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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 251: Apparitions of the Dead

Extract

ARTICLE 251

Apparitions of the Dead

In the same house where the young lector had died, an old man saw someone with a laurel branch in hand on which was writing.1 Whether this vision occurred before or after the young man’s death is unclear. Three days after his death, his father was in Evodius’ monastery where he had retired to console himself with the elderly bishop Theasius. The son appeared in a dream to one of the monks. The son asked him if he knew of his death. To which the monk responded “yes.” The monk recognized him joyfully and asked the son why he had returned. He responded God had sent him to mourn his father. The monk awakened and recounted the dream. Theasius was struck by the event and shamed the monk over his recount of his vision. He feared this vision would represent a difficulty for a certain priest if he were to come to hear the bishop speak. Apparently the monk did not actually know the father. Four days after this apparition the priest had a light fever. A physician assured him he had nothing to fear and did not consign him to bed. At the very time he was speaking the priest gave up his spirit.

Evodius recounts other stories concerning apparitions of the dead.

We have seen several persons after their death come into their homes as they had done previously, by day or night. More...

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