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Prosper of Aquitaine

c.390-c.463. A scholar whose background is unknown save that he had a classical education, was learned in theology, was married, and was part of a monastic community in Marseilles at the outbreak of the Semi-Pelagian controversy* (426), which he opposed. Together with a friend, Hilary, he wrote to Augustine* in Africa (428) concerning the opposition to his theology of grace and predestination, especially among the disciples of John Cassian,* to which Augustine's reply was the De praedestinatione sanctorum and De dono perseverantiae. In 431 he went to Rome to gain Celestine I's* support for Augustine's doctrines, then published several works in their defense, with attacks on Vincent of Lérins* (Pro Augustino responsiones) and Cassian (Contra collatorem), including the Capitula Caelestiana which went to the bishops of Gaul as part of a papal letter. While initially in agreement, he finally rejected Augustine's position (De vocatione omnium gentium), believing God willed to save all men.

As secretary to Leo I* after 440, he aided him with correspondence and theological writings against the Nestorians.* His own writings were of various forms: De ingratis, a poem of 1,000-plus hexameters on grace; probably Poema conjugis ad uxorem in sixteen anacreontic verses and fifty-three distichs; a series of epigrams including those against Semi-Pelagians and Epitaphium Nestorianae et Pelagianae haereseos; and Psalmorum a C ad CL expositio after the Council of Ephesus.* Epitoma chronicorum, a synthesis of the chronicles of Jerome,* Sulpicius Severus,* and Orosius,* reflecting also his own time (433-55), was edited and augmented by Cassiodorus* and Paul the Deacon.*

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