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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 310: De nuptiis et concupiscentia II; Contra duas epistolas Pelagianorum

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ARTICLE 310

De nuptiis et concupiscentia II;1 Contra duas epistolas Pelagianorum

Julian wrote four books in response to De nuptiis et concupiscentia I and still did not comment on the fourth part.2 He was content to combat what in his eyes was the weakest part of Augustine’s work, as if no one would read both works. In his opinion he had sufficiently averted the reproach of not commenting on the fourth part when he wrote in his preface he had not seen in Augustine’s writing any proof for his position.3

Julian abandoned the truth and resorted to insults.4 He treats Augustine and Catholics as Manicheans.5 He refers to Augustine as “that African preacher.”6 Julian abused those who had left the Pelagian cause to return to the Church.7 Augustine apparently knew of a few living in chastity—he knows of no others.8 Julian holds Count Valerius in high regard.

Julian glories in maintaining the truth abandoned by others.9 In this position he wrongs Pelagius and Caelestus.10 He wished to appear as a David maintaining glory in his own person.11 He had as it were dueled with Augustine.12 He explained uselessly and falsely Paul’s words: “Who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rm 7:24).13 He cites passages from Basil and ← 289 | 290 → Chrysostom as claiming to favor his heresy.14 Julian promised another work to respond to Catholic arguments proving original sin.15 He addressed his books to Turbantius, a...

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