Archive for November 7th, 2006

“On the Life of St. Martin” concludes with an account of Severus’ own acquaintance with the famous saint. It’s very cute. 🙂 Btw, the ‘Paulinus’ he mentions is St. Paulinus of Nola.
You’ll notice that the book ends without St. Martin dead yet, which is a bit unusual in a biography. I’ll be adding some letters of Severus’ that finish the story, as a sort of postscript. (Though without the miffed footnotes.) But for now I’m done. Just in time for Martinmas!

Part 4: Chs. 25-27



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“On the Life of St. Martin” continues, with accounts of Martin’s miraculous cures and tussles with the devil.

Part 3 (Chs. 16-24)


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“On the Life of St. Martin” continues, as Martin becomes a bishop. Now, Severus isn’t particularly interested in boring stuff about Martin fighting heresies, building infrastructure, or going to plead to the emperors for the Church or the survival of heretics who’d made trouble. So we hear a lot about Martin getting rid of pagan temples, instead.

I bet I know what kind of history Severus liked, back in school. 🙂

Part 2 (Chs. 9-15)


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Now “On the Life of St. Martin” really begins, with a brief look at the joys of being the pacifist Christian son of a pagan military veteran. At a moment when the Empire had just instituted the draft for veterans’ sons.

Emperor Julian the Apostate shows up! You’ll love it!

Part 1


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“On the Life of St. Martin” is a fascinating little work by a young contemporary of St. Martin of Tours. St. Sulpitius Severus was a Roman from Gaul, a man of good family whose wife died young. He ended up deciding to become a monk, mostly thanks to St. Martin’s example. Since he was also a man of literary ambition and thought of St. Martin as a great man of history, he decided to write a biography of the man, and began interviewing people (including St. Martin) for the purpose.

As you will hear, the amiable Severus swears that every miracle tale is true, either sworn to by witnesses, seen by himself, or general knowledge. The footnotes of the Post-Nicene Fathers volume containing the “Life” throw themselves into fits about how obviously untrue every miracle must be. (Including mystical visions, which you wouldn’t think anybody’d get bothered about.)

Me, I wasn’t there. Though one does wonder how rigorous Severus was about eliminating Gallic urban legends, I don’t really feel the need to worry about it. Severus is probably a lot more concerned with truth than Suetonius, and nobody writes worried footnotes about his crazy tales.

Anyway, the preface and the first chapter are just explanatory matter. You can skip it if you like, or you can enjoy a few minutes of hanging out with St. Sulpitius Severus and learning his motivations.

Part 0 (Preface and Ch. 1)


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“On Patience” continues, as Tertullian considers the origins of impatience, the practice of patience against violence and grief, and the trouble with revenge.

“On Patience”, Part 2


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Pastoral Care continues, with two chapters on how to reach the forward and the fainthearted, and the impatient and patient.

Chapters 8-9, Book 3


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