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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Le Nain de Tillemont, Louis Sébastien

The Life of Augustine of Hippo

The Donatist Controversy (396 – 411)
Part 2
Translation, Introduction and Annotation by Frederick Van Fleteren

Year of Publication: 2012

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XX, 388 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0285-1 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.690 kg, 1.521 lbs

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Book synopsis

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 consecraton (354−396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396−411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411−430).

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Frederick Van Fleteren is Professor of Philosophy at LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Internationally respected for his scholarship on Augustine of Hippo, he is the general editor of the series Collectanea Augustiniana. The present volume is the tenth in that series. He has contributed several chapters to these books. Professor Van Fleteren has edited three volumes of Anselm Studies and has contributed to several other volumes in that series. He has edited a volume entitled Columbus and the New World and a biography of Prince Demetrius Gallitzin. For many years he has served as associate editor of Augustinian Studies and is co-editor of the critically acclaimed Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, which has been translated into Italian, French, and Spanish. He is the author of an ethics text, Fundamental Principles of a Natural Law Ethic. He has contributed countless articles to philosophical and theological journals in several languages and has served as a publisher and journal reviewer on Augustine of Hippo and Anselm of Canterbury. He is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge and has three times been a visiting fellow at Fundazione Bruno Kessler in Trento, Italy. A much sought-after speaker internationally, he has lectured at several universities and conferences in North America, Europe, and Asia.


«The seventeenth-century historian, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont's sixteen volumes of Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique constitute a monument in the historiography of Christianity. The thirteenth volume of Tillemont's work offers the first modern biography of St. Augustine. Frederick Van Fleteren's second volume of a planned three-volume English translation of this biography renders Tillemont's French text into a smooth, easily intelligible prose that draws the English reader into a fascinating account of the life of Augustine, one constructed from primary sources taken most often from manuscripts. Tillemont's biography is still consulted today by scholars and biographers of Augustine for its rich collection of sources and meticulous effort at historical accuracy. Van Fleteren's translation will become a classic among resource works on Augustine in the English-speaking world.» (Fr. Robert Dodaro, director of the Augustinian Patristic Institute at the Pontifical Lateran University)