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- 1 Death
- 2 Major Update
- 3 Balance on his life and teachings
- 4 Pelagius: "Man can 'not sin'"
- 5 Source?
- 6 Isle of Man
- 7 A monk
- 8 Letter To Innocent
- 9 "From Adam" Not really redundant
- 10 Pelagius did meet Augustine
- 11 Birthplace
- 12 Overlap with Pelagianism
- 13 In literature and film section
- 14 Picky typo
- 15 Latter-day Saints are latter-day Pelagians
- 16 broken move
- 17 Requested move
- 18 Confusing
The date of death of Pelagius is unknown, thus the category 435 deaths was removed.--JBJ830726 02:29, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
All major update info today from the Catholic Encyclopedia, NewAdvent.org --JBJ830726 04:06, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Balance on his life and teachings
An article lifted straight from the New Advent Catholic enyclopedia won't do for Pelagius, athough I'm thrilled to see this article is here.
Repeating statements that were made only by a person's enemies isn't really fair, and such an article would usually be flagged for not conforming to NPOV. Further, the article lacked a sympathetic tone towards its subject. Clearly, the article was one-sided, but that's really no fault of the author, since I understand there is no "Church of Pelagius" to defend him - or Pelagianism itself for that matter.
Therefore, care must be taken to ensure balance. I took up the cause of balance with the following carefully considered changes, hoping that I've contributed to a fuller article:
- Added the well-known origin of Pelagius' opposition to Augustine's teachings (teaching from the Confessions),
- The text of the decision of the Synod of Diospolis, which cleared Pelagius (not just declined to say nothing bad about him)
- A new section on Pelagius teachings re: free will
- A note of context re: the name "Pelagian" as it has been used (as a virtual curse word) during theological disputes throughout history
- External link to Pelagius' extant Letter to Demetrias, which elaborates his teachings in his own words
- The section on "Influences on Pelagianism" changed to: "Possible Influences on Pelagius."
- Reference to him BEING a Stoic, changed to him possibly being influenced by Stocism. A Stoic was a specific creed that later influenced Christianity, as did many other philosophies. Former reference implied membership in a "group."
- Context re: Augustine's former religion of Manicheism and possible influences on HIM and his view of free will and Adam's Fall, something that, for obvious reasons, won't be discussed in a Catholic encyclopedia, but has been widely acknowledged elsewhere.
Changes made in the spirit of helpfulness, not malice. It was a great start! Nhprman 19:03, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Pelagius: "Man can 'not sin'"
A Jan. 3 correction someone did was entirely understandable, but it was done because I inartfully described a doctrine in the first place, and the change made the doctrine say the opposite of what was intended. The word "can not" was changed to "cannot" which was correct grammatically, but wrong in the context. What Pelagius was saying was that man can "not sin" i.e. "avoid sin," if we so choose. Augustine said we "cannot 'not sin.'" This is horribly confusing, but it's actually phrased this archane way in discussions. All theology seems to be archane! The Latin phrase, posse non peccare or possible not to sin is critical to what's being discussed, so I opted for clearer language. Nhprman 17:56, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Augustine had been converted to Christianity from the religion of Manicheanism
Is it correct? I think Augustine ever was catholic, like his mother, Monica. His father was a common paganist.
Yes; its common knowledge that St Augustine had been a Manichee. It should be in the article on him, or you can read his Confessions in which he discusses his time in the heresy. Carl.bunderson 21:41, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Isle of Man
I'm removing the Isle of Man and Bishop Germanus references; I've read a few books on both Pelagius and St Augustine and nothing is known of Pelagius before he came to Rome except that he was British. Also, St Germanus didnt visit Britain until 429. (Bede, EH I.17). He couldn't have visited to dispute Pelagianism on the Isle of Man in the 4th c, as it didnt begin until ~410. Carl.bunderson 21:56, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm reinserting the monk reference, noting that this fact was well known to his contemporaries (Augustine among them) though I'm leaving notations in the article that there's no evidence he was affilated with a particular monastic order. In Augustine's "On the Proceedings Against Pelagius," (ch. 36) he refers to him as a monk, the Columbia Encyclopedia refers to him that way (a "celebrated monk" even!) as does the Catholic New Advent Encyclopedia. It seems to be questioned only by some modern anti-pelagian Websites, but their tone seems snarky and there is no evidence to disprove the fact, other than wishing it wasn't the case. Nhprman 03:31, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- Ferguson's biography of Pelagius specifically notes that it is unlikely he was a monk. And I'm not sure St Augustine's reference can be taken that seriously; I'm pretty sure the two never actually met, and reports from that period have to be taken with a grain of salt. Its hard to take things too literally. I've read that he was sometimes taken to be Irish because St Jerome had a tiff before the big controversy with a British monk whom he described as Hibernian; but this may have just been some serpent reference. And I'm sorry these references are so hazy; I'm working off of memory but with some time I can gather more substantial evidence. Also, I think that it is better to refer to pre-Regular monks as ascetics; I believe the word 'monk' conjures an image of Regular cenobites which is most likely not right for Pelagius. The Regular part certainly isn't, as he pre-dates St Benedict. 'Ascetic' is a label that we all can agree on when referring to Pelagius. And can we say that a monk would have lived the life of Pelagius? Moving around throughout the empire, and associating with women of aristocratic families in Rome?
- Moreover, look at the OED definition of monk: 1. A man (in early use also, occas.: a woman) who lives apart from the world and is devoted chiefly to contemplation and the performance of religious duties, living either alone or, more commonly, as a member of a particular religious community. a. Within the Christian Church: such a person typically living a celibate life according to the rule of a particular order (ORDER n. 5) and adhering to vows, esp. of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In definition 1, 'lives apart from the world' is used. It certainly doesn't seem that Pelagius was removed from the world; he often associated with the rich women of Rome. And as 1a references Regularity, he doesn't fit under this definition.
- I simply think that 'ascetic' is a more certain word to use than monk in refering to Pelagius, but I certainly welcome further discussion of the point. Carl.bunderson 04:58, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- I certainly agree that there is a lot of ambiguity in ancient times regarding lots of things, including the monastic status of Pelagius. It's ironic that doubt also has to be cast on Augustine (and you were right to do so) because he is the main source for his writings and one of the main sources of his biographical details. You are right also about the pre-Benedictine monks, and right about the ascetic nature of their lives, as opposed to the rather rigourous structure in the definition you cite. Though just as later monastic orders had working monks and meditative monks, there were also teaching monks. I think that's what Pelagius was. The pagan world was also rife with examples of teaching, wandering ascetics - such as Apollonius of Tyana - and perhaps that was a model Pelgius worked from (and from which perhaps monasticism later derived some of its structure and character.) But again, as you note, this is all speculation. All we have to go on is the notes of a few of his enemies, and they seem comfortable with the word "monk." As long as we note in the article that this means something different than it does today - and it is so noted - then I think we're safe using it. Thanks! ;-) Nhprman 17:14, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- Would you be adverse to the insertion of something like "....birthplace has been pinned down. Though he lived prior to the standardisation of monasticism and the formation of Regular monasticism under St Benedict, Pelagius is considered to have been a monk because of his ascetic lifestyle. His role as a “teaching monk” prefigured the structure and character of later monasticism. He became better known..." in the ==Beginnings== section? I hope it would well-integrate into the article what you've told me for everyone's benefit. I think that we can call him a monk but we should make sure people don't picture in their heads a High Middle Ages monk in the typical brown cloak. And I would like to have something in the article about there being no evidence for him having been a priest, since for awhile the article said he was a bishop on the Isle of Man. I haven't heard anything of the kind, and if you concur, the article should probly make clear to readers that he was not a bishop or even a priest. Thanks for your consideration on all this Stephen :) Carl.bunderson 19:39, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
- I see this a lot in Wikipedia and I actually think the article could become hopelessly bogged down with such a long descriptor that most average viewers and users of this article in the real world will not really care about. It's a bit like "how many angels dancing on a head of a pin" argument. For some, it's very, very important that he NOT be considered a monk, for theological reasons. I'm sure that's not whre you're going with this. I'm assuming good faith! ;-) ) I think we've clarified that he wasn't a medieval-style Benedictine monk and I submit that this is probably sufficient. Nhprman 01:47, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
- Having said all that, I did add some clarifying language about "monk". Maybe you're persuasive! ;-) Nhprman 01:52, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
- I like the current revision. And yeah I'm not even really Catholic so its not a theological point; I guess I was just bringing my conception of monk into the discussion, and I was afraid people would imagine him as a archetypal [sic] monk. But yeah I like what you added, thank you. :) Carl.bunderson 03:49, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
- I love it when consensus works! ;-) So often on WP, it does not. Nhprman 14:18, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Letter To Innocent
I removed the line "The letter stated that infant baptism was needed to enter the Kingdom of God, but not Eternal Life because it did not expunge original sin and that a kind of grace came by studying scriptures and hearing sermons that helped a person avoid sin but was not necessary." because after reading the fragments of this letter I cannot see this in it. Also, it was a letter and doctrinal statement not "De libero arbitrio libri IV" that Pelagius wrote for Innocent as I understand it.
"From Adam" Not really redundant
Original Sin from Adam may seem redundant, but this descent from Adam of the "taint" of original sin was a doctrine that was NOT fully developed at this point. In fact, the Church's renunciation of Pelgius/-ianism helped it arrive at the pro-Augustinian definition. In fact, this other sentence -- Pelagius stands, both in reality and in icon, as a radical from the traditional thoughts on original sin and the means of salvation" -- is not technically correct, in the sense that it wasn't "traditional" until his doctrine was ruled "wrong" and the Augustinian was deemed "right." 1600 years later, of course, it does seem a bit "radical." That word "radical" is certainly a value judgement. Augustine's view was held by a great deal of people, but many no doubht had never heard of such a concept of O.S., and likely thought IT was "radical." - Nhprman List 02:39, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
- Ok, I'll re-add it. Carl.bunderson 05:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Pelagius did meet Augustine
From the Catholic Encyclopedia: "When they landed on the coast near Hippo, Augustine, the bishop of that city, was absent, being fully occupied in settling the Donatist disputes in Africa. Later, he met Pelagius in Carthage several times, without, however, coming into closer contact with him." It was a casual contact, as noted in the text here. - Nhprman 01:23, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
The following edit of mine was reverted by another editor: =-=- He is reputed to have been born either in Ireland or in Celtic Britain =-=- It was replaced with text that states "It is commonly agreed that he was born in the British Isles, but beyond that, his birthplace is not known." with no references.
- I don't think I'll ever understand Wikipedia. Your citations for Ireland/Britain on 1 April were entirely correct. The "Citation needed" template is unnecesary in misleading. Citations clearly exist. We don't make broad, uncited statements like "commonly known" etc. here. Your edits were correct and helpful. - Nhprman 23:46, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
- Who's Churchill? I'll accept about.com as not being a reliable source (but you left the reference in place. I've no objection to it's removal - or no objection to not relying on this source as a VS). It's impossible to be accurate as to his place of birth. The consensus - if you accept that there is a consensus, is that he was born in either Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and probably of Celtic ancestry. The following are mentioned in reliable sources:
- Pelagius was a British monk followed by a reference which states Speculations abound as to his specific place of origin (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have all been suggested) as well as the circumstances of his early life (he is variously asserted to be of humble origins, from a wealthy family, or the son of a Greek doctor). See Ferguson, Pelagius, 40-41, and Rees, Pelagius, xii-xv. 
- Pelagius was a Celtic Christian 
- Assumed to have been a Briton 
- Even the country of his birth is disputed. While the most trustworthy witnesses, such as Augustine, Orosius, Prosper, and Marius Mercator, are quite explicit in assigning Britain as his native country, as is apparent from his cognomen of Brito or Britannicus, Jerome (Praef. in Jerem., lib. I and III) ridicules him as a "Scot" (loc. cit., "habet enim progeniem Scoticae gentis de Britannorum vicinia"), who being "stuffed with Scottish porridge" (Scotorum pultibus proegravatus) suffers from a weak memory. Rightly arguing that the "Scots" of those days were really the Irish, H. Zimmer ("Pelagius in Ireland", p.20, Berlin, 1901) has advanced weighty reasons for the hypothesis that the true home of Pelagius must be sought in Ireland, and that he journeyed through the southwest of Britain to Rome. 
If you accept that there is no contention or reference that claims he was born in the Channel Islands, or Jersey, or England, will you accept an edit that lists the countries for which a claim exists and where a reliable source exists? --Bardcom (talk) 21:44, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
How about we agree to push the article to GA status? I am sure this contention would work itself out in the process. Will you collaborate to GA here with me? -- Secisek (talk) 21:49, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
- What is GA status? I hope it's not a complicaed, drawn out policy argument in which people who have no idea who Pelagius is weighs in on the issue, simply in order to have a "vote" on it. Why do we need to go round and round over this kind of minutia here on Wikipedia? ALL references to Pelagius - modern and ancient - have said Celtic/British. The only thing that would be wrong is making an assumption (which someone did) that something is "commonly believed..." without providing a reference at all, which is exactly what happened here. This is being made Talmudic in the sense of how complex this is getting already, when in fact it's quite easily solved with a few words and a couple of references, which is what Bardcom provided. Can we simply do the EASY thing here, for a change? - Nhprman 23:12, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
- Exactly. Problem solved. - Nhprman 00:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
- The term "British Isles" is inaccurate as it refers to a much wider area than "Ireland and Celtic Britain (Wales and Scotland)". It includes England, Channel Islands, and Jersey. There doesn't appear to be any doubt that he wasn't born in England, yet the term "British Isles" would easily be mistaken to infer that he was born there. I've changed the article and provided references in the past (as per wikipedia policies) - can anybody point to a reliable source that casts doubt on "Ireland and Celtic Britain"? I've asked the question in the past and I'm still waiting...I am happy to wait a little longer before changing the article Bardcom (talk) 14:16, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Let's start on the nuts and bolts here before getting into minutia. What do you propose at the basic structure for the article, Bardcom? What do you think the outline of headings and subheadings should look like? No need to respond, be bold and make the changes. -- Secisek (talk) 21:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
- What are you talking about, Bardcom? There was no England in the fourth century, nor a Scotland or Wales either. Please at least get your facts staright before you try and object to something. All we know is that he was given the cognomen Britannicus, which means that he could have come from anywhere in the British Isles. The Channel Islands issue, by the way, is a red herring. They are peripheral to the actual geographical unit known as the British Isles, or Britannia to the Romans. TharkunColl (talk) 23:07, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
- Tharky, if you had taken the time to read the quotes I've included above, you'd know what I was talking about. Are you saying that "Britannicus" means "comes from British Isles"? Are you also deciding to change the geographical unit that is the "British Isles" to exclude the "Channel Islands" - or is it just for this discussion so that you can continue to abuse the term "British Isles"? Bardcom (talk) 11:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
- This problem was sidestepped in Augustine of Canterbury by referring to the Roman province of Britannia, as TharkunColl just did. See the first sentence of the background section. Would that work? Mike Christie (talk) 23:23, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
- That's not correct. Britannia was the Roman name for the whole British Isles. Not to be confused with that portion of the archipelago over which they ruled, which they also called by the same name. TharkunColl (talk) 12:42, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
- Read British Isles. E.g., in reference to the geographer Ptolemy, it states, "His first description is of Ireland, which he called Hibernia. Second was the island of Great Britain, which he called Albion. Book II, Chapters 1 and 2 of his Geography are respectively titled as Hibernia, Island of Britannia and Albion, Island of Britannia." TharkunColl (talk) 15:29, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Nuts and bolts...an outline for the article? This is a poor article. If everyone here seriously wants to see it improved we should start broadly on the things we agree on and save the minutia for just before the GA nomination. Now, what should this article look like? Does anybody else have any sources we can cite during the rewrite? Be bold! -- Secisek (talk) 11:31, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I reject the assertion that this is a "poor" article. I do, however, admit that has a LOT of fingerprints on it, including Catholic anti-Pelagians who have, at various times, inserted some rather damning comments, false statements about Original Sin, and HUGE scads of text meant to defame Pelagius and Pelagianism, rather than illuminate the subject of the article. I find the entire discussion about his birthplace kind of funny/sad, too. There are numerous statements about his birthplace online and off, and they simply need citation here. There are other citation-less parts of the article that could easily be cleared up. I fear overeager editors, wanting to put their scent all over the article, are about to fill it with "fact" tags or worse, spend another 450,000 words here debating the most obvious points. I urge someoen to add a small, well-referenced section on the birthplace dispute and be done with it. - Nhprman 15:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
- I regret to inform you that whilst this article may well, as you say, have been under attack from Catholics (for theological reasons) for some time, it has now also fallen foul of the anti-British Isles thought police. TharkunColl (talk) 15:35, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
The article is not even "B" class and it is a mess of different ediors views - I would say it is poor. The fact that there are MANY citation-less parts of the article that could easily be cleared up is the whole point I am trying to make. The discussion about his birthplace, which is already cited and correct, is pointless. This is not the most clearly visible problem with the article and I hate to see arguement about this point when there is so much more to do. This is particularly bothersome in that the people leading the arguement on both sides seem to have no wider intrest in the article beyond discussing his birth place. If you want to argue the for or against the appropriateness of the term British Isles, go set up a blog. Wikipedia is not the place to "right great wrongs". The term is recognized in the English language and is used correctly here. -- Secisek (talk) 19:53, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
- You actually are right about the quality. The mere fact that so many editors have had their way with the article means its quality has tanked a bit in the past year or so. I hadn't noticed but went back and looked. Yikes. And you're completely right on the British Isles imbroglio. -
Nhprman 03:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a good article :) ... that is, 'good' in the sense of a freely chosen virtuous act, possibly (but not necessarily) informed by the grace of a benevolent deity ... and three cheers for the defenders of Pelagius against the Calvinists and Catholic neo-Calvinists .... and down with the hair-splitting over 'British Isles' ... 220.127.116.11 (talk) 11:02, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Overlap with Pelagianism
There is overlap and inconsistency between this article and that on Pelagianism. It would be better to confine this to biography and leave all the ideas in the other. Deipnosophista (talk) 07:06, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
That would be a mistake. People landing on Pelagius want to know something about his thinking and the movement that followed him too, without having to click onward. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 11:24, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
In literature and film section
I would like to delete the entire "in literature and film" section; I could imagine one or two of these references might be discussed in a reliable source somewhere, but it's just as likely that they're not, and majority of them seem like a straightforward list of references without any reason to think they're notable representations. I'll leave it a while before I delete, to let folks comment here. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:58, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm looking through this article to correct a few infelicities of expression. In the Beginnings section a reference work is quoted as saying something is "wide spread". I searched and found online confirmation that some edition of that reference work said "widespread", which seems correct to me. Editors should take pains to copy correctly. I'm changing it.
Looking further in the Beginnings section, I see titles that have every word capitalized, even articles and prepositions. This is not normal. I'll find the style guide sometime and fix them, assuming it uses normal standards. P.S. I found the style guide and fixed the titles.
In the Beginnings section some of his works are mentioned and also in Augustine of Hippo. The two sections say similar things and I think the works should be discussed in one place, not two.
Latter-day Saints are latter-day Pelagians
"Mormons" - members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - should be included in this article, because they agree with Pelagius on everything. Das Baz, aka Erudil 20:12, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
- Do they? Do Mormons - members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - agree with Pelagius on everything? I must admit that I know very little about Mormons.
- Pelagius differed with Augustine, Jerome and others on the role of grace versus free will. This difference crystallised in the necessity for baptism. To denounce Pelagius as a heretic, Augustine had the Council of Hippo declare: Children dying without baptism are excluded from both the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life. Pelagius did insist on baptism, but did not condemn the un-baptised to hell. Pelagius practised infant baptism three times a year by pouring.
- Question: Do Mormons practice infant baptism, as Pelagius did? Do Mormons accept baptism by pouring as Pelagius did or do they practise immersion as Pelagius did not? Do Mormons accept baptism by any Christian as Pelagius did or do they require a priest?
- Pelagius recognised the authority of Pope Innocent I and the institutional church of the early 400s – (read his letters to them). I thought that Mormons held that authority left with the death of the Apostles; with the ‘great apostasy’ – something which Pelagius would not recognise.
- What is the Mormon understanding of the Trinity? I thought they have a type of sequence, that the Father preceded the Son? Pelagius held that the Son did not have a beginning, but was co-eternal.
- I could continue. Lugnad (talk) 01:07, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, so not everything. But the Latter-day Saints strongly maintain that no child will go to hell for lack of baptism.
"Baptism" means "immersion" in Greek, so any baptism that is not an immersion is not a baptism. Das Baz, aka Erudil 17:41, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
- I think we need an Admin's help to put this back where it belongs. 'Pelagius' should go straight to the heretic monk, with a hatnote giving access to the disambiguation page if people want any of the minor alternatives. It's a total mess at the moment. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:45, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
As it stands, the introductory section (which I find rather anti-Pelagian in tone at least) is contradicted lower down the piece.
'Pelagius (ca. AD 354 – ca. AD 420/440) was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works.'
'...However, a careful reading of Pelagius's own statements indicates that he believed that God's grace assists all right action.' (the same point is also made elsewhere, including with quotations in Pelagius's own words).
I have therefore altered the introductory section to reflect this; but it would I think be better to lead into the article with a fairer statement of what Pelagius's prime ideas were in his own terms, rather than portray them as they were portrayed by his enemies. So I have also attempted to do that.