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The Myth of Pelagianism$
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Ali Bonner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266397

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266397.001.0001

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Systemic Problems of Definition and Classification

Systemic Problems of Definition and Classification

(p.218) 5 Systemic Problems of Definition and Classification
The Myth of Pelagianism

Ali Bonner

British Academy

This chapter is a survey of attempts to define ‘Pelagianism’ and attempts to produce criteria by which a ‘Pelagian’ text can be identified, showing that all of them have failed. It examines the circular reasoning that has propped up the notion of ‘Pelagianism’ and discusses two anonymous ascetic texts that are test cases for the notion of ‘Pelagianism’ and which reveal its incoherence, showing that Pelagius’ writings are not differentiable from other ascetic literature. .

Keywords:   ‘Pelagianism’, ‘semi-Pelagianism’, To a mistress of a household, ascetic movement, Caelestius

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