Prudentius St

Prudentius St., a French prelate of the 9th century, was a native of Spain. The name of his family was Galindon. He took the name of Prudentius in memory of the Christian poet, his compatriot. Taken when young to France, he passed several years at court, where it appears he occupied some important charge, until his election as bishop of Troyes in 846; then he subscribed, Feb. 14, 847, to the privilege accorded by the Council of Paris to Paschasius Radbertus, abbe of Corbie. People came from all parts to consult him, and he was called one of the most learned bishops of the Gallican Church. Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, particularly wished, to have advice how to treat Gottschalk, or Godeschalcus (q.v.), in the dispute about predestination raised by Gottschalk. At first Prudentius sided with Hincmar, but afterwards took a mediatory position. Towards the end of 849, or the beginning of 850, he, however, abandoned Hincmar and wrote in defence of Gottschaik, then a prisoner, and directed his work to Hincmar and his confederate Pardulus, bishop of Lyons. Prudentius begins with an encomium of St. Augustine, whose doctrines, he says, were also supported by Fulgentiuls and Prosper of Aquitanius. He then affirms a twofold predestination, one to damnation, the other to salvation. Yet God has not predestined the reprobate to guilt, but to punishment. Christ has given his blood only for the elect, for he says it is given for many. It follows that it is God's will not to call and save all men. These propositions Prudentius undertakes to support by the authority of the Scriptures, and of a number of fathers, especially of the Latin Church; the most recent of the latter authorities thus invoked is Beda. Ratramnus, a learned monk of Corbie, and Servatus Lupus, the accomplished abbot of Ferrieres, sided with the bishop of Troyes. Rabanus Maurus speaks thus of this work, sent to him by Hincmar: "Prudentius's views converge sometimes with ours, when he asserts that God is not the author of evil, that the reward of the good is undeserved grace, and the punishment of the bad just expiation. But when he says that God, by his predestination, compels the sinner to go to ruin, it seems to me that the consequence of it is, according to the views of Gottschalk, a two-fold predestination (see Op. Sirmond. ii, 1296)." Towards the close of 851 Scotus Erigena published his work on predestination against Gottschalk which he had composed at the request of Hincmar. This work, which undertook to solve the question from the philosophical standpoint, and argued for the unbiassed freedom of the will, only complicated the dispute. Erigena was charged with Semi-Pelagianism and other heresies. Wenilo, archbishop of Sens, extracted from it nineteen articles, and sent them to Prudentius for refutation. Prudentius replied in a writing addressed to Wenilo, and divided into nineteen chapters, followed by an epilogue (Biblioth. Max. Patr. 15:467-597). This Tractatus de Praedestinatione contra Joh. Scot. Erig. was written in the year 852, and Gfrorer says of it: "Prudentius wrote against Erigena a ponderous book, in which the work of the philosopher was, with cutting sagacity and sturdy orthbdoxy, so dealt with that nothing remained of it." This, it should be remembered, is the testimony of one who advocates predestination, and agrees with Erigena that evil is only a μὴ ὄν, condemnation, not a positive punishment on the part of God; that it only consists in the tormenting consciousness of having missed one's destiny. SEE WILL. In the ensuing year (853) Hincmar held a national synod at Chiersy — the first had taken place in 849 — where four articles (Capitula Carisiaca), embodying a moderate form of Augustinianism, were adopted against Gottschalk. Although Prudentius put his name to these "quatuor capitula," he soon afterwards endeavored to refute them by writing a Tractoia a Epistola adv.

4 Cuip. Convent. Caris. It is possible that he signed his name at Chiersy by demand of king Charles the Bald. In the later development of this contest, Prudentius seems to have given up his position. He died April 6, 861, and is revered as a saint in Troves. The Bollandists do not recognise his title to sanctity. Although Prudentius held himself against opposing heresies, and particularly against the doctrines of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, he was suspected by some authors to have concealed the truth in the prosecution of error, and Les Annales de St. Berlin accuse him of having written articles against the faith. From a letter of Servatus Lupus to Prudentius, we learn (Fp. 63) that these two men were sent by king Charles to visit and reform the monasteries of France. See Gallia Christiana, iii; Breyer (canon at Troyes), Life of Prudentius (1725); Gfrorer, Gesch. der- Carolinger (1848), i, 210 sq.; Wenck, Das Frankische Reich nach dem Vertraog von Verdun (1851), p. 382; Milman, Hist. of Latin Christianity, iii, 241 sq.; Neander, Ch. Hist. (see Index); Manguin, Vett. Auctorum gui in Sec. IX de Praedest. scripserunt Opera et Fragm. (Paris, 1650, 2 vols. 4to); Kurtz, Ch. Hist. of the Reformation, § 91, 4; Hardwick, Ch. Hist. (Middle Ages), p. 163 sq.; Hefele, Conciliengesch. 4:124 sq.; Jahrb. fur deutsch. Theol. 1859, art. by Weizsacker; Amer. Presb. Rev. Jan. 1861 p. 200.

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