Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 215: Spread of Pelagianism
Spread of Pelagianism
The Pelagian heresy may have spread from the East, in particular from Theodore of Mopsuestia.1 Rufinus of Syria brought it to Rome at the time of Pope Anastasius circa 400. As an intellectual, Rufinus did not dare profess Pelagianism publicly lest he attract widespread horror and indignation. However he became acquainted with Pelagius, inspired this error in him, and disposed Pelagius to maintain it and write about it. For this reason, in the Council of Carthage (411) Caelestius says he had heard original sin denied by a holy priest Rufinus who had died in Rome with Pammachus. Some have believed this Rufinus is the celebrated Rufinus of Aquilea.2 However Rufinus of Aquilea did not live in Rome with Pammachus and was not in Rome at the time of Anastasius. This situation has given rise to some authors claiming, if we suppose the truth of Caelestius’ witness (which based on Mercator is not doubtful) this Rufinus was a priest and Jerome’s disciple. He could have been Syrian and have come to West circa 399.3
Jerome indicates clearly Rufinus of Aquilea as among the first authors of the Pelagian heresy.4 Jerome clearly states Rufinus had been condemned under the name of Grunnius, a pseudonym for Rufinus.5 Jerome is probably speaking of Pelagius when he calls Rufinus Pelagius’ precursor and teacher.6 Pelagius acquires his work. Jerome attacks Pelagius as the inheritor of his odium for Rufinus. However, according to Garnier Jerome accuses...
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