Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 335: Retractationes
Retractationes was completed before Augustine’s conference with Maximinus, the Arian bishop, since the conference is not noted. For a long time Augustine had intended to review all his works, letters, and sermons with judicial severity and to indicate in one express work what he, as a rigorous judge, found to correct in them.2 There were many items he wished he had not said. As early as 412 he wrote Marcellinus he desired to apply himself to this task so that his readers might see he would not exonerate himself.3 Baronius believes it was principally to devote himself to this work that he named a successor upon whom he could partially place the burden of his occupations.4
He listed his works and placed them in chronological order in so far as possible.5 Thus, those who wished to read them in chronological order could see his progress in ecclesiastical knowledge.
I have not remained the same. By the mercy of God I have progressed from the beginning of my writings and can not say I have been perfect. I am not so vain and insensitive as to say at my age I have attained perfection and am incapable of errors in my works. We must distinguish between errors as to their quality or the material on which I have erred and between those people who are easily corrected and those who stubbornly defend their errors. Hope still exists for a man...