No other theological text polarized the early modern Catholic world as much as Cornelius Jansen's Augustinus. In it the erudite bishop not only reconstructed St. Augustine's teaching on grace and free will, but also boldly claimed that his views were in line with the Council of Trent and the Society of Jesus. For Jansen the latter had marginalized the Church Father's doctrine on divine predestination by overemphasizing human free will. Published after his death in 1640, Jansen's work drew a large crowd of followers and inspired an Augustinian reform movement. Its papal condemnation unintentionally spread this theology, but stifled an impassionate, academic engagement with the Augustinus. This first-ever translation of some of its central chapters enables historians, philosophers and theologians to finally engage with the founding text of Jansenism.
"Jansenism is little known today outside of the realm of early modern intellectual historians, and yet the controversy it generated had a profound effect on Catholicism, particularly in France, and even on the discussions of predestination that tore apart the world of the Reformed Protestants in the seventeenth century. It is therefore a delight to see a major section of Jansen's key text, Augustinus, made available in English in a fine scholarly edition. This work will not only help deepen our understanding of post-Tridentine Catholicism but also contribute to our grasp of how Augustine's anti-Pelagian writings were interpreted and deployed in the intellectual ferment of post-Reformation Europe"~Carl R. Trueman, Grove City College
"Augustine’s late writings on grace and predestination have disturbed many. Even among the Reformers who notoriously embraced them, Luther preferred to change the subject, and Calvin encased them in a static tomb. The Catholic Cornelius Jansen, almost alone in the early modern period, grasped the dynamic beauty and theologically rich character of Augustine’s daring reflections. Though some of his ideas proved seminally influential to the movement that would bear his name—Jansenism--ensnaring the attentions of Saint-Cyran and Pascal among many – Jansen’s great work, the Augustinus, quickly fell into obscurity and has remained mostly inaccessible to this day. Guido Stucco’s wonderful edition of one of the key sections on predestination from Jansen’s masterwork, lucidly translated and framed by a scintillating introduction, thus marks a ground-breaking contribution to contemporary thinking, not only about early modern predestinarianism, but, through Jansen’s reading, to the understanding of Augustine himself. This is a deeply important and welcome volume"~Ephraim Radner, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto