Saturday, 2 May 2015

Joost van Neer: Structure and argument of Augustine's Nativity Sermons

Augustine's (Nativity) Sermons are, contrary to what has been previously assumed (e.g. Van der Meer), clearly formulated and well considered. They are divided into parts according to a number of structuring principles. Augustine uses a division into four parts (doctr.chr. 4,2,3 and 4,4,6), a division into three parts and a division into five parts. The different parts can be distinguished from each other on the basis of a twofold method, researching linguistic characteristics (especially sentence type, use of particles and repetitions of or deviations from the usual constituent order) and on the basis of the use of Scripture (or, in the same manner, of the Creed). So far from being chaotic, the Nativity sermons are shown to be very carefully considered and crafted texts.

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