Thursday, 5 February 2015

Peter van Egmond: Pelagius Applauded and Defended. Exploring Two Specimens of the Earliest Reception of Pelagian Writing (CPL 775b and 778)[!] This paper is part of the workshop: "Pelagian' After-Lives: Transmission, Reception, and Inter-textuality in Latin Literature"

Two enigmatic texts of Pelagian character (CPL 775b and 778), each scantily surviving in a single North-Italian manuscript, present themselves to us as both revealing and enigmatic. They are revealing, if only for the fact that they are boldly modelled after Pelagius’ profession of faith and openly defend his cause - thereby becoming early specimens of the reception and application of his work (ca. 418-420 CE). They are also enigmatic, because their authors, addressees, and exact context remain obscure. CPL 775b, once attributed to Julian of Aeclanum, is today mostly connected to a group of Aquileian bishops unwilling to condemn Pelagius and Caelestius. But in the only manuscript (now lost) it seems to have been anonymous. As addressee, the text mentions a certain ‘brother and father Augustine’, but who is meant? CPL 778, a much briefer text, but very similar in genre and wording, defends the Pelagian cause as well, with the same confidence. The only extant manuscript, elegantly written but corrupt, attributes the text to a certain ‘Ambrose of Chalcedon’, of whom, however, no other record is found. There is no clear hint on the intended recipient(s). Moreover, the exact relation between the two creed-based texts remains obscure: which of the two is oldest, and which is influenced by the other? This paper, then, aims to explore the difficult terrain, using new, still unpublished critical editions of both texts and a fresh investigation of their sources and use of Scripture, attempting to untangle some of the traditional knots.

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