Thursday, 5 February 2015

Alison Bonner: 'Pelagian' After-Lives: Transmission, Reception, and Inter-textuality

This workshop examines the after-life of Pelagius' writings, both their manuscript transmission and their influence on later authors. Several of Pelagius' letters and other compositions had a very extensive transmission in monastic book-collections across Europe. His words and ideas also had an even wider influence, recycled in anonymous letters and treatises, some of which became influential in their own right. 
The aim of this workshop will be to look closely at specific texts such as Admonitio ad Gregoriam in palatio, two Libelli fidei of uncertain authorship, Ad Demetriadem, and the Caspari Corpus, in the context of the wider transmission of Pelagius' writings. The manuscript evidence suggests that Pelagius' writings were not expelled from mainstream Christian literature, even if they travelled pseudonymously in manuscripts. On the basis of this analysis, we will explore such questions as the relationship between Pelagius' advice and other ascetic exhortation, whether Pelagius' teaching did have a significant differentiable after-life, and to what extent the Church rejected Pelagius' teachings in practice. In this workshop we will try to gauge both how influential Pelagius' writings were, and whether later generations recognised his ideas as ‘Pelagian' or whether they simply passed into the lingua franca of early medieval spirituality.

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