Friday, 17 May 2019
Richard Flower: Ecclesiastical Succession and Authority in the Praedestinatus
This paper explores the anonymous Praedestinatus, a fifth-century Latin text sometimes attributed to Arnobius the Younger. Written soon after the death of Augustine of Hippo, it presents a response to the great bishop’s views on predestination, which are here disassociated from him and presented as the views of an imposter. Augustine’s position is labelled as the heresy of the ‘Praedestinati’, who are the subject of the ninetieth and final chapter of the heresiology that comprises the first book of the Praedestinatus. This paper will consider how this text engages with heresiology as a means of classifying and combatting religious deviance, especially Augustine’s own De haeresibus, and the potential offered by this literary form for self-presentation. In particular, it will explore how the author weaves a very particular account of the history of the Church and its battle against heresy, in order to them position himself and his theological allies as the heirs and defenders of this orthodox legacy.