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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Augustine's Text of John: Patristic Citations and Latin Gospel Manuscripts
Houghton, H.†a.†g.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 pp. xii + 407. $99.00

Series Information
Oxford Early Christian Studies


Description: What sort of Bible did Augustine have? How did he quote from it -- and was he accurate? Do Augustine's biblical citations transmit readings not found in any surviving manuscripts? This book is part of a major project on the Old Latin versions of the Gospel according to John, and uses Augustine as a test-case to examine the importance of the evidence provided by the Church Fathers for the text of the Gospels. The early history of the Latin Bible is reconstructed from Augustine's comments in his treatise De doctrina christiana (On Christian teaching). Details are assembled from sermons, letters, and other writings to show how Augustine and his contemporaries used the Bible in the liturgy of the Church, public debates, and in composing their own works. Augustine's own methods of citing the Bible are analysed, and features are identified which are characteristic of citations produced from memory rather than read from a gospel codex. The second part of the book is a chronological survey of the biblical text in Augustine's works, showing how he switched from using the older versions of the Gospel to the revised text of Jerome, which later became known as the Vulgate. Finally, a verse-by-verse commentary is provided on all the significant readings in Augustine's text of John, assessing their significance for the history of the Latin Bible, and in some cases the Greek tradition as well. Details are also given of Augustine's exegesis of particular verses of the Gospel, making this an indispensable handbook for biblical scholars and church historians alike.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Textual Criticism

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Review by Craig R. Koester
Published 7/18/2009
Citation: Craig R. Koester, review of H.†A.†G. Houghton, Augustine's Text of John: Patristic Citations and Latin Gospel Manuscripts, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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