St Augustine was born in Tagaste, now Souk-Ahras in Algeria, in 354. As a young man he was attracted to the ideas of Manichaeism, a dualistic doctrine of opposing good and evil powers promoted by the Persian prophet Mani (d. c. 276). St Augustine met the Manichaean bishop Faustus in around 383 in Carthage, and later wrote Contra Faustum Manichaeum (Against Faustus the Manichaean), an extensive polemical tract in 33 books refuting Manichaeism.
The Contra Faustum of St Augustine was widely copied in the Latin West, particularly in periods of heretical movements and challenges. This elegant copy was made in the Norman monastery of the Trinity in Fécamp around the middle of the 11th century. The manuscript later formed part of the exceptionally rich library of around 6,000 volumes of Jean Bigot (b. 1588, d. 1645), and became part of the French royal library in 1706.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Stéphane Lecouteux
- Making manuscripts, History and learning, Christian religion and belief
Through the evidence of manuscript production Stéphane Lecouteux traces the history of Normandy and the region’s close ties with England before and after the Norman Conquest of 1066.