An English translation of the texts relating to the dogma by Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
For introductory notes, purpose, and background to these translations, go to Augustine on the Tongues of Pentecost: Intro
1. In Epistolas Joannis et Parthos.
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 35. Augustine. In Epistolas Joannis et Parthos VI:10 (6:10) Col. 2025ff
In the earliest times the holy Spirit was falling upon those who believe and was given the ability to speak(1) loquebantur in languages, which they had not previously learned,(2) Note the switch from the imperfect to the pluperfect tense, which Augustine has seldom used. I think he is strongly reiterating that they did not know these languages in the past. even as the Spirit was giving them utterance. These were signs adapted for the time. For it was in this manner necessary that the holy Spirit to be shown in all the languages which the Gospel of God was(3) Not sure if the verb should be placed here, but it makes the most sense so far. about to run around all the earth through all the languages. That it is to be a sign and has passed. Can it now be to those receiving the laying of hands when they receive the holy Spirit, is there an expectation with this, that they must speak in languages? Or rather when we laid hands on those(4) istis is used here, which means Augustine thinks of this suggestion contemptuously, though I can’t properly put this in the translation. infants, does anyone of you pay attention to whether they were speaking in languages or when it was seen of them that they did not speak in languages, was it according to the perverseness of the heart with some of you that you would say, “These did not receive the holy Spirit, for if they had received, would they be speaking in languages even as was done in times past? Then, if it should not now be appointed as the evidence of the presence of the holy Spirit through these miracles, from what point does it take place, from which point does each one know that he himself has received the holy Spirit? He should examine his own heart, if he loves a(5) The ancient English translator has “his brother” though no pronoun exists in Greek. I think Augustine is addressing this is on an impersonal level like “If he loves any type of brother, whatever comes in his path”. brother, the Spirit of God dwells with him. Let him see, let him demonstrate himself(6) seipsum is not a pronoun found in Perseus website, nor commonly found in grammars. Whitaker’s Words briefly states it as a self-pronoun, but why all of a sudden did Augustine switch to this? Whitaker believed it to be a later pronoun. I am assuming after the time of Augustine, as I have not found this used elsewhere and believe it odd to find it here. personally in the eyes of God. He should examine in him if the love is of peace and unity, the love of the Church which has been spread throughout the whole earth. He should not only apply his attention to love a brother, which he has applied before him, for we do not see many of our brothers and we are joined in the unity of the Spirit with them.
2. Enarratio in Psalmum LIV:11
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 36. Augustine. Enerratio in Psalmum LIV:11 (54) Col. 636
“Drown, O Lord, and divide(7) Gen. 11:7, Submerge and divide are in the 2nd person sing. imperative here. Augustine’s text is different from the standard “descendamus et confundamus” as the Latin Vulgate. Augustine’s text is not in agreement with our common Septuagint or Hebrew either. their languages. He paid close attention about those who are troubling and feigning(8) I am having a difficult time with this line “Attendit tribulantes se et adumbrantes se,” with themselves, and he selected this, not in anger, brothers. Those who brought evil amongst themselves, it is made ready for them that they should be drowned, those who unite in evil, it is made ready for them that their languages should be divided. They could work together for a good purpose and the their languages could be in harmony. If then, “my enemies together were whispering against me” and states “all the evils against me”(9) I am almost thinking that Augustine is going by an altogether different Latin Bible now, as the differences are so great. It is worth a further look by someone. The emendation of the Bible verses with chapter and book in his writings are a much later convention after his time. Even the adverb idipsum is supposedly a later medieval word. What can be attributed to Augustine as solely his creation or a later emendation? (Ps. 40:8), they could be destroyed together in evil. For their languages should be divided, that they should not be in harmony together among themselves. Drown, O Lord, and divide their languages. “Drown”, why? Because they raised themselves up. “Divide”, why? Because they plotted evil in unison. It is to be remembered their high building after the flood which was built of arrogance. What kind of arrogance did they mean? We should not be destroyed in a flood, we shall make another high building (Gen. 11:4). Within the arrogance, they considered themselves protected, they built another tall building, and the Lord divided their tongues. Then at that time they began to not be able to understand each other. From here the origin of many languages was found. Certainly before this there used to be one language and one language was beneficial for unity, one language was beneficial for mankind, but on the other hand, whereby those gathered had been instructed(10) praecipitata est has a wide semantic range and I felt most comfortable with this usage. in the unity of pride, the Lord spared these ones(11) illis is a dative but direct translation here just does not make good English. so that instead He took to dividing the languages, lest they were to build a pernicious unity with the ability to understand each other. The languages were divided by reason of mankind’s pride, tongues were brought together through the agency of the humble apostles. The spirit of pride scattered the languages. The holy Spirit brought together the languages. Certainly when the holy Spirit fell upon the disciples they spoke in all the languages, from this point they understood everything (Acts 2:4). The languages which had been scattered, they were brought together as one. Consequently if now they are in a rage and are not of the faith, He made them to have been separated by language. They want one language, for this purpose they come to the Church, because the language of the flesh is in diversity, one is the language within the faithful soul.”
3. Enerratio in Psalmum XCVI (96)
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 37. Augustine. Enerratio in Psalmum XCVI (96) Col. 1247ff – on the conversion of Cornelius
And because Cornelius was of the gentile race and also those who were with him had not been circumcised, so that they would not hesitate to deliver the Gospel to the non-circumcised, the holy Spirit came, and filled them before Cornelius was baptized and those who were with him, and they began to speak in languages. The holy Spirit had fallen upon no one, except those who had been baptized. He had fallen on those ones stated above before baptism. For Peter was hesitantly embracing whether he ought to baptize the uncircumcised. The holy Spirit came and they began to speak in languages. …Because a vision had greatly demonstrated to Peter, [this vision] pointed out [that] it spread out all things for them, such as the way Cornelius believed, because before the gentile man was to be baptized, the holy Spirit came upon him.”
4. Enarratio in Psalmum CXLVII:19 (147:19)
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 37 Augustine. Enarratio in Psalmum. CXLVII:19 (147:19) Col. 1929
“Read the Acts of the Apostles, if perhaps I am inventing, how the disciples had been gathered together in that place, when the holy Spirit came in order to demonstrate to you what the Lord is saying, “By the origins from Jerusalem”(12) I think he is playing with Acts 1:4 here, which has a different reading in the Latin today than what Augustine is looking at. just as the holy Spirit came in all those who spoke in every language. Why then is there no [present] ability to speak in all the languages? See that sounds went out in every language. Why presently to whomever the holy Spirit is granted, that he is not speaking in all the languages? This was a proof at that time of the holy Spirit’s coming into men that they were speaking in all languages. Now you are bound to be called something, a teacher of false doctrine? Because has not the holy Spirit been given? Am I not saying ‘when’? Is He being given or not given? If He is not being given, what is it that motivates you for the purpose of speaking, being baptized and giving out praises? What is it that motivates you? You are celebrating foolish things. He is given now. If He is given [then the following question is to be asked] why are to those He is imparted on not speaking in all languages? Can it be the gift of God has waned, or the fruit is inferior? The tare and also the wheat have grown “Allow both to grow until the harvest” (Matt. 13:30). It was not said, Let the tare multiply and the grain diminish. Why then does the holy Spirit not appear now in all languages? On the contrary He does appear in all the languages. For at that time the Church was not yet spread out through the circle of lands, that the organs of Christ were speaking in all the nations. Then it was filled-up into one, with respect to which it was being proclaimed in every one of them. Now the entire body of Christ is speaking in all the languages. To those which it is not yet speaking, it will be speaking in the future. For the Church will multiply until it shall seize all the languages [in the entire world]. Hold fast with us until that time had come near, and you shall arrive with us to that which had not yet drawn near. I intend to teach you to speak in all the languages. I am in the body of Christ, I am in the Church of Christ. If the body of Christ is now speaking in all the languages, [then] also I am indeed speaking in all languages; to me it is that of Greek, Syrian, Hebrew, it is of every nation, because in unity, I am of every nation.
5. Sermo CLXXV:3 (175:3).
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 38. Augustine. Sermo. CLXXV:3 (175:3) Col. 946
Then the actual promise came and the holy Spirit came, filled the disciples, they began to speak in the languages of all the nations. The sign in these was advancing unity. Namely then one man was speaking in every language because the unity of the Church was bound to speak in every language. They were frightened who were hearing. For they knew the men to be uneducated ones, that they were men of only one language. They were amazed and astounded, because those men of one language or at most two [languages] were speaking in the languages of all the nations.(13) This is almost repeated verbatim in Augustine’sCity of God
5. Sermo CCLXV:10 (265:10)
As translated by Charles Sullivan. MPL Vol. 38. Augustine. Sermo CCLXV:10 (265:10)(14) MPL has “Caput X – 12″ why the discrepancy between Latin and English, I do not know, but I will be conservative and follow the Latin. Col. 1224
What conditions are there in the coming of the holy Spirit? The holy Spirit came, first of all filled, causing them to speak in every language. Each man speaking in every language. What other type did it signify, than unity with every language? These things having been preserved in this, approved in this, reinforced in this, fixed in the unshaken love of God, let us praise the Lord, you children and say hallelujah [Ps. 112:1]. But is it to be in one place [of this earth]? From where and all the way to? From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.(15) Psalm 112:3.