published on November 13, 2015
Brian J. Matz
Augustine in the Predestination Controversy of the Ninth Century
Part I: The Double Predestinarians Gottschalk of Orbais and Ratramnus of Corbie
A debate over whether God predestines to make some people reprobate broke out in the ninth century. No one taught this view, but it was presumed by several churchmen at the time to be the position of those who called themselves double predestinarians. In part, this article explains why two double predestinarians, Gottschalk of Orbais and Ratramnus of Corbie, were mistaken for proponents of this view. They had been trying to explain Augustine’s phrase, “those predestined to punishment”, which they found in no fewer than ten of Augustine’s texts. Gottschalk points out Augustine used the phrase interchangeably with the term reprobate. Thus, to Gottschalk, it is not a statement about what God predestines; rather, it is a statement about the effect of predestination (i.e., God predestining to judge sin) on certain people. Likewise, to Ratramnus, the phrase referred to the effect of God’s ordering of both the good and evil acts of persons. That Gottschalk and Ratramnus identified Augustine’s use of the phrase with a belief in double predestination was due to their reading Augustine through the lens of Isidore of Seville’s Sententiae II.6.