Persuasive Function of Sound Figures in Augustine’s Homilies on the Psalms of Ascents and Their Translation into Modern Languages
Marcela AndokováComenius University, Bratislava , Slovakia
Róbert HorkaComenius University, Bratislava , Slovakia
Augustine’s sermons and exegetical homilies have been recently studied by modern scholars not only from the point of view of their contents but also their rhetorical form. This is true especially in those cases where we deal with authentic speeches reflecting the language culture of his audience. One of the most characteristic features of Augustine’s homiletic style is antithetic parallelism which occurs frequently in his homilies on Psalms and results from the author’s own way of thinking. Here we do not deal that much with the biblical parallelism of thought, present in the Hebrew poetry, particularly in Psalms, prophetic speeches, etc., but rather with that which was introduced in Greek by Gorgias, i.e., parallelism of words and sentence structure (parallelismus membrorum). Antithetic parallelism is often accompanied by rhyme (Gr. homoioteleuton) or by assonance. This phenomenon might be observed already in Indo-European poetics but in the rhetorical context of Augustine’s anti-Donatist preaching it serves quite different purposes. By using these and other sound figures (like alliteration, repetition, anaphora, epiphora, etc.) the bishop of Hippo wants not only to please his audience but also to instruct them and, first and foremost, persuade them to return to the Catholic church. Does he use these figures spontaneously imitating the folk culture of his audience, or is he constantly aware of their persuasive force? These and other related questions have already captured attention of several Augustinian scholars of the last decades, so in the present paper we would like to contribute to this foregoing discussion focusing mostly on the persuasive aspect of selected sound figures occurring in Augustine’s Enarrationes in Psalmos 119-133. Moreover, our aim is to show to which extent they were a part of bishop’s thoroughly considered plan of his homilies, and finally we would like to point out the importance of preserving at least some of these figures in modern translations of Augustine’s homilies.
Keywords:Augustine of Hippo, preaching activity, Enarrationes in Psalmos, sound figures, delectation, persuasive function
Ambrosius, Epistulae, CSEL 82, ed. M. Zelzer, Wien 1982.
Augustinus, De baptismo, CSEL 51, ed. M. Petschenig, Wien 1908, p. 145-375.
Augustinus, De ciuitate Dei libri XXII, CCL 47-48, eds. B. Dombart – A. Kalb, Turnhout 1955.
Augustinus, De doctrina christiana libri IV, CCL 32, ed. J. Martin, Turnhout 1962, tr. Teaching christianity, ed. J.E. Rotelle, The Works of Saint Augustine 1/11, New York 1996. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/0198263341.001.0001
Augustinus, Enarrationes in Psalmos, CCL 38-40, ed. E. Dekkers – J. Fraipont, Turnhout 1956; En. in Ps. 119-133, CSEL 95/3, ed. F. Gori, Wien 2001, tr. Expositions of the Psalms, ed. B. Ramsey, The Works of Saint Augustine 3/19-20, New York 2003-2004.
Augustinus, In Iohannis epistulam ad Parthos tractatus – Homélies sur la première épître de saint Jean, BA 76, ed. D. Dideberg, tr. J. Lemouzy, Paris 2008.
Augustinus, In Iohannis Euangelium tractatus, CCL 36, ed. R. Willems, Turnhout 1954, tr. Homilies on the Gospel of John 1-40, ed. A.D. Fitzgerald, The Works of Saint Augustine 1/12, New York 2009.
Augustinus, Sermones, CCL 41, ed. C. Lambot, Turnhout 1961, tr. Sermons, ed. J.E. Rotelle, WSA 3/1-2, New York 1990.
Cicero, Orator, in: M. Tulli Ciceronis scripta quae manserunt omnia, v. 5, ed. P. Reis, Leipzig 1932.
Possidius, Vita Augustini, in: Possidius – Vita Augustini, ed. F. Schöningh, Paderborn – Zürich 2005, p. 26-108, tr. The Life of Saint Augustine by Possidius Bishop of Calama, The Augustinian Series 1, ed. J.E. Rotelle, Villanova 1988.
Quintilianus, Institutio oratoria, ed. L. Radermacher – V. Buchheit, Leipzig 1971.
Andoková M., Demus pro spectaculis spectacula. The role of delectatio in Augustine’s preaching activity, “Systasis” 32 (2018) p. 65-80.
Andoková M., Rečnícke umenie sv. Augustína v kázňach k stupňovým žalmom, Bratislava 2013.
Andoková M., Úskalia prekladu rétorického aparátu z diel sv. Augustína do slovenského prekladového textu [Difficulties in the translation of rhetorical apparatus of St. Augustine’s works into the Slovak language], Sambucus 3, Trnava 2008, p. 74-85.
Andoková M. – Horka R., The Chronology of Augustine’s Tractatus in Iohannis evangelium 1-16 and Enarrationes in psalmos 119-133, “Vox Patrum” 72 (2019) p. 149-170. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.4560
Banniard M., Viva voce. Communication écrite et communication orale du IVe au IXe siècle en Occident latin, Paris 1992.
Glowasky M., Rhetoric and Scripture in Augustine’s Homiletic Strategy, Leiden 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004426832
Horka, R., Možnosti prekladu aliterácie, anafory, epifory, polysyndetonu a asyndetonu v Komentári Aurelia Augustina k Jánovmu evanjeliu [Translation possibilities of alliteration, anaphora, epiphora, polysyndeton and asyndeton in Aurelius Augustine’s
Commentary on the Gospel of John], Sambucus 3, Trnava 2008, p. 65-73.
La Bonnardière A.-M., Les deux vies – Marthe et Marie, in: Bible de Tous les Temps 3 – Saint Augustin et la Bible, ed. A.-M. La Bonnardière, Paris 1986, p. 411-425. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14375/NP.9782701011905
Lausberg, H., Handbook of Literary Rhetoric. A Foundation for Literary Study, ed. D.E. Orton – R.D. Anderson, Leiden – Boston – Koln 1998.
Lawless G., Augustine’s Use of Rhetoric in His Interpretation of John 21, 19-23, “Augustinian Studies” 23 (1992) p. 53-67. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/augstudies1992232
Lawless G., The Man Born Blind: Augustine’s Tractate 44 on John 9, “Augustinian Studies” 27/2 (1996) p. 61-79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/augstudies19962725
Lawless G., Listening to Augustine: Tractate 44 on John 9, “Augustinian Studies” 28/1 (1997) p. 51-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/augstudies19972811
Lawless G., The Wedding at Cana: Augustine on the Gospel according to John, Tractates 8 and 9, “Augustinian Studies” 28/2 (1997) p. 35-80. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/augstudies19972826
Lawless G., “Infirmior sexus... fortior affectus” Augustine’s Jo. ev. tr. 121,1-3: Mary Magdalene, “Augustinian Studies” 34/1 (2003) p. 107-118. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/augstudies200334110
Lewis C.S., Úvahy nad žalmy (Reflections on the Psalms), Prague 1999.
Marrou H.-I., Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, Paris 1958. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/bsnaf.1957.5292
McLarney G., St. Augustine’s Interpretation of the Psalms of Ascent, Washington 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1287bzs
Mechlinski L., Der modus proferendi in Augustins sermones ad populum, Paderborn 2004.
Mohrmann Ch., Die altchristliche Sondersprache in den Sermones des hl. Augustin. 1. Einführung, Lexikologie, Wortbildung, Nijmegen 1932.
Mohrmann Ch., Saint Augustin écrivain, in: Études sur le latin des chrétiens, v. 2/3, Roma 1961, p. 247-275.
Mohrmann Ch., Saint Augustin prédicateur, “La Maison-Dieu” 39 (1954) p. 83-96.
Müller H., Preacher: Augustine and his Congregation, in: A Companion to Augustine, ed. M. Vessey, Chichester 2012, p. 297-309. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118255483.ch23
Norden E., Die antike Kunstprosa II (Vom VI. Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis in die Zeit der Renaissance), Darnstadt 1958.
Oberhelman S.M., Rhetoric and Homiletics in Fourth-Century Christian Literature, American Philological Association 26, Atlanta 1991.
Partoens G., Augustin als Prediger, in: Augustin Handbuch, ed. W. Drecoll, Tübingen 2014, p. 242-246.
Sanlon P.T., Augustine’s Theology of Preaching, Minneapolis 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt9m0t0m
Van der Meer F., Saint Augustin, pasteur d’âmes, v. 1-2, Utrecht 1959.
Verwilghen A., Rhétorique et prédiacation chez Augustin, “Nouvelle Revue Théologique” 120 (1998) p. 233-248.
Watson W.G.E., Classical Hebrew poetry: A guide to its techniques, Sheffield 1995.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Pursuant to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights of February 4, 1994, the Author of the publication grants the Publisher of the journal "Vox Patrum" a non-exclusive and free license to use the Work submitted for publication for an indefinite period of time on an unlimited territory in the following fields of use:
a. In the field of recording and reproducing the work - producing copies of the work using a specific technique, including printing, reprographic, magnetic recording and digital technology;
b. Within the scope of trading in the original or copies on which the work has been recorded - marketing, lending or renting the original or copies;
c. In the scope of disseminating the work in a manner other than specified in point b - public performance, exhibition, display, reproduction, broadcasting and rebroadcasting, as well as making the work available to the public, so that everyone can have access to it at a place and time chosen by them.
Moreover, the Author allows the Publisher free of charge to use and dispose of the compilations of the Works.
The publisher may grant sub-licenses.
Third parties may use the Works and other materials containing or based on the Works in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (also known as CC-BY-NC 4.0) license pattern.