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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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Note 53: De ciuitate dei (2)

Extract

NOTE 531

De ciuitate dei (2)

In De ciuitate dei XVIII,53 Augustine writes it was nearly thirty years since Manlius Theodorus was consul (399). Apparently then he had written this book in 428 and as a result he had finished De ciuitate dei XXII in 429 or 430 at very the end of his life. However, in Retractationes II,43, written apparently in 428, he supposes that De ciuitate dei had already been completed. Augustine cites De ciuitate dei XXII,26 in Retractationes I,26, written at the latest in 427, and in Retractationes II,41 he cites De cuitate dei II,29.

In addition, in De ciuitate dei XXII,8 he writes it is not quite two years since the relics of St. Stephen had arrived in Hippo. He reports the famous healing of Paul and Palladia on Easter Sunday in front of the relics at the shrine of St. Stephen. Paul had a vision three months earlier on January 1. (Clearly it is necessary to read kalendarum januariarum die, and not juniarum.) In this vision he was promised a cure for his condition in the third month, intra tertium mensem. Thus Easter should be dated in March of that year. This dating occurred in 430 when Easter fell on March 30. However, it is difficult to date this miracle in 430 in the middle of the Vandal siege. Without doubt Augustine would have spoken of this miracle in detail in De...

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