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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 331: Leporius (3)

Extract

ARTICLE 331

Leporius (3)

Leporius addressed his retraction to Proculus and Cylinnus along with a request for pardon.1 According to Cassian, Leporius had written his retraction to the entire Gallic church.2 Doubtless Leporius had written the retraction with the intention of promulgating it in Gaul. He signed the retraction in Carthage in the presence of bishops, at least Aurelius of Carthage, Augustine, Florence of Hippo-Dhiarrytes, and Secundus (or Secundinus) of Acqs or Megarme.3 The latter is named in the conference of Carthage (411) as Secundus of Megarmel. Megarmel is a city in Numidia, today under the name of Vagarmel.4 Domninus and Bonus, Leporius disciples, signed Leporius’ retraction professing the same faith. They witness their change of mind by signatures before the bishops.5

The African bishops signed Leporius’ retraction to witness it was truly ascribed to him and to approve its teaching.6 The bishops will write a letter to Proculus and Cylinnus concerning conversion of Leporius and his companions.7 The African bishops glorified God over their conversions. The Africans did not accuse the severity of the Gallic bishops; on the contrary they praised it and said without it their kindness would perhaps have been fruitless. The African bishops request the Gallic bishops to agree to Leporius’ retraction, to receive his retraction since they had accepted it from him personally, and to promulgate the retraction to those formerly scandalized by his error. By their responses, the bishops should gladly participate in learning of their brothers’ correction...

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