'... neque in dexteram, neque in sinistram declinans' (Vita Augustini 22,1) Possidius' relationship with Augustine and Augustine's embodiment of the Praeceptum in the Vita Augustini

Paul Van Geest*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

Abstract

This article is divided into three parts. The first calls into question how relations between Possidius and Augustine must be viewed on the basis of what Augustine has to say about the topic; thus the article shows that it was Possidius who appears to have guided and counseled Augustine on several occasions, particularly on legal issues. This then makes it possible to put forward several hypotheses, if not strictly speaking on Possidius' biography, then at least on his formation, and to regard him as a cultured man who mastered the codes of hagiographical literature, who had certainly received legal training, and who was perfectly acquainted with Augustine's oeuvre. The article finally also discusses the question of the Augustine of the Vita Augustini: on the basis of passages from the text, the author regards this figure as an example of moderate monastic life, but also as the true incarnation of various tenets of the Rule (he discusses seven examples). Through this literary expedient, Possidius wanted to involve the writing of the Vita in his strategy of unifying the African church. This article, which stands in the tradition of L. Verheijen's research, attempts to contribute to the studies of the Rule, but especially of the composition and purposes of Possidius' Vita.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-121
Number of pages23
JournalRevue d Etudes Augustiniennes et Patristiques
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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