Quodvultdeus, Bishop of Carthage, St.
QUODVULTDEUS, BISHOP OF CARTHAGE, ST.
Episcopate: 432 or 433 to 454. He acceded to the see in 432 or 433. Shortly after the Vandals seized Carthage in 439, their king Geiseric despoiled Quodvultdeus and placed him and a host of his fellow clergymen "naked on dangerous ships," according to Victor of Vita. Quodvultdeus arrived safely in Naples, where he spent the remainder of his life in exile. He died sometime before October 454, when Deogratias was ordained his successor. Soon after his death Quodvultdeus was honored as a saint and confessor in both Naples and Carthage.
Sometime during the years 445 to 450 Quodvultdeus composed his most substantial work, the Liber promissionum et praedictorum Dei, which until recently was falsely attributed to Prosper of Aquitaine. The tome is meticulously ordered into 153 chapters, based on the number of fish in the miraculous catch (Jn 21:11). Augustine's threefold schema of salvation history inspires the first three parts, each of 40 chapters: "Before the Law," "Under the Law," and "Under Grace." In the first two parts, Quodvultdeus demonstrates how various events, people and institutions of the Old Testament are types or figures of Christ and the Church. The third part consists largely of verbal Old Testament prophecies that he shows to be fulfilled in New Testament times. Next comes a section of 20 chapters titled "The Middle of Time" (dimidium temporis, Dn 7:25, Rv 12:14), which focuses on the three and one-half years during which Antichrist will reign before Christ's triumphant return. Following a pre-Constantinian Christian tradition, Quodvultdeus believes that the fall of the Roman Empire will precipitate the end of the world. Hence he interprets the upheaval of Roman order effected by the Vandals in Africa as a sign that the end is imminent and the apocalyptic period of tribulation is soon to come. The Liber ends with a section of 13 brief chapters entitled "The Glory and Reign of the Saints."
Early in the twentieth century several scholars argued that Quodvultdeus also authored a number of pseudo-Augustine sermons. R. Braun included 13 of these in his critical edition of Quodvultdeus' works. Although it is perhaps impossible to definitively prove that Quodvultdeus authored these sermons, many scholars accept the attributions, notwithstanding the objections of M. Simonetti. Certainly all the sermons come from the milieu of mid-fifth century Africa. In arguing against Judaism, paganism and heresies—especially the Arian heresy of the barbarian invaders—they solidly expound Catholic Christology. Nine of the sermons were delivered as baptismal catechesis; these contain expositions of the Creed as well as valuable information about the African baptismal liturgy. If Quodvultdeus is indeed their author, he must have delivered them in Carthage before being exiled.
Bishop Quodvultdeus is most likely the same person as the Deacon Quodvultdeus who wrote two letters to Augustine and received two responses (Augustine's Epist. 221 to 224) in 428 to 429. In his letters Quodvultdeus implored the Bishop of Hippo to write a treatise against heresies for use in the Church of Carthage. At first hesitating, Augustine finally conceded and composed De haeresibus, dedicating it to Deacon Quodvultdeus.
Bibliography: Clavis Patrum Latinorum e. dekkers, ed.(1995) 401–17b. r. braun, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (1976) v. 60. r. braun, Sources Chrétiennes (1964) v. 101–02. t. finn, Quodvultdeus of Carthage: Three Homilies on the Creed (Mahwah 2002). r. kalkman, "Two Sermons De tempore barbarico Attributed to St. Quodvultdeus, Bishop of Carthage—A Study of Text and Attribution with Translation and Commentary" (Ph.D. disseration Catholic University of America 1963). r. braun Dictionnaire de spiritualité (Paris 1986) v. 13.2, 2881–89. t. finn, Studia Patristica 31 (1997) 42–58. r. gonzÁlez-salinero, Revue des Études Juives 155 (1996) 447–59. h. inglebert, Revue des Études Augustiniennes 37 (1991) 307–20. l. mÜller, The De haeresibus of Saint Augustine: a Translation with an Introduction and Commentary (Washington, D.C. 1956). r. de simone, Augustinianum 25 (1985) 265–82. m. simonetti, Rendiconti parte generale e atti ufficiali 84 (1944–57) 407–24. w. strobl, Vigiliae Christianae 52 (1998) 193–203. d. van slyke, "Quodvultdeus of Carthage: Political Change and Apocalyptic Theology in the Fifth Century Roman Empire" (Ph.D. dissertation Saint Louis University 2000).
[d. van slyke]