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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 90: Felicianus


NOTE 901


The Doctors of the Leuven have left among Augustine’s authentic works a dialogue with Felicianus.2 This work is cited under Augustine’s name by several authors from the ninth century and later. Bellarmine says Possidius includes this work in his catalogue.3 It may be in some editions, but it is not in the Leuven or the Benedictine editions. Erasmus was correct in saying it came from someone who had written it as an exercise rather than from Augustine himself. The work has neither Augustine’s air nor his style. In one place the author indicates an argument by which Manicheans are usually refuted. Augustine never uses this argument.

Another African bishop may have written this dialogue during the time of the Vandal occupation. In effect, Chifflet believes Vigilius, bishop of Tapse in Byzacena, wrote it at the end of the fifth century.4 Vigilius attributed his works to various ancient authors. Chifflet remarks this dialogue is connected in one manuscript with other works of Vigilius. It carries his name expressly in another, and the style compares perfectly with his. The Benedictines speak of this thesis as certain and proved by Chifflet.5 Du Pin follows them.6 ← 498 | 499 →

1     See Art. 342.

2     PL 40, 39.

3     De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis 175.

4     Supplementum 70.

5     PL 40,139.

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