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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

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 60: Heros and Lazarus


NOTE 601

Heros and Lazarus

According to Noris, Lazarus followed Pelagius to Palestine in 415 and returned to France in 417.2 His basis for this opinion is that Zosimus, in a letter dated September 22, 417, deposed bishop Ursus partially because Lazarus had assisted at his ordination.3 However, Noris has not proved that Ursus was ordained in 417. Zosimus says Lazarus ordained Ursus with Proculus who himself had been deposed. It would have been advantageous to Lazarus to have Zosimus’ approbation and protection. However, Zosimus’ words are not dependable. He expresses himself confusedly and could have been poorly informed of the facts of the matter. Lazarus could also have assisted at the ordination of Ursus after his deposition, but before leaving France for the East. Whatever the situation, if he was in France in 417, he likely returned to the East to follow Pelagius’ condemnation.

Noris correctly rebuffs the false speculations of modern Spanish scholars claiming Heros and Lazarus had been transferred from France to Spain. They cite as proof Letter 185 of Augustine. However, Augustine writes nothing except that Orosius came from Palestine in 416 and brought letters from these two bishops. ← 439 | 440 →

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