Thursday, 7 February 2019

Dongsun Cho: Theological Continuity between Augustine’s Anti-Manichaeism and Anti-Pelagianism on Predestination

Augustine’s doctrine of predestination was not merely formulated during his controversy with Pelagians. Thus, it has been claimed that the bishop already began to develop his anti-Pelagian view on grace and predestination in Ad Simplicianum (397). Johannes van Oort (1993) argues that one cannot properly understand Augustine’s life and works without knowing Manichaeism. Oort’s observation of Augustine and his relationship with Manichaeism is also applicable in his development of the doctrine of predestination. I will demonstrate that Augustine’s anti-Manichaean writings, even prior to Ad Simplicianum, provided him some basic understandings of predestination which could be developed later against the Pelagian movement. The thesis of this paper is that there is theological continuity between Augustine’s anti-Manichaeism and anti-Pelagianism on the grace of predestination. This does not mean that Augustine presented anti-Pelagian doctrinal formula in his early anti-Manichaean writings. Instead, I suggest that his anti-Manichaean polemical arguments predict some of his anti-Pelagian thoughts on grace, free will, and predestination. For Augustine, both Manichaeism and Pelagianism deny the gratuity of grace and the gospel because the two movements are basically the religions of self-redemption (Aldo Magris, 2001). In contrast to Julian of Eclanum or Oort, I will show how Augustine’s doctrine of predestination fits compatibilist freedom, and it is different from Manichaean fatalism. Augustine might have become convinced that his doctrine of predestination could be found in not only Paul but also his Latin tradition, in particular Victorinus and Ambrosiaster, Latin exegetes on the Pauline epistles.

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