Original Research

Die intensiteit van die Semi-Pelagiaanse stryd in die Galliese Kerk van die vyfde en sesde eeu

Rikus Fick
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 41, No 4 | a322 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v41i4.322 | © 2007 Rikus Fick | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2007 | Published: 27 July 2007

About the author(s)

Rikus Fick, Skool vir Kerkwetenskappe, Potchefstroomkampus, Noordwes-Universiteit, South Africa

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The intensity of the Semi-Pelagian controversy in the Gaulish Church of the fifth and sixth centuries
The controversy over Augustine’s predestinarian views was transferred to Gaul after the Vandal conquest of Africa. The Pelagian controversy was characterised by the participation of several prominent figures and the convention of seven councils. The question, however, is why the Semi-Pelagian controversy was of such a different character. The answer is to be found in the context of the participants in the debate: the unique charac- ter of the Gaulish Church, the influence from the monasteries and the distinctive political setting of this region. John Cassian, founder of the monasteries of Marseilles, took the view that God’s grace comes as an answer to the beginning of a good will in the human person and the free will in man can either neg- lect or delight in the grace of God. The same sentiments were soon heard from the monastery on the island of Lerins. The reaction to this stance by Prosper of Aquitaine led to the literary involvement of Augustine. For several decades the bishops of Arles and Vienne attempted to raise their city’s ecclesiastical status above the other cities of Southern Gaul – a phenomenon typical of the public life of this region. In 529 Caesarius, former monk of Lerins, of aristocratic descent and bishop of Arles, held a synod at Orange. This synod affirmed a diluted form of the Augustinian position. All the elements of the character of this controversy can be found in the person of Caesarius who was also mainly responsible for the formulation of the canons of this synod.


Free Will; Gaulish Church; Grace; Semi-Pelagianism


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