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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 230: Urban; Paulinus



Urban; Paulinus

In Letter 143, written toward the end of 412, Augustine mentions a priest Urban. Undoubtedly he later became bishop of Sicca, Proconsular, in which province Carthage is located. Peregrinus, apparently a deacon of Hippo, accompanied Urban when he assumed the burden of the episcopate. In 416 Urban traveled to Rome and returned. In 419 he was involved in the Apiarius affair as Apiarius was a priest of his diocese.

Peregrinus had not yet returned to Hippo when Augustine wrote Letter 149 to Paulinus. The letter must have been composed between 413 and 415. It replies to several letters from Paulinus. Augustine had written him Letter 95 from Carthage during the winter of 408–409. Paulinus had apparently misplaced it. He asked Augustine to send him a copy or treat the resurrection anew. Augustine had discussed the resurrection in Letter 95.1 At the same time Paulinus proposed nine questions on Scripture to be examined carefully and requests Augustine send his opinion. Of special import is the question concerning the words of Simeon to the Blessed Virgin (Lk 2:34f). Paulinus may have written this letter in 410. He sent it through servants of his friends. Apparently he had written an earlier letter to Augustine and sent it through the same intermediaries and then he added this letter. “This letter is written so you will give me instruction worthy of yourself.”

When Augustine received this letter he replied immediately and...

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