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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

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 294: Council of Carthage (419) 2



Council of Carthage (419) 2

The Council of Carthage (419) had settled the affair of the appeals to Rome in so far as it could.1 The Nicene Creed and the twenty canons were read. Various rules and acts enacted in the African councils held under Aurelius or his predecessors were read and inserted into the acts to confirm the faith of Nicea and Church discipline. Apparently a collection of canons had been made previously. The same collection is celebrated today under the title Collectio Carthaginensis, or the source from which this collection is taken.

On May 30, 419 the council assembled in the sacristy of the Basilica Restitutus.2 Faustinus of Potentia was present together with the two hundred and seventeen bishops of the previous sessions. The priests Philippus and Asellius, legates of the Roman church, were seated after the prelates. Matters of which no knowledge exists today were settled. Several matters to be voided were also considered. Many bishops said they could not remain longer and were obliged to return to their respective churches. Therefore the entire council chose twenty-two deputies to remain at Carthage with Aurelius to settle the remainder of the affairs. Of these deputies the most celebrated are Vincent of Culusa for the Proconsular, Alypius, Augustine, and Possidius for Numidia, Jocondus of Sussetule for Byzacena, and Novatus for Stesan Mauretania. No deputy is indicated for Tripoli.

Isidore’s edition of the canons considers this meeting a different council...

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