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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pelagius, Augustin, and King Arthur



Jesuit Philip Endean has a post at Pray Tell, The TLS and the New Missal, that mentions in passing Pelagius. Here's a bit about Pelagius from Wikipedia ...

Pelagius (fl. c. 390-418)[1] was an ascetic who opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will. He was accused by Augustine of Hippo and others of denying the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him (according to them), the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid. He denied the more specific doctrine of original sin as developed by Augustine. Pelagius was declared a heretic by the Council of Carthage. His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became known as Pelagianism.

My first introduction to Pelagius was through the 2004 movie, King Arthur, in which it was asserted that Arthur was his student :)


- Clive Owen as King Arthur

Wikipedia states this of the movie and Pelagius ...

Pelagius features in the movie King Arthur (2004). Although not a major character, he is portrayed as the mentor of young Lucius Artorius Castus, or Arthur. Throughout the film, Artorius/Arthur champions Pelagius' ideas, such as believing that every person is not inherently sinful, and that we are capable of attaining grace through good works. This leads him to oppose the practices of more "mainline" Roman Christian authorities, who believe that the inherent sinfulness of everyone is justification for torturing native Celts into conversion (a practice which Augistine did approve of, to some extent, and which others used his teachings to justify. Upon hearing of Pelagius's excommunication and murder in Rome, Arthur's affection for the monk leads him to realize that the ideal of "Rome" he believed in doesn't exist anymore, break off loyalty with the Roman Empire, and help the Britons fight the Saxon invaders.

I think I'd pick Pelagius and his idea of free will over Augustin and his idea or original sin. For those interested in reading more ...

- Pelagius: To Demetrias ... Originally published at the now-defunct orthodoxireland.com website. Far from a defense of what has become known as “Pelagianism,” this article seeks to define what Pelagius actually said for himself and to read him in his own context. - Deacon Geoffrey Ready

- Listen to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast on Pelagius - The Pelagian Controversy

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