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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 223: Prevention of Violence in Numidia

Extract

ARTICLE 223

Prevention of Violence in Numidia

Apparently Marcellinus wrote Augustine during this period.1 He promised to send Augustine the acts of the conference and the confession of the assassins of Restitutus and Innocentius.2 He had asked Augustine to promulgate the acts in Theoprepia, a Donatist church in Carthage, at the time of the conference. He also pressed Augustine for a promised writing. Augustine responds he wanted a copy of the acts of the conference, to promulgate them in his church at Hippo and, were it possible, in the all the churches of his diocese. To promulgate them in Carthage, a meeting place, whether Theoprepia or elsewhere, had to be found.

Marcellinus swore to spare the murderers of Restitutus and Innocentius capital punishment. If that could not be done, he promised to insert in the acts of the proceedings Augustine’s two letters to him and the proconsul. At the very least he promised to leave the guilty in prison until he had written the emperor. From this appeal he hoped to obtain their pardon. The emperor had pardoned pagans who in 397 had killed the martyrs, Sisinnus, Martyrius, and Alexander in the valley of Anaunus near Trent.

Augustine complained of Donatist violence continuing in his diocese under the leadership of Macrobius, their bishop. Fear of the laws had obliged the rulers of the places to close Donatist churches. However Macrobius traveled throughout Northern Africa with male and female troops of Donatists and...

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