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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 78: Collectio Carthaginensis


NOTE 781

Collectio Carthaginensis2

The Council of Carthage of May 25, 419 has caused us to read and register in its acts the canons of the councils of Africa made under Aurelius and his predecessors since the Council of Nicea.3 These canons are those of Collectio Carthaginensis which are found in the Code of Dionysius Exiguus.4 Collectio Carthaginensis gathers together the canons of councils of Carthage under Gratus, Genethle, and Aurelius, in the latter case from the Council of Hippo (393) up to the Council of Carthage (419). To these have been joined the letters of Atticus and Cyril on the canons which the Council of Carthage (419) had requested by a letter to Pope Celestine. This letter ends with the history of the council of 419 although it was written circa 425. Thus this collection is apparently the work of the same council. Aurelius causes the canons to be read in 419. At the head of those canons which were enacted in a new version on May 30, 419 this text is found: Quoniam superioribus Conciliorum decretis and so forth (superiorum should not be read). The Greek translation has the same. Previously, various canons of other councils had been read concerning ecclesiastical judgments.5 Nothing characterizes this collection better. The style in which Phillip, a Roman priest, signs at the end of the first session clearly characterizes it: his gestis a nobis recollectis subscripti. The Greeks apparently have read relectis. At the end of article 33...

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