Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Note 69: Zosimus’ Letter
Zosimus’ letter to the African bishops in favor of Caelestius is to be dated in 417 with no precise day expressed.2 However, as the end of the Caelestius affair is joined to the Pelagius affair, this letter was likely not written before September 21 when Zosimus had already written concerning Pelagius. In fact, these letters could have been sent simultaneously. Basiliscus was sent from Rome with the acts against Pelagius.3 He does not mention Paulinus of Carthage going to Rome to respond to Caelestius’ allegations on November 2, 417. This fact leads us to believe he had also brought Zosimus’ letter in behalf of Caelestius.
However, from the fact the letter on Pelagius is dated September 21, one scholar claims the Caelestius affair was treated in Rome in June and July and the two month delay given by Zosimus to the Africans had passed before Zosimus wrote to Africa on Pelagius.4 Nothing obliges us to say these two months had ended—the letter of September 21 was written on another incident. If these two months had already passed, either Zosimus had given communion to Caelestius and had mentioned it in his letter on Pelagius or he had indicated why he had not rendered it. He made other pleas concerning the fact that no one had come from Africa to act against Caelestius. Concerning what he says, Ubi Heros? Ubi Lazarus? he did not claim Heros and Lazarus should have come...