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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 296: Collectio Carthaginensis

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ARTICLE 296

Collectio Carthaginensis

The letters of the African bishops to Boniface and Celestine and the letters of Atticus and Cyril to the African bishops are extant. So too is the letter of the Council of Africa to Celestine added later to Collectio Carthaginensis because it settled the Apiarius affair and the appeals process to Rome. These letters complete the one hundred and thirty-eight articles of Collectio Carthaginensis written as a collection of canons or at least approved and authorized by the Council of Africa (419). According to some scholars this collection is simply a work of one man with no authority and collected a century later. Clearly their reasons are not weighty. Zosimus had sent to the Africans by legates an abridgement of the discipline which he desired Rome to observe with regard to appeals.1 Some scholars believe the African bishops took the occasion to collect the discipline established by their councils and send it to the pope. In the future then the pope might regulate his orders according to their usage and he would have no reason to complain and request what was not permitted by their discipline.

The addition of the last three or four articles and the division of the articles, sometimes rather poorly separated, are not from the council. Dionysius Exiguus admits he is their author.2 Still the abridgers and the copyists have stricken things read in the council and have erred in several other matters. The abridgements and...

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