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E02432: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of *John the Baptist (S00020). Sermon 293A, preached c. 397/405, at an unknown place in North Africa.

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posted on 2017-02-28, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 293A (Sermo Dolbeau 3)

Augustine opens the sermon saying that it was God's decision to make him speak today to this congregation.

2. Vnde ergo loquamur hodie, nisi de illo cuius natalis est hodie? Iohannes ergo sanctus natus de sterili, praecursor domini nati de uirgine, factus est domini sui salutator ex utero, adnuntiator post uterum ... Cum ergo multos praecones ante se miserit Dominus, quid tantum iste meruit, quid excellentiae amplius habuit, cuius natalis nobis hodie commendatur? Nam neque hoc sine signo cuiusdam magnitudinis est, ut non lateat dies natalis eius, sicut non latet dies natalis Domini eius. Alii prophetae quando nati fuerint ignoramus; de Iohanne nescire non licuit.

'So what else should we talk about today, but about the person whose birthday (natalis) it is? So Saint John, born of a barren woman as the forerunner of the Lord who was born of a virgin, was to greet his Lord from the womb, to proclaim him after leaving the womb ... So considering that the Lord had sent many heralds before him, what was the extra special merit of this man, whose birthday is being brought to our notice today; what altogether superior excellence was to be found in him? I mean, even the fact that his birthday is not unknown to us, just as his Lord's birthday is not unknown to us, is a sign of some special greatness. When other prophets were born we don't know; about John we have not been allowed to remain in ignorance.'

In what follows Augustine comments upon the relation between Christ and John the Baptist and shows John as an example of humility, and reflects on the issue of rebaptism.

Text: Dolbeau 1996, 484. Translation: Hill 1994, 159. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes Baptista

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The beginning of the sermon suggests that Augustine was in a place where he was preaching to the congregation unexpectedly, so it is unlikely that it was pronounced in Hippo or Carthage.


Text: Dolbeau, F., Augustin d'Hippone, Vingt-six sermons au peuple d'Afrique (Paris: Institut des Études Augustinennes, 1996), 484-494. Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 8, Sermons 273-305A on the Saints (New York: New City Press, 1994). This translation is based on the edition in Patrologia Latina 46, which has only part of the text published later by Dolbeau. Dating: Kunzelmann, A., "Die Chronologie der sermones des hl. Augustinus," Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 2 (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), 417-452.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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