This essay explores an episode of the fifth-century Semi-Pelagian controversy over the roles of the divine will and human freedom in salvation.
In the Psalms commentary of Arnobius the Younger, several passages show that he is agitated over an accusation against him that he does not give a proper place to grace in the economy of salvation. Defending himself, Arnobius affirms that grace precedes free will, but asserts that the will is still free to accept or reject Christ.
The essay translates from Latin to English the relevant passages, and suggests through textual and circumstantial evidence that his accuser was in all likelihood Prosper of Aquitaine, who defended Augustine’s theology of grace in the decades after that bishop’s death.
I prepared the essay as a conference paper, which I delivered at the annual North American Patristics Society meeting in May 2012 in Chicago. Click to read an abstract of the essay in a PDF file. Gumerlock, Abstract, Arnobius against the Predestined One (PDF)
A revised version of the essay was published as an article entitled “Arnobius the Younger against the ‘Predestined One’: Was Prosper of Aquitaine the Predestinarian Opponent of Arnobius the Younger?” in Augustinian Studies 44:2 (2013): 249-263. To read the article in a PDF file, click here.