Friday, 24 May 2019

Bart J. Koet: Deacons in the writings of Jerome and Augustine

After having investigated the role of deacons in the early church and in Augustine's writings in earlier research, I then looked at how the writings of Jerome refer to deacons. In this lecture I would like to briefly present the results of this research.After a first assessment of data in Jerome, I will discuss the differences between Jerome and Augustine.A first observation is that in Jerome’s writings there are less references to deacons or diaconate than in those of Augustine. While Augustine's writings reveal a vivid picture of deacon performance, Jerome's deacon is more often a prototype of certain behaviour. These differences naturally reflect the different contexts of these two church fathers. The bishop of Hippo and the priest of Bethlehem have in common that they do not mention deaconesses. Therefore, a comparison of Jerome and Augustine is only a first step. Eventually, the works of John Chrysostom, for example, will also have to be examined to gain further insight into the role of deacons and deaconesses in the early Church.

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