Uno sguardo alla polemica antipelagiana

Giulia Zaccaro

The present essay deals with the anti-Pelagian controversy, tackling a dual task: we will try to understand the centrality of this dispute within the Augustinian thought, focusing in particular on De Spiritu et Littera and, at the same time, we will open the problem of grace to a more contemporary view, interweaving the philosophical, theological and literary discourse, making Paul Ricoeur’s invitation to «think more and otherwise» our own. Indeed, we intend to show the gap between the Platonic and ontological vision of the youthful production of the Tegaste theologian and the charismatic eschatological one that enlivens the work of his maturity. Following the Ricoerian line and the most recent proposal by François Jullien, we are convinced that the theological level does not exhaust the richness and theoretical depth of the notions of grace and sin – the two cornerstones of the anti-Pelagian controversy – and that it is therefore possible to read these concepts as symbols and indispensable resources to illuminate the finitude and the passivity of the Ego. In the course of the text, we will show how the Pelagian anthropology and soteriology is diametrically mirrored to that of Augustine, who refers explicitly to the Pauline model. What is at stake is freedom, or rather its effectiveness and spontaneity. If the Pelagian man is transparent to himself, already able not to sin and to have full control of his will, the Augustinian man is instead tormented by the anarchy of desire, which the Law only exasperates.

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