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‘Sermo Beati Augustini super Verbis Apostoli ad Galatas…

The Boar’s Head Tavern currently has a banner quote by Augustine (not sure how long it will remain up there) that reads as follows:

We, who preach and write books, write in a manner altogether different from the manner in which the canon of Scriptures has been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We dictate at the same time as we explore. We speak as we still knock for understanding. … I urge your charity, on my behalf and in my own case, that you should not take any previous book or preaching of mine as Holy Scripture. … If anyone criticises me when I have said what is right, he does not do right. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than the one who criticises me unfairly.

For anyone interested (which perhaps is only me), I believe this is pulled from one of Augustine’s Dolbeau sermons (the ‘Sermo Beati Augustini super Verbis Apostoli ad Galatas…’). Here is some of the Latin, which includes part of the passage quoted above:

Certe non quiesco, quantum possum, ubi esse possum utilis fratribus, et loquendo et scribendo. Admoneo caritatem vestram, a me, usque ad me, ne cuiusquam disputationis librum aut disputationem pro canonica scriptura habere velitis. In scripturis sanctis iudicare discimus, in scripturis nostris iudicari non dedignamur. Illud quidem eligendum est et hoc potius de duobus optandum, ut scribendo vel loquendo vera dicamus, nusquam erremus. Sed quoniam hoc implere difficile est, ideo aliud est firmamentum canonis, tamquam caelum ubi sunt constituta luminaria scripturarum, velut inter aquas et aquas, inter populos angelorum et populos hominum: illos supra, istos infra. Teneamus scripturam tamquam scripturam, tamquam deum loquentem; non ibi quaeramus hominem errantem. Non enim frustra canon in ecclesiam constitutus est: spiritus sancti hoc officium est. Si quis ergo legit librum meum, iudicet me: si rationabile dixi, sequatur non me, sed rationem ipsam; si hoc provavi testmonio evidentissimo atque divino, sequatur non me, sed scripturam divinam. Se autem aliquid quod ego recte dixi reprehendere voluerit, non rect facit, sed plus irascor tali lauditori meo qui librum meum tamquam canonicum accipit, quam ei qui in libro meo etiam non reprehendenda reprehendit. Rogo vos: quamvis intentos vos videam et paene recentissimos, velut modo audire coeperitis, tamen nolo aliquid amplius dicere, ut hoc quod ultimum dixi fortiter teneatis.

The whole sermon is an interesting survival from Late Antiquity and can be read with great profit.

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