Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Verified: Six New Sermons from St. Augustine

Remember those new sermons from St. Augustine I mentioned a few months ago? They have been verified as authentic. It seems that Dorothea Weber and Clemens Weidmann:

were able to prove that six of these [26 sermon] texts are by Augustine: a sermon on the martyrdom in Carthage of Perpetua and Felicity, one on the resurrection of the dead. another on Cyprian, the Carthaginian Bishop-Martyr, and three on various aspects of almsgiving.

The parchment manuscript's 264 pages are no bigger than 115 x 95 millimetres and contain about 60 sermons, most of which are already known. They are sermons by Caesarius and the Pseudo John Chrysostom, written for the Lenten Season and for several celebrations in the month of September, and an extraordinary collection of 28 sermons which can be attributed to Augustine. In addition to the abundantly documented texts, there are others that are rare and some until now completely unknown.

...Since the sermons on the Saints concern especially the martyrs venerated in Africa in Augustine's time, one may conclude that the collection was assembled in the fifth century precisely in Roman Africa and from there was moved to safety in Southern Italy, as was Augustine's entire library.

In all likelihood — following the missionary activity started by Gregory the Great — the corpus was taken to England, where it was transcribed in the 12th century. The Erfurt Code derives from this or from another similar copy. Not only is the handwriting in British style but the parallel production of certain texts and textual sequences, such as the famous Worcester Homily, also seem to be of direct or indirect English provenance.

...Three of the six new texts are to be published in the coming weeks...[and three homilies on charity] will be studied and published by the Viennese group in 2009.

St. Augustine of Hippo, ora pro nobis!

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