Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 212: Pelagius (1)
After the Church had in principle defeated Donatism in the conference of Carthage, a new opponent arose. The latter did not attack the body of the Church as the prior one had, but rather the heart and soul of the Christian religion. It attempted to destroy the Savior’s grace which constitutes Christians. Our objective here is not to undertake a doctrinal discussion, which has already been done with more clarity and precision than we could ever hope to attain Rather our purpose is to portray the course of its origin, development, and demise, as it is found in the original authors.
Pelagius, whose name has been given to this heresy, was surnamed the Brit, apparently to distinguish him from Pelagius of Tarentus who lived concurrently.1 Prosper at times described Pelagius as “the Brit”;2 elsewhere Prosper calls him the serpent of Great Britain.3 In speaking of one of his disciples Prosper says he was engrained with the British demeanor. Noris speaks of an infestation of England by Pelagians,4 as if England was the country of their origin. Orosius calls Pelagius “the black Brit.”5
Jerome may be referring to Pelagius when he writes “he was excreting the fat meats of Scotland,”6 and thus Scotland could be his birth place. Apparently Jerome refers to Pelagius when he says he had a Scottish or Irish manner about him since he possessed the vices of both lands. Jerome’s reference...