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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book IV, Chapter 9

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book IV

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Chapter 9. Of the Question How It Can Be Shown that the Narrative of the Haul of Fishes Which Luke Has Given Us is Not to Be Identified with the Record of an Apparently Similar Incident Which John Has Reported Subsequently to the Lord's Resurrection; And of the Fact that from This Point on to the Lord's Supper, from Which Event Onwards to the End the Combined Accounts of All the Evangelists Have Been Examined, No Difficulty Calling for Special Consideration Emerges in the Gospel of Luke Any More Than in that of Mark.

10. Luke, then, commences his Gospel in the following fashion: There was in the days of Herod the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth;and so on, down to the passage where it is said, Now when He had left speaking, He said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. In this whole section, there is nothing to stir any question as to discrepancies. It is true that John appears to relate something resembling the last passage. But what he gives is really something widely different. I refer to what took place by the sea of Tiberias after the Lord's resurrection. In that instance, not only is the particular time extremely different, but the circumstances themselves are of quite another character. For there the nets were cast on the right side, and a hundred and fifty and three fishes were caught. It is added, too, that they were great fishes. And the evangelist, therefore, has felt it necessary to state, that for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken, surely just because he had in view the previous case, which is recorded by Luke, and in connection with which the nets were broken by reason of the multitude of fishes. As for the rest, Luke has not recounted things like those which John has narrated, except in relation to the Lord's passion and resurrection. And this whole section, which comes in between the Lord's Supper and the conclusion, has already been handled by us in a manner which has yielded, as the result of a comparison of the testimonies of all the evangelists conjointly, the demonstration of an entire absence of discrepancies between them.

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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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