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Document Details :

Title: The Image of templum Dei in Pelagius and Augustine
Author(s): TOCZKO, Rafał
Journal: Augustiniana
Volume: 63    Issue: 1-4   Date: 2013   
Pages: 231-255
DOI: 10.2143/AUG.63.1.3013253

Abstract :
In the writings of Pelagius and Augustine one finds a number of interpretations of the Pauline metaphor of templum Dei. Augustine used the metaphor of templum Dei on many occasions, and he did it in a way very similar to Pelagius’s. Both writers recognized its twofold meaning, concerning both an individual Christian and the Church. But when Augustine started his polemics against Pelagius he came up with new, different interpretations of the Pauline metaphor. This paper argues that this is not a mere coincidence. The evidence presented suggests that Augustine must have read Pelagius’s Expositiones to the Pauline Letters to Corinthians. In reaction to these readings, the bishop of Hippo also modified his understanding of the image of templum Dei. This development, which started already around 411, is particularly evident after the year 416. During these years, Augustine underlines the fact that in the absolute sense, templum Dei may describe only the eschatological reality, the kingdom of God, and not the present, wounded state of being. One of the most important testimonies is Augustine’s Letter 187 where one finds direct polemics against Pelagius. It is also shown that, at some point, Augustine started to prefer other images. To support this thesis, numerous testimonies from Augustine’s and Pelagius’s works are presented and discussed.

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