Augustine and the Praedestinatus: Heresy, Ideology and Reception

David Roderick Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This articles examines the Praedestinatus, a work written in the mid fifth century CE, which responds to the ideas on predestination and original sin put forward by Augustine of Hippo. The Praedestinatus is an anonymous work consisting of a catalogue of heresies (based on Augustine’s De haeresibus), a short tract ostensibly written to defend the idea of predestination, and a commentary on this tract which attacks it and denies that such ideas were put forward by Augustine. Close study of the text shows that all three parts were written by the same author, and that the purpose of the Praedestinatus is to attack Augustine’s ideas while appearing to defend him. This article discusses the authorship of the Praedestinatus, and then examines the content, discussing the role of the catalogue of heresies in book 1, the way in which the author uses and adapts his source material, and the purpose of the catalogue in the overall structure of the work. It goes on to examine the way in which the author uses the supposed predestinationist tract (book 2) to caricature and discredit the idea of predestination, and considers the critique of predestination put forward by the author in book 3, and its place among contemporary reactions to Augustine’s ideas. The article concludes by examining some of the ways in which the Praedestinatus sheds light on the early process of the reception of Augustine’s works.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-162
JournalMillennium - Jahrbuch
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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