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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 340: Contra Iulianum opus imperfectum



Contra Iulianum opus imperfectum

Barbarian marauders, either as declared enemies or false friends, were incapable of preventing Augustine from working in behalf of the Church and defending truth against those attacking it. Julian of Eclanum had written four books against De nuptiis et concupiscentia I. Augustine refuted an abstract of the first book in De nuptiis et concupiscentia II. He then refuted all four books in Contra Iulianum. Alypius brought De nuptiis et concupiscentia II to Italy in 421. Somewhat later Julian responded before he had seen Contra Iulianum.2 Actually he did not think Augustine had written this work since he doubted Augustine had read his work in its entirety.3 There need be no astonishment concerning Julian’s ignorance of what took place in Africa since he was in Silicia when he wrote his second work against Augustine.4 Mercator believes Julian feigned ignorance of Contra Iulianum.5

In any event Julian composed not seven books, as we read in some editions of Gennadius,6 but eight as Augustine reiterates.7 Julian expanded on his first works with poor judgment and bad reasoning. Julian did not judge his works verbose, but men of better judgment, looking at the basis, held contempt for, and were annoyed by, his useless words. Augustine derided Julian and wrote, if he wished to continue in the same manner, he could write more than a thousand books to respond to the six in which Augustine had refuted the first four.8 Julian spoke...

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