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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 252: Evodius’ Questions



Evodius’ Questions

Contemporaneous to time of Augustine’s response to Evodius he apparently wrote Augustine Letter 160.1 There Evodius consulted him on reason and God. He sent Augustine the letter through Jobin, a monk from Marcianium.2 A relatively long period passed before Augustine responded to this letter as it was filled with subtle and difficult questions. No matter how careful and clear Augustine’s answers might be, excellent minds such as Evodius’ might still find obscurity. Augustine’s response was useful for the common man. He wrote some responses to profit the questioner and others as a statement of the question — Augustine did not conceal his intent. To respond to Evodius’ questions he interrupted various writings which then occupied him.

Evodius had not yet received Letter 1593 where Augustine had responded to the first question in Letter 160. Evodius responded anew in Letter 161. He raised objections to subjects found in Letter 92 to Italica.4 In 412 Augustine had written Volusianus.5 Augustine indicated to Evodius among other things what he had written to Volusianus in support of the virgin birth might serve to support those who wished Christ to have seen the deity with corporeal eyes.6 Neither Augustine nor Evodius believed that he had such a corporeal vision. Evodius indicates in Letter 161 what he also wrote in Letter 163 on the question of the body of the Savior. Further he considered the question whether it was true, as some claimed, that Christ saw the...

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