Prosper ST., surnamed Aquitanus or Aquitanius, from the country of his nativity, was a distinguished theologian of Gaul, and flourished in the first half of the 5th century. He settled as a young man in Provence, and there became the intimate companion of a certain Hilary, who on this account is called Hilarius Prosperianus. The two friends studied and wrote together in defence of orthodox Christianity in general, and of Augustinianism in particular. Yet, although a stanch defender of the doctrines and person of St. Augustine, he was no priest, still less a bishop. as has been frequently asserted since the 7th century, but a married layman, pious and well versed in divine lore, who had been impelled by the miseries of his time to devote himself to an austere way of life (see Sirmondi, not. ad 8, ep. 15; Sidon. Apol. and Bolland. ad 25 Jun. in comment. praev. § 1, ad vit. s. Prosperi episc. in AEmilia). Constant readers and zealous disciples of St. Augustine, especially in the doctrine of grace, Prosper and Hilary displayed great zeal in defending his doctrines against the attacks of the Semi-Pelagians, SEE PELAGIANISM; but finding that they were making very little headway against the heretics, who had largely weakened orthodoxy in Southern Gaul, Prosper wrote, about 427 or 428, a letter entitled Epistola ad Augustinusm de Reliquiis Pelagiance Hcereseos in Gallia (considered of importance in affording material for the history of Semi-Pelagianism), in which he informed the illustrious bishop of Hippo that a number of priests and monks at Marseilles asserted, contrary to the Augustinian theory, that man must himself take the first step towards his justification and salvation (ep. 225 and 226 inter Ep. Aug.). Thus Prosper not only himself acted as defender of the catholic doctrine against the Semi-Pelagians, but gave occasion to St. Augustine to write his two works on the predestination of the saints and on the gift of constancy (De Predesfinatione Sanctorum, and De Dono Perseverantice). But not all those whom Prosper names as adversaries of St. Augustine were, like Cassian, Semi-Pelagians. The heresies of this Cassian Prosper exposed in a work which he subsequently (about A.D. 430) composed: De Gratia Dei et Libero Arbitrio contra Collaforem. Prosper, still before St. Augustine's death, wrote several works against the Pelagians, and especially the Semi-Pelagians. To these works of controversy belong his poem De Ingratis, so highly admired by the Jansenists, and a letter to a certain Rufinus. After the death of St. Augustine, his master and friend, Prosper resumed with increased ardor his struggle against the Semi-Pelagians and the defence of Augustine. For this purpose he wrote Responsiones ad capitula calumnlnicantiumss (i.e. Auqustinum) Gallorum; Responsiones (td catpitula objectionum Tincentianarum, and Pro Augustino Responsiones ad Ercerpta quce de Genuensi Ciritate sunt missia. In 431 Prosper, with his friend Hilary, made a journey to Rome, where they saw pope Celestine I, and complained that several priests at Marseilles taught erroneous doctrines without being rebuked by the Gallican bishops, whereupon the pontiff addressed his well- known letter of censure to those dignitaries (Epistola ad Episcopos Gallorum), praising highly the doctrine of St. Augustine, and denouncing the heresy of Cassian, as well as those who should either favor it by adoption or by suffering its propagation. Armed with this authority, Prosper and Hilary returned home, and from the numerous controversial tracts which they issued about this time, it appears that they must have been constantly watchful and active in defence of orthodoxy. Nothing very definite is known of Prosper after his return from Rome with Hilary, except that we encounter controversial tracts of which he wars the author. Among these are De Gratia Dei et Libero Abitrio Liber. in reply to the doctrines of Cassian respecting free-will, as laid down in the thirteenth of his Collationes Patrum, whence the piece is frequently entitled De Gmratia Dei adversus Collatorem, written about A.D. 432: — Psalmorum a Cusque ad CL Expositio, assigned by the Benedictine editors to A.D. 433, but placed by Schloinemann and others before A.D. 424: — Sententuia unm ex Operibus S. Augustiui ddlibuturum Liber unus, compiled about A.D. 451. He is commemorated by the Church of Rome on June 25. The whole of the above will be found in the Benedictine edition of the works of Augustine; the epistle is numbered 225, and is placed immediately before another upon the same subject by Hilary; the remaining tracts are all included in the appendix to vol. 10. If we believe Gelnnadius (De Vir. Illust. c. 84), Prosper was, after 440, called to Rome by pope Leo I, and became the secretary of that ponitiff. We have no positive knowledge of the year of his death: it falls between 455 and 463. There are other writings of Prosper, among which we mention 106 small poems (epigrammata), in which an equal number of moral and other passages of St. Augustine are poetically developed; a universal history, which teaches to the year 455, and of which we find the best and most complete reproduction aiud explanation in lect. Antiq. Basnag. Cunis. vol. i, etc. 'The treatise De vocationle Gentilom belongs probably to those Maiks which have been erroneously attributed to Prosper: it gives a milder color to the hard assertions of Augustine and Prosper. For a list and description of the character of these spurious writings, see Smith, Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. s.v. The best edition of Prosper's works is the Benedictine by Lebrun de Marette and Manugeamnt (Par. 1711, fol.). For a record of the time when Prosper's different monographs first appeared in print, see also Smith's Dictionary. Full information with regard to the interminable controversies arising out of the works of Prosper is contained in the notes and dissertations of the Benedictines, in the dissertations of Quesnel and the Ballerini in their respective editions of the works of Leo the Great, and in a rare volume, De Viris Operibus SS. Patrumo Leonis Mogni et Prosperi Aquitani Dissertationes criticae, etc. (Par. 1689, 4to), by Josephus Antelmius, to which Quesnel put forth a reply in the hphemeriides Parisienses, vol. 8 and 15 (August, 1639), and Antelmius a reply in two Epistoloe Duabus Epistolce P. Quesnelli Partibus Responsorim (Par. 1690, 4to). See Tillemont, Melnm. vol. 16; Oudin, De Script. Eccl.; Schrockh, Kirchengesch. vol. 15-18; Fleury, Hist. Eccl.; Dollinger, Lehr buch der Kirchengqeschichte; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines (see Index); Neander, Ch. Hist. ii, 630 sq.; Hist. of Dogmas, ii, 375 sq.; Gieseler, Ch. Hist. i, 226 sq.; Schaff, Ch. Hist. 3, 859 sq.; Baihr, Die christl.-romische Theol. p. 366 sq.; Wiggers, Aug. et Pelag. ii, 136 sq. (J. H. W.)

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