14:50 PM

Stuart Squires Delivers Paper at International Conference on Pelagian Controversy

conference graphicDr. Stuart Squires, associate professor, recently delivered a paper in Spain that exclusively explores the Pelagian Controversy.

This first-of-its-kind conference brought leading scholars from all over the world (Argentina, Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US) to discuss the controversy itself, how it has been received down through the century, and the fact that it continues to be a touchstone for how Christians think about the human person today. The conference host was the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Barcelona.

The Pelagian Controversy was one of the most important theological controversies in the history of Christianity. At the beginning of the fifth century, it involved some of the most important figures in the history of Christianity, including St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and the monastic writer John Cassian. It dealt with many important issues about the human person, such as: free will, original sin, grace, marriage and sexuality.

His conference paper titled Ambrose, Augustine, and the Origins of Original Sin at the Pelagian Controversy and its Aftermath: From Ancient Heresiology to Modern Scholarship. Squires argues that “Unquestionably, Augustine of Hippo invented the phrase “original sin” (peccatum originale) in the fourth century. The Pelagians in the fifth century, and many modern scholars today, have claimed that Augustine not only invented this phrase, but that he also invented (or imported from Manichaeanism) the theological concept that peccatum originale describes—that humanity has been damaged since Adam and Eve. In order to refute the Pelagians, Augustine quoted the Bible, and many non-biblical authors, such as Ambrose of Milan, to show that this theological concept can be found from the beginning of Christianity. His article explored the texts from which Augustine took Ambrose’s quotations in order determine if Augustine accurately quoted Ambrose, or if he distorted Ambrose’s original meaning.”

Squires serves as the associate director for the Nesti Center of Faith & Culture at UST. In 2019, his book on The Pelagian Controversy: an Introduction to the Enemies of Grace and the Conspiracy of Lost Souls (411-431) was published by PICKWICK Publications and is available on Amazon.com.