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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 55: Letter 151 (2)


NOTE 551

Letter 151 (2)

Caecilianus was at Carthage when Marcellinus was executed September 13, 413.2 He was about to depart for a long trip and had hoped in consideration of his trip Count Marinus would spare Marcellinus‘ life and that of his brother. Sometime later, Augustine received a letter from Pope Innocent, quam per tuam praestantiam, he says to Caecilianus, ad me datam certis declaratur indiciis. This phrase gives us reason to believe Caecilianus had gone to Rome from Carthage. In effect Augustine says Caecilianus had not written him. He uses his terms proper for letters coming from overseas, nullam tuam paginam simul advectam esse. Some time later, Augustine wrote Caecilianus as a friend from whom he had received a response. Augustine had received a letter from Caecilianus himself, regretting not having written Augustine earlier. Augustine responds with Letter 151 where he does not remark that Caecilianus had returned to Africa nor that he hoped to meet him. Thus Cecilianus was still in Rome apparently early in 414.

However, we have a law from March 3, Constantio et Constante Consularibus, in 414 which commits Caecilianus to take care of various matters in Africa.3 Therefore Caecilianus was certainly in Africa after March 3, 414 or may have come more recently to execute this law. As a result Letter 151 was written later than March, 414, when Caecilianus had been obliged to return to Africa. What had occurred after September 13 could have taken place...

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