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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 270: In Ioannis euangelium tractatus; In Ioannis epistolam ad Parthos

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ARTICLE 270

In Ioannis euangelium tractatus; In Ioannis epistolam ad Parthos

Augustine’s In Ioannis euangelium tractatus and In Ioannis epistolam ad Parthos should not be dated in final form earlier than 416 or 417.1 The discovery of the body of Stephen occurred at the end of 415 and was celebrated in that year.2 At that time Lucianus had already written his history of the discovery of Stephen’s body and thus it was known throughout the entire world. If we dare say Augustine added the text on Stephen later when he reviewed his works at the end of his life, a date of 412 would be preferable. Augustine was still occupied in combat against the Donatists during that time and had only begun to defend the truth of grace against the Pelagians. In Ioannis euangelium tractatus Augustine speaks at times against Pelagians, but not by name.3 Predestination is proposed as something clear and certain.4 He combats the Donatists who still had a schismatic altar in Hippo.5 Doubtless he preached some of the Tractatus outside of Hippo6 in or near Carthage.7 From his preaching, many schismatics recognized the truth—the Church rejoiced daily at their return.8 Several manuscripts report these sermons were transcribed as he preached them (ad populum).9 He reviewed these sermons and placed them in their extant state.10 ← 164 | 165 →

Augustine preached these sermons on various occasions.11 For example, Tractatus 46 was preached on Sunday and Tractatus 45 the previous day. Tractatus 34...

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