Augustine and the Pelagian Controversy
The Pelagian controversy takes its name from Pelagius, a British-born monk who was teaching in Rome from about AD 380 to 410. Pelagius wrote a set of biblical commentaries that have been preserved under the names of Jerome and Cassiodorus. It seems that the Pelagian controversy arose not because Augustine had read Pelagius’ writings, but the other way round. Pelagius read what Augustine was teaching about human sinfulness and the need for divine grace, and he objected to what he regarded as an unacceptable novelty. It was only after he expressed his opposition to Augustine that the latter’s attention was drawn to the issues at stake.