Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 345: De haeresibus
Alypius had sent Augustine Julian’s first five books before the other three were copied, with a promise to send the others later.1 Doubtless Alypius sent them since we have Augustine’s response to the sixth. Perhaps he sent them some time later since apparently Augustine had already refuted the first five and had then written De haeresibus before receiving the last three.
The occasion of De haeresibus stems from Quoduultdeus deacon at Carthage. He may be the same person who was later bishop of Carthage in 439 when the city was sacked by the Vandals. Victor of Vite eulogizes him.2 He was a deacon at this time and calls himself ignorant.3 He understands no Greek and had no detailed study of Latin although he writes it rather well. He had not studied rhetoric. He had sent Augustine the acts of a council concerning Manicheanism.4
Quoduultdeus considered how much God-given grace Augustine possessed for instructing others.5 Led by Christ, Augustine received with good will those who addressed him and even invited those who feared burdening him. Quoduultdeus resolved to write Augustine requesting a treatise on all heresies from the beginning of the Church. He asked Augustine to record heretical teachings as contrary to truth, what Scripture and reason furnished to refute them, how the Church received heretics after they retracted, and whom the Church admitted or rejected for baptism. Refutation of all heresies was a work of almost infinite magnitude....