Dieser Artikel entstammt dem Augustinus-Lexikon und wurde in dessen 3. Band, Doppelfaszikel 5/6 (2008) auf den Spalten 910-14 publiziert.
1. L. of Bethany – 2. L. in the Lucan parable – 3. ‹L. episcopus› – 4. ‹L. diaconus-presbyter›
1. L. of Bethany. – While sharing common elements with Irenaeus’ (cf., e.g., Iren. 5,13,1) and Origen’s (cf., e.g., Or. Jo 28,54sq.) spiritual reading of the text, A.’s exegesis of Io 11,1-44 demonstrates no dependence upon a previous Latin North African tradition . In contrast A. undoubtedly follows Ambrose’s exegesis of L.’s resurrection understood in terms of ecclesial reconciliation .
A. firmly accepts the historical veracity of L.’s resurrection  – the physical nature of which L.’s later table-fellowship with Jesus at Bethany demonstrates (Io. eu. tr. 50,5). The scriptural account of L.’s resurrection was widely known, even among non-Christians, and frequently read during the Eucharistic liturgy at Hippo (cf., e.g., s. Mai 125,1). It forms the final part of a resurrection-miracle triptych in A.’s preaching , which A. applies to sin  in its various stages: Jairus’ daughter (‹consensio›), the widow’s son (‹factum›), and L. (‹consuetudo›) . A.’s exegesis of the L. account is a classical illustration of →‹paenitentia› in the ancient Church, demonstrating the divine ‹suscitare› moving the serious sinner to repentance and the ecclesial ‹soluere› absolving his sin . On this account, A. emphasizes the superiority of moral conversion to physical resuscitation, e.g., the spiritual →Maria et Martha), L.’s sister whom A. equates with the penitent woman in Lc 7,36-50 . Christ’s Resurrection and the general resurrection of the dead to eternal life are likewise superior to L.’s resurrection because L. rises only to die again (Io. eu. tr. 19,9sq.; →Resurrectio). L.’s miraculous, visible resuscitation serves primarily to build up the faith of believers in both those things which they cannot see (en. Ps. 9,2; s. 88,1) and the general resurrection (Io. eu. tr. 21,11).
Reading Io 11 allegorically , A. takes L. as a figure of the whole human race oppressed by sin (diu. qu. 65) or with greater frequency as an individual weighed down by habitual sin , e.g., a drunkard or an adulterer (Io. eu. tr. 49,14; s. Mai 125,2). In asking ‹Where have you laid him?›, Christ is not subject to ignorance, but rather he poses a didactic question (c. adu. leg. 1,20.43).
A. interprets the stone covering L.’s tomb in a twofold manner. For the serious sinner the stone represents his hardened heart (Io. eu. tr. 22,7), the oppressive weight of his habitual sin (s. 128,12.14), and the scandalous nature of his life (diu. qu. 65). A. also equates the tombstone with the Mosaic Law originally written on stone tablets: «mortuus sub lapide, reus sub lege» (Io. eu. tr. 49,22).
L. lies buried for four days in the grave, and his decomposing body stinks. He represents the habitual sinner to whom the stench of a bad reputation clings (ib. 49,3). Signifying generally the woeful condition of the public penitent (s. 352,3.8), the four days represent either four stages leading to habitual sin  or four levels of transgression . Christ’s loud cry, ‹Lazarus, come out›, symbolizes the power of his grace to touch the human heart, to revive the spiritually dead (Io. eu. tr. 49,24) and to instil a living faith (en. Ps. 87,13). Like L. emerging bound from the tomb, walking miraculously by means of the Lord’s power, the penitent confesses his sin (ib. 101,2,3) . Finally, it remains for the Church to unbind, i.e., to absolve, the sinner. A.’s reading of Io 11,44 in conjunction with Mt 18,18  reveals the inclusive, although distinct, participation of clergy and laity in this ecclesial reconciliatory act effected primarily through intercessory prayer .
Notes. –  Tertullian cites ib. 11,41sq. in adu. Prax. 23 p. 271,8sq. and Io 11,39 in carn. 7 l. 54. In neither case does he treat the person of L. Cyprian cites Io 11,25sq. in mortal. 21, but he does not consider L.’s resurrection. –  Cf. Ambr. paenit. 2,7,52-65; cf. CAROLA, Role 137-151. –  Cf. diu. qu. 65 (‹quaestio› 65 is entitled: ‹De resurrectione Lazari›); Io. eu. tr. 50,5; trin. 8,7. –  Cf. CARROL. –  Especially adultery, cf., e.g., ib. 125,2. –  S. dom. m. 1,35; s. 98,5; s. Mai 125,1sq.; Io. eu. tr. 49,3. –  S. 295,2sq.; 352,3.8; cf. ADAM 47; HÜNERMANN 49; POSCHMANN 216sq.; ZÄHRINGER 138; LA BONNARDIÈRE 188sq.; BERROUARD, Symbol; CAROLA, Role 138. For the context, cf. also DE MARGERIE. –  Cons. eu. 2,79.154; Io. eu. tr. 49,3. –  Cf. the two notes of BERROUARD. –  Io. eu. tr. 49,3; s. 98,6sq.; 128,12.14. –  Ib. 98,6: «quasi titillatio delectationis in corde; secunda, consensio; tertium, factum; quarta, consuetudo». –  Birth into Adam’s sin, transgression of the Natural Law, the Mosaic Law and the Gospel (Io. eu. tr. 49,12; ep. 157,3.15). –  Revived but still bound by guilt (s. 98,6), he stands in need of prayer, penance and absolution (s. Mai 125,2; s. 352,3.8). His veiled face, moreover, symbolizes a further consequence of sin, i.e., ignorance (diu. qu. 65). –  S. 67,2sq.; 98,6; 352,3.8; s. Mai 125,2. –  S. Guelf. 16,2; cf. CAROLA, Role 93-116.147-155; id., Vision 79-82.
2. L. in the Lucan parable. – Treating Io 11 in Io. eu. tr. 49, A. alludes to the parable of L. and ‹diues› (Lc 16,9-31; →Diuitiae) in order to demonstrate the different judgments (→Iudicium ultimum) which await man after death. Significantly in Io. eu. tr. 49,9, A. refers simply to the ‹pauper› (→Paupertas) and makes no connection between L. of Bethany and L. of the parable. They are distinct individuals. By all accounts, it seems, A. considers L. and ‹diues› to have been historical figures .
In birth and death, ‹diues› and L. share man’s common lot (en. Ps. 72,13; cf. s. 367,1). Nonetheless, both in life and after death, ‹diues› stands as a foil to L. . A. compares ‹diues› to the proud Pharisee who finds satisfaction in his own justice and L. to the humble publican who cries out for mercy (qu. eu. 2,38,1). Translating the Hebrew name Lazarus with the Latin word ‹adiutus› (‹one who is helped›) . A. beholds in L. a ‹typus ecclesiae› (→Ecclesiae figurae). For the Church is perpetually obliged to confess her need of God’s help .
A. interprets L.’s humble state in various ways. L.’s miserable earthly existence is the result of Adam’s sin (ib. 2,38,2). Covered with sores and lying at ‹diues›’ gate, L. symbolizes the «tribulatio confessionum» (s. Mai 13,3) of the contrite sinner. L. is likewise a figure of Christ who in the Incarnation humbled himself in order to be heard by the proudest of men, seeking from them ‹crumbs› of justice, i.e., the humblest works of mercy (qu. eu. 2,38,5). →‹Pietas› and ‹humilitas› (→Humiliatio, humilitas) bring L. to his repose in Abraham’s bosom, whereas ‹impietas› and ‹superbia› merit ‹diues› damnation . Whereas ‹diues› feared the ‹nouissimus dies›, L. longed for it (s. Guelf. 30,3).
In preaching the Lucan parable, A. is quick to admonish the poor who in hearing the Gospel story presume that in virtue of their poverty they will automatically go to heaven while the rich on account of their wealth are destined to hell . Mere material poverty merits no praise: «nam paupertas infidelis et hic est cruciatio, et ibi damnatio» (ib.). In fact, Abraham with whom L. finds rest was a rich man. With clear irony A. preaches: «diues suscepit pauperum» (ib. 30,5). ‹Auaritia›, not wealth, damns ‹diues›. Correspondingly, fidelity, not poverty, gains L. his place in Abraham’s embrace. Had ‹diues› given alms to L., the ‹pauper› could have aided ‹diues› in turn, for «uia caeli est pauper» (s. 367,3; →Eleemosyna) .
Notes. –  Cura mort. 14; also cf. A.’s queries about whether L. received a proper burial (s. 14,3; 41,4). –  Cf. en. Ps. 51,14; s. 14,3; 41,4; 102,2sq.; s. Dolbeau 7,3. –  Ib.; en. Ps. 69,7; s. Denis 23,4. –  En. Ps. 69,7. Here A.’s antidonatist polemic comes to the fore. –  S. Guelf. 30,3. While the rich man is given no proper name, Jesus names the poor man L. because his name is written in the book of the living (s. 41,4; s. Denis 23,4; cf. s. Mai 13,1). L. stands as a model for Christians, for while on earth he piously meditated upon man’s eternal rest at life’s end (s. Denis 23,4). Exemplifying Col 3,3 in this life, he died hoping for a better life (s. 41,5). –  S. 14,4; s. Lambot 24,9; cf. Ambr. in Luc. 8,13: «neque enim omnis sancta paupertas aut diuitiae criminosae, sed ut luxuria infamat diuitias, ita paupertatem conmendat sanctitas». –  But cf. Io. eu. tr. 44,6: From Abraham’s bosom L. cannot raise even a finger to help the damned ‹diues›.
3. ‹L. episcopus›. – Ordained bishop of Aix-en-Provence by Proculus of Marseille during the reign of the usurper Constantine III, L. was deposed from his see sometime after 411 . Together with Hero, the exiled bishop of Arles, L. compiled a summary of →Pelagius’ errors and presented it to Eulogius of Caesarea, the Primate of Palestine . A council of 14 Palestinian bishops met at Diospolis on 20 December 415 under the presidency of John of Jerusalem to consider the accusations . Pelagius was present, but for reasons of poor health on the part of either L. or Hero neither attended (gest. Pel. 62; retr. 2,47). According to A., their unfortunate absence favoured Pelagius, who, perhaps benefiting from the Latin translator’s inadequacies, managed to dissimulate before the council (gest. Pel. 39). Although the bishops condemned the heresy contained in the accusations, they exonerated Pelagius (ib. 62). Pope →Zosimus judged the Gallican bishops’ efforts severely . The following year, 416, L. along with Hero sent a letter condemning both Pelagius and Celestius to an African council meeting at Carthage . In the summer of that same year, A. wrote to Jerome, acknowledging that he had received the letter which he had sent to him «per sanctum episcopum Lazarum» (ep. 19*,1). L.’s epitaph, preserved in the crypt of St. Victor’s at Marseilles, likely gave rise to the medieval legend of L. of Bethany’s episcopal ministry and martyrdom at Marseilles .
Notes. –  Cf. DUCHESNE 321sq. –  Gest. Pel. 9; cf. also ib. 2.39.62; äGratia, 3,211-213. –  Cf. NARDI; WERMELINGER 68-87. –  Zosim. epist. 1sq. (CSEL 35,1, pp. 99-108). –  Cf. ep. 175,1; cf. WERMELINGER 96sq. –  Cf. Lazarus (ODCC); DUCHESNE 321-357 (cf. also ‹En résumé› ib. 357-359).
4. ‹L. diaconus-presbyter›. – Shortly after Epiphany 426 at Hippo, the deacon L. chanted Act 4,31-35 after which A. preached s. 356, the second of his two sermons on clerical life at the monastery in Hippo . On 26 September 426, having been ordained priest in the previous months, L. sat among the members of Hippo’s ‹presbyterium› when A. nominated →Eraclius as his successor (ep. 213,1). He is most probably the same priest L. who in 428 brought A. a letter from →Firmus (ep. 2*,1) and who in 429 continued his courier services by bringing to A. some medicines which Darius had sent along with an accompanying letter (ib. 230,6).
Note. –  Cf. ib. 356,1. For this L. cf. Lazarus (PAC).
Bibliography. – K. ADAM, Die kirchliche Sündenvergebung nach dem hl. Augustin, Paderborn 1917. – M.F. BERROUARD, Un symbole de la grande pénitence: la résurrection de Lazare et son déliement: BA 73B (1989) 469-473. – Id., Le symbolisme des quatre jours de mort de Lazare: ib. 466sq. – J. CAROLA, Augustine’s Vision of Lay Participation in Ecclesial Reconciliation: AugStud 35,1 (2004) 73-93. – Id., Augustine of Hippo: The Role of the Laity in Ecclesial Reconciliation, Rome 2005. – W. CARROL, St. Augustine’s Preaching on Miracles: HPR 48 (1947) 755-762. – L. DUCHESNE, Fastes épiscopaux de l’ancienne Gaule 1, Paris 1907. – F. HÜNERMANN, Die Bußlehre des heiligen Augustinus, Paderborn 1914. – A.M. LA BONNARDIÈRE, Pénitence et réconciliation des Pénitents d’après saint Augustin III: REAug 14 (1968) 181-204. – Lazarus: PAC 630sq. – Lazarus: ODCC 961. – L.J. VAN DER LOF, Abraham’s Bosom in the Writings of Irenaeus, Tertullian and Augustine: AugStud 26 (1995) 109-123. – B. DE MARGERIE, La mission sacerdotale de retenir les péchés en liant les pécheurs: intérêt actuel et justification historique d’une exégèse tridentine: RevSR 58 (1984) 300-317. – C. NARDI, Diospoli (concilio): NDPAC 1447sq. – B. POSCHMANN, Die kirchliche Vermittlung der Sündenvergebung nach Augustinus: ZKTh 45 (1921) 208-228.405-432.497-526. – O. WERMELINGER, Rom und Pelagius. Die theologische Position der römischen Bischöfe im pelagianischen Streit in den Jahren 411-432, Stuttgart 1975. – D. ZÄHRINGER, Das kirchliche Priestertum nach dem hl. Augustinus. Eine dogmatische Studie, Paderborn 1931.
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