Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Note 73: Zosimus’ Condemnation of Pelagianism
Zosimus’ Condemnation of Pelagianism
Augustine was still in Carthage when the letters of condemnation of the Pelagians arrived.2 He had remained there to finish affairs in the aftermath of the council. He did not leave Carthage until the end of May at the earliest. Zosimus’ judgment against Caelestius and Pelagius can not be dated later than the beginning of May, 418. After he had seen Zosimus’ circular letter, Augustine certainly composed while still at Carthage De gratia Christi and De peccato originali. Augustine had not left Carthage yet for Caeasarean Mauritania and may have remained in Carthage until the end of August.3
Zosimus may have condemned Caelestius and the Pelagians in April or May. Augustine dates the circular letter between the African Council of 417 and the general African Council of May 1, 418.4 This dating apparently proves either that Zosimus’ letter precedes the latter council or at least it followed the council so closely that the letter was not an effect or conclusion of it.
Zosimus may have offered Caelestius a judgment before Easter (which occurred on April 7, 418) so that he could have taken his place as a priest on this feast. However, Zosimus appears distant from Caelestius in his letter of March 21, 418. It can not be imagined he had intended this more lenient judgment nor had he executed one in the nine days prior to Palm Sunday. The fifteen days following were probably so...