It is important to note that what is termed as a “letter” of St Augustine is at times much more than simply one or two pages in length. Before the advent of the printing press and the production of books, the difference between terms such as “letter” and “manuscript” was neither standardized nor necessarily determined solely by the number of pages involved.
If, as in this case, Augustine was writing personally to one recipient, his work was called a letter more because of its preparation for and transmission to a nominated sole recipient; on the other hand, if the very same document had been intended to be copied and available for many general readers, it could well be termed a manuscript.
Some of Augustine’s “letters” are lengthier than some of his “books.” In fact, if Augustine’s letters had been his only writings to have survived, ( i.e., if no copies of his “books” or sermons existed), the world would nevertheless know more about the person and theology of Augustine that is equivalently known about some Christian theologians who lived many centuries after him.
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