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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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The Invention of ‘Pelagianism’: Motive and Means

The Invention of ‘Pelagianism’: Motive and Means

(p.260) 6 The Invention of ‘Pelagianism’: Motive and Means
The Myth of Pelagianism

Ali Bonner

British Academy

The motive for the invention of ‘Pelagianism’ was to install as dogma the doctrines of original sin, an absolute account of prevenient grace, and predestination interpreted as preordainment. The means by which this was attempted included the official condemnation of Pelagius, which attached a label of heresy to him, destroying his reputation, and was achieved by political means. The chapter offers discussion of relevant insights from interactionist theory, and both individual case studies of heresy accusations as well as broad comparative studies of heresy. Further, it analyses how the myth of ‘Pelagianism’ gained traction, examining the political and ecclesiastical crises that enabled the myth to take root.

Keywords:   deviance, interactionist theory, labelling theory, heresy accusation, Vincent of Lérins, Augustine of Hippo

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