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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 288: Emeritus (1)

Extract

ARTICLE 288

Emeritus (1)

Augustine left the affairs of Carthage not to rest but to give the Church proof once again of his love for her by his diligence. He undertook a trip to Caesarean Mauretania.1 September 20, 418, he was at Caesarea, a city which gives its name to the province and is in fact its largest city. This city is probably modern day Algiers, one hundred and twenty leagues distant from Hippo.2 Surely Augustine passed through Hippo on his way there. According to his letter to Mercator he did not delay.3 Letters from Pope Zosimus obliged him and other bishops to travel to Caesarean Mauretania to sort out some unknown ecclesiastical affairs which had nothing to do with the Donatists.4 Doubtless the African bishops were well disposed to do everything in their power in behalf of Zosimus.5

Apparently on this trip Augustine crossed Caesarean Mauretania in its entirety.6 Nothing is known of his activity there. Deuterius, bishop of Algiers, (with the title metropolitan extraordinary in Africa), Alypius, Possidius of Calama, Rusticus of Cartenna, Palladius of Tigabe, and several unnamed bishops visited Algiers with Augustine.7 Bishops of the province are also present.8 Thus apparently it was a council. What happened is unknown. Emeritus was the Donatist bishop of Algiers who had distinguished himself in the conference of Carthage (411) in defense of his party.9 Following the conference he had returned to Algiers and remained obstinate in his schism.10 He made false public statements...

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