Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Anna-Maria Semper: (WS) The Caspari Corpus: A 'Pelagian' lay-man teaching

In 1890, Carl Paul Caspari first released a compilation of six antique writings he assumed to be the work of a single anonymous Pelagian, written in the first thirty years of the fifth century: two letters to individuals (hon. and hum.) and the four treatises On Riches (div.), On Bad Teachers (mal.), On The Possibility Of Not Sinning (poss.) and On Chastity (cast.).
We don't know much about the anonymous writer himself. Apparently, he is a lay person, and according to his self-portrayal in hon., a certain femina clarissima in Sicily served as his spiritual teacher.
What social background can be considered for the author and the recipients of his writings? Which characteristics of his teachings allow us to speak of him as a 'Pelagian' (and what do we mean by that term)? Did the anonymous writer who neither mentions nor directly quotes Pelagius read and use the writings of Pelagius for his own work?

The paper will give an insight into this still relatively unknown corpus not only on the basis of the manuscripts used by Caspari but also by utilising another Codex not jet completely edited.

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