Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 300: Vincentius Victor
After Quaestiones and Locutiones Augustine dates four books written on the origin of the soul to Vincentius Victor.2 They are usually entitled De anima et eius origine but in Possidius are entitled De natura et origine animi3 Victor was a young man from Caesarean Mauretania, a layman with many natural talents.4 He was eloquent, but with ornamented expression, acceptable, but verbose. His rambling style could have been corrected or at least tolerated, provided he maintained the truth. God had given him genius, but he did not possess the requisite humility; he was not sufficiently mature. In difficulties where he had no insight into solutions, he preferred profession of error to confession of ignorance. Victor knew Scripture verbatim but did not penetrate the sense sufficiently to write on difficult matters. Had he been educated in religion, he would have been a force for good.
He had been involved in the Rogatist sect, a Donatist splinter group near Cartenna, Caesarean Mauretania.5 He had recently left this faction to embrace Catholicism. However, he retained a high regard for Vincentius, the leader of the Rogatist party following its founder Rogatus. Victor regarded Vincentius as a holy and admirable man and therefore took his name and called himself Vincentius Victor.
One day as Victor was at the home of Pedro, a Spanish priest,6 he discovered Augustine’s work in which he in his usual modesty had confessed ignorance concerning the origin of the...
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