Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/101

This page needs to be proofread.




Auscorum (Auch in Southern France); Augusta Batavorum (Leyden in Holland); Augusta Asturica (Astorga in Spain); Augusta Prsetoria (Aosta in Northern Italy); Augusta Emerita (M^rida in Spain); Augusta Rauracorum (Augst in Switzerland); Au- gusta Suessonum (Soissons in France); Augusta Taur- inorum (Turin in Italy); Augiista Tre\'irorum (Trier in Germany); Augusta Trinobantum (London); Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg in Germany).

Leqdien, Oriens ChrUt. (1740), II, S79-S80; Smith, Diet. nf Greek and Roman Geogr.. I, 3.38.

Thomas J. Shah.\n.

Au^stin von Alf eld (Alveldt, or Alveldianus), one of the earliest and most aggressive opponents of Luther, b. in the village of Alfeld, near Hildesheim, from which he took his surname; d. probably in 1532. Nothing is known of his parentage, youth, and early training. He first comes into prominence as a Fran- ciscan of the Regular Observance, belonging to the Saxon Province of the Holy Cross. The absence of his name on the matricidation rosters of the philosophi- cal and theological universities of Erfurt, Rostock, Leipzig, and Wittenberg, usually frequented by the members of the above-named province, leaves the presumption that he made his studies in one of the monastic schools. At the solicitation of Adolf of .\nhalt, Bishop of Merseburg, in 1.520, being already Lector of Holy Writ at Leipzig, he entered the theologi- cal arena to controvert the Lutheran heresy (Mencken, Scriptores rer. Ger., II, 56). On 20 January, 1521, he presided at the public theological disputation held at Weimar, between Lange, Mechler, and the Franciscans, on the merit of monastic vows and life (Kapp, Kleinere Nachlese niitzlicher Urkunden zur Erlauterung der Reformationsgeschichte, II, 514, Leipzig, 1727), the result of which has not been handed down, though it called forth a satiri- cal poem at the time (ib., 520). In 1523 he be- came Guardian of the monastery at Halle, in which position he is still found in 1528. In 1529 he was elected Provincial of the Saxon Province of the Holy Cross.

Alfeld was a man of fine linguistic attainments, a fluent Latinist, familiar with the ancient classics, conversant with Greek and Hebrew, and well ac- quainted with the humanistic wxitings of his day. His theology was that of medieval scholasticism, in which he proved "that the old theological training did not leave the antagonists of Luther helpless and unprepared in combating the novel, and to the theologically disciplined mind contradictory, asser- tions" (Otto, Johannes Cochteus, 132, Breslau, 1874). As Lector of Holy Writ, he devoted much attention and thought to the Bible, so that he can state that "from my childhood I have devoted my time and life to it" (Super Apostolica Sede, etc., iii a). In the textual studies of the Greek and Hebrew ver- sions, the translation of Erasmus, the exegetical writings of Faber Stapulensis (Lefe^Te d'Etaples) and the Complutensians, he shows a keen, analytical mind and sound judgment. His memory and reputa- tion, however, rest on his polemical activity and writings. The latter are marred at times by a tone of and sarcasm that detract from their intrinsic worth and gave his opponents, notably Lonicer, Luther's amanuensis (Biblia nova Alvel- densis Wittenberg* Anno MDXX) opportunity to censure the catalog^ied epithets flung at Luther (Cyprian, Niitzliche Urkunden zur Erlauterung der Reformationsgeschichte, II, 158). If it be remem- bered that Luther calls him hox Lipsicus (De Wette, Briefe, Sendschreiben, etc., I, 446); asinus (op. cit., 451,4.53, 533); Lipsierusvi ontuier (op. cit., 446); Lipsi- ensis asinus (op. cit., 471, 473, 542), merely to single out a few controversial amenities, his literary style may be measurably condoned.

Lkmmkss, Paler Aiw'l'n von .4 /feW (Freiburg, 1899); Floss

in Kirchenlex., I, 1682. The former gives a comprehensi^'S r^sumd of Alfeld 's writings.

Henry A. G.u<ss.

Augrustine, Rule of Saint. — The title, Rule of St. Augustine, has been applied to each of the fol- lowing documents: (1) Letter ccxi addressed to a community of women; (2) Sermons ccclv and ccclvi, entitled " De vita et moribus clericorum suorum"; (3) a portion of the Rule drawn up for clerks or Consortia monachorum; (4) a Rule known as Reguta secunda; and (5) another Rvile called: " De vita eremitica ad sororem liber." The last is a treatise on eremitical life by Blessed ^Ired, Abbot of Rievaulx. England, who died in 1166 and, as the two preceding rules are of unknown authorship, it follows that none but Letter ccxi and Sermons ccclv and ccclvi were written by St. Augustine. Letter ccxi is ad- dressed to nuns in a monastery that had been gov- erned by the sister of St. Augustine, and in which his cousin and niece lived. His object in writing it was merely to quiet troubles incident to the nomi- nation of a new superior, and meanwhile he took occasion to expatiate upon some of the virtues and practices essential to the religious life. He dwells upon chastity, poverty, obedience, detachment from the world, the apportionment of labour, the mutual duties of superiors and inferiors, fraternal charity, prayer in common, fasting and abstinence propor- tionate to the strength of the individual, care of the sick, silence, reading during meals, etc. In his two sermons De vita et moribus clericorum suorum" Augustine seeks to dispel the suspicions harboured by the faithful of Hippo against the clergy leading a monastic life with him in his episcopal residence. The perusal of these sermons discloses the fact that the bishop and his priests observed strict poverty and conformed to the example of the Apostles antl early Christians by using their money in common. This was called the Apostohc Rule. St. Augtistine. however, dilated upon the religious life and its obligations on other occasions. Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, was greatly disturbed by the conduct of monks who indulged in idleness under pretext of contemplation, and at his request St. Augustine published a treatise entitled " De opere monachorum " wherein he proves by the authority of the Bible, the example of the Apostles, and even the exigencies of life, that the monk is obliged to devote himself to serious labour. In several of his letters and ser- mons is to be foimd a useful complement to his teaching on the monastic life and the duties it im- poses. These are easy of access in the Benedictine edition, where the accompanying table may be con- sulted under the words: monachi, monachce, mon- aslerium, monastica vita, sanctimoniales.

The letter written by St. Augustine to the nuns at Hippo (423), for the purpose of restoring hannony in their community, deals with the reform of certain phases of monasticism as it is imderstood by him. This document, to be sure, contains no such clear, minute prescriptions as are found in the Benedictine Rule, because no complete rule was ever written prior to the time of St. Benedict; nevertheless, the Bishop of Hippo is a law-giver and his letter is to be reatl weekly, that the nuns may guard against or repent any infringement of it. He considers poverty the foundation of the religious life, but attaches no less importance to fraternal charity, which consists in living in peace and concord. The superior, in par- tic\ilar, is recommended to practise this virtue al- though not, of course, to the extreme of omitting to chastise the guilty. However, St. Augustine leaves her free to determine the nature and duration of the punishment imposed, in some cases it being her privilege even to expel nuns that have become in- corrigible. The superior shares the duties of her office with certain members of her community, one