Friday, 3 April 2015

Mante Lenkaityte Ostermann: John Cassian read by Eucherius of Lyons: affinities and divergences (workshop "Prosper of Aquitaine")

While John Cassian and Vincent of Lérins are the best known of the so-called "semi-Pelagians," there were other Gallic churchmen associated with this illustrious group. It was to Eucherius, the future bishop of Lyons and meanwhile a member of the Lerinian community, that John Cassian dedicated his second series of Conferences (Conf. XI to XVII). Some years later, perhaps in 428, Eucherius composed a short treatise De laude eremi, praising the monastic desert in biblical terms and relating it to the Lerinian monastery. Cassian's and Eucherius' writings treat spiritual aspects of monastic life, invoke biblical evidence, and praise Eastern monks. 
A close reading of Eucherius' De laude eremireveals that he borrowed from Cassian certain elements of ascetic vocabulary as well as some thematic motifs. Nevertheless, I will argue in my paper that Eucherius does not follow literally Cassian's writings and proposes his own vision of monastic life, which adds to the diversity of the "semi-Pelagian" theology. While Prosper of Aquitaine has succeeded in lumping the opponents of Augustine in southern Gaul into a monolithic group of "semi" Pelagians, the consideration of Eucherius of Lyons helps to further correct both the misnomer and the simple assertion of a single and unified response to the Augustine's doctrine of grace.

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