Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 269: Letter to Paulinus
Letter to Paulinus
Pope Innocent died and Zosimus succeeded him.2 The latter had certainly done nothing to favor the Pelagians in 417 when Augustine wrote to Paulinus through Januarius.3 Augustine had confidence in Januarius to serve as a living letter to Paulinus. Whether he is the unfortunate Januarius who, as a priest of Hippo, later deceived Augustine and kept money after professing poverty is unknown.4
Augustine uses the entire letter to speak of grace.5 He is pleased to converse with his friends over this matter. However he had heard certain clerics or members of Paulinus’ family or perhaps certain laity in Nola were stubbornly combating the doctrine of original sin. They were falling into folly and preferred to believe children have the use of free choice, even in their mother’s womb. Children did not have original sin and were capable of doing good or evil merely of themselves. These men would even have preferred to abandon Pelagius himself than to change their opinion. Augustine left with Januarius a careful detailed explanation to give Paulinus concerning what he had learned of their identity. Augustine indicates Pelagianism existed among eminent and subtle people. Julian of Eclanum was perhaps among this number although his presence in Nola at this time is unknown.6 He lived not far away and had fallen into Pelagianism during Innocent’s lifetime.7 According to some scholars Augustine wishes to indicate Zosimus and Sixtus (a Roman priest)8 but an examination of the...