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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book IV, Chapter 3

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book IV

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Chapter 3. Of the Question Whether Mark's Reports of the Repeated Occasions on Which the Name of Peter Was Brought into Prominence are Not at Variance with the Statement Which John Has Given Us of the Particular Time at Which the Apostle Received that Name.

4. The same Mark continues as follows: And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If you will, you can make me clean; and so on, down to where it is said, And they cried out, saying, You are the Son of God: and He straightway charged them that they should not make Him known. Luke also records something similar to the last passage which we have here adduced. But nothing emerges involving any discrepancy. Mark proceeds thus: And He goes up into a mountain, and calls unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach; and He gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. And Simon He surnamed Peter; and so on, down to where it is said, And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done: and all men did marvel. I am aware that I have spoken already of the names of the disciples when following the order of Matthew's narrative. Here, therefore, I repeat the caution, that no one should suppose Simon to have received the name Peter on this occasion for the first time, or fancy that Mark is here in any antagonism with John, who reports that disciple to have been addressed long before in these terms: You shall be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, A stone. For John has there recorded the very words in which the Lord gave him that name. Mark, on the other hand, has introduced the matter in the form of a recapitulation in this passage, when he says, And Simon He surnamed Peter. For, as it was his intention to enumerate the names of the twelve apostles here, and it was necessary for him thus to mention Peter, he decided briefly to intimate the fact that the said name was not borne by that disciple all along, but was given him by the Lord, not, however, at the time with which Mark was immediately dealing, but on the occasion in connection with which John has introduced the very words employed by the Lord. The other matters embraced within this paragraph, present nothing inconsistent with any of the other Gospels, and they have also been discussed previously.

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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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