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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 320: Barnabas and Patrick

Extract

ARTICLE 320

Barnabas and Patrick

Barnabas, a priest of Hippo in 425, is the same man who came to Hippo in 411 with Pinianus. Augustine qualifies Barnabas as a saint and servant of God, without doubt a monk.1 Augustine speaks of him when rendering account to his people of the state of his clergy.

I have learned of rumors concerning the priest Barnabas, among other things that he bought the land of our dearly honored son Eleusinus. This is false. Eleusinus gave it to the monastery; Barnabas did not buy it. I am a witness to this gift. What can still be asked? I am the witness he has given it and not sold it. Because some do not believe he could have given it, they imagine Barnabas bought it. Is Eleusinus happy to have done a good deed that some are not persuaded he did? Believe him at least for the present. Do not listen easily to a lie. I say to you again: I witness he has done it.

Some say Barnabas had expressly incurred debts during the year he was econome of our house. For resolving these debts, I allowed him to possess Victorianus’ farm for ten years. This is false. However this rumor has some foundation in fact. Barnabas had effectively contracted some debts. I have paid a part as I was able. Money is still owed to the same monastery God has established for his ministry. Victorianus’...

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