Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Preface to the American Edition.: Preface to the American Edition.
Preface to the American Edition.
“This volume contains all the Anti-Pelagian writings of Augustin, collected by the Benedictine editors in their tenth volume, with the exception only of the two long works Against Julian, and The Unfinished Work, which have been necessarily excluded on account of their bulk. The translation here printed is that of the English version of Augustins works, published by Messrs. T. and T. Clark at Edinburgh. This translation has been carefully compared with the Latin throughout, and corrected on every page into more accurate conformity to its sense. But this has not so altered its character that it ceases to be the Edinburgh translation,—bettered somewhat, but still essentially the same. The excellent translation of the three treatises, On the Spirit and the Letter, On Nature and Grace, and On the Proceedings of Pelagius, published in the early summer of this year by two Oxford scholars, Messrs. Woods and Johnston (London: David Nutt), was unfortunately too late in reaching America to be of any service to the editor.
“What may be called the explanatory matter of the Edinburgh translation, has been treated here even more freely than the text. The headings to the chapters have been added to until nearly every chapter is now provided with a caption. The brackets which distinguished the notes added by the translator from those which he translated from the Benedictine editor, have been generally removed, and the notes themselves often verbally changed, or otherwise altered. A few notes have been added,—chiefly with the design of rendering the allusions in the text intelligible to the uninstructed reader; and the more lengthy of these have been enclosed in brackets, and signed with a W. The result of all this is, that it is unsafe to hold the Edinburgh translators too closely responsible for the unbracketed matter; but that the American editor has not claimed as his own more than is really his.
“In preparing an Introductory Essay for the volume, two objects have been kept in view: to place the necessary Prolegomena to the following treatises in the hands of the reader, and to furnish the English reader with some illustrations of the Anti-Pelagian treatises from the other writings of Augustin. In the former interest, a brief sketch of the history of the Pelagian controversy and of the Pelagian and Augustinian systems has been given, and the occasions, objects, and contents of the several treatises have been briefly stated. In the latter, Augustins letters and sermons have been as copiously extracted as the limits of space allowed. In the nature of the case, the sources have been independently examined for these materials; but those who have written of Pelagianism and of Augustins part in the controversy with it, have not been neglected. Above others, probably special obligations ought to be acknowledged to the Benedictine preface to their tenth volume, and to Canon Brights Introduction to his edition of Select Anti-Pelagian Treatises. The purpose of this essay will be subserved if it enables the p. x reader to attack the treatises themselves with increased interest and readiness to assimilate and estimate their contents.
“References to the treatises in the essay, and cross-references in the treatises themselves, have been inserted wherever they seemed absolutely necessary; but they have been often omitted where otherwise they would have been inserted because it has been thought that the Index of Subjects will suffice for all the needs of comparison of passages that are likely to arise. In the Index of Texts, an asterisk marks some of those places where a text is fully explained; and students of the history of Biblical Interpretation may find this feature helpful to them. It will not be strange, if, on turning up a few passages, they will find their notion of the power, exactness, and devout truth of Augustin as an interpreter of Scripture very much raised above what the current histories of interpretation have taught them.”
The above has been prepared by Dr. Warfield. I need only add that the present volume contains the most important of the doctrinal and polemical works of Augustin, which exerted a powerful influence upon the Reformers of the sixteenth century and upon the Jansenists in the seventeenth. They constitute what is popularly called the Augustinian system, though they only represent one side of it. Enough has been said on their merits in the Prolegomena to the first volume, and in the valuable Introductory Essay of Dr. Warfield, who has been called to fill the chair of systematic theology once adorned by the learning and piety of the immortal Hodges, father and son.
The remaining three volumes will contain the exegetical writings of the great Bishop of Hippo.
New York, September, 1887.
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