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Title: Christ is Born
Subtitle: Augustine's Nativity Sermons 189 and 194, with a Learning Trajectory in Five Phases
Author(s): VAN NEER, Joost
Journal: Augustiniana
Volume: 64    Issue: 1-4   Date: 2014   
Pages: 25-57
DOI: 10.2143/AUG.64.1.3080606

Abstract :
I have demonstrated in a series of articles that it is possible to uncover the arrangement of Augustine’s Nativity sermons in a different manner than by looking at the traditional rhetorical rules. Thus the parts into which the texts of these sermons are divided can be identified by using a twofold method, in which the results of an analysis of the use of language (e.g. changes in sentence type, the use of various kinds of particles and unusual word and constituent order, often indicative of poetic use of language) and the results of an analysis of the use of Scripture (changes in quoted or referenced verses or clusters of verses from Scripture) support each other. On the basis of this twofold method, which is comparatively easy to apply and verify, it has been possible to determine divisions of sermons into four, three and five parts. The division into four parts (in ss. 186 and 187) corresponds to the division which Augustine himself proposes in the fourth book of doctr.chr. He says nothing about the divisions into three and five parts, but the sermons in which these are used appear chaotic and difficult to understand if the arrangement is not recognized. Using the twofold method it has been possible to determine that ss. 189 and 194 consist of five parts. This means that – despite marked differences in composition – they have the same coherent structure and a clear argument, representing a strategy in which Augustine moves from the introduction, through a preparation for a didactic moment, to this didactic moment itself, followed by a supporting part and, finally, a conclusion.

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