Augustine and Origen: Fathers of Pelagianism

Dominic Keech

in The Anti-Pelagian Christology of Augustine of Hippo, 396-430

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199662234
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746314 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Augustine and Origen: Fathers of Pelagianism

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Chapter 2 reassesses Augustine’s engagement in the Origenist controversy, to provide a new critical backdrop to his role in the Pelagian crisis. Comparing divergent, contemporary accounts of Pelagianism, it identifies the first synthetic condemnation of that heresy in Augustine’s De Natura et Gratia of 415. Augustine’s construction of Pelagianism is then read as a response to accusations of his own latent Origenism. Ultimately traceable to Jerome, these emerge first through his emissary, Rufinus of Syria, the inspiration for Caelestius’ denial of Original Sin (resulting in De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione); and in Jerome’s implicit attack on Augustine’s moral theology in his Epistle 133 (resulting in De Natura et Gratia). Jerome’s vendetta is explained by situating Augustine within Rufinus of Aquileia’s pro-Origenist circle in the 390s, through which he had knowledge of Origen’s works; and by reading Augustine’s correspondence with Jerome as an attack on his alliance with Epiphanius against Origen.

Keywords: De Haeresibus; De Peccatorum Meritis; Natura et Gratia; Marius Mercator; Rufinus of Syria; Caelestius of Carthage; Jerome; Rufinus of Aquileia; impassibility; heresiology

Chapter.  20409 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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