Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Note 91: Hilary of Arles
Hilary of Arles
For a long time the Hilary who wrote Augustine with Prosper against the Semi-Pelagians was believed to be Hilary, bishop of Arles.2 It is astonishing that anyone believed this. Prosper tells us Hilary was a bishop at the time when both wrote to Augustine. The man who wrote with Prosper is clearly a layman.3
To solve this disharmony, Vossius wishes Honoratum to be read in place of Hilarium where Prosper speaks of the bishop of Arles.4 There is reason to believe Hilary was not yet bishop in 428–429 and Eucher wrote Augustine circa 1185 according to Roman reckoning which may be 432 or 433.5 Eucher writes: Hilarius nuper, et in Italia nunc antistes Petronius ambo ex illa plenissima, ut aiunt mundanae potestatis sede, unus in religionis, alius in sacerdotis nomen ascendit. From this passage, Rohweide concludes Hilary was not yet bishop in 433.6
A problem exists with this passage. The opposition between nuper and nunc apparently indicates this Hilary was dead. This can not be understood of Hilary of Arles. If we wish to understand the word means he had retired somewhat earlier, which is a less natural sense, it would still be difficult to accord with the history of Hilary of Arles who was at Lerins some time before the episcopacy of Honoratus and thus six or seven years before Eucher wrote this letter.