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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 85: Leporius (1)


NOTE 851

Leporius (1)

Noris dates the story of Leporius circa 407.2 He can not date it earlier because Cassian first lived in Gaul after 405 at the earliest. According to Noris, the Leporius affair can not be dated later because Bishop Cylinnus who condemns Leporius was bishop of Frejus, predecessor of Leontius, and he probably began his term somewhat later. Noris’ reasoning finds some basis in Leporius’ writings since, when naming various heretics, he does not mention Pelagius. Leporius was ordained before his retractatio. Were his retractatio to have taken place in 430, too much time would be elapsed between his retractatio and his ordination. There is no difficulty in believing that Proculius, to whom along with Cylinnus Leporius’ retractatio was addressed, is the well-known bishop of Marseilles, but it would be a difficulty if we were to date the retractatio in 427.

Noris has not proved Proculius and Cylinnus, both named in the Leporius affair, are the bishops of Marseilles and Frejus. The founding of the monastery in Lerins can not be pushed back to 407. Leontius of Frejus, successor of Cylinnus, was already bishop when Honoratus retired there. No proof exists that Cassian had come to France before 414 or thereabouts.3 At that time he is seen in Rome and in the East, attending to the reunion of Alexander of Antioch with Pope Innocent. Cassian says of Leporius, ex Pelagii institutione vel potius pravitate descendens, that his error comes ex Pelaginano...

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