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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 263: Council of Carthage (416)



Council of Carthage (416)

Orosius gave Heros’ and Lazarus’ letters to the bishops of Carthage who held their assemblies annually in and around June.1 At that time provincial councils of Proconsular were held in Carthage. Orosius’ return and the entire course of history leave no doubt this council took place in 416. Innocent’s responses occurred January, 417.

Sixty-eight bishops were present at the Council of Carthage (416).2 Their names, as well as others, are indicated in the manuscripts. The most famous bishops attending were Aurelius of Carthage, Mundius (Numidus) of Maxula, Vincent of Culusa, and Theasius of Memblone. Garnier has researched the sees of other bishops of this and various other Numidian councils.3 Noris indicates several errors in his tedious and rather unimportant report.4 The various reasons this council gathered together are not known today. Heros’ and Lazarus’ letters reproaching Pelagius and Caelestius concerning their detestable errors worthy of the Church’s anathemas were read.5 Likely Augustine had already received Pelagius’ abridgement of the proceedings of the Council of Diospolis.6 The bishops believed they should not delay use of their episcopal authority to defend the Church’s cause. They re-read the acts against Caelestius from five years previously. Subsequently Caelestius had been ordained in Asia. The council resolved both he and Pelagius would be anathematized if they did not clearly and distinctly condemn their teaching.

The council fathers believed this severity necessary to heal the minds of people who had been...

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