The Sola Scriptura of Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo by BotticelliFor I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the MS. [manuscript] is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. I believe, my brother, that this is your own opinion as well as mine. I do not need to say that I do not suppose you to wish your books to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error. Far be such arrogance from that humble piety and just estimate of yourself which I know you to have, and without which assuredly you would not have said, “Would that I could receive your embrace, and that by converse we might aid each other in learning!”

[Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430), Letter LXXXII (82) to Jerome, “Letters of St. Augustin,” translated by J.G. Cunningham, in Philip Schaff, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Volume 1, (Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., reprinted 2004), 350.]

June 15 is the feast day for St. Augustine of Hippo on the Eastern Orthodox church calendar. On the Roman Catholic church calendar, Augustine is commemorated on the anniversary of his death, August 28.

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The Sola Scriptura of Cyril of Jerusalem

Cyril of Jerusalem iconHave thou ever in thy mind this seal, which for the present has been lightly touched in my discourse, by way of summary, but shall be stated, should the Lord permit, to the best of my power with the proof from the Scriptures. For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.

[Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-387), Lecture IV.17, “The Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem,” translated by Edwin Hamilton Gifford, in Philip Schaff., ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, (Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishiers, Inc., reprinted 2004), 23.]

March 18 is the feast day of St. Cyril of Jerusalem on Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican church calendars.

Reading Romans with John Chrysostom

Title Page, Chrystostom’s Homlies on RomansThere is something about the printed page that computer text files have not been able to replace for me. Even though I can take my laptop most places, including to bed, so far I haven’t found anything like the convenience of being able to gently close a book and lay it on a nightstand just as I begin to sink into an unconscious stupor. There’s nothing to turn off, and if I accidentally drop it the consequences are usually slight. Continue reading