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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 307: Julian of Eclanum (1)



Julian of Eclanum (1)

In 419 Augustine sent Count Valerius the first book of De nuptiis et concupiscentia. After it appeared Julian of Eclanum wrote four books in refutation.2 By his reply Julian became infamous in history. It would have been better had he lived and died in anonymity. Many hermits living in solitude have more self-knowledge than did Julian. His name would then have been placed in the Book of Life. Neither sacred offices nor friendship nor familiarity with saints is a guarantee of salvation. All these advantages can not of themselves prevent a man from falling into excesses; if abandoned to the corruption of his heart he becomes arrogant, God permitting.

In his preface to the supplement of Augustine’s works, Vignier cites from a manuscript of Fulgentius that Julian was born of an illustrious family on his father’s side. He was the son of Memorius, an Italian bishop3 and Augustine’s friend and admirer. When Possidius went to Italy in 408 or 409 Augustine sent a letter of introduction with him to Memorius as a bishop close to him.4 Memorius was also known to Paulinus as a bishop.5 Neither Paulinus nor Augustine reports his see. Ughellius places Memorius among the bishops of Capua without evidence and reports him as successor to Vincentius, so celebrated in the story of Athanasius.6 Mercator calls Memorius of holy and happy memory and Juliana his wife a lady distinguished by the highest moral quality.7 Speaking of...

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