Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 301: De anima et eius origine (1)
De anima et eius origine (1)
René, a monk residing in Algiers,1 is apparently the man who had shown Augustine Optatus’ letter in 418.2 Unlike several others, René was unimpressed by Victor’s false eloquence. His own professed seriousness distanced him from Victor’s teaching.3 René was wise, prudent, and orthodox.4 He cared for those whom he loved in God and conscience, in particular Augustine.5
In seeing Victor’s teaching in his books, René was displeased.6 Victor had treated Augustine unfittingly.7 Through sincere love he did what Victor himself should have done: he had Victor’s books copied and sent to Augustine accompanied by a letter excusing himself for taking the liberty.8 He may have feared Augustine would take umbrage at his boldness. The books were sent from Algiers to Hippo during the summer.9 However, Augustine received them in late autumn as he had been absent from Hippo during the summer on a trip to an unknown destination.10
In his encounter with Victor, Augustine was wise and humble as was his custom. He took no offense at Victor’s writing.11 Since Augustine was of a different opinion, he wanted to explain his thinking in writing. Augustine believed Victor may have written out of affection. Seeing his reasoning, Augustine could correct his errors. He maintained the adage when another‘s mind is unknown, praise the intention as good rather than condemn it as evil. Augustine attributed to Victor’s shyness his opening himself to another and...