, et se rvle plus nettement
dans l'explication quelque peu laborieuse qu'il propose du v. 22 b. Pour lui
aussi le mot /ides se rfre la connaissance de foi donne par le Seigneur
et envisage dans ses rapports avec la conduite morale, personnelle et
communautaire. Ce sont les con\ictions de foi qui doivent inspirer en tout
le comportement des chrtiens. Comme la connaissance de foi n'est pas
gale chez tous (aspect subjectif du don de la foi), les convictions peuvent
diverger de l'un l'autre, du moins dans les matires en soi indiffrentes.
Ce qui importe, c'est de se conduire en conformit avec les convictions
que la foi inspire ; agir l'encontre, c'est pcher. Sur ce point chacun est
son propre juge et personne d'autre l'exception de Dieu qui connat les
secrets des curs (dimension personnelle de la vie chrtienne). Le chrtien
47. L'explicatioa que nous proposons par manire d'hypothse est galement
celle de Plage : Omne autem quia non est ex /ide, peccatum est. Non ex fide quae per
caritatem operatur. Quitquit ergo alium destruit, ex fide non est et idcirco peccatum
est (Texts and Studies IX, pp. III-II2). L'explication de I'Ambrosiaster est plus
difficile saisir en raison des recensions al3 et y qui sur un point d'importance se
contredisent propos du v. 23 : ipse enim se damnat, quando id quod sibi inutile
adserit facit >l (rec. aj3, CSEL 81, p. 450) et : ipse enim se reum facit, quando id quod
sibi utile putat facit (rec. y, p. 45 r) ; impossible de dire avec certitude si les v. 22 b et 23
s'appliquent galement aux faibles et aux forts. Quant au v. 23 b il est suivi dans
les deux recensions de considrations concernant les faibles, dont la conclusion, qui
peut s'appliquer aussi bien aux forts qu'aux faibles, est la suivante dans la seule
rec. y : omne ergo quod ad conscientiam pertinet, si aliter fiat, quam fieri debere
scitur, dicit esse peccatum >) (p. 453).

ROM. 14,2Jb DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

167

se gardera cependant d'agir selon sa conviction de foi personnelle dans les


occasions o il risquerait de scandaliser ses frres plus faibles, c'est--dire,
de les entraner par son exemple agir contre la conviction que leur foi
eux, moins claire, leur inspire, et commettre ainsi le pch. Ce serait
commettre soi-mme le pch car le Seigneur a svrement condamn
l'homme par qui le scandale arrive. La foi qui agit par la charit impose
de renoncer, non pas sa conviction personnelle, mais la libert de la
suivre, quand le danger de causer le scandale existe (dimension communautaire de la vie chrtienne).
Nous nous garderons cependant de conclure qu'Augustin aurait pu dj
donner la sentence de l'Aptre : omne quod non est ex fide, peccatum est,
une porte qui dpasserait le cas prcis du litige qui divisait les chrtiens
de Rome. On aura, en effet, remarqu que, pour expliciter le sens du mot
/ides dans son commentaire, il fait appel ou allusion des paroles du
Christ bien dtermines qui prescrivent, comme l'avance, la ligne de
conduite tenir pour rsoudre le diffrend. Il ne s'ensuit pas pour autant
que la foi se rduist alors pour lui au simple fait de croire aux paroles du
Christ et ne comportt pas l'assurance de participer effectivement la
justification et la sanctification ralises par le Christ dans sa mort et sa
rsurrection. Mais il n'avait pas encore dcouyert la ncessit radicale de la
foi qui ne peut tre compense par aucun acte humain. Il pensait, au
contraire, que de croire au Christ librateur et d'accepter sa grce tait
au pouvoir du libre arbitre 48 . Sans doute, c'est Dieu qui dans sa misricorde
gratuite fait la premire dmarche en faveur de l'homme pcheur en
l'appelant 49 . Cet appel (vocatio) est une grce que l'homme n'a pas mrite
et ne peut mriter d'aucune manire 50 ; aussi faut-il la recevoir pour
pouvoir y rpondre 51 . Mais ce n'est pas Dieu qui lui donne de rpondre
favorablement son appel 52 . Youloir y rpondre et croire dpend uniquement de l'homme. S'il veut et croit, Dieu lui accorde de pouvoir accomplir
des uvres bonnes grce l'Esprit-Saint qui infuse l'amour de Dieu dans
son cur 53 ; et s'il reste fidle cet amour - ce qui ne dpend pas moins
de lui - il mritera aussi la vie ternelle 54 .
48. Expos. 36 (44) : Libero autem arbitrio habet ut credat liberatori et accipiat
gratiam (CSEL 84 /r, p. r9).
49. Expos. 53 (6r): Primo enim misertus est nostri deus cum peccatores essemus,
ut vocaret nos (pp. 35-36).
50. Expos. 52 (60) : Est autem gratia ut vocatio peccatori praerogetur, cum
eius merita nulla, nisi ad damnationem praecesserint (p. 35).
5r. Expos. 54 (62) : ... quia neque velle possimus, nisi vocemur (p. 36).
52. Expos. 52 (60) : Dicit enim idem apostolus: idem deus qui operatur omnia in
omnibus, nusquam autem dictum est : deus credit in omnibus J) (p. 35).
53. Expos. 53 (6r) : Nostrum est credere et velle, llius autem dare credentibus
et volentibus facultatem bene operandi per spiritum sanctum per quem caritas dei
diffunditur in cordibus nostris ... '> (p. 36). Cf. Expos. 52 (60) : Quod ergo credimus
nostrum est, quod autem bonum operamur, illius qui credentibus in se dat spiritum
sanctum '' (p. 35).
54. Expos. 52 (60) : .. .in quo permanens - quod nihilominus est in lbero arbitrio
merebitur etiam vitam aeternam, quae nulla possit labe corrumpi '' (p. 35).

r68

ALBERT C. DE VEER

Cette foi, qui est de l'homme, Dieu en tient compte au point qu'il ne
prdestine personne sinon ceux dont il sait l'avance qu'ils croiront son
appel et le suivront, ceux dont l'Aptre dit qu'ils sont lus ; tout comme
Dieu tient compte du refus de croire pour endurcir le cur du Pharaon.
Augustin soustrait donc indirectement la foi, du moins dans son stade
initial, la grce gratuite de Dieu pour la mettre dans le libre arbitre de
l'homme au mme titre que l'infidlit ou le refus de croire55. Sur la
qualit de cette foi Augustin ne donne pas d'autres prcisions ; il est certain qu' ses yeux elle ne suffit pas librer l'homme de l'esclavage du
pch aussi longtemps que le secours du Librateur auquel il croit ne lui
soit effectivement donn56.
Augustin ne tardera pas dcounir, la lecture plus approfondie de
saint Paul, que tout est don de grce, mme le commencement de la
foi57. Mais tant qu'il laissait l'homme sans la grce le moindre pouvoir de
s'assurer le salut, l'ide ne pouvait lui venir l'esprit que la sentence de
Rom. 14, 23 b condamnt toute activit des paens voire des hrtiques,
aussi honnte qu'elle puisse tre.
L'INTERPRTATION DE ROM.14, 23 b
DANS LA CONTROVERSE ANTIPLAGI:ENNE

Au cours de la controverse avec les plagiens, Augustin se sert de Rom.


23 b pour affirmer l'impuissance absolue o se trouve l'homme sans la
foi de produire non seulement un acte agrable Dieu et mritoire du
salut, mais mme un acte religieusement neutre, autrement dit qui ne
soit pas entach de pch 58 . Il s'en autorise en particulier pour dclarer que
les vertus des paens ne sont en ralit que des vices 59 , notamment leur
chastet conjugale 60 et que mme la continence pratique par les hrtiques et les schismatiques n'est pas authentique 61 . Ce faisant, Augustin
dtache la sentence de l' Aptre de son contexte originel immdiat o elle
14,

55. Expos. 54 (62) : Sicut enim in his, quos elegit deus, non opera sed fides
inchoat meritum, ut per munus dei bene operentur, sic in his, quos damnat, infidelitas
et impietas inchoat poenae meritum, ut per ipsam poenam etiam male operentur ... (p. 37).
56. Sur la conception de la foi dans l'Expositio voir: M. LOHRER, Der Glaubcnsbegriff des hl. Augustinus in seincn ersten Schriften bis zu den Confessiones, EinsiedelnZrich-Kln, 1955, pp. 241-250.
57. Ds 396 en Ad Simplicianum I, quaestio 2, 2 (BA ro, p. 442 suiv.) ; voir aussi
Retract. I, 23 (22) propos de l'Expositio et Retract. II, I (28) propos de l'Ad
Simplicianum, textes cits in extenso en De praedestinatione sanctorum (aprs 428),
3, 7 et 4, 8 (BA 24, pp. 480-484 et 486-488).
58. C. duas ep. pet. III, 5, 44 : sine ipsa vero (fide) etiam quae videntur bona
opera in peccata vertuntur (texte no ro).
59. Voir textes nos I, 5, 8, r5, 16.
60. Voir textes nos 5, 6, 8.
61. Voir texte n 7.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

169

ne concerne que la conduite de chrtiens ; il en modifie aussi l'intention, en


y lisant la condamnation objective de la conduite des paens, alors qu'elle
souligne en ralit la ncessit pour les chrtiens de conformer subjectivement leur conduite, sous peine de pcher, la conviction que leur foi leur
inspire. Nanmoins Augustin est convaincu de rendre fidlement la pense
de l'Aptre. Il eut s'en expliquer avec Julien d'clane: son expos nous
permet de saisir sur le vif sa mthode d'utiliser les critures aux fins
d'en dgager une preuve thologique 62

Rom. 14, 23 b et son orchestration scripturaire 63 .


Dans son Ad Turbantium, ouvrage dirig contre le De niiptiis et concupiscentia, Julien avait critiqu comme abusif l'emploi qu'Augustin y avait
fait de Rom. 14, 23 b pour condamner les vertus des paens 64 . Sa propre
interprtation du verset ne transparat qu'imparfaitement travers la
rponse qu'Augustin lui oppose en C. Iulianum pelagianum, IV, 3, 24
(texten12). L'vquelui reproche d'en dtourner le sens( non ut sapit JJ)
pour l'accommoder ses propres ides ( sed ut sapiSJJ) et d'en restreindre
l'application au seul usage des aliments (<< de cibis tantum intellegendum
esse ))). L'Aptre parlait sans doute de l'usage des aliments (De cibis
enim apostolus loquebatur JJ), mais aprs avoir dit : qui autem discernit, si
manducaverit, damnatus est, quia non ex fide 65 , il a voulu prouver la ralit
du pch dtermin qu'il avait en ,-ue ( hanc speciem peccati de qua
agebat n) au moyen d'une sentence gnrale ( generali sententia JJ), en
ajoutant incontinent : omne enim quod non est ex fide, peccatum est 66 La
porte de cette sentence dpasse la simple question de l'usage des aliments.
Julien aurait pu s'en rendre compte s'il aYait prt attention un autre
texte galement cit ( sed ut hoc ( = v. 23 b) tibi de cibis tantum intelle-

62. Voir ce propos G. STRAUSS, Schriftgebrauch, Schriftauslcgung und Schriftbeweis bei Augustin, Tbingen, I959.
63. Nous empruntons l'expression A.-M. LA BONNARDIRE. Sous cette dnomination, elle groupe, dans les tableaux de sa Biblia augustiniana, en cours de publication,
Paris, I960 et suiv., les textes scripturaires qui dans l'uvre d'Augustin accompagnent habituellement un verset dtermin actuellement mis en vedette. Ailleurs
l'auteur dsigne par orchestration scripturaire >J le groupe de textes bibliques qui
rapparaissent plus ou moins semblables eux-mmes chaque fois que saint Augustin
expose un thme doctrinal (voir Revue des tud. augustin., I, I955, p. 129). Les deux
emplois se compltent : le verset vedette amorce un thme doctrinal, l'orchestration
scripturaire le reprend et le dveloppe avec des variations diverses.
64. Voir textes n 5 et 6.
65. Voir supra notes 3 et 7.
66. Augustin ne prcise pas le pch que l'Aptre avaient en vue et sur lequel
Julien tait apparemment d'accord avec lui. Nous pensons que sur ce point il est
rest fidle sa manire de voir dans I'Expos. ad Romanos et qu'il dsigne ainsi,
tout comme Plage (voir note 47) le pch du scandale, autrement dit, le pch
contre la foi qui agit par la charit. S'il en est ainsi, l'opposition : hanc peccati
speciem
generali sententia >J affecte aussi le sens de peccatum du v. 23 b. Nous y
reviendrons dans la suite.

12

170

ALBERT C. DE VEER

gendum esse concedam, quid de alio d:cturus es testimonio quod identidemposui67 ... ) sine/ide enim impossibile estplacere (Hebr. II, 6) ? Ce texte ne
concerne pas seulement le boire et le manger, mas toute la vie de l'homme
<< nempe ut hoc diceretur, de tota vita hom nis agebatur in qua iustus ex
/ide vivit (Rom, I, I7) 68 . Ainsi pour prouver Julien qui la contestait
la porte gnrale de Rom. 14' 23 b, Augustin lui rappe le-t-il un texte
galement cit et auquel il n'avait pas ragi ((( nec inde aliquid disputasti >>)
et en ajoute-t-il un autre: deux textes dont la porte gnrale est indiscutable
A la lumire de ce passage (texte nI2), le seul o Augustin cherche
justifier son interprtation de Rom. I4, 23 b, on mesure l'intrt de connatre les textes scripturaires qui en accompagnent habituellement la
citation. En relisant donc le dossier nous constatons que dans cinq passages, Rom. I4, 23 b est cit sans accompagnement comme un axiome allant
de soi (textes n 8 5, 7, 8, II, I7) ; dans les onze autres, il est cit, au gr du
thme envisag, de pair avec un ou plusieurs textes dont certains, par la
frquence de leur emploi, s'imposent notre attention spciale. Ce sont
des textes emprunts saint Paul 69 :
Rom. I, IJ ( = Gal. 3, II ; Hebr. IO, 38 ; Habacuc 2, 4) : iustus ex fide
vivit (textes nos 2, 9, IO et IZ) ;
Rom. I2, I3 : cc sicut unicuique Deus partitus est mensuram fidei (textes
nos I, 2 et 4) ;
Gal. 5, 6 : /ides quae per dilectionem operatur (textes nos l, 2, 3 et IO) ;
Hebr. II, 6 : sine jide impossibile est placere (Deo) (textes n 8 2, 6, 12, 14,
I5 et 16).
Au moins un de ces quatre textes accompagne Rom. 14, 23 b dan> les
passages cits. Si Hebr. II, 6 l'emporte en frquence, c'est peut-tre
parce que, tant formul en termes ngatifs comme Rom. 14, 23 b, il
exprime comme lui une sentence absolue qui ne souffre pas d'exception.
Dans la lettre r88 (texte n 2), les quatre citations forment avec Rom.
r4, 23 b une seule phrase numrant les points essentiels de la doctrine
paulinienne de la grce que les plagiens, aux dires d'Augustin, ont
l'habitude de passer sous silence.
De nombreux autres textes scripturaires surgissent dans 1' entourage de
Rom. 14, 23 b, sous forme de citations ou d'allusions, mais sans la rgularit
67. Voir texte no 6.
68. Voir texte no IZ.
69. On peut objecter que le texte iustus ex /ide vivit, signal par nous Rom. I, I7,
se rencontre aussi non seulement en Gat. 3, II, mais encore en Hebr. Io, 38 et dj en
Habacuc z, 4 ; que par ailleurs, partir de 4rr-4I2, Augustin se montre prudent
quand il s'agit de se prononcer sur l'auteur de l'p. aux Hbreux: voir A.-l\L LA
BoNNARDIRE, L' ptre aux Hbreux dans l'uvre de saint Augustin, dans Rev.
tud. augustin., 3, 1957, pp. I37-I48 ; pour iustus ex /ide vivit: p. I4I, note 8. En fait
Augustin cite nos cinq textes d'un souffle pour dfinir la grce quam vehementer
commendat apostolus qui... (texte n z).

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

des textes pauliniens cits plus haut. Quelques-uns apparaissent deux fois,
tels Cant. cant. 4, 8 selon les Septante : venies et transies ab initio fidei
(textes ns l et 4), Ioh. 6, 44 : nemo potest venire ad me nisi Pater traxerit
eum (textes ns 9 et 15), Ps. 58, II : misericordia eius praeveniet me (textes
nos l et II); d'autres ne paraissent qu'une seule fois, par ex. Ioh. 15, 16 :
non vos me elegistis(texte n II) et I Cor. 7, 7 : vola autem ... sed unusquisque
proprium donum habet a Deo (texte n 5).
Tous ces textes, citations ou allusions, s'insrent dans un mouvement de
pense qui se veut biblique ; ce titre leur prsence n'est jamais fortuite.
L'analyse du contexte en rvlera la raison et par l-mme clairera l'un
ou l'autre aspect de l'interprtation qu'Augustin donne la sentence
de l'Aptre.
Le fondement scripturaire de l'interprtation de Rom. 14 23 b et de son emploi
dans la controverse antiplagienne
Nous avons dj vu Augustin faire appel Rom. l, 17 et Hebr. II, 6
pour dmontrer la porte gnrale de Rom. 14, 23b conteste par Julien
(voir texte n 12 etp. l69sv.). A lire le contexte loign de ce passage (C. Iul.
pel. IV, 3, 16-34) on constate que le Plagien critique l'exgse d'Augustin,
pour ainsi dire subsidiairement, dans une longue discussion sur le pouvoir
du libre arbitre d'accomplir par ses seules forces, sans l'aide de la grce, des
actes de vertu ; ces vertus sont striles en fruits de vie ternelle, mais
tant de vraies vertus, on ne peut pas les qualifier contradictoirement de
pch. Dans cette perspective Julien avait tout intrt restreindre la
porte de Rom. 14 23 b au seul usage des aliments par des chrtiens.
Ajoutons que pour les plagiens la foi elle-mme est l'effet du libre
vouloir et nullement un don gratuit de Dieu ; ils auraient t capables de
montrer que les sentences Rom. l, 17, Rom. 14, 23b et Hcbr. II, 6, prises
en elles-mmes, ne les contredisaient pas ncessairement sur ce point.
Or ds son premier emploi de Rom. 14, 23b Augustin carte cette possibilit.
Dans son De gestis Pelagii, 14 34 (texte n l), il fait suivre le verset par
un appel global des textes de saint Paul qu'il introduit et rsume en ces
termes : Ideo saepe dicit (apostolus) 'non ex operibus sed ex fide nobis
iustitiam deputari' )), Nombreux sont les textes pauliniens qui expriment
cette ide: Rom. 3, 20, 22, 28 ; 4, 2-4, 5, 9, II, 22-23 ; 5, l ; Gal. 2, 16 ; 3, 6.
Il n'est cependant pas possible de prciser les versets qu'Augustin aurait
eu spcialement en vue. S'il formule son rsum en des termes emprunts
saint PauF 0 , il lui donne une tournure de sentence qui l'insre parfaitement dans l'argumentation amorce par la citation de Rom. 14, 23 b.
70. Tous les mots utiliss par Augustin se rencontrent chez saint Paul, mais dans
un ordre dispers et une situation grammaticale diffrente. Le verbe drputari nous
oriente vers les passages o l'Aptre se rfre au cas d'Abraham dont il est dit en
Gen. 15, 6: credidit Abraham Dro et reputatum est illi ad iustitiam (cf. Rom. 4, passim).
Dans le rsum, ex /ide rpond magnifiquement l'ex /ide de Rom. 14, 23b et donne
de la suite l'argumentation.

r72

ALBERT C. DE VEER

Il s'agissait de lever l'quivoque d'une expression de Plage : <<Dieu


accorde toutes les grces qui aura t digne de les recevoir, comme il les a
accordes saint Paul. A cet effet, Augustin montre l'aide de tmoignages emprunts l'Aptre (Rom. 4, 4 et rr, 6) qu'on n'est digne de
recevoir des grces que par une grce initiale accorde par misricorde,
gracieusement (De gest. Pel. r4, 33, BA 2I, pp. 508-5ro). Puis il imagine
une instance que Plage aurait pu faire : l'Aptre a mrit les grandes
grces dont il a t le bnficiaire, non pas par ses uvres qui, au dpart,
n'taient pas bonnes, mais par sa foi. L'instance fait clairement allusion
aux textes de saint Paul qu'Augustin va rsumer bientt ; elle conoit la
foi dont il s'agit comme inoprante l>, puisqu'elle affirme que l'Aptre
avait la foi, mais que ses uvres n'taient pas bonnes ; elle conoit en
outre la foi comme distincte de la grce puisqu'elle la prsente comme
tant mritoire de grce et par consquent comme un bien propre de
l'homme. C'tait peu prs la conception qu'Augustin se faisait jadis de
la foi (voir p. r67 sv.). Maintenant il va s'efforcer de montrer que si la foi est
bien source de tout mrite, elle est elle-mme don gratuit qui prcde tout
mrite. Il commence par rejeter la conception d'une foi inoprante : la
foi est essentiellement active, elle qui uvre par l'amour (Gal. 5, 6). Il
s'ensuit que l o il n'y a pas d'uvres bonnes, il n'y a pas non plus
de foi, ou inversement, que sans la foi il n'y a pas d'uvres bonnes. Il
confirme cette conclusion par un appel Rom. 14, 23 b : Que l'on exalte
autant qu'on voudra les unes des incroyants ( infideles ll) nous
connaissons la sentence vraie et irrfutable de l'Aptre : Tout ce qui
ne procde pas de la foi est pch)). Puis revenant aux textes sur lesquels
l'instance avait pris son appui, il poursuit : Il est vrai que l'Aptre
redit souvent que la justice nous est impute, non pas en raison des
uvres, mais en raison de la foi, d'autant plus que c'est la foi qui uvre
par l'amour (Gal. 5, 6). Il le redit pour que nul ne croie que l'on parvient
la foi en tant que telle par le mrite des uvres, puisque c'est elle qui
est le principe (<c initium ))) d'o procdent les uvres bonnes, car, ainsi
qu'il crit, ce qui ne procde pas d'elle est pch (cf. BA zr, pp. 5rr-5r3) )).
A premire vue c'est pour justifier son interprtation de l'affirmation
rpte de l'Aptre, qu'Augustin fait ici appel Rom. 14, 23b. Mais ce
texte prouve-t-il en dfinitive que la foi n'est pas le propre de l'homme,
mais une grce initiale octroye gratuitement par la misricorde de Dieu ?
Augustin en est convaincu et les preuves supplmentaires qu'il nous en
fournit dans la suite du passage ne servent qu' nous faire partager sa
conviction. Nous croyons, pour notre part, qu'Augustin accorde valeur de
preuve ce texte, parce qu'il rsume ses yeux, de manire parfaite, le
raisonnement qui a fait dire l'Aptre que ce n'est pas en raison des
uvres, mais en raison de la foi que la justice nous est impute. Ce raisonnement est fond sur une constatation transmise par les critures : sans la
foi, Juifs et Grecs sont tous pareillement sous l'empire du pch (Rom.
3, 9-r8) ; il n'y a pas de distinction : tous ont pch et sont privs de la
gloire de Dieu et tous sont justifis gratuitement par sa grce en vertu de
la rdemption qui est dans le Christ Jsus (lb. 23-24). Dieu n'est pas

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

73

seulement le Dieu des Juifs, il l'est aussi des paens, puisqu'il n'y a qu'un
Dieu qui justifiera les circoncis grce la foi et les incirconcis par le moyen
de la foi (Ib. 29-30). Abraham en est l'clatante preuve : sa foi, non ses
uvres, lui fut compte comme justice alors qu'il tait encore incirconcis.
Il reut le signe de la circoncision comme sceau de la justice que la foi lui
avait obtenue alors qu'il tait encore incirconcis (Rom. 4, 9-rr).
L' Aptre ne connat donc pas pour l'homme face Dieu, ni de fait
(Rom. 3, 9 et 23) ni de droit (Rom. l, 20-21 et 25), un quelconque tat
intermdiaire, exempt la fois de pch et de justice, comme Julien
semble le prtendre (voir : C. Iul. pel. IV, 3, 22). Par ailleurs l'opposition
entre le pch et la justice est si radicale qu'elle frappe l'homme pcheur
d'une impuissance absolue poser par lui-mme un acte mritoire de
justice. L'Aptre n'en donne pas la raison, mais il constate le fait rapport
par les critures. C'est Dieu qui prend l'initiative de justifier l'homme en
lui donnant d'abord d'avoir foi dans ses promesses de salut. Sans la foi
l'homme est sous l'empire du pch et que peut-il faire sinon s'affirmer
pcheur dans tous ses actes ?
Cette doctrine, Augustin estimait qu'elle tait parfaitement exprime
en Rom. 14, 23 b ; et c'est pourquoi il pouvait s'en servir pour prouver que
c'tait de la foi, grce initiale non mrite, que l'Aptre voulait parler en
disant que la justice nous est impute non pas en raison des uvres,
mais en raison de la foi)). Il est vident qu'il ne l'a pas dcouverte en Rom.
14, 23b ni en Rom. I, r7 ou Hebr. II, 6, puisque, sans elle, malgr leur
porte gnrale, ces sentences ne permettent de rien conclure sur le
caractre absolument gratuit de la foi. Il l'a dcouverte dans l'tude
plus approfondie de 1' ptre aux Romains et notamment, croyons-nous,
des chapitres trois et quatre d'o sont tirs les textes qu'il rsume ici dans
la formule : (( non ex operibus sed ex fide nobis iustitiam deputari )J.
Ces textes ne paraissent qu'une fois en compagnie de Rom. q, 23 b dans
l'ouvrage o Augustin cite le yerset pour la premire fois. Ils nous orientent
d'emble vers le fondement scripturaire sur lequel s'appuient l'interprtation qu'il en donne et l'emploi qu'il en fait.
Malheureusement, Augustin ne nous a pas laiss de commentaire
proprement dit de Rom. r4, 23b: l'exgse qu'il nous en propose dans le
texte no I2 ne vise qu' justifier la porte gnrale qu'il donne au verset,
mais nglige de prciser le sens qu'il attribue aux deux mots-clef fides et
peccatum. Nous en sommes rduits rechercher ces prcisions dans les
divers emplois qu'il fait de la sentence, soit propos des infidles, soit
propos des chrtiens, orthodoxes ou hrtiques.

Rom. r4, 23b et les chrtiens fidles


L'appel Rom. r4, 23 b pour juger la conduite des chrtiens est conforme
l'intention originelle de 1' Aptre (voir p. r53 sv. ). Augustin entre dans cette
vue ds son Expos ... ad Romanos : en commentant Rom. 14, 23 a il identifie
la Jides dont il s'agit avec la foi qui opre par l'amour (Gal. 5, 6) et le

r74

ALBERT C. DE VEER

peccatum avec le pch contre la charit (voir p. r65), sans toutefois


mentionner la suite du verset (23 b) qui nous intresse ici. A cette exgse
il est rest fondamentalement fidle.
Quand au cours de la controverse antiplagienne il lui arrive d'appliquer la sentence de l'Aptre aux chrtiens, c'est toujours en troite
liaison avec Gal. 5, 6, au point d'identifier pratiquement la charit avec
la foi et d'en faire, tout comme de la foi, un don absolument gratuit de Dieu
et la condition sine qua non de toute uvre bonne. Nous en avons un
exemple dans le De gratia Christi I, 26, 27 (texte n 3) : Contre Plage qui
assignait la volont de l'homme le pouvoir de faire le bien, Augustin
dmontre que nous ne pouvons faire le bien que par la charit et que cette
charit nous vient de la grce de Dieu sans qu'il y ait eu antrieurement
de notre part quelque mrite. Aprs avoir cit I I oh. 4, IO et 9, il
poursuit: Or quel bien ferions-nous, si nous n'aimions pas? ou comment
ne faisons-nous pas le bien, si nous aimons ? A la vrit, il semble parfois
que le commandement de Dieu est accompli par des hommes qui ont la
crainte et non pas l'amour. Cependant l o il n'y a pas d'amour, il n'est
point d'uvre bonne qui soit impute et le terme d'uvre bonne n'est
plus employ avec exactitude parce que tout ce qui ne procde pas de la foi
est pch (Rom. r4, 23 b) et que la foi opre par la charit (Gal. 5, 6). Et pour
cela, celui qui veut en Yrit confesser la grce de Dieu par laquelle
l'amour de Dieu est rpandu dans nos curs par l' Esprit-Saint qui nous a t
donn (Rom. 5, 5), qu'il la confesse de telle sorte qu'il ne mette pas en doute
que, sans elle, on ne peut faire aucun bien qui relve de la vritable pit
et de la vritable justice )) (texte n 3) ... autrement dit : qui ne soit
pch ! La conclusion est grave ! Voici une uvre objectivement bonne
puisqu'elle est accomplissement d'un commandement de Dieu ; et nanmoins elle est dclare pch, Rom. r4, 23 b l'appui, parce qu'elle est
motive par la crainte et non pas par l'amour! L'affirmation a embarrass
les moralistes et suscit d'pres controverses, sur lesquelles nous n'avons
pas lieu de nous tendre71 .
Qu'il nous suffise de faire remarquer qu'Augustin n'expose pas id toute
sa pense, fort nuance, sur l'opposition entre la crainte et l'amour 72 ;
l'enjeu de la controverse le pousse ne prsenter que le cas extrme o
l'opposition devient pch. De quel pch peut-il bien s'agir ? La rponse
ne nous est pas donne, mais on peut la dgager d'un passage o, parlant
de la comptition dans le cur de l'homme entre la cupiditas (mali) et la
caritas ( cupiditas boni), Augustin en vient aussi parler de la crainte :
Quanto autem timore poenae, non amore iustitiae fit bonum, nondum

7r. Qu'il suffise de rappeler la querelle attritionniste >) qui a divis si longtemps
rigoristes et laxistes sur la question de savoir quel regret du pch exiger du pnitent
pour lui donner l'absolution. Cf. H. DONDAINE, L'Attrition suffisante, Bibliothque
thomiste XXV, Paris, 1943
72. Voir J. MAUSBACH, Die Ethik des heiligen Augustinus, Freiburg im Br., 1909,
I, pp. 184-190 ; II, pp. 287-290.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

175

bene fit bonum ; nec fit in corde quod fieri videtur in opere, quando
mallet homo non facere, si posset impune (C. duas ep. pel. II, 9, 21 ;
PL 44, p. 586) ii. Le pch se trouve, non pas dans l'acte objectivement
bon, mais dans l'attachement du cur au mal. La nature spcifique du
mal qu'on vite contre-cur en faisant par crainte d'tre puni le bien
qui lui est contraire, dtermine la nature du pch, et le degr de l'attachement secret au mal, le degr de sa culpabilit.
Ce qui vaut de la crainte, vaut aussi de tous les autres motifs d'agir en
conformit avec la loi que la concupiscence pourrait inspirer, avarice,
orgueil, respect humain, vaine gloire et tant d'autres. N'est uvre bonne
que celle qui procde de la foi oprant par la charit et dans la mesure
mme o elle en procde. Cette dfinition de l'uvre bonne condamne
l'avance toutes les uvres des hrtiques et des infidles.
Rom. I4, 23 b et les hrtiques

Augustin n'est pas le premier dclarer inauthentique la continence


des hrtiques en raison de Rom. I4, 23 b. La question avait dj t
souleve par Origne dans son Commentaire de l' ptre aux Romains,
X, 5, en juger par la traduction de Rufin 73 : Sed requirat aliquis si et
haeretici quae faciunt, ex fide facere credantur, an quia fides apud illos
mala est, omne quod faciunt peccatum pronuntiandum sit, quia non fit ex
fide ii. La rponse est la suivante: Ego puto illorum credulitatem appellari magis quam esse fidem ... Unde videndum est ne forte etiam si quid
boni operis apud illos geri videtur, quia non fit ex fide, convertatur in
peccatum 74 , sicut et de quodam scriptum est: fiat oratio eius in peccatum
(Ps. 108, 7). ii Puis, pour confirmer cette affirmation gnrale par un
exemple concret, il poursuit : Est interdum et castitas quae non est ex
fide, eorum dumtaxat qui attendunt spiritibus seductoribus ... prohibentium
nubere (I Tim. 4, 2-3) ... ii La version de Rufin date d'environ 406 75 ;
Augustin a pu s'en inspirer. Quoi qu'il en soit de cette dpendance, nous
dcouvrons dans le raisonnement d'Augustin quelques diffrences notables
(texte no 7).
Tandis qu'Origne part de Rom. I4, 23 b pour mettre en doute la bont
morale de toute la conduite des hrtiques, Augustin commence par
constater qu'il est des personnes qui pratiquent la continence parce que,
dupes d'une foi errone, elles nourrissent de vains espoirs et poursuivent
de vains objectifs ii. Sans doute fait-il ici allusion aux hrtiques, tels
les manichens mentionns au dbut du chapitre, qui pratiquent la

73. Voir supra note 7.


74. Augustin emploie la mme formule, sans rfrence toutefois au psaume, dans
le texte n ro : sine ipsa vero (fide) etiam quae videntur opera bona, in peccata
vertuntur .
75. Voir Fr. X, MuRPHY, Rufinus of Aqui!eia (354-4rr). Ris Life and Works,
Washington, r945, pp, 186-191 et 235.

ALBERT C. DE VEER

continence en vertu de leur croyance errone. Mais il largit tout de suite


la question tous les autres, sans tenir compte du point prcis sur lequel
ils sont en opposition avec la foi. << De ce nombre, dit-il, sont tous les
hrtiques et tous ceux qui, sous couleur de religion, tombent victimes de
quelque erreur. Leur continence serait vraie si leur foi aussi l'tait. Mais
comme celle-ci ne doit mme pas tre appele foi parce qu'elle est fausse,
sans aucun doute leur continence est indigne de ce nom. ii C'est exactement le raisonnement qu'Origne dYeloppe pour mettre en doute la
bont morale de la conduite des hrtiques. Pour lui cependant la continence des hrtiques n'est qu'un cas d'espce, encore qu'il soit permis de
penser qu'en choisissant cet exemple, il vise spcialement l'erreur de
ceux qui empchent les fidles de se marier : il fait en effet appel I Tim. 4,
2-3. Quant Augustin, ce n'est qu'aprs avoir condamn la continence
des hrtiques pour leur foi fausse qu'il cherche confirmer son verdict
par un appel Rom. I4, 23 b. A cet effet il introduit un lment que nous
ne rencontrons pas chez Origne, mais que nous retrouvons chez Augustin
dans la discussion sur la chastet conjugale des infidles (voir texte n 5).
Aprs avoir dit que la continence des hrtiques n'est pas digne d'tre
appele continence parce que leur foi est fausse, il poursuit : << En effet, la
continence dont nous affirmons en toute vrit qu'elle est un don de
Dieu 76 , dirons-nous qu'elle est pch ? Loin de notre cur une si dtestable folie! Or, le bienheureux Aptre nous dit : Tout ce qui ne procde pas
de la foi est pch. Il s'ensuit que la continence qui n'a pas la foi ne mrite
pas mme ce nom ii (texte n 7). J. Stelzenberger pense qu'Augustin
hsite ici dire que la continence des hrtiques est pch. Il s'appuie,
semble-t-il, sur la phrase interrogative : ((Numquid continentiam ... dicturi
sumus esse peccatum ?)) et la suite : ((Absit ... )i 77 ; mais il n'a pas vu que
tout le poids de l'interrogation repose sur le fait que les critures nous
apprennent que la vraie continence est don de Dieu. Or celle des hrtiques
ne mrite pas ce nom parce qu'elle ne provient pas de la vraie foi. Elle ne
peut donc tre don de Dieu et tombe sous la condamnation gnrale de
Rom. I4, z3b au mme titre que la chastet conjugale des infidles 78
Il ne doit pas avoir cependant chapp Augustin que le cas de l'hrtique n'est pas en tout identique celui de l'infidle. Celui-ci n'a pas la
foi, celui-l a la foi, mais fausse. Est-elle totalement fausse, au point qu'elle
76. Augustin l'a affirm ds le dbut du chapitre et dans le premier chapitre du
De continentia il en avait donn comme preuve scripturaire Sap. 8, 2r ; Matth. 19, II
et I Cor. 7, 7 (BA 3, p. 22).
77. J. STELZENBERGER, Conscientia ... pp. 72-73 crit : Aber kann man sie Snde
nennen ? Das ginge zu weit. Andererseits erklart Paulus ausdrcklich ... et p. 73 :
Den Heiden und Haretikern wird ihr Verhalten zwar nicht direkt als Si.inde ausgelegt, aber echte Tugend doch abgesprochen. Auch liegt immer der Schatten des
Nicht-Heiligen auf ihrem Tun . Nous verrons plus loin que le cas de l'hrtique est
distinct de celui de l'infidle. Nous croyons aussi qu'Augustin ne connat pas d'tat
intermdiaire entre saintet et pch pour la personne qui agit.
78. Nous verrons plus loin, pp. r78 et 183 qu'Augustin entend l'expression don de
Dieu >) (munus, donum Dei) de diverses manires.

ROM. 14,2Jb DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

177

n'est plus la foi ? Augustin semble le dire tout comme Origne. Est-il donc
assur que l'hrtique n'a mme pas la simple foi au Christ qu'il juge
suffisante chez l'infidle pour qu'ilsoit justifi (voir p. 182, n. 98) ? aurait-il
oubli que Dieu donne chacun la foi selon sa mesure (Rom. 12, 3) ? et
que c'est prcisment propos de dissensions dans la foi que l'Aptre a
promulgu sa sentence (Rom. q) ? aurait-il oubli enfin que pour excuser
Cyprien, il a jadis soutenu qu'une erreur sur un point de la foi peut aller de
pair avec une foi vivante 79 ? Certes non ! Ce qui pour Augustin fait
l'hrtique, ce n'est pas l'erreur comme telle, mais l'obstination dans
l'erreur malgr les avis autoriss reus80 . La foi a une dimension communautaire qui est implicite dans la simple foi au Christ, mais qui pour les
chrtiens doit s'affirmer en foi catholique, c'est--dire en conformit avec
la foi reue des Aptres et transmise par l'glise. L'obstination de l'hrtique dans son erreur est contraire cette foi - Augustin y voit l'effet
de l'orgueil, cette forme de la concupiscence qui fut l'origine du pch de
l'ange et de l'homme
aussi le prive-t-elle de la charit et le spare-t-elle
de l'unit des esprits et des liens de la paix qui attachent les uns aux
autres les membres de l'glise catholique (Eph. 4, 3). Il se trouve finalement, pour d'autres motifs, dans la mme situation que les schismatiques81 .
Aux schismatiques qu'taient les donatistes, Augustin ne cesse de
rpter que leurs bonnes uvres, la chastet de leurs continents et de
leurs vierges consacres, oui, leur foi et leurs sacrements sont striles,
parce que, spars de l'glise catholique, ils n'ont pas la charit82 . Pour les
confondre, il n'utilise cependant jamais la sentence de l'Aptre (Rom. 14,
23 b) dont il n'a d'ailleurs dcouvert la pertinence que plus tard. Mais
dans un ouvrage, estim contemporain de la querelle plagienne83 , le
De patientia, 27, 23-25, il soulve, propos de la patience d'un schismatique un problme semblable celui de la continence des hrtiques. La
solution qu'il nous en propose n'est pas sans intrt pour notre propos,
d'autant plus qu'en De continentia, 12, 18 (notre texte n 7) il fait luimme le rapprochement8 4 .
79. Voir par ex. De baptismo, passim et I, 18, 28- 19, 29 ; II, 1, 2-2, 3 ; BA 29,
pp. 116-122 et 126-132 ; voir aussi G. BAVAUD, Aucune erreur dans la foi ne rend nul le
baptme, Ibid., pp. 598-600.
80. Voir A. DE VEER, La dfinition de l'hrsie et du schisme par Cresconius et par
Augustin, en BA 31, pp. 759-764.
Sr. Pour Augustin le schismatique est vou, s'il s'obstine dans la sparation,
devenir hrtique, parce que, pour justifier sa sparation il finira par invoquer des
raisons qui sont contraires la foi qui opre par la charit, et notamment la conception catholique des sacrements et de l'glise. Voir A. DE VEER, art. cit la note 80.
82. Voir par ex. In Ioh. ev. tr. VI, 21-24; BA 71, pp. 392-396.
83. Voir G. CoMBS, en BA 2, p. 528. Le passage qui nous intresse se trouve
pp. 572-574.
84. Sicut autem non omnis qui aliquid patitur ... habet earn virtutem quae similiter Dei rnunus est et patientia nuncupatur .. .ita non onrnis qui aliquid continet ...
istarn continentiam (quae munus est Dei), de cuius utilitate et decore disserimus,
habere dicendus est (BA 3, p. 86).

ALBERT C. DE VEER

Voici donc un schismatique qui subit le martyre, non pour l'erreur qui
l'a spar de l'glise, mais pour ne pas renier le Christ par crainte des
peines ternelles. Son sacrifice, Augustin n'hsite pas l'affirmer d'emble,
est sans utilit pour gagner le royaume des cieux ; l'Aptre dit en effet ;
J'aurai beau livrer mon corps au bcher, si je n'ai pas la charit, cela ne me
sert de rien (I Cor. I3, 3) ; mais il ne dit cependant pas, remarque-t-il,
que la rigueur du dernier jugement n'en sera pas adoucie pour lui85 .
Augustin se pose ensuite la question dont l'intention antiplagienne est
manifeste : La patience de cet homme est-elle un don de Dieu ou faut-il
l'attribuer aux forces de la volont humaine ? Rpondre qu'elle est don de
Dieu, c'est faire croire celui qui la possde qu'il appartient aussi au
royaume des cieux. Or, s'il n'a pas la charit, et le schismatique en est
priv, sacrifier sa vie ne lui sert de rien. Rpondre qu'elle n'est pas don de
Dieu, c'est tre contraint d'avouer que sans le secours de Dieu il peut y
avoir quelque chose de bon dans la volont humaine. Car c'est une chose
bonne de croire qu'on sera puni d'un supplice ternel si on nie le Christ
(cf. Matth. ro, 33 ; Luc. IZ, g), et de supporter pour cette foi n'importe
quel supplice humain. On ne peut donc nier que cette patience du schismatique soit un don de Dieu, mais il faut comprendre aussi qu'il n'est pas
semblable aux dons de Dieu faits aux enfants de cette Jrusalem, la
femme libre, notre mre d'en-haut (Gal. 4, 26)8 6
On pourrait dire de mme : Voici un hrtique qui pratique la continence, non pour l'erreur de ceux qui condamnent le mariage, mais pour
suivre le conseil vanglique afin d'obtenir la vie ternelle. Sa continence
est sans utilit pour gagner le royaume des cieux, car obstin qu'il est
dans l'erreur sur un point de la foi, il n'a pas la charit et sans la charit
sa continence ne lui sert de rien ; tout au plus pourrait-elle adoucir pour
lui la rigueur du jugement. Mais comme c'est chose bonne de croire qu'on
sera rcompens de vie ternelle si on observe la continence (Matth. rg, rz)
et de renoncer pour cette foi au mariage, on ne peut nier que sa continence
soit don de Dieu ; il faut cependant comprendre que ce don n'est pas semblable ceux faits par Dieu aux enfants de la femme libre.
La distinction n'est pas facile saisir. Il est clair que la patience du
schismatique est dite don de Dieu en raison de la foi ; il en est de mme,
par assimilation, de la continence de l'hrtique87 . La foi en l'occurrence
donne la connaissance d'une vrit proclame par le Seigneur, mais elle ne
fait pas agir par la charit : le schismatique en effet est suppos subir la
mort par crainte des peines ternelles, l'hrtique pratiquer la continence
85. De mme la conduite honnte des infidles leur sera compte au jour du
jugement, cf. C. lut. pet. IV, 3, 26 : Minus enim Fabricius quam Catalina punietur,
non quia iste bonus, sed quia ille magis malus, et minus impius quam Catalina Fabricius, non veras virtutes habendo, sed a yeris virtutibus non plurimo deviando
(PL 44, 751). Voir infra note 98.
86. BA 2, pp. 574-576.
87. La distinction ne s'applique pas telle quelle la chastet conjugale des infidles
qui, par dfinition, n'ont pas la foi ; voir texte n 5 et p. 183.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

179

par dsir de la vie ternelle ; l'un et l'autre sont mus par l'amour de soi
et non par l'amour de Dieu, puisqu'il est entendu pour Augustin que ni le
schismatique ni l'hrtique ne possdent la charit.

Rom. I4, 23 b et les injidlesss


Les plagiens, et tout particulirement Julien d'clane, invoquaient
l'exemple d'Anciens, clbres pour leur sagesse et leurs vertus, comme un
argument dcisif contre la prtendue corruption de la nature humaine
et la ncessit absolue de la grceB 9 Quand Augustin utilise pour la
premire fois Rom. I4, 23 b (en 4I7 : texte n I), c'est pour dmontrer la
fausset de cet argument 90 . Nous avons vu qu' cette occasion il nous
rvle le fondement scripturaire sur lequel il appuie son interprtation de la
sentence de 1' Aptre (p. IJI sv.) et comment il justifie plus tard contre Julien
l'emploi qu'il en fait (p. r69sv.). De plus,ilestvidentquelesconclusions
qu'il en tire au sujet du comportement des chrtiens et des hrtiques
valent a fortiori pour les infidles 91 . A partir de ces lments acquis, il
nous reste dcouvrir quel sens Augustin donne aux mots jides et peccatum
dans son emploi de Rom. r4, 23 b propos des infidles.
Dans le texte n r5, Augustin appelle les infidles des fils de l'incroyance:
filii diffidentiae. Il emprunte cette dfinition Eph. 2, 2 et s'inspire
manifestement dans le dveloppement de sa pense leur sujet du contexte
de ce verset qui insiste sur la corruption des hommes (( tous pcheurs et

88. L'attitude critique d'Augustin l'gard des uvres des infidles a t tudie
par J. ERNST, Die Werke und Tugenden der Unglaubigen nach dem hl. Augustinus,
Freiburg i. Br., 1871, par J. WANG TcH'ANG-TCHE, Saint Augustin et les vertus des
paens, Paris, 1938, par J. MAUSBAC'H, Die Ethik des hl. Augustinus, Freiburg i. Br.,
1909, vol. II, pp. 258-299. Avant eux H. DE NoRIS, dans ses Vindiciae augustinianae
IV, 5, avait cherch justifier l'interprtation augustinienne de Rom. 14, 23b,
contre ceux, entre autres, qui prtendaient qu'elle tombait sous la condamnation
de la thse III, 5 de Baus : Omnia opera infidelium sunt peccata et philosophorum
virtutes sunt vitia ,par Pie V dans la Bulle Ex omnibus afflictionibus du 1er oct. 1567
(Denzinger 1025) : Non errasse S. Doctorem exponentem illud Apostoli Rom. 14 :
' omne quod non est ex /ide peccatum est'. Ecclesia Catholica, Romani Pontifices ac
Patres S. Augustini interpretationem approbant. Voir : Historia Pelagiana ... additis
Vindiciis Augustinianis, Ed. nova ab ipso auctore, Lovanii apud Henricum Schelte,
MDCCII, pp. 74-77. Notre propos n'est pas de dfendre l'interprtation augustinienne
de Rom. 14, 23 b mais de la dcouvrir dans l'emploi qu'il en fait.
89. Voir spcialement : C. Iul. pel. IV, 3, 16-33 ; PL 44, 744-756. L'argument
devait avoir du poids dans un milieu o l'ducateur profane aimait faire appel
aux exempla maiorum et o mme l'ducateur chrtien ne ddaignait pas de proposer
ces exemples l'mulation des fidles. Augustin ne fait pas exception, voir par ex.
De civ. Dei V, 13-20 ; BA 33, pp. 704-738.
90. Dj avant cette date il avait eu l'occasion de parler des vertus des anciens
Romains et de montrer que, ne possdant pas la vraie pit, ils ne possdaient pas
non plus de vraies vertus, voir : De civ. Dei V, 19 ; BA 33, p. 735 ; Ep. 138, 3, 17
Marcellinus, CSEL 44, p. 144.
9r. Ce n'est pas sans raison que dans le texte n 2, parlant de la foi, Augustin dit :
(( ante quam et sine qua omnino nulla cuiusquam bona opera existimanda sunt ...

ISO

ALBERT C. DE VEER

tous, par nature, enfants de colre )). Il crit : cc Le diable agit dans les fils
de l'incroyance en les provoquant aux uvres mauvaises et en tout
premier lieu l'incroyance elle-mme et l'infidlit par laquelle ils sont
rebelles la foi, cette foi dont il sait qu'elle les rendrait purs )). De ce passage il ressort que le pch des infidles est avant tout leur infidlit
mme 92 . Ce pch est prsent comme un refus de croire (cc qua sunt
inimici fidei ))), attitude fondamentalement perverse qui s'exprime par
toutes sortes d'uvres mauvaises et vicie mme les uvres qui, aux yeux
des hommes, passent pour tre bonnes. Le diable, en effet, cc pour mieux
tromper, permet que chez divers peuples et spcialement chez les Romains,
certains d'entre eux se signalent par des actions apparemment (cc velut )))
bonnes et en recueillent des louanges. Mais l'criture qui est on ne peut
plus vridique, proclame que tout ce qui ne procde pas de la foi est pch
(Rom. I4, 23 b) et que sans la foi, si on peut plaire aux hommes, on ne peut
certes pas plaire Dieu (Hebr. II, 6). Le diable agit ainsi pour qu'on ne
croie pas en Dieu et ne vienne pas, en croyant (I oh. 6, 44) au mdiateur
par qui ses uvres sont dtruites (I I oh. 3, 8) ))_
Il n'est pas douteux qu'en prsentant l'infidlit comme le pch
proprement dit des infidles, source de tous leurs autres pchs, Augustin
ait voulu stigmatiser, la suite de l'Aptre (Eph. 2, I-3) la corruption de la
nature humaine dans sa cause et ses effets. Un autre passage (texte n 9)
confirme cette interprtation et claire des aspects rests dans l'ombre,
notamment celui de refus volontaire attach l'infidlit. Augustin s'y
dfend d'avoir jamais dit cc que tous sont contraints pcher, malgr eux,
par le penchant tyrannique de leur chair)). C'est tout le contraire qu'il a
dit : cc quand les hommes atteignent l'ge de pouvoir se servir de leur
propre esprit pour se guider, c'est par leur vouloir propre qu'ils restent
dtenus dans leur pch et par leur vouloir propre qu'ils sont prcipits de
pch en pch. Et l'intention du diable qui agit en eux par ses suggestions
et ses tromperies (cf. Eph. 2, 2) n'est autre que de leur faire commettre le
pch volontairement... Leur volont est libre dans le mal, mais elle
n'est pas libre pour le bien parce qu'elle n'a pas t libre 93 . Aussi l'homme
ne peut-il vouloir quelque bien que ce soit, s'il n'est pas aid par celui
qui ne peut vouloir le mal, autrement dit, par la grce de Dieu qui vient
par Jsus-Christ (cf. Rom. 7, 25). En effet, tout ce qui ne procde pas de la
foi est pch (Rom. I4, 23 b). Et c'est pourquoi la bonne volont qui se
dtache du mal, n'appartient qu'au croyant, car le juste vit de la foi

92. Dans un autre passage (C. duas ep. pel. III, 3, 4) galement inspir d'Eph. 2, 2,
mais o Rom. 14, 23 b n'est pas cit, Augustin l'affirme absolument : Filios autem
diaboli infidelitas facit, quod peccatum proprie vocatur quasi solum sit, si non
exprimatur quale peccatum sit et il justifie son opinion par un appel I oh. 16
8-9; 15, 22 et Eph. 2, 2 (PL 44, 589-590) ; cf. En. in ps. II8, scrmo 3, 3 (CC 40,
1673).
93. C. duas ep. pel. I, 3, 7 dont nous avons retenu le texte n 9 qui y fait suite.
Cf. F.-J. THONNARD, La notion de libert en philosophie augustinienne, dans Rev. itud.
augustin., 16, 1970, pp. 243-270.

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

181

(Rom. l, lJ). Or la foi consiste croire en Christ et personne ne peut


croire en lui, c'est--dire, venir lui (loh. 6, 44) si cela ne lui est pas donn))
(texte n g).
Si dans ce passage Augustin n'emploie pas le mot infidelitas, l'ide en
sous-tend l'argumentation. Tout comme dans le texte n 15 le diable est
montr l'uvre dans les fils de l'incroyance, il l'est ici dans les adultes
sans foi, les provoquant rester volontairement dans leur pch et
commettre des pchs volontairement. Ils ne peuvent lui rsister, parce
qu'ils n'ont pas la foi ; on serait tent de dire : parce qu'ils sont dans
l'tat de pch originel. De fait on trouve quelques rares textes chez saint
Augustin, o l'infidelitas est synonyme de pch originel, tant sous son
aspect de pch d'Adam 94 que sous l'aspect de pch dans ses descendants95.
On ne saurait cependant mesurer la gravit du pch d'infidlit qu'
partir de la foi dont il est la ngation. Dans l'ensemble de nos textes la
/ides est dfinie par la charit dont, si elle est vraie, elle est insparable,
avec laquelle elle est mme pratiquement identique. Dans les deux
passages que nous venons d'analyser (textes nos g et 15), Augustin entend
par /ides : croire en Dieu (texte n 15) et croire en Christ (texte nos g et 15)
et de part et d'autre, il nous fait comprendre ce qu'il entend par croire en
Christ en paraphrasant le verset johannique !oh. 6, 44. Croire en Christ
c'est venir lui : credere in euro, hoc est venire ad euro (texte n g) )),
ad rnediatorem ... credendo veniatur (texte n 15) )). La formule est
admirablement explique dans les Homlies sur l'vangile de saint jean.
Croire en Christ, ce n'est pas seulement lui donner l'assentiment de
l'esprit, mais encore l'adhsion du cur ; c'est se porter d'un mouvement
d'amour vers lui et faire par amour sa volont 96 . Si personne ne peut ainsi
venir au Christ moins que le Pre ne l'attire, il ne faut pas en conclure
qu'on est attir malgr soi ; l'intervention de Dieu s'adapte la psychologie
de l'homme, elle prpare sa volont et la soutient agir avec d'autant
plus de libert qu'elle agira avec plus d'amour9 7
La foi est donc, l'oppos de l'infidlit, une attitude d'adhsion totale,
d'obissance filiale Dieu. Augustin n'admet pas qu'il puisse y avoir une
attitude neutre de l'homme face Dieu. Il explique sa pense dans la
longue discussion avec Julien sur les vertus des infidles en C. I ul. pel.
IV, 3, 16-33, o s'insre le texte n 12. Le plagien affirme, en se rfrant

94. De pecc. meritis et remiss. I, 7, 7: ... sed iam spiritum coepisse vivere propter
iustitiam fidei, qui et ipse in homine quadam morte infidelitatis extinctus est >)
(PL 44, 113).
95. C. Iul pel. VI, 14, 43 : Ita in femina fideli creatus est infidelis, et in eum
parentes infidelitatem traiecerunt, quam non habebant quando ex ipsis natus
est, sed tune habebant quando et ipsi similiter nati sunt >) (PL 44, 847).
96. Cf. In Ioh. ev. tr. 29, 9; PL 35, 1630-163r.
97. Cf. In Ioh. ev. tr. 26, 4-5 ; PL 35, 1608-1609 ; A. SAGE, Praeparatur voluntas
a Domino , dans Rev. t. aitgustin., Io, 1964, pp. 1-20.

182

ALBERT C. DE VEER

aux quatre vertus morales classiques, que l'acte qu'elles inspirent est
vertueux parce qu'il tient sa bont de ce qui est fait ( quod agitur >>) et non
pas de son motif( causa cur agitur ).Ce dernier dpend d'ailleurs uniquement de la libre dcision de l'homme ; il ne change pas la nature vertueuse
de l'acte, il n'en diversifie que le mrite. Ainsi : pratiquer la vertu pour
obtenir la vie ternelle est mritoire de vie ternelle ; la pratiquer pour
obtenir des biens temporels n'en est pas moins louable, mme si par la
dcision de la volont, sa bont est strile en fruits de vie ternelle (IV, 3,
19).
Augustin ne peut admettre cette thorie. Pour lui l'acte de vertu se
dfinit par sa finalit ( propter quod faciendum est), et non par son
objet ( quod faciendum est). Faire un bien pour un motif autre que
celui pour lequel il doit tre fait, c'est ne pas le faire bien et pcher. Ainsi:
observer la justice dans les affaires est en soi un acte louable, mais si
c'est pour viter les dpenses qu'entranerait un procs en fraude, c'est ni
plus ni moins que de l'avarice. La vraie vertu n'est pas au service d'intrts
temporels ou charnels ; elle n'existe pas non plus pour soi au service
de personne et de rien ; elle est au service de celui qui la donne l'homme,
Dieu, et elle a sa finalit propre indpendamment de la dcision de l'homme,
celle d'tre directement ou indirectement au service de Dieu: absit autem
ut virtutes verae cuiquam serviant nisi illi vel propter illum cui dicimus :
Deus virtutum converte nos (IV, 3, 21). Les infidles, mme des sages
comme Platon, ne peuvent avoir de vraies vertus, parce que, par dfinition, ils se trouvent dans un tat de rbellion contre Dieu (IV, 3, 17 avec
rfrence Rom. l, 21-22). Julien a beau faire appel Rom. 2, 14-16 pour
prouver le contraire, introducens hominum genus, quod Deo placere possit sine Christi fide, lege naturae . De deux choses l'une : ou bien les
paens dont parle saint Paul ont de vraies vertus mais sont strilement
bons parce qu'ils ne les exercent pas pour Dieu, ou bien ils plaisent Dieu
pour leurs vertus et reoivent de lui en rcompense la vie ternelle. Or,
s'ils sont strilement bons, quoi leur servira-t-il que leurs penses leur
soient comptes en dfense le jour o Dieu jugera les desseins secrets des
hommes ? S'ils ne sont pas strilement bons et trouvent pour cela en
rcompense auprs de Dieu la vie ternelle, ce sont des justes et ils plaisent
Dieu, mais pour la seule raison qu'ils vivent de la foi (IV, 3, 23) 98 . C'est
98. En De civ. Dei XVIII, 47, Augustin admet, en raison de l'exemple de Job,
qu'avant la venue du Christ il ait pu y avoir parmi les paens des hommes vivant
selon Dieu, s'appliquant lui plaire et appartenant la Jrusalem cleste. Mais,
ajoute-t-il, il faut croire que cette faveur n'a t faite qu' ceux qui Dieu a rvl
l'unique Mdiateur entre Dieu et les hommes, l'homme Jsus-Christ ... afin que par lui
une seule et mme foi conduise Dieu les prdestins devenir Cit de Dieu (BA 36,
p. 657). Dans sa discussion avec Julien, Augustin ne fait apparemment cette concession qu' contre-cur. Il se hte en effet de dire qu'en Rom. 2, 14-r6, l'Aptre
parlait probablement de paens convertis l'vangile sans passer par le judasme,
ou encore de paens qui accomplissaient de fait, comme naturellement, ce que la loi
de Dieu prescrit, en ne faisant pas d'autres ce qu'ils n'auraient pas aim subir
eux-mmes , mais qui commettaient tout de mme le pch, en ne rapportant pas,

ROM. 14,23b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

ainsi en effet qu'il faut comprendre la sentence de l'Aptre: tout ce qui ne


procde pas de la foi est pch (IV, 3, 24, texte n 12).
La foi exige ici est la foi du Christ : /ides Christi. L'expression dsigne,
comme en Rom. 3, 22, les deux aspects de la foi dans l'uvre de la justification : la grce qui nous vient du Christ pour purifier et redresser notre
nature afin que nous puissions croire en lui d'une foi qui opre par la
charit : ii quia ut crederent, ipsa in eis est per Dei gratiam correcta
natura i> (IV, 3, 25 99 ). Ces deux aspects de la foi, don gratuit l'homme
pcheur de la part de Jsus-Christ, et, sous l'effet de cette grce, attachement libre de l'homme Jsus-Christ dans l'amour inspirateur de bonnes
uvres, font l'enjeu de toute la controverse antiplagienne. Il ne faut
donc pas s'tonner de ne point trouver d'autres prcisions sur la foi,
notamment sur le contenu objectif de cette foi, dans les textes o Rom.
14, 23 b est cit100 .
La discussion sur les vertus des infidles que nous venons d'analyser, a
t dclenche par la condamnation de la chastet conjugale des infidles
par Augustin en son De nupt. et concupiscentia I, 3, 4-5 (texte n 8 5 et 6).
Son propos dans cet ouvrage tait de montrer que soutenir la doctrine du
pch originel, de la concupiscence et de la grce, ne revenait pas
condamner le mariage 101 . C'est pourquoi il assortit l'emploi de Rom. 14,
23 b dans le texte n 5 de distinctions et de prcisions qu'on ne rencontre
pas dans l'argumentation qu'il en tire contre la prtendue continence des
hrtiques (texte n 7). La chastet conjugale, qui consiste en premier
lieu garder la fidlit au conjoint (I, 3, 4) mais aussi respecter les
autres biens du mariage (I, 3, 4-4, 5), est selon l'Aptre un don de Dieu
(I Cor. 7, 7). Sont dons de Dieu aussi, mme chez les pcheurs car c'est Dieu
qui les a faits et non pas eux, tout ce qui rend le mariage possible, l'me,
le corps et ce qu'ils comportent de biens y compris l'union des poux en
vue de la procration (I, 3, 4-4, 5). Ce ne sont pas ces biens-l que l'Aptre
dsigne quand il appelle la chastet don de Dieu, ni qu'il condamne chez
les infidles quand il dit : tout ce qui ne procde pas de la foi est pch.
Ce qu'il appelle don, c'est le bon usage de ces biens ; ce qu'il condamne,
c'est le mauvais usage qui consiste s'en servir sans les reporter l'honneur

hommes sans foi qu'ils taient, leur actiYit la gloire de Dieu. Tout ce qu'ils peuvent
attendre en rcompense, c'est de voir adoucir au jugement la rigueur de leur peine
(IV, 3, 25).
99. Cf. En. in ps. 88, sermo 2, 7 : De quelle purification le Juif est-il exclu ? A
fide. Ex fide enim vivimus (Gal. 5, 6) et de fide dictum est : Fide mundans corda
eorum (A et. 15, 9) ; et quia sola fides Christi mundat, non credendo in Christum
soluti sunt ab emundatione (CC 39, 1240).
loo. Certaines allusions dans le contexte loign nous suggrent que la foi dont il
s'agit doit comporter au moins de croire dans l'Incarnation, cf. C. Iul. pel. IV, 3, 17,
propos des platoniciens : quomodo sunt veri iusti quibus vilis est humilitas veri
iusti ? comparer avec De civ. Dei X, 29 suiv. propos de Porphyre. De cette foi
ne sont pas exclus ceux qui vcurent avant la venue du Christ, voir note 98.
10r. Voir De nupt. et concupiscentia I, r, l ; PL 44, 413-414.

ALBERT C. DE VEER

de Dieu qui les a donns. C'est le cas des infidles quand mme ils garderaient la fidlit au conjoint et respecteraient les autres biens du mariage,
car ils ne le font que pour des motifs coupables102 : de his autem quae
faciunt dictum esL. eo peccare dicendi sunt quod dono Dei male utantur,
non id referentes ad cultum eius a quo accepereunt i> (texte n 5). Leur
chastet n'est qu'apparente et tout comme les autres vertus des infidles,
pch, pch d'infidlit d'abord et tout autre pch commis en fonction
du motif qui inspire en pratique l'observance des biens du mariage. La
vraie chastet conjugale, celle qui est don de Dieu, ne peut exister sans la
foi.
Augustin ajoute encore une prcision qui mrite d'tre signale: la vertu
rside dans l'me, mme celle qui, comme la chastet conjugale, s'exerce
par et dans le corps (I, 4, 5). Comment le corps pourrait-il tre dit chaste,
si l'me ne l'tait ? Si la chastet de l'me se dfinit par son attachement
Dieu1 0 3 , l'infidle est par rapport Dieu comme une pouse adultre :
a vero Deo ipse animus fornicatur. Quam fornicationem sanctus ille
psalmus accusat ubi dicit : Ecce enim qui longe se jecerunt a te peribunt ;
perdidisti omnem qui fornicatur abs te (Ps. 72, 27 ; I, 4, 5) i>. L'infidlit
loigne de Dieu et en tient loign, la foi unit Dieu et dveloppe avec lui
des rapports de personne personne104 .
C'est pourquoi Augustin peut invoquer Rom. I4, 23 b, dans un autre
passage, propos des mariages mixtes qui taient indtables au dbut de
l'glise, pour affirmer que la chastet observe dans leurs rapports par
les conjoints est authentique chez l'un qui a la foi et inauthentique chez
l'autre qui ne l'a pas ; en effet: tout ce qui ne procde pas de la foi est pch.
Aussi le conjoint chrtien (fidelis) est-il autoris, sans y tre toutefois
oblig, de renvoyer l'autre fornicationis causai> (cf. Matth. 5, 32) :
<< quia iustitia permittit a fornicante discedere et infidelis hominis fornicatio est maior in corde >> (texte n 8) 105 . Conclusion inattendue, mais
combien significative de l'importance qu'Augustin attache la foi !

Conclusion
Au cours de notre enqute sur l'interprtation et l'emploi de Rom. I4,
23 b par Augustin, nous n'avons pas donn la parole aux nombreux tholo102. Augustin en numre un certain nombre avant de conclure : non peccata
coercentur, sed aliis peccatis alia peccata vincuntur (I, 3, 4).
103. Dj Adodat avait dfini l'homme chaste par sa rfrence Dieu : ille
est vere castus qui Deum attendit et ad ipsum solum se tenet (De beata vita, 3, 18) ;
cf. G. MADEC, Ex tua castitate (Confessions IV, II, 3), adulescens ... valde castus (Ib.
IV, III, 6), dans Rev. t. augustin., 7, 1961, pp. 245-247.
104. Sur l'identification par Augustin de la foi avec la chastet, et de l'infidlit
avec l'adultre, voir : M. AGTERBERG, Ecclesia-Virgo . tude sur la virginit de
l'glise et des fidles, Hverl-Louvain, 1960.
105. Sur le problme voqu ici, voir : M.-F. BERROUARD, Saint Augustin et
l'indissolubilit du mariage ; volution de sa pense, dans Recherches augustiniennes,
5, 1968, pp. 139-155.

ROM. 14,z3b DANS L'UVRE DE SAINT AUGUSTIN

185

giens, scolastiques et modernes, qui se sont occups du problme ardu


du salut des infidles partir de conceptions de Dieu, du monde et de
l'homme qui n'taient pas celles d'Augustin.
Nous nous sommes mme interdit, dans la mesure du possible, d'invoquer des textes augustiniens o Rom. 14, 23 b n'est pas cit, mais qui
auraient avantageusement clair notre thme. De l, les nombreuses
lacunes voire obscurits qui dparent notre travail. Nous avons runi un
dossier et en le traitant, par l'interfrence des textes scripturaires qu' Augustin invoque, nous croyons avoir au moins rpondu la question pose
dans l'introduction : L'interprtation et l'emploi de Rom. 14, 23 b par
Augustin, sont-ils conformes l'intention et la pense de 1' Aptre ? En
lisant en Rom. 14, 23 la condamnation objective de la conduite morale des
infidles, Augustin a modifi l'intention originelle de la sentence de
l'Aptre qui visait la conduite subjective des chrtiens. Mais le sens
qu'il donne aux mots ]ides et peccatum, leur opposition absolue qui ne
laisse l'homme aucune possibilit de choisir une attitude neutre entre
le pch et la grce, est conforme la pense de l'Aptre telle qu'elle se
dgage en particulier del' ptre aux Romains.
Albert C. DE VEER
tudes augustiniennes.

13

St. Augustine's concept of property ownership

TWO PRELIMINARY PROBLEMS

First problem : To establish a complete and accurate framework of reference

St. Augustine never wrote an ex professa treatise about property


ownership, although he alludes to the topic on many and varied occasions
sometimes in terms that might at first sight seem equivocal, if not
indeed self-contradictory. The student of his thought who is seeking
to provide a comprehensive interpretation of the available material must
accordingly identify and solve two inescapable primary problems. The
first involves a major procedural principle : the inseparability of text and
context in any serions analysis of a specified author and his literary
output. It is in fact precisely the task of establishing this correct framework of reference in each instance which defines our initial problem in
the task of unravelling the diverse strands and complexities apparent in
Augustine's notion of ownership. Now the principle just enunciated
receives added point when we pause to reflect that historically speaking,
the institution of property never occurs in a vacuum. On the contrary,
it is always found entrenched in a given society, where it tends to assume
certain features mirroring the implicit or explicit political, economic,
social, moral, legal, religions, philosophical or other postulates which
condition the existence of that society1 . Ownership, like any other institution, canofcourse be also studied systematically. But St.Augustine,
whose primary and prevailing concern is to justify God's ways to man,
has little time and even less patience for systems or theory, as such.
Rather, what he wants to discover is both the' here and now' aspect of
things, especially of man, that great monument of the Divine creative

I. For a useful article concerning the development of the notion of property in


Europe and the U.S.A. against its Graeco-Roman background see R. McKEoN,
The Development of the Concept of Property in Political Philosophy : A Study of the
Background of the Constitution, thics, vol. no. 38, r937, Chicago, Ill., pp. 297-366.

188

D.J. MACQUEEN

power 2, and how they came to be what they are. Thus we find that he
characteristically states and resolves problems relating to property rights
in terms of a mandatory distinction, rather than of a radical separation or
dichotomy, between the several realms of the Divine and the secular. For
no-one is more acutely aware of or responsive to the' givenness' of the
socio-political order than Augustine. Hence, of course, all the greater
need for eliciting, at the outset, those architectonie theorems and axioms
required by the exigencies of his thought to delimit the respective jurisdictions here at stake, and, on occasion, to reconcile competing norms and
daims between them. Two additional data further complicate our present
task of establishing a complete and accurate contextual framework for
subsequent discussion. One arises from the mannerisms and characteristic procedures of St. Augustine's own literary style, with its familiar
but unpredictable transitions or digressions back and forth between the
domains of rhetoric and rearnn, philosophy and theology, h:tory and
Revelation. Secondly, the student must always bear in mind the fact
that like property itself, Augustine's works didnot simply appear in vacuo.
They are indebted, in differing degrees, to the classical Roman philosophers and lawyers, the Hebraeo-Christian tradition and certain earlier
Church Fathers. Due weight must therefore be accorded tosuchauthoritie~ as possible source-material for his mature beliefs concerning both
the origin of owner~hip itself and the nature of the moral problems which
this institution generates.
Within the orbit of the Bishop's own doctrine, especially as developed,
for instance, in the de civitate Dei, our primary emphasis upon the context
at stake in any given reference to private property raises other, and even
more immediately topical issues. For it brings into focus the whole
complex of associations between the spiritual and the temporal orders
implied and even necessitated by the' co-existence' in this world of the
two great fellowships or communities which together occupy the stage of
universal history. Now perhaps the term' co-existence' is here misused,
because the Society of God and the Devil's Society are not merely contradictory, but mutually exclusive, and this so much so that Augustine finds
himself unable to apply the word ' being ' to the one and to the other in a
univocal sense 3 . Nevertheless, he invokes the authority of Divine Revelation as proof not only that both fellowships do subsist in spatio-temporal
contiguity, but, what is more, their respective inhabitants participate in
many of the needs and cares of an earthly life lived side by side4. Now
2. De doct. chr. I, 22, 20, PL 34. 26 : Magna enim quaedam res est homo ...
Cf. De Trin. XIV, 4, 6 ; PL 42, ro40 : ... quia summae naturae capax est ... magna
natura est.
3. De civ. Dei XIV, 13, l ; PL 41, 420-21, especially : ... relicto itaque Deo, esse
in semetipso, hoc est sibi placere, non iam nihil esse est, sed nihilo propinquare.
4. Ibid. XV, l, 2, PL 41, 437-38. See also XIX, 26, PL 41, 656; XIX, 17, PL 41,
645-46; Enarr. in ps. 51, 6, PL 36, 603-04; ibid. 61, 8, PL 36, 735-36, especially :
Hanc totam civitatem dispersam, diffusam, permixtam ...

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

189

the fact that two separate and opposed societies perforce share one and
the same material mode of existence, not only accounts for the genesis of
controversies about property rights but also accentuates the anomalies
resulting from this heterogeneity. It follows, then, that a climate of
moral ambiguity must inevitably pervade the syrnbiotic relationship here
in evidence, implying, as the latter does, a sort of neutral zone, wherein,
for example, any common activity performed by two fellow citizens might
mask a radical divergence alike in their immediate motives and their
ultimate intentions 5 . In such an environment, all the greater care is
required in attempting to determine the exact context of any reference to
property ownership. Let us suppose that the uses and dangers of wealth
form the subject of a discussion introduced by St. Augustine. Here,
everything would depend upon his particular apologetic purpose, this
being defined in turn partly by the state of life, partly by the moral
dispositions of the respective participants. It is obvions, as we shall see,
that the counsel given to a pagan or to a Donastist schismatic would
differ considerably, in approach and emphasis, from that offered to the
members of a religions community, or yet again from advice tendered
to a lay Catholic Christian. In the ensuing analysis we shall aecordingly
endeavour, for our part, to take cognizance of and to respect these neces~ ary distinctions.

Second problem: To determine the role played in this doctrine by the notions
of' Law' and' Nature'
The second of the two basic questions which challenge the would-be
interpreter of Augustine's, or indeed of any other doctrine concerning
property is no less crucial than the first : what role is played in it by the
interrelated notions of' law' and' nature' ? The commentators, as a
rule happily at odds among themselves about the distinctive tenets of the
Bishop's socio-political thought, here exhibit one Ptriking characteristic in
common. For each critic seems supremely assured that, whatever else
may be in doubt, he, and he alone, has understood St. Augustine's own
formulation of the ' law' or ' laws' presupposed in any discussion of
property rights. Hence once again, then, an evident need for care in the
evaluation of the data at hand. Cicero, for instance, had defined' law'
(lex) as ' right reason in ordering and prohibiting' : recta ratio in
iubendo et vetando 6 )). In a phrase which echoes this formula, Augustine
praises the Mosaic legal code as one which forbids what must be forbidden,
and orders what must be ordered 6 a. His most celebrated definition of
5. Enarr. in ps. 141, 8, PL 37, 1837: i Omnia enim facta humana ante oculos
hominum incertum est quo corde fiant. Ibid. 41, 13 (vers. 8), PL 36, 473.
6. De leg. l, 12, 33, ed. K. ZIEGLER, Heidelberger Texte, XX (1950), p. 35, line 27.
Cf. ibid. II, 4, 8, op. cit., p. 55 ; de nat. deor. I, 14, 36, ed. C.F.W. MI,LER in M. T.
Cie. Scripta quae manserunt omnia (Bibliotheca teubneriana), Part 4, vol. 2 (1878),
p. 15, lines 13-15. For lex in classical jurisprudence see BLACK'S Law Dictionary,
4th dit., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1951, p. 1053. For ius v. below, fn. 94.
6a. Quar. prop. Ep. ad Rom. exp. XIII-XVIII (Rom. 3, 20), PL 35, 2065.

190

D.]. MACQUEEN

law- the eternal law of God - is couched in language equally reminiscent


of Ciceronian terminology : the eternal law is the Divine reason or will of
God, which prescribes that the natural order be maintained and its disturbance forbidden 7 . And as creatures endowed with reason and a
conscience, men are able, by exploiting the unaided resources of their own
nature, both to discover and to recognize this same law- the commanding
principle of St. Augustine's theodicy - written within every human
heart8 .
Three other important definitions of the lex aeterna, all earlier in date
than the one noted above, remain for discussion. The most comprehensive of these as regards scope and jurisdiction occurs in the De libero
arbitrio, where the eternal law appears as the supreme revelation of
justice, according to which all things must be ordered as perfectly as
possible 9 . We have written ' most comprehensive' because the concept, thus stated, embraces the entire realm of Creation : inanimate,
animate ; irrational, rational ; mortal, immortal. As Augustine also tells
us elsewhere : in the beginning the Divine Will subdued to Itself (in
hierarchic ascent) every created being ; the corporeal to the spiritual ;
creatures devoid of reason to those endowed therewith ; and lastly, the
terrestrial to the heavenly ... 10
7. For this definition see C. Faust. XXII, 27, PL 42, 418. Augustine's perhaps
most important single contribution to Graeco-Roman theories in this domain lies
in his equation of the Stoics' supreme, impersonal cosmic Reason with the will and
intellect of God ,as expressed in the Divine order and Providence. See further
A.H. CHROUST, The Philosophy of Law /rom St. Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas,
in The New Scholasticism, XX, Washington, CD, 1946, pp. 26-71, and the refs. there
given ; also O. SCHII,LING, Die Staats-und Soziallehre des hl. Augustinus, Freiburg,
19IO. P.A. SCHUBERT : Augustins Lcx-aeterna-Lehre nach Inhalt und Quetlen, in
Beitr. z. Gesch. d. Philos. d. Mittclalters, 24/2, Mnster, 1924, provides by far the
most thorough and detailed study of St. Augustine's doctrine and sources which
- according to Schubert - include Cicero, Plotinus, as well as the Apostles Paul
and John. The Stoics and Heraclitus are listed as indirect sources.
8. Ep. 157 3, 15, PL 33, 68r : Lex est etiam in ratione hominis qui iam utitur
arbitrio libertatis, naturaliter in corde conscripta. Cf. also C. Faust. XXII, 30,
PL 42, 420 ; de Trin. XIV, 15, 21, PL 42, 1052; de div. quaest. 83, 53, 2, PL 40,
36; Enarr. in ps. II8, 25, 4, PL 37, I574' See (with special ref. to the Jews) De
spir. et. litt. 28, 48, PL 44, 230, where Augustine says that they possessed' that natural
power' (vis illa naturae) which imparts to rational creatures both awareness of,
and capacity to perform what is lawful. This law is spoken of in the plural, perhaps
implying a diversity of function : de Gen. ad litt. IX, r8, 32, PL 34, 406. The term
lex naturae is occasionally employed by Augustine to describe laws governing the
behaviour of physical bodies. By these God is not bound ; rather, they are subject
to His will and power: de civ. Dei XXI, 8, 5, PL 41, 722-23. For the general background of this concept, refer to F. Por,r,ocK, History of the Law of Nations, in Columbia
Law Review, vol. r, 190I, pp. n-32 ; H. MAINE, Ancient Law, 1920, pp. 48-78 ; also
R.W. CARLYLE, and A.J. CARLYLE, A History of Mediaeval Political Theory, pp. ro2ro6. See also below, fn. 15.
9. De lib. arb. I, 6, 15, PL 32, 1229.
ro. De Gen. ad litt. VIII, 23, 44, PL 34, 380: ... Dei providentia ... subdit primitus
omnia sibi ... creaturam corporalem creaturae spirituali, irrationalem rationali,
terrestrem coelesti ...

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

191

Yet another definition may be found in the De vera religione. We


translate as follows: cc There dearly exists a law above the human mind ;
it is called truth. This is the unchanging truth, rightly called the law of
all the arts and the art of the Almighty Artist Himself11 n. By ' arts '
Augustine here means those skills which, like architecture, for example, are
acquired by reflexion rather than mere experience. Within this context
of reference he singles out harmony, equality and unity as the key-criteria
whose use enables reason to judge the transient beauties of time and space.
But these changeless canons are not derived from the mutable world of
sense, nor is man, who judges works of art, always free from error and selfdeception. It follows that above the rational soul there must be an
immutable and universal standard of judgement
Truth Itself which,
emanating from the cosmic Artificer, is thus the Law and Norm of every
art12.
St. Augustine's perhaps most theologically significant definition of lex
aeterna also occurs in the De Zibera arbitrio. We translate : cc The eternal
law is the Supreme Reason, which always demands obedience. By disobeying it, the wicked receive the merited punishment of a wretched life ;
by obeying it, the virtuous receive the reward of a good life. Finally, it
is in accordance with this rule that the law which we agreed to call
' temporal' is rightly enacted and rightly subject to change13 )). In this
passage we may observe the emphasis placed by Augustine upon the
existence, first, of an objective, transcendent standard, the ultimate
manifestation of Divine Reason, and secondly, of a corresponding obligation, at the appropriate level, of rational, willed obedience. The notions
of personal responsibility and autonomy find particular expression in the
words : cc per quam mali miseram, boni bonam vitam merentur n, where an
eschatological reference is doubtless also present. Lastly, St. Augustine's
mention of the temporal law might well be intended as an allusion to
ordered relationships in society, thus distinguishing the three major
polarities, God, self and neighbour, in the moral life of every homo
ordinatus 14 .
The application of the detailed precepts of the eternal law to the order
of man's own nature is what he calls' the natural law' (naturalis lex, lex
naturae). Perhaps the most familiar definition of the latter occurs in our
author's treatise, Concerning Various Questions 83 ; we translate as
follows : cc the natural law is an institution not born of mere human conjecture but rather grounded upon a certain innate power comprising
religion, piety, gratitude, retribution, due reverence, sincerity. )) The original Latin of this translation reproduces almost word for word Cicero's
II. De vera rel. 30, 56-31, 57, PL 34, 147.
12. Ibid. 29, 55-31, 58, PL 34, 145-48.
13. De lib. arb. I, 6, 15, PL 32, 1229.
14. For the well-ordered man>) see De lib. arb. I, 8, 18, PL 32, 1231. Cf. de
civ. Dei XIX, 13, 1, PL 41, 640 : Ordo est parium dispariumque rerum sna cuique
loca tribuens dispositio ~; also ibid, XIX, 13, 2, PL 42, 641-42.

r92

D.]. MACQUEEN

own description of the natural law as the product, not of opinion but of a
certain innate force15 . As stated by Augustine, its precepts are frequently expressed in the form of generalized prohibitions, e.g. what you would
not be willing to suffer, be unwilling to do; that which you would not
wish done to yourself, do it not to another. In this, his practice follows
the pattern of the Decalogue and other Scriptural passagesl 6 . The
offences which St. Augustine singles out for special mention include theft,
fraud and lying, as well as the more serious sins of murder and false
witness. Even pagans and wicked men resist harm and injury that others
inflict upon them ; thus a thief who is rich will never condone theft
committed by one who happens to be impoverished17 .
Augustine distinguishes three separate and distinct enactments of Divine
legislation within sacred history : the law of sin and death codified for
the Jews, the natural law - which even the Gentiles observe, and finally
the salvific law of Christ proclaimed in the Gospels18 . Of these the first
and last are preserved in written form, lest men should complain that
something had been lacking19 >>. As such, they neither contradict nor
supersede the lex naturae, but rather reinforce its imperatives by the
unquestionable authority of direct and explicit commandments from
God. The latter part of the Decalogue (IV-X) reflects a common theme:
the love of neighbour, ultimately based, in the historical order at least,
upon a bond of unity and concord inherent, according to St. Augustine,
within society itself20 . Here we see another aspect of the laws of human
nature, for it is their power which impels the sons of Adam to seek fellowship with each other, i.e. to establish communities or peoples united by
an agreement about what they love21 .
r5. De div. quaest. 83, 3r, r, PL 4 o, 20 : Natura ius est, quod non opinio genuit,
sed quaedam innata vis inseruit, ut religionem, pietatem, gratiam, vindicationem,
observantiam, veritatem. For Cicero's definition see de leg. I, 6, r8 ; r9 ; IO,
28 : ZIEGLER, op. cit., p. 29, lines 8-9 ; r. 19, p. 33, lines 29-30. In addition to the
natural law, Augustine further distinguishes the customary and the temporal laws:
ibid. 31, 3, PL 40, 2r. Cf. CICERO, de invent. Book II, r60-I62 ; M. Tulli Ciceronis
scripta quae manserunt omnia, Fasc. 2, libri duo qui vocantur De Inventione, Leipzig,
l9r5, rec. E. Stroebel ; Cicero's definition of justice as habitus animi communi utilitate conservata suam cuique tribuens dignitatem (ibid. 160, ad fin.) is also reproduced
by AUGUSTINE in de div. quaest. 83, 31, I, PL 40, 20.
I6. In Johan. ev. tr. 49, l r, I2, PL 35, I752: quod tibi non vis fieri, alli ne feceris ..
Quod non vis pati, facere noli. See also Conf. I, I8, 29, PL 32, 674 ; Enarr. in ps. 57
r, PL 36, 673-74, where the thought is developed and illustrated at length.
r7. Conf. II, 4, 9 (ad init.), PL 32, 678; de lib. arb. I, 3, 6, PL 32, I224 and BA,
6, pp. 504-06.
r8. C. Faust. XIX, 2 (ad init.), PL 42, 347-48.
19. Enarr. in ps. 57, l, PL 36, 673 : ... ne sibi homines aliquid defuisse quaererentur, scriptum est et in tabulis quod in cordibus non legebant. Non enim scriptum
non habebant, sed legere nolebant.
20. De civ. Dei XIX, 2r, PL 41, 372, Cf. Enarr. in ps. 54, 9, PL 36, 634-35.
21. If even untamed animals seek peace and a protected social life, so much the
more is man impelled by hi.s naJure to do the same. De civ. Dei XlX, I2, 2, PL 4r,

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

I93

With the irruption into human history of organised societies, wider


associations and responsibilities made the provision of new legal codes a
matter of urgency. 'l'his need was met by the positive law, whose
fonction is to secure and maintain order, peace and concord, to the extent
at least that such objectives are accessible within a secular state. St.
Augustine, we may add, has no illusions about either the rigour of the
penal regimen which the state, as he sees it, exists to fulfil in the universal
order, or the morally sterile climate in which the art of government is
practised: Not without reason)), he writes, do we have the power of
kings, the death penalty which a judge may impose, the claws (ungulae)
of the executioner, the weapons of the soldier, the right to punish of the
overlord, even the sternness of a good father ... it is their fear of these
which reftrains wicked men, thus enabling good men to live more peacefolly among them 22 >>. Subjectively considered, then, the first characteristic of temporal law seems to be a tacit resort by the authorities concerned to the use of coercion in implementing its sanctions : the hangman,
cruel, ferocious and criminally-minded though he be, nevertheless plays an
indispensable part in the judicial machinery of the state23 For this
reason, his fonction appertains to the order of anywell-regulated community. 'l'he virtuous, of course, require no such curbs : << those who with a
good will cling to the eternal law do not need the temporal law24 )). On
the contrary, it is the covetous for whom the positive law acts as a yoke
and a deterrent : no punishment would be inflicted on men ... unless they
loved the things that can be taken from them against their will ... through
constant fear of losing earthly goods they use them with a certain moderation suitable to the continued existence of a Society with inhabitants
like these. 'l'he law does not punish the sin of loving such things ; what
lt punishes is the wrong done to others when their rights are usurped25 >>.
We have seen thus far that in the temporal order, the institution of
ownership is administered and controlled by the law of the state, which
protects its citizens from the grosser external forms of injustice - theft,
fraud, usurpation- bycoercive penalties. Subject to the paramount claim
of peace and order in the community at large, the amount of property and
wealth owned by an individual citizen will be commensurate with his
family connexions, official rank or status, personal ambitions and diligence.
'l'here exists, to be sure, no law, Divine or human, enforcing the use of

639 : Quanto magis homo fertur quodam modo naturae suae legibus ad ineundam
societatem ... cum hominibus. For various definitions of a civitas, see ibid. I, 15,
2, PL 4r, 29; XV, 8, 2, PL 41, 447 ; Ep. r38, 2, ro, PL 33, 529. Augustine's most celebrated definition of a populus occurs in de civ. Dei XIX, 24, PL 4r, 565.
22. Ep. r53, 6, r6, PL 33, 660.
23. De ord, II, 2, 4, PL 32, looo.
24. De lib. arb. I, r5, 31, PL 32, 1238.
25. Ibid. I, 15, 32, PL 32, 1239.

194

D.J. MACQUEEN

property; on the other hand, certain schools of thought - Manichaean 26 ,


Pelagian27 and others 28 attacked property ownership as immoral,
claiming that no rich man can be saved. Like earlier Fathers, St. Augustine refers such critics to the Gospels, where we read that a certain
ri ch young man once a pproached the Lord and asked Him : << what good
thing must I do that I may obtain cternal life ? >> The reply was not :
if you wish to enter into eternal life, sell all that you have ; but :
<<if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments )). It was
only when the young man, who had always observed these, insisted upon
knowing what he still lacked, that Jesus answered : <<if you wish to be
perfect, sell all that you have and give the price of your goods to the poor )).
Why, then, deny the rich, howe\"er far from such perfection, the possibility of obtaining eternal life, provided they keep the commandments,
provided that they give in order to receive, provided also that they
forgive in order to be forgiven 29 ?
But there exists another, and much more numerous class of persans,
those who believe, contrary to the Manichaeans, etc. first mentioned, that
riches are indispensable for lasting happiness. Against both schools of
thought St. Augustine affirms that God is alike the sole Owner and the
supreme Administrator of the earth and all its fruits, which He has
created. He, and only He, can and does accord equally to mankind
at large, without distinction, the use and enjoyment of His blessings 30 .
Nevertheless, prescinding from this Divine monopoly, Augustine will
affirm, between persan and persan, an undeniable right of ownership.
And, as we have seen, this right derives ultimately from the natural law,
whose two principal precepts have been summarized, respectively, as :
avoid doing to others what you do not wish to suffer yourself, and: render
to all what is their due. From earliest times, and before the promulgation
of any religious or civic code, men have always known that theft, adultery,
murder, covetousness, and refusal to offer due hospitality or succour to
those in need, constitute so many breaches of the law of justice engraved
on every human heart 31 .
26. See C. Faust. V, rn1-II, PL 42, 226-28.
27. For the manifesto de divitiis of AGRICOLA the Pelagian, consult 0. SCHILLING,
Die Staats-und Soziallehre des hl. Augustinus, p. 202.
28. Although the sect was at no time in straitened circumstances, Donatist sermons emphasized the necessity of personal poverty. From Petilian we learn that
evangelical poverty was enjoined on clergy and people alike : PREND, The Donatist
Church, p. 331, and fn. 3 (both his refs. are wrong : see C. Pctil litt. II, 99, 227
PL 43, 336.
29. Ep. 157, 4, 25, PL 33, 686-87.
30. Enarr. in ps. 49, 17, PL 36, 576 ; ibid. 34, 7, PL 36, 327. Cf. de civ. Dei V,
26, 1, PL 41, 173 ; in Johan. ev. tr. 79, 14, 2, PL 35, 1838.
3r. See above, fns. 8,11,12; also Enarr. in ps. 57, 1, PL 36, 674, and note ibid. 57,
2, PL 36, 675, especially : Eia tu redi, redi, praevaricator, ad cor, ibi scripta !ex est:
Quod tibi non vis fieri, alii ne fcceris ... iudica causam : iudicis tribunal est in mente
tua : sedet ibi Deus, adest accusatrix conscientia, tortor timor .

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

195

This much being granted, we must next examine the problem of how
property may be licitly acquired. Our author's attitude is here in harmony with the legal norms of his day: any citizen can gain dominium by
inheritance, gift, commerce - including transfer by sale and exchange just conquest and lawful posEession 32 In connexion with the latter, one
hypothetical case which Augustine presents is of special interest at this
point because it illustrates the important Roman principle the sense of
which may be quite adequately conveyed by the traditional formula :
possession is nine parts (tenths) of the law 32 a. In the absence, that is,
of any reasons for suspecting fraud or other irregularity, daims to title
were accepted at face value. The text referred to above introduces a
man who possesses property which in fact is not his, although he himself
knows nothing of the true situation. What, we might ask, is the legal
status of such a person qua proprietor ? Is he obnoxious to the law ?
Augustine will reply that under the circumstances, his possessio, albeit
illegitimate, should be regarded as' in good faith '. If however, having
discovered that the property in question did not belong to him, our
supposititious owner still refused to surrender it, then in strict justice he
would merit the epithet of ' unjust ' 33 . To conclude : the acquisition of
goods by any means other than those enumerated above is tantamount
to either outright theft or usurpation 34 .

32. On the question of to what extent lawful possession may be equated or compared with title to ownerschip in Roman law, and for a discussion of property generally,
see J. CROOK, Law And Life Of Rome, pp. 139-67. Cf. Enarr. in ps. 21, enarr. 2,
31, PL 36, 181 : ... quando potens aliquis invenerir titulos suos, nonne iure rem
sibi vindicat ? ; also de lib. arb. III, 15, 42, PL 32, 1292. In Roman law (according to F. SCHULZ, Classical Roman Law, p. 428: see the entire chapter on possession),
posscssio meant the control of a physical object. It was a matter of fact and not
of right but it was a fact which was, within certain limits, endowed with legal
consequences . B. NICHOLAS, An Introduction to Roman Law, Introduction, p. II,
says that possession implied controlling a thing 'in the manner of an owner '. The
Roman concept of dominium - a word itself never defined in the sources - was
no less free from ambiguity in the realm of practical affairs: it asserted a right agains
the whole world. The peremptory tones of the plaintiff's words in a vindicatio
conveys at least some suggestion of the highly individualistic nature of Roman
ownership : hune fundum meum esse aio ex iure Quiritium !cf. GAlUS, I nst. IV, 16,
F. DE ZULUETTA, The Institutes of Gaius, II, 233-34). To summarize : A Roman
principle must have existed to the effect that the right of ownership was to be as
unrestricted as possible and the greatest possible latitude given to individual action
and initiative (F. SCHULZ, Pr-inciples of Roman Law, pp. 151 sq.). For St. AuGusTINE's personal views, see e.g. Enarr, in ps. 21, enarr. 2, 30-31, PL 36, 180-81, de lib.
arb. III, 15, 42, PL 32, 1292, in Johan. ev. tr. 6, 25, PL 35, 1436-37 ; de civ. Dei XV,
16, 2, PL 41, 459; fns. 17, 25, above; fns. 33, 34, below.
32 Dig. 43, 17, 2 (Corp. Iur. Civ. I, p. 739, Berlin 1954) : Qualiscumque enim
possessor hoc ipso, quod possessor est, plus iuris habet quam ille qui non possidet >>.
33 De /ide et. op. 7,

IO,

PL 40, 203.

34. Sermo 50, 2, 4, PL 38, 327.

196

D.J. MACQUEEN
HISTORICAL SOURCES AND INFLUENCES

We have argued provisionally that for St. Augustine, property ownership exists as an institution ratified by the sanctions of the natural
law itself. Let us now hasten to add that this statement, accurate in
what it affirms, oversimplifies the issue by failing to take account
of all the elements contributing to his final verdict. For even a superficial
examination of the pertinent texts would suggest the presence in Augustine's thought of two important limiting factors. The first appears to be
a product of the difficulties involved in attempting to reconcile certain
' conservative' interpretations of the Judaeo-Christian Revelation with
the views expressed in the writings of a number of Church Fathers, the
latter in turn based partly, at least, upon Cicero and Seneca as authoritative representatives of Stoic social doctrine. The second such factor is
clearly occasioned by certain very grave and seemingly ubiquitous moral
problems whose origin Augustine consistently attributes to ownership.

The judaeo-Christian Revelation


Concerning the Judaeo-Christian tradition, both the Old and the New
Testaments manifest complete accord in their witness as to its controlling
cosmological principle, viz. God's supreme ownership and governance of
all the works of His Creation. This primary datum, as we have already
noted, lies at the heart and core of Augustinian doctrine. One further
very important characteristic of Old Testament teaching also demands
particular attention here. We refer to the fact that although the right to
property is there founded upon natural law (cf. thecommandmentsprohibiting theft and covetousness in the Decalogue), ownership in common
exists side by side with private property. Indeed, as reflected alike in
historical precedent and legal privilege, the institution of public property
seems to have enjo:yed in ancient Israel a unique position doubtless
stemming from the morally and chronologically prior daims of the
Jewish people as a whole over any individual rights whatever 35 .
Asitappearsin the New Testament, theconceptofbothpublicand of private ownership remainsintactassuch, but we find a new emphasis upon the
pre-eminent dignity of the human person, the incomparable worth of
each individual soul, and the subordination of all other values to ' the
pearl of great price '. This heightened accent upon the spiritual and the
transcendent produces as one of its major effects a radical re-orientation
in the hierarchy of hitherto accepted standards. Henceforth, human
ownership in any form is seen as conditioned not only by the principle of
God's exclusive proprietary rights over His Creation, but also by the role
of the state as guardian and administrator of the common good in the
temporal order36.
35. For the matter of the above paragraph, cf. Ro:r,AND-GOSSEI,IN, La Morale
de Saint Augustin, pp. 170-72 and refs.
36. Op. cit. pp. 172-74 and fn.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

I97

Earlier Church Fathers and other Writers : St. Ambrose, Ambrosiaster


St. Augustine also inherited from some earlier Church Fathers and
other writers a doctrine, expressed with differing degrees of emphasis and
in considerable variety of detail, but still recognizably one as regards its
essential features. According to this tradition, private property began to
exist only after and as a result of Adam's Fall. In the most primitive
societies, men had shared with each other the bounties of creation, thus
following the purpose and plan of God Himself, when He formed all men
from the same clay, endowing them with one common nature and offering
to each of His children an equal hope of salvation. This idyllic existence
was, alas, to be ruined by the twin vices of avarice and cupidity 37
As already remarked, Stoic social doctrine, expounded by authorities
like Cicero and Seneca, was an important source of much early Patristic speculation about human society and its institutions. Perhaps
no Father owes more to this background than Augustine's own respected
master, St. Ambrose. Let us consider, as an example, one significant
passage in his treatise De officiis 38 Here he begins by referring to a
belief, advanced by many philosophers, that private, as well as public
ownership, has naturally existed from man's first appearance in history.
Ambrose mentions this opinion only to deny it : since the gifts of nature
are available for all without distinction, the source of private property
cannot lie there. It is rather the unlawful, unjust seizure of goods
( usurpatio) held at first by a sort of possession in common ( quaedam
communis possessio) which has created the right to private ownership :
natura igitur ius commune generavit, usurpatio ius fecit privatum >>. The
same general sentiments appear in St. Ambrose's commentary on ps. n8,
where he incrimina tes ' grasping selfishness ' ( avaritia) as the parent-vice
responsible for every human il1 39 . Attributed to this author is a further
revealing text, which we here translate as follows : let no man call his
own that which is common ... he who spends too much is a robber 40 .
The writings of ' Ambrosiaster ' are also known to have influenced
Augustine in more than one area of theological concern. In the former's
Commentaries on Corinthians, we find a passage equating charity towards

37. See S'I'. AMBROSE, de offic. min. I, r37, PL 16, 68 ; cf. fn. 41, below, and
A.J. CARLYLE, A History of Mediaeval Political Theory In the West, vol. l, pp. 132-37.
38. De offic. min. I, 132, PL 16, 67.
39. Exp. in ps. 118, sermo 8, 22, PL 15, 1372.
40. Sermo 64, de temp. See The Summa Theologica Of St. Thomas Aquinas, Parr II
(Second Part), Second Number, Q. 66, art. 2, obj. 3, p. 223. This sermon is not
included in any of the standard editions, but it at least attests a view once commonly
attributed to AMBROSE. The quotation given is not in conflict at any point with
his known doctrine. Cf. once more ROLAND-GOSSI<:LIN, op. cil., p. 175, : .. Saint
Ambroise, dont la hardiesse parat certains presque rvolutionnaire ...

198

D,], MACQUEEN

the poor with justice, since God, to Whom all things belong, has given
omnia ... communiter omnibus4J. JJ.

Cicero
The original source of this vein of thought leaves no room for doubt :
thus it is obvious that the first Ambrosian treatise cited above depends
to a large extent on Cicero's similarly-named work, and we can also be
reasonably sure that the latter's phrase, << sunt autem privata nulla natura lJ,
forms, so to speak, the principal text for Ambrose's commentary. Now
it is not easy to assign any very definite meaning to Cicero's words,
because in his political thought, the contrast between a theory of the
state of nature and a theory explaining the origin of later social conventions, had not yet become explicit. Cicero appears, however, to be
asserting that ownership of every kind results from war, from treaties,
and from the occupation of unclaimed land. As soon as a person has
received his due share and portion of what nature places at the disposal of
mankind, it is his duty to remain content therewith, and to seek no more.
He who fails in this requirement violates the law of human society. The
ideal here recommended is that man should imitate the example of Plato,
adopt Stoic teaching generally, and - with' nature' as his watchword put himself at the service of all, thus avoiding avarice and cupidity, the
origin of every form of injustice 42 .

Seneca
Seneca's doctrine, at least as far as ownership is concerned, does not
differ significantly from Cicero's point of view. He depicts a ' Golden
Age' in which the first men, as yet free from corruption, followed nature's
guidance by submitting themselves to the control of a leader not only
more powerful, but wiser and better than his fellows. Rulers like these
protected the weak against the strong, and by forethought, bravery and
benevolence fulfilled their subjects' every need and desire. For them,
sovereignty was thus a service, and not the exercise of royal power :
<< officium erat imperare,
non regnum >>. This guileless concord was,
however, to be ruptured by the onset of avarice, with its attendant
evils of inequality, ambition and poverty ; men cease to possess ail things
when they begin to covet all things for their own : << Desierunt homines
omnia possidere dum volunt propria >>. In consequence of these vices,

4r. For the various theories in circulation regarding the identity of the mysterious
fourth-century author known as 'Ambrosiaster' see G. BoNNER, St. Augustine Of
Hippo, p. 373 and fns ; also E. TESEI,I,E, Augustine The Theologian, pp '157-58
and fns. The complete ref. to the above-mentioned text is : Comment. in Ep. II
ad Cor. 9, 194 (vers. 9), PL 17, 332.
42. CrcERO, De offic. I, vrr, 20-24, ed. H.A. HoI,DEN, p. 10, lines 20-33, p. II,
lines r-26.

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

199

kingdoms were transformed into tyrannies, and there now arose a need
for repressive laws : << opus esse legibus cpit ... 43 ))
If the conclusions we infer from the above data are correct, the social
doctrines alike of Cicero and of Seneca do share one basic element in
common. For central to both theories is the belief that neither a' right '
to private property nor crcive political regimes eau appeal to the sanctions of any supposed prototype in nature or primitive society. Yet
altough, strictly speaking, not good in themselves, since the evils which
generated them have proved the ruin of man's original innocence and
beatitude, these two conventions are henceforth indispensable, serving as
they do to hold in check or to remedy still greater wrongs.
THE PARTICULAR CONTEXT OF ST. AUGUSTINE'S DOCTRINE
REGARDING PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

H istorical Context
We have now indicated one of the factors which, in our view, contributes
to a tension in St. Augustine's thought regarding the problem of ownership.
The doctrine that the right to possessions in common is ratified by nature
itself, or alternatively, by the Divine bounty at the moment of Creation,
receives undoubted support from classical Roman theory, Sacred Scripture and a number of earlier Fathers known to Augustine. On the other
hand, however, the comparative status and daims of private property
vis-a-vis the natural law within the same general tradition appear much
less clearly defined. St. Ambrose, for example, in a passage to which we
have already alluded, has this to say : since God gave the world and its
fruits for the common use and enjoyment of all men, it is an act of strict
fustice that the rich should support the poor with some portion of what
was intended for mankind as a whole 44 ... It will remain for us in the
sequel to determine to what extent this principle of what we may henceforth call ' the priority of public ownership ' acts as a mediating influence
between, or rather perhaps as an equipoise to, certain other contributory
elements in St. Augustine's doctrine.
Personal and Moral Context: Pride and Avarice
The second nuance or factor modifying his theories about the institution
of ownership arises in connexion with the grave vices which he invariably
associates with wealth and property as these are administered by the

43. SENECA, Epist. moral, XC, 3-6, Script. Classic. Bibl. Oxonienis, II, pp. 332-33.
44. Iustum est igitur ut si aliquid tibi privatum vindicas, quod generi humano,
imo omnibus animantibus in commune collatum est, saltem aliquid inde pauperibus
aspergas. iJ For ref. see fn. 39, above.

200

D.]. MACQUEEN

State in the concrete structures of the temporal order. To begin with,


what vices does he particularly associate with private property ? The
answer here permits of no possible hesitation or doubt : it is pride, the
worm of riches 45 , otherwise described as' avarice'. Now Augustine distinguishes two interrelated forms of avaritia: the first a vicious disposition
that refuses to share or hold in common ; as such it is the root of all evils,
thus possessing surely more than casual resemblance to the key-vice
condemned alike by Ambrose, Cicero and Seneca ; the second, which
springs from pride, the beginning of sin, can be described as the attitude of
a man who makes himself his own centre and end ; by preferring the part
to the whole, he commits a sort of spiritual fornication that leads to the
total rejection of his Creator 46 . The link between these two expressions
of one and the same disorder is the misuse of materiality and lesser goods
(frui) in ministering to a self-love which seeks either to dethrone God or to
make of Him a merely instrumental principle (uti) 47 What could
therefore be more fitting than that as a punishment commensurate with
the enormity of this covetous self-centredness, satiety should remain for
ever beyond its reach ? : at first you desired a form ; then it was an estate which you longed for. You wished to shut out your neighbours: having done so you aimed at other neighbours' possessions, and extended
your covetousness until you had reached the shore. From there you 1usted
after the islands ; after the earth has become your own possession, it is
perchance your ambition to seize upon heaven also 48 )). The social and
moral, or rather immoral, environment engendered by such depravity
resembles nothing so muchas a dangerous and storm-tossed sea, wherein
the big fish, i.e. those who enjoy much power and relative success, prey
voraciously upon weaker and more vulnerable victims, including even
members of their own family circles, and so-called friends. cc But when
a fish has devoured a smaller one, it is in turn devoured by a greater
than itself 49 )).

45. Sermo 6r, 9, ro, PL 38, 4r2-r3 : Nihil enim est quod sic generant divitiae,
quomodo superbiam. Omne pomum ... habet vermem suum. Et alius est vermis
mali, alius pyri ... Vermis divitiarum superbia. Cf. sermo 85, 3, 5, PL 38, 52r.
46. De Gen. ad litt. XI, 15, r9, PL 34, 436-37. Cf. de civ. Dei XII, 8, PL 4r, 355
(ad fin.) ; sermo 85, 6, 6, PL 38, 523. See below, fn. 48.
47. AUGUSTINE distinguishes between frui, the use of a thing in and for itself :
de doct. chr. I, 4, 4 (ad init.), PL 34, 20, and uti, to use one thing for another's sake,
i.e. as a means to an end. Ultimately, God is the only End (ibid. I, 22, 20-2r, PL 34,
26-27) ; hence the counsel : utendum est hoc mundo, non fruendum (ibid. I, 4, 4,
PL 34, 21). For a detailed discussion of the frui /uti principle in our author's
thought, see Fruitio Dei in Dictionnaire de spfritualit, V, r964, cols. r547-52.
48. Enarr. in ps. 39, 7 vers. 5), PL 36, 438.
49. Enarr. in ps. 64, 9, PL 36, 780-8r. In Christian literature this vivid metaphor of ' fish ' devouring ' f,.i ' in the stormy sea of human life eau be traced at least
as far back as IRENAEUS, adv. hacr. V, 24, 2 (ad fin.), PG 7, u87.

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

201

We have already seen that avarice in a more generalized sense is indistinguishable from pride, the greatest danger in riches. The problem here
at stake is to determine why St. Augustine chooses and insists on pride and
avarice as constituting precisely those vices which offer the greatest moral
threat in the acquisition of wealth and private property. Instead of
attempting to answer this implied query by a deductive approach,
let us rather seek a reply at the inductive level. We accordingly offer
in translation two basic texts, where Augustine contrasts the effects
of material prosperity as they appear in two very different sorts
of men. The first passage reads as follows : Is not this happiness, to
have sons free from danger, beautiful daughters, barns full of corn, cattle
in abundance, every wall and every hedge intact, no disturbance and
shouting in the streets, but rather peace and quiet, with plenty of all
things in house and in city ? Is not this then happiness ? Or ought the
just to avoid it ? Or do you not find the house of the just also abounding
with all these things, full of this happiness ? Was not Abraham's house
rich in gold, silver, children, servants, cattle ? ... What do we say ? Is
this not happiness ? Agreed, but yet it is on the left hand. What is on
the left hand ? That which is temporal, mortal, of the body. I do not
wish you to shun it ; only, you should not think it to be on the right hand.
God, eternity, the years of God that do not fail... Let us use the left for
time ... the right for eternity 50 }}. With the latter passage we shall now
compare another describing the relationship of a dives to his material
environment within an entirely different moral situation ... this rich man
feels anxiety and fear ; he wastes away with discontent ; he is aflame
with avarice, never free from worries, always i11 at ease, panting from the
ceaseless strife of his enemies, adding to h.is patrimony ... by these miseries,
and by these additions also accumulating the bitterest cares 51 }}.
What light do our two texts throw on the present discussion ? The
first like the second brings into immediate juxtaposition its essential data
by confronting man with the lure of great wealth. To the worldling5la, at
leaf't, riches, especially in their visible, quasi-symbolic form of unlimited
gold and silver, represent by far the most prestigious and thereforeenviable
expression of the power at which the opulent often aim. But the varied
objects comprising the realm of matter, in themselves undeniably good,
may be sought from a diversity of motives and desires. As Augustine
sees it, everything will depend upon the quality of the respective' desires '
or' loves' by which such objects are pursued, and the final end or ultimate goal to which they are referred. The mention of ' love ' thus adds
an entirely new dimension of meaning to the problem : at this point, we
50. Enarr. in ps. 143, 18 (vers. 12-14), PL 37, 1867-68: cf. also Enarr. in ps. 51,
14, PL 36, 609-rn. For St. Augustine's use of the left hand/right hand metaphor,
see below, fn. 55.
5r. De civ. Dei IV, 3, PL 41, II4.
51a. For our author's portrait of a typical worldling of his own day : sermo 32,
20, 20 (ad init.), PL 38, 20,. Cf. fn. 63, below.

202

D.J. MACQUEEN

have clearly reached the crux of the contrast here in evidence. For
St. Augustine declares that as a man's love is, so is he 52 ; this equation
being granted, the whole question turns on the nature of the two fondamental forms of appetition exemplified in the parables before us. Now
love issues in action : da mihi vacantem amorem et nihil operantem !53 >> :
it is the ends chosen which determine and define the morality of
human acts 54 . Himself born in tirue, man's ultimate purpose and destiny eau only find fulfilment in the Eternal ; but there are some men so
immersed in material interests and concerns as to lose sight of eternity and
its prior daims. The antithesis which these two respective attitudes
suggest is often, as here, portrayed by Augustine in terms of a distinction
between the general pre-eminence of the right hand ( dextera) and the
lesser dignity, not to say, pejorative connotation, of its opposite (sinistra55). Let us now apply this imagery to the rich man of our first text.
As there depicted, he neither shuns nor covets, but rather thankfully
accepts the unmerited gifts that God bestows upon him : a healthy,
flourishing family, together with abundant gold, silver, slaves and cattle.
Free from the restlessness which ayarice engenders, he enjoys the benefits
of peace and quiet both at home and in his own community. By this
attitude of detachment, the rich man here- in question shews that he
recognizes and respects the limit separating the human from the Divine,
the transient from the eternal. Expressed in the terms of our metaphor,
his constant care is to keep all that is temporal, mortal and bodily on the
left hand; and God, Whose years do not fail, on the right. As a result, he
acquires a happiness strictly commensurate with his loving acceptance and
use of Divine gifts. And this happiness, however relative, is already
both token and pledge of the eternal felicity which awaits the members of
God's Society.
52. In ep. Johan. ad Parth. tr. z, z, I4, PL 35, I997: '' ... talis est quisque, qualis
eius dilectio est.
53. Enarr. in ps. 31, enarr. z, 5, PL 36, 260.
54. De mor. II, I3, 28, PL 32, I537 : ... vanam esse continentiam istam (Mani
chaeorum) nisi ad aliquem rectissimum finem certa ratione referatur. Cf. C. Jul.
Pel. IV, 3, 2I, PL 44, 749 : Noveris itaque, non officiis, sed finibus a vitiis discernendas esse virtutes.
55. Although doubtless conscious of the principle of dexteriority, and aware of
prevailing Graeco-Roman prejudices, St. Augustine finds his sources for this distinction in Sacred Scripture : See Locut. in Hept. I (De genesi, XXIV, 49), PL 34>
492-93 : ~' Renuntiate mihi ut redeam in dextram aut sinistram (Fer dextram prosperitatem, per sinistram adversitatem significavit (locutio) ... dextra nominatur
in omnibus bonis, sinistra in malis ... Cf. also Enarr. in ps. I37. I4, PL 37, 1782;
de symb, 7, 7, PL 40, 658. For a few brief but suggestive comments about what
we have called the pre-eminence of the right hand see R.B. NIANS, The Origins
Of European Thought, p. 97 and fn. IO ; p. I98, fn. I (2nd para.), as well as Dictionnaire d' Archologie chrtienne et de liturgie), IV, 2, cols. 1548-49. Augustine also
elicits from Scripture an intimate connexion between the dextera Dei and the notions
of justice, judgement, reward and condemnation. His perhaps most formal and
explicit statement of this relationship occurs at In Johan. ev. tr. 31, 7, II (ad. fin),
PL 35, 1642.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

203

What of our second rich man ? The crucial flaw in his character is
immediately pin-pointed for us by the significant phrase ... ii cupiditate
flagrans ii : he is aflame with covetousness ii. Now we have already
studied the nature and effects of this capital vice as presented both in
the works of St. Augustine himself and in his varied sources; suffice it,
then, to add here that the present passage emphatically confirms the
key-notes of perpetual frustration, anxiety and misery inseparable from
the disordered pursuit of means as ends, which pride essentially is. To
conclude : by his insatiable avarice - a privative love that prefers
the part to the whole, the transient to the eternal, and ultimately, the self
to God - the rich man in this text has proved beyond doubt the fact of
his membership in the Devil's Society.
Our preceding analysis has perhaps furnished the data indicated for a
solution to the problem, posed on p. I5, of why it is pride which, in St.
Augustim::'s eyes, constitutes the gravest moral danger to ownership.
Briefly stated, the answer is that in its generic sense of a' capital' vice,
avarice expresses and ministers in a unique mannE'r to self-centred love.
For what is more calculated to enhance the ' excellence ' of proud men
than the unlimited possession of riches, including private property and the
other external marks of material welfare which avarice typically
seeks ? But this is not all. Pride resembles a coin : it has two
sides or faces. One of these is avarice, which conduces to the autarky at
which, by an inner compulsive dynamism, the disordered love of self ever
aims56. The other major aspect or expression of pride is, of course,
autarchy (dominandi libido 57 ). Here, again, what means or instrument
could be considered more necessary and efficacious in thetask of attempting to achieve such power, than wealth ? To summarize : regardless of
the viewpoint from which, or the context within which, we study ownership, the final judgment imposed upon us by St. Augustine appears
everywhere invariable : the besetting sin which threatens it is, and can
only be, pride.
THE DOCTRINE ANALYSED

The Principle of the Priority of Public Owernship


With the above conclusions established, we may now take up and
further illustrate our previous statement regarding Augustine's principle
56. The concept of aln:apKeta, ' self-sufficiency ', was elaborated by ARISTOTLE
to describe the sage's ideal of a plenitude of good fortune and happiness, i.e. the
complete possession of bath interior and exterior blessings. The more important
refs. follow : Rhet. 1360 b 24-25 ; Polit. 1253 a 12; Eth. Nic. 1095 b 26, 1097 b ff,
100 b 2-3 ; Polit. 1280 b 34-35.
57. De civ. Dei I, praefat, PL 41, 14 : . ipsa ei (terrenae civitati) dominandi
libido dominatur ... i Compare SALLUST, Gat. 2, I. 8 ; Gat. Goniur. (BT) p. 3, lines 8-9.

D.]. MACQUEEN

of the priority of << ownership in common >l. As we see the matter, this
principle arose as the result of a tension in his thought caused by the
difficulty, within the Graeco-Roman, Scriptural and Patristic traditions
generally, of matching divergent views about the daims made by some
critics that the institution of public property alone reflects man's original
' state of nature'.

The comparative Status of Public and of Private Ownership


Such daims could not, of course, prevail against the undoubted recognition, by both State and Church, of the legality of private ownership.
So well-known was this, indeed, in the case of the Catholica that St. Augustine devotes to the fact a special remark in his work Concerning Heresies :
the ' apostolics ' are those who with overweening arrogance have given
themselves that name, because they do not receive into their fellowship
either married persons or owners of priva te property 58 ... >> This apparent
ambiguity of private ownership in its relation to the natural law was,
we should remark, further accentuated by the Donatist controversy. For
it was precisely to the ius divinum, mirrored by the natural law, that these
schismatic revolutionaries appealed in protesting against state spoliation
of their chapels and lands. St. Augustine, never a theoriser in the realm of
economics, of politico-moral problems, was himself, as aleadingparticipant
in the Donatist-Catholic struggle, directly confronted with this appeal and
protest. He dealt at length with both in a treatise which, quite apart
from its immediate relevance to our discussion here, possesses a notable
documentary value as one top-level sample of the current apologetics
used by both Catholics and Donatists in their attempts to win the support
of' the secular arm '. We therefore append a translation and commentary.
cc Failing everywhere else, of what do they (i.e., the Donatists) now
accuse us (the Catholics), since they do not know what to say ? 'They
have taken away our houses, they have taken away our estates. They
bring forward legacies. See, Gaius Seius granted an estate to the church
over which Faustinus presided. )) ' Of what church was Faustinus
bishop ? What was the church ? ' ' The church over which Faustinus
presided '. ' But Faustinus presided not over a church, but over a sect...
by what right do you (Donatists) assert your daim to these estates ? By
divine right, or by human ? iure divino an humano ? >l Let them (the
Donatists) answer:' We have divine right in the Scriptures, human right
in the Scriptures, human right in the law of kings '. ' By what right does
any man possess what he possesses ? Is it not by human right ? For
by divine right, the earth is the Lord's, and its fullness also >> (ps. 24, I).
God made the poor and the rich from one clay ; the same earth supports
both the poor and the rich. It is, however, by hurnan right that someone
58. De haer. 40, PL 42, 32.

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

205

says, this estate is mine, this house is mine, this servant is mine. Human
right, therefore, means the right of the emperors. Why so ? Because
God has distributed these very rights to the mankind through the emperors
and kings of thiP world. Do you (the Donatists) wish us to read the laws
of the emperors, and to deal with the estates according to these laws ?
If you daim your possessions by human right, let us recite the laws of the
emperors ; let us see whether they would allow the heretics to possess
anything. ' But what is the emperor to me ? ' ' It is by right from him
that you possess your land. Take away the rights created by emperors,
and then who will dare te say, that estate is mine, that slave is mine, or
this house is mine ? If, however, men have received rights from kings in
order to possess such property, do you wish us to read the laws ? ' ' But
what have we to do with the emperor ? ' ' But I have already said that
we are discussing human right ... The Apostle wishes us to obey kings ...
he said : honour the king)) (I Pet. z, 17). Do not say : what have I to do
with the king ? since in that case, what have you to do with the possessions ? It is by the rights derived from kings that possessions are enjoyed.
You have said: what have I to do with the king? Do not then say: 'the
possessionP. are ours ', because it is to those human rights by which men
enjoy possessions that you have referred. ' But it is with Divine right
that I have to do' ... 'Well, in that case, let us read the Gospel: let us see
how far the Catholk Church of Christ extends ' 59 ... ))
At first sight, the above passage appears, ironically enough, to read
like an extract from a Manichaean or Pelagian tract. Briefly summarized,
St. Augustine's reply to his opponents is based upon the following chain
of argumentation. Property, as a social institution, derives from either
the Divine law or the human law. If the Donatists appeal to thefirsttribunal in support of their daims to ownership, two remarks are in order.
AU things, according to the ius divinum, are in the hands of God : << the
earth is the Lord's, and its fullness also (ps. 13, l). In the second place,
the riches of the whole world belong to the just or faithful man, while
the infidel does not possess even a farthing (Prov. 17, 6 = Septuag). But
the Donatists are not just, because they foment schism and destroy both
religious and civil peace : thus their recourse to the Divine law cannot
be sustained. If next they seek to ratify their title-deeds to ownership
of churches, farms and land by human right or law, let them never forget that ius humanum means in effects ius imperatorum, for do not
kings and emperors possePs the power of administering earthly laws,
laws that God Himself communicates to them ? Vain is the Donatists'
attempt to minimize or dismiss out of hand these imperial privileges
and responsibilities ; they find explicit sanction in Sacred Scripture. It
follows that those who reject the royal supremacy automatically forfeit
the rewith all pretended rights to property.

59. In Johan. ev. tr. 6,

I,

25-26, PL 35, 1436-37.

206

D.]. MACQUEEN

Let us now examine a further text still concerned with the Donatist
schism : cc he who, because of the imperial laws, persecutes you ... to
satisfy his hatred, incurs my blame. No man can justly possess
earthly goods except in one of two ways ; either by Divine law, according
to which everything belongs to the just, or by human law, which is in
the power of kings. You have therefore no right to regard what you
possess as personal property, since you are not just. Moreover you have
lost these possessions as a result of the temporal power. The labour
by which you acquired your property cannot count in your favour, because
it is written : The just shall devour the work of the impious 60 (Prov. r3, 22).
Many commentators, of sometimes markedly differing persuasions,
see in the above and in similar passages occuring elsewhere the expression
on St. Augustine's part of a kind of theocratic communism or Christian
socialism ; others, again, base upon such texts a conviction that it is
the positive law, rather than natural law, to which he attributes
the origin of private property. Yet a third group of commentators is
equally persuaded that these varied interprtations result in every case
from a failure to recognize the overriding importance of St. Augustine's
doctrine in its totality as the final criterion with referance to which
quaestiones disputatae must be resolved 61 . From our own particular
standpoint, there exists some measure of truth in all these positions. As
regards the passages just discussed, for example, there seems little doubt
that Augustine's apparent surrender of all human rights to the mere
caprice of imperial power is at least partly counter-balanced by his significant affirmation : cc ipsa iura humana per imperatores et reges saeculi
Deus distribuit generi humano n. We rny' part1y ', because in the present
context of reference certain adventitious factors have intervened to
obscure the general and basic issues at stake in our problem. These may
be conveniently itemized in question form as follows :
(a) does St. Augustine teach that there exists a right, derived from
the natural law, and therefore inviolable, to the common or public
possession of prop<>rty ?
(b) given that his reply is in the affirmative, what responsibility,
if any, does he assign to individual states in its administration ?
(c) does St. Augustine teach that there also exists a right to private
property, derived from the natural law, and therefore inviolable ?
(d) if his answer is again in the affirmative, what responsibility does
he concede to the secular state in its administration ?
60. Ep. 93, 12, 50, PL 33, 345
6r. Among the first group we may include v:ycliffe, Barbeyrac, Nourrisson, Janet,

Nitti (for refs. see RoLAND-GOSSELIN, op. cit. pp. 168-69, and fns.) ; the second
group againincludes BARBEYRAC [op. cit. p. 199] as well as H. DEANE (op. cit. pp. 105107) and R. MEKEON (op. cit. pp. 320-21) ; ROLAND-GOSSELIN himself belongs to,
the third group (La Morale de Saint Augustin, pp. 182-83; 210-14).

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

207

(e) finally, does the natural law, as he understands it, recognize any
meanirigful difference in the sphere of property ownership as between acquisition and distribution on the one hand, and use, on the
other ?
Regarding (a) above, it has already been established that St. Augustine,
in complete harmony with ancient Roman, Scriptural and Patristic
doctrine, unreservedly acc<>pts possession in common as founded upon
and ratified by the natural law. In (b), the problem of ownership rights
within the states of recorded history revives in a fresh form the whole
question of man's original endowments. Now we know that, according
to Augustine, Adam was created in the relative perfection of a nature
completely free not only from sin itself but from the slightest inclination thereto. As a result, however, of his' fall ', and b<>cause of both the
malice which preceded the actual event and the magnitude of this, the
first human transgression, which alienated him and his issu<> from God,
Adam's nature became' corrupt ', i.e. changed for the worse and henceforth exposed to every sort of evil and misery. As thus bequeathed to
his descendants, it may be called, and is, another nature : the immediate
cause of death, ignorance and concupiscence in mankind at large 62
This turning-point in universal history marks the first appearance of
temporal law, the specific fonction of which is to punish those who disturb
the peace and violate the order of human society. The new ' penal '
era thus inaugurated, for it is nothing less, administers and regulates every
institution, property-ownership included, within the realm of the' secular ' 63 .
In performing these tasks, the earthly ruler, whose authority and power
corne from God, need not, however personally virtuous he might be, in
fact cannot enforce every provision of the natural law. On the contrary',
lesser evils and injustices are sometimes perforce tolerated for the sake of
avoiding greater ones. But the temporal law as such may never sar.ction

62. De civ. Dei XIII, 23, I, PL 4r, 396. It is interesting and important to observe
here that Augustine nowhere advances the theory of a natura pura, or any definition
based upon the philosophical concept of the essence of man. For him human nature
is a historico-theological fact, constituted as at the moment of creation : Rctr. I,
IO, 3, PL 32, 600. For further texts illustrating the same line of thought see Enarr.
in ps. 37, 5 (vers. 4), PL 36, 398; de civ. Dei XIII, 3, PL 4I, 378-79. While, historically speaking. St. Augustine recognizes sensu stricto only one human nature, i.e.
that constituted as at the moment of creation, he also maintains that, precisely
because of the changes resulting from Adam's sin, the nature inherited by his
issue may in some senses be differentiated from the first: ibid. XIV, I, PL 41, 403 ;
Retr. I, 9, 6, PL 32, 598. Consult now F.- J. THONNARD, Revue des t. Augustin.,
II, I965, 3-4, pp. 239-265.
63. For Augustine's notion of saeculum and the 'secular ' see de vera rel. 20, 38
(ad init.) - 39, PL 34, 138: Est autem vitium primum animae rationalis, voluntas
ea faciendi quae vetat summa et intima veritas. Ita homo de paradiso in hoc saeeulum expulsus est, id est ab aeternis ad temporalia, a copiosis ad egena, a firmitate
ad infirma ... ; cf. ibid. 21, 41, PL 34, I 39. A further definition occurs in de civ.
Dei XV, l, l, (ad fin.), PL 41, 437 : Hoc enim universum tempus in quo cedunt
morientes, secceduntque nascentes, istarum duarum civitatum ... excursus est.

208

D.]. MACQUEEN

or legislate evil without by this very act ceasing to be law : it is immoral


to obey an emperor who issues commands or authorizes actions demonstrably opposed to God's decrees 64 .
In the light of the above considerations, it is now possible to answer
(b) above, as follows : although public property derives from the ius
divinum, the administrative control of this institution lies within the
sovereign power of the state. As for question (c), we may reply, still
tentatively, that Augustine neither derives private property immediately
from the natural law, nor does he regard the right thereto as inviolable:
property-owners, that is, are not entitled in the name of this law to demand
exemption from the daims of the State. Men, as rational creatures, must
rather balance their personal rights and responsibilities against their duties
and obligations towards society at large and universal order, the whole
being greater than any of its parts : omnis anima partim privati cuiusdam
iuris sui potestatem gerit, partim universitatis legibus ... regitur65 >>.
This last observation, clear and rtasonable as far as it goes, nevertheless
appears to present us with a further difficulty : how exactly to determine
the criteria by reference to which the members of a given community are
to equilibrate their rights and needs with the various requirements of
that community as a whole ? St. Augustine's own answer to this query,
which reproduces the essence of (d), above, is twofold.
First, the authority of the prince in the political, economic and social
spheres is absolute and final ; this principle cannot be challenged, nor,
with one exception : << salva pietate ac religione )), is there any right of
appeal from it, and then to the forum of the individual conscience alone.
To the witness of the apostle Peter, cited above, we may here add that
of Paul : the powers that be are ordined by Gad (Rom. 13, r). Moreover, obedience to kings is a general covenant of human society itself :
generalis quippe pactum est societatis humanae obedire regibus suis 66 )). Only when, as we have said, the supreme ruler contravenes a Divine command
does disobedience become a duty.
Secondly, the secular order, here reflecting the ordo rerum, also prescribes as a general norm that the lesser be subjected to the greater,
the lower to the higher and therefore, persona! welfare to the public weal.
Between these two polarities, the imperator and the leges universitatis,
private interests and individual rights can oscillate freely in the quest for
satisfaction and redress. Finally, to silence the critics who complain
that such restricted liberty is an excessive price to pay for the doubtful
blessings of a society ruled by force and fear, St. Augustine has this reply:
Is anyone so mentally blind that he fails to see ... how highly we should

64. De lib. arb. I, I5, 32 (ad init.), PL 32, I238 ; Ep. r53, 6, 26, PL 53, 665.
65. De div. quaest. 83, 79, r, PL 40, 90.
66, Conf. Ill, 8, 15, PL 32, 690.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

209

esteem the order of the statE' which coerces even sinners into the union of
its earthly peace 6 7 ? ))
Of the problems (a) - (e) itemized above, it now remains only to examine
the last ; and this, for the sake of convenience, we here repeat : does
the natural law, as St. Augustine understands it, admit any meaningful
difference in the sphere of property-ownership between acquisition
and distribution on the one hand, and use on the other ? In connexion
with the possible ' meaningful difference ' suggested by our query,
Augustine's corpus includes two texts which seem to bear so directly on the
issue that they merit detailed discussion. The passage chosen for initial
comment may be translated as follows : If we carefully scrutinize the
words of Scripture, ' the riches of the whole world belong to the faithful
man, while the infidel has not even a jarthing', can we not convict those of
usurpation who appear to find happiness in their own legally acquired
goods, but who do not know how to use what they have (italics added) ?
For that which a man holds by right cannot belong to another. Now
he who possesses some thing justly, possesses it in the ' proper' way
(bene here = as genuinely one's own). Hence when a man possesses
anything' improperly ', i.e. wrongfully or' illegitimately ', his possession
is usurped ; and improper use in this sense of the term uti equates with
improper possession. It is easy to see how many persons would be obliged
to return others' goods if even a few could be found to accept what belongs
to them (or : if even the few could be found to whom their own property
might be returned). But wherever the few happen to be, the more
just their title to ownership of goods, the greater their actual contempt for these. Justice indeed is a good which is never wrongfully
possessed, because it can only be had by someone who loves it (diligit) as a
virtue. Money, on the other hand, is not ' proper ' to those who live
' improper' lives (mali) ; while as for those who conform to the canons
of ' propriety ' (boni) the less they love (amant : contrast with diligit)
money, the more ' proper' is their possession thereof. Nevertheless,
between these (scil. justice and money), the unfairness of those who
possess goods illegitimately is tolerated, and certain rights, called' civic'
(iura civilia), have been established among them, not in the expectation
that these can make such men good or ' proper ' users of their wealth,
but that wrongful users of it may thereby become less harmful... 68 n.
The following is a translation of the second text noted above : He
who uses gold in the ' proper ' manner may be said to ' possess ' it ;
and so this applies more truly to Gad (or : and so it is more truly God's
property). Gold and silver therefore belong to him who knows how to use
them (uti). For even in ordinary speech, a man is referred to as the
' owner' of that which he uses properly. Now what he does not administer justly, is not his by right. And if he claims as his what he does
67. De Gen. ad litt. IX, 9, 14, PL 34, 398.
68. Ep. 153, 6, 26, PL 33, 665.

2IO

D.]. MACQUEEN

not rightfully own, then his words will be those not of a just possessor, but
of a dishonest and shameless usurper>> (italics added) 69 .
The first point to be noted about the above passages is the obvious
debt to classical thought revealed by three of the leading ideas that
they share. Thus when St. Augustine utilizes for a particular purpose
the Scriptural dictum that the world and its riches are the property
of the faithful man alone, his judgement clearly parallels the GraecoRoman commonplace which Seneca has epitomized in one lapidary
sentence : << sic sapiens universa anima possidet iure et dominio sua (the
sage in his mind possesses all things, though by actual right and ownership
only his personal belongings) 70 . According to the second principle
just mentioned, ' possession ' in its authentic sense suggests much
more than the fact of mere physical control ; as Cicero, for instance,
understands the idea, it implies complete knowledge, and hence perfect
mastery of the thing possessed. Thus in his treatise De republica, he
specifically alludes to the ' common law' by whose decrees only the
wise have access to the bounties of nature, because only the wise know
how to handle and use them 7oa. For St. Augustine, in like fashion, it
is not title-deeds but the mature exercise of native intelligence that
alone permits a man to enter into the full and genuine possession of
what is legally his.
The third of the leading ideas mentioned may be easily deduced from
(a) Augustine's formula : iure = iuste = bene, which appears to throw
some light on
(b) his repeated use of the expressions bene uti, male uti.
Now iure and iuste, the first two terms of this equation, are etymologically cognate forms : as such, their juxtaposition does not seem to call
for any further remark here 71 . Again, Latin literature, both ante-and
post-classical, attests instances of bene, male, employed in the respective senses of iuste, iniuste 72 . Leaving aside, for the moment, the
first of these two pairs of adverbs, we find that in the texts already
translated, St. Augustine has introduced no less than five closely-interrelated vocabulary items - licite, iure, iuste, iustitia and iniquitas - to
particularize the various nuances of his doctrine regarding just and unjust
possession. All the more intriguing, therefore, is the immediate problem

69. Sermo 50, 2, 4, PL 38, 327: "Quod autem iure non tenet, si suum esse dixerit,
non erit vox iusti possessoris, sed impudentis incubatoris improbitas .
70. SENECA, De bene/. VI, 3, Bibliotheca Teubneriana, p. r 87, lines 2-3.
70. CICERO, De rep. I, r7.
7r. Enarr. in ps.145, r5 (vers. 7, 8), PL 37, 1894.
72. TLL, vol. II, s.v. bonus (bene), F. ad mores pertinentia: r i.q. recte, probe, honeste ... 2 iuste, merito ... (2rr7-r9). Ibid. vol. VIII, fasc. II, s.v. malus (male), Dm.
specialiter i.q. iniuste, contra legem (praecipue in re iudicaria) ... (242).

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

ZII

before us : to discover what additional determination of meaning Augustine in fact wishes to suggest by bene and male.
Curiously enough, it is this self-same phase of his thought which has
occasioned among commentators otherwise quite sound in judgement
a number of startling exegetical vagaries and aberrations. RolandGosselin, for example, after quite correctly pointing out that bene, as
found heni signifies at one time, ' well ', as in : ' I possess well ', i.e.
I know how to possess something, and at another,' justly ', thus summarizes his interpretation of Augustine's thought : he who uses things
well, possesses them de iure, while he who uses them badly possesses
them contrary to the right. Hence the obligation of the latter to make
restitution
if possible - to the legitimate owner 73 >>. So far, so
good. But then, in his next breath, as it were, Roland-Gosselin proceeds to cast to the four winds all the coolly judicious and consistently
objective precision elsewhere typical of his approach. The paragraph
in question seems so surprisingly out of character as well as so wide of
the mark that it deserves reproduction in full : cc Cette argumentation
(scil. Roland-Gosselin's above-quoted summary), btie sur des jeux
de mots, ne prouve rien si elle est prise littralement. Ce serait faire
injure au bon sens de Cicron et celui de saint Augustin de discuter
srieusement la valeur de ces mauvais syllogismes, et surtout de leur attribuer une porte qui est bien loin de la pense de leurs auteurs 74 !
A more recent book by Professor Herbert A. Deane has these observations to make about the subject-matter of the preceding paragraph :
cc In one of his letters Augustine says that cc lawfully (iure) means
justly >> (iuste) and justly >> means cc rightly >> (bene) ; therefore, cc he
who uses his wealth badly possesses it wrongfully, and wrongful possession
means that it is another's property (omne igitur, quod male possidetur,
alienum est, male autem possidet, qui male utitur) . In the light of
this statemevt and the comment that cc money is wrongly (male) possessed
by bad men while good men who love it least have the best right to
it, it is sometimes argued that Augustine held that a man's property
rights are limited by the use to which he puts his possessions, that he
who uses his property badly has no real claim to it, and that, at least
de iure, property belongs to the good. Clearly, however, this is a misinterpretation of his intent. He has already told us that the property
rights of individuals are determined by kings and rulers. Any such
system of positive legal rights to property would be thrown into complete
chaos and confusion by the rule that evil men have lost their title to their
property by their bad use of it and that only those who use possessions
well have a rightful daim to them. The confusion disappears when we
73. ROLAND-GOSSELIN, op. cit. p. 204 : ... celui qui se sert bien des choses les
possde de iure, celui qui s'en sert mal les possde contre le droit. D'o obligation
pour celui-ci de restituer celui-l, si c'tait possible.
74. op. cit. p. 204.

212

D.J. MACQUEEN

observe that Augustine is making a moral judgment and not formulating


a legal rule when he says that those who use property badly possess it
wrongfully 75 . '
To begin at the end, the last sentence of this extract creates more confusion than it removes ; for although we may concede, with qualifications,
that ' the property rights of individuals are determined by kings and rulers' , neigher Dr. Deane nor the author of La Morale de Saint Augustin appears to have reached any firm conclusion about two unescapable and interconnected problems. The first of these is : how does St. Augustine assess
the comparative status or priority of public and of private property
respectively, in relation to the natural law ? To this query we ourselves
have already offered a tentative and prudsional reply. The second
problem - which forms the context of our present discussion
hinges
on the whole question of what he understands by the key-phrases, bene/
male, habere, uti.
It appears reasonably certain, as both Roland-Gosselin and Herbert
Deane have indicated, that bene, in one of its senses, means ' justly ',
or' rightly '. In its other acceptation (e.g., bene uti) bene may be translated' well' : in this way' to use a thing uell' signifies that the owner
knows how to use it... aurum eius proprium est, qui illo bene utitur,
adeoque uerius est Dei. Illius est ergo aurum ... qui novit uti aura ... omnes
qui sibi videntur gaudere licite conquisitis, eisque uti nesciunt, aliena
(scil. possidunt : italics ours) ... >> What these two selected commentators
have, however, failed to observe is the antithesis implied in the above
texts between uti and frui. For when Augustine brands as usurpers
those who have acquired wealth lawfully, but who do not know how
to employ it, he is in fact summarizing, by way of example, what he
considers to be the first and fondamental rule of the Christian life :
seek the enjoyment (frui) of beatitude as your final end, and use (uti)
all other things as subordinate means to this one same end. It follows
that if a man, however valid his title-deeds to ownership of goods, supposes
permanent happiness to lie in these, rather than in God, their only
true Proprietor and the sole Source of his beatitude, then he must be
indicted for ignorance of how to utilize them as a means to the end
of enjoying the happiness which defines his ultimate goal.
Now it is one thing to find fault with a person on the ground that
he does not know how to use his pornessions, but quite another, and
a much more serious matter, to make such criticism the basi~ for calling
him a usurper. And so a doser look at Augustine's last-quoted letter
to Macedonius appears to disclose an additional problem : the sePse
in which we are to interpret a seeming paradox there presented by
St. Augustine. For having once allowed that, in a given case, possessions

75. HERBERT A. DEANE, The Political And Social Ideas Of St. Augustine, pp. ro6-

07.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

213

have been lawfully (licite) acquired, how eau he at the same time consistently proceed to accuse their possessor of usurping another's property ?
To the present writer, at least, the apparent paradox just noted admits
of one, and only one explanation, namely, that there exists in Auguf'.tine's
thought a tacit distinction between the right to procure or acquire property
and the right to use it. From the moment that we accept and apply
this hypothesis to the cruces quoted above, all problems disappear;
a way is now open to resolve the inconsistency which has been claiming
our attention. It would then follow that while anyone may rightfully
(iure privato) acquire possessions - 'private property ', to use the traditional pleonasm -the ius divinum allows no man to claim them as exclusively and unreservedly his. Rather, he must always recollect that
both in the first instance and in the last resort, ' the earth is the Lord's ',
and its treasures corne to him from God as to a steward or dispenser.
It is on this account that he should be ever ready to' communicate ', viz.
to distribute to others in their need 76 . Thus according to one of
St. Augustine's sermons, the wealthy must remember that when they
give to the poor, they are giving what is God's (meum est aurum et meum
est argentum) rather than their own: otherwise, pride may ensnare them 77 .
The duty of almsgiving does not, after all, make oppressive demands upon
the bounty of the rich : what they offer from the superfluity of their
possessions and the luxuries of a pampered life will oftentimes more than
suffice for the wants of poorer neighbours. And these wants, cupidity
and avarice aside, equate with the same essential necessities, food and
shelter, sought by every man, irrespective of his social position. AU
else is superfluity. From this point of view, therefore, it would be true
to say that what the wealthy possess over and above their basic needs,
i.e. those external goods which, precisely, make them rich, constitute in
turn so many requirements of the destitute. Strictly speaking, we
must in fact take one step further in this comparative inventory. For
since wealth, as just remarked, begins at the level where personal needs
find satisfaction, how can one deny the inference that as long as it is
possible to find any who lack what such abundance can pro,ide, owners of
' superfluous ' goods are literally usurping their property ? ' Superflua
divitum necessaria sunt pauperum. Res alienae possidentur, superflua
possidentur ' 78 Like Ambrose, St. Augustine sees in this unlovely miserliness a flagrant violation of justice, the virtue which pre-eminently enshrines respect for rights and dues, human as well as Divine. Even the
detested Pharisees gave tithes to the poor: can Christians, then, be content
with lesser standards ? Indeed for those who boast of generosity when
they offer scarcely a thousandth part of their riches to the needy, Christ
76. Sermo 85, 4, 5, PL 38, 522.
77. Cf. sermo 50, I, 2, PL 38, 326-27.
78. Enarr. in ps. q7, 12, PL 37, I922. Ibid. n7, 13, PL 37, I922: Ne putetis,
fratres, quia tune non est iustus, quando nostri miseretur ... cum commiseretur,
iustus est. ~

D.j. MACQUEEN

Himself has left this solemn charge and warning ' unless your justice
exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the Kingdom
of Heaven ' 79 (Matth. 5, 20) )).
The treatise De moribus M anichaeorum contains what is perhaps
the locus classicus for both St. Augustine's principle of ' the priority
of public ownership ', as we have elsewhere called it, and his distinction
between acquiring, and using, property. Book Two of this work presents us with the hypothetical case of a weary wayfarer, his body wasted
by the. ravages of disease, who has collapsed and is lying half-dead on
a road. Unable to utter more than a few words, he sees and desires
some fruit ('ad stringendum corpus') growing on a near-by tree. Now
the condition of this wretched man is in fact so critical that unless he
receives prompt succour, his life will corne to a swift and certain end.
Augustine's interlocutor is a follower of Mani, and as such refuses to
handle either fruits or vegetables, on the supposition that the divine
nature dwelling within these substances would be thereby destroyed.
To him, then, since he regards himself as a' Christian saint' (Christianus
ac sanctus), St. Augustine addresses in effect the following challenge.
Suppose yourself to be a traveller on that self-same road. It is you
whom the dying man begs and beseeches to bring him a pear plucked
from a neighbouring tree. As a typical l\Ianichee, you are of course
free to continue your journey and abandon the sufferer to his fate,
lest the tree should weep at the loss of its fruit : ' 0 mores et innocentiam
singularem ! ' If, on the other hand, you yield to his entreaties, you
can rest assured that no human right, indeed no genuine legal sanction
of any kind prohibits you from giving fruit to the man : nullo humano,
nullo denique vere iure prohiberis, pomum a/feras homini80 )).
It is, apparently, on the strength of the above text that RolandGosselin has written ... <<en cas d'urgence extrme, aucun droit quel

79. For this ref. see fn. 76, above.


80. De mor. II, 17, 58, PL 32, 1370. PETER STEIN Regius Professor of Civil Law
in the University of Cambridge, has placed at my grateful disposai the resources
of his expert knowledge in the elucidation of this enigmatic text. Illius permissu,
I reproduce Professor STEIN'S comments as follows : If the tree were on private
property adjoining the road it would be theft for a passer-by to take the fruit. This
is so at all periods ... If however the tree were on public land, the position would
be different. A road is ns publica in the sense of publico usui destinata (IusTrN.
Inst. II,r, Digest 43. 7. r). Therefore no individual would have the right to fruit
of trees growing on the verge of public roads, and it would be difficult to take legal
action (at civil law) against anyone taking such fruit. We know from Inst. II, r,
4 sq. that trees on the banks of public rivers could be used for tying ships to and
banks for unloading cargo on, even though the soil belonged to private individuals.
If the tree were on public land, I think it likely that you could in practice take fruit
at will because, as Augustine puts it, there is no law to stop you (i.e. no-one with
an interest to be protected by legal action) >).

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

2I5

qu'il soit n'interdit qu'on ne sauve sa vie avec le bien d'autrui81 )), This
statement, however, receives no explicit corroboration from the passage
in question. For Augustine does not suggest there that the fruit sought
by his distressed wayfarer is to corne from a tree forming part of an
orchard or other private estate. In fact if, quite unlike a second peartree which features prominently in the Confessiones 82 , we assume this
one to be growing by the side of a public road, and therefore res publica,
then, pace Roland-Gosselin, the issue of le bien d'autrui does not even
arise. It is true that, excluding the De moribus M anichaeorum, this
author offers, in support of his above-quoted thesis, six other references
to various works where St. Augustine discusses the interconnected topics
of robbery, restitution, almsgiving and the payment of debts. But
none of these, if we understand them aright, so much as adverts to
the specific problem here at stake. Enarratio in psalmum 72 does,
however, contain a passage, not noted by Roland-Gosselin, which invites
attention by reason of its particular relevance to our theme. Here,
commenting upon verse seven, ' prodiet quasi ex adipe iniquitas eorum ',
Augustine underscores the similarities and differences between two
suppositional acts of theft perpetrated, respectively, by a rich man
and by a penniless beggar. We therefore cite verbatim the main body
of this highly significant excerpt because, subject-matter a part, its wording
and phraseology also seem to suggest, if not provide, the appropriate
terms of reference for a study of what St. Augustine might regard as
mitigating factors or' extenuating cirumstances ' in the delict of furtum.
And such discussion might in turn throw some light on the problem
of whether he is prepared to disculpate a person who steals in order
to save human life. We translate the Latin extract in question as follows:
<c there are wicked men (who sin from the compulsion of circumstances),
but they are wicked from leanness ; they are therefore eYil, because they
are lean... and are afflicted by the pestilence, as it were, of necessity :
and they themselves are wicked men, and worthy of condemnation ; for
every sort of compulsion must be endured rather than to perpetrate any
iniquity. Nevertheless sinning from necessity is different from sinning
in the midst of plenty. A beggar who is poor commits a theft; iniquity
has issued from (the) leanness (of poverty) ... Accordingly when you
say to a lean man : why did you do this ? he is overcome with abject
humility and replies : the compulsion of circumstances forced me. Why
did you not fear God ? Extreme want compelled me ii (Italics added) 83 .
A number of important and interesting principles appear to emerge
from the above parable : of these, the one to be noted first is that although the beggar steals from ' the compulsion of circumstances '
(necessitas) and because of ' extreme want' (egestas), St. Augustine does
Sr. ROI,AND-GOSSEI,IN, op. cit. p. 188.
82. Conf. II, 4,9-9,17, PL 32, 678-82.
83. Enarr. in ps. 72, 12 (vers. 7) ; PL 36, 920.

D.]. MACQUEEN

216

not hesitate to stigmatize him as ' evil' (malus) and therefore, like
his more prosperous counterpart, as ' worthy of condemnation '
(damnabilis). Both thefts, too, are indiscriminately called ' sins' and
iniquities '. The phrase : ' aliud est de necessitate peccare, aliud in
abundantia ' may well, however, be intended to indicate that there
exists in the case of the rich man a greater degree of guilt, stemming from
his malice and delight in the commission of a crime initiated not through
want but through sheer wilful perversity and proud contempt of God :
'totum in contemptum Dei loquitur (dives). Quare ? Quia superbus est'.
As argued above, the varions self-contradictions and inconsistencies
that many critics impute to Augustine's doctrine regarding private
ownership can be resolved if, and only if, we adopt the hypothesis of
a tacit distinction therein between acquisition and use. When the
Saint declares that the right to possessions is limited by the manner
in which their owner uses them, and that a man who does not know how
to handle his property justly (bene) has no real daim to it, he intends
us to understand him quite literally. To Roland-Gosselin this statement
seems illogical nonsense if accepted at its face value ; when Professor
Deane observes that Augustine is making a moral judgement and
not formulating a legal rule when he says that those who use property
badly possess it wrongfully8 4 , he is, to be sure, somewhat less wide
of the mark. However, by opposing the expressions ' moral judgement' and ' legal rule ', Deane in fact adds to the very confusion
which he professes to have dissipated. For there exists no antithesis
such as he apparently suggests, between the moral law qua law (ius
divinum) and the temporal law (ius humanum) qua law : both, as iura,
are equally binding within their particular spheres. The only major
differences between them would seem to be: (a), the nature of the sanctions,
i.e. penalties and rewardf attached to each, and (b), their applicability,
or respective areas, so to speak, of jurisdiction. Viewed objectively,
the ius divinum obliges all men, regardless of particular political allegiance << eos qui temporali legi serviunt, non esse passe ab aeterna liberos85 ,
the wages of final impenitence being the eternity of hell, with the everlasting bliss of heaven as the recompense for drtue. But except in contingencies where the peace and unity of Church or State are threatened,
the powers-that-be in spiritualibus will not normally restrict the rights
and liberties of pagan and other non-Christian fellow-citizens85 a. The
secular authorities, on the other hand, sometimes seek to exercise
coercive powers even within the realm of morals and religion. In
situations like these, a clash is inevitable between God and Caesar; and
no member of God's Society can fail to recognize the choice that must be

84. ROLAND-GOSSELIN,

op.

dt., p.

107.

85. De !ib. arb. I, 15, 3r, PL 32, 1238.


85a. For a discussion of the controversial issues of 'toleration ', 'coercion ',
etc. here involved, see Appendix A.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

217

his. Consider, for instance, the case of a Catholic husband who attempts
a second marriage during his first wife's lifetime. Here is St. Augustine's
blunt comment and condemnation : adulteria sunt ista coniugia, non
iure fori, sed iure coeli 86 >>. Apart, however, from such crises of conscience,
in which martyrdom might well be the ultimate sacrifice required on
the part of the faithful believer, the temporal law has competence
precisely in regulating the varions modes of ambition, desire and affection
that ordinary men cherish for certain preferred objects, states or conditions of life, and persons. First on the list of these desiderata, all in
themselves perfectly innocent, ascribed by St. Augustine to l'homme
moyen sensuel are bodily goods and graces : health, acute senses, strength
and beauty. Next in order cornes liberty, which in its authentic form
may be predicated only of those happy beings who cling to the eternal
law. But in the present enumeration, libertas means rather the freedom
that people think is theirs when no human being can lords it over them,
and which slaves long for when they seek manumission by their masters.
After this we encounter the principal degrees of kinship and affinity,
parents, brothers, wives and other relatives and friends, whether near or
remote. Mention now occurs of the coveted status of citizenship (civitas),
with its far-reaching consequences for political and community life at
large ; and in the same context, the honours, praise and love of popular acclaim normally linked with high rank in affairs of state.
Last on the list is pecunia, i.e. material wealth, cc a single word here used
to designate in its totality all that we lawfully possess and have the
right to dispose of by sale or gift ... Now as regards these diverse objects of
ambition, some use them badly (male), others use them well (bene87 ).
It is precisely in St. Augustine's employment of these phrases bene /male
uti to contrast the norms of the eternal and of the temporal law, as
also their respective roles in the Divine economy, that we find the kernel
of the doctrine upon which depends any complete and definitive answer to
our final problem : does St. Augustine distinguish the acquisition of
property from its use; and if so, on what grounds ? The passage to
which we refer necessitates translation in full, so that the significance
of the issues at stake, as well as their congruity with texts already studied,
may become immediately apparent :
Aug. : cc He who makes a bad use of (the things which can be taken
from him against his will) is he whose love for them entangles and traps
him; for he subjects himself to what should in fact be subject to him;
and treats as goods things-in-themselves whose good he ought to become
by ordering and handling them properly. That man, on the other
hand, who uses things justly shews that they are good, though not for
him, &ince they make him neither good nor better than before. Rather,
it is he from whom they derive their goodness. Because of this he
86. Sermo 392, 2, 2, PL 39, 1710.
87. De lib. arb. I, 15, 32-33, PL 32, 1238-39.

15

2I8

D.j. MACQUEEN

does not love them so as to be caught fast in their toils, nor does he make
them, as it were, part of his soul, which would happen if he loved them,
for fear lest the moment they are taken from him, he should waste away
through cruel wounds. But he keeps himself wholly abovc their level,
ready to possess and govern them, if need arise, but even readier to
lose and be without them. This being so, do you think that gold and
silver should be blamed because there are misers, or food because there
are gluttons, or wine because there are drunkards, or female beauty
because there are fornicators and adulterers, and so on, especially since
you can see that a doctor may make a good use of fire, and a poisoner
a wicked use of bread ? '
Ev. << Very true. It is not thing themselyes which we must accuse,
but men who utilise them improperly (italics added) 88
Summary
At this point we may perhaps, by way of recapitulation, put together
the various conclusions which emerge from our running commentary
upon St. Augustine's key-texts relative to the acquisition and use of
property. Let us, at the outset, recall two of his basic assertions : rightly
understood, these, taken along with the passage just translated, both
epitomize his doctrine and provide the major ingredient8 essential to its
correct interpretation. Here is the first, as we have rendered it : << If we
carefully scrutinize the words of Scripture : the riches of the whole world
belong to the f aithful man, while the infidel has not even a Jarthing , can we
not convict of usurpation those who appear to discover happiness in
their own legally-acquired goods, but who do not know how to use them ? >>
(italics added). The following is our translation of the second affirmation just mentioned: he who uses gold in the ' proper' manner (bene)
may be said to ' possess' it, and so this applies more truly to Gad>> (or :
and so it is more truly God's property >> (italics added). What does
the Saint wish his readers to make of these first two statements ? Nothing
less and other, surely, than the principle that since common or public
ownership precedes private ownership both in time and in nature, the
part being greater than the whole, the licit acquisition and possession
of property must always remain conditional upon and subordinate to its
just use. For as Revelation teaches, God, the Creator of material things,
has bestowed them without distinction upon all human beings, virtuous
and wicked alike. In so doing, He, their only trm: Possessor, because He is
their sole Master and knows them as they are, has by one and the same
act bequeathed an example of both consummate charity and perfect
justice. In his hour of need, therefore, a man has the right, by natural law,
to expect and ask for the succour that rich neighbours, in accordance with
this identical law, are strictly bound to offer from their superfluity. As
88. Ibid. 33, PL 32, 1239.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

219

regards almsgiving, many of St. Augustine's admonitions occur in the


form of appeals to mercy or liberality; a few, like those of Ambrose and
other Fathers, are based explicitly upon the criterion of justice, tha+
cardinal virtue which assigns to each his due. Why, if not in the name
of justice, does Augustine castigate as usurpers any who refuse to recognize as brothers and to assist those lacking the means of livelihood ?
A sermon attributed to St. Ambrose excoriates in even more outspoken
language the rich of this world who decline to give from their abundance :
it is the hungry man's cloak that you store away, the money that you
bury in the earth is the price of the poor man's ransom and freedom89 ii.
We have had occasion to quarrel on more than one score with RolandGosselin's viewpoints and judgements regarding St. Augustine's doctrine of
ownership, but his summary of the latter's distinctive use of uti bene,
as quoted above, remains a model of admirably clear, yet succinct
presentation : celui qui se sert bien des choses les possde de iure, celui
qui s'en sert mal les possde contre le droit. D'o obligation pour celuici de restituer celui-l, si c'tait possible 90 . ii All the further reason
for regret, then, that this same author has so completely failed to discern
the inner logic and consistency of Augustine's own position. As he
himself, commenting on that position, has pointed out, the status of
possessing any given object, in the authentic and de iure sense of this
term, presupposes two inseparable conditions. In the first place, to
possess something implies a mastery of it : a man who possesses his
goods is their master. Now he cannot be their master and, at the same
time, in bondage to cupidity : otherwise, he is ' possessed ' rather than
' a possessor' ii ... Exactly the same holds true of living in a domestic
establishment : no slave, for example, could be correctly described as
' inhabiting ' a house - on the contrary, he is himself ' inhabited ' ii ...
The only genuine inhabitants of any house are those who rule, own,
control and govern it 91 . ii
The second prerequisite to possession, as Roland-Gosselin, expounding
Augustine, again observes, is a complete and perfect knowledge of the
object desired. Ultimately and in the highest sense, God alone eau be said
to possess in this manner because His knowledge, predfely, makes everything that is. At the human level, man does indeed possess things, to
the extent that his reason is present and able, as it were, to assume
command : who eau possess any treasure except through mental control ?.. . How then eau anything be possessed by one whose mind is
lost 92 ? ii Due, however, to the non-corporeal nature of his intellect and
89. For the ref., see above, fn. 4r.
90. ROLAND-GOSSELIN, op. cit., p. 204.
9r. Op. cit. p. 202. Enarr. in ps. 48, 2 (vers. 2), PL 36, 544. Cf. ibid. 123, 9,
PL 37, 1646 : Qui ... auro uti non novit, habetur,non habet; possidetur, non possidet. >l
Cf. Ep. 15, 2, PL 33, Sr.
92. De Trin. XIV, 14, 19, PL 42, 1051: Quis veroullos thesauros, nisi per mentem
poterit possidere ?

220

D.J. MACQUEEN

soul, it is only blessings or benefits inaccessible to the senses which he


can possess' properly' (bene possidere), i.e. make sensu stricto his' property '.
Granted, then, for the reasons given, that the legitimate ownership
of property does not, by natural law, confer upon its user an absolute and
unrestricted right to dispose of his goods as he pleases, without regard
to either God or man, we can now at last, perhaps, more easily see the
varions strands and elements of St. Augustine's doctrine in their true
relationship and perspective. It will be convenient to summarize these
in relation to the five general and basic issues at stake itemized as
(a) - (e), on p. 206-207 :
(a) the answer to this question is an unqualified affirmative ;
(b) apart from the requirements of justice, in the absence of which
kingdoms are nothing but great robber-gangs (remota itaque
iustitia, quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia ?92 a) and excepting the
daims of religion and piety, annexed to justice, emperors, kings and
princes possess within their several domains the divinely-deputed
power of administering public or State property ;
(c) taken in its totality, Augustine's doctrine can not be interpreted
as asserting the existence of an unlimited right to private property deriving rnlely and immediately from the natural law :
see (d) below ;
(d) the context of his references, direct or indirect, to the ius privatum
would indicate, rather, that he subsumes all purely individual
rights and privileges under the common good (bonum commune 93 )
and the general law common to every Roman citizen (ius commune)
as reflected in the ius humanum (ius fori 94 ), the latter being of
course in turn transcended by the ius Divinum (ius coeli). The ius
privatum is thus neither absolute nor inviolable, but relative and
conditional ; if, for example, a lawsuit arises involving contested
property daims, it is the State which, subject to the provisions of
(b) above, always pronounces final judgement in accordance
with iura civilia, i.e. the legislation enacted by the civil power in
question : ea iura oportet servare quae talibus habendis vel non
habendis secundum civilem societatem sunt instituta 95 .
92a. deciv.DeiIV,4,PL4r,rr5.
93. For a study of the principle of the priority of the common good in Latin classical literature and in St. Augustine, see I.T. EscHMANN : A Thomistic Glossary Of
The Principle Of The Pre-eminence Of A Common Good, in Mediaeval Studies, V,
Toronto, 1943, pp. 124-36.
94. For ius, as meaning both 'law' and' a right' consult Br,AcK's Law Dictionary,
4th ed, St. Paul, Minnesota, r95r, p. 994. For ius commune and ius civile see
A. BERGER, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law, Philadelphia, 1953, pp. 527533 ; p. 527. l?inally ius privatum is discussed in Br,ACK, op. cit. p. 999.
95 Ep. 83, 4, PL 33, 293.

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

ZZI

THE WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THIS ANALYSIS :


AuGUSTINE's VISION OF SOCIO-POLITICS AS A PROVIDEiNTIALLY-GOVERNED
DYNAMICS OF UNPREDICTABLE CHANGE

Behind a great deal of the misunderstanding exemplified by such interpretations as those discussed on pp. 2n-2r5; 219 lies, of course, the virtually unanimous desire of many ' orthodox' writers to avert at all costs
any possible suspicion that Augustine, correctly interpreted, is the champion of some sort of communistic or otherwise ' revolutionary ' system.
Thus Roland-Gosselin, a typical representative of the group to which
we refer, sums up his conclusions in the following terms : <<L'vque
d'Hippone, autant que l'un de ses inspirateurs prfrs Cicron, est un
sage conservateur de l'ordre tabli 96 " In support of this viewpoint,
shared by the admitted majority of modern commentators, eve.n so
independent and redoubtable a scholar as tienne Gilson does not hesitate to lend the weight and prestige of his approbation. Witness The
Christian Philosophy of St. Augustine, where he writes : In theory,
therefore, we may say that all things belong by right to those who know
how to use them with God and beatitude in view, and this is their only
legitimate use. Redistribution of this earth's goods in accordance with

this principle would mean radical upheaval, but it is neither possible nor
desirable... Things must stay as they are ii (italics added) 97 . Now there
can be no doubt that St. Augustine tends to adopt a' strong' position
regarding the rights, powers and responsibilities of the secular ruler,
as well as the binding character of civic ordinances, considered in themselves and, so to speak, at their own level. As a parallee to the corroborative material already cited let us now however adduce some further
texts, not, indeed, to illustra te the dictum: << things must stay as they are ii
but rather in an attempt to determine the extent to which Augustine's
alleged ' conservatism ' bears upon and modifies his doctrine of property
ownership.
The passages in question may be translated as follows : It is lawful
for a king, in the state over which he rules, to command what neither he
himself nor any of his predecessors had previously commanded. And ...
it cannot be considered disadvantageous to the public interest to obey
him... in truth, it would be disadvantageous if he were not obeyed 98 ii ..
<< it is not right to say that a thing rightly done once should not be changed.
Clearly right reason demands a change in what was right to do at some
earlier time, if the circumstance of time be altered ; so, when these
objectors allege that it is not right to make a change, truth shouts in
reply that it is not right not to make a change because in that case it
96. ROLAND-GOSSELIN, op. cit. p. 207.
97. E. GILSON, The Christian Philosophy of St. Augustine, r960, p. 177.
98. Conf. II, 8, 15, PL 32, 690.

222

D.J. MACQUEEN

will be right both ways, if the change is in accord with the variation in
time 99 >> << with regard to temporal laws, although men make judgements
concerning these when they enact them, nevertheless once they have
been enacted and confirmed, it 1s not lawful for a judge to pass judgement upon them, but only to give judgement in agreement therewith.
In like manner, the deviser of temporal laws, if he be a good and wise
man, takes into consideration the very eternal law upon which no soul
is allowed to pass judgement, so that in accordance with its immutable
rules he may decide for the time in question what is to be commanded
and what forbidden100 ... >> << Is justice, therefore, variable and changeable ?
No, but the times over which she presides are not all alike because they
are different. But men, whose days upon earth are few, cannot by their
own apprehension harmonise the causes of past ages and other nations,
of which they have had no experience, and compare them with those
of which they do have experience. Although in one and the same body,
or day, or family, they are readily able to see that what is suitable for
each member, season, part and person may differ1 01 ... >>
The first and most striking impression that this writer, at least, receives
from the above ensemble of texts is one of muted optimism, of latent
dynamism ; more precisely, ' a dynamics of unpredictable change '.
Thus, for example, a king or other supreme ruler need never, according
to St. Augustine, consider himself bound by precedents arising from
earlier legislation ; salva religione, he is at all times legally entitled to
introduce any new laws, measures, usages or institutions thought appropriate or necessary in view of altered circumstances. By the same
token, of course, he enjoys an equal and complementary right to modify,
suppress or supersede existing ordinances and customs. As regards
the latter, indeed, Augustine does enter a caveat that a mere change of
custom, although it may be of partial advantage, unsettles men by the
very fact of its novelty ; unless, therefore, it brings some advantage,
such a change can create much harm by disturbing the Church to no
profit102 . At a lower level, judges and other administrators find themselves in the same camp, as it were, with those subject to their immediate
authority ; for once a given civic law has been enacted with the approbation of the monarch, then both judge and judged are severally obliged
by its provisions.
From the foregoing, certain critics, ancient if not modern, have found
it all too easy to conclude that Augustine's so-called ' virtue ' of justice
resembles a fickle and inconstant jade, whose name may with impunity
be conjured to bless not only every act of blind and unreasoning obedience
to the pa~t, but also innovations deliberately calculated to offend and
99. Ep. 138, I, 4, PL 33, 526.
rno. De vera rel. 31, 58, PL 34, 148.
Ior. Conf. III, 7, I3, PL 32, 689.
102. Ep. 54, 5, 6, PL 33, 203.

ST, A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

223

destroy immemorial customs and mores103 . One instance of apparent


political ' conservatism ' occurs in the following passage from Book
Three of the De civitate Dei, which we here reproduce in translation :
It was the revolts of th<. Gracchi, sparked off by the agrarian laws,
that initiated the civil wars. These tribunes wished to distribute among
the people the lands which the nobles held unjustly. But daring to
destroy by violence sa ancient an evil was most dangerous, in f act quite
destructive, as appeared in the sequel104 (italics added). Now it would
appear undeniable that the cautious and temporizing spirit of this extract
reflect an ' anti-revolutionary ' prejudice on the part of St. Augustine
quite at odds with the general toue of the texts discussed above. The
source of this particular prejudice is perhaps, however, not for to seek.
As we have implied on a previous page, our author harbours no
illusions regarding either the moral sensibilities of ' the man in the
street' or the degrading miseries of daily life. In their unregenerate
state, << all men are a mass of sin>> (massa damnationis), and most of those
who respond to any form of correction are moved by fear rather than by
love. Moreover, the life they live is <<a hell on earth >> (huius inferi vitae),
and this same earth can itself be only described as << the land of the dead >>
(regio mortuorum105 ). Given these pre-suppositions on his part about
the' raw material' of which human society is composed, we can hardly
expect Augustine to welcome or encourage ' popular' revolutionary
movements. As we have just indicated, it is the ruler ' the prince ',
the autocrat, to whom St. Augustine looks for the possibility of political
and moral reform. The following text will illustrate and further confirm
this aspect of his thought :
Aug. "If, then, a people is balanced and sober-minded, a careful custodian of the common good, if ail its members think less of private interests than of the public interest, would it not be right to enact a law
permitting them to appoint their own magistrates and to administer
their affairs, that is to say, public affairs ?
Ev. Entirely right.
Aug. Now if that same people sank little by little from its former excellence, placed private interests before the public interest, sold its votes
and, corrupted by those who love hononrs, entrusted its government
to wicked criminals, would not some good and powerful man, if he
happened to exist, be right to strip this people of the power to confer
honours, and to put it into the hands of a few good men or even of one
man ?
Ev. Again quite right. "10.
rn3. Conf. III, 7, 13, PL 32, 689. There are also the moral relativists who believe
in no objective and absolute standard of right or justice at all : de doct. chr. III, 14,
22, PL 34, 74
104- De civ. Dei III, 24, PL 41, rn4-05.
105. The following, in their order of occurrence, are the refs. for this fn : De civ.
Dei XXI, 12, PL 41, 727 ; Ep. 185, 6, 21, PL 33, 802 ; De civ. Dei XXII, 22, 4
(ad init.), PL 41, 786 ; Enarr. in ps. 85, 24, PL 36, 1099.
rn6. De lib. arb. I, 6, 14, PL 32, 1229.

224

D.]. MACQUEEN

The fact that Dr. Deane himself comments upon and translates this
very passage does not, surprisingly enough, deter him from writing of
<< Augustine's political and moral quietism JJ ; indeed, he even goes so far
as to declare that there is no room ... for the view that one form of
government should be abolished ... rn that a better social and political
order may be instituted ... Since everything that takes place, whether
good JJ or bad >J is part of God's plan for the world and is therefore, ultimately good, there is little or no impulse towards social or political reconstruction or amelioration107 )), \Vith the statements we may be interested
to compare a remark made by the same author, which occurs in an earlier
chapter of the identical work just quoted, as follows : It is this (St.
Augustine's) belief in the omnipotence and goodness of the God who
rules the affairs of men that gives to his thought a positive, dynamic
quality, a sense that there is meaning and purpose in history, that is far
removed from the world-weariness and negativism that characterize
so many of the writings of his period 108 n. In our criticism of Dr. Deane's
observations regarding this particular topic, it may suffice, by way of
conclusion, to point out that if, as he alleges, impulses and incentives for
socio-political reform have no place in Augustine's thought, why is the
latter at such pains (Deane has duly noted the fact) to urge good men
to accept' the burdens of rule ' ... there could be nothing more fortunate
for human affairs than that, by the mercy of God, they who are endowed
with true piety of life, if they have the skill for ruling people, should also
have the power JJ (St. Augustine, cited in trandation by Dr. Deane109).
We have had occasion to speak of' a muted optimism ',' a dynamics
of unpredictable change ' as characterizing Augustine's political outlook.
Is it not, in the last analysis, his firm belief that no human act escapes the
far-flung net of Divine Providence and a rooted conviction concerning
the ultimate benevolence of Divine Power which impart to his outlook
the dual qualities just mentioned ? According to Augustine, indeed, this
Power, because Supreme, presides at the very heart of universal history,
and guides, as it were, the helm of the entire human enterprise. But since
His designs are often hidden, enigmatic or hard to reconcile with the
customs or agreements of particular societies, St. Augustine will always
stress not only the uniqueness but also the untrammelled freedom and
inscrutability of the God Who irrupts, whenever and wheresoever He
pleases, into the seeming maelstrom which bears the sons of Adam to
their appointed destiny. Let us conclude in our author's own words,
translated as follows : When God commands anything contrary to the
customs or agreements of any nation, even though it had never been
done by them before, it fr to be done ; and if '.t has been interrupted, it is
to be restored ; and if it has never been established, it is to be established
rn7. HERBER'.I' A. DEANE, op. cit. p. 15I.
108. Op. cit., p. 68.
109. Op. cit., p. 130 : the ref. is de civ. Dei V, 19, PL 41, 166.

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

225

... when, contrary to man's expectation, You command something unusual


or previously unthought of, even something that You may have forbidden
in the past, and about which You may conceal the reason for Your decree
when giving it ; and although it might challenge the established conventions of some human society, can anyone doubt whether it should be
done ? since only that society of men is just which obeys You. But
blessed are they who know what You have commanded, for every action
performed by Your servants either reveals something necessary at the time
or foreshadows things to comeno. >J
CONCLUSION

To summarize : Augustine's doctrine of property ownership, with its


obvions, if not urgent, implications for day-to-day moral norms in forum,
bank, and market, can be seen to represent much more than the formalized
expression of a purely abstract ethical judgement oracounselofperfection
destined for the few. Rather, it systematizes and incorporates into one
coherent unity all the inferences derivable from his basic theorem : a man
who possesses goods unjustly usurps another's property : " omne quod
male posidetur, alienum est". These inferences or corollaries might be
tabulated as follows :
(a) in conformity with the order of ends, possessions are to be used
( uti) to enjoy (frui) God, i.e. that which is lower in the scale of
being must serve as a means to the attainment of the higher,
and not vice versa. Thus God Himself, Who alone perfectly possesses all that He has made, uses His creatures without enjoying
them;
(b) in relation to natural equals, men must understand that their
Creator, as the sole Proprietor and Custodian of the earth, has
given all things in common to mankind ;
(c) while the administration of goods at the civic level devolves upon
the supreme ruler, the individual owner is bound by the norms of
the virtue of justice itself to base his conduct towards neighbours
upon the principle that possessions held by him in superfluity belong
iure divino to the Lazarus at his gate.
As already suggested, we have here no mere enunciation, on Augustine's
part, of an ethical norm presented, so to speak, in vacuo. On the contrary,
no. Conf. III, 8, 15; 9, 17, PL 32, 689-90; 691 : 0 Cum autem Deus aliquid contra
morem aut pactum quorumlibet iubet, etsi nunquam ibi factum est, faciendum est:
et si omissum, instaurandum ; et si institutum non erat, instituendum est .. Cum
vero aliquid tu repente inusitatum et improvisum imperas, etiam si hoc aliquando
vetuisti, quamvis causam imperii tui pro tempore occultes, et quamvis contra pactum sit aliquorum hominum societatis; quis dubitet esse faciendum, quando ea iusta
est societas hominum, quae servit tibi ? Sed beati qui te imperasse sciunt. Fiunt
enim omnia a servientibus tibi, vel ad exhibendum quod ad praesens opus est,
vel ad futura praenuntianda.

].D. MACQUEEN

226

this principle involves a direct appeal and challenge to every conscience


awake to the choices and decisions which such moral crises, by their very
nature, impose. If our analysis, as thus set forth, is found to square
with all the available evidence, then it follows that many recent commentators have gone seriously astrayin their understanding of this, Augustine's
central affirmation in his doctrine of private property. In contrast with
such scholars, our interpretation of the basic theorem mentioned above,
and other passages within the same context, has the advantage of reinforcing what we have sought to establish as the constant tenor and general
purport of his thought. A right founded on the natural law, but included
within and regulated by the temporal law, private property is, as such,
an accidental, limited and provisional expedient for a fleeting world.
In eternity, this institution will give way to a truly theocratic community,
I erusalem clestis, wherein through love, God \X/ho is Love will be shared
by each as the Common Good of all, that He may be All in al1111
D.J. MACQUEEN

University of Ghana.
Legon, Accra

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX

ST. AuGuSTINE ON TOLERATION


FOR PAGANS

AND

crvrc

RIGHTS

{{ COMMUNITER POSSIDERE )) AND THE CHRISTIAN IDEAL


OF OWNERSHIP

III. In Johan. ev. tr. 67, 13, 2, PL 35, 1812: .. ita Deus erit omnia in omnibus
(I Cor. 15, 28), ut quoniam Deus Charitas est (I Johan. 5, 8), per charitatem fiat ut
quod habent singuli, commune sit omnibus. Cf. Enarr. in ps. 83, 8 (vers. 3),
PL 37, lo61 ; ibid. 105, 34, PL 37, 1415 ; Ep. 243, 3, PL 33, 1056

APPENDIX A
To some, a comment in the body of our text about Augustine's relative ' toleration '
of non-Christian cults 1 may appear at best a misguided attempt to palliate the
uncompromising harshness of his ultimate position. But our present terms of reference deliberately exclude any consideration of the campaigns led or supported by
him against heresy and schism. In this Appendix we examine solely the evidence
bearing on St. Augustine's attitude towards religions derived, in whole or in part,
from pagan premises, especially as this affects the question of property ownership.
How, then, might one summarize Augustine's general reaction to paganism, as he
knows it ? In the first place, it is quite proper, according to him, that emperors
should forbid such enormities as idolatry and sacrilege, together with the various
forms of strife and emulation distinguished by St. Paul in Galatians'. For kings,
by virtue of their rank and status, can serve the Lord in a manner impossible for
these who do not possess royal power<. Rulers are indeed bound by their authority
to legislate in favour of and extend protection to the true religion. This
solicitude on the part of Augustine merely reflects Imperial policy in North Africa,
which as from the year 399 AD increasingly promoted the practice of closing pagan
temples and liquidating cultic equipment6. On the other liand we must emphasize
that for Augustine, the prerogative of implementing these measures of gradua!
repression belonged to the State alone ; citizens who presumed to take the law into
their own hands were justly liable to punishment. Nor would he sanction the conduct
of over-zealous Catholics who might feel inclined to steal or destroy pagan statues
in private villas or even from temples'. In the light of such data, we feel free to maintain that as regards both civic rights and personal religions loyalties, Augustine
always respected the status of pagani within the community. For despite his
rejection of conscience as the valid norm operating in moral decisions', no-one more
clearly appreciated the fact that it is impossible to believe in the absence of the will
to do so.
As a tailpiece to our discussion of pagan or syncretistic sects, as Augustine
views them, we add a brief comment about the Manichees, since they constitute
a remarkable exception to his normal attitude. In refuting the general doctrine
of this group, which, more than any other, fell fou! of the Empire's ' anti-dissent'
laws, he sums up his indictment in a passage of which the following translation is
offered : I cannot be harsh with you : I must now endure you as others endured me
then (at the time of my Manichaean membership), I must treat you with the same
patience that my friends displayed to me when I myself wandered astray amid your
teachings 10 Is it entirely fanciful to suggest that if Augustine's long journey in
search of beatifying Truth had included a Donatist phase, the tragic history of
subseguent religous crcion in medieval and Reformation Europe might never have
been written ?

I. See above (p. 2r6), the sentence preceding fn. 85a.


2. For Donatists and private property, see our text (pp. 204-206, and fn.); RoLANDGossELIN, op. cit., pp. r8r-83.
3. C. ep. Parm. I, IO, I6, PL 43, 45.
4. C. litt. Petit. II, 92, 2IO, PL 43, 330.
5. C. Crees. III, 5I, 56, PL 43, 527.
6. F. VAN DER MEER. Augustine The Bishop, pp. 37-45 and refs., especially
fn. 49, p. 599.
7 Ep. 47, 3, PL 33, I85.
8. C. ibid. 4, PL 33, r86; C. Faust. XXII, 27, PL 42, 4r8 and note Ep. rn3, IO
PL 33, 400 : Quae est peior mors animae, quam libertas erroris ?
9. In I ohan. ev. tr. 26, 6, 2, PL 35, 1607 : credere non potest (homo) nisi volens.
ro. C. ep. Man. Fund. 2, 3, PL 42, 175.

APPENDIX B
St. Augustine's cnarratio in psalmum 131 1 contains one passage which would appear
at first reading, to deprecate any form of ownership by individual Christians. The
text in question is so often quoted and interpreted ' out of context ' that it perhaps
merits treatment apart from the main body of our discussion. After eloquently
praising the first Christians for their renunciation of persona! possessions, the Bishop
continues : ... (But in contrast to avoid making a place for the Lord (vers. 5),
pursue persona! interests as ends-in-themselves, love as ends (diligant) their own
concerns, rejoice in persona! power as an end-in-itself' and in general seek their
own perverse objects of desire 3 But he who wishes to make a place for the Lord
should rejoice, not in his own separative and privative goods, but in the common
good ... It is those things which we possess as individuals (singuli) that give rise to
lawsuits, enmities, disagreements, civil wars, disturbances, social strife, scandais, sins,
general wickedness, murders - all on account of those things that we possess as
individuals. Do we go to law for the sake of things which we possess in such a
manner that they separate us neither from Gocl nor neighbour (communiter) ? We
all breath the same air, and see the same sun. Blessed are those who make a place
for the Lord in such a way as not to rejoice in their private property ... Therefore,
brothers, let us refuse to pessess 'private ' property ; or at least let us abstain from
the worldly love (amor) of it, if we cannot avoid actual possession ... 5 (our translation and italics).
To begin with, we wish to direct attention to our rendering (in the latter part of
the last paragraph) of the sentence which follows Numquid propter ista quae
communiter possidemus, litigamus ? Do we go to law on account of things which we
possess in such a manner that they separate us neither from God nor neighbour
(communiter) ? According to us, the latter word means not ' in common with
others ', as though Augustine were here arguing in favour of a universal Christian
socialism, but rather the opposite of proprie, separatim or pr,ivatim. This usage is
quite classical, two unexceptionable instances of it occurring, respectively, in Cicero 6
and Quintilian'. The great majority of commentators however translate communiter as 'in common' or the like (implying joint ownership) : this of course makes
nonsense of texts, already noted, in which St. Augustine not merely sanctions but
expresses approbation of ownership by individuals. Thus R. McKEoN writes :
He who would have a place in the Lord must enjoy common not private things,
for the things which we possess as individuals lead to lawsuits ... 8 Very similar
is the interpretation favoured by H. DEANE : For Christians, the most admirable
course is to renounce all ownership of earthly goods and to hold in common the material
things that are necessary for the support of life' .

r. 5-6, PL 37, 1718.


2. For the equation dominari
propria potestate gaudere
superbia, see sermo 112,
2, 2, PL 38, 644. Another example of 'joy' (gaudium, gaudere) used to describe
disordered pleasure occurs in Ep. II8, 3, 3, 15, PL 33, 439.
3. Cupiditas in Augustine usually connotes a perversely acquisitive appetite
expressed by the love of lesser creatures in and for themselves. Cf. de Trin. IX,
8, r3, PL 42, 968; Enarr. in ps. 3r, enarr. 2, 5, PL 36, 260.
4. Cf. de Gen. ad litt. XI, 8, r9, PL 34, 436-37, where avaritia is defined as quidam
propriae rei amor ... Cui sapienter nomen latina lingua inclidit, cum appellavit
privatum, quod potius a detrimento quam ab incremento dictum elucet. Omnis
enim privatio minuit ... cum ex communi ad proprium damnoso sui amore redigititr
(superbia) . (italics added).
5. For amor as worldly love cf. de div. quaest. 83, 36, l, PL 40, 25 : Est autem
cupiditas, amor adipiscendi aut obtinendi temporalia.
6. CICERO, Ad jam. I2, IO, I.
7. QUINTH,IAN, De inst. orat. IX, l, 23.
8. R. McKEoN, op. cit., pp. 320, 322 and fns. (italics added).

ST. A UGUSTINE'S CONCEPT OF PROPERTY

229

What apparently neither of these two scholars has remarked is that the abovecited passage contains certain terminological 'sign-posts 'indicating an unmistakable reference to the Bishop's doctrine of the bonum commune (see above, fn. 93).
This teaching, enunciated in its most general terms, can be found in his Letter 21 l :
Charitas ... communia propriis, non propria communibus anteponit 10 . It is
moreover not a special or restricted rule, but one ordinated to Christian perfection
in every sphere and relationship, from the lowest to the most eminent". We here
once more emphasize that communia does not in Augustine's thought necessarily
mean goods owned by a group, like monastic holdings, for example. In the
present context the word rather signifies matters or problems affecting all the
members of a community, the object of a common concernas opposed to what affects
only individuals or subordina te units of larger wholes. Further to clarify the
concept of bonum commune and communia, as so formulated, let us note a significant passage in the Confessions which clearly states that the sin of avarice consists
not in possessing material goods, but in loving them more than the Common Good
of al1 12
Yei a third commentator seems to interpret St. Augustine's general attitude to
property exclusively in terms of a caveat against being possessed by things, instead
of possessing them (see above, our fn. 91). We here refer to S. GIET, La doctrine
de l'appropriation des biens chez quelques-uns des pres 13 This author describes the
text translated above (see our p. 209) as "une page trs curieuse , thereby
revealing his failure to detect the all-important relationships in the Bishop's thought
between legif.ime acquirere, iuste /iniuste possidere, bene /male uti and usurparc. Note,
however, on the same page (79) GIET's perceptive observation : ,, Augustin nous a
avertis en effet que, de droit divin, il n'existe pas de proprits prives, et rien n'autorise penser qu'il se soit contredit ...
To recapitulate : the principal problems connected with ownership, as St. Augustine views them, are centred respectively on the acquisition and the use of property.
In the beginning, the world and its treasures were offered by their Creator to mankind at large ; and this gift has never been revoked. But after Adam's sin, and the
appearance of ownership by individuals - evidence in itself of a new penal dispensation - the natural law without prejudice to the ius dvinum, legislates accordingly : hence the Decalogue, and in particular the commandments relating to theft
and covetousness. \Ve might thus observe, by way of conclusion, that in Augustine's
doctrine of the eternal law, considered as a totality, two aspects or 'moments '
can be distinguished. Let us label the first ' supralapsarian ', as it is concerned
with man's rights to, and use of, nature's bounties Rt Creation. The second 'moment
could be called 'infralapsarian ', because it deals in the concrete with problems
engendered by private ownciship since the Fall. Taken separately and in isolation, neither of these two aspects of what is one and the smne Divine law will yield
a satisfactory synthesis of all the data involved in our inquiry. Taken together,
theyexist 'in tension' (see above, pp. 199-204), but readilycomplement each other, provided that we do not allow ourselves to forget Augustine's cardinal distinction,
in hi.> concept of the ius privatum, between titles to legitimate ownership, and the
just use of material goods.
9. HERBERT A. DEANE, op. cit. p. 108 (italics ours).
IO. Ep. 2II, 12, PL 33, 963.
II. De Trin. XII, l l, 16, PL 42, 1006 : Tanto magis itaque inhaeretur Deo,
quanto minus diligitur proprium (italics again added). For dilectio as love of the
good, or charity, see : in ep. I ahan. ad Parth. 8, 4, 5, PL 35, 2038 ; de div. quaest. 83,
36, 1, PL 40, 28.
12. Conf. III, 8, 16, PL 32, 690 : priva ta superbia diligitur in parte unum falsum
.... (whereas God is unus et verus creator et rector universitatis) ... avaritia plus

habcndi ; et damna totum amittendi ; amplius amando proprium nostrum, quam te


omnium bonum (italics supplied).
13. Recherches de Science Religieuse, 35, 1948, pp. 54-9r.

Idalisme politique et foi chrtienne


dans la pense de saint Augustin

Deux vnements troitement apparents* ont boulevers le climat


intellectuel de notre poque et fourni la matire ses dbats thologiques
et politiques les plus anims : la renaissance de l'utopisme parmi les
prophtes de la dmocratie radicale ou galitaire et la violence systmatique qui dans les pays occidentaux accompagne de plus en plus frquemment l'appel la justice sociale. Il va sans dire que ni l'un ni l'autre de ces
vnements n'est sans antcdents historiques. Tous deux ont leur source
commune dans la philosophie du dix-neuvime sicle et se prsentent
nous comme des produits typiques de l'amalgame rcent de la pense de
Marx avec celle de Nietzsche et de Heidegger1 . Tous deux doivent galement ce nouvel attrait, qui leur faisait dfaut il y a peine quelques annes,
aux possibilits d'avenir engendres par l'essor de la technologie et
l'exploitation mthodique des ressources naturelles de la plante. En mme
temps, l'ambigut du but poursuivi, ainsi que le caractre moralement
douteux des moyens utiliss ou prconiss pour en amener la ralisation,
risquent de provoquer dans certains milieux une raction qui pourrait
facilement devenir aussi dangereuse que les abus qu'elle prtend redresser.
Il faut reconnatre que, face cette situation, la thologie contemporaine s'est trouve mal prpare pour les tches dont elle aura dsormais

* Texte d'une confrence prononce l'Universit Villanova en avril, 1971, et


publie sous le titre Political I dealism and Christianity in the Thought of St. Augustine
(Villanova University Press, 1972). La rdaction remercie l'Institut Augustinien de
Villanova et son directeur, le pre Robert P. Russell, 0.S.A., d'avoir aimablement
permis la publication de ce texte en traduction franaise. De lgres modifications
ont t apportes l'original.
I. Cf. R. ARON, Marxismes imaginaires: d'une sainte famille l'autre (Paris, 1968),
p. 123 : Marx et Nietzsche sont, certains gards, 'extrmes opposs' ; par de
multiples chemins leurs descendants se rejoignent. Voir aussi, au sujet du marxisme
occidental, les remarques brves mais pertinentes de J .P. Palmier, Sur Marcuse
(Paris, 1968), p. 15 ss.

E. L. FORTIN

232

s'occuper. A supposer qu'il y ait quelque avantage retirer d'une connaissance plus prcise du problme de la justice sociale tel qu'il s'est pos au
cours de l'histoire, nous pouvons nous sentir justifis de retourner aux
origines de la pense politique chrtienne et surtout saint Augustin, le
penseur politique le plus profond de l'glise ancienne et le seul avoir
soulev la question de l'idalisme politique dans toute son ampleur et sa
complexit.

* **
La thologie politique de saint Augustin s'offre dans son ensemble
comme un effort gigantesque d'intgration de la foi chrtienne et des
principes de la philosophie grco-romaine. Il ressort de nombreux tmoignages tirs de ses uvres qu'Augustin considrait Platon comme le
reprsentant le plus illustre de la tradition politique ancienne 2 . Bien que rien
ne permette de croire qu'il ait lu les principaux dialogues politiques de
Platon, soit dans l'original, soit dans une traduction latine quelconque, il
tait abondamment renseign sur leur esprit et leur contenu par les
disciples romains de Platon, Varron et surtout Cicron. On peut dire sans
exagration qu'Augustin a contribu plus que n'importe quel auteur de son
poque restaurer l'enseignement platonicien dans son contexte politique
primitif. Quoi qu'il en soit des circonstances immdiates qui ont motiv sa
rdaction, la Cit de Dieu se voulait comme une rponse la Rpublique de
Platon, qu'elle a ventuellement remplace comme texte de base de la
civilisation occidentale et comme l'analyse la plus autorise de la manire
dont l'homme doit vivre en socit. On y trom-e, en effet, la premire
grande tentative de la part d'un auteur chrtien pour en venir aux prises
avec la philosophie platonicienne dans son intgrit et au niveau de ses
principes les plus levs, par del le platonisme tronqu et quelque peu
livresque des no-platoniciens, qui demeure avant tout mtaphysique et
mystique et d'o la dimension essentiellement politique de l'uvre de
Platon a peu prs compltement disparu. C'est dans la Cit de Dieu, et
nulle part ailleurs peut-tre, que la lutte entre le Christ et Socrate, dont
avaient parl les chrtiens des premiers sicles, atteint ses proportions
dfinitives. Nous arriverons nous faire une ide des problmes sousjacents cette lutte si nous nous reportons pour commencer la premire
critique de l'idalisme politique esquisse par un auteur classique, l' Assemble des femmes d' Aristophane.
L'Assemble des femmes a pour thme la dmocratie et, plus prcisment,
l'opinion selon laquelle la dmocratie est le plus juste et le plus philanthropique de tous les rgimes. L'intrigue met en scne un groupe de femmes
habiles qui se dguisent en hommes et trament un complot devant leur
permettre de s'emparer du gouvernement de la cit. La dmocratie vise

2. Cf. De civ. Dei, VIII, 4 ; VIII, 5 ; VIII, 9 ; De vera relig., rv, 6-7 ; Contra
Acad., III, 17, 37

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

233

l'galit, et l'galit parfaite ne sera atteinte et prserve que si toutes


choses, y compris les femmes et les enfants, sont mises en commun. D'o le
principe fondamental de l'ordre nouveau institu par les femmes rebelles
et leur hrone, Praxagora, savoir, que dsormais tous participeront
tout et vivront des mmes choses 3 >>.
A un conservateur comme Aristophane une telle entreprise ne pouvait
apparatre que comme le comble du ridicule. Elle met en lumire la folie
des athniens, qui, d'une part, ne se lassent pas de vanter les mrites de la
dmocratie et, d'autre part, se moquent de l'ide que les femmes devraient
tre associes au pouvoir. Qui plus est, le projet n'a aucune chance de
succs. Non seulement la coutume mais la nature s'y oppose. Au nom de
l'galit, de beaux jeunes gens finissent par devoir pouser de vieilles
femmes laides 4 et les riches sont contraints de verser leur avoir au trsor
public, ce qu'ils ne sont pas prts de faire s'ils peuvent y chapper 5 . Comme
on pouvait le deviner, la seule personne tirer profit de la rvolution est
son instigatrice, une jeune femme entreprenante qui est dj marie un
vieillard et qui peut dornavant s'attendre des repas gratuits pour sa
famille ainsi qu' des plaisirs jadis dfendus pour elle-mme 5 Elle, du
moins, a trouv moyen de rsoudre son problme personnel, mais de la
faon la plus lgante, en lui donnant les dehors d'un problme public. En
fait, la vie publique n'a pas triomph de la vie prive. Dans leurs efforts
pour tablir une socit juste mais impossible, les femmes d'Athnes ont
tout simplement cr une situation encore plus drisoire. La dmocratie,
qui se donne pour le gouvernement de tous, n'est elle-mme que le gomernement d'une partie, qui, comme toute autre partie, prtend gouverner dans
l'intrt de tous et tre mieux qualifie que n'importe quelle autre partie
pour ce rle. Ce qu'Aristophane lui reproche par-dessus tout, c'est que
voulant avantager tout le monde, elle se montre injuste l'gard des
meilleurs ou de ceux qui sont suprieurs par nature. Les ingalits qu'elle
entrane sont encore plus choquantes que celles qu'elle vise liminer.
Elle est la recherche d'un idal inaccessible et produit les pires dsordres
en s'acharnant sa poursuite. Puisque la socit parfaite est une chimre,
mieux vaut s'en tenir des buts plus modrs et se contenter d'un arrangement qui promet moins mais, tout compte fait, donne des rsultats plus
satisfaisants qu'aucune de ses alternatives en apparence plus attrayantes.
Le dfi lanc par Aristophane a t relev de faon imprvue par Platon,
dont la Rpublique est conue prcisment comme une rplique l'Assem3. ARISTOPHANE Assemble des femmes, v. 590. Pour une analyse dtaille et
pntrante de la pice, cf. L. STRAUSS, Socrates and Aristophanes (New York, 1965),
pp. 263-82.
4. Ibid., v. 877 SS.
5. Ibid., v. 730 ss.; cf. v. 77TVous n'allez tout de mme pas croire que des hommes
senss vont si aisment se dbarrasser de leurs biens ! Non, ce n'est pas l notre
coutume nous. Voir aussi, v. 872 : Par Zeus, il faut que je trouve moyen de
garder ce qui m'appartient tout en ayant part ces dners publics.
6. Ibid., V. III2 SS.

16

234

E. L. FORTIN

ble des jemmes 7 La thse de la Rpublique, rduite son expression la plus


simple, c'est que la notion d'une socit parfaitement juste base de
communisme n'est pas du tout absurde. Dans certaines conditions tout-fait spciales, une telle socit et bel et bien possible, mais sa russite
dpend entirement de la place que doit y occuper cet lment unique
auquel Aristophane ne semble pas avoir song ou dont il a cru pouvoir se
dispenser : la philosophie. Les maux cesseront parmi les hommes le jour
o, selon la fameuse thse platonicienne, les rois deviendront philosophes
et les philosophes deviendront rois8
La Cit de Dieu est d'autant plus intressante de ce point de vue qu'elle
s'en prend en premier lieu l'idalisme de la solution platonicienne.
L'argument qu'Augustin y dveloppe peut se rsumer de la faon suivante.
La philosophie politique de Platon tudie le comportement humain la
lumire de ses possibilits les plus hautes ou des buts les plus nobles
auxquels l'homme puisse aspirer. c'est--dire la lumire de la vertu,
et elle s'efforce d'indiquer la voie par laquelle ces buts pourraient tre
atteints. Elle trouve son aboutissement dans une discussion de la vie la
meilleure et, sur le plan politique, du meilleur rgime ou du rgime le
plus apte favoriser la vie la plus parfaite pour tout le monde. Par le
meilleur rgime elle entend le rgime qui correspond en tout aux vux de
l'homme, autrement dit, un rgime tel que la sagesse et la vertu le prescriraient si on tait en mesure d'agir avec une libert pleine et entire en ces
matires 9 La socit qui lui sert de modle se fonde uniquement sur la
raison et ne fait aucune concession aux coutumes sociales ou aux apptits
infrieurs par lesquels les hommes pour la plupart se laissent guider. A cet
gard, elle fait preuve de plus de logique que la pense politique romaine,
qui a cru ncessaire de pactiser avec la faiblesse humaine et a officiellement
sanctionn de nombreuses pratiques contraires tant la dignit humaine
qu' ses propres principes10 . En s'opposant tout compromis de ce genre,
7. Cf. PLATON, Rpublique, V, 451b ss., et le commentaire de A. BLOOM, The
Republic of Plata (New York et Londres, 1968), pp. 380-8!. L. STRAUSS, Thf City
and Man (Chicago, 1964), pp. 61-2. Les nombreuses allusions textuelles l'Assemble
des femmes ont t releves par P. Shorey dans son dition de la Rpublique, Loeb
Classical Library, 1946.
8. Cf. Rpublique, V, 473-d, o, en rponse la question de Glaucon concernant
la possibilit de la cit qui vient d'tre fonde en paroles, Socrate introduit la notion
du philosophe-roi comme la dernire et la plus grande des trois vagues de paradoxes
dont il est question dans ce passage. Les deux autres vagues ont trait l'galit
des sexes et la communaut des femmes, des enfants et des biens, dj mentionnes
par Aristophane. Ibid., 487.
9. Cf. De civ. Dei, II, 14, I. Sur la notion du meilleur rgime, dont l'actualisation
demeure problmatique mais non contradictoire, cf. PLATON Rpublique, V, 45od ;
V, 456b_c ; VI, 499d ; VII, 54od ; Lois, IV, 709d ; V, 742 ; ARISTOTE, Politique,
II, I, 126ob 29; II, 6, 1265 18 ; VII, 4, r325b 38.
rn. Cf. De civ. Dei, VI, 4, 2 : Ainsi il (Varron) avoue que ses livres sur les choses
divines traitent non de la vrit qui provient de la nature, mais de la fausset qui
provient de l'erreur. Il s'exprime encore plus clairement ailleurs, comme je l'ai
signal au livre IV (c. 31), en disant que, s'il avait eu fonder une cit nouvelle, il

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

235

Platon, ce demi-dieu, a montr aux romains ce que leur gnie a laiss


inachev11 .
L'inconvnient de cette manire de procder, d'aprs saint Augustin,
c'est qu'elle nous oblige parler d'un idal qui ne se rencontre jamais ou
pratiquement jamais parmi les hommes et dont l'actualisation dpend de
la confluence improbable d'un nombre incalculable de circonstances
particulirement favorables. Platon s'est fait une ide exacte de la faon
dont les hommes devraient vivre et agir en socit, mais il a t incapable
de procurer les moyens par lesquels ce programme pourrait tre mis
excution. La socit dont il fait l'loge n'existe nulle part, sinon dans des
discussions prives, domesticis disputationibus 12 Elle n'est finalement
qu'un beau rve, fixant des buts qui chapperont toujours la plupart
des hommes et tous les hommes la plupart du temps. Elle est ainsi
condamne tre prive jamais de ce qu'elle considre comme indispensable au bonheur des individus et des cits13 .
La preuve en est, pour Augustin, qu'aucune cit n'a encore russi se
conformer aux critres tablis par la raison et la nature. En principe, les
cits sont, d'aprs la dfinition qu'en avait donne Cicron, des groupements d'tres humains unis entre eux par un commun accord au sujet du
droit )) ou de la justice14 En pratique, ce qui en fait l'unit n'est gure
autre chose que l'gosme collectif de leurs membres ou, pour reprendre
l'euphmisme d'Augustin, un commun accord en ce qui concerne l'objet
de leur amour15 )). Toutes les cits souffrent du mme dfaut radical et
aucune d'entre elles n'a jamais prfr habituellement la droiture
l'injustice. Le seul fait que les cits doivent avoir recours des lois et aux
moyens requis pour en garantir l'application rvle suffisamment le
caractre <<humain, trop humain>> de leur vie morale 16 . Si tout le monde
se serait inspir de la nature, mais que, se trouvant devant une cit dj ancienne,
il n'a pu que suivre ses coutumes. >l Ibid., VI, 2 : Que devons-nous penser, sinon
que cet homme fort pntrant et fort habile (Varron), mais que !'Esprit-Saint n'avait
pas encore rendu libre, fut l'esclave des coutumes et des lois de sa cit; et cependant
il s'est refus passer sous silence ce qui le troublait tout en l'ayant l'air de recommander la religion. Cf. 1 bid., VI, 6, I.
II. De civ. Dei, II, I4, 2.
12. Epist. 9I, +
13. Cf. PLA'I'ON, Rpublique, V, 473e.
14. De civ. Dei, II, 21, 2 ; XIX, 2I, I. Cf. CICRON, De re publica, I, 25, 39.
I5. De civ. Dei, XIX, 24 ; cf. Epist., 138, IO ; I55. 3, 9.
r6. Sur l'origine de la socit civile d'aprs saint Augustin, cf. R.A. MARKUS,
Saeculum : History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine (Cambridge, 1970),
Appendix B : De Civitate Dei, XIX, 14-15 and the Origin of Political Authority ,
pp. 197-210. Markus note juste titre que le problme n'est jamais discut ex
professa et en dtail par Augustin. Selon l'interprtation de Markus, Augustin
considrait l'autorit que l'homme exerce sur sa femme et ses enfants comme relevant
de la nature. Il n'en irait pas de mme de l'autorit politique, qui n'aurait jamais
exist si l'homme avait persvr dans 1' tat d'innocence. Il est videmment difficile
de rendre compte de tous les aspects de la pense d'Augustin sur cette question
pineuse, ainsi qu'en tmoigne l'histoire de la recherche augustinienne. Le De lib.

E. L. FORTIN

tait vertueux, les lois seraient superflues et les hommes poursuivraient de


leur propre gr le bien qu'elles ont pour but de protger17 . Malheureusement, peu de gens sont ports rechercher la justice pour elle-mme.
Pour assurer sa conservation, et le plus souvent sans gard aucun motif
suprieur, la socit civile doit se structurer de manire exploiter la
perversit de ses sujets pour son avantage elle. Elle rprime la malice
humaine, non pas en faisant appel la raison ou au sens de l'honneur, mais
en dressant les passions mauvaises les unes contre les autres et en se
servant de cette ruse pour en neutraliser les manifestations les plus
destructrices18 . Elle veille ce que mme le pire brigand, qui n'prouve
aucun attrait pour la vertu et avec qui il est impossible de raisonner, soit
amen par son propre intrt poser des actes vertueux. Ainsi, l'avare
qui cherche s'enrichir au dpens des autres va devoir s'abstenir de
tricher ou de voler, non pas parce qu'il a renonc l'amour dsordonn des
richesses, mais uniquement par crainte de perdre les biens qu'il possde
dj et dont la loi menace de le priver en guise de chtiment pour les
crimes qu'il serait tent de commettre.
Ce qu'il faut cependant bien noter -et il ne semble pas qu'on l'ait
toujours fait- c'est que la critique qu'labore Augustin de la pense
platonicienne ne fait gure que mettre en relief ce qui tait dj implicite
dans la Rpublique, dont on peut dire qu'elle est elle-mme une critique,
et peut-tre la critique la plus pousse qu'on ait jamais tente, de l'idalisme politique19 . Il est peu probable, en effet, que la socit parfaite
dont elle nous trace l'image puisse se raliser telle quelle. Le dialogue
tout entier remplit cet gard la fonction d'un mensonge noble, destin
inciter les hommes au plus haut degr de vertu qu'on puisse raisonnablearbit., I, 6, 14, nous fournit cependant ce sujet un indice prcieux. Saint Augustin
y fait remarquer que si tous les hommes taient vertueux, comme ils l'auraient t
dans l'tat d'innocence, seule la dmocratie serait conforme aux exigences de la
justice ; ce qui semble bien vouloir dire que ce n'est pas l'autorit politique comme
telle mais l'autorit politique jointe la force, avec les ingalits qu'elle suppose ou
qu'elle engendre, qui s'enracine dans le pch. Il faudrait galement tenir compte du
fait qu'Augustin reconnaissait l'existence d'ingalits naturelles, et donc d'une
hirarchie naturelle, parmi les hommes. On peut ainsi supposer que, mme dans cet
tat de nature purement hypothtique, une forme quelconque de structure gouvernementale aurait t requise.
17. De lib. arbit., I, 15, 3r.
18. Ibid., I, 15, 32 : Comment de tous ces biens la loi temporelle donne chacun
ce qui lui revient, il serait difficile et trop long de l'expliquer et vraiment inutile
notre but. Il nous suffit, en effet, de constater que la puissance de cette loi en ses
chtiments se limite interdire et enlever ces biens ou une partie de ces biens
ceux qu'elle punit. Elle s'impose donc par la crainte, et elle tourne et retourne vers
ce qu'elle veut les mes des mchants, pour le gouvernement desquels elle est faite.
Craignant, en effet, de perdre ces biens, ils gardent dans leur usage une mesure
favorable l'union de tous en socit civile, autant qu'il est possible d'en constituer
entre de tels hommes. Cette loi ne punit pas cependant le pch qui consiste aimer
ces biens, mais uniquement celui qui consiste les enlever injustement aux autres.
Cf. Epist, 153, 6, 26 ; Sermo 50, 2, 4.
19. Cf. A. Br.ooM, op. cit., p. 410.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

237

ment en attendre, sans croire pour autant que l'idal projet soit susceptible d'tre traduit en actes 20 . Il est strictement utopique, pour employer
un terme invent par un disciple tardif de Platon qui en avait admirablement saisi la porte. En ce sens il est vrai de dire que la Rpublique est
une comdie21 , mais une comdie d'un ordre suprieur, qui imite consciemment et dpasse celle d'Aristophane. Comme toute grande comdie,
elle aussi repose sur une impossibilit. Elle dcrit un tat de choses qui
pourrait se rencontrer uniquement si, en traitant de la vie politique, il
tait permis de faire abstraction du corps et des passions humaines, ou si
on avait affaire des anges et non pas des hommes 22 . Elle russit ce tour
d'adresse en invitant le lecteur rflchir aux raisons pour lesquelles la
solution envisage est irralisable. Son caractre comique se reflte dans les
mesures les plus tonnantes et les plus audacieuses qu'on y propose, telles
que l'galit parfaite des deux sexes mme en ce qui concerne la guerre 23 ,
la communaut des femmes et des enfants24 , et le gouvernement du
philosophe-roi, dont aucune n'est appele tre prise au srieux. tant
donn la raret des vraies natures philosophiques 25 , les obstacles dont elles
doivent venir bout afin de pouvoir s'panouir 26 , les forces qui menacent
sans cesse leur corruption 27 , et l'hostilit habituelle de la multitude leur
endroit28 , on peut peine supposer que la personne requise sera disponible

20. Sur le mensonge noble et sa fonction pdagogique, cf. Rpublique, II, 377d
et 382b ; III, 414b ; V, 459c ; et sur l'ide que la vrit pleine et entire ne peut tre
exprime en toute scurit que devant un auditoire compos d'amis raisonnables,
ibid., V, 450; Gorgias, 487.
2r. Cf. Rpublique, VII, 536c I. Voir aussi ibid., III, 394bc, o Socrate reprend la
pense d' Adimante, mais en ajoutant la dfinition de la forme dramatique la notion
de comdie, qui n'tait pas venue l'esprit de son interlocuteur. Tout ce passage
contient une description peine voile du dialogue platonicien.
22. Cf. PLA'l'O:>r, Lois, V, 739 : Cependant, la rflexion et l'exprience vont nons
faire voir qu'une cit n'aura probablement jamais qu'un rgime quelque peu infrieur
au meilleur. Le meilleur rgime ne serait possible que si ses citoyens taient des
dieux ou des fils de dieux. Ibid., III, 684c : Maintenant, qu'il me soit permis
de te rappeler qu'on s'attend ordinairement ce qu'un lgislateur n'introduise que
des lois telles que la multitude les acceptera volontairement. Autrement dit, les
contraintes lgales risquent de rester sans effet si elles ne sont pas soutenues par
l'habitude et la conviction intrieure. L'ide chre la critique moderne selon laquelle
l'enseignement modifi des Lois serait le rsultat d'un dsenchantement amer
subi par Platon vers la fin de sa carrire ne repose sur aucun fondement solide. La
Rpubli.que nous fait dj comprendre d'une manire suffisamment claire que l'idal
trac dans ses pages peut tre imit mais jamais excut la lettre. Sur la notion
d'imitation dans ce sens, cf. Rpublique V, 47rc. Malgr son impraticabilit, un tel
idal conserve toute son utilit, car, s'il ne pouvait s'y rfrer, l'homme serait sans
orientation dans la recherche d'un rgime juste quoique imparfait.
23. Rpublique, V, 45rb; cf. V, 47rd.
24. Ibid., V, 457d SS.
25. Ibid., VI, 49rd; cf. V, 476d.
26. Ibid., VI, 502d ss.
27. Ibid., VI, 489d ss.
28. Ibi., VI, 487 ss.

E. L. FORTIN

au moment voulu, ou, si elle l'tait, qu'elle pourrait facilement accder au


pouvoir. Le vritable philosophe, dont les intrts vont dans un sens
diamtralement oppos ceux de la cit, ne consentira jamais gouverner
moins d'y tre contraint par quelque ncessit, et la multitude, qui ne
s'y entend gure en matire de sagesse, ne s'en remettra pas de sitt au
seul philosophe pour la direction de sa vie politique29 . Tout ceci laisse
entendre que la rencontre souhaite entre sagesse et pouvoir politique
relve en grande partie de la fortune et interdit toute prvision qui
pourrait en garantir la mise en uvre. De plus, mme si, contre tout
espoir, il venait s'installer, le nouveau rgime devrait encore pouvoir se
maintenir et se perptuer ; car le rgime idal, supposer qu'il existe,
contient en lui-mme tout ce qui est ncessaire sa permanence. Or les
livres qui suivent dans la Rpublique sont consacrs prcisment une
analyse de la manire dont le rgime en question se transforme par tapes
en des rgimes de plus en plus imparfaits et ventuellement en un rgime
tout--fait corrompu 30 ; ce qui revient peu prs dire que le rgime
parfait n'a jamais exist et n'existera probablement jamais.
Le point central de l'argument se rsume dans cette remarque de
Socrate, reprise plus tard par saint Augustin, selon laquelle la cit dont on
vient de parler n'a d'existence qu'en paroles et ne se trouve nulle part sur
terre 31 . Son modle se situe dans le ciel et, en fin de compte, il importe peu
qu'on puisse la rencontrer o que ce soit. Les principes dont elle s'inspire
ne sont pas de nature tre appliqus rigoureusement la situation
concrte des cits et ne sont utilisables que sous une forme dilue et passablement affaiblie. Bref, la Rpublique, ainsi que le faisait observer Cicron,
29. Voir les allusions frquentes la ncessit de contraindre le chef naturel
de gouverner, e. g., Rpublique, VI, 499b ; VI, 5ood; VII, 519d ss. La scne par
laquelle s'ouvre la Rpublique nous met dj en prsence de ce mlange de persuasion
et de contrainte indispensable au gouvernement de la cit. Socrate est cens succomber la tentation de rester au Pire par la promesse d'un bon repas (qui ne sera
d'ailleurs pas servi) et d'un spectacle agrable, et il est en mme temps forc de cder
la supriorit numrique de ceux qui l'entourent et qui cherchent le retenir.
30. Rpublique, VIII-IX. Le caractre dlibrment utopique de la Rpublique
ressort galement d'un examen des lois concernant l'inceste, le tabou fondamental
de la cit; cf. Rpublique, V, 461. L'inceste est strictement interdit, et pourtant
on ne peut jamais tre sr de l'viter, puisque la communaut des femmes et des
enfants ne permet de reconnatre avec certitude ni ses parents ou ses enfants, ni ses
frres ou ses surs. Cf. ARISTOTE, Politique, II, 4, l26ob 30 ss. Il faut aussi songer que
le succs de la rforme entreprise par le nouveau chef requiert entre autres choses
l'expulsion de la population toute entire partir de l'ge de dix ans. Cf. Rpublique,
VII, 541. On peut prvoir qu'une mesure aussi radicale va ncessairement se heurter
la rsistance des citoyens, qui n'accepteront pas volontiers de quitter leur demeure
et leur pays et qui devront par consquent tre chasss de force. Mais le chef n'a
encore sa disposition aucun moyen de compulsion propre effectuer un exode de ce
genre. Il est intressant de signaler ce propos que, si on accepte l'an 410 ou 411
comme date dramatique du dialogue, Cphale, dans la maison duquel la discussion
a lieu, est dj mort, et Glaucon, le co-fondateur de la nouvelle cit en paroles, a
moins de dix ans.
3r. Ibid., IX, 592ab ; cf. V, 472e 484e; AUGUSTIN, Epist., 91, 4.

L'IDALISME POLITIQCE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

239

est un livre philosophique plutt qu'un livre politique 32 Son objectif


principal est de mettre en vidence la nature et, par l mme, les limites de
la vie politique, et de nous acheminer ainsi, non pas certes vers un autre
monde, mais vers un autre type de vie qui seul procure l'homme le
bonheur auquel il aspire.
Des considrations analogues s'imposent au sujet de la Rpublique de
Cicron, qui, malgr son allure plus traditionnelle 33 , ne transmet pas un
enseignement essentiellement diffrent et qui quivaut elle-mme une
admission tacite du fait que le problme de la socit civile est toute fin
pratique humainement insoluble. Revenant son tour sur la question du
meilleur rgime, Cicron se demande si la justice ou l'injustice prsident
ncessairement la bonne marche des affaires de l'tat. La cause de
l'injustice est confie Philus34, qui soutient que la fidlit parfaite aux
exigences de la justice est contraire la nature humaine et peut rarement
se concilier avec les exigences de la sagesse pratique ou le bien-tre des
citoyens. Agir en toute circonstance conformment aux rgles de la
stricte justice serait pure folie. Si Rome l'avait fait, elle en serait encore
la misre et la pauvret de ses origines 35 . La sagesse conseille que l'on
recherche non pas la substance de la justice mais son apparence, car ainsi
on pourra profiter des avantages que procure une bonne rputation tout
32. CICRON, De re publica, II, 30, 52 : Il (Platon) fonda une cit plus conforme
ses dsirs qu' ses espoirs ... et la conut non pas telle qu'elle pt exister, mais telle
qu'on pt percevoir en elle la nature (ratio) de la vie politique.
33. Ibid., II, I, 3 : J'atteindrai plus facilement le but que je me propose si je
vous montre notre rpublique sa naissance, dans sa croissance, son ge adulte et
enfin sa pleine vigueur, que si, comme Socrate chez Platon, j'imaginais une cit
idale. i> Ibid., II, II, 2I-22: Nous voyons, en effet, que tu as abord la discussion
suivant une mthode nouvelle, qui ne se rencontre nulle part dans les crits des
grecs. Car ce grec minent (Platon), dont les livres n'ont jamais t dpasss, a choisi
un terrain sur lequel il pt difier une cit son gr, belle peut-tre, mais peu adapte
la vie et aux murs des hommes ; quant aux autres, ils ont parl des diffrentes
espces de cits et de leurs principes, mais sans en prsenter aucun exemple ou aucun
modle dfini. Pour toi, tu me sembles vouloir suivre l'une et l'autre mthode. Au
lieu d'imaginer une nouvelle cit, comme a fait Platon, tu as abord ton sujet de
manire prfrer attribuer d'autres ce que tu as toi-mme trouv. En ce qui
concerne l'emplacement de cette cit, tu expliques d'une faon rationnelle ce que
Romulus a fait soit par hasard, soit par ncessit ; et ta discussion ne va pas dans
tous les sens mais s'attache plutt une seule cit. i> Cf. Ibid., II, 29, 51 et II, 30, 52:
Quant moi, au contraire, supposer que je puisse m'acquitter de ma tche, et
tout en m'inspirant des mmes principes que Platon, je vais tenter de faire voir
comme au moyen d'une baguette la cause de tous les biens et de tous les maux
publics, non pas dans une ombre ou une image de cit, mais dans l'tat le plus puissant qui soit. i> Cf. PLATON, Rpublique, VI, 497-b : Mais lequel des rgimes actuels,
diriez-vous, est convenable cel ? - Aucun, rpondis-je, mais voil prcisment le
changement que j'apporte : pas une seule cit n'est aujourd'hui dans un tat digne
de la nature philosophique. Sur la Rpublique de Cicron, cf. J .E. HoLTON, Marcus
Tullius Cicero 'dans L. STRAUSS et J. CROPSEY, eds., History of Political Philosophy
(Chicago, 1963), pp. 130-50. L. STRAUSS, Le droit naturel et l'histoire (Paris, I953),
pp. 167-69.
34. CICRON, De re publica, III, 5, 8 ss.
35. Ibid., III, 15, 24.

E. L. FORTIN

en vitant les malheurs qui accompagneraient fatalement une observance


trop servile des prceptes de la vertu 36 .
Le plaidoyer de Philus en faveur de l'injustice suscite la riposte de
Laelius, le plus g et le plus conservateur des personnages rassembls
autour de Scipion, qui reprend son compte la conception stocienne de la
loi naturelle et qui est persuad pour sa part que les sentiers de la justice et
ceux de la sagesse convergent ncessairement 37 . L'ensemble de la discussion ne laisse cependant aucun doute sur le fait que, si le moralisme svre
de Laelius est prfrable de beaucoup l'immoralisme sans gne de Philus,
ni l'une ni l'autre des deux positions ne peut tre considre comme adquate. Toute cit doit s'efforcer d'agir selon les normes de la justice, mais
aucune ne parviendra jamais qu' se rapprocher de ses principes les plus
purs 38 Mme la Rome de la Rpublique, que, pour des motifs d'dification,
Scipion avait loue comme tant le meilleur des rgimes, n'tait pas
l'abri de tout reproche. Nous en arrivons la conclusion, dure mais invitable, que pour Cicron, comme pour Platon, la socit civile est inconcevable sans injustice, si regrettable que cette situation puisse paratre et si
dsireux qu'on puisse tre de la redresser. Le rgime parfait n'est pas la
porte de la race humaine. Qu'on le veuille ou non, ce que nous sommes en
droit d'attendre de la vie politique restera toujours en dea des souhaits
que nous sommes enclins formuler son sujet3 9.
En insistant sur l'idalisme trompeur de la pense classique, Augustin
ne rvlait donc rien qui n'ait dj t dit ou sous-entendu par Platon et
Cicron. Son grand mrite est d'avoir saisi avec une clart et une pntration sans gales l'intention profonde de la philosophie politique ancienne.
En cela, il s'est montr un critique infiniment plus astucieux de Platon et
de la tradition platonicienne que son prdcesseur, Lactance, qui ne
s'intresse gure aux subtilits de la Rpublique et semble n'y avoir vu
qu'une invitation la licence et au dvergondage 40 . Lactance, le Cicron
chrtien, tait cicronien par son style, mais gure autrement.

***
Ibid., III, 17, 2I.
Ibid., II, 2, 4 ss.
Ibid., III, 21, 32 SS.
Ibid., II, 30, 52. Contrairement ce qui a parfois t dit, e. g., par R. NIEBUHR,
Christian Realism and Political Problems (Londres, 1953), p. 121, la position de saint
Augustin ne reprsente pas une correction salutaire des illusions moralisatrices de
Cicron, pour la bonne raison que Cicron ne s'est jamais fait de telles illusions au
sujet de la socit civile. La remarque de Niebuhr, selon laquelle Augustin aurait t
de l'aveu de tous le premier grand 'raliste' de l'histoire occidentale (ibid., p. n5),
simplifie la question et interprte d'une manire nave l'intention de Platon et de
Cicron. Voir galement, dans le mme sens que Niebuhr, C:. DAWSON, St. Augustine
and His Age, dans M.C. D'ARCY et al., A Monument ta St. Augustine (Londres, 1930),
p. 62, qui affirme que saint Augustin a t amen par l'tude de l'histoire rejeter
l'idalisme politique des philosophes et mettre en question la thse de Cicron
selon laquelle l'tat repose essentiellement sur la justice.
40. LACTANCE, Div. instit., III, 21-22 ; Epitome, 38.
36.
37.
38.
39.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

Le reproche qu'Augustin adresse au platonisme ne diffre pas substantiellement de celui qu'on rencontre plus tard chez Machiavel, Hobbes et
leurs successeurs, qui ont rompu avec la tradition classique sous prtexte
qu'elle tait inapte produire le type de socit qu'elle prsentait comme
essentielle au bien-tre social de l'homme 41 . Il est difficile, en effet, de

4r. La critique fondamentale a t formule avec on ne peut plus de clart par


Machiavel, Le Prince, c. 15 : ,, Comme beaucoup de choses ont t crites sur ce
sujet, je crains qu'en y revenant mon tour, on me taxe de prsomption, d'autant
plus que je me spare surtout en cette matire de l'opinion des autres ; mais puisque
j'ai l'intention d'crire pour ceux qui jugent sainement, je vais aller droit la vrit
de la question plutt qu' son imagination. Beaucoup d'auteurs ont imagin des
rpubliques et des principauts qui n'ont jamais exist dans la ralit. Il y a si loin
de la manire dont on vit celle dont on devrait vivre que celui qui nglige ce que
font les hommes pour ne s'intresser qu' ce qu'ils devraient faire court sa ruine
et non son salut. Aussi je ne craindrai pas de dire que celui qui veut tre toujours
bon prira ncessairement parmi tant de gens qui ne le sont pas. Un prince qui veut
se maintenir doit donc apprendre ne pas tre bon, et se servir ou ne pas se servir
de cette connaissance selon le cas. Cf. Francis BACO>r, The Advancement of Learning,
II, 21, 9 : So that we are much beholden to Machiavel and others, that write what
men do and not what they ought to do. For it is not possible to join serpentine
wisdom with the columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions
of the serpent ; his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity,
his envy and sting, and the rest ; that is, all forms and natures of evil. For without
this, virtue lieth open and unfenced. Ibid., II, 23, 49 : As for the philosophers,
they make imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths ; and their discourses are
as the stars, which give little light because they are so high. Ibid., II, 20, I : In
the handling of this science, those which have written seem to me to have done as if
a man that professeth to teach to write did only exhibit fair copies of alphabets and
letters joined, without giYing any precepts or directions for the carriage of the hand
and framing of the letters. So they have made good and fair exemplars and copies,
carrying the draughts and portraitures of Good, Virtue, Duty, Felicity ; propounding
them well described as the true objects and scopes of man's will and desires ; but
how to attain these excellent marks, and how to frame and subdue the will of man to
become true and conformable to these pursuits, they pass it over altogether, or
slightly and unprofitably. Ibid., II, 22, 8: But allowing his (Aristotle's) conclusion,
that virtues and vices consist in habit, he ought so much the more to have taught the
manner of superinducing that habit ; for there be many precepts of the wise ordering
the exercises of the mind, as there is of ordering the exercises of the body. SPINOZA,
Trait politique, c. r, Prface : Les philosophes conoivent les affections qui se
livrent bataille en nous comme des vices dans lesquels les hommes tombent par leur
faute ; c'est pourquoi ils ont accoutum de les tourner en drision, de les dplorer,
de les rprimander, ou, quand ils veulent paratre plus moraux, de les dtester. Ils
croient ainsi agir divinement et s'lever au fate de la sagesse, prodiguant toute sorte
de louanges une nature humaine qui n'existe nulle part, et fltrissant par leurs
discours celle qui existe rellement. Ils conoivent les hommes en effet, non tels
qu'ils sont, mais tels qu'eux-mmes voudraient qu'ils fussent. De l cette consquence
que la plupart, au lieu d'une thique, ont crit une satire, et n'ont jamais eu en
politique de vues qui puissent tre mises en pratique, la politique, telle qu'ils la
conoivent, devant tre tenue pour une chimre ou comme convenant soit au pays
d'utopie, soit l'ge d'or, c'est--dire un temps o nulle institution n'tait ncessaire. Entre toutes les sciences, donc, qui ont une application, c'est la politique o la
thorie passe pour diffrer le plus de la pratique, et il n'est pas d'hommes qu'on juge
moins propres gouverner l'tat que les thoriciens ou les philosophes.

E. L. FORTIN

lire le rcit dtaill que fait Augustin de la rapacit et des dprdations


sans merci des nations et des empires sans songer aux clbres descriptions
de l'tat de nature, conu comme un tat de guerre de tous contre tous,
qui remplissent les pages du Lviathan et du De Cive 42 . Son analyse du
mcanisme du gouvernement, qui mise sur l'efficacit des institutions
politiques plutt que sur l'ducation et la vertu, semble annoncer de loin
les efforts entrepris par les thoriciens du dix-septime sicle pour tablir
l'tat sur le fondement des passions plutt que de la raison 43 . De mme, ses
dissertations interminables sur la mchancet du cur humain permettent
dj d'entrevoir la mthode mise la mode par Francis Bacon, qui en vient
conseiller l'tude systmatique du mal plutt que du bien dans la formation du futur homme d'tat 44
Il reste qu'Augustin, quoi qu'on en ait dit, n'a rien d'un Machiavel ou
d'un Hobbes avant la lettre. C'est mconnatre du tout au tout le sens de

42. HOBBES, Lviathan, I, 13 ; De Cive, c. r. Cf. Herbert A. DEANE, The Political


and Social Ideas of St. Augustine (New York et Londres, 1963), p. 59 ss, rr7, 235 ss.,
et passim.
43. Cf. HOBBES, De Homine, ptre Ddicatoire : Pour ramener cette doctrine
aux rgles et l'infaillibilit de la raison, il n'y a qu'un moyen, c'est de poser ds
l'abord comme fondement des principes tels que la raison ne s'en mfiera pas et ne
cherchera pas les repousser ; et ensuite d'tablir peu peu la vrit (qui jusqu'ici
. t tablie dans les nuages) sur ces principes selon la loi de la nature, jusqu' ce
que l'ensemble devienne inexpugnable. SPINOZA, Trait politique, c. r, Introd., 6 :
Un gouvernement dont le bien-tre est la merci de la bonne foi de tous et dont
les affaires ne peuvent tre administres convenablement que si tous ceux qui y
participent agissent honntement n'aura aucune stabilit. Au contraire, pour assurer
sa permanence, ses affaires publiques devraient tre ordonnes de telle manire que
ceux qui s'en occupent, qu'ils soient guids par la raison ou les passions, n'auront
jamais la possibilit d'agir tratreusement ou avec bassesse.
44. Cf. Francis BACON, The Advancement of Learning, II, 22, 6: But the poets and
writers of histories are the best doctors of this knowledge ; where we may find,
painted forth with great life, how affections are kindled and incited ; and how
pacified and refrained ; and how again contained from act and further degree ; how
they disclose themselves, how they work, how they vary, how they gather and
fortify, how they are inwrapped one within another, and other the like particularities : amongst the which this last is of special use in moral and civil matters ;
how (I say) to set affection against affection, and to master one by another ; even as
we use to hunt beast with beast and fly bird with bird, which otherwise percase we
could not so easily recover : upon which foundation is erected that excellent use of
praemium and poena, whereby civil states consist ; employing the predominant
affections of fear and hope, for the suppressing and bridling the rest. For as in the
government of states it is sometimes necessary to bridle one faction with another, so
it is in the government within. Ibid., I, 3, 5, citant Cicron, A Atticus: Cato means
excellently well, but he does hurt sometimes to the commonwealth ; for he talks as
if it were Plato's republic that we are living in, and not the dung of Romulus. Sur
le traitement naturel ou scientifique des passions, cf. SPINOZA, thique, Troisime
Partie, Introduction, et Quatrime Partie, Prop. 7 : Une motion ne peut tre
contrle ou dtruite que par une motion contraire la premire et plus puissante
qu'elle. Ibid., Prop. 14 : Une vraie connaissance du bien et du mal ne peut pas
refrner une motion en raison de sa vrit, mais uniquement dans la mesure o elle
peut-tre considre comme une motion.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

243

ses observations que d'y dceler une dfense de l'immoralisme politique 45


ou une anticipation des thories contractuelles modernes 46 . A l'encontre
de celle des grands penseurs politiques modernes, l'ide qu'il se fait de la
socit civile ne repose nullement sur le rejet de la nature sociale de
l'homme, et lui-mme ne s'est jamais dclar favorable quoi que ce soit
qui ressemble au divorce entre l'thique et la politique tel qu'il se fait jour
partir du dix-septime sicle4 7 La remarque de la Cit de Dieu selon
laquelle la dfinition de l'tat avance par Scipion ne serait admissible
qu' condition d'en rayer toute allusion au droit ne doit pas tre prise
pour un aveu que les tats n'ont pas se proccuper de justice ou de vertu.
Elle n'est pas da\Tantage inspire par le dsir de substituer une dfinition
descriptive une dfinition prescriptive de la socit civile 48 , ou de donner
de celle-ci une dfinition suffisamment large pour englober tous les tats
sans gard la bont ou la malice de leur mode de vie 49 . Elle a pour seule
45. Contre J.N. FrGGIS, The Political Aspects of St. Augustine's 'City of Gad'
(Londres, 1921), p. 59 ss.
46. Pour l'attribution de la notion de contrat social aux crivains des premiers
sicles, voir, par exemple, E. 'fRLTSCH, Die So::iallehren der christlichen Kirchen
und Gruppen, Gesammelte Schriften, t. I ('fubingen, 19!2), p. 167.
47. Voir, inter alia, la clbre description de l'tat parfaitement juste, quoique
compos entirement de dmons, chez Kant, La paix perptuelle, premier supplment : Mais la nature se sert justement de ces penchants intresss pour venir en
aide la volont gnrale qui se fonde sur la raison et qui, si respecte qu'elle soit,
se trouve impuissante dans la pratique. De sorte qu'il suffit pour la bonne organisation de l'tat (laquelle est certainement au pouvoir de l'homme) de dresser les unes
contre les autres les forces de ces penchants de faon que l'une neutralise les effets
dsastreux des autres et les annihile; ainsi, il en rsulte, du point de vue rationnel,
que tout se passe comme si ces deux tendances n'existaient pas, et l'homme se voit
contraint d'tre, sinon moralement bon, du moins un bon citoyen. Le problme de la
constitution d'un tat peut tre rsolu mme pour un peuple de dmons, si trange
que cela puisse paraitre, pourvu qu'ils soient dous d'intelligence.
48. Cf. S. CoTTA, La citt politica di san Agostino (Milan, 1960) pp. 24-39 et 52-3.
49. Cf. C.H. MclLWAIN, The Growth of Political Thought in the West (New York,
1932), p. 157, et la discussion critique de la thse de Mcilwain par H.A. DEANE,
op. cU., pp. II8-29. Le correctif que saint Augustin apporte la dfinition de Cicron,
et qui semble exclure la justice du domaine de la politique, a donn lieu un dbat
qui se poursuit depuis le dbut du sicle. Pour un rsum de la littrature sur cette
question, cf. J .D. ADAMS, The Populus of Augustine and Jerome (New Haven et
Londres, 1971), pp. 123-35. L'aperu de Adams divise les chercheurs qui se sont
penchs sur ce problme en deux catgories : ceux qui voient une opposition radicale
entre la dfinition de Cicron et la modification in traduite par saint Augustin
(e. g., Figgis, Baynes, Cotta, Carlyle, et Mcilwain), et ceux qui nient que les deux
dfinitions s'excluent mutuellement (e.g., Miller, Deane, Bardy, et Adams lui-mme,
pour qui ces dfinitions sont non seulement conciliables mais reviennent au mme,
en ce sens que la seconde absorbe la premire; ibid., p. 131). Il se peut, comme le
suggre Adams, que la notion d'amour ait plus d'tendue que celle de justice, mais
il n'en reste pas moins qu'Augustin insiste plutt sur l'absence de justice que sur la
prsence de 1' amour dans la vie des socit civiles. L'amour auquel il se rfre
lorsqu'il dit que les rpubliques sont des groupements d'tres humains unis par un
commun accord en ce qui concerne l'objet de leur amour, et non pas un commun
assentiment au sujet du droit, n'est pas ncessairement un amour juste. Sur la
distinction entre les \< deux amours, cf. De civ. Dei, XIV, 28. Cela n'empche pas

E. L. FORTIN

fin d'attirer notre attention sur l'cart malheureux mais habituel entre
l'tre >>et le cc devoir tre >>dans la vie des tats aussi bien que des individus qui en font partie.
Bien plus, il ne serait jamais venu l'esprit d'Augustin d'accrotre
l'efficacit de son enseignement en assignant la vie humaine une fin plus
modeste ou plus terre terre, comme on a tent de le faire au dbut de
l're moderne. En raison de leur caractre absolu, ses propres principes
sont encore plus levs que les principes les plus levs de la pense
classique. La pense classique a chou, non pas parce qu'elle s'est montre
trop exigente pour la plupart des hommes, mais parce qu'elle ne pouvait se
fier qu' des moyens purement humains pour atteindre sa fin. Grce la
rvlation de la vrit divine, la justice qui depuis toujours avait chapp
l'homme devient enfin accessible, mais elle appartient en propre cette
cit dont le Christ est le fondateur et le chef 50 . C'est la grce divine, et non
la justice humaine, qui constitue le lien de la socit 51 . Elle seule apporte
aux principes de la philosophie paenne, comme du reste aux commandements de la loi ancienne 52, leur complment ncessaire en menant bien
une entreprise qui tait reste jusque l l'tat d'bauche. De mme que
Platon avait suggr que l'idal imagin par Aristophane, si absurde qu'il
ait pu paratre Aristophane lui-mme, pourrait tre mis en pratique si les
philosophes devenaient rois, de mme l'idal de Platon, que pour d'autres
raisons on ne croyait pas moins irralisable, devient praticable pour peu
que l'homme consente se faire citoyen de la cit de Dieu.
Toutefois, comme Augustin a d le reconnatre la longue, rien ne
certifiait que la nouvelle solution, mme en admettant sa supriorit
morale, donnerait de meilleurs rsultats. A vrai dire, cette solution ne
laissait pas de comporter des difficults, qui allaient bientt se manifester
en raison des changements survenus dans les conditions politiques de
l'poque. Aux yeux des contemporains d'Augustin, la grande objection
n'tait pas que les chrtiens ne se conformaient pas toujours aux exigences
de la morale vanglique mais qu'ils seraient peut-tre un jour tents de le
faire. En propageant l'ide que tous les hommes sont en principe gaux et
membres d'une seule<< cosmopolis >> gouverne par Dieu, le christianisme
allait l'encontre de la vie politique. Il en dvoilait l'horizon comme un
simple horizon, ce qui avait pour rsultat de le dissoudre et de priver la
cit de l'atmosphre protectrice l'intrieur de laquelle elle avait pu
jusqu'alors prosprer. Il engendrait une tendance considrer les diffrences naturelles et les frontires traditionnelles qui divisent l'humanit
en groupes spars menant une vie distincte comme tant dpourvues de
qu'on trouve une certaine mesure de justice mme dans la pire des cits, car aucune
cit ne pourrait exister autrement. Il n'y a pas de mal absolu ; cf. De civ. Dei, XIX, 12,
2.

50.

De civ. Dei, II,

21,

4.

5I. Epist., r37, 5, r7.


52. Contra Faust. Manich., XIX, 27.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

245

signification politique. Du coup, la socit civile perdait sont caractre de


communaut exclusive. Elle cessait d'apparatre comme un tout ou comme
l'expression unique de cette vie commune situe au-dessus de ses citoyens
et les unissant les uns aux autres en tant que membres d'une cit particulire. On ne voyait pas au juste comment le prcepte de l'amour universel
pouvait se concilier avec le patriotisme 53 . La doctrine selon laquelle tous
les hommes sont frres, issus d'un mme couple et enfants d'un mme pre
cleste, brouillait la distinction entre ami et ennemi et enlevait la cit son
seul moyen efficace de dfense contre les nations trangres 54 La nouvelle
religion proclamait au niveau de la vie et de l'activit humaine la possibilit d'un universalisme qui n'est gure propre qu' la Rpublique des esprits.
A force de prcher l'amour de tous les hommes, elle ne faisait qu'accrotre
les difficults qu'on prouve en aimer quelques-uns. Puisqu'elle prescrivait l'homme des devoirs qu'il ne parviendrait jamais remplir, elle
s'avrait coupable d'un dfaut analogue celui qu'Augustin reprochait la
philosophie classique. Elle n'tait elle-mme qu'une illusion tragique,
noble dans ses aspirations, mais aveugle aux ncessits de la vie politique
et irresponsable dans ses applications pratiques. Aussi longtemps que les
chrtiens ne reprsentaient qu'une minorit de la population, leur prsence
ne semblait pas devoir inspirer de grandes craintes aux autorits civiles 55 ;
et aussi longtemps que l'Empire n'tait pas menac de l'extrieur, mme
un nombre croissant de chrtiens l'intrieur de ses frontires ne constituait aucun danger immdiat sa scurit. La situation changea brusquement le jour o l'Empire fut envahi et son existence mise en pril par les
barbares venus <l'outre-Rhin.
Il revint Augustin de reprendre le problme par la base et d'expliquer
comment le christianisme, loin de saper les fondements de la socit civile
ou d'encourager son mpris, pouvait d'une manire positive servir la
renforcer. Sa rponse cette question trouve son analogie la plus frappante,

53. Sur les difficults qu'prouvaient les amis d'Augustin rconcilier le christianisme et la vie politique, cf. Epist., I36, 2 (Marcellin Augustin) : Une autre
objection qu'il (Volusien) souleva, c'est que la doctrine et l'enseignement chrtiens
ne sont nullement compatibles avec les devoirs et les droits des citoyens. Ibid., I5r,
I4 : Il y a, en effet, chez toi, une chose qui, puisque tu veux que je te dise la vrit,
me cause beaucoup de chagrin : c'est que, bien qu'il te serait permis de faire autrement en raison de ton ge, de ta vie et de ton caractre, tu prfres rester catchumne ; comme s'il n'tait pas possible pour des croyants, en progressant dans la foi
chrtienne et les bonnes uvres, de devenir d'autant plus loyaux et utiles l'administration des affaires de l'tat. La mme objection reparat notre poque chez
F. DAHN, Die Konige der Germanen (Leipzig, 1908), t. II, p. 209, qui dclare la
doctrine augustinienne logiquement fausse, moralement dprave, dsastreuse du
point de vue politique et incompatible avec les devoirs remplir l'gard de l'tat.
54. Cf. De mor. eccl. cath., I, 30, 63.
55. Les inquitudes suscites en hauts lieux par l'expansion du christianisme
deviennent de plus en plus nombreuses au cours du troisime sicle. Si on peut se
fier au tmoignage de Cyprien, l'empereur Dce aurait t moins proccup du
soulvement d'un rival que de l'lvation d'un saint vque au sige de Rome.
Cf. CYPRIEN, Epist., 55, 9.

E. L. FORTIN

en mme temps que son contraste le plus marqu, dans la conception que
Platon se faisait des rapports entre la philosophie et la cit, telle qu'on la
dcouvre particulirement dans l' Apologie de Socrate.

***
L' Apologie plaide la cause de la philosophie en nous faisant voir en
Socrate un matre de vertu, qu'on accuse tort de nier les dieux de la cit
et de corrompre la jeunesse. Socrate se rend utile surtout en rappelant aux
athniens qu'ils devraient se soucier davantage du bien de leur me que de
celui de leur corps 56 . Contrairement ce que font les sophistes, il n'exige ni
n'accepte aucune rmunration pour ses services et ne peut donc pas tre
souponn d'agir pour un motif goste. Son amour pour la vertu est tel
qu'il le pousse ngliger ses propres intrts pour s'occuper entirement
de ceux d'autrui 57 . Malgr sa pauvret, il est plus gnreux et dvou
qu'aucun des riches citoyens d'Athnes. Il n'y a pas non plus de vrit dans
le reproche d'impit qui court son sujet. La preuve qu'il ne rejette
pas les dieux, c'est que l'enqute laquelle il se livre auprs de ses concitoyens a t entreprise la demande d'un dieu et prend la forme d'une
mission qu'il ne se croit pas en droit de rcuser 58 . D'un bout l'autre
de sa dfense, il se prsente comme un homme pieux, qui ne s'attaque pas
aux lois de la cit et, en particulier, aux lois qui ont trait aux dieux. En
donnant son assentiment ces lois, il enseigne implicitement qu'elles
sont indispensables et que c'est en partie cause de leur croyance aux
dieux que la plupart des hommes parviennent vivre en citoyens honntes.
Il ne considre pas l'existence de la cit comme allant de soi et reconnat
sans ambages qu'elle aussi a ses exigences, auxquelles dans l'intrt
commun tout citoyen est cens se plier. Personne ne peut douter de sa
propre loyaut. Il ne s'est pas drob ses devoirs de soldat quand les
circonstances le demandaient et a mme fait preuve de beaucoup de
courage sur le champ de bataille 59 . Il est d'ailleurs le premier admettre
sa dette l'gard de la cit. Il n'est pas n d'un chne ou d'une pierre
mais de parents qui se sont maris sous ses lois et ont bnfici pendant
toute leur vie de leur protection 60 . Lui-mme a vcu en paix Athnes
pendant soixante-dix ans. Une cit qui peut produire un Socrate et le
tolrer pendant si longtemps n'est pas entirement mauvaise. Sous la
tyrannie des Trente, Socrate aurait sans doute pri beaucoup plus tt 61 .
Cela ne veut pas dire qu'il regarde toutes les lois d'Athnes comme tant
justes. Certaines de ces lois, comme celle qui permet un procs pouvant
56.
57
58.
59.
60.
6r.

Apologie de Socrate, 3oa-b.


Ibid., z3b, 3rc, 33, 36b.
Ibid., zr, z3b, 30, 33c, et passim.
Ibid., zSe.
Ibid., 34d. Cf. Criton, 5ort.
Ibid., 3zrt.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

247

aboutir la peine de mort de se terminer en une seule journe, sont


manifestement injustes 62 . Il est malgr tout dispos se soumettre
mme cette loi. La seule loi qu'il n'acceptera jamais est celle qui lui
interdit de se livrer la philosophie 63 ; car l'obissance une telle loi
nuirait son me et non seulement son corps 64 . La cit, bien entendu, a le
pouvoir de se venger en le mettant mort ; mais il n'a rien craindre de ce
chtiment. Les dieux de la cit -ces dieux auquels croient ses vrais
juges- ne sont pas indiffrents au sort de l'homme juste 65 . De ces dieux,
supposer qu'ils existent, Socrate peut attendre un jugement plus quitable que celui que lui rservent ses accusateurs 66 . Bien plus, en imposant
cette loi, la cit se fait tort elle-mme. Elle se met dans l'impossibilit de
rfuter partir de leurs propres principes les attaques diriges contre ses
dogmes sacrs par les athes, comme Anaxagore, qui font fi mme des
dieux cosmiques et affirment que le soleil n'est qu'une pierre et la lune un
monceau de terre 67 . Elle renonce galement tout moyen par lequel
elle pourrait redresser ses dcrets injustes, tel que le dcret en vertu
duquel les amiraux des Argnuses ont t traduits en justice et condamns
en groupe pour avoir abandonn leurs morts aprs la bataille, sans qu'on
ait tenu compte des raisons qui dans certains cas auraient pu dicter une
telle conduite 68 . Une simple rflexion sur l'insuffisance de ses lois devrait
donc convaincre Athnes qu'elle ne peut pas se dispenser de la seule chose
qu'elle s'empresse d'interdire. En punissant Socrate, elle se punit ellemme. Sa faon d'agir est absurde et contradictoire.
Si justes qu'elles puissent paratre, les remarques qui prcdent ne font
cependant ressortir qu'un ct de l'enseignement du dialogue. Elles nous
clairent sur l'attitude de la cit l'gard de la philosophie mais ne nous
fournissent que peu de renseignements sur la nature de la vie philosophique. Au fur et mesure que nous pntrons sous la surface de l'argument, nous nous apercevons que la vie mene par Socrate a peu de chose en
commun avec celle de ses concitoyens et que ses exigences diffrent profondment de celle de la vie politique 69 . Le raisonnement par lequel
Socrate cherche faire valoir sa pit repose en partie sur l'ide que celui
qui croit aux choses divines croit aussi aux dieux 70 ; mais cette assertion a
peu prs autant de valeur que celle qui soutiendrait que l'homme qui croit

62. Ibid., 37b.


63. Ibid., 29ct.
64. Ibid., 32.
65. Socrate rserve le titre de juges ceux qui l'ont acquitt; ibid., 18, 40.
Les autres sont appels tout simplement athniens, hommes d'Athnes,
etc. ; e.g., 18, 18, 18e, zoe, 26.
66. Ibid., 41 ct.
67. Ibid., 26ct. Cf. AUGUSTIN, De civ. Dei, XVIII, 41, 2.
68. Ibid., 32b.
69. Ibid., 29b, 35.
70. Ibid., 27c.

E. L. FORTIN

aux balais croit galement aux sorcires. Lorsqu'on lui demande quoi il
s'occuperait dans l'autre vie si on prononait contre lui la sentence de
mort, Socrate rpond qu'il n'aurait rien changer ses habitudes ; il
continuerait tout simplement de faire ce qu'il a toujours fait, savoir,
interroger les autres et s'entretenir avec ses amis de ce qui constitue
l'excellence de la vie humaine 71 . Il n'est plus question de rendre les hommes
meilleurs en les exhortant la vertu. Tout porte croire que la manire
dont Socrate comprend la noblesse, la justice et la pit ne ressemble que de
loin ce que la multitude entend par ces termes. Parmi les personnes qu'il
s'attend rencontrer dans l'au-del se trouvent des hommes qui ont t
condamns dans cette vie, ainsi que leurs accusateurs 72 . Socrate laisse
entendre par l qu'il n'est pas satisfait du jugement port jadis contre eux
par d'autres hommes et mme par les dieux. Il se dresse en juge de la
justice divine. Sa vie toute entire est consacre la recherche de rponses
aux questions les plus fondamentales, et il n'a d'autre ambition que de se
donner sans relche la poursuite de la vrit 73
On peut infrer de l que Socrate est plus soucieux de sagesse que de
vertu morale. Son dieu lui, par opposition aux dieux de la cit, n'est pas
un dieu qui prend une part active aux affaires humaines. C'est un dieu
sage, que l'on comprend, plutt qu'un dieu juste, quel'onaccepteetauquel
on obit. Le sage Socrate fait ce que le dieu lui-mme fait et non pas ce
que le dieu lui ordonne de faire. Alors que les services qu'il rend la cit
se rangent parmi les activits qui relvent de la ncessit, la recherche de la
vrit nous apparat comme une activit voulue pour elle-mme et qui
seule lui agre pleinement. Les rcompenses qu'elle comporte sont intrinsquement indpendantes de la cit et diminuent plus qu'elles n'augmentent en raison des devoirs dont Socrate s'acquitte envers son prochain.
Dans la mesure o elle procde d'une connaissance des limites de la vie
active, elle se situe au-del de la morale et de la politique et requiert un
dtachement peu commun l'gard de la cit et de ses uvres. Du point de
vue du citoyen loyal, elle est goste et sans cur 74 . Le philosophe vit
dans la caverne, mais la faon de quelqu'un qui ne s'y sent pas chez lui et
qui n'y appartient pas vraiment.
Le but de tout ce plaidoyer, tel qu'il se droule dans !'Apologie, n'est
pas tellement de prouver que la cit a besoin de la philosophie que d'esquisser une dfense de la philosophie qui pourrait rendre la cit moins hostile
son endroit. Socrate ne s'intresse pas la cit et ses vertus pour elles-

7r. Ibid., 38, 41b. Cf. Rpublique, V, 45ob : Pour des hommes intelligents, le
dsir d'couter de tels discours n'a d'autre limite qu'une vie toute entire.
72. Ibid., 41a-b.
73. Pour une discussion plus tendue de ce passage, cf. G. ANAS'l'APLO, Human
Being and Citizen : A Beginning to the Study of Plato's Apology of Socrates >l, dans
J. CROPSEY, ed., Anciints and JV1oderns (New York, r964), p. 29 ss.
74. Sur la connaissance sine corde des philosophes, cf. AUGUSTIN, Confessions,
VIII, 8, 19.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

249

mmes mais pour la philosophie. Car, si la cit ne peut pas se dsintresser


de la philosophie, la philosophie ne peut pas davantage se passer de la cit.
Elle n'est pas une plante qui pousse dans n'importe quel sol et elle requiert
pour sa croissance certaines conditions qui ne se rencontrent pas partout.
Il n'y a pas de philosophes dans la brousse ni dans le pays des mangeurs de
lotus ; mais on n'en trouve pas non plus dans toutes les cits 75 . Certaines
cits sont plus accueillantes et plus propices son panouissement que
d'autres. Bien que la cit elle-mme ne fasse pas de philosophie, elle peut
soit encourager, soit tolrer, soit mme perscuter les philosophes. Pour son
propre bien ou, mieux encore, pour le bien de la philosophie, le philosophe
ne peut pas mpriser la vie politique. Il n'en est pas moins vrai que les
soins qu'il lui prodigue sont de toute vidence une question d'obligation
plutt que de choix personnel.
Ce n'est que sous le meilleur rgime, tel que celui que nous fait entrevoir
la Rpublique, que les rapports entre le philosophe et la cit ressortissent de
la nature 76 . Mais la cit parfaite de la Rpublique n'existe qu'en paroles, ce
qui veut dire que les rapports en question prennent d'ordinaire la forme
d'un contrat ou d'une entente tacite grce laquelle, en retour pour la
libert qui lui est accorde, le philosophe s'abstient d'intervenir directement dans les affaires de la cit et consent observer la plus grande rserve
dans l'expression publique de ses ides personnelles. L'alliance ainsi
conclue n'est gure cependant qu'une espce de mariage de raison, accept
de part et d'autre pour des motifs de calcul ou d'intrt mutuel, constamment menac et jamais parfaitement harmonieux 77 Ce mariage a t
consomm, pour ainsi dire, par la mort de Socrate. Il serait faux de croire
que Socrate lui-mme a t modr dans ses rapports avec la cit, comme
on le voit par sa conduite et celle des jeunes gens qui l'entourent 78 L'A pologie enseigne qu'on ne doit pas imiter les jeunes gens qui imitent Socrate.
Du mme coup, elle enseigne qu'on ne doit pas non plus imiter Socrate. En
ne parlant de la philosophie que d'une manire indirecte, en nous dvoilant seulement son visage politique, 1' Apologie inculque une leon de
modration. Elle illustre de faon dramatique la tension insurmontable qui
existe entre science et socit ou entre les exigences de la vie philosophique
et celles de la vie politique.
Le problme se pose en des termes tout--fait autres ds que nous passons la question parallle des rapports entre le christianisme et la cit. La
distinction entre le philosophe et le non-philosophe, qui sous-tend l'argument de la Rpublique et que Platon considrait comme la distinction la
plus fondamentale entre les hommes, perd son importance capitale. En
mme temps, le lien qui unit le chrtien ses semblables subit une trans75. Cf. Criton, 53a ss.
76. Cf. Rpublique, VII, ;;zoa.e.
77. Apologie de Socrate, 54.
78. Ce n'est srement pas par hasard que l'Apologie ne nomme jamais la modration parmi les vertus de Socrate.

17

250

E. L. FORTIN

formation profonde. Entre l'amour de la vrit et le service que l'homme


doit autrui, il ne peut plus y avoir d'opposition finale. La sagesse chrtienne n'est pas seulement compatible avec l'amour du prochain, elle en
est insparable 79 , et entrane par l mme des responsabilits qui dpassent
de beaucoup tout ce qu'on avait prcdemment cru possible ou dsirable.
Ces responsabilits s'tendent tous sans distinction, car on ne peut aimer
Dieu sans aimer ceux que Dieu aime et veut sauver, et Dieu veut que
tout le monde soit sauv. Rejeter un seul homme, c'est rompre l'alliance
d'amour qui rattache le chrtien aux autres hommes par del leurs
diffrences naturelles ou conventionnelles. Ainsi, quiconque pche contre
un seul membre du corps du Christ pche contre le Christ lui-mme80 . Le
signe et le lieu par excellence de l'amour chrtien est l'glise, qui n'est pas
une entit distincte du monde mais le monde rconcili avec Dieu et avec
lui-mme : mundus reconciliatus ecclesia81 .
Puisque son motif est Dieu, l'amour que le chrtien voue ses frres
n'est pas dtermin par la prsence des qualits qu'il reconnat en eux, pas
plus qu'il n'est dtruit pas l'absence de ces mmes qualits. Il se manifeste
d'ailleurs aussi bien par son opposition au mal que par son ardeur faire
avancer le bien82 ; car la tolrance ,des maux qu'on ne pourrait laisser
subsister sans prjudice un plus grand bien est une trahison de l'amour
au mme titre que le dsir immodr d'extirper tout prix le mal parmi les
hommes. Sa dimension totale s'exprime dans le mot clbre de saint
Augustin: Ama et quod vis jac83 , qui suggre non seulement la primaut de
l'amour mais le devoir parfois pnible de chtier les malfaiteurs. Il n'est
pas inutile de rappeler que la maxime semble avoir t utilise pour la
premire fois au cours de la querelle donatiste pour justifier les reprsailles
auxquelles Augustin a d finalement se rsoudre contre les hrtiques84 .
Cette connaissance que le chrtien a reue en partage ne doit pas se
concevoir simplement comme une nouvelle thorie destine remplacer
une thorie philosophique qui, juge la lumire de ses propres principes,
s'tait rvle inadquate, mais comme une connaissance d'une espce
tout--fait diffrente, qui, une fois accepte, s'panche en actes et produit
d'elle-mme le bien qu'elle exprime85 . Elle suppose donc une transformation de toute la personne et sa seule possession suffit rendre l'homme
bon86. Il serait pour le moins trange qu'une telle doctrine puisse tre
79. Cf. De doctr. christ., I, 26, 27 ; De inor. eccl. cath., I, 26, 49.
80. Serina 82, 3, 4.

Sr. Serina 96, 6-8, et le commentaire de R.A. MARKUS, Saeculum : History and
Society in the Theology of St. Augustine (Cambridge, 1970), p. 105 ss.
82. E.g., Epist., 93, 2, 4. Cf. MARKUS, lac. cit., p. 141 ss.
83. In Joan. Epist., VII, 8.
84. Cf. J. GALLAY, Dilige et quod vis fac: notes d'exgse augustinienne, dans
Recherches de science religieuse 43 (1955), pp. 545-55.
85. Cf. De gratia Christi, x, II.
86. Cf. De doctr. christ., I, 36, 40.

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251

rejete en tant que prjudiciable au bien-tre de l'lttat et la loyaut que


tout citoyen doit sa patrie. Comme le dit saint Augustin dans un passage
souvent cit :
Que ceux qui affirment que la doctrine du Christ est nuisible l'tat nous
donnent une arme de soldats semblables ceux que requiert cette doctrine ;
qu'ils nous donnent des sujets, des poux et des pouses, des parents et des
enfants, des matres et des serviteurs, des rois et des juges, enfin, mme des
contribuables et des percepteurs tels que ceux que rclame l:i- religion chrtienne ;
et puis qu'ils osent dire que cette religion est hostile l'Etat. Mais non, qu'ils
n'hsitent pas reconnatre qu'u:g.e telle doctrine, si elle tait mise en pratique,
serait d'un grand secours pour l'Etat 87

La rponse prcise la question de savoir comment le christianisme en


tant que religion de l'amour universel ou voie universelle de salut peut
s'accorder avec le patriotisme rside dans la distinction trs nette qu'Augustin tablit entre les sphres du pouvoir spirituel et du pouvoir temporel.
Cette distinction s'appuie avant tout sur le texte de 1' ptre aux Romains,
I3, I-7, que saint Augustin prend pour un avertissement adress tous les
chrtiens comme quoi la libert acquise par la foi ne peut jamais servir de
prtexte pour refuser l'autorit temporelle la soumission qui lui est
duess. A cette autorit a t confie l'administration des biens matriels
ncessaires la vie. Puisque le chrtien profite comme tout le monde des
avantages de la socit civile, il demeure sujet son autorit et li par ses
lois en tout ce qui concerne son existence terrestre. Le respect qu'il doit
tmoigner ces lois est d'autant plus grand qu'il s'inspire, non de la crainte
d'un chtiment quelconque, mais de la conviction profonde qu'en leur
tant fidle il remplit un devoir sacr ; car, celui qui rsiste au pouvoir
rejette l'ordre tabli par Dieu (Rom. I3, 2). Pour cette raison, son obissance,
contrairement celle des autres citoyens, n'admet aucune dissimulation89 .
Les seules lois auxquelles il lui est absolument interdit de se soumettre
sont celles qui s'opposeraient ce que Dieu a ordonn en vue de la vie
ternelle, qui ne tombe sous la juridiction d'aucune autorit temporelle.
Car, si c'est une erreur de croire que, parce qu'il est chrtien, l'homme
n'est pas astreint l'autorit civile, c'en est une plus grave encore de
87. Epist., 138, 2, 15 ; cf. Epist., 137, 5, 20 et 91. 3. De civ. Dei, II, r9 : Si les
prceptes que donne cette religion sur la justice taient unanimement couts et
mis en pratique par tous les rois et les peuples de la terre, par tous les juges d'ici-bas,
par les jeunes gens et les jeunes filles, par les vieillards et les enfants, par les personne de tout sexe, de tout ge capable de les comprendre ... , la rpublique embellirait
de sa flicit les domaines de la vie prsente et monterait, pour y rgner dans une
souveraine batitude, au fate de la vie ternelle .
88. Cf. Exposit. Prop. ex Epist. ad Rom., 72 ss. ; Epist. ad Gal., 28 ss. Contra
Gaudent., I, 19, 20. Sur l'exgse patristique de Romains, 13, 1-7, cf. K.H. SCHELKLE,
Staat und Kirche in der patristischen Auslegung vom Rm 13, 1-7 , dans Zeitschrift fr neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 44 (1952-53), p. 223-36; rimprim dans
ID., Wort und Schrift (Dsseldorf, 1966), p. 227-38.
89. Exposit. Prop. ex Epist. ad Rom., 74. Sur l'obissance simule des philosophes, cf. De civ. Dei, VI, ro, 3.

E. L. FORTIN

252

penser que l'autorit civile pourrait s'interposer en matire de foi 90 . En


refusant d'obtemprer dans de tels cas, le chrtien s'expose aux peines
que la socit civile inflige ordinairement ceux qu'elle regarde comme
coupables ; il risque de se voir priv de ses biens temporels, parmi lesquels,
avec une noble simplicit, Augustin n'hsite pas inclure la vie ellemme91. Mais le tort qu'il subit dans son corps ne peut pas nuire son
me, d'autant plus que tout pouvoir, y compris celui qu'exerce une autorit mauvaise pour des fins illgitimes, vient de Dieu, qui ne permettrait
jamais le mal s'il ne pouvait le faire servir au bien-tre spirituel des justes
qui en sont les innocentes victimes 92 .
Jusqu' ce qu'il soit libr de l'injustice de la vie prsente, le chrtien
doit donc en accepter les contraintes et s'accommoder d'une situation
qui peut tre meilleure ou pire selon les circonstances, mais en tout cas
jamais aussi parfaite qu'il le dsirerait. Nous en arrivons ce paradoxe
que le chrtien est la fois plus libre l'gard de la socit civile, et,
par suite d'une ordonnance qui lui vient de Dieu lui-mme, plus troitement li elle que n'importe quel autre homme 93 . C'est pourquoi, s'adressant un membre du snat municipal qui pendant de longues annes
n'avait pu se rsoudre recevoir le baptme sous prtexte que la foi
chrtienne ne pouvait se concilier avec l'amour de la patrie, saint Augustin
ne se fait aucun scrupule de citer avec approbation la parole de Cicron
selon laquelle pour un homme de bien, il n'y a pas de limite ou de fin aux
efforts accomplis pour le service de son pays94 )).

***
Nous ne pouvons pas dire, cependant, qu'avec cette rponse, mme si on
devait l'accepter, le problme soit entirement rsolu. Ce qui faisait la
force de la position d'Augustin pouvait d'un autre point de vue tre

90. Ibid., 72 et 74.


gr. Sermo 62, 9, 14. Tract. in Joan., 5, 12. Enar. in Psalm., 104, 37. Contra Faust.
Manich., XXII, 75.
92. De civ. Dei, I, 29 ; XXII, 22 et 23.
93. Il est remarquable qu'Augustin ne cite que rarement le texte des Actes des
Aptres, 5, 29 : Il faut obir Dieu plutt qu'aux hommes. Le problme le plus
pressant tait de montrer que le christianisme ne conduisait pas l'anarchie et
n'avait sur la vie politique aucune influence nfaste. L'accent se dplace chez
Luther, qui est beaucoup plus soucieux de dfinir les limites du pouvoir temporel,
ainsi que le suggre le titre de son trait, Sur l'autorit temporelle: dans quelle mesure
doit-on lui obir ? La position de Luther s'explique par son hostilit l'gard des
princes qui cherchaient imposer la foi papale et extirper l'hrsie luthrienne
par la violence. Cf. H. BORNKAMM, Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms (Philadelphie, 1966), p. 6. Cela ne signifie pas que la doctrine des rformateurs ait t dans son
ensemble moins conservatrice que celle d'Augustin, avec quelques exceptions notoires, surtout parmi l'aile gauche du calvinisme. Cf. M. WALZER, The Revolution of
the Saints: A Study in the Origins of Radical Politics (New York, 1968).
94. Epist., 91, I.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

253

considr comme sa plus grande faiblesse. Cette position visait avant tout
donner satisfaction aux exigences lgitimes de la socit civile ; mais
on voit moins bien en quoi elle donnait galement satisfaction aux exigences de la foi chrtienne. S'il est vrai, comme le veut Augustin, que les
cits terrestres sont toutes des degrs divers imparfaites, que chacune
d'elles est toujours en quelque sorte le rsultat d'un pacte conclu avec le
mal 95 , le chrtien qui se fait de l'amour de la patrie un devoir religieux
devient par l mme complice de son injustice. Personne ne peut se
comporter en citoyen loyal d'une socit quelconque, aspirer ses magistratures et partager son mode de vie sans s'associer ses iniquits et
contribuer activement leur renforcement. L'argument, semble-t-il,
a fait de l'injustice un devoir d'amour et du chrtien un instrument de sa
prservation. Comment, pour exprimer la mme ide en termes plus
gnraux, peut-on vivre en honnte homme dans une socit immorale ?
La solution qu'apporte Augustin cette nouvelle objection est troitement lie la version primitive de la doctrine du droit naturel dans le
monde chrtien. Cette doctrine a t formule avec plus de prcision,
mais aussi plus de rigidit, par certains crivains postrieurs qui, s'inspirant de saint Augustin, ont distingu entre deux formes du droit naturel,
le droit naturel absolu, dont les principes sont immuables et universellement valables, et le droit naturel relatif, secondaire ou conditionnel, qui
suppose la chute originelle et sanctionne nombre d'institutions trangres
l'tat d'innocence primitive, telles que, notamment, la proprit
prive, l'esclavage et l'autorit politique sous sa forme actuelle 96 .
Bien qu'Augustin lui-mme ne parle jamais de droit naturel relatif ou
secondaire 97 , il reconnat nanmoins l'impossibilit de surmonter une fois
95. Cf. De civ. Dei, XIX, 24.
96. GUILLAUME d'OCKAM, Dialogus, 3 partie, ze trait, livre III, c. 6. R. HOOKER,
Of the Laws of Ecclesiasticc Polity, I, 10, 13 : Touching laws which are to serve men
in this behalf ; even as those laws of reason, which (man retaining his original
integrity) had been sufficient to direct each particular person in all his affairs and
duties, are not sufficient but require the access of other laws, now that man and his
offspring are grown thus corrupt and sinful ; again, as those laws of polity and
regiment, which would have served man living in public society together with that
harroless disposition which then they should have had, are not able now to serve,
when man's iniquity is so hardly restrained within any tolerable bounds : in like
manner, the national laws of natural commerce between societies of that former and
better quality might have been other than now, when nations are prone to offer
violence, injury, and wrong. Hereupon hath grown in every of these three kinds
that distinction between Primary and Secondary laws ; the one grounded upon
sincere, the other built upon depraved nature. Primary laws of nations are such as
concern embassage, such as belong to the courteous entertainment of foreigners and
strangers, such as serve for commodious traffick, and the like. Secondary laws in the
same kind are such as this present unquiet world is most familiarly acquainted
with ; I mean laws of arms, which yet are much better known than kept.
97. Une thorie du droit naturel relatif est impute aux auteurs chrtiens des
premiers sicles par E. TRLTSCH, op. cit., p. 164 ss., 179 Cf. ID., Das stoischchristliche und das moderne profane Naturrecht , dan;i Geswmmelte Schriften,
t. IV (Tubingen, 1925), 175 ss.

254

E. L. FORTIN

pour toutes les ingalits que l'usage et la loi humaine autorisent, mais qui
par d'autres cts peuvent paratre comme la source des plus grandes
injustices dans ce monde. Dans la mesure o les hommes participent dj
l'unit de la foi, toutes ces diffrences de nation, de sexe ou de condition
sociale, ont t dpasses ; mais elles retiennent leur signification politique
et peuvent tre admises conformment aux coutumes en vigueur, car en
mprisant ces coutumes on n'aboutirait le plus souvent qu' jeter le
discrdit sur la foi9s.
Il en va de mme pour la guerre, qui a sa racine dans la division actuelle
de l'humanit en cits ou nations spares, et qu'on ne parviendra jamais
liminer tant que cette situation durera. Si grande que soit l'aversion
qu'elle nous inspire, la guerre est invitable, non pas parce que les bons la
veulent, mais parce qu'il n'est pas en leur pouvoir d'y chapper totalement, tant donn qu'elle leur est impose par les mchants dont les
desseins malveillants doivent tre contrecarrs dans l'intrt de la justice.
Rien, en effet, ne serait plus nuisible la race humaine que de donner
libre cours l'injustice en permettant aux malfaiteurs de prosprer et
d'utiliser leurs prosprit pour opprimer les bons 99 .
A supposer que la guerre fasse ncessairement partie de l'conomie
prsente de l'humanit, du moins peut-on autant que possible tcher
d'en attnuer les mfaits. La thorie de la juste guerre, laquelle on
reproche parfois saint Augustin d'avoir souscrit, n'a manifestement pas
t inventf pour encourager la guerre, mais pour en mitiger les rigueurs et
mettre un frein 1' agressivit humaine. Si Augustin l'a admise, ce n'est pas
parce qu'elle rgle la question dfinitivement ; c'est uniquement parce qu'il
n'en connaissait pas de meilleure100 . On pourrait aller plus loin et se

98. De civ. Dei, XIX, 17 ; cf. ibid., XV, 4.


99. Cf. Epist., 138, 2, 13-14. De civ. Dei, IV, 3 et XIX, 7.
roo. Pour une analyse apolitique du problme de la guerre dans l'glise ancienne, cf. S. GERO, Miles Gloriosus : The Christian and Military Service According
to Tertullian , dans Church History 39 (r970), p. 285-98, qui trace l'volution que
subit la pense chrtienne ce sujet au cours de la priode pr-constantinienne, et
qui conclut que l'glise en Afrique du Nord ne pouvait pas vendre son me, pour
ainsi dire, Constantin, tant donn qu'elle l'avait dj vendue Septime Svre et
Caracalla (p. 298). La nature du conflit entre l'thique chrtienne et les dures
ralits de la vie politique a t bien exprime en notre temps par Winston Churchill,
The Gathcring Storm, livre premier, c. r7 : The Sermon on the Mount is the last
word in Christian ethics ... Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their
responsibilities of guiding states. Their duty is first so to deal with other nations as to
avoid strife and war and to eschew aggression in all its forms, whether for nationalistic
or ideological objects. But the safety of the State, the lives and freedom of their own
fellow countrymen, to whom they owe their position, make it right and imperative
in the last resort, or when a final and definite conviction has been reached, that the
use of force should not be excluded. If the circumstances are such as to warrant it,
force may be used. And if this be so, it should be used under the conditions that are
most favorable. There is no merit in putting off a war for a year if, when it cornes,
it is a far worse war or one much harder to win. These are the tormenting dilemmas

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

255

demander si Augustin croyait vraiment qu'aucune guerre ft jamais parfaitement juste. Le cas le plus obvie de la soi-disant juste guerre est celui
de la guerre entrepris< contre un agresseur pour la dfense de ses propres
frontires 101 . Mais un tel raisonnement suppose que les frontires protger
ne sont pas injustes au dpart. A la lumire de ce que dit saint Augustin
ailleurs sur l'origine des nations et des empires et sur les crimes qui ont
prsid leur naissance, on imagine difficilement qu'il ait considr ces
frontires comme tant purement et simplement justes. Si cela on ajoute
que l'tat de guerre donne invariablement lieu des situations o les
rgles ordinaires de la justices se relchent, on ne peut que conclure que la
guerre appartient un ordre de choses qui, de quelque manire qu'on
l'envisage, laisse beaucoup dsirer et ne convient qu' la condition d'une
nature humaine blesse et imparfaite.
Il suit de l qu'il n'y a pas, pour saint Augustin, de socit chrtienne
proprement parler. Le christianisme ne rivalise pas avec la socit civile et
ne cherche pas se substituer elle. Il transcende tous les rgimes, mais il
se trouve par le fait mme limit dans ses applications pratiques par les
modalits de son existence dans le monde. Il arrive sans doute que la
sagesse chrtienne et le pouvoir politique se rencontrent dans un seul et
mme sujet, savoir, la personne du prince chrtien102 , mais mme alors
ils restent distincts, cooprant ensemble le cas chant, sans jamais fusionupon which mankind has throughout its history been so frequently impaled. Final
judgment upon them can only be recorded by history in relation to the facts of the
case as known to the parties at the time, and also as subsequently proved ... It is
baffling to reflect that what men call honour does not always correspond to Christian
ethics. Le mme conflit est la base des deux ractions opposes typifies dans
l'antiquit par Constantin d'une part et Julien l'Apostat de l'autre. Les thologiens
constantiniens prdisaient la fin de toutes les guerres la suite du triomphe du
christianisme comme religion mondiale unissant tous les hommes dans le culte du
vrai Dieu. Ils ont pour ainsi dire tent d'liminer la politique classique en faveur
d'une identification thocratique de l'glise et de l'empire romain. Cf. 'f.E. MOMMSEN, St. Augustine and the Christian Idea of Progress , dans] ournal of the History
of Ideas 12 (1952), p. 346-74, rimprim dans ID., Medieval and Renaissance Studies
(New York, 1959), p. 265-96. Voir aussi, du mme auteur, Orosius and Augustine,
ibid., p. 325-48. L'empereur Julien, qui voyait les chrtiens comme une menace pour
l'tat et les croyait plus aptes la prire qu'au combat, a voulu rsoudre le problme
par la suppression du christianisme en faveur d'un retour l'hellnisme. Cf. Contre les
Galilens, 218 A ss., et passim. Par sa doctrine des deux royaumes, Luther a
cherch une solution originale ce mme problme. En tant que personne prive et
membre du royaume de la droite, le chrtien doit vivre selon l'idal du Sermon sur la
Montagne, tandis qu'en tant que citoyen et membre du royaume de la gauche, il est
contraint de se plier aux lois de l'tat, qui, malgr son imperfection manifeste,
n'en est pas moins un instrument de Dieu dans le gouvernement du monde. Sur les
ressemblances et les diffrences entre la doctrine luthrienne des deux royaumes et
la doctrine augustinienne des deux cits , cf. H. BORNKAMM, op cit., p. 19 ss.
ror. Cf. Contra Faust. Manich., XXIII, 74-75.
102. Cf. De civ. Dei, V, 24, qu'on considre gnralement comme le prototype de
ces nombreux miroirs de princes crits pendant les sicles suivants. Cf. W. BERGER,
Die Frstenspiegel des hohen und spiiten Mittelalters, Schriften des Reichsinstitut fr
altere deutsche Geschichtskunde, n. 2 (Leipzig, 1938).

E. L. FORTIN

ner ni se confondre l'un avec l'autre103 . Le christianisme libre l'homme,


non pas en l'enlevant la caverne, ni en promettant de dissiper les tnbres
dans lesquelles elle est plonge, mais en lui fournissant des critres de
jugement qui sont indpendants du rgime et de l'influence de ses principes.
S'il exige que le chrtien se rende aux ncessits de la vie politique, il
ne requiert pas que son me se laisse entirement imprgner et faonner
par les opinions de la socit o il lui a t donn de vivre. En principe,
sinon toujours dans les faits, il se tient gale distance de l'intransigeance
du fanatique et de l'immobilit qui caractrise le dfenseur passif du
statu quo104. N'tant ni subversif ni conformiste, il neconstitueniunappel
l'anarchie, ni une apologie pour le lgitimisme. Dans un esprit de
modration et de charit, il enseigne simplement que le chrtien doit
supporter avec tranquillit et grandeur d'me les malheurs invitables
de la vie, tout en travaillant sans arrt la suppression de ces maux dont
l'effort et la persvrance humaine pourraient un jour venir bout.
On ne fait donc qu'embrouiller la question lorsqu'on met sur le mme
pied l'injustice lgale d'un rgime particulier et les actes volontaires
d'injustice commis par un individu ou un groupe d'individus contre un
autre individu ou un autre groupe d'individus au sein d'une mme socit.
Le chrtien qui, par sa prsence active dans la cit, se voit impliqu
malgr lui dans sa distribution plus ou moins juste des biens et des honneurs, ou dans ses guerres plus ou moins justes, n'est pas somm d'aimer
les maux qui dcoulent de l'tablissement et du maintien de cette socit,
mais uniquement la justice substantielle qui s'y incarne et qui ne pourrait
103. La distinction essentielle entre sagesse chrtienne et pouvoir politique est
bien accentue dans les portraits qu'Augustin trace de Constantin et de Thodose, les
deux princes chrtiens les plus illustres des premiers sicles. Cf. De civ. Dei, V, 25 et
V, 26, r. En ce qui concerne le jugement port par saint Augustin sur Thodose et
son indpendance l'gard de ses modles, surtout celui de Rufin, cf. Y.-M. DUVAL,
L'loge de Thodose dans la Cit de Dieu (V, 26, l) ,dans Recherches augustiniennes
4 (1966), p. 135-79. Augustin insiste sur les vertus prives bien plus que sur les vertus
publiques de Thodose, ainsi que sur la rcompense ternelle plutt que la rcompense temporelle mrite par la pratique de ces vertus. L'volution de la pense de
saint Augustin sur ce point a t tudie rcemment par R.A. Markus, op. cit., p. 12 ss.,
154 ss. Markus crit, p. 149 : He (Augustine) will speak of emperors rather than of
empire, of kings and magistrates rather than of state or government. Thus he could
continue to speak without inhibition of Christian emperors long after he had abandoned all talk about a Christian empire .
104. L'esprit soi-disant ultra-conservateur de saint Augustin a t dnonc
notamment par W.H.C. Frend, The Donatist Church : A movement of Protest in
North Africa (Oxford, 1952), qui accuse Augustin d'avoir t partisan d'une alliance
entre l'autorit ecclsiastique et le gouvernement imprial, fonde sur le maintien
du statu quo social et visant par-dessus tout protger les intrts des propritaires
romaniss. Cf. P. BROWN, St. Augustine ,dans B. SMALLEY, ed., Trends in Medieval
Political Thougt (Oxford, 1965), p. 14 : The weakness of Augustine's position is, of
course, that it implies a very static view of political society. It is quite content
to have some of the more painful tensions removed. It takes an ordered political life
for granted. Such an order just happens among fallen men. Au sujet de la thse de
Frend, voir les remarques critiques de G.B. Ladner, The Idea of Reform: Its Impact on
Christian Thought in the Age of the Fathers (Cambridge, Mass., 1959), p. 463-67.

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

257

pas exister sans elle. En rgle gnrale, on ne rsout pas le problme de la


justice sociale par la rvolution, mais on ne le rsout pas non plus en
tournant le dos la vie politique. Se retirer de la socit pour la seule
raison qu'on la trouve mauvaise serait la priver de la contribution qu'on
pourrait encore apporter l'amlioration de sa vie commune. Le chrtien,
qui se tient devant ses semblables comme tmoin du salut offert par Dieu
tous les hommes, doit rendre compte non seulement de ses actes dans cette
vie mais de sa sparation son gard105 . Il ne lui appartient pas de dcider
par lui-mme qui cette offre doit tre faite. L'erreur fondamentale du
donatisme, dans la lutte contre lequel la thologie politique de saint
Augustin a atteint sa forme dfinitive, fut prcisment de croire qu'il n'y
avait pas d'autre moyen de prserver la saintet et l'intgrit de l'glise
qu'en dlaissant la socit des nations. Son idalisme aveugle et son attachement unilatral ce qu'il tenait pour le pur enseignement du Sermon
sur la Montagne faisait dpendre la notion de service de l'existence d'un
ordre social parfait et rendait ainsi impossible toute action par laquelle
l'homme pourrait travailler au perfectionnement de l'ordre actuel1 6
Ce n'est pas dire que le chrtien ne continue pas malgr tout d'tre
afflig par le spectacle des maux qu'il ne cesse de rencontrer dans sa vie de
tous les jours, ou qu'il pourrait supporter d'un cur lger quelques-unes
des consquences les moins dsirables de sa participation un ordre social
qui ne correspondra jamais ses vux. Ces maux deviendraient vite
insupportables si la souffrance qu'ils occasionnent n'tait pas rachete par
la conviction que l'ignorance et la faiblesse qui imposent leurs limites au
vouloir de l'homme, et mme l'empchent de voir toujours clairement en
quoi consiste son devoir de chrtien, font eux-mmes partie de ce dessein
secret de Dieu, en qui il n'y a pas d'iniquit (Ps. 92, 16) 107 . Avec ou sans
ses rvolutions, la vie politique est incapable d'puiser la gamme des
possibilits humaines. En fin de compte, il n'y a pour Augustin qu'une
seule vie qui mrite d'tre appele bienheureuse, la vie future, dans
laquelle seule se trouve la vraie connaissance de Dieu108J>.

***
En oprant un rapprochement entre la Bible et la philosophie classique,
Augustin a pu rpondre aux objections massives auxquelles du point de
rn5. Contra litt. Petil., II, rg, 43 ; II, 31, 70. De cat. rudibus, zr. 37.
rn6. Sur ce point prcis de la polmique d'Augustin contre le donatisme et sa dette
l'gard de Tyconius, le donatiste dissident, voir en dernire analyse R.A. Markus,
op. cit., p. rn5 ss.
107. Cf. Contra Faust. Manich., XXII, 78; De civ. Dei, XIX, r5.
ro8. Retract., I, 2. Cf. Enar. in Psalm. 48, 6 : Car ce n'est qu'au ciel que nous a t
promis ce qu'ici-bas nous cherchons. Ibid., 84, ro. Cf. P. BROWN, St. Augustine,
lac. cit., p. r8 : We are left with a dichotomy : an acute awareness of the actual
condition of man in this saeculum ; and a yearning for a city far beyond. Augustine
never overcame this dichotomy.

258

E. L. FORTIN

vue de la vie politique le christianisme tait expos, ainsi qu'aux objections


massives auxquelles du point de vue de la foi chrtienne la vie politique
tait expose. Il ne semble pas, toutefois, que la solution laquelle il est
parvenu soit parfaitement harmonieuse ou symtrique. Cette solution
rduit mais ne supprime pas la tension qui existe entre la perfection de
l'homme en tant que citoyen et sa perfection en tant que chrtien. Elle
rgle le problme de la socit civile, non pas en y intgrant pleinement le
chrtien, mais en la dpassant dans la direction d'un but qui se situe audel non seulement du domaine politique mais du monde prsent. Pour
cette raison elle a t mise en question par certains penseurs d'une poque
plus rcente, qui l'ont rejete en faveur d'une thorie politique d'un genre
tout--fait nouveau qui fait son apparition au dbut du dix-septime
sicle et qui a fini par remplacer la pense traditionnelle, soit dans sa
forme classique, soit dans sa forme chrtienne, comme puissance dominante dans le monde occidental.
La nouvelle thorie se distingue le plus nettement de l'ancienne par son
caractre doctrinaire. Elle n'est plus guide dans ses discussions de la vie
politique par une tude des diffrents rgimes et ventuellement du
meilleur rgime tout court. Elle enseigne plutt qu'il n'y a qu'un seul
rgime qui soit juste ou lgitime et va jusqu' soutenir que ce rgime
peut se raliser partout et n'importe quel moment. Son laboration
semble avoir t le fruit de la coopration de deux prmisses fondamentales
le ralisme ou l'anti-utopisme qui avait t l'me de la pense moderne
depuis ses origines, et la transformation de la science en un projet orient
exclusivement vers la conqute de la nature et le soulagement de la condition humaine109 . Grce aux bienfaits de la science moderne et l'identit
nouvellement postule de ses buts avec ceux de la socit civile, l'homme
pouvait dsormais s'acheminer vers une nouvelle terre promise, riche de
tous les espoirs d'une vie abondante et protge mais dpourvue de tout
autre principe rgulateur. Ne d'une critique de l'utopie, la pense moderne
s'est ainsi mue peu peu en une utopie, mais ralisable cette fois-ci 110 .
Les '' lumires )) et la diffusion des connaissances scientifiques devaient,
croyait-on, russir l o le christianisme et la philosophie ancienne avaient
tous deux chou, non pas en transformant intrieurement les habitants de
la caverne, mais en inondant la caverne d'une clart nouvelle.
Puisqu'il n'y a qu'une seule socit juste et qu'il est en notre pouvoir de
l'atteindre, l'homme est non seulement libre de travailler son tablissement mais contraint au nom de la justice de le faire. Le chrtien, comme
tout homme de bonne volont, doit se doubler d'un idaliste, partageant
les espoirs terrestres de ses semblables et assumant sa part du fardeau des
luttes qu'ils mnent pour l'avnement d'un monde meilleur.
109. Cf. Francis BACON, The Great Instauration, Prface. DESCARTES, Discours de
la mthode, 6e partie.
rro. Sur les origines de l'utopisme moderne, cf. H. WHITE, Peace Among the
Willows : The Policital Philosophy of Francis Bacon (La Haye, 1968).

L'IDALISME POLITIQUE D'APRS S. AUGUSTIN

259

Au fur et mesure que la civilisation mthodique se dveloppe, cependant, des doutes se font jour concernant le bien fond de ses aspirations.
La nouvelle socit a prospr au-del de toute prvision, mais rien n'autorisait croire qu'en progressant elle ft devenue moins irrationnelle111 .
L'alarme a t sonne par Nietzsche vers la fin du dix-neuvime sicle. Elle
est devenue depuis le cri de bataille de l'aile marchante de la pense du
vingtime sicle. Le re-drement opr dans les annes qui suivirent se
reflte dans la transition de l'ancienne la nouvelle gauche. Dans le
mariage htif et quelque peu inattendu entre Marx et Nietzsche, c'Est
Nietzsche, comme on aurait pu le prYoir, qui s'est rvl le plus fort des
deux partenaires. Toute la porte du contre-vangile de Nietzsche avait t
de restaurer la grandeur humaine sur le fonde.ment de la critique moderne
de la raison. Ce qui importait, ce n'tait plus le but spcifique de l'activit
humaine, au sujet duquel il n'y avait plus de discussion possible, mais la
sincrit et l'intensit avec lesquelles l'homme tait cens se lancer la
poursuite de n'importe quel but, pourvu qu'il ft librement choisi. L'engagement avait remplac la vrit comme critre unique et ultime de toute
action.
Nietzsche s'en tait pris la raison et la foi au nom de la vie. A son sens,
l'amour de Dieu tait incompatible avec l'amour du prochain112 . A la
lueur des vnements de l'histoire contemporaine, on peut se demander si
la solution rsolument terrestre de Nietzsche113 a effectivement contribu
davantage l'lvation de l'homme qu'aucune des solutions qu'il avait si
loquemment attaques, et notamment la solution supra-terrestre pour
laquelle avait opt saint Augustin.
Nietzsche considrait Augustin, avec Pascal, comme le seul reprsentant
de la grande tradition chrtienne. Sa propre philosophie peut se comprendre, et fut comprise par Nietzsche lui-mme, comme une transformation
radicale de la pense occidentale depuis ses origines. Il est impossible de
saisir la nature de cette transformation sans d'abord en saisir la forme
primitive, et cela seul suffirait justifier une nouvelle enqute sur la
pense politique augustinienne. En mme temps, nous ne pouvons pas
nous empcher de nous demander si l'attaque lance par Nietzsche contre
la double tradition classique et chrtienne n'a pas t elle-mme prpare
de loin par la critique qu'avait faite Augustin de la pense classique au

r r r. Le paradoxe des socits industrielles avances, dont l'irrationalit augmente


au fur et mesure qu'elles deviennent plus prospres, est discut d'un point de vue
assez diffrent par H. Marcuse, L'homme unidimensionnel (Paris, 1968).
rrz. NIETZSCHE, Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra, Prologue, 2.
n3. Ibid., Prologue, 3 : Voici, je vous enseigne le Surhomme. Le Surhomme est le
sens de la terre. Que votre vouloir dise : que le Surhomme soit le sens de la terre !
Je vous en conjure, o mes frres, demeurez fidles la terre et ne croyez pas ceux qui
vous parlent d'esprances supra-terrestres. Sciemment ou non, ce sont des empoisonneurs.

260

E. L. FORTIN

nom de la foi. Il serait difficile de nier que cette critique a engendr au


sein de la tradition politique de l'Occident une tension qui rend compte
la fois de ses extases et de ses agonies, mais aussi, et cela n'est pas moins
important, de sa vitalit extraordinaire travers les sicles.

E.I,.

FORTIN

Un abrg du

De sacramento corporis et sanguinis Domini


d'Alger de Lige, mis sous le nom des. Augustin1

Dans sa description des manuscrits excuts sur ordre de Jean Bud


(r430-r502), M.-C. Garand signalait l'existence d'un sermon De sacramento
altaris attribu saint Augustin dans le manuscrit r89 de la Bibl. municipale d'Orlans2 Ce manuscrit qui porte l'ex-libris autographe de Jean
Bud, dat du I I dcembre r486, au fol. r6r, est un recueil de prires, de
sermons et d'opuscules de pit. Au folio ro8 on lit : Sermo beati Augustini
de sacramento altaris, suivi de l'incipit Nos credimus tale cuique fieri ...
Intrigu par cette attribution comme par le titre et l'incipit de ce sermon,
une enqute travers les catalogues de manuscrits nous fit dcouvrir
deux autres recueils manuscrits du mme genre et de la mme poque o
figurait le mme texte mais sous des titres diffrents : Paris, Bibliothque
Mazarine 993 (ro90), fol. 73 : Sermo beati Augustini de sacramento altaris
ymo alterius doctoris sumptus tamen de corpore iuris ideo pro batus in ecclesia,
et Soissons, Bibl. mun. r26 (rr7), fol. Sr : Mirabilia de sacr.;imento altaris.
Le texte, identique dans les trois manuscrits, voquait de prime abord
par sa forme et son contenu une troite parent de ce sermon avec les
traits ou sermons composs entre le IX s. et la fin du XII s. l'occasion de

r. En ddiant cette tude la mmoire du Pre A. Sage, c'est une dette de reconnaissance que j'acquitte l'gard d'un matre qui je dois beaucoup ; c'est galement
au thologien, auteur de plusieurs articles sur le sacrement de l'eucharistie, que je
tiens rendre hommage. - J'exprime aussi toute ma reconnaissance tous ceux
qui ont facilit cette tude ou m'ont fait bnfici de leur savoir, plus particulirement
au R.P. M. Haverals, M. le Conservateur de la Bibliothque de Soissons et aux
membres si dvous de l'Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes.
2. Monique-Ccile GARAND, Les copistes de Jean Bud (1430-1502), dans Institut
de Recherches et d'histoire des textes, Bulletin n 15, 1967-1968, Paris 1969, p. 293-332,

p.

l I-6.

262

GEORGES FOLLIET

la controverse rncharistique. L'analyse Pt l'tude comparative rvlrent


finalement que nous avions affaire ni plus ni moins qu' une compilation
originale des trois livres du De sacramento corporis et sanguinis d'Alger de
Lige 3 , paru avant l'entre de son auteur au monastre de Cluny vers
rr20. Restait alors tudier la tradition manuscrite En remontant du
xv s., date de nos trois manuscrits, au xrr s. pour tablir un lien plus
troit entre 1E trait d'Alger et la compilation.
En remontant la filire travers les nombreux Tractatus ou Sermones
intituls invariablement De sacramento altaris ou De corpore et sanguine
Domini 4 et o se retrouvent peu de chose prs les mmes thmes et les
mmes dossiers scripturaires ou patristiques, nous dcouvrions avec
surprise cette compilation parmi les traits attribus tantt s. Bernard,
tantt Hugues de Saint-Victor, mais abrge des quatre premires
lignes et commenant par les mots : Verbum caro factum est et habitauit
in nabis. Vere Verbum caro factum est et nos uere Verbum carnem dominico
cibo sumimus ... Muni de ce nouvel incipit et connaissant la double attribution possible de ce ttxte, il nous fut assez facile de lE retrouvEt sous sa
forme premire dans neuf manuscrits, dont trois du xu s. : Dijon, Bibl.
mun. 582 (339), Poitiers, Bibl. mun. 74 (294), Valenciennes, Bibl. mun. 196
(188), trois manuscrits du XIII s. : Paris, B. N. lat. 15315, Troyes, Bibl.
mun. 1749, Tours, Bibl. mun. 396, et trois manuscrits des xrv et xv s. :
Vatican, Barberini lat. 704, Paris, B.N. lat. 14507, Tours, Bibl. mun. 488
(manuscrit dtruit en 1940).
Sous l'un ou l'autre incipit : Nos credimus tale cuique fieri, forme certainement tardive, ou Verbum caro ... Vere Verbum caro factum est, forme la
plus ancienne, ce De sacramento altaris doit figurer en d'autres manuscrits,
recueils de traits dvots ou uvres mises sous les noms de s. Bernard ou
de Hugues de Saint-Victor. Dans ce dernier cas, on doit le trouver le plus
souvent soit annex au De conscientia aedificanda (al. De interiori domo),
soit la suite de ce trait. Cet apocryphe (PL 184, 507-552) apparat dj
lui-mme dans les manuscrits et les ditions, la plupart du temps, sous une
forme composite 5 : les ch. l 28 correspondant au Liber meditationum de
3. Sur Alger de I,ige, on peut consulter les articles des divers Dictionnaires et le
livre de Louis BRIGF Alger de Lige, un thologien de l'eucharistie au dbut du
Xffe sicle, Paris 1936. Voir plus particulirement l'article trs documents, DTC,
t. 5, (Eucharistie), c. 1209-1223, Eucharistie du rxe la fin du xre sicle , par
par F. VERNET ; c. 1223-r 302, Eucharistie au xne sicle en Occident , par J. DE
GHELLINCK; de ce dernier, les livres L'essor de la littrature latine au XJJe sicle,
Louvain, 1946 et Le mouvement thologique au XJJe sicle, Bruxelles-Paris 1948.
4. Grce aux prcieux Indices de la PL, vol. 218 et sv. nous avons pu atteindre une
quarantaine de ces Traits. Quant littrature sur chacun d'eux, elle est faite en
grande partie d'articles parus dans les revues traitant du moyen-ge ; il est impossible
d'numrer toutes les tudes qui chemin faisant ont pu guider ou clairer nos dmarches.
5. Sur l'histoire fort complexe de ces apocryphes attribus tantt s. Bernard,
tantt Hugues de Saint-Victor, et mme d'autres comme Alcher de Clairvaux,
voir les articles de Dictionnaires consacrs ces auteurs, les diverses prfaces aux

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRA,VIENTO ALTARIS,,

conscientia, et les chap. 29 4i constituant un trait que 1' on retrouve sous


le titre Confessio cuiusdam monachi Hugonis ad abbatem. Lorsque le De
conscientia est rang parmi les uvres attribues Hugues de SaintVictor, il est insr dans son De anima dont les quatre livres groupent
facticement les traits suivants : M editationes de cognitione humanae
conditionis = Livre I (PL i84, 485-508) ; De spiritu et anima (al. De
uirtutibus et affectionibus animae) =Livre II (PL 40, 779-832) ; De conscientia aedificanda (al. De interiori domo) = Livre III, ch. i-28 M editationes, ch. 29-4i Conjessio monachi (PL i84, 507-552) et ch. 42 De sacramento altaris i.e. la compilation Verbum caro (PL i77, i65-i70) ; De salute
animae = Livre IV (PL i77, i7i-i90).
Bien qu'il puisse se trouver dans les manuscrits sous le nom de s.
Bernard, le sermon ou trait De sacramento altaris que nous tudions ne
semble jamais avoir t insr dans les diverses ditions de ses uvres 6 .
Par contre il a pris place dans les ditions des uyres de Hugues de SaintVictor ds le xvr s. Nous n'avons pu consulter la premire d'entre elles,
parue Paris en i5i8. Mais dans toutes les autres, la compilation Verbum
caro figure toujours la fin du Livre III du De anima : dition des Victorins, Paris i526, T. 2, fol. CXXVII, ire col. (( Contemplatio super illud
Verbum caro factum est : quae non habetur in aliis et uidetur nouum
opusculum. Ca. L Verbum caro factum est... )), explicit fol. CXXVIIIv,
ire col. (( ... qua accipitur custodiatur. Finis libri Tertii cum appendice de
sacramentis, precipue altaris. >> - dition de Garzoni, Venise i588, T. 2,
fol. 93 (indiqu par erreur 97) (( Contt>mplatio super illud Verbum ...
(comme dans la prcdente dition) )), explicit fol. 94 v (( ... qua accipitur
custodiatur. Finis Libri Tertii cum appendice d< sacramentis, praecipue
altaris >>. - 2 8 d. de Garzoni, Mayence, i6i7, T. 2, p. i27-129, cap. 50
(( Verbum caro ... >> - Ed. Rouen, i648, T. z, p. i96-i98, cap. 50 (( Verbum
caro ... )), Cette dition est reprise dans PL, i75-i77. Pour le De anima,
Livres I, II, III ch. i-43, Migne renvoie aux uvres des. Bernard, et ne
reproduit que le ch. 50, soit le dernier ch. du Livre III, =notre compilation
prcde du libell figurant dans les prcdentes ditions (( Contemplatio
super illud : ' Verbum caro factum est' quae non habetur in aliis, et
uidetur nouum opusculum >> (PL i77, i65-i70), vient ensuite le Livre IV
(ibid., i7i-i90).

ditions de leurs uvres, dont les plus importantes sont reproduites dans PL 175
(Hugues de Saint-Victor), r 82 (S. Bernard), Les tudes des spcialistes comme
Haurau, Wilmart, H. Weisweiler, J. Leclercq, R. Baron, etc. fournissent de prcieux
renseignements pour la tradition manuscrite.
6. Toutes nos investigations travers les uvres des. Bernard sont restes vaines.
L. J anauschek semble confirmer ce rsultat ngatif, cf. Xenia Bernardina, pars 4,
Bibliographia Bernardina, r 891, p. x (sub n ro7) : Tractatus de interiori domo
(seu de conscientia aedificanda), in quo multa ex (< Meditationibus reperiuntur,
tertius equidem legitur inter IV libros de Anima apud Hugonem a S. Victore, tribuitur autem potins monacho cuidam Cisterciensi illius aevi .

GEORGES FOLLIET

Les manuscrits.
Une description sommaire des manuscrits qui ont servi l'dition du
texte de la compilation ou que nous connaissons indirectement, nous
parat utile pour l'histoire de la transmission de ce texte. Elle pourra aussi
faciliter sa dcouverte en d'autres manuscrits similaires.

1. Dijon, Bibl. mun. 582 (339),

XII s., 161 folios. Provenance : Cteaux.


Recueil compos de deux parties distinctes. Fol. 2-80, traits ou actes
anticathares de Grard de Cambrai, Benacursus de Milan, ou anonymes.
Fol. 81-160, sous le nom de saint Bernard, trois traits (que l'on trouve
ailleurs sous le nom de Hugues de Saint-Victor et constituent alors les
trois pffmiers livres du De anima) : Liber de cognitione humanae conditionis
5 premiers chapitres (f. 81-88) ; Liber de spiritu et anima 50 premiers
chapitres de ce livre attribu aussi s. Augustin (f. 88-124124v) ; Liber de
conscientia aedificanda dont : M editationes 22 premiers ch. seulement
(f. r24v-144v), Confessio monachi (f. l44v-156v), De sacramento altaris,
incipit (( Verbum caro... )) explicit : (( qua accipitur custodiatur ))
(f. r56v-16ov).

2. Poitiers, Bibl. mun. 74 (294) , xrr s., 124 folios. Provenance : abbaye de
Mores.
Recueil de lectures ou traits spirituels (uvres ou extraits de Guigues le
Jeune, Hugues de Saint-Victor, s. Jrme, s. Isidore de Sville, Julien
Pomre etc). Plusieurs mains. Le ms. dbute par le Liber de conscientia
(f. l-25), sans attribution, suivi desMeditationes (f. 29-43), sans attribution
mais uvre de Guigues le Jeune, et un fragment de son commentaire
sur le Magnificat (f. 42-44 v). Fol. 45-55, Confessio cuiusdam monachi.
Fol. 55v-60, la compilation Verbum caro ... , prcde de la rubrique porte
dans la marge suprieure (( Eusebius Emisenus de corpore Christi quem
transtulit in parte Ambrosius de sacramentis et in part<' Augustinus in
libro de sacramentis fidelium ideo utrorumque inueniuntur eadem )).
3. Valenciennes, Bibl. mun. 196 (188), XII s., II2 folios. Provenance :
abbaye de Saint-Amand7 .
Recueil de traits spirituels (uvres de Hugues de Fouilloy, Drogon,
Yves de Chartres, ou anonymes). Aux fol. 83v-ro5, Liber de anima, sans
attribution; en fait se trouvent la suite, sous le mme titre, le De cognitione humanae conditionis (ch. l 4, 13 ; et ch. 14, 36 la fin du ch. 14)
(83v-86v), le De spiritu et anima (86v-ro5). Fol. ro5, Incipit de sacramento
corporis et sanguinis Christi; sous ce titre figurent tout d'abord vingt-deux
lignes qui ne sont que des extraits du De sacramentis de Hugues de SaintVictor, Livre II, pars 8, ch. 7, 8, 9, sauf les dernires lignes que nous

7. Ancienne cote G. 123, mentionne par A. SANDER, Biblioteca belgica manuscripta, Lille r64r, I, p. 42, sous cote G. r22, et d'aprs Sander, dans !'Histoire litt. de.la
France, p. 702.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS ,,

n'avons pu identifier (ces mmes extraits se retrouvent dans le ms.


Troyes r749, fol. 50, voir plus loin), puis vient la suite le texte de la
compilation, sans titre, au fol. ro5, 2e colonne, la ligne : Verbum caro ...
- explicit au fol. rn6v, 2e col. : qua accipitur custodiatur >>.
4. Paris, B. N. lat. r53r5 (Sorbonne 346 A) 8, XIII s., 2r7 folios. Provenance ?
Au revers du plat suprieur ((Ce ms. du r3e s. a t lgu la maison de la
Sorbonne par lVI. Geraudi d'Abbeville, il contient les ouvrages de Hugues
de S. Victor; mme indication de provenance en latin d'une main plus
ancienne au f. 2r7v.
Contenu: vingt-deux traits mis sous le nom de Hugues de Saint-Victor ;
en tte viennent les quatre livres du De anima. Fol. 2, Primus liber intitulatus de anima (=De cognitione humanae conditionis). Fol. 7, Incipit liber
II de uirtutibus et affectionibus animae ( = De spiritu et anima). Fol. r7v,
Incipit liber III de conscientia, livre dans lequel se trouvent inclus, fol.
2.5-27v: Confessio Hugonis ad abbatem, E.t fol. 27v 2e col. - 29, sans titre,
la compilation Verbum caro...
explicit : (( qua accipitur custodiatur ii,
suivi de la rubrique (( explicit liber tertius de conscientia >i. Fol. 29, Incipit
liber IIII de salute animae ... fin au fol. 33v.
5. Tours, Bibl. mun. 396, XIII s., I33 folios. Provrnance : abbaye de
l\!Iarmoutiers o il a t probablement crit. Sur la garde du commrncement Dom Martne a indiqu le contenu qui est peu prs le mme que
celui du ms. du Vatican, Barberini 704, du XIV s., signal ci-dessous.
Recueil de divers traits et sermons de Hugues de Saint-Victor, s.
Augustin ou Ps-Augustin, Guillaume Pnaud, Grard Ithin, Guillaume
d'Auvergnf, Ambroise Autpert, s. Bernard, etc. Fol. 68-77, Liber Hugonis
de conscientia (= livre 3 du De anima), comprenant les 28 premiers ch. du
De conscientia (fol. 68-73), puis sous le titre Confessio Hugonis ad abbatem
su1.tm, les ch. 29 4r (fol. 73-76), et au fol. 76, 28 col., 1. 36 nouveau
paragraphe sans titre, dbut de la compilation Verbum caro ... - explicit au
col. 77, 2e col. : qua accipitur custodiatur ii, suivi de la rubrique (( explicit liber Hugonis de conscientia ii.
6. Troyes, Bibl. mun. r749, XIII s. inc., r66 folios. Origine cistercirnne; ce
ms. a appartenu l'abbaye de Clairvaux comme en tmoignent les cotes
anciennes : N. 22 (barr), O. 77 (au fol. r66).
Contenu : Fol. I-49v et 53v-99 collection de sermons, quelques uns du
chancelier Hilduin, la plupart anonymes dont l'auteur pourrait tre un
cistercien. Fol. IOI-I66, Iohannes Beleth, Rationale diuinorum ofjiciorum.
Fol. 50 : sans attribution, Tractatus mirabilis et utilis de sacramento altaris
8. B. HAURAU, Hugues de Saint-Victor. Nouvel examen de l'dition de ses uvres,
aVl'C deux opuscules indits, Paris, 1854. A propos de ce bizarre assemblage des
quatre traits constituant le De anima attribu Hugues de Saint-Victor, Haurau
signale ce ms. Sorbonne 346 A, pass la Bibliothque Nationale de Paris sous la
cote 15315, qui aurait servi aux diteurs de l'uvre de Hugues, Rouen r648. Dans
PL, 175, col. CXLVIII, n. 192, ce ms. est signal sous la cote errone 364 A.

18

266

GEORGES FOLLIET

(titre biff), lignes 2 20: extraits textuels du De sacramentis de Hugues de


Saint-Victor, identiques ceux qui figurent dans le ms. de Valenciennes
196, fol. 105, voir plus haut. Suit immdiatement, ligne 20, le dbut de la
compilation Verbum caro ... - explicit au fol. 52, ligne 30.
7. Vatican, Barberini lat. 704, XIV s., 201 folios.
Par son contenu ce ms. est rapprocher du ms. de Tours 396, dcrit
prcdemment. Fol. 152-165: Liber de conscientia comprenant, fol. 164-165,
la compilation Verbum caro...
explicit: ({qua accipitur custodiaturn, suivi
de la rubrique << explicit liber hic de conscientia >>.

8. Paris B. N. lat. 14507 (Saint-Victor 678) 9 , XIV-XV s., 320 folios.


Contenu : trait divers mis sous le nom de Hugues de Saint-Victor.
Fol. 1-83, les 4 livres du De anima : Primus liber intitulatus de anima
(= De cognitione humanae conditionis) (fol. 1-I3) ; Liber secundus de
uirtutibus et afjectionibus animae ( = De spiritu et anima) (fol. 13-4I);
Liber tertius de conscientia o figurent la suite, fol. 41-60, les ch. 1-28 ;
fol. 6o-68v, Confessio Hugonis ad abbatem, soit les ch. 29-4I, puis fol.
68v-71, sans titre, la compilation Verbum caro ... - explicit: qua accipitur
custodiatur )), suivi de la rubrique explicit liber tertius de conscirntia
animae >> ; fol. 7I-83, Liber quartus de salute animae.

9. Orlans Bibl. mun. 189 (I66), xv s., 3 folios non chiffrs


r63 folios.
Ms. fait sur l'ordre de Jean Bud et portant son ex-libris autographe, dat
du I I dcembre 1486.
Recueil de prires, proses, traits spirituels, crits anonymes ou attribus
saint Bernard, saint Bonaventure, etc. Fol. 108-rr9v : Sermo sancti
Augustini de sacramento altaris. Nos credimus ... - explicit: <<qua accipitur
custodiatur >J.
10. Paris, Bibl. Mazarine 993 (1090), xv s., circa 147I-1480, 173 folios.
Provenance : Iste liber est monastaii CElestinorum Beate Marie de
Parisiis.
Contenu : opuscules ou extraits spirituels touchant le sacrement de
l'eucharistie, sous les noms de s. Bonaventure, Jean de Souabe, Thomas de
Cantimpr, Ludolphe de Saxe, etc. Fol. 73-76 : Sermo beati Augustini de
sacramento attaris ymo alterius doctoris sumptus tamen de corpore iuris ideo
probatus in ecclesia. Nos credimus ... - explicit: <<qua accipitur custodiatur. Amen J>.
11. Soissons, Bibl. mun. 126 (rr7), xv s., 132 folios. Provenance: Clestins
du monastre de Sainte-Croix d'Offmont.
Recueil de traits spirituels et de prires, uvres attribues s.
Augustin, s. Bernard, etc. Fol. 81-84, Mirabilia de sacramento altaris
9. Ms. utilis par les diteurs des uvres de Hugues de Saint-Victor, Rouen 1648
d'aprs B. Haurau, supra n. 8.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS >>

(Sermo pulcherrimus de sacramento). Nos credimus ... accipitur custodiatur .

explicit

267

qua

12. Tours, Bibl. mun. 488, fin xv s., 243 folios. Provenance : abbaye de
Saint-Martin. Ce manuscrit a t dtruit en r94010

Recueil de sermons de s. Augustin, s. Grgoire, Lonard de Florence, et


de traits attribus Hugues de Saint-Victor. Fol. ro5 v, De conscientia
animae. Conjessio Hugonis ad abbatem suum. Solus solitudinem ...
- Verbum caro ... necesse est ergo ut ea deuotione qua accipitur custodiatur . (Ce dernier texte correspond celui de la compilation Verbum
caro, qui semble faire suite la Conjessio, sans titre, si l'on fait foi la
notice du Catalogue). - Fol. n5v Domus haec in qua habitamus ... uel
quomodo uel ubi nescire. Et sic finis. Explicit liber tercius de consciencia
anime >>. (Ce dernier texte est en fait clui qui est donn habituellement au
dbut du De conscientia, Livre III du De anima, soit ch. I-28, auquel fait
suite la Confessio, puis le sermon ou trait Verbum caro). Le Catalogue ne
prcise pas quel folio se lit l'explicit, pas plus que l'incipit de la suite :
Fol. r4r
<<Incipit liber quartus de salute animae. Cum in medio...
<< ... ualet dimittere. Explicit liber quartus de salute anime>> ( = Livre 1V
du De anima).
Comme on peut le voir d'aprs cette description, la place occupe par la
compilation Verbum caro est assez variable. Dans quatre manuscrits
(Paris B. N. lat. r53r5, Tours 396, Paris B. N. lat. r4507, Vatican Barberini
704) elle fait partie intgrante du De conscientia aedificanda, alors qu'elle
voisine avec ce trait dans trois manuscrits (Dijon 582, Poitiers 74 et
Tours 488) ; elle en est tout fait indpendante dans les autres manuscrits (Valenciennes r96, Troyes r749, Orlans r8g, Paris Mazarine 993,
Soissons r26). A noter galement les titres divers sous lesquels dle figure et
qui traduisent tout ce qu'ont de fluctuant ou d'incertain ces sortes de
compilations ou de centons dans leur interprtation travers les ges. Mis
part les quatre manuscrits dsigns ci-dessus o la compilation est donne
sans titre parce que intgre au De conscientia, dans les autres manuscrits,
dont les trois plus anciens du xn s., elle est considre comme un trait
original:
Dijon 582, XII s. : De Sacramento altaris.
Poitiers 74, xn s.: (titre ajout postrieurement) : Eusebius Emisenus de
corpore Christi quem transtulit in parte Ambrosius de sacramentis et
in parte Augustinus in libro de sacramentis fiddium, ideo utrorumque inueniuntur eadem.
Valenciennes rg6, XII s. : De sacramento corporis et sanguinis Christi.

10. La seule description de ce ms. que nous connaissions est celle du Catalogue gnral des manuscrits ... Dpartements, (in-8), vol. 37, Paris 1900, p. 391-393, o les renseignements donns ne sont malheureusement pas trs prcis.

268

GEORGES FOLLIET

Troyes 1749 XIII s. : Tractatus mirabilis et utilis de sacramento altaris.


Orlans 189, xv s. : Sermo sancti Augustini de sacramento altaris.
Paris, Mazarine 993, xv s. : Sermo beati Augustini de sacramento
altaris ymo alterius doctoris sumptus tamen de corpore iuris ideo
probatus in ecclesia.
Soissons 126, xv s. : Mirabilia de sacramento altaris (Sermo pulcherrimus de sacramento).
Tours 488, xv s. (le trait fait suite la Conjessio monachi, si ljon se
fie au Catalogue, le ms. tant dtruit, on ne peut en dire plus).
De tous ces intituls, s'il fallait en choisir un, c'est le titre De sacramento
altaris qu'il conviendrait de retenir parce que le plus frquent. A noter galement les observations critiques que comportent les titres dans les manuscrits de Poitiers 74 et de Paris, Mazarine 993 ; elles met nt en vidence
la structure particulire du texte, sa forme composite, et elles rejoignent
les conclusions que l'on tire de l'analyse du texte et que nous dtaillerons plus loin.
Quant l'auteur de cette compilation, toute rechnche pour le dcouvrir
parat vaine. Aucune des attributions proposes par certains manuscrits :
s. Bernard (Dijon 582), Hugues de Saint-Victor (Paris B. N. lat. 14507 et
15 315), et tardivement s. Augustin (Orlans 189; Paris, Mazarine 993) ne
peut tre retenue. Dans la majorit des manuscrits, le texte apparat
anonyme, et il y a toute chance qu'il le demeure jamais. Toutefois si l'on
tient compte de la provenance des trois plus anciens manuscrits, du xu s.,
il ne semble pas trop aventueux de fixer l'origine de ce trait en milieux
cisterciens. Le ms. de Dijon 582 a trs probablement t crit Cteaux
d'o il provient (fol. 2 Liber Cistercii>> ; fol. 79v ((Liber sancte Marie
Cistercii >> ; et cote ancienne au fol. 2 : M. 339). De mme en est-il du ms.
de Poitiers 74 qui provient de l'abbaye de Mores 11 (fol. 124 Liber sancte
Marie de Moris JJ), anciennement au diocse de Langres, aujourd'hui au
diocse de Troyes ; cette abbaye fonde par les Chanoines Rguliers de
S.-Remy de Reims passa sous l'obdience de Clairvaux du vivant de
s. Bernard. Quant au ms. de Valenciennes 196, il vient du monastre
bndictin de Saint-Amand qui entretint ds le milieu du xn s. de trs
troites relations avec Clairvaux, et s'enrichit de nombreux manuscrits
anciens de s. Bernard12 .
r r. L'origine et la composition partielle de ce manuscrit ont t abordes par
H.-M. ROCHAIS, Des Chanoines rguliers aux cisterciens. Parties de la Rgle d'Aix
dans le manuscrit Poitiers 74 venant de l'abbaye de Mores, dans Bulletin de la socit
des antiquaires de l'Ouest et des l'vluses de Poitiers, 4 trimestre de r959, Tome 5 de la
4 srie, p. 337-338.
Sur les mss. provenant de l'abbaye de l\fores conservs la
Bibl. mun. de Troyes, voir A. VERNET, tudes et travaux sur les bibliothques mdivales
r937-r947, dans Revue d'histoire del' glise de France, 34> n. r24, r948 p. 93, n. 2r5.
12. Sur les relations entre l'abbaye de Saint-Amand et celle de Clairvaux, voir
J eau LECLERCQ, tudes sur saint Bernard et le texte de ses crits, dans Analecta Sacri
Ordinis Cisterciensis, IX, r953, p. 20.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRAMENTO ALTARTS"

269

Pour corroborer cette hypothse, en plus des deux indices relevs au


cours de l'analyse et dont il sera fait tat plus loin (p. 273), notons un fait
non ngligeable : la large diffusion des uvres d'Alger dans les bibliothques cisterciennes ds le XII s., signe de la grande estime porte ses
crits, et qui peut expliquer la rdaction par un moine cistercien de l'abrg
du De sacramento corporis et sanguinis Domini. Sur les dix manuscrits reprs et dats des XII-XIII s., cinq proviennent de ces mmes milieux :
Copenhague, Bibl. Royale Ny. Kgl. S 2896 4, dat de rr58, f. rv-6rv,
De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom., f. 62-63, De lib. arbitrio ; provenance : abbaye
cistercienne de Villers (Lige) ou Vireiler Bettnach (Lorraine). Paris,
B. N. lat. 3482, XII, s., f. lv-50, De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom., provenance :
abbaye cistercienne de Clairmarais. Troyes, Bibl. mun. 443, XII s., f. 3v-69,
De misericordia et iustitia, f. 69-134 v, De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom., provenance : abbaye de Claivaux. Charleville 172, XIII s., f. l-73v, De sacr.
corp. et sang. Dom., provenance : abbaye cistercienne de Signy (diocse de
Reims). Nmes 52, xu-xrn s., f. 232-271v, De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom.,
provenance : prieur cistercien de Bagnols-sur-Cre, tabli primitivement Valsauve. Cteaux, d'o provient le ms. de Dijon 582, xn s. contenant notre compilation (voir supra p. 264), aurait galement possd un
ms. renfermant le De sacr. corp. et sang., au tmoignage des catalogues,
quelque peu tardifs il est vrai: Catalogue de Jean Cirey 13 , de 1480, n. 652
Liber Argerii (sic dans l'dition de 1889) de corpore et sanguine Domini,
continens vitam beate Marthe, cuius 2m folium incipit : quia a uere fidei,
et penultimum desinit : unde esset n. Catalogue de Ch. Le Tonnelier, de
1675, indit, ms. Paris, Arsenal 4630, fol. 367" Liber AlgPri de corpore et
sanguine Domini. Vita b. Marthae Christi hospitae (etc))). Dossiers
Montfaucon (xvm s.), indits, ms. Paris B. N. lat. l3068-I3071, Catalogue
des manuscrits de Cteaux, ms. 13068, fol. 244 v Liber Algeri de corpore et
sanguine domini. Sae Marthae Vita a Ba Marcilla eius famula edita - l
vol. 4 n. Ce ms. de Cteaux a malheureusement disparu sous la Rvolution
et nous n'avons aucun indice sur son anciennet. Cette diffusion des traits
d'Alger tmoignent pour le moins de leur succs dans l'Ordre cistercien,
si elle n'est un argument dterminant en faveur de notre hypothse.

Le texte
L'analyse qui accompagne l'dition du texte montre que celui-ci est constitu, deux exceptions prs, d'extraits ou d'emprunts au De sacramento
corporis et sanguinis Domini d'Alger de Lige. Sur les 86 passages que nous
avons ainsi reprs, 75 sont repris littrakment, dont 39 sont des citations
des Pres de l'glise ou d'crivains ecclsiastiques ; reste une douzaine de
passages qui sont dm adaptations ou des rsums du texte d'Alger. Le tableau qui suit peut donner une ide d\.nsemble de la facture du compendium.
13. Ce catalogue a t dit par A. Molinier et H. Omont, d'aprs le ms. Dijon 35 8,
1-93, dans Catalogue gnral des manuscrits ... Dpartements, (in-So) vol. 5, Paris 1889,
p. 339-452 sous le titre : Inventaire des manuscrits de Cteaux de Jean Cirey ; voir
n. 652, . la p. 407.

270

GEORGES FOLLIET

Citations des Pres et d'Auteurs ecclsiastiques :


2- 3 Augustin
3- 5
5- 6 Lon le Grand
7 Jean l'vangliste
7-13 Hilaire
13-15 Augustin
15-16
19-22
22-24
24-30 Eusbe Gallican
30-31 Augustin
31-33
33-35
35-37
40-41 Hilaire
45-46 Augustin (Lanfranc)
46-54 J. Chrysostome
54-61 Grgoire le Grand
61-65 J. Chrysostome

67- 69
74- 76
81- 83
83- 86
88- 90
90- 93
102-105
105-107
107-108
lo9-u1
II6-II8
II8-II9
155-156
166-167
167-169
169-170
173-174
174-175
184-186
187-189

Lanfranc
J. Chrysostome
Augustin
Eusbe Gallican
Paschase
Augustin
Ps-Hilaire (Ps-Augustin)
Paschase
Augustin
Csaire (Ps-Augustin)
Augustin

Passages emprunts littralement Alger :


17- 18
41- 43
65- 66
69- 72
93- 94
94- 95
95- 97
97- 98
98- 99
100-102
II4-II5
127-128

128-130
130-133
133-135
136-139
139-141
141-143
143-147
148-152
153-155
156-162
163-165
170-171

176-180
180-184
184-186
186-187
190-192
192-195
195-201
202-206
206-208
208-209
210-212
212-215

Passages emprunts Alger, avec adaptation:


38437276-

40
45
74
80

86- 88
II l-II4
120-122
122-126

135-136
162-163
171-173
189-190

A la lecture du texte on peut se rendre compte que tous ces extraits ou


emprunts ne sont pas juxtaposs au hasard ; l'auteur a tent de les
assembler comme un puzzle. Grce quelques artifices (recours aux mots
de coordination, accord des verbes) les divers passages, parfois trs indpendants les uns des autres dans le texte d'Alger, se retrouvent logiquement groups. Il est mme des phrases qui sont faites d'emprunts des
paragraphes ou des chapitres distincts (voir lignes 6r-65 ; 69-72 ; 88-90
etc). Malgr tout il faut reconnatre que cet assemblage a quelque chose de
factice ; ainsi en est-il de tous ces sentenciers si frquents l'poque.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS"

271

Tout en suivant dans ses grandes lignes le plan des trois livres dont est
compos le De sacramento corporis et sanguinis Domini d'Alger, l'auteur a
opr un choix, mettant profit surtout le premier livre dont 58 passages
sont tirs, sur les 88 que l'on a pu distinguer, les autres se retrouvant
proportion peu prs gale dans les deux derniers livres. Ce choix indique
clairement les intentions du compilateur, car des trois livres d'Alger le
premier est certainement le plus riche du point de vue doctrinal. Alors que
les livres II et III traitent de questions secondaires relatives au sacrement
de l'eucharistie (dispositions morales, attitudes des hrtiques, cas de
profanation, etc.), le livre premier expose l'essentiel du dogme : l'eucharistie comme mystre d'unit, le rle de la foi dans la ralisation et les effets
de ce mystre, la conversion du pain et du vin opre par les paroles du
Christ, la participation du communiant la passion et la rsurrection
du Christ, la prsence mystrieuse et permanente du Christ ressuscit
au milieu des hommes par ce sacrement. Tous ces passages doctrinaux
repris par le compilateur occupent la quasi totalit de notre texte, seules
les dernires lignes voquent des aspects secondaires et leur vocation
dflore la porte spirituelle de l'ensemble.
Les 39 citations des Pres et crivains ecclsiastiques, donnes sans
rfrence, figurent toutes, une exception prs (lignes 169-170 = Csaire)
dans lP texte d'Alger, lequel avait eu soin de leur donner une attribution
plus ou moins prcise et exacte. Elles appartiennent en fait au dossier des
tmoignages que l'on retrouve peu prs identiques dans les crits suscits
par la controverse autour du sacrem\"nt de l'eucharistie, du IX au XII s.
Ces textes entrrent pour la plupart dans les collections canoniques et les
sommes du xn et du XIII s. o puisrent largement les thologiens postrieurs14. C'est d'ailleurs de cfs collections canoniques que l'un des copistes
du xv s. (Paris Mazarine 993) fait dpendre la compilation Verbum caro
comme il le prcise dans l'intitul: Sermo beati Augustini de sacramento
altaris ymo alterius doctoris, sumptus tamen de corpore iuris ideo probatus
in ecclesia , sans doute pour lui donner autorit.
Nous ne pouvons tudier ici en dtail ce dossier qui occupe une place
prpondrante dans notre texte comme le relve le tableau prcdent. Tout
au long de l'analyse on a eu soin de prciser les sources de chacune de ces
citations <'t d'en indiquer sommairement la fortune travers quelques
uvres. La transmission de ces textes pose de multiples problmes
comme celui des sources directes et indirectes ; l'intitul prcdant le texte
de la compilation dans le ms. de Poitiers 74, du XII s. laisse souponner que
ds cette poque on avait conscience de ces problmes. Ds le IX s. se constiturent des florilges qui se multiplirent par la suite, s'enrichissant de
l'un l'autre ou se spcifiant. Et c'est de ces florilges, travers Alger,
14. Sur la transmission de ces dossiers, on peut consulter : J. DE GHELLINCK, Le
mouvement thologique du XII sicle, Bruxelles-Paris, 1948, passim. Ch. MUNIER,
Les sources patristiques du droit del' glise du V III au XIII sicle, Mulhouse, 1957,
passim. Consulter galement les art. Florilges dans les Dictionnaires.

272

GEORGES FOLLIET

que proviennent le plus grand nombre des citations que nous avons pu
reprer dans l'abrg Verbum caro. Pour ne prendre que quelques
exemples t:r"'Piques, les citations faites aux lignes Sr-83, rn2-I05, n8-n9,
r55-r56 qui se retrouvent chez Alger comme appartenant au Liber A ugustini de sacramento altaris ne sont autres que des extraits d'une compilation
du De sacr. corp. et sang. Domini de Paschase et qu'a dj utilis Raban
Maur ( t 856). De mme en est-il des lignes 45-46, 67-69, 74-76, qui se
retrouvent chez Alger sous le titre Sententiae Prosperi, autre florilge que
l'on voit apparatre au xr s. et qui n'est constitu que d'extraits du De
corp. et sang. Dom. de Lanfranc15 . Semblable problme se pose pour un
texte cit deux fois par ALGER I, 9, c. 769 C et I, II, c. 772 B sous le titre
Augustinus in epistola ad I renaeum et dont dpendent les lignes 65-66 du
compendium Verbum caro. Il s'agit au dpart d'un passage de l'Enarratio
in ps. 98, 9 : Non hoc corpus quod uidetis manducaturi estis ... , cit
dj par BDE et FLORUS dans leur florilge augustinien in I Cor. II, repris
par plusieurs auteurs ultrieurs, par exemple DURAND de Troarn, De
sacr. corp. et sang. Dom. VII, 23 et 25, PL I49, I4I2 D et r4r6 D, par
GuITMOND d'Aversa, De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom. II, PL r49, r46I D,
I464 D, par LANFRANC, De corp. et sang. Dom. I8, PL r50, 430 C, 432 D,
433 C, 434 A-B; et c'est ce mme texte qui combin avec la glose de Lanfranc apparat sous le titre Augustinus in epistola ad Irenaeum chez YVES
de Chartres, Decretum II, 9 et Panormia I, r34, PL I6I, r56 B, rn75 B,
chez Alger de Lige aux rfrences donnes ci-dessus, chez GRATIEN
Decretum III, de cons. 45, d. Friedberg I, col. I330-r33r, chez LOMBART,
Sententiae IV, dist. IO, 2, PL r92, r8o 1 6.
Tous les rapprochements tablis entre le texte de la compilation et le
trait d'Alger montrent l'troite dpendance du compilateur par rapport
sa source. Pour appuyn cette dmonstration relevons seulement deux
indices mineurs mais assez frappants. Aux lignes I70-I7I et r86-r87
rEvient l'expression:<< Fide omnia sacramenta complentur )) qui a toute la
densit d'une dfinition thologique et qui est trs proche de l'expression
augustinienne cite par ALGER III, 7, c. 840 A : sacramenti vicem comples
fidei merito )) et dont elle s'inspire trs probablement. Alger en est-il
l'auteur comme nous sommes port le croire ? Il est en tout cas certain
qu'Alger l'adopte comme expression de sa doctrine puisque nous la retrouvons sous sa plume dans son Liber de misericordia et iustitia III, 7, PL I8o,

15. Sur la formation de ces abrgs de Paschase et de Lanfranc la meilleure


tude est celle de M. LEPIN, L'ide du sacrifice de la messe d'aprs les Thologiens
depuis l'Origine jusqu' nos jours, Paris 1926, Appendice: Deux recueils de sentences
eucharistiques mis au nom de saint Augustin , p. 759-797. M. J.-P. BouHo'I' se
propose de revenir sur la formation de ces recueils avec l'dition de textes encore
indits.
r6. Nous nous proposons de revenir sur l'histoire de ce texte de l'Enarr. in ps. 98, 9
dans Miscellanea Pellegrino.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN "DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS

)>

936 A. Notons enfin pour appuyer cette fidlit du compilateur par rapport
sa source, la juxtaposition de plusieurs citations aux lignes 46-54 et 54-61,
88-90 et 90-93, ro2-ro5, ro5-107, 107-ro8, juxtaposition que l'on trouve
dj chez Alger.
Si dpendant qu'il soit, ou qu'il veuille l'tre, l'auteur de la compilation
trahit quelque peu son anonymat en trois endroits, o l'influence cistercienne est marquante. Aux lignes 1rr-rr4 et 169, l o Alger fait mention
des hrtiques et des schismatiques (qui extra ecclesiam sunt) qui se
trouvent exclus de l'eucharistie pour leur refus de l'unit dans l'glise,
le compilateur transpose le problme sur le plan d.e la charit, et ses
yeux quiconque entretient de la haine en son cur ne peut s'approcher de
l'eucharistie. On ne peut s'empcher de voir l une influence de l'enseignement de s. Bernard, cf. De resurrectione domini, sermo 1, 16-17, (Sti
Bernardi opera, V, Editiones cistercienses, 1968 p. 93) : cc Neque enim
cohabitatio esse potest luci ad tenebras, Christi cum superbia ... cum
fraterno odio ... Si indigne suscipitis, iudicium uobis manducatis, sanctum
corpus Domini non diiudicantes ii. Ligne 189, propos des effets de
l'huile, une retouche lgre mais non moins significative est apporte
galement par le compilateur : << Oleum uero ... animam fide illuminet,
dilectione inflammet, spe clesti muniat et roboret n, lisait-il chez Alger,
passage qu'il adapte comme suit : << Oleum illuminat, ungit et pascit ;
illuminat animam fide, ungit dilectione, pascit dilectione )). Ne serait-ce
pas l un cho aux mots mmes de s. BERNARD, In Cantica canticorum,
sermo 15, 5, (Sti Bernardi opera, I, Editiones cistercienses, 1957, p. 85,
23-25) : cc Est autem, dico, in triplici quadam qualitate olei, quod. lucet,
pascit et ungit, si uos melius non habetis )), Emprunt tout naturel si
l'hypothse de l'origine d.e la compilation en milieu cistercien se trouvait
vrifie.
Le texte de la compilation Verbum caro figure dans la Patr. lat., t. 177,
c. 165-170 ; il reproduit celui de l'dition des Chanoines Rgulie1 s de
Saint-Victor, paru Reims en 1648. La collation des manuscrits r~vle
que ce texte a t tabli partir des manuscrits tardifs, bon nomb1e de
leons si retrouvent en effet dans le ms. Paris B. N. lat. 14507, xrv-xv s.
qui a appartenu l'abbaye de Saint-Victor. Une nouvelle dition s'imposait sur la base des manuscrits du XII s. : Dijon 582, Poitiers 74, Valenciennes 196. Dans l'apparat critique sont mentionnes les variantes des
autres manuscrits y compris celles des manuscrits tardifs du xv s. afin de
permettre de suivre les vicissitudes d'un texte qui aboutit finalement
dans les recueils de dvotion grand succs. Nous avons retenu l'incipit
tardif tel qu'il apparat dans les trois manuscrits du xv s. : Orlans 189,
Paris Bibl. Mazarine 993, Soissons 126, car son adjonction pose quelques
problmes. On constate en effet qu'aux cinq prE.mires lignes, qui sont une
reprise des lignes 31-35, est ajout un extrait des. Lon: <<Hoc ore accipitur quod corde creditur ii qui n'est pas dans la compilation mais qui
figure dj dans le De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom. d'Alger, ce qui fait supposer
que l'auteur de cet incipit tardif aurait eu sous les yeux le trait d'Alger.

274

GEORGES FOLLIET

Autres questions que l'on se pose sans pouvoir y rpondre : quel est
l'auteur de ce second incipit et quel en a t le motif ?
Le trait d'Alger ayant t l'origine du compendium, nous avons t
amen comparer les textes dans les cas d'emprunts littraux. De ces
comparaisons il ressort que le texte du De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom. d'Alger
reproduit dans PL 180, 739-854, d'aprs l'd. de J.-B. Malou (Louvain,
1847), laisse beaucoup dsirt>r. Dans les citations d'Alger, reproduites
dans le dossier des sources face l'dition, sont signales un certain
nombre de leons des trois manuscrits qui nous ont t facilement accessibles : Paris B. N. lat. 812 et 3482, Troyes 443, manuscrits que nous
avons examins lorsque le texte du compendium diffrait du texte d'Alger
dans l'd. Malou. On a pu constater que le texte des extraits d'Alger
figurant dans le compendium tait trs proche de celui du De sacr. corp. et
sang. Dom. dans les mss. du XII s. tout particulirement du ms. df Troyes
443, XII s. Une dition nouvelle du trait d'Alger partir des plus anciens
manuscrits permettrait probablement de dcouvrir le texte original dont
s'est servi l'auteur de l'abrg.

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS"

275

LE <<DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS,, ATTRIBU A S. AUGUSTIN


TEXTE ET SOURCES

Le texte authentique du De sacramento altaris, tel qu'il se trouve dans tous


les manuscrits du XII au XIV s., voire mme au xv s. (Ms. Tours 488), dbute
par les mots Verbum caro factum est ... (1. 7). Nous avons cependant jug utile
de reproduire l'incipit Nos credimus tale cuique fieri ... (1. 2-6) sous lequel figure
le trait ou sermon dans trois manuscrits de la fin du xv s. comme tmoin d'une
tradition tardive.
L'analyse ayant rvl que ce trait tait constitu d'extraits ou d'emprunts
au De sacramento corporis et sanguinis d'Alger de Lige, nous avons dtach
chacun d'eux par le signe Il qui permet le reprage des sources indiques ligne
par ligne sur les pages face au texte.
Des douze manuscrits signals p. 264-267, nous n'avons tenu compte que de
dix d'entre eux : le ms. Vatican, Barberini lat. 704, XIV s. connu tardivement
n'a pu tre consult ; quant au ms. Tours, 488, xv s., dtruit lors de la dernire
guerre, il n'en subsiste notre connaissance aucune copie.

Sigles des manuscrits et des ditions


D
P
V

Dijon 582, f. 156v-16ov, XII S.


Poitiers 74, f. 55 v-60, XII S.
Valenciennes 196, f. 105-106v,

E
T
X

Paris B. N. lat. 15315, f. 27v-29, XIII s.


Tours 396, f. 76-77, XIII s.
Troyes 1749, f. 50-52, xm s.

C
0

Paris B. N. lat. 14507, f. 68 v-71, XIV-XV s.


Orlans 189, f. I08-n9v, XV s.
Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, 993, f. 73-76, XV s.
Soissons 126, f. 81-84, xv s.
dition des Chanoines de Saint-Victor, PL, 177, 165-170.

S
a

XII

s.

ALGER, De sacr. corp. et sang. Dom.

A
B
Y
b

Paris, B. N. lat. 812, f. 296-356, XIII s.


3482, f. I v-50, XII s.
Troyes 443, f. 69 v-134 v, XII s.
dition Malou, PL, 180, 739-854.

276

IO

GEORGES FOLLIET

(De sacramento altaris]

[Nos credimus tale cuique fieri sacrificium qualis accedit ut offerat


et qualis accedit ut accipiat. Il Nam unum idemque sacrificium,
propter nomen domini quod inuocatum est, semper sanctum est
et tale cuique fit quali corde ad accipiendum accesserit. Il Hoc ore
accipitur quod corde creditur. l
Verbum caro factum est et habitauit in nobis. 11 Vere Verbum
caro factum est et nos uere Verbum carnem dominico cibo sumimus ;
et ideo manere in nobis naturaliter aestimandus est qui et naturam
nostrae carnis iam sibi inseparabilem homo natus assumpsit et
naturam carnis suae sub sacramento communicandae carnis nobis
admiscuit. Ita enim omnes unum sumus, quia in Christo Pater
et Christus in nobis unum in his nos esse faciunt. Il Nos ergo qui
corpus Christi accipimus corpus Christi facti sumus, et misericordia

r De sacramento altaris D Eusebius F.misenus de corpore Christi quem transtulit in parte Ambrosius de sacramentis et in parte Augustinus in libro de sacramentis
fidelium ideo utrorumque inueniuntur eadem add. supra al. manu De sacramento
corporis et sanguinis Christi V Tractatus mirabilis et utilis de scramento altaris
expunctus X Sermo beati Augustini de sacramento altaris MO Mirabilia de
sacramento altaris S
r-5 om. DPVETXCa
5 quali] qualis MOS
corde om. 0
accessit 0
7 uerbum 2 om. MOS
8 uerbum] nobis MOS
9 aestimandus] existimandus a
et] per ECa om. T
12 omnes] nos MOS
13 his] iis C'a hiis C 2 MOS
14 misericordia] per misericordiam MOS

PSEUDO-AUGUSTIN "DE SACRAMENTO ALTARIS

>>

277

2-3

AUGUSTIN, C. litt. Petiliani II, 52 (I2o), CSEL 52, 89, 9-IO: Nos dicimus tale
cuique fieri sacrificium qualis accedit ut offerat et qualis accedit ut sumat .
ALGER,
III, II, c. 844 D-845 A : Nos dicimus tale cuique fieri sacrificium, qualis accedit ut
offerat, et qualis accedit ut sumat ...

35 AUGUSTIN, C. epist. Parmeniani II, 6 (II), CSEL 5r, 56, 23-26 : Nam unum
atque idem sacrificium propter nomen dei (ms. a : domini) quod ibi (ms. 13 ibi am.)
inuocatur et semper est sanctum (ms. y : sanctum est), tale (ms. a : et tale) cuique fit,
quali corde ad accipiendum accesserit . - ALGER III, 2, c. 833 B : Nam unum
idemque sacrificium propter nomen Domini quod inuocatur, et semper sanctum est,
et tale cuique fit, quali corde ad accipiendum accesserit . Cf. GRATIEN, Decretum,
2 pars, causa I, qu. r, 98, d. Friedberg, I, col. 397.

5-6 LON, Sermo 9r, 3, PL 54, 452 B : 'Hoc enim ore sumitur quod fide creditur' .
- ALGER I, ro, c. 770 D : Item Leo: ' ... Hoc en