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Title: Two Notes on Pre-Augustinian Discussions on Free Will and Human Sinfulness in North African Christian Literature
Author(s): TAMAS, Hajnalka , DUPONT, Anthony
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 92    Issue: 3   Date: 2016   
Pages: 505-512
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.92.3.3170058

Abstract :
Scholars agree that Augustine’s notion of (original) sin and his related understanding of the relation between human free will and divine predestination did not come out of the blue. The question of the precise patristic antecedents of these (biblically rooted) concepts is however not without discussion. The current article presents two notes on an attested presence of pre-Augustinian discussions about human free will and sinfulness. More in particular, we study passages from two apologetic works traditionally ascribed to Africa: the Octavius of Minucius Felix (11,5; 36,1-2) and the Adversus nationes of Arnobius of Sicca (1,49). These three case studies exemplify that, although in nucleo and not always very explicit, reflections about human sin and its impact on human free will and God’s relation to humanity were present quite early in the African theological tradition, and were part of what Minucius Felix and Arnobius considered to be the Christian doctrine.

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