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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book IV, Chapter 2

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book IV

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Chapter 2. Of the Man Out of Whom the Unclean Spirit that Was Tormenting Him Was Cast, and of the Question Whether Mark's Version is Quite Consistent with that of Luke, Who is at One with Him in Reporting the Incident.

3. Mark proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit: and he cried out, saying, What have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? and so on, down to the passage where we read, And He preached in the synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. Although there are some points here which are common only to Mark and Luke, the entire contents of this section have also been already dealt with when we were going over Matthew's narrative in its continuity. For all these matters came into the order of narration in such a manner that I thought they could not be passed over. But Luke says that this unclean spirit went out of the man in such a way as not to hurt him: whereas Mark's statement is to this effect: And the unclean spirit comes out of him, tearing him, and crying with a loud voice. There may seem, therefore, to be some discrepancy here. For how could the unclean spirit have been tearing him, or, as some codices have it, tormenting him, if, as Luke says, he hurt him not? Luke, however, gives the notice in full, thus: And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. Thus we are to understand that when Mark says, tormenting him, he just refers to what Luke expresses in the sentence, When he had thrown him in the midst. And when the latter appends the words, and hurt him not, the meaning simply is, that the said tossing of the man's limbs and tormenting him did not debilitate him, as is often the case with the exit of devils, when, at times, some of the members are even destroyed in the process of removing the trouble.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

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