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Augustinian Studies


published on March 9, 2016

Brian J. Matz

Augustine in the Predestination Controversy of the Ninth Century
Part II: The Single Predestinarians John Scotus Eriugena and Hincmar of Rheims

A debate over whether God predestines some to reprobation broke out in the ninth century. No one actually taught this view, but both John Scotus Eriugena and Hincmar of Rheims, among other churchmen at the time, presumed it to be the view of those who referred to themselves as “double predestinarians.” In part, this was because the double predestinarians had made much of Augustine’s phrase “predestined to punishment,” a phrase that can in fact be found in several of his writings. This article, which is the second of two parts (for Part I, see AugStud 46, no. 2: 155–184), argues that Eriugena and Hincmar had difficulty avoiding the appearance of disagreeing entirely with Augustine’s use of that phrase. Eriugena said the phrase is to be understood a contrario to the divine nature; Hincmar said it is to be understood in a generic sense about God’s judgment on sin. Of the two, Hincmar came the closest to acknowledging that Augustine might have erred in using the phrase as he did.

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