Jovinian and Jerome on the Ascetic Vision
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Jovinian and Jerome on the Ascetic Vision

Is It Really Superior?

Jovinian and Jerome on the Ascetic Vision

Because of my attempt to study the sources of the Pelagian Controversy, I have been having to spend a considerable time dealing with the issues at stake in the Jovinian Controversy. Many different things have gone into my study of it: from the class issues raised by the research of Michele Salzman and Peter Brown, to the issues of sexuality and theology explored by Brown and Hunter, to even some of the biographical issues raised by J.N.D. Kelly. However, everything revolves around these two men, Jerome and Jovinian, and their contradictory understandings of the Christian life. Therefore, in this article I hope to briefly examine Jovinian and his teachings, and then explore the most extensive critique of his theological discourse, Jerome's Agianst Jovinian.

RELATEDJovinian and a Christian Aristocracy

We know fairly little about Jovinian, himself. It is unlikely that Jerome’s portrayal of him as “the Christian Epicurus” is reliable.[1] At first, it seems, he was a Christian monk in Rome, abiding by a similar style of oriental asceticism as did his later opponents.[2] Suddenly, though, he completely renounced his ascetic life and became adamant that such things did not pertain to true Christian piety. Though he did not abandon his monastic vows of chastity, he did begin to engage in more cultural practices, such as maintaining good hygiene, wearing more expensive clothing, eating more delicate food, frequenting public baths, and freely mixing with not only men, but also women-folk.[3]

His teachings are less obscure than his life (in this area the work of David G. Hunter is invaluable).[4] Apparently, Jovinian was the writer of two or three anti-heretical books with which he intended to criticize oriental asceticism.[5] His criticisms found much support with the town’s clergy and monks, and the city’s bishop, Siricius, alludes that his teachings might have even been openly preached in Roman churches.[6] This should not be all that surprising: the oriental asceticism which Jovinian raged against was the same brand of asceticism St. Jerome had previously been deposed for promoting![7]

Jovinian organized these criticisms into four propositions concerning baptism and the Christian life. The propositions go as follows:

  • Virgins, widows, and married women, once they have been washed in Christ, are of the same merit, if they do not differ in other works.
  • Those who have been born again in baptism with full faith cannot be overthrown by the devil.
  • There is no difference between abstinence from food and receiving it with thanksgiving.
  • There is one reward in the kingdom of heaven for all who have preserved their baptism.[8]

As J.N.D. Kelly has observed, the center of Jovinian’s criticism was a very positive estimation of baptism’s effect on the Christian’s life: three of the four propositions contain a reference to it, and the other one most definitely rests upon its effects.[9] To this can be added Hunter’s observation that “it becomes clear that he stressed not only the efficacy of baptismal regeneration, but also the ecclesial dimensions of the sacrament. Jovinian regarded baptism as the source of all Christian sanctification and the fundamental principle of salvation.”[10] The basic thrust of Jovinian’s argument, then, is that baptism has leveled the playing-field, so to speak: through baptism, we all inherit the same reward when we die- that is, heaven. His criticism of the ascetic movement was that its distinction of rewards on the basis of merit (be it on condition of married state or abstinence from food) were not only unbiblical, but also heretical. These distinctions of rewards denied the vivifying and preserving power of baptism, which could not be nullified or taken away from those who had acquired, not ascetic virtue, but “full faith.”[11]

However, not all Christian aristocrats deemed Jovinian’s critique of the ascetic movement (or his attempted synthesis between aristocratic and Christian ideals) adequate. It would seem that the growing tide of Christianized Roman aristocrats was turning against him. Through the labors of Jerome, Ambrose, and Siricius, the newly Christianized senatorial aristocracy was becoming more and more open to the synthesis of aristocratic and ascetic ideals.[12] And so, it was a certain group of aristocratic men who begged Jerome to write a polemic against Jovinian, his famous Against Jovinianus, in early 393,[13] and likewise the same group of aristocratic men who brought Jovinian’s teachings to the attention of Siricius of Rome later that year.[14] As Hunter observes, “[T]he ultimate failure of Jovinian’s message of baptismal equality was, perhaps, inevitable. Although some features of his resistance to ascetic elitism, especially his defense of the goodness of marriage, would have been attractive to some members of the Roman aristocracy, Jovinian’s ‘old-fashioned denial of hierarchy’, as Peter Brown has put it, must have appeared to be simply irrelevant, perhaps even dangerous” to the Christianized, aristocratic elites.[15]

The first blow to Jovinian’s popularity was the circulation of Jerome’s explosive treatise, Against Jovinian, in early 393. Jerome had received word via a letter from certain aristocratic men in Rome that a certain monk had given up his vows and taken it upon himself to condemn ascetic piety. Jerome, in his typical fashion, responded contentiously, ready to once again take up the mantel of Tertullian-esque heresiological piety.[16] His approach would be to take on Jovinian tit for tat, burying him in his own appeals to biblical and secular authorities, and thus show Jerome’s enemies at Rome just how orthodox the Bethlehem ascetic could be. Not only this, though: he would likewise use this as an occasion to once more criticize the Roman and Milanese clergy, especially Siricius and Ambrose, by offering to the wider church an ascetic criterion by which one should judge pastoral piety. What follows is a brief sketch of Jerome’s Against Jovinianus, which will be followed in the next section by an analysis of the letters of condemnation exchanged between Siricius and Ambrose.

Against Jovinianus was quite possibly the most significant polemic of Jerome’s entire career.[17] It was his longest treatise, littered with classical and biblical allusions, teeming with invective and satire.[18] His intentions in writing it were clear: one, he wished to defend his own way of life, which he honestly believed to be superior to cultural modes of Christian living.[19] Secondly, he wished to rehabilitate his own reputation at Rome, which had, since his banishment from the center of the Christian world, fallen into disrepair, if not outright abuse.[20] And, finally, which goes along with the last point, Jerome was attempting to promote a vision of the clerical office as an alternative to the one taught by Ambrose and Siricius.[21]

Seeing how important this opportunity was, Jerome meticulously kept a level head while organizing and composing the polemic.[22] He copied Jovinian’s sources as he found them in his books. He refuted all of the examples using his own careful research. This treatise, though unpopular, is perhaps Jerome’s best use of rhetoric ever produced.

Jovinian had arranged his criticisms into four topics: therefore, Jerome decided to organize his refutation into four chief parts.[23] In the first part, which encompasses the entire first book, Jerome sets out Jovinian’s arguments and attempts to take on his first proposition, that there is no difference of merit between married and celibate baptized Christians.[24] As J.N.D. Kelly has stated, the sheer length that Jerome devotes to this proposition in comparison with his treatments of the other four seems to suggest that this is the main part of Jovinian’s theology that he disagrees with.[25] Jerome, for his part, has a double axe to grind: first, he must make clear what he condemns, that is, the elevation of marriage and digamy to the level of merit or above the level of merit given to virginity. Then, of course, he must present a positive vision of marriage and digamy: that is, one of marital continence and respect for the superiority of virginity. Jerome, for his part, actually does the first part: by the end of the first part of his treatise, one understands that Jerome believed “as [Paul] had subordinated marriage to virginity, so he makes second marriages inferior to first.”[26] That is, there is an ascetic hierarchy: Virginity belongs on top, followed by first marriages, and then digamous marriages. However, his zeal to subordinate marriage and digamy perhaps goes too far in places: many times in this part of his treatise, he seems to not only expressively condemn those who assert that marriage and digamy are on equal standing with virginity, but also, it would seem, those who would assert that marriage or digamy play a positive role in the baptized Christian life whatsoever.

It may help to give a couple examples of this from the treatise. Sometimes, he will express himself positively: “The difference, then, between marriage and virginity is as great as that between not sinning and doing well; nay rather, to speak less harshly, as great as between good and better.”[27] Furthermore: “The Church does not condemn marriage, but makes it subordinate; nor does she reject it, but regulates it.”[28] Likewise, of digamy: “I do not condemn second, nor third, nor, pardon the expression, eighth marriages: I will go still further and say that I welcome even a penitent whoremonger.”[29] However, Jerome inserts just enough digs at marriage and digamy to muddy the waters: “Christ loves virgins more than others, because they willingly give what was not commanded them”[30] “Marriage replenishes the earth, virginity fills paradise.”[31] “He who is the slave of his wife cannot be the Lord’s soldier.”[32] “Virginity does not die, and the defilement of marriage is not washed away by the blood of martyrdom.”[33] “Marriage ends in death; virginity thereafter beings to wear the crown.”[34] “All who have not preserved their virginity, in comparison of pure and angelic chastity and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, are defiled.”[35] And of digamy: “The first Adam was married once: the second was unmarried. Let the supporters of second marriages shew us as their leader a third Adam who was twice married.”[36] It is in these instances that one may question the authenticity of Jerome’s earlier insistence that he was not going to condemn marriage and digamy- in fact, when faced with these quotes, one can almost come up with two contradictory conclusions in which Jerome both affirms and condemns marriage and second marriages, on the basis of both scripture and secular authority.

The second part of the theologian’s task, that of creating a positive theology, occurs in scant doses. Occasionally, Jerome will praise marital chastity,[37] and once he even claims that sexual intercourse should be utilized in marriage for the ends of procreation.[38] However, the majority of his rhetoric is negative: that is, against the opinions of Jovinian. This will factor into the work of St. Augustine and Pelagius quite nicely, as we will see later on.

The most shocking implications of Jerome’s theory of Christian marriage is its implications for the liturgical life of the church. On the one hand, as a criticism of the married clergy of Rome, Jerome exclaims in chapter thirty-two: “He is no bishop who during his episcopate begets children.”[39] And again, later on: “Either permit priests to perform the work of marriage with the result that virginity and marriage are on a par: or if it is unlawful for priests to touch their wives, they are so far holy in that they imitate virgin chastity.”[40] However, Jerome’s advice does not just concern the clerical offices: Jerome likewise attempts to maintain that “a layman, or any believer, cannot pray unless he abstain from sexual intercourse,”[41] and, likewise, that “the body of Christ might not be eaten by those who rose from the marriage bed, [for] all sexual intercourse is unclean.”[42] It is evident that Jerome’s ascetic, celibate system is intended for the entire community of believers, and that, unless both priests and laymen accept the yoke of chastity, the basic functions of the Christian life, the partaking in common prayer and the eucharistic feast, cannot be accomplished. These prohibitions, along with the ones listed above, provoked unsympathetic responses in most Roman congregations.[43]

Book two of Jerome’s Against Jovinianus comprises a refutation of the other three theses. The first one, of course, orbits around the issues of perseverance and perfection. It is worth noting that Jerome has altered his original formulation of Jovinian’s thesis: what was before “they who with full assurance of faith have been born again in baptism, cannot be overthrown by the devil,”[44] has now been written as “the baptized cannot be tempted by the devil, [..] but if any are tempted, it only shows that they were baptized with water, not with the Spirit.”[45] It would seem that the second part of the new statement (“but if any are…Spirit”) is a direct quotation from Jovinian, but that the first part (“the baptized… devil”) is a summary statement of the thesis previously stated in Book 1. David G. Hunter seems to think that the initial wording is “almost certainly the correct one,” explaining that Jerome “paraphrased the proposition and altered the wording in order to refute it more easily.”[46] Hunter seems to be relying on the work of J.N.D. Kelly, who read the first statement as Jerome’s interpretation of the thesis he gave in Book 1, and adding the suggestion of dishonest motives on behalf of the author.[47] Personally, I see no reason to suppose that Jerome was being dishonest, since he provides a quote that is most likely from Jovinian’s writings in order to explain his altering of his initial formulation of the thesis.

This section is particularly interesting because it will be recycled in Jerome’s embattlements with the Pelagians.[48] Here, as he will there, Jerome advances scripture passages to prove that perfection is impossible while in the flesh.[49] Although, it is worth noting here that Jerome not only engages in negative assertions- that is, that we will never be without sin. He also engages in positive statements- while we are here, our good works must be a result of Free Will. Linking Jovinian with previously condemned heretics, such as Jovinain, Montanus, and Novatus, Jerome contends that if Jovinian is right in his high estimation of the baptismal life, God would be truly “unrighteous,” for “it is not accordant with the righteousness of God to forget good works.”[50] Rather, “God created us with free will, and we are not forced by necessity either to virtue or to vice. Otherwise, if there be necessity, there is no crown.”[51]

The attack on Jovinian is furthered by examples derived from the Old Testament, cumulating in the example of the fall of the devil himself, who, though he was an angel, fell to the worst state of creation. “If he fell who stood on so sublime a height, who may not fall? If there are falls in heaven, how much more on earth!”[52] He concludes with an insistence on the very real temptations by which Satan assails baptized Christians, shaming Jovinian for thinking he could escape the one who “dared to tempt the Son of God.”[53]

Jerome refutes the third proposition, which was a criticism of ascetic fasting, next. He begins by being meeting Jovinian “philosophical argument with argument,”[54] showing from classical authors and the ‘universal law of nature’ that the philosophical life of the Christian, though superior to that of the pagans, is confirmed in Hellenic and Latin philosophers.[55] And so, after defining Christianity as the true school which trains “followers of wisdom, who devote themselves to the worship of God, and know why they were created and are in the world from which they are impatient to depart,”[56] he proceeds to show where “we are at one with the philosphers,”[57] namely, in that we seek a more philosophical form of life.

There are differences between classical and Christian approaches, to be sure. The philosophers, on the one hand, are subject to the “universal law of nature,” which dictates the parameters of cultural habits of eating and drinking.[58] We Christians, on the other, “are not bound to the circumstances of our birth, but of our new birth.”[59] Indulging in too much food, regardless of cultural norms, has been revealed to be the “seed plot of lust,”[60] since it is one of the five senses by which evil enters the soul.[61] Christians, and not pagans, have found freedom from cultural circumstances, and thus do not experience the lure and necessity of indulging in heavy diets because of the dynamic waters of baptism.

This pull to be away from the world has been recognized even by pagan schools of thought. Jerome mentions that the ascetic program was not very different from that of the Stoics, the Pythagoreans, or the Platonists.[62] In fact, it is almost a rule of thumb that “if anyone thinks to enjoy keenly meat and drink in excess, and at the same time to devote himself to philosophy, that is to say, to live luxury and yet not to be hampered by the vices attendant on luxury, he deceives himself.”[63] “It is a violation of nature to revel in pleasure,” since the bodily senses “are like horses madly racing,” needing to be kept in line by the rational soul.[64] And so, like the great Diogenes, we (and more specifically, Jovinian) must “conquer human nature,” exercising “Gentile moderation.”[65]

Jerome continues on to cite biblical examples to support the conclusions he has already reached through his knowledge of the classics. He begins with Adam:

Adam received a command in paradise to abstain from one tree though he might eat the other fruit. The blessedness of paradise could not be consecrated without abstinence from food. So long as he fasted, he remained in paradise; he ate, and was cast out; he was no sooner cast out than he married a wife. While he fasted in paradise, he continued a virgin; when he filled himself with food in the earth, he bound himself with the tie of marriage.”[66]

And so, we see that Jerome connects fasting to virginity, and indulging in an excessive diet to marriage. He continues on to say that “by fasting we can return to paradise, whence, through fulness, we have been expelled,”[67] before moving on to more examples of fasting in the Pentateuch.

After exploring fasting in the Pentateuch and subsequent Old Testament, Jerome approaches the Gospels themselves, in which he finds proofs that Paul and Christ support fasting as a superior way of life. He argues:

The Lord, so you suppose, is a glutton who fasted forty days to hallow Christian fasting; who calls them blessed that hunger and thirst; who says that He has food, not that which the disciples surmised, but such as would not perish for ever; who forbids us to think of the morrow; who, though He is said to have hungered and thirsted, and to have gone frequently to various meals, except in celebrating the mystery whereby He represented His passion, or in proving the reality of His body is nowhere described as ministering to His appetite; who tells of purple-clad Dives in hell for his feasting, and says that poor Lazarus for his abstinence was in Abraham’s bosom; who, when we fast, bids us anoint our head and wash our face, that we fast not to gain glory from men, but praise from the Lord; who did indeed after His resurrection eat part of a broiled fish and of a honey-comb, not to allay hunger and to gratify His palate, but to show the reality of His own body[…]. As we prefer virginity to marriage, so do we esteem fasting and spirituality above meats and full-bodiness.[68]

Christ is the archetype of Christian fasting. In fact, to suggest anything to the contrary of this “is the preaching of a real Antichrist,”[69] “an Epicurean,” who “exchanges Jersualem for Citium, Judaea for Cyprus, Christ for Zeno.”[70]

The final proposition that Jerome tackles is Jovinian’s assertion that there is no diversity of gifts in heaven, especially not on the basis of ascetic merit. Jerome has saved this for last for obvious reasons: not only is it Jovian’s final thesis, but it is also the thesis which attempts to give the harshest critique of the ascetic life. It is understandable that Jerome would be uncomfortable with it: Jovinian effectually stripped the reward from thousands upon thousands of men and women fleeing to the desert to live lives of suffering and prayer. Jovinian’s program of an equality of merits was “a degrading refusal to face the challenge of the gospel,”[71] a challenge which surely implied greater and lesser rewards. In the words of Jerome: “if we are all to be equal in heaven, in vain do we humble ourselves here that we may be greater there.”[72]

Most of Jerome’s argument here depends on an acute conviction of the divine justice of God. Citing numerous old and new testament passages,[73] he shows very plainly that “God is not unjust that He will forget the work of him who is called the chosen vessel of election, and who labored more abundantly than they all, or assign equal rewards to unequal deserts.”[74] “If all sinners are punished alike,” says he, “it is unjust” for one to receive a greater and the other to receive a lesser punishment from God.[75] Rather, “a good tree does not bear evil fruit, nor an evil tree good fruit, so long as they continue in their goodness, or badness.”[76] Each individual must prepare their own mansion in heaven, for “there are […] many different mansions, destined for many different virtues, and they will be awarded not to persons, but to persons’ works.”[77]

Jerome continues by proving that the diversity of rewards is proved from the diversity of punishments for sins. “You observe that if we entreat for smaller offences, we obtain pardon,” he proposes,” if for greater ones, it is difficult to obtain our request: and that there is a great difference between sins.”[78] “If you cut off a finger, or the tip of the ear, there is indeed pain, but the loss is not so great, nor is the disfigurement attended by so much pain as it would be were you to take out the yes, mutilate the nose, or saw through bone. Some members we can dispense with and yet live: without others life is an impossibility.”[79]

This borders on a discussion of the liturgical implications Jerome sees in Jovinian’s thought. If we were to accept that there would be no diversity of rewards in heaven, what would be the motivation for pursuing the various orders of ecclesial clergy? If Jovinian is not condemned, “bishops are to no purpose, priests in vain, deacons useless,” says Jerome. If Jovinian is not condemned, “Why do virgins persevere? widows toil? Why do married women practice continence? Let us all sin, and when once we have repented, we shall be on the same footing as the apostles.”[80] The result of Jovinian’s teachings would be a disbanding of the clerical offices and an undermining of laity and clerical morality. Jovinian is suggesting an overhaul of what is essential in the Christian community, a radical diffusing of authority and blurring of boundaries that could only result in institutional instability: that is, he threatens to “overthrow the solid structure of the Cross.”[81] Therefore, his teachings must be unanimously condemned by the unanimous will of and for the betterment and sake of Christian community in Rome.

To entertain a bit of understatement, this treatise did and did not have its desired effect. Upon its circulation, and because of the work of Pammachius and other Christian aristocrats, Jovinian was naturally condemned and banished from the city. Unfortunately, Jerome was equally condemned, at least in popular aristocratic opinion, for teaching a radical message of ascetic piety and a view of marriage contrary to the Christian faith. He had been “excessive […] in [his] praise of virginity and in [his] depreciation of marriage”;[82] he “condemns marriage” and forbids digamy.[83] The generally negative response to his treatise not only required Jerome to respond to criticisms in three separate letters,[84] but it also made him rely solely on Pammachius’s good sense to remove the polemic from circulation, who was embarrassed by the damage done by one simple treatise.[85]

This will have to do for an elaborate treatment of Jerome's polemic against Jovinian. Though of course there is more to be said on the subject, I would hope that this would give an adequate summary for anyone slightly interested in this late-antique controversy. It's also a part of the larger paper I'm working on for the controversy, and, so, soon it will be even more relevant, as I attempt to sketch the lines (and in doing so evaluate the lines sketched by R.F. Evans) between the Jovinian Controversy and the Pelagian Controversy.

[1] Kelly, Jerome, 180.

[2] Ibid. Kelly says he was a “rigorist,” who used to go “about barefoot and dirty, clad in a filthy black tunic and pale from his sparse diet of bread and water.”

[3] Ibid, 180-181.

[4] Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, pp. 16-30. Hunter pieces together a fairly good reconstruction of Jovinian’s theological discourse by utilizing the writings of Siricius, Ambrose, and Jerome. After reviewing the pertinent source material, myself, I am very confident in Hunter’s assessment of those writings. Therefore, in order not to reinvent the wheel, I will primarily refer to his observations in passing, dwelling only on specific details from the sources where necessary.

[5] Ibid, 29-30. As Hunter has noted, this places Jovinian already squarely within the heresiological tradition, alongside writers such as Epiphanius of Salamis and even Jerome himself.

[6] Ibid, 18. J.N.D. Kelly calls Jovinian “the instigator of a campaign at Rome against the extremist, Oriental-style monasticism” (Kelly, Jerome, 180). The primary place of Jovinian’s name in both Siricius’ and Ambrose’s condemnations seems to suggest that he was perhaps the movements leader.

[7] See Kelly, Jerome, 180 and 104-128. Likewise Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 230-242. For the different versions of asceticism that converged in condemnation of Jovinian, see Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, pp. 241-242.

[8] This list comes from Jerome, Against Jovinianus I:3.

[9] Kelly, Jerome, 181. Hunter: “Kelly’s account surely is correct” (Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 30).

[10] Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 31.

[11] That is, the baptized were indefectible. For a lengthier discussion this and the other propositions, see ibid, 31-43.

[12] Ibid, 83.

[13] Ibid, 24. Hunter dissents from the common opinion, held by Kelly and others, that the treatise was sent to Jerome by Pammachius.

[14] Ibid, 74.

[15] Ibid, 83. See also Brown, The Body and Society, pp. 360-361.

[16] See Brown, The Body and Society, 382 for Jerome’s frequent reliance on Tertullian. See Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity, 232 for an explanation of how Against Jovinian fits into Jerome’s wider heresiological self-image.

[17] Kelly, Jerome, 182.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid. See also Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 231, who calls this polemic the result of “sincere horror at the spread of Jovinian’s teaching.”

[20] See Kelly, Jerome, 182 and Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 231. For a summary of Jerome’s experience in Rome, see Kelly, Jerome, pp. 80-115.

[21] Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 231.

[22] Kelly, Jerome, pp. 182-183.

[23] Jerome: “But, not to detain the reader any longer, I will keep to the divisions given above, and taking his propositions one by one will rely chiefly on the evidence of Scripture to refute them, for fear he may chatter and complain that he was overcome by rhetorical skill rather than by force of truth” (Against Jovinainus, I:4).

[24] Jerome, Against Jovinianus, I.

[25] Kelly, Jerome, 183.

[26] Jerome, Against Jovinianus, I:13.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid, I:40.

[29] Ibid, I:14. It is debatable whether or not Jerome intends to insinuate digamy should be given the same status as whoremongering.

[30] Ibid, I:10.

[31] Ibid, I:16.

[32] Ibid, I:20.

[33] Ibid, I:26.

[34] Ibid, I:22.

[35] Ibid, I:40.

[36] Ibid, I:15.

[37] For example, Ibid, I:11: “If you are patient, your spouse will become a sister, ‘for he that was called in the Lord, being a bondservant, is the Lord’s freedman: likewise, he that was called being free, is Christ’s bondservant.”

[38] Ibid, I:

[39] Ibid, I:32.

[40] Ibid. This is because, for Jerome, the bishopric is less of an office and more of an opportunity to advance in virtue, a jab at both Ambrose and Siricius. See Ibid I:35 and Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, pp. 234-242.

[41] Ibid. See also I:7.

[42] Ibid, I:20.

[43] These prohibitions are not, for the most part, particular to Jerome: rather, he was clearly recycling the opinions of Tertullian and Origen.

[44] Ibid, I:3.

[45] Ibid, II:1.

[46] Hunter, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy, 36.

[47] Kelly, Jerome, 184.

[48] See Robert F. Evans, Pelagius: Inquiries and Reappraisals, (Wipf & Stock: Eugene, 1968), pp. 26-42.

[49] For example, Job 9:20,23, 14:4,5; Prov. 20:9; Ps. 51:5; 1 Jn. 1:8, 2:1, 5:21, Jas 3:2.

[50] Jerome, Against Jovinianus, II:3.

[51] Ibid. Jerome continues: As in good works it is God who brings them to perfection, for it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that pitieth and gives us help that we may be able to reach the goal: so in things wicked and sinful, the seeds within us give the impulse, and these are brought to maturity by the devil.”

[52] Ibid, II:4.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid, II:6.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid, II:7.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid, II:8. It is likely that Jerome’s epistemology relies heavily on Origen.

[62] The late philologist and historian of philosophy Pierre Hadot suggested a direct line of continuity between classical and Christian spiritual (philosophical) exercises. See his Philosophy as a Way of Life, trans. Michael Chase, ed. Arnold I. Davidson, (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 1995), esp. pp. 126-144.

[63] Ibid, II:9.

[64] Ibid, II:9-10.

[65] Ibid, II:14.

[66] Ibid, II:15.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid, II:16.

[69] Ibid, II:21.

[70] Ibid.

[71] Kelly, Jerome, 182.

[72] Jerome, Against Jovinianus, II:33.

[73] For example, Gen. 19:18-21; 1 Sam 30:1; Job 9:9, 38:32; Mt 19:29; Jn. 14:2,3; 1 Cor. 9:13, 12:28, 13, 14, etc.

[74] Jerome, Against Jovinianus, II:23.

[75] Ibid, II:24.

[76] Ibid, II:25.

[77] Ibid, II:28.

[78] Ibid, II:30.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Ibid, II:34.

[81] Ibid, II:37.

[82] Jerome, Ep.48, 2.


[84] Jerome, Eps. 48, 49, and 50.

[85] Jerome, Ep. 49, 2. Unfortunately, Pammachius was too late, and the tract continued to circulate not only around Roman circles, but also closer to Jerome in Palestine.

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Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

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​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

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Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

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