Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 226: Donatus of Mutugenne
Donatus of Mutugenne
When Augustine wrote Letter 139, bishop Boniface was at Carthage with Urban, a priest from Hippo. Boniface and Urban report carrying letters from Marcellinus to Augustine1 and he responded by Letter 143. He had lost the letter Boniface had carried, but he remembered Marcellinus had asked him where Pharoah’s magicians found the water which they had changed into blood.2 In the letter Urban carried, Marcellinus proposed an objection to a passage from De libero arbitrio.3 In addition one of his friends (he does not say if it was Volusianus) was dissatisfied with Augustine’s teaching in Letter 137 on the virginity of the mother of God.
Augustine responds on the passage in De libero arbitrio III with genuine humility. He believed himself capable of error and would be displeased to speak of himself in any other manner. He mentions his intention to review all his works and indicate in a published document what should be reworked and what is blameworthy. However he would retract nothing from the passage indicated by Marcellinus. Apparently the Pelagians had found an arguable point in that passage.
Marcellinus presses him to publish De Genesi ad litteram and De trinitate. Bishop Florentius had written him earlier to the same purpose. Augustine promises to publish these works later so as to have leisure to correct as many errors as possible.
The letter to Donatus can be dated during this period.4 It was written...
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