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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 95: Transfer of Augustine’s Body

Extract

NOTE 951

Transfer of Augustine’s Body

In his letter to Charlemagne on the transfer of Augustine’s body to Pavia, Oldrad says Augustine’s body was brought to Sardinia circa fifty-six years after his death, that is to say 486, when Thrasamund had banished Fulgentius and many other African bishops.2 This history has internal problems. Fulgentius was consecrated bishop and banished in 508. Baronius changes fifty-six to seventy-four but seventy-eight would be necessary. This correction is his own and not authorized by any manuscript. Moreover, the persecution of 508 may concern only Byzacena. If this were true, this persecution could not have caused the transfer of Augustine’s body from Numidia. It would be better to abandon what Oldrad says of Thrasamund and Fulgentius as a conjecture which Oldrad himself advanced because it was what he knew best concerning the African persecution. Undoubtedly he found LVI somewhere and changed it to LIV. This would return us to 484 when Huneric began a general persecution against the entire African church. He banished a great number of bishops from all the African provinces in his possession. That he banished them to Sardinia is not mentioned. Forty-six bishops were relegated to Corfu.3 Others may have remained in Africa. In this movement of population, an accident unknown to us may have caused Augustine’s body to be brought to Sardinia.

If it was in 484, there remained not 223 (CCXXIII) years which we read in Oldrad but 228 years (CCXXVIII) years, if...

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