Augustine on election: the birth of an article of faith

  • Erik A. de Boer University of the Free State, South Africa

Abstract

The doctrine of divine election is part of the heritage of Western Christianity. Discussions in the reformed tradition point to the older Augustine as the one who developed the doctrine of double predestination in the controversy with the semi-Pelagians. The thesis of this study is that the birth of this doctrine can be found in the writings of the young Augustine in the early years of his episcopacy. Personal explorations into St. Paul’s letter to the Romans and written questions from Simplician of Milan prompted him to write on Chapter 9. Augustine’s reading of Romans 9 is compared with the preceding works of Marius Victorinus and Ambrosiaster. The account of Augustine’s conversion in his Confessiones document indicates his involvement in Romans. Especially his Ad Simplicianum documents “a veritable revolution in his theology” towards a fully developed doctrine of grace. The concept of God’s foreknowledge of human acts no longer sufficed to understand the diverse fates of the twins Esau and Jacob.

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Published
2012-12-14
Section
Articles