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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 92: Letter 227

Extract

NOTE 921

Letter 227

In his second letter to Quoduultdeus, written apparently at the end of 428 or later, Augustine mentions Alypius who was in Rome at the time and gives him no other title than brother.2 Evidently Alypius was not yet primate of Numidia. He became primate later since Augustine qualifies him so by name in the inscription of Letter 227, Alypio seni. Chifflet and Noris have concluded this also.3 This letter is written some time after Easter before 430 since Tagaste was then with the remainder of Africa, in Vandal hands.4 Apparently all was calm at the time in Numidia where this letter was written.

Nothing else can be judged from this letter except the address to a friend and neighbor with whom Augustine had been in contact and with whom he was familiar. As for the time of writing, Augustine had already written De haeresibus before Alypius had brought him Julian’s three final books from Rome. Likely Alypius came to Africa before the end of 429. Many reasons exist to believe he was in Africa in 428 before he was primate. Although Letter 227 is apparently written to a neighbor with whom Augustine could easily correspond, that does not prevent us from believing the letter was written to Rome. Are there any indications in this letter, especially at a time filled with fearful affairs and misfortunes in Africa, that the letter is only partially extant in an extract? That the address...

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