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§ 119. The Predestinarian Controversy.

Comp. vol. III., §§ 158–160, pp. 851 sqq.


I. The sources are: (1) The remains of the writings of Gottschalk, viz., three Confessions (one before the Synod of Mainz, two composed in prison), a poetic Epistle to Ratramnus, and fragment of a book against Rabanus Maurus. Collected in the first volume of Mauguin (see below), and in Migne’s “Patrol. Lat.,” Tom. 121, col. 348–372.

(2) The writings of Gottschalk’s friends: Prudentius: Epist. ad Hincmarum, and Contra Jo. Scotum; Ratramnus: De Praedest., 850; Servatus Lupus: De tribus Questionibus (i.e., free will, predestination, and the extent of the atonement), 850; Florus Magister: De Praed. contra J. Scot.; Remigius: Lib. de tribus Epistolis, and Libellus de tenenda immobiliter Scripturae veritate. Collected in the first vol. of Mauguin, and in Migne’s “Patrol. Lat.,” vols. 115, 119 and 121. A poem of Walafrid Strabo on Gottschalk, in Migne, Tom. 114, col. 1115 sqq.

(3) The writings of Gottschalk’s opponents: Rabanus Maurus (in Migne, Tom. 112); Hincmar of Rheims: De Praedestinatione et Libero Arbitrio, etc. (in Migne, Tom. 125 and 126); Scotus Erigena: De Praedest. Dei contra Gottescalcum, 851 (first ed. by Mauguin, 1650, and in 1853 by Floss in Migne, Tom. 122). See also the Acts of Councils in Mansi, Tom. XIV. and XV.

II. Works of historians: Jac. Ussher (Anglican and Calvinist): Gotteschalci et Praedestinatianae controversiae ab eo motto Historia. Dublin, 1631; Hanover, 1662; and in the Dublin ed. of his works.

Gilb. Mauguin (Jansenist, d. 1674): Vet. Auctorum, qui IX. saec. de Praedest. et Grat. scripserunt, Opera et Fragm. plurima nunc primum in lucem edita, etc. Paris, 1650, 2 Tom. In the second volume he gives the history and defends the orthodoxy of Gottschalk.

L. Cellot (Jesuit): Hist. Gotteschalci praedestinatiani. Paris, 1655, fol. Against Gottschalk and Mauguin.

J. J. Hottinger (Reformed): Fata doctrinae de Praedestinatione et Gratia Dei. Tiguri, 1727. Also his Dissertation on Gottschalk, 1710.

Card. Noris: Historia Gottesc., in his Opera. Venice, 1759, Tom. III.

F. Monnier: De Gotteschalci et Joan. Erigenae Controversia. Paris, 1853.

Jul. Weizsäcker (Luth.): Das Dogma von der göttl. Vorherbestimmung im 9ten Jahrh., in Dorner’s “Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theol.” Gotha, 1859, p. 527–576.

Hefele (R. Cath.): Conciliengesch. IV. 130–223 (second ed., 1879).

V. Borrasch: Der Mönch Gottschalk v. Orbais, sein Leben u. seine Lehre. Thorn, 1868.

Kunstmann: Hrabanus Maurus (Mainz, 1841); Spingler: Rabanus Maurus (Ratisbon, 1856); and C. v. Noorden: Hinkmar v. Rheims (Bonn, 1863); H. Schrörs: Hincmar Erzbisch v. R. (Freil. B. 1884).

See also Schröckh, vol. XXIV. 1–126; Neander, Gieseler, Baur, in their Kirchengeschichte and their Dogmengeschichte; Bach (Rom. Cath.), in his Dogmengesch. des Mittelalters, I. 219–263; Guizot: Civilization in France, Lect. V.; Hardwick: Middle Age, 161–165; Robertson, II. 288–299; Reuter, Rel. Aufklärung im Mittelalter, I. 43–48; and Möller in Herzog2, V. 324–328.

Gottschalk or Godescalcus,670670    There axe several persons of that name; the three best known are, 1) the subject of this chapter; 2) the writer of sequences mentioned in this volume, p. 433; 3) the prince of the Slavonic and Wendish tribes on the borders of Northern Germany, who died a martyr June 7, 1066. The meaning of Gottschalk is God’s servant. The German word Schalk, Knecht, has undergone the same change as the English word knave. Milman (IV. 184) calls our Gottschalk a “premature Luther” (who was also a Saxon), but gives no account of the controversy on “the dark subject of predestination.” Schrörs (l.c. 96) likewise compares Gottschalk with Luther, but the difference is much greater than the resemblance. an involuntary monk and irregularly ordained priest, of noble Saxon parentage, strong convictions, and heroic courage, revived the Augustinian theory, on one of the most difficult problems of speculative theology, but had to suffer bitter persecution for re-asserting what the great African divine had elaborated and vindicated four centuries before with more depth, wisdom and moderation.

The Greek church ignored Augustin, and still more Gottschalk, and adheres to this day to the anthropology of the Nicene and ante-Nicene fathers, who laid as great stress on the freedom of the will as on divine grace. John of Damascus teaches an absolute foreknowledge, but not an absolute foreordination of God, because God cannot foreordain sin, which he wills not, and which, on the contrary, he condemns and punishes; and he does not force virtue upon the reluctant will.

The Latin church retained a traditional reverence for Augustin, as her greatest divine, but never committed herself to his scheme of predestination.671671    See vol. III. 866 sqq. Neander says (Church Hist. III. 472): “The Augustinian doctrine of grace had finally gained a complete victory even over Semi-Pelagianism; but on the doctrine of predestination nothing had as yet been publicly determined.” Gieseler (II. 84): ”Strict Augustinianism had never been generally adopted even in the West. ” It always found individual advocates, as Fulgentius of Ruspe, and Isidore of Seville, who taught a two-fold predestination, one of the elect unto life eternal, and one of the reprobate unto death eternal. Beda and Alcuin were Augustinians of a milder type. But the prevailing sentiment cautiously steered midway between Augustinianism and Semi-Pelagianism, giving the chief weight to the preceding and enabling grace of God, yet claiming some merit for man’s consenting and cooperating will.672672    In the language of Gregory I.: ”Bonum, quod agimus, et Dei est, et nostrum: Dei per praevenientem gratiam, nostrum per obsequentem liberam voluntatem. Si enim Dei non est, unde ei gratias in eteruum agimus? Rursum si nostrum non est, unde. nobis retribui praemia speramus?Moral., Lib. XXXI. in Cap. 41 Job, in Migne’s ed. of Gregory’s Opera, II. 699. This compromise may be called Semi-Augustinianism, as distinct from Semi-Pelagianism. It was adopted by the Synod of Orange (Arausio) in 529, which condemned the Semi-Pelagian error (without naming its adherents) and approved Augustin’s views of sin and grace, but not his view of predestination, which was left open. It was transmitted to the middle ages through Pope Gregory the Great, who, next to Augustin, exerted most influence on the theology of our period; and this moderated and weakened Augustinianism triumphed in the Gottschalk controversy.

The relation of the Roman church to Augustin in regard to predestination is similar to that which the Lutheran church holds to Luther. The Reformer held the most extreme view on divine predestination, and in his book on the Slavery of the Human Will, against Erasmus, he went further than Augustin before him and Calvin after him;673673    Melanchthon, too, at first was so strongly impressed with the divine sovereignty that he traced the adultery of David and the treason of Judas to the eternal decree of God; but be afterwards changed his view in favor of synergism, which Luther never did. yet notwithstanding his commanding genius and authority, his view was virtually disowned, and gave way to the compromise of the Formula of Concord, which teaches both an absolute election of believers and a sincere call of all sinners to repentance. The Calvinistic Confessions, with more logical consistency, teach an absolute predestination as a necessary sequence of Divine omnipotence and omniscience, but confine it, like Augustin, to the limits of the infralapsarian scheme, with an express exclusion of God from the authorship of sin. Supralapsarianism, however, also had its advocates as a theological opinion. In the Roman church, the Augustinian system was revived by the Jansenists, but only to be condemned.

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