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Jovinian : a monastic heretic in late-fourth century Rome Burnett, Neil 1996

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JOVINIAN: A MONASTIC HERETIC IN LATE-FOURTH CENTURY ROME by NEIL BURNETT B. A. The University of Victoria, 1993. A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Religious Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1996 ©Neil Burnett, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives, It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date il rffHiU mL DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In 393 the monk Jovinian was condemned by a Roman synod under Pope Siricius. The monk had argued from Scriptural evidence that married women were equal in merit with widows and virgins; that they who had been baptised in fullness of faith could not be overthrown by the devil; that eating meats and drinking wine with thanksgiving was no less meritorious than abstention from these things; and that there was one reward in the kingdom of heaven for all those who had kept their baptismal vow. This paper is a reconstruction of Jovinian's arguments and motives from the evidence of Jerome's Against Jovinian. It is also an attempt to understand the context in which Jovinian taught, and the nature of and reasons for the swift condemnation of his views by Pope Siricius and Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. I will argue that Jovinian's views were grounded in a sound and relatively conservative biblical and pre-eminently monastic theology, and show that what gave urgency to Jovinian's "mission" was a conviction that the rise of the new ascetic enthusiasm was an eschatological sign, foretold, as he believed, by Paul in a text which became the cornerstone of his arguments, 1 Timothy 4. An important part of this study is a translation, the first made available, of Siricius' Letter 7, and an analysis of this document which is essential for understanding the Jovinianist controversy. This will be followed by a close look at the other centrally important texts, including Ambrose's response to Siricius' letter and to two Jovinianist monks active three years later in Vercelli. I will examine . i i several of Jerome's letters from the early 380s, when he was an ascetic teacher in Rome, through to the period following the hostile reception of"his Against Jovinian at Rome in 393-394. A Catholic theologian, David Hunter, has recently (1987) portrayed Jovinian as an "anti-Manichaean polemicist." I will argue that this is a distortion arising from the theologian's desire to defuse the monk's effective critique of prominent orthodox figures of his day, thereby rendering his vindication less problematic, and will suggest that in the crisis of the Helvidian controversy and the storm of events leading to Jerome's expulsion from Rome, and in the tension between this new ascetic enthusiasm and Jovinian's monastic values lay the probable motives for Jovinian's own conversion from a life of concerted self-denial to a more moderate monasticism, determined above all to avoid the pitfall of self-exaltation associated with extreme ascetic praxis. I will argue that Jovinian is best understood as a monastic heretic, in opposition to recent scholars who have attempted to vindicate him as an "orthodox" figure for his biblically centered and conservative ecclesiology and soteriology. I will maintain that it is important to de-stigmatize the word heretic, and that only this word can meaningfully apply to Jovinian, who chose energetically to dissent from "normative" Christianity as this was defined by the episcopal hierarchy of his day, and, indeed, by the state that would enforce his exile and possibly his death in 398. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iv 1. Introduction 1 —The State of the Question: an Overview 13 --Jovinian and his Career: a Chronological Sketch 17 B. THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE 2. Jovinian's Writings in Jerome's Against Jovinian 18 —Summary 52 3. Siricius: Letter 1 54 —Commentary 57 4. Ambrose: Rescriptum ad Siricium Papam 64 5. Jerome: Letters 22, 39,48-50. 77 6. Ambrose: Letter 63 85 7. Codex Theodosiamis 16. 5. 53 89 8. Augustine: De Haeresibus 82 91 C. SECONDARY STUDIES 94 -The Current State of the Question: Hunter 112 D. CONCLUSION 120 E. WORKS CITED 126 i v INTRODUCTION In 392 or 393, Pope Siricius convened a synod in Rome to examine the case of a teacher named Jovinian. A concerned ascetic, the senator Pammachius, had brought some of Jovinian's writings to the Pope; he was disturbed by this teacher's equation of the merit of dedicated virgins and married Christian women, and of fasting and eating with thanksgiving, among other things. Siricius was incensed by these ideas, and concluded the written record of this synod with a harsh judgement: And so, having followed the teaching of the Apostle, that "they have been preaching other than that which we have received,"...Jovinian and [a list of his associates here follows], who set the blaze of the new heresy, and are inventors of blasphemy, shall by divine sentence and by our judgement remain forever condemned outside the Church.1 Thus does Jovinian make his earliest appearance, as condemned heretic2, in the historical record. He had been a monk and the sort of fierce ascetic almost unanimously admired by the Christian intelligentsia of the late fourth century3, but underwent, in J.N.D. Kelly's words, ...a complete change, deciding that mortifications like these had nothing to do with true Christianity. Without ceasing to be a monk or abandoning celibacy, he adopted a more normal, comfortable mode of life...What was more disturbing...he prepared a reasoned presentation [of his views] backed with plentiful citations from Scripture...4 1 Siricius, Letter 7.4: PL 13, p. 1172. 2 * Pope Siricius presided over and announced Jovinian's excommunication and sentence to "perpetual damnation outside the Church" in 390. 3 Jerome, Ad\>ersns Ioviniamim, 1.40, remarks that "...he boasts of being a monk, [but] he has exchanged his dirty tunic, bare feet, common bread and drink of water for a snowy dress, sleek skin, honey wine and dainty dishes..." 4 J.N.D. Kelly, Jerome: His Life and Controversies (New York: 1975), 180-181. 1 This study is an attempt to develop a fresh reconstruction of Jovinian's themes, arguments, and motives, and to gain an understanding of how these were received or rejected by Christians in Jovinian's environment of late-fourth century Italy. In so doing, I hope also to shed some light on some of the issues and challenges faced by Latin Christians in this period with respect to sexuality, identity, and sanctity. My investigation will lead me to suggest that Jovinian's argument is founded on a coherent soteriology and ecclesiology. I will summarise his position in the following way: the Church is the Body of Christ, whose function is pre-eminently to be a vehicle for the Spirit, actively expressing the will and power of God. In such a Church, entered by baptism in faith, such distinctions as are wrought by differing marital status and austerities are of little moment because they are not and cannot be a source of holiness: only God's continuing presence in His people and the continual, active expression of this presence form the locus of the sacred. Participation in this divine activity bestows sanctity (and salvation) without distinction, as refusal to participate in it severs the person from sanctity's Source. The Church is, so to speak, the continuing physical presence of the illimitable God, and its members will therefore be empowered to act beyond the limits of the world's expectations and boundaries. Such acts, expressing the will of God, possess at the very least the status of a soteriological sign, and are the concomitant fruit of real faith.5 I will show that what gave urgency to Jovinian's "mission" was a conviction that the rise of the new ascetic enthusiasm was an eschatological sign, foretold, as he believed, by Paul in a text which became the cornerstone of his arguments—1 Timothy 4: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.6 5 See below, pp.51-52. 6 1 Timothy 4.1 -3; the first use of this passage by Jovinian comes at the conclusion of Adv. Iov. 1.5. 2 It is by a careful exploration of the main primary texts, handled chronologically, that I hope to make such a reconstruction. When these texts are available in translation, the translation will be used; it will, however, be controlled by reference to the Latin text provided by Wilhelm Haller in his seminal study Iovinianus1 This study will examine, firstly, Jovinian's writings themselves as these are preserved, with remarkable felicity, in Jerome's Adversus Iovniamim. Jerome is not a writer often noted for fairness and moderation in debate; indeed, J.N.D. Kelly has remarked on the wild excess of Jerome's vituperation and his inability to comprehend Jovinian's arguments8. And yet Jerome's reporting of Jovinian's arguments is quite thorough, respects and reproduces their original sequence, and often consists of direct, extended quotations. At first hearing, such confidence seems remarkable. And yet the circumstances of Jerome's composition of Adversus Iovinianum, as well as evidence from the text itself, give us ample grounds for trusting that the infamous polemicist has in fact preserved very substantial selections from Jovinian's own writing. All of this evidence will unfold itself as the study progresses. But it is important to establish some of the primary grounds for our confidence before proceeding further. 7 Wilhelm Haller, Iovinianus: Die Fragmente seiner Schriften, die Quellen xu seiner Geschichte, sein Leben und sein Lehre. (Texte und Untersuchungen 17/2, Leipzig: Hinrichs 1897.) 8 Jerome, p. 181. 3 It is necessary, first of all, to stress that Adversus Iovinianum is a chimerical text with respect to its genre. It is replete with grotesque heresiological cliches, as Kelly notes, in such sections as Jerome aims to discredit the person of Jovinian.9 And yet Jerome was not embarking upon hersiology, per se, but rather upon a refutation of a well-known, recently published and widely circulated text of a living author. Pope Siricius uses dramatic language to describe the popularity and wide dissemination of Jovinian's writings in Rome: Truly, even the elect have publicly brought forth [the Jovinianists'] blasphemies by means of a rash document, and stirred up by the furor of a desperate mind they have promiscuously10 and in the favor of the Gentiles published them.11 Siricius is in fact admitting that a significant number of otherwise perfectly "orthodox" Christians took it upon themselves to have Jovinian's writings published. Among these Christians were numbers of celibate priests and monks; Jerome will be baffled by this fact after his Adversus Iovinianum was widely rejected in Rome. He complains of this fact in a letter to Pammachius: I wonder that clergymen and monks—who both live celibate lives-refrain from praising what they consistently practice.12 9 Cf. p. 102 below. 10 passim. 11 Letter1.4. 12 Letter 48.2. 4 Augustine remarks a decade later that so effective were these popular and widely known writings that a great number of women who had for some time been under vows of sacred virginity were induced by them to marry.13 A summary distortion and dismissal of Jovinian in such a situation could have had no promise of success. Jerome was faced with a very different task than Epiphanius before him, who could in confident leisure labor over his demonization of Gnostic and Jewish Christian sects that had largely vanished from the scene. So it was that the commission from Pammachius was a specific request to thoroughly, albeit quickly, refute Jovinian's texts per se: Very few days have elapsed since the holy brethren of Rome sent to me the treatises of a certain Jovinian with the request that I would reply to the follies contained in them...14 Jerome was eager to rise to the occasion; we have noted that the Adversus Iovinianum is his longest polemical piece. Kelly feels that Jerome strove to be as thorough as he was because he hoped to redeem himself among the Roman Christians he had recently left in disgrace. As Kelly demonstrates, Pammachius' invitation to compose this treatise would have been doubly welcome as demonstrating that his special abilities were again recognized at Rome, and as offering him a wonderful opportunity of rehabilitating himself in responsible Christian circles there.15 13 De Haeresibus 82. u Adv. Iov.U. 5 Jerome was entering the battle with a Homeric lust for glory, and only battle against the full array of the adversary, sustained over time and with no excessive "handicap" would provide the opportunity: The farther back the catapult is drawn, the greater the force of the missile. To linger is not to lose, if by lingering victory is better assured.16 Jerome repeats several times his intention to treat Jovinian's writings wholesale and step by step, most insistently in Adversus Iovinianum 1.6. We should keep in mind that such announcements as these could not have been made by Jerome without an acute anxiety on his part to follow through on his promise, since his Roman audience was intimately familiar with Jovinian's writings: I thought it best to draw up in full array against myself all his efforts, and to muster all the forces of the enemy with their squadrons and generals, lest after an early victory there should spring up a series of other engagements. I will not therefore do battle with single foes, nor will I be satisfied with skirmishes in which I meet small detachments of my opponents. The battle must be fought with the whole army of the enemy...17...I will keep to the division above, and taking his propositions one by one will...refute them.18 Jerome's method of doing so was to present whole blocks of Jovinian's writing, and then at length to respond to them. The verbose refutations, replete with extensive selections from Pagan authors, 19outweigh Jovinian's writings in Adversus Iovinianum by about 10:1. Both the form and Kelly, Jerome, p. 182. Adv. Iov. 1.3. Adv. Iov. 1.3 Adv. Iov. 1.4. 1 9 A telling point. Heretics are very easy to demonize if a heresiologist can identify in the heretic's writing any hint of pagan philosophy. Jerome makes heavy use of profane authors— 6 content of these blocks and the content of the refutation give us every reason to trust that these selections from Jovinian's treatises are what they seem. The first such, Adversus Iovinianum 1.5, is typical: it is almost entirely a series of unadulterated scriptural references in the indicative case and in sequence from Genesis through the Epistles, set off by the occasional "he says" (inquif) or "next we learn." Such dense blocks of Scriptural quotes and references as we find here and at other points in the treatise cannot reasonably be taken to be "straw man" distortions of Jovinian's writings, simply because they are entirely scriptural and highly embarrassing to the case that Jerome or any other advocate of the superiority of virginity might hope to make. Augustine gives us an example of what Jerome might have accomplished had he hoped only to dismiss Jovinian along standard heresiological lines. In De Haeresibus 82, the subtle argument of Jovinian that those baptized in fullness of faith are all equal members of the Body of Christ, presented by Jerome at length at Adversus Iovinianum II. 18-20, is reduced to a Stoic cliche: Just as the Stoic philosophers, he used to say that all sins are equal. Dismissing heresies as intmsions of pagan philosophy is a commonplace going back to Hippolytus and Tertullian. Such a tactic was unavailable to Jerome, who felt the need to present Jovinian's Theophrastus, for instance, in Adv. Iov. 1.6, for his caricature of the pains of marriage~and shows us by contrast a Jovinian making his arguments by conservatively proceeding sequentially, time and time again, through Scripture from Genesis through the Epistles. 7 own arguments as a guarantee of his own refutation's thoroughness and soundness—arguments consisting almost entirely of embarrassing Scriptural references chained together in textual sequence from Genesis to the Epistles. In fact, passing from these blocks of Jovinian's writings to the hasty and heated refutations which succeed them ("these are the hissings of the old serpent...I beg the reader not to be disturbed if he is compelled to read Jovinian's nauseating trash...20"), it is difficult to avoid the conclusion of Kelly that Jerome fundamentally failed to understand the man he took such pains to refute.21 No reader could come to such an irresistible conclusion if Jerome had taken the time to digest and then distort Jovinian's arguments in order to set them up for easy heresiological attacks. Jerome sets up Jovinian's writings, as he felt he needed to, in great, solid pieces, and then misses these targets entirely. It is an ironic fact that Jerome, in his ambition to refute a well known text in its entirety, has preserved Jovinian's writings for posterity with the result that the monk is today being widely vindicated. There is a need to provide an exploration of Jovinian's arguments in English. In the scholarly literature of the past century, only Haller22, writing in German, and Valli23, in Italian, have 20 Adv. Iov. 1.4. 21 Jerome, p. 181. 2 2 Iovinianus: Die Fragmente Seiner Schriften, die Quellen zu seiner Geschicte, sein Leben und seine Lehre. Texte und Untersuchungen 17/2; Leipzig: Hinrichs: 1897. 23 Gioviniano: Esame dellefonti e deiframmenti. Urbino: Universita di Urbino, 1953. 8 examined these reconstructed arguments of Jovinian in any detail. These studies suffer somewhat from the fact that Haller, following Harnack, felt that he was reintroducing a "proto-Protestant;" Valli, to counter-balance this portrait, aimed at a reaffirmation of Jovinian's status as an "anti-monastic heretic." I will offer a detailed examination of Jovinian's argument in English, and at some distance from these earlier scholars' denominational "tug-o'-war." After offering a tentative reconstruction of the monk's concerns and arguments, we will turn to the most important late-fourth and early-fifth century records of the response to Jovinian's teaching. We will examine the first, and possibly most consequential, textual response to Jovinian and his followers: Letter 7 of Pope Siricius.24 The letter has hitherto been unavailable in English; I have, in order to fill this gap, prepared a translation of this important text and appended a commentary. Following this, we will proceed to the response of Ambrose of Milan to this letter: the Rescriptum ad Siriciam Papam {Letter 42). The notably excited, irrational tone of both these writers' reactions to Jovinian, and the rather awkward and unconvincing sanctions they bestow upon marriage in texts which otherwise are heavy with implicit disparagement for it, suggest, I will argue, that the monk was touching a "raw nerve." I will further suggest that the grave post-Constantinian "identity crisis," described by Robert Markus in his The End of Ancient Christianity15, is what produced the massive psychological tension that we see in these two bishops' letters; ascetic 2 4 Haller, lovinianus, pp. 68-72; PL 13, 1168-1172. 2 5 Robert Markus. The End of Ancient Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 9 enthusiasm was being embraced as a means of securing a "holy" identity, but every such reworking of identity carried with it the acute fear, in Markus' view, of betraying the Christian past. At this betrayal and fear of betrayal, I will suggest, Jovinian pointed an unambiguously accusing finger. We will, admittedly, be giving a very disproportionately brief amount of our attention to considerations of Jerome's own refutations of Jovinian's arguments in the Adversus Iovinianum^ these considerations will for the most part be made anecdotally and in the form of footnotes when they become relevant. But five of Jerome's Letters: 22, 39, 48, 49, and 50, will be examined, and the last three of these in some detail. We will start with these letters of 394, which provide us with reports of how Jerome's refutation of Jovinian fared back at Rome (poorly), introduce us to the possibility that Pelagius opposed both Jerome and Jovinian at once, and finally give us our last example of Jovinian's own speaking or writing: we see him defiant and unbowed before his episcopal opponents. We will then work back in time through the remaining letters, relying heavily 2 6 The work is of considerable bulk~70 dense, double columned pages in the translation we will be using (W.H. Freemantle, in Jerome: Letters and Select Works, NPNF 6, pp.346-416)~and this procedure was chosen as a means of making such considerations more manageable within the limits of this study. Another rationale exists for such a disparity in attention: Jerome is writing a considered refutation of Jovinian's views from both a spatial and temporal distance, whereas the letters of Siricius and Ambrose represent the immediate and pragmatic responses to the Jovinianist movement of the two most powerful members of the Western Christian hierarchy. Jerome's refutations, so far from having a significant impact upon the Christian community and Jovinian himself, caused such offense that Pammachius, who had brought the monk's treatises to the attention both of the Pope and Jerome in the first place, was compelled to withdraw them from circulation at Rome (Jerome, Letter 49.2). 10 on Kelly for synopses both of the letters and events relating to them. We will arrive at 383, in which year Jerome faced Helvidius in a debate over many of the same issues that Jovinian was to raise in the same city a decade later. I will try to show that a storm of controversy and scandal at Rome during the years 383-385, at whose center was Jerome, would have provided sufficient motive for a monk such as Jovinian to reverse many of his convictions and much of his lifestyle, and to impel him to formulate and publish his new27 insights. Letter 63 of Ambrose28 will then be called as evidence; it will show us two Jovinianist monks active in northern Italy in 396 and clashing with Ambrose, to whose monastery in Milan they once belonged. This show of monastic support for the monk Jovinian will raise the question of the often-supposed link between monasticism and the new ascetic enthusiasm. With the aid of Roberta Bondi291 will suggest that, in fact, Jovinian's values and convictions were pre-eminently those of early monasticism, and that the clash of these with the values of both the episcopate and of urban, aristocratic exponents of ascetic enthusiasm reveal a profound tension in the late-fourth century Latin church which deserves to be further explored. To him; his teachings are if anything very conservative~"delightfully old fashioned," as Peter Brown puts it (The Body and Society, p.360) 2 8 Mary Melchior Beyenka, translator; Ambrose: Letters, FC26, pp. 321-363. 2 9 "The Fourth-Century Church: the Monastic Contribution," in Faith to Creed: Ecumenical Perspectives on the Affirmation of the Apostolic Faith in the Fourth Century. New York: The Commission on Faith and Order, 1991. 11 Next we will examine the text which was likely the most tragically consequential for Jovinian's own experience. This is a law of 398 in the Codex Theodosicmus, mandating Jovinian's potentially mortal punishment and exile. It will merit our focused attention. It informs us that at the time of the law Jovinian still had supporters, with whom he met outside of Rome's walls. We have seen (cf. my comments on Jerome's Letter 50) that Jovinian was defiant and disdainful of the bishops who had excommunicated him; this must have been a powerful irritant to Siricius and other bishops, who, the law says, brought the request for the State's intervention to the emperor. Finally we will turn to Augustine's De Haeresibus to gain a final post-mortem look at some of the monk's activities unreported by the earlier sources. It will also give us a valuable look at how Jovinian's views became distorted by oral transmission and polemic in the period after the law of 398. Only after we have gained a hold on these sources will we turn to the secondary literature; because of the nature of the primary evidence-nothing of Jovinian's own writing has survived intact as a result of his condemnation-scholars have had to reconstruct Jovinian and his arguments before proceeding to the many questions his case raises. We will examine some of the most important such reconstructions and evaluations from 1897 (Haller) to 1992. It is here, after benefiting from the accumulation of these scholars' investigations, that we will raise again the question of what in Jovinian's environment and experience could have triggered his "conversion," helped inform his 12 teaching, and explain why he was responded to with such severity. I will come to disagree with Hunter30, who argues that Jovinian's motive and target was a well-documented upsurge in Manichaeism; instead I will again attempt to show that in the activities and debates of high profile Roman Christians in the 380s there would have been sufficient stimulus for Jovinian both to undergo a personal transformation and to formulate and publish his teachings. Before, however, taking the cold-water plunge into the primary sources, an introductory sketch of the status quaestionis might help us get our bearings. JOVINIAN: THE STATE OF THE QUESTION: AN OVERVIEW: JOVINIAN'S FOUR PROPOSITIONS AS REPORTED BY JEROME: Jovinian had, in his commentarioli31, declared that virgins, widows, and married women washed in baptism do not differ in merit, if they are equal in other works. Eating and drinking with thanksgiving was not less virtuous than abstinence from foods, according to the monk. He argued, also, that those reborn in baptism in full faith32 could not be overthrown by the devil. He denied 3 0 "Resistance," p.46. 3 1 Jerome, Adv. Iov. 1.1 The word commentariolum is a diminutive form of commentarius, and refers generally to a short treatise, a "notebook" or "textbook" (OLD). It does not possess pejorative force. 3 2 plena fide 13 the existence of a hierarchical system of heavenly rewards, won through various amounts of merit accrued in ascetic renunciation; there existed, he said, one reward for the faithful. And, without denying her virginity before Jesus' birth, Jovinian taught that Mary must have lost her physical virginity in partu.33 The publication and defence of these ideas, as we have seen, earned Jovinian a severe sentence from Siricius of excommunication and "perpetual damnation outside the church,34" a sentence enforced at the end by the emperor Honorius in 398: Jerome, Ad Iov., 1.3, gives the first four of these propositions in this form and in this order. The fifth thesis is unmentioned by Jerome in the Adversus Iovinianum. This is difficult to explain; the two explanations generally tendered are that a) Jerome himself believed that Mary suffered all the usual pains of birth or b) that the Marian thesis was a later addition which Jovinian made to his arguments, probably in response to Ambrose's heavy dependence on Mary's perpetual virginity as a leitmotif in exalting virginity. See David Hunter, "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late Fourth Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian," TS 48, 1987, p. 52 n.28 for a discussion of these two positions. The second position, advanced by Kelly (Jerome, pp. 185-186), is called into some question by the fact that Jerome does expend some energy defending Mary's perpetual virginity in the context of the controversy. The concluding section of Letter 18 is an affirmation, in rather Ambrosian language, of the perpetual virginity, beginning with a lengthy list of typological readings of Old Testament passages which Jerome takes to foreshadow the Virgin. It is impossible to know, of course, whether this reflects the enclosure of a new Jovinianist argument in the letter just sent to Jerome by Pammachius (in which he complains of having had to try to suppress Jerome's treatise), if Jerome had had the thesis on hand all the while, or whether, indeed, Jovinian may well have been responding to this letter when he formulated this last argument. Equally, it may simply be evidence of another of Jerome's doctrinal reversals, performed to maintain his somewhat tentative status within the Catholic community; see Elizabeth Clark, The Origenist Controversy, pp. 121-122 for an examination of one such reversal performed during that controversy. 3 4 Siricius, Letter 7.4 inP.L. 13.1171. 14 Jovinian was scourged with a leaded thong and exiled to the rock of Boa, on the coast of Dalmatia, while his followers were hunted down, deported, and scattered among the savage islands of the Adriatic.36 In the quest either to champion the protest raised by Jovinian in late-fourth-century Rome or to reaffirm the condemnation of his views37, or more recently, to understand the meaning of sexual renunciation and its role in self-definition and societal dynamics among Late Antique Roman Christians, scholars have sought to construct from the evidence the life, character and motivations A sentence very nearly tantamount to capital punishment, despite the frequent insistence that Priscillian's execution is altogether unusual and extreme for this period. Augustine remarks in a letter (Letter 10*, in the recently discovered collection of heretofore unknown letters of Augustine: Sancti Augustini opera, epistnlae ex duobus codicibus miper in Incem prolatae. Ed. J. Divjak, CSEL 88, Vienna, 1981) that he is uncomfortable with this mode of punishment for heretics, since it "so often leads to death." 3 6 Henry C. Lea, History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church (London, 1907), p.70. There is some conflict between the two pieces of evidence for Jovinian's death; Lea here refers to CT 16. 5. 33, where the date of 412 is given for his demise. Jerome, however, writes in 406 of Jovinian's passing as accomplished in his Contra Vigilantium. P.R. Coleman-Norton (Roman State and Christian Church: a Collection of Legal Documents to A.D. 535, London, 1966, p.556) feels that, in all likelihood, the date given in the Codex is incorrect. It is interesting to note that solitary exile to Boa or other islets in the Adriatic was, during the Dominate, a standard punishment for both political offenders and heretics during the Dominate (Coleman-Norton, op. tit., p.557). 3 7 A debate which, perplexingly and interestingly, often took (and continues to take) the form of pronouncing Jovinian to be a heretic or orthodox. The implication is, of course, that the category heretic is primarily ontological and secondarily historical. This is a model which recommends itself in several ways: it allows Christian communities to redefine themselves while maintaining a putative center of allegiance and discourse which is always open to investigation and rediscovery. It is therefore open and democratic, and makes "orthodoxy" a matter of dialogue and consensus. The paradox raised, however, by the feat of pronouncing a historically heretical figure "orthodox" seems quite striking, at least for those concerned to maintain the usefulness of a traditionA>ased model of orthodoxy which seeks its roots in the pronouncements of important persons. 15 of Jovinian, and to understand the nature of the response that the man and his ideas met with in the late-fourth and early-fifth centuries. By a previous generation of Catholic scholars, Jovinian has often been held in low regard as a heretic38; and he has been hailed by Protestant scholars as, in Harnack's words, a "witness to truth," and a "Protestant of his time."39 Recently, some Catholic scholars have been intent on rehabilitating Jovinian his ideas. David G. Hunter, in a recent article, tries to show that ...the monk Jovinian, generally considered to be an anti-ascetic heretic, may have had more orthodox aims.40 Allen Budzin, a young Carmelite, goes further and argues explicitly that Jovinian represents an authentic, alternative Patristic spirituality—and should thus be considered a legitimate source of orthodox doctrine.41 Peter Brown is typical of some contemporary historians of the period in that in his The Body and Society he tends to steer clear of the question—probably because it is seen as a more theological and ecclesiological question than a historical one—of the "heresy" of Jovinian and On occasion, interestingly enough, as a Protestant heretic: "Jovinian presented the doctrine of salvation without works, denied the Virgin Birth, and put marriage on a par with virginity." Matthew Schumacher, Saint Augustine: Against Julian. The Fathers of the Church (New York, 1957) vol.35, p.6, n.l. 3 9 Adolf Harnack, History of Dogma (Gloucester, Mass.: 1976), p.58. 4 0 David G. Hunter, "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late-Fourth-Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian," Theological Studies 48 (1987) 51-52. 4 1 Allen J. Budzin, "Jovinian's Four Theses on the Spiritual Life: an Alternative Patristic Spirituality," Toronto Journal of Theology, Spring, 1988. p.52. 16 the "orthodoxy" of his opponents. Instead it is the flashbulb instant of brilliant illumination with which the case of Jovinian and its immediate aftermath light up fundamental questions of hierarchy, identity and legitimacy in late fourth-century Christian society that interests Brown and other recent scholars. JOVINIAN AND HIS CAREER: A CHRONOLOGICAL SKETCH; The precise date of the synod called by Siricius at Rome is not known, but must fall between 390 and 39342 Valli treats all evidence bearing on the question of chronology in minute detail43 and demonstrates that both synods (of Rome and Milan) could not have taken place before 392. Kelly builds on this work and feels that, in all likelihood, Pammachius must have undertaken his "exposure" of Jovinian, both sending his writings to Jerome in Bethlehem and presenting them to pope Siricius sometime in early summer 393; he suggests that "he might reasonably looked for sympathy to the usurper Eugenius, whose plans for moving from Gaul to Milan must already have been known (he reached the city in late summer 393)44 The "post-condemnation statement" that Jerome records in his Letter 50 demonstrates that Jovinian remained defiantly active in the 5 years between the two Italian synods and the law of 398 mandating his scourging and exile. In 396, as Ambrose's Letter 63 shows, Jovinianists remain active and at odds with Ambrose in northern Italy. The aforementioned law indicates that Jovinian would have been either killed or exiled in 398; and 4 2 Hunter, "Resistance," p. 45. 43 Gioviniano, pp.30-47. 4 4 Kelly, Jerome, p.m. 17 certainly by 406 he is dead, since in that year Jerome speaks of him as dead in Against Vigilantius.45 JOVINIAN'S WRITINGS AS PRESERVED IN JEROME'S ADVERSUS IOVINIANUM: The Adversus Iovinianum 4 6 is opened by Jerome with a flashy and unrestrained attack on the monk's style. Horace, Persius, Virgil and Plautus are employed in quick succession by the man famously accused by the Judge in a dream of being a "Ciceronian, not a Christian," for his love of pagan literature47. Two tantalizing but seemingly unresolvable clues are offered by this showy but otherwise vacuous passage: Jerome caps his attack with a quote from the introduction to Jovinian's "second book."48 We are unfortunately left somewhat in the dark as to the total number of books or treatises49; nor can we assert with perfect certainty that the argument of the Adversus 4 3 Freemantle, Jerome, p.417. 4 6 Unless otherwise specified, the text of the Adversus Iovinianum that will be used is the English translation of W.H. Freemantle found in The Principal Works of Jerome, volume 6 of the series Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Peabody, Mass., 1994; pp. 346-416. Unless Valli or PL is specified, the Latin text being used to control the translation will be Haller's, Iovinianus, pp. 1-46. "Adv. lav. 1.1 48Adv.Iov. 1.1. 4 9 In the first sentence Jerome had referred to the commentarioli (cf. n.12 on p.6, above) of Jovinian; at the end of the paragraph he refers to Jovinian's "second book." Jerome, unfortunately, mentions nothing further about the number of "books" or "treatises" of Jovinian. The question has been examined in real detail by Valli (Gioviniano, 55-57), who feels that his writings must have been in the form of a series of four short books (one per proposition). These were 18 Iovinianum presents the original order of the premises that Jerome sought to refute. Jerome does explain throughout the work however that he is proceeding through Jovinian's writings step by step, and there seems to be no reason to doubt this very seriously50. In the manner of all ancient texts, it is probable that Jovinian's "treatises" were variously collected, a single proposition's argument sometimes copied and distributed, the writings for the most part reproduced in their entirety and original order on rolls or in a codex. The second clue is in the paragraph itself. "I respond to your invitation," writes Jovinian, "not that I may go through life with a high reputation, but that I may live free from idle rumor."51 It is not clear at whose "invitation" Jovinian raised his pen; but we may imagine that it was a married woman, since the first thesis is directed only at the question of merit through sexual renunciation for women.52 The tone of this introduction suggests that at time of writing Jovinian (p.56)"non...notavolmente lungha," and they had a natural, coherent organization ("organicamente ordinata"). 5 0 Cf. p. 5, above. 51 Adv. Iov. 1.2. 52 Adv. Iov. 1.3. 19 had already become known for his teaching. We may further hazard the guess that Jovinian's "patrona" was one of his "converts" from the dedicated virgin state to the married life.53 Jerome provides, at the end of the third chapter of the Adversus Iovinianum, a summary of Jovinian's arguments, dragged "out from his books like snakes from the holes where they hide."54 Jerome gives these as: 1) Virgins, widows, and married women who have once passed through the laver of Christ, if they are equal in their other works, are of the same merit. 2) They who have been bom again in baptism in fullness of faith cannot be overthrown by the devil. 3) There is no difference between abstinence from food and its reception with thanksgiving. 4) There is one reward in the kingdom of heaven for all who have kept their baptismal vow.5 5 The fifth chapter of Adversus Iovinianum is Jerome's summary of Jovinian's argument in defense of the first thesis above56. The arguments are entirely based in Scripture.57 Augustine, De Haeresibus LXXXTJ. Jovinian must have been persuasive: "quaedam virgines sacrae provectae iam aetatis in urbe Roma, ubi haec docebat eo audito nupisse dicantur"~though of course his arguments may have been a rather easy sell! 5 4 Adv. Iov. 1.3. 5 5 Adv. Iov. 1.3. 5 6 Except where noted otherwise, the following discussion of Jovinian's defense of the sanctity of married women will be entirely based on this chapter of the Adversus Iovinianum. 20 Jovinian began by linking the marriage blessing from the second creation account to Christ's reiteration of the text in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew.58 In doing so, he anticipated and attempted to undermine the strategy of opponents like Jerome-a strategy dating back at least to Marcion and Tatian—of insisting that the old dispensation is "carnal" and the new "spiritual."59 To this Jovinian added the divine command to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."60 Jerome in ch.41 of the Adversus Iovinianum seems to refer to a separate work or a portion of Jovinian's treatises that he hadn't seen, in which our monk adduces secular authorities for his position: "...I understand that our opponent in his commentaries summons us to the tribunal of worldly wisdom, and we are told that views of this kind are never accepted in the world, and that our religion has invented a new dogma against nature." Jerome endeavours, in response, to "run through Greek and Roman and Foreign history, and...show that virginity ever took the lead of chastity." Francesco Valli (Gioviniano, Urbino, 1953, p.70) has convincingly identified at one of these profane authors as Cicero; see the discussion below about Jovinian's third thesis. 58 Adv. Iov. 1.5. 59 Adv. Iov. 1.18. Although Jerome expressly distances himself from Tatian in the third chapter, his understanding of the apokatastasis-the summation and perfection of all things in Christ as taught by Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians~is very much in harmony with the teachings of the Syrian Encratites: "But once Christ has come in the end of time, and Omega passed into Alpha and the end into the beginning, we are no longer allowed divorce, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh, for the Apostle says, Tt is good not to eat flesh nor to drink wine.'" In chapter 19, Jerome unhesitatingly says that "the truth is, in view of the purity of the body of Christ, all sexual intercourse is unclean." Even more clear is the assertion, in the fourth chapter of the second book, that "as Abraham in days gone by pleased God in wedlock, so virgins now please him in perpetual virginity. He served the Law and his own times; let us now serve the Gospel and our times." 6 0 Gen. 1.28. 21 Jovinian's essential strategy was to bring to his audience's remembrance the favour that such figures as Enoch, Noah, Moses, David and Solomon had enjoyed with God and to stress at the same time the fact that these saints were married. Indeed, Jovinian did not shrink from recalling that "David himself, for the price of two hundred foreskins and at the peril of his life, was bedded with the king's daughter,"61 suggesting that sexual desire itself in the context of the married state might be unproblematic for sanctity. Perhaps the most interesting figures mentioned in this digest of "great married saints of the Old Testament" are the powerful women. Jovinian made use of the fourth chapter of Judges, in which Deborah summons Barak to face Sisera in battle62. The argument must have been powerful; both Deborah and Jael were instrumental in fulfilling the purpose of the God of Israel, and both were married. The argument that Jovinian seems to have attempted to maintain is that sanctity is determined by action in accord with faith—the "other works" mentioned in the first thesis. Not only are these married women shown by Jovinian's argument to be figures of powerful sanctity regardless of their sexual status; Jovinian evinced in his writing a desire to defend even their equality (or potential equality) with men. 61 Adv. Iov. 1.5 62 Adv. Iov. 1.5. 22 Proceeding from Deborah and Jael, whose victory over the chariots of the enemies of God's people he emphasised, he continued through Samuel, Boaz and Ruth, David, Solomon, Elijah and Elisha63 and Hezekiah to the time of Josiah, the righteous king of Judah. After the discovery of the "book of the law"64 by the priest Hilkiah and its recitation to the king by his secretary Shaphan, the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum was sought out by these men for guidance. Jovinian emphasised that this prophetess was a married woman whose knowledge of sacred things made her the authoritive instructor of the king and his court.65 After then asserting that Daniel and the "three youths"66 were among the married, Jovinian set about treating the New Testament texts. Jovinian continued here his strategy of observing that many of the prominent saints were married; among these were "Zachariah and Elizabeth, Peter and his father-in-law, and the rest of the Apostles."67 Having passed now on to the New Dispensation, Jovinian apparently felt constrained to again grapple with the assertion that he faced at the outset: If they idly urge in defence of themselves the plea that the world in its early stage needed to be replenished, let them listen to the words of Paul...68 6 3 About whose inclusion in the argument Jerome seems rightly perplexed. 6 4 2 Kings 22:8. Jerome identifies this specifically as Deuteronomy. 6 5 2 Kings 22.14-20. (Adv. Iov. 1.5) 6 6 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 2:49-3:30). 67'Adv. Iov. 1.5 6S Adv. Iov. 1.5. 23 Here Jovinian evinces an awareness not only of a practice and prevailing opinion which he had come to oppose, but of a specific party promoting and defending these views. And it is here that Jovinian brings forward the (deutero-) Pauline texts which were, arguably, the cornerstone of his position. By far the most important of these texts was 1 Timothy. Jovinian did have recourse to the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, in which Paul tackles questions put to him on marriage by members of the Corinthian ekklesia, but as Elaine Pagels points out, when Jovinian did refer to Paul's authentic letters, he instinctively followed selective techniques of exegesis that certain Protestants later perfected. He ignored those passages that express Paul's religious preferences for celibacy (including much of I Corinthians 7) and seized instead upon those in which Paul offered merely pragmatic reasons for sexual abstinence...69 It is with I Timothy—for which he and his contemporaries assumed a Pauline authorship—that Jovinian seems both to have introduced and concluded his use of Paul as an authority. The first passage was I Tim. 5:14: I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children.70 This was the necessary proof needed by Jovinian to demonstrate the continuance of the command to procreate from Genesis in the new age of Christ. Jovinian added to this the straight-forward affirmation of the goodness of marriage of Hebrews 13:4: Marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled.71 69 Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, p. 92. 10 Adv. Iov. 1.5. 2 4 This chain of Pauline texts proceeded then through I Corinthians 7:39, conceding to widows the right to re-marry; I Timothy 2:14, the infamous text ascribing soteriological value to the experience of childbirth72; I Corinthians 7:29, a puzzling inclusion73; and finally, a paraphrase of I Timothy 4:1-3. This is a momentous passage for understanding Jovinian's position. It is in fact difficult to exaggerate how near the heart of his arguments it lies. First, Jovinian's sentence: All this makes it clear that in forbidding to marry, and to eat food which God created for use, you have consciences seared as with a hot iron, and are followers of the Manichaeans.74 Now, I Timothy 4:1-5: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For The R.S.V. has "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled." The Greek text is ambiguous, lacking the verb whose mood would render the meaning clearly. Translated into Latin again without the verb, the only possible meaning is "is," even if the following passage ("for God judges the perverse and the adulterers") suggests that a jussive subjunctive should be assumed. 12 Adv. Iov. 1.5. 7 3 It is preceded by a bit of rhetoric which suggests that it is in fact Jerome's insertion or comment on the text: "Surely we shall hear no more of the famous Apostolic utterance, 'And they who have wives as though they had them not.'" If this is in fact part of Jovinian's argument, the lack of clarifying context provided by Jerome ensures that we are in the dark as to Jovinian's intention in including it in this section of his text. 74 Adv. Iov. 1.5. We have noted that Hunter, "Resistance," p.46 ff, argues that Jovinian is best understood as an "anti-Manichaean polemicist." This passage is one of his stronger pieces of ev 2 5 everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it be received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. We have noted that Jovinian, according to Jerome75 and other authorities, had once lived a life of great austerity. Explaining his change of heart is of a piece with understanding his teachings. We shall examine later some of the explanations tendered by scholars over the last century; what is important to note at this stage is that Jovinian has grammatically substituted "followers of the Manichaeans" for the unspecified figures who, according to the author of I Timothy, will certainly "depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons." Jovinian must have felt, in radically altering his mode of life, that he was escaping from the ranks of an apostate group whose rise had been foretold in the Apostle's clear and ominous warning. This passage of Scripture might then be construed as a possible trigger for Jovinian's "conversion", a "conversion" which remained latent until such time as social and psychological tensions became, for the monk, powerful enough for the man not only to fundamentally change many of his beliefs and his identity, but to make his personal experience and insight the seed of what he clearly hoped would be—and to some recorded extent was~a change in Christian society. Later in our investigation, we shall suggest some possible sources for these tensions not only in the volatile environment of late fourth-century Rome, but in the very nature of early monasticism itself. Adv. Iov. 1.40. 26 Before continuing on to the second propositio of Jovinian, we will consider the final passage of this argument, a passage in which, as Jerome writes, the monk "dashes into rhetoric and apostrophizes virginity thus:"76 I do you no wrong, virgin: you have chosen a life of chastity on account of the present distress: you determined on this course in order to be holy in body and spirit: be not proud: you and your married sisters are members of the same Church 7 7 Again recourse to the Latin as it is provided by Valli78 will prove to be of profit. Our translator, Freemantle,79 has given us "chosen a life of chastity." The text reads, however, "elegisti pudicitiam"--"you have chosen [female] modesty." Is the choice ofpudicitia here significant? It would appear so, if only because most of the women invoked by Jovinian as models of sanctity, notably Deborah, Jael, and Huldah, could not very easily be called models of pudicitia90. Jovinian seems to have attempted to undo an equation that the Church of his day routinely made: an equation between this traditional Roman virtue and female sanctity. The veiled and secluded virgin, and the exuberant praise heaped upon her by the likes of Ambrose, is perhaps the pre-7b Adv. Iov. 1.5. 11 Adv. Iov. 1.5. 78 Gioviniano, p. 85. 19 Jerome, pp. 349-350. 8 0 The word, often simply translated "modesty," has the specific force of "Sexual purity, chastity, virtue" {OLD), and by extension indicates the whole complex of socially constructed female behaviors held to protect it, e.g., modest apparel, submissiveness, etc. A study of the word and its use in Pagan and Christian literature would be of value. 27 eminent expression of this equation. Implicit also in such an equation, as it is explicit in the writings of the Bishop of Milan and many of his contemporaries, is a soteriology of purity, of exclusion of the profane81. If Jovinian rejected such a soteriology, at least in the Platonic and quasi-dualist form embraced by Ambrose, what he did espouse is broadly indicated by his second propositio. The second book of the Adversus Iovinianum is given to a presentation and refutation of the remaining three (2, 3, and 4) propositions of Jovinian. The first of these is proposition 2: They who in fullness of faith have been reborn in baptism cannot be overthrown by the devil (a diabolo non posse subverti).82 This is stated differently at the start of the second book. Instead of subverti, "overthrown," we read tentati, "tempted."83 8 1 See especially David Hunter, "Helvidius, Jovinian, and the Virginity of Mary in Late Fourth Century Rome," in Journal of Early Christian Studies 1:1, pp. 47-71 for a discussion of the quick rise to prominence of this theology in the Latin west and of the central role played by Marian piety in it. In his conclusion (pp. 70-71 ), Hunter remarks of Mary that "what was once a testimony to the presence of God in Christ became an affirmation of absence, an emblem of exclusion and closure; what was once a sign of salvation extended to all became a symbol of holiness possessed by the few." It is indeed arguable that Mary was not the only object of this contraction, though certainly the symbol of it non pared. 82 Adv. Iov. ILL 8 3 Discussed by Allen J. Budzin, "Jovinian's Four Theses on the Spiritual Life," Toronto Journal of Theology, Spring 1988, p.49. Budzin agrees with the scholarly consensus, which is that the former reading, subverti, is Jovinian's own. 28 Here Jovinian's proof-text is the first Epistle of John. According to Jerome, Jovinian fleshed out and defended this proposition thus: But if any are tempted, it only shows that they were baptized with water and not with the Spirit, as we read was the case with Simon Magus. Hence it is that John says "Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him. And he doeth no sin, because he is begotten of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil." And at the end of the Epistle, "Whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but his being begotten of God keepeth him, and the evil one toucheth him not."85 We begin here to see the fundamental conviction which underlies and unifies the four theses of Jovinian refuted by Jerome. We shall see later on, in our examination of some of the secondary literature, the diversity of motivations that scholars have offered for Jovinian's teaching. Whatever triggered Jovinian's conversion and protest, however, and whatever (and whomever) the monk conceived himself to be in opposition to, it is difficult to escape the conclusion of Adolf Harnack that Jovinian's basic position can be construed as follows: The state of the Christian rests on baptism and faith86; these produce regeneration...Regeneration is the state in which Christ is in us, and we in Christ; there are no degrees in it, for this personal relationship either does or does not exist...87 *4Adv. Iov. HI. S5Adv. Iov. H.5. 8 6 This basic observation, stemming from the dominant place that baptism occupies in theses 1, 2, and 4, has been the arena of passionate albeit somewhat perplexingly subtle debate, largely between Catholic and Protestant scholars. Briefly, the assertion of Harnack (Haller makes it the conclusion to his study, Ioviniamts, p. 159) that "in the entire history of Paulinism in the ancient Church, no one has restored to faith and grace their rightful place as has Jovinian" has aroused a number of Catholic scholars until very recently to defend the fundamentally normative character of Jovinian's opponents, three of whom, indeed, are Doctors of the Church. The recent scholarship of the Catholic scholars David Hunter and Allen Budzin, which we will examine in greater detail later, seems to recognize the basic difficulty of needing to grant validity and allegiance to one party 29 We have seen (cf. note 39) that Catholic scholars have for the most part responded defensively to Harnack and Haller; and indeed, there is the provocatively bloody smell of a loaded Lutheran cannon wafting up from Harnack's writing on Jovinian. Phrases like "personal relationship" , no matter how apposite, have about them a suspiciously partisan flavour. Much worse are such expressions as "the excrescences of monkery, relic worship, and virginity,88" which make Harnack seem as interested in denominational sabre-rattling as in scholarship. Nevertheless, it is perhaps a mistake—"throwing out the baby with the bath-water," as it were—to shy entirely away from the Lutherans' delighted conviction that in Jovinian they have discovered a protest and personality that are essentially evangelical89. The basic evangelical preoccupation with being either one of the "saved" or "damned," and an affirmation that the basis of this salvation rests in a relationship with the deity that either does or does not exist does in fact seem to lie near the core of Jovinian's thought. This Johannine vision of the world as divided between the "children of God," who act justly because of their mystical participation in the divine nature, and the "children of the Devil," who in the controversy; the resulting scholarship lacks the toothy defensiveness of the earlier studies and is a pleasure to read. 8 7 Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma, vol.5, p.57. 8 8 Harnack, op. cit, p. 58. 8 9 And, as I will later argue, essentially monastic, a possibility which seems to have been unpalatable for obvious reasons both to earlier Protestant and Catholic scholars. 30 have not been begotten of God and whose behavior is determined by their de facto allegiance to the devil, is difficult to maintain in experience. Indeed, Jerome builds his refutation of this thesis around later sections of the same Epistle, in which John himself speaks of Jesus as advocate for believers who sin90, and affirms that all are sinners and should confess to their sins91. We cannot know whether or not in Jovinian's own writing this uncompromisingly dualistic view was presented in such a naked way as Jerome records it. In any case, the essential assertion being made by Jovinian is, in the context of the other theses, clear enough: to be baptized plena fide is to be baptized with the Spirit, and this participation in the divine nature is the sole root of genuine righteousness. It is an assertion which, in the manner of Augustine's doctrine of grace, stands in opposition to views which undergird egocentric modes of religiosity; its aim is fundamentally to divert attention and the focus of religious effort away from the "self and onto the divine reality. We seem also to be reminded of Augustine in Jovinian's effort to locate sanctity and even salvation in the Christian community more than in individual effort; "be not proud," Jovinian counselled virgins, "you and your married sisters are members of the same Church."92 Identity in 911 John 1:8-9. 92 Adv. Iov. 1.5. The nearness of Jovinian's and Augustine's views in this regard is far from coincidental, if Elizabeth Clark and Robert Markus (Markus, The End of Ancient Christianity, p. 59 n.50, cites Clark, 'Heresy, Asceticism, Adam and Eve') are right: Augustine may have been influenced strongly by Jovinian, however reluctant he would have been to embrace him openly. 31 humility with the saved community was, for Jovinian, preferred to the security of an exalted private identity whose basis and confirmation was ascetic mortification. One of the common means by which religious groups and individuals traditionally distinguish themselves from others is diet. The Christian scriptures bear witness to the tension experienced in the early Christian community over the question of traditional Jewish dietary restrictions93 and foods sanctified in pagan ceremony 9 4 As Jerome puts it, "at length we have arrived at the question of food, and are confronted by our third difficulty."95 The third "difficulty" of Jovinian is that "there is no difference between abstinence from food and its reception with thanksgiving." The fifth chapter of Adversus Ioviniamim II is Jerome's synopsis of the arguments Jovinian used to substantiate this thesis. Jovinian began his argument by stressing humankind's dominion over the created world, arguing that ...as man, a rational animal, in a sense the owner and tenant of this world, is subject to God, and worships his creator, so all things living were created either for the food of men, or for clothing, or for tilling the earth, or conveying the fruits thereof, or to be the See, for example, Mark 7.19; Luke 11.41; and Acts 10.9-16, where, of course, the issue of "clean" foods has a primarily symbolic force. 9 4 Cf. I Corinthians 8.01. 95 Ad\>. Iov. 11.5. 32 companions of man, and hence, because they are man's helpers, they have their name jumenta96 Jovinian is simultaneously arguing the goodness of creation and the dominion of humankind over it, an assertion which is conservatively biblical. It is an interesting way to begin a discussion of fasting, and it deserves our close attention. In fact Jovinian~at least so far as we are able to tell from Jerome's reconstruction of his arguments—does not really talk about fasting, per se, at all. There is no further discussion of what we might tend to conceive of as fasting; something else is intended. Before we continue, we might profit from a glance at the Latin text of the thesis sentence as Haller97 presents it: Tertium proponit "inter abstinentiam ciborum et cum gratiarum actione perceptionem eorum, nullam esse distantiam." Our translator, Freemantle,98 had rendered "ciborum" in the singular: "there is no difference between abstaining from food," etc. J.N.D. Kelly99 proposes the following as a clarification of the third thesis: Christians who mortify themselves by fasting are in no way superior to those who eat and drink freely while offering thanks to God. 96 Ad\K Iov. n.5. W. H. Freemantle, Jerome: Letters and Select Works. 1994, Peabody, Mass., p. 391, remarks in a note that the derivation is actually from iungo and not from iuvo as Jovinian supposed. 97 Ioviniarms, p.4. "Jerome, p.348. 99 Jerome, p. 181. 33 Kelly has re-presented Jovinian's argument with substantial insight into the monk's fundamental view. And yet we are in danger of missing an important point: it is not fasting in the sense that modern readers might understand it with which Jovinian was concerned, at least in this text. It was rather with the selective and sustained elimination of certain foodstuffs from the diet, particularly meats and wine, in the belief that such specification of diet was a necessary ingredient of the committed religious life. Jovinian evidently felt that to assert this was in some way to diminish the intended dignity and dominion of the human being. He turned to Psalm 8—quoting almost in its entirety—to set the course for his discussion: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him but a little lower than the angels, and crownest him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over all the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field: the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.100 Jovinian's invocation of this Psalm gives us another glimpse of something of the generous estimate of the human being, of creation, and of the relation between human beings and God, which have made Jovinian by and large an attractive figure for recent scholars dealing with Christianity. On the other hand, the arguments employed by Jovinian in what might be called his "Apology for the Carnivorous Christian"101 will likely raise eyebrows, if not a few uncomfortable chuckles. mAoS>.Iov. H.5. 1 0 1 A short passage precedes this one in which Jovinian grants that "the ox was made for plowing, the horse for riding, the dog for protection..." etc. 34 His reasoning is absurdly utilitarian, nearly reducing the spectrum of creation down to a cosmic supermarket stocked by a generous Manager: What is the use of swine if we may not eat their flesh? of roes, stags, fallow-deer, boars, hares, and such like game? of geese, wild and tame? of wild ducks and fig-peckers? of woodcocks? of coots? of thrushes? Why do hens run about our houses? If they are not eaten, all these creatures were created by God for nothing.102 Francesco Valli103 has found the source for much of this text, and it is Cicero104. It is the only non-Scriptural source used by Jovinian of which we have any assurance, though as we have seen, Jerome claimed to know of writings by Jovinian based upon secular sources to which he had no access.105 This affirmation of the goodness of created nature, and of its providential ordering for the benefit of human beings, was for Jovinian closely bound up with questions of ritual purity, as indeed it was for the authors and recipients of many of the New Testament texts. The gospels represent W l Adv. Iov. H.5. 103 Gioviniano, p. 70. 104 De Natura Deonim H..37. 1 0 5 Though the possibility exists that Jerome merely supposed, or pretended to suppose this, so that he might be justified in drawing upon his unparalleled breadth of exposure to secular literature. That Jerome's assertion may be more rhetorical\apologetic than factual is suggested also by the fact that neither of Jovinian's other primary adversaries, Siricius and Ambrose, deploys his alleged use of profane authors against him, as we might expect. Valli (p. 71) feels that Jovinian's propositiones moved through Scripture and then "touched on" (accenni) "profane literature." 3 5 Jesus as suspending traditional dietary restrictions and ritual and using the opportunity to refocus religious concern for purity onto the realm of ethical intention.106 It is almost a truism to say that, in general, the texts of the canonical New Testament minimize and relativize the importance of ritual purity; the transcendence of boundaries in matters of diet becomes a symbol of the arrival of the new age, of its mood of triumphant celebration and universal promise and demand. So, for instance, Peter's vision in Acts 10.9-16. The condemnation of those who were "upsetting whole families" by teaching "Jewish myths"—purity laws—in the first chapter of Titus is joined by Jovinian to I Timothy 4.1-5, his keystone text, and God's grant of all animal life for food to Noah107 and his descendants: But what need is there of argument when Scripture clearly teaches that every moving creature, like herbs and vegetables, were given to us for food, and the Apostle cries aloud "All things are clean to the clean, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving," and tells us that men will come in the last days, forbidding to marry, and to eat meats, which God created for use? The Lord himself was called by the Pharisees a wine-bibber and a glutton, because he did not decline the invitation of Zacchaeus to dinner, and went to the wedding feast.108 Jovinian here continues to invoke the New Testament's assault on Pharisaical scrupulosity, clearly intending his readers to identify the teachings of the radical ascetic party with it. The leitmotif of I Timothy 4.3, with its sombre warning against deceivers who demand austerity is again recalled. Cf. Mark 7.19, Luke 11.41. This redirection of the attention toward ethical intention is also a redirection of religious anxiety about identity; the search for security in modes of religiously framed identity-construction is undermined in favor of ethical self-examination and metcmoia. 1 0 7 Genesis 9.3 108 Adv. Iov. n.5. 36 The monk stressed, in fact, that Jesus and Peter both distinguished themselves from their Jewish adversaries by their decidedly un-ascetic lack of anxiety about dietary restrictions, and that this attitude is in contrast also with "superstitious" pagan behavior which placed religious value on "rites of abstinence:" But it is a different matter if, as you may foolishly contend, he went to the dinner intending to fast, and after the manner of deceivers said, I eat this, not that; I do not drink the wine which I created out of water. He did not make water, but wine, the type of his blood. After the resurrection he ate a fish and part of a honey-comb, not sesame nuts and service-berries. The Apostle, Peter, did not wait like a Jew for the stars to peep, but went upon the house-top to dine at the sixth hour. Paul in the ship broke bread, not dried figs. When Timothy's stomach was out of order, he advised him to drink wine, not perry. In abstaining from meats they please their own fancy: as if superstitious Gentiles did not observe the rites of abstinence connected with Mother of the Gods and with Isis.109 It is not clear whether or not Jovinian had in mind a specific text in mind in refuting the hypothetical objection of his opponents that Christ at the wedding feast declined to drink "the wine which [he] created out of water." Neither Valli nor Haller make any remarks in this respect. Hunter110, however, makes an interesting case for a Priscillianist proof text(s), and notes that in many cases, Jerome's views are in harmony with Priscillianist111 ideas. It is also eminently plausible that Jovinian was merely anticipating a response that employed the sort of highly tendentious exegetical method often used by Jerome and Ambrose. Jovinian was clearly a learned man ™ Adv. Iov. JJ..5. 1 1 0 "Resistance," pp. 57-59. 1 1 1 Priscillian was a Spanish bishop and spiritual guide whose followers espoused austerity and virginity; from 382-386 he lived on the estate of a widow, Euchrotia, with whom he was executed on charges of immorality and sorcery (Brown, The Body and Society, p. 372). 37 interested in the religious questions of his day, and we can hardly assume he was unfamiliar with the treatises of two of his most influential contemporaries. "They please their own fancy" is how Jovinian, as we've just seen, characterized the proponents of the new ascetic enthusiasm for their doctrines and practices of exclusion, undertaken to distinguish themselves from and over others. His fourth propostion aimed at undermining all such spiritual self exaltation at its theoretical roots. "His fourth and last contention," writes Jerome112, "is that there are two classes, the sheep and the goats, the just and the unjust..." This proposition, that there is one reward for the righteous without distinction of merit, is given even more attention by Jovinian than the first thesis which dealt specifically with the equality of married women, widows and virgins.113 The argument is found in Adversus Iovinianum 11.18-20. Before plunging into Jovinian's fast-moving stream of Scriptural references, we will do well to recall this fourth propositio: ...there is one reward in the kingdom of heaven for all who have kept their baptismal vow.114 112 Adv. iov. HAS. 1 1 3 Assuming that the quantity of text quoted by Jerome is in some proportional relation to Jovinian's text in its original form. n A Adv. Iov. 1.3. 38 One is almost immediately reminded of the twentieth chapter of Matthew, in whose opening parable all labourers receive the same wage, irrespective of how long they had toiled, and irrespective, too, of the indignation of the labourers who had "borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat," and yet been "made...equal" to the "last [who] have worked only one hour". This parable is joined, after a short lacuna, to the narrative115 in which the mother of the sons of Zebedee asks Jesus that her sons "sit, one at your right hand and one at your left." The correction of the two, and the indignation of the remaining ten provide another opportunity for Jesus to proclaim the inversion, among his followers, of worldly power structures in the new age. The parable is in fact the target of the whole argument upon which the fourth propositio is founded; Jovinian maximized its rhetorical power by making it his final Scriptural citation. Jovinian began the argument, as we have seen, by invoking the eschatological classes of the "just and unjust," the "sheep" and the "goats" of Matthew 25.32. For Jovinian, the kingdom of heaven is the reward of the just: ...to the just the words are spoken: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But...sinners are thus addressed: "depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels."116 1 1 5 Matthew 20.20-28. 116 Adv. Iov. II18 39 We shall see that a great many scholars have seen in Jovinian a doctrine of sola fide, of "faith without works."117 This is despite the conditional clause in the middle of the first propositio: Dicit virgines, viduas et maritatas, quae semel in Christo lotae sunt, si non discrepent ceteris operibus, eiusdem esse meriti.118 The fact that these "other works" are nowhere clearly specified in the sources available to us does not diminish the importance of the clause for properly understanding Jovinian's teaching; what can be said is that sexual renunciation does not, for Jovinian, a "good work" make. The importance of "works" in the monk's thought is made evident by his attention to the matter in his development of the fourth thesis. After establishing the existence of two eschatological classes, Jovinian brought the Scriptures to bear on the question: [His contention is] That a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor an evil tree good fruit. Hence it is that the Saviour says to the Jews: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do." He quotes the parable of the ten virgins, the wise and the foolish, and shows that the five who had no oil remained outside, but that the otherfive who had gotten forthemselves the light ofgood works went into the marriage with the bridegroom. [Italics mine]119 1 1 7 So, for instance, Harnack, (cited in Haller, Iovinianus, p. 159) who eulogizes Jovinian for upholding a sola fide doctrine of salvation--". ..Glauben abzuleiten [ihre Rechte zuruckgegeben hat] und alle Werkgerechtigkeit auszuschliessen..."~in such a way that "Martin Luther" could be substituted for "Jovinian" with little risk of distortion. Oddly enough, many Catholic scholars have assumed that this is an accurate view of the monk, perhaps because it makes it much easier to perceive the holder of such a doctrine as a heretic. The following gloriously casual distortion and dismissal is all too representative: "Jovinian presented the doctrine of faith without works, denied the Virgin Birth, and put marriage on a par with virginity." This is a footnote in Matthew A. Schumacher's translation of Augustine's Against Julian (New York, 1957, p.6). 1 1 8 Adv. Iov. 1.3, in Haller, Iovinianus, p.3. 119 Adv. Iov. 11.18. 40 We have here actually cleared up a difficulty. For Jovinian, salvation--#/e reward of the kingdom of heaven-was the lot of all those who had "kept their baptismal vow." Here we see that for our monk good works were inseparable from what it meant to "keep" this vow. We are far indeed from a soteriology of sola fide; rather, we are reminded of the Epistle of James with which Luther was so uncomfortable: What does it profit, my bretheren, if a man says he has faith but not works? Can his faith save him?120 At this point, Jovinian returned to his usual strategy of proceeding chronologically through Scripture, beginning with Genesis. Jerome, perhaps tiring out, is paraphrasing more than he had done earlier in the treatise: He goes back to Genesis, and informs us that they who were righteous like Noah were saved, but that the sinners perished all together. We are informed that among the men of Sodom and Gomorrah no difference is made except between the two classes of the good and the bad. The righteous are delivered, the sinners are consumed by the same fire. There is one salvation for those who are released, one destruction for those who stay behind. Lot's wife is a clear warning that we must not deviate a hair's breadth from right. If, however, he says, you object and ask me why the righteous toils in time of peace, or in the midst of persecution, if he is to gain nothing nor have a greater reward, I would assert that he does this, not that he may gain further reward but that he may not lose what he has already received.121 There is a note of rigorism here that seems rather out of place. Was Jovinian merely trying to guard himself against the charges of moral laxity that were in fact levelled at him?122 And what 1 2 0 James 2.14. 1 2 1 Adv. Iov. 11.18. 122 41 precisely did "deviating from the right" mean for Jovinian? Even speculation here is difficult. We are still confronted with the puzzle of the "other works" of the first proposition, works which, to judge by Jovinian's exegesis of the parable of the ten virgins ("the oil of good works") are at very least the necessary sign of being "born again with fullness of faith in baptism." The general principle is reasonably clear: Lot acted in "fullness of faith," whereas Lot's wife displayed both unfaithfulness to the command of God and nostalgia for her previous life; it is a passage easily transposed into the sphere of the "old life" and new after baptism. The only fuel for further speculation lies in the argument which developed the first proposition. Jovinian, we will recall, brought forward a cast of figures, the majority from the Old Testament, and demonstrated their sanctity despite their married state123. Notable among these were Deborah the Judge, Jael, the wife of Heber124, and the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum. It is in these three figures we will discover a type of the holy married woman. In the fourth chapter of Judges, Deborah summons Barak to lead "ten thousand men from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun" against Sisera, the general of the Canaanite army. He agrees on the condition that she accompany him. She does so, and gives the command to rise and Adv. Iov. 1.5. Judges 4.4-22 42 go to battle on the appointed day; but she had already told Barak that despite certain victory, "the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." That woman is Jael, who drove a tent-peg into the temple of Sisera when he sought refuge with her. The third woman, Huldah, was sought out for her wisdom and prophetic voice, and became the instructor of king Josiah's ministers, including the high priest, Hilkiah, and through them of the king himself. All of these women showed a willingness to act in faith in ways that brought them into traditionally male spheres of action: the first two displaying martial courage and vigour, and the last religious knowledge and authority that transcended even that of the high priest. The significance for Jovinian was perhaps less the "maleness" of the women he invoked as models than the fact that, empowered by God, their confidence, ability and authority brought them to transcend, in insight and in their actions, expected boundaries of female action. They are, in their respective narratives, at least the equals of the men with whom they interact. They are bold, shape events, and are potentially even physically dangerous to men. The power of God worked in these holy women as extraordinary empowerment to act, and this was made possible by their extraordinary faith. Jovinian, then, felt that an authentic expression of real faith was to be found in works which showed the power of God working in the individual in extraordinary, and pre-eminently active, ways. It is interesting to note that for Siricius, as we shall see, Jovinian (and the devil that the Pope 43 asserted he represented) was the "enemy of pudicitia," of female modesty . Admittedly, we have only approached the most general of solutions to our question of what good works meant for Jovinian. We might, however, be justified in the conclusion that active works which showed the power of God through the faith of the individual in question certainly qualified, whereas the self-focused project of mortification and denial did not. We have raised the question of Jovinian's "laxness," and the seeming rigorism of his exegesis of the story of Lot and his wife. It is not hard for a hostile reader to read into the second proposition a kind of complacency: it offers the assurance, after all, that the Christian baptized "with the Spirit" cannot be overthrown by the devil. This possibility is, naturally, intolerable to one so attached to a spirituality of insecurity as Jerome. And yet Jovinian made it clear in the passage we are considering that salvation was not for the complacent: If, however, he says, you object and ask me why the righteous toils in time of peace, or in the midst of persecution, if he is to gain nothing nor have a greater reward, I would assert that he does this, not that he may gain a further reward, but that he may not lose what he has already received. There seems to be no lack of moral rigour here, even if the spectrum of moral values is differently conceived. But there is another consequential "lack;" there are no "greater reward[s]" to be gained by "toil." Jovinian is depriving the Christian ascetic of the imagined treasures and honours awaiting him or her, and trying to re-introduce, as a factor of humility, the possibility of a certain level of "profane" experience. This, as we will see, was the cause of very great offense to Jovinian's 125 Ep. 7.1. Cf. above, p. 22 n. 59. 44 opponents, who seemed to feel that the monk was seeking to deprive them of well earned heavenly remuneration126. Is it too much to suggest that a certain "spiritual materialism," to borrow a phrase from the contemporary Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, was at issue? Keeping some of his observations in mind as we examine the writings of Jovinian and his adversaries may provide us with some useful conceptual tools for understanding late-fourth century ascetic enthusiasm; they also give us, by analogy, an unusual opportunity to gain a living insight into the bases of Jovinian's critique: There are numerous side-tracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism...The, basic problems of spiritual materialism are common to all spiritual disciplines...since the obstacles to relating with God are our confusions and negativities, the theistic approach must also deal with them. Spiritual pride, for example, is as much a problem in theistic disciplines as in Buddhism.127 This outrage, stemming from an attachment to future awards that this sort of ascetic imagination banked, so to speak, in the heaven of the mind's eye, found a great diversity of expression. Jerome, for example, can petulantly argue (Adv. Iov. 11.33) that "if all are to be equal in heaven, in vain do we humble ourselves here that we may be greater there." Ambrose (Ep. 42.2) insists that "it is brutish barking...to intimate a certain poverty in heavenly rewards, as if Christ had but one palm to give, as if countless claims to rewards did not exist in great numbers." The evangelical inversion of worldly ambition and avarice is exchanged for a "spiritual" transposition of them. 1 2 7 Trungpa, Chogyam, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Berkeley, 1973, p.4. 4 5 For Trungpa, ascetic renunciation is one of the spiritual practices which harbours the danger of this distortion. A preoccupation with embracing a novel and difficult mode of life may be a disguised "heroism:" We think that we are special, heroic, that we are turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we become this and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path is spiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used to be, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who is heroic in this way is the ego. We can carry this sort of false heroism to great extremes, getting ourselves into completely austere situations...We purify ourselves, perform austerities, and we feel extremely cleansed, reformed, virtuous.128 We can recognize in Trungpa's writing a concern parallel to Jovinian's. What Trungpa offers us is a unifying key for handling a phenomenon that might otherwise be difficult to tie up with existing terminology; though "spiritual pride" is well attested in Christian discourse, the broader problem of the reinforcement of egocentricity through the transposition of avarice and ambition into a spiritual key is much less clearly described. "Spiritual materialism," as described by Trungpa, can be used as unusually apposite and concise description of some of the phenomena that Jovinian was moved to criticize in late-fourth century Rome. If Jovinian, as we have seen, was moved to reject the notion that different degrees of reward await the blessed, he did so because he felt that the idea of such acquisitions and honours could be used to reinforce hierarchical conceptions of the value of persons in the Christian community, just as wealth and honour denoted power and status in the secular sphere. He followed his assertion that 1 2 8 Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, p.78. 46 "the righteous do not toil to gain a greater reward" with a long series of Scriptural references chosen to demonstrate the single fate of the holy community and the equality of each of that community's members.129 Exodus furnished Jovinian with a wealth of material here. He appealed to the universality of the suffering caused by the ten plagues, to the escape of all of Israel through the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh's army. Israel's experience in the desert is invoked: all had the same measure of food, the same experience with regard to clothes and shoes (none wore out), hair and beard (none grew), and so on. Jovinian also brought his readers' attention to the communal universality of the Jewish calendar: All Hebrews had the same Passover, the same Feast of Tabernacles, the same Sabbath, the same New Moons. In the seventh, the Sabbatical Year, all prisoners were released without distinction of persons, and in the year of Jubilee all debts were forgiven to all debtors, and he who had sold land returned to the inheritance of his fathers.130 The Pauline expression that figures in this passage, "without distinction of persons,131" might have worked also as a rallying cry for the reforms Jovinian hoped to effect in his Christian Rome. An exegesis of the Christian Scriptures that could be used to support such a "distinction of persons" was Jovinian's next target. He faced those passages in the New Testament, which seemed clearly to support graded evaluations of persons, by stressing their relative and metaphorical function. 129 Adv. Iov. Jl.lS 130 Adv. Iov. 11.18. 1 3 1 Romans 3.22-27; 10.10-13. 47 Jerome argues that the parable of the sower clearly shows three grades of sterility and of fertility of soil, but Jovinianus makes only two classes, the good soil and the bad. And as in one Gospel our Lord promises the Apostles a hundred fold, and in another seven fold, for leaving children and wives, and in the world to come life eternal; and the seven and the hundred mean the same thing: so, too, in the passage before us, the numbers describing the fertility of the soil need not create any difficulty, particularly when the evangelist Mark gives the inverse order, thirty, sixty, and a hundred.132 The equality of all Christians was, for Jovinian, not merely a matter of democratic levelling, but a basic fact arising from the awesome mystical unity of the Body of Christ, a unity expressed and maintained by sacrament and living faith: The Lord says, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him." As, then, there are not varying degrees of Christ's presence in us, so neither are there degrees of abiding in Christ. "Every one that loveth me will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." He that is righteous, loves Christ: and if a man thus loves, the Father and Son come to him, and make their abode with him. Now I suppose that when the guest is such as this the host cannot possibly lack anything.133 This is a key passage. The fundamental "work" is to love Christ. This is the essence and prime expression of righteousness; for Jovinian, the concomitant indwelling of the Deity in the believer without degree was the immeasurable fact of Christian life, towering as far above the mortifications of the ascetic as the Divine presence towered above human effort. And as the Body of Christ was single, so is the place and state of the blessed in the next life: 132 Adv. Iov. 11.19. 133 Adv.Iov.lU9. 48 And if our Lord says, "In my Father's house are many mansions," His meaning is not that there are different mansions in the kingdom of heaven, but He indicates the number of Churches in the whole world, for though the church be seven-fold, she is but one. "I go," He says, "to prepare a place for you," not places x u Jovinian rejected the possibility that the promise extended only to the Apostles, since it would then have excluded Paul, and he reminded his readers that James and John sought glory and did not receive it135. He then returned to the mystical unity of the people of God, and the undifferentiated presence of God within every member: "Know ye not that ye are a temple of the Holy Ghost?" A temple, He says, and not temples, in order to show that God dwells in all alike.136 After this insistent reassertion, Jovinian presented the "priestly prayer" of John 17.20-23 in full, though not without some expansion in both a Trinitarian and ecclesiological direction: "...And as we are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, so may they be one people in themselves, that is, like dear children, partakers of the divine nature.137" Jovinian's doctrine of the identity of Christ with the Church, Christian with Church and with God was worked out into an ecclesiology of transcendent incorruptibility; it is only her virginity that is of moment: Her faith is one, and she is not defiled by variety of doctrine, nor divided by heresies. She continues a virgin. Whithersoever the Lamb goeth, she follows Him: she alone knows the Song of Christ.138 Adv. Iov. n 19. Adv. Iov. n 19. Adv. Iov. n. 19. Adv. Iov. n 19. Adv. Iov. n 19. 49 The fundamental discussion then re-commences in what seems a rather haphazard way. It is impossible to know, of course, whether Jerome is presenting the arguments in the same order as he met them, but there is no compelling reason to believe that he deviated in any significant way, with respect to structure, from Jovinian's treatises. Jovinian granted that stars differ in glory, but reduces their differences to those between "carnal" and "spiritual." He then returned to the Pauline metaphor of the Body 1 3 9, making it clear that the exaltation of certain members takes place at the expense of others and is a violation of love and unity: We love all the members alike, and do not prefer the eye to the finger, nor the finger to the ear: but the loss of any one is attended by the sorrow of the rest.140 He then invoked the great facts of birth and death, insisting that these are experienced by all. Nevertheless the promise of salvation and eternal life is found with "the heavenly Adam," who is, with the Sheep, "on the right hand.141" Finally Jovinian embarked upon a series of "hard sayings" from the gospels and from the historical experience of the Christian community, passing from one to the next in a progression of increasingly intense paradox: He who says to his brother, 'thou fool and 'racd will be in danger of Gehenna. And the murderer and the adulterer will likewise be sent to Gehenna. In times of persecution, some I Corinthians 12:12-27. Adv. Iov. n.20. Adv. Iov. 11.20. 50 are burnt, some strangled, some beheaded, some flee, or die within the walls of a prison: the struggle varies in kind, but the victors' crown is one.142 This last is another key phrase. It is a clarification and development of the fourth proposition: "there is one reward in the kingdom of heaven" (the same "victors' crown") "for all who have kept their baptismal vow," despite the "varieties of struggle." It is a reasonable assumption that "kinds" of struggle are for Jovinian types of differing vocation; these in and of themselves are of no relevance to the fundamental concern, which is fidelity to the baptismal commitment. This commitment, for Jovinian, admits of no self-assuring scrupulosity. It is marked rather by the humble willingness, so stressed in the gospels, of the penitent to be open to the embrace of the Father regardless of the obstructions of the past, and by the humble willingness to abandon the equation of self-conscious effort and righteousness with heavenly favour and reward: No difference was made between the son who had never left his father, and his brother who was welcomed as a returning penitent. To the labourers of the first hour, the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh, the same reward of a penny was given, and what may perhaps seem still more strange to you, the first to receive the reward were they who toiled least in the vineyard.143 Jovinian seems to have felt something of the originally bracingly paradoxical force of the last parable. He used that force of the text to turn late ascetic spiritual ambition on its head; his intent appears to have been to dispel the inherent "spiritual materialism" of the hope that austerity would Adv. Iov. 11.20 Adv. Iov. 11.20; Matthew 20.1-16; Luke 15.11-32. 51 garner for its practitioner personal distinction. In concluding his argument, Jovinian again had recourse to a Pauline text, this time I Corinthians 12: "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal." And again: "As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."144 A SUMMARY OF JOVINIAN'S POSITION BASED ON THE EVIDENCE OF JEROME'S ADVERSUS IOVINIANUM Underlying Jovinian's arguments is a coherent ecclesiology and doctrine of salvation: the Church is the Body of Christ, whose function is pre-eminently to be a ready vehicle for the Spirit, actively expressing, as that vehicle, the will and power of God. In such a Church, entered by baptism in faith, such distinctions as are wrought by differing marital status and austerities are of little moment because they are not and cannot be a source of holiness: only God's continuing presence in His people, and the continual manifestation of that presence form the locus of the sacred. Participation in this divine activity bestows sanctity (and salvation) without distinction, as refusal to participate in it severs the person from sanctity's Source. The Church is, so to speak, the continuing physical presence of the illimitable God, and its members will therefore be empowered to act beyond the limits of the world's expectations and boundaries. Such acts, expressing the will of God, possess at the very least the status of a soteriological sign, and are the concomitant fruit of real faith. Departure from such confidence, and displacement of this trust in the undifferentiated Adv. Iov. 11.20. 52 presence of God among the members of the Body of Christ onto austerities and regimes of dietary and sexual abstinence, signals departure "from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons," as foretold by 'Paul' in I Timothy 4; the rise of such teachings among Christians is a sombre eschatological sign. We have thus far examined all of the writings attributed to Jovinian by Jerome in his two books Adversus Iovinianum. We turn next to the text which was the first adversarial (we possess nothing approving!) response to his teaching: Siricius' Letter 7, ad Diversos Episcopos. At about the same time145 that Pammachius, the son-in-law of Jerome's patron\ffiend\student Paula, sent Jovinian's treatises to Jerome in Bethlehem, he delivered them to Pope Siricius in Rome146, hoping, apparently, for some immediate and effective response to the monk and his disturbing ideas. Siricius was duly alarmed—it was Jovinian's first two premises (as reported by 1 4 3 The precise date of the synod is not known, but must fall between 390 and 393 (cf Hunter, "Resistance," p. 45). Valli treats all evidence bearing on the question of chronology in minute detail (Gioviniano, pp.30-47) and demonstrates that both synods (of Rome and Milan) could not have take place before 392. Kelly builds on this work and feels that, in all likelihood, Pammachius must have undertaken his "exposure" of Jovinian, both sending his writings to Jerome in Bethlehem and presenting them to pope Siricius sometime in early summer 393. Kelly thinks that "he might reasonably looked for sympathy to the usurper Eugenius, whose plans for moving from Gaul to Milan must already have been known (he reached the city in late summer 393). 1 4 6 Jerome, Epistle 48.2: "Finally—a result due under God to your agency—he has been condemned..." 53 Jerome) which vexed the pope -and he convened a synod which secured the monk's condemnation in no uncertain terms. The record of this event is Siricius' Letter 7148, which was sent to Ambrose in Milan to announce the excommunication of Jovinian and his associates. Although an important piece of historical evidence, inasmuch as it is the document that marks the beginning of the Jovinianist controversy, this letter has hitherto been unavailable in English. To remedy this lacuna, I have prepared a translation which I include in full here. The Latin text is Migne's (PL 13, 1168-1172); I have chosen it over Haller's because this edition considers both the edition chosen by Haller as his own (Mansi, 1759) and that used as his alternative reading (Cousant, 1721). The Migne edition is, moreover, the more widely accessible Latin text. End-note numbers refer to my own commentary which follows the text. SIRICIUS' EPISTLE 7: Always should I wish to report to you, dearest brothers, the joys of love and peace for your integrity's sake, so that, in letters running here and there,[these joys] 1 4 ' And Ambrose, both of whom, as Peter Brown argues, shared a view of the virgin woman as the "norma integritatis...both the pinnacle and the model of a state of sexual intactness that men, and especially members of the clergy, should strive to make their own." The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Remmciation in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988) 359. Hunter, "Resistance," p.63, emphasises the political motives—a rash of anti-Manichaean legislation and the execution of Priscillian—that must have added urgency to the two bishops' aggressive responses. Jerome says specifically that "...he has been condemned because he has dared to set matrimony on an equality with perpetual chastity" (Epistle 42.2.). 148 Ad diversos episcopos (PL 13, 1168-72). 54 might be renewed by a sign for your well-being. But truly, because the ancient enemy, "a liar from the beginning,"1 does not allow us quietly to be free from his attack—enemy [as he is] of the truth2, envious of human beings, in order to deceive whom he first deceives himself3; the opponent of modesty4, teacher of luxury5, feasted upon cruelties6; by abstinence he is to be punished-he hates fasting7, even while by his preaching ministers8 he says that it is redundant9; having no hope concerning the future10, blasted by the expression of the Apostle in which he says "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." O unhappy boldness11! O cunning of a desperate mind! Just now the discourse of the heretics was creeping crab-fashion12 into the Church13, so that, occupying the heart, it might cast the whole man down into death. And unless the Lord of Sabaoth had burst the noose that he revealed, the public display of such evil and hypocrisy would have dragged the hearts of many innocents into destruction: because the human mind is easily led into the worse part, wanting more to flit about through open spaces than to make the journey of the way of excellence with effort.14 Concerning which matter it was sufficiently necessary, my dearly beloved, to commit those deeds which are [written about] here to your conscience to be understood—lest the ignorance of a certain priest15, among the worst men to have invaded the church under a religious name, should desecrate you with his contagion—as it is written, the Lord saying "Many will come to you in sheep's clothing, within however they are ravening wolves; by their fruits you shall know them."16 They are, of course, those whom Christians are careful to cast away from themselves. As they walk under the cloak of a pious name, they have entered the house of prayer and now spew forth a discourse of serpentine argument18 "that they in hiding might shoot the righteous in the heart"~and moreover, being turned away from Catholic truth, they lead [others] over to the madness of their own doctrine in a diabolical fashion and take advantage of the sincerity of the sheep. And indeed we have studied the malignity of many heresies from the time of the apostles until the present, and we have expertly tested them; but never do such dogs19 tire of barking at the mystery of the Church—such enemies of the faith as have now suddenly erupted. A treacherous doctrine having appeared, they show themselves to be its disciples by the fruits of their words. For, like other heretics, maliciously misconstruing149 one after the other each type of question for their own benefit, they have intended to rip away and tear up something from the divine institutions. They are those "who do not have wedding clothes,"20 wounding Catholics, perverting continence in the Old and New Testaments, as I have said, male intelligendo. 55 and, interpreting by a diabolical spirit, they have recently begun to destroy some Christians21 with their seductive and untrue discourse and to share their madness, among themselves holding the vileness of their poison in common.22 Truly, even the elect23 have publicly brought forth their blasphemies by means of a rash document24, and, stirred up by the furor of a desperate mind, they have indiscriminately and in the favor of the Gentiles published them. But by the most faithful Christians, men of the best sort, famous for their religion25, it was suddenly considered right that the awful writings be blotted out by my humility; so that, revealed by priestly judgement to be contrary to divine law, they might be obliterated by a spiritual sentence. We accept, of course, the vows of the married, not despising them—among whom we are "in clothing"—but virgins, whom marriages create, devoted to God, we hold in higher honour. The presbytery, therefore, having concluded, agreed that our doctrines—that is, Christian laws—are contrary [to Jovinian's writings.] And so, having followed the teaching of the Apostle, that "they have been proclaiming other than that which we have received,26" so great a number150 of we elders and deacons—as, indeed, of the whole clergy—were of one view at the vote, that Jovinian, Auxentius, Genialis, Germinator, Felix, Plotinus, Martianus, Januarius and Ingeniosus27, who set the blaze of the new heresy and are inventors of blasphemy, shall by divine sentence and by our judgement remain forever condemned outside the Church. So that I might preserve your sanctity without hesitating, I have sent out this document by the agency of my brothers and elders Crescens, Leopardus, and Alexandras, who are able zealously to fulfil their holy duty by the spirit of faith. omnium nostrum tarn presbyterorum et diacanorum 56 1. A truly impressive list of the Demon's attributes follows which paints the Evil One and his agenda in vivid colors. The name of Jovinian is not mentioned nor will it be until the closing paragraph, but in solemnly parading these Satanic epithets while simultaneously representing the call to indulgence as the diabolical ploy par excellence, the pope skillfully sets up an identification of Jovinian and the devil—one which he must have known would be well received in Ambrose's Milan. A central heresiological observation is evoked by the very first of the Demon's qualities in Siricius' list: he is "the ancient enemy, a liar from the beginning." The intent of the Evil One is to deceive. This, for the heresiological authors, is the meaning of heresy. It is an expression of the Devil's intent to sow disunity in the Church and to discredit her in the eyes of the wider world. Gerard Vallee (A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics, pp. 25-27), points out that Irenaeus was very clearly worried about the damage caused to the Church's reputation by the preaching and show of disunity of the Gnostic heretics whom he attacks; those who so acted were in Irenaeus' eyes the "instruments of Satan." Siricius seems to have both inherited and transformed this argument. He complains (Letter 7.3.5) that followers of Jovinian have "indiscriminately and in the favor of the Gentiles" published their "blasphemies." In a Christian Empire it is no longer the suspicion and aggressive hostility of the Pagans which is to be feared, but occasions which afford to them opportunities for claiming moral high ground. It should be noted (cf. Hunter, "Resistance," p.64) that implicit in Siricius' complaint is an assumption that Christians and Pagans are engaged in a contest of ostentatious sanctity in which a single set of criteria for judging holiness are equally applied to members of both camps. It is precisely this granting to the Pagans of opportunities for contempt which the pope finds intolerable. For Epiphanius, the fourth century master of the evolving science of heresiology (from whom, as we shall see, Siricius borrowed), this Satanic effort to sow disunity and defamation has, in a more personal and culpable manner become the heretic's basic intention. Vallee, p. 69, shows that Epiphanius, in his Panarion, metaphorically describes each heretic as a species of reptile and the heresy as the venom injected by his bite. This helps Epiphanius both to link the traditio haereticorum back to the Serpent in Eden and to posit a malignant intentionality in the heretic. The heretic participates in the diabolical effort to distort the Truth, which has soteriological value, into a parody, exaggeration or half-truth which has the power to damn. Divergence from true doctrine is error, and error is the very deliberately compounded poison of the Devil. This poison, moreover, has an intensely specific target: the Church, as Siricius conceives her. 2. By "us" Siricius clearly means himself and the recipients of his letter. These are, just as unambiguously, the Church. The two sets are coterminous; "us" and the Church are, for the pope, synonyms. There thus develops an almost invulnerably circular logic: Truth is the deposit of Revelation which is the carefully guarded possession of the Church ("us"); divergence from 5 7 doctrinal truth is the attack of the Devil; the demonic can, ipso facto, be identified as that which departs from "our" teaching. What is as noteworthy as remarkable about this sequence is that it neither contains nor evinces an anxiety for an external reference point which can be referred to in making such judgments. The authority of clerical office seems altogether sufficient for Siricius, so that, in effect, the consensus of himself and his peers in some way actually constitutes orthodoxy. In fact, this had been a legally recognized—and even enforced—view of the matter since 380, when Valentinian II and Theodosius, probably under the influence of Damasus, Siricius' predecessor, published the edict Cimctos Popidos. This law defined Catholic Christianity as the Christianity of Damasus and Peter of Alexandria, and a heretic as any who deviated from their creed. It also prescribed penalties for such a heretic (CT 16.1.2, in Coleman-Norton, Roman State and Christian Church, pp.353-356). 3. An apparent reference to the Christian reading of Isaiah 14.12-15, in which the "bright morning star"—i.e., (in Christian exegesis) Lucifer—tells himself before his fall that he will "scale the heavens" and "make [himself] like the Most High." In 1 Enoch, the rebellion of Satan is occasioned by his refusal to bow before Adam; it is perhaps significant that, in general, Christian thinkers of the fourth century made much of Adam's (and Eve's) virginity prior to the expulsion from Eden. A primary part of the Rival of Man's assault upon the focus of his envy is thus—and was widely argued to be by such influential enthusiasts of virginity as Ambrose and Jerome—an assault upon his virginal integrity. After noting that the Devil is the "rival of man" who deceives himself in order that he might deceive mankind," Siricius begins to compound new epithets for Satan that have more to do with a posited hostility to contemporary ascetic enthusiasm and with Jovinian specifically. By adding these categories to a passage which has already established an all-encompassing and unbridgeable duality between sacred truth, which truth is itself identified with the Church (for Siricius, "us"), and the aggressive diabolical deception which contradicts it, Siricius at a stroke demonizes Jovinian's positions~at least as he understands\presents them. 4. The Devil (and Jovinian) is the "pudicitiae adversarius," the "enemy of modesty," or, more technically, of the traditional (and in fact deified) Roman female virtue of pudicitia. sexual purity and modesty (OLD). It is difficult to determine the full meaning of pudicitia and its contrary for Siricius from the evidence of Letter 7. The word had, among the Romans, a meaning complementary to castitas and with that term occurs with some frequency on Roman funeral inscriptions; cf. Judith Evans Grubbs, "'Pagan' and 'Christian' Marriage: the State of the Question," JECS 2:4, 1994, pp. 370-371. What is certain is that Siricius was deeply offended by the Jovinianist proposition that married women and virgins, at least with respect to their sexual status, were of equal merit (Siricius, Ep. 7.3.7). It seems likely that Siricius would have seen, in the embrace of such a notion by a sexually active married woman, a profound violation of pudicitia. 58 Jovinian not only encouraged married Christian women with his assertion that their sanctity was the equal of their virgin sisters; he seems also to have suggested that it might equal that of the great male saints (Jerome, Adv. Iov. 1.5.) 5. One, at least, of the contraries of pudicitia was for Siricius hmiria, the next diabolical attribute to appear in the list is "hccuriae magister," teacher of extravagance\indulgence. This seems to be a broad counter to the basic Jovinianist argument that denial of the somatic appetites per se had no particular soteriological value nor constituted, of itself, a moral virtue. Siricius very probably held one of the prevalent monastic views that salvation was largely the conquest of the passions and desires. The likelihood of the Pope having Origenist sympathies, if his refusal to condemn Rufinus and his famous distaste for Jerome can be taken as indications (Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of the Popes, pp.35-36), lends weight to this assumption. If so, he must have construed Jovinian's argument as a sanction for the life lived according to the passions. Siricius continues here to view the issues in question in terms of an unambiguous dualism: one either chooses to struggle against the appetites, a choice which seems for Siricius to be integral to the choice to be Christian, or one chooses to indulge them-which means falling into the Devil's camp 6. The next attribute in Siricius' list seems to refer to other prominent members of that infernal party. The Devil, writes Siricius, is "crudelitatibus pascitur," "feasted on cruelties." The phrase seems somewhat out of place, though the manuscripts consulted by Migne (PL 13, 1168-1172) are apparently unanimous here. As a variant, "cruditatibus pascitur," "feasted upon excesses\gluttonies," is a good deal more in harmony both with the paragraph and the letter as a whole, and is sufficiently close to what the manuscripts offer that it might be entertained. If the former is in fact the correct reading, then Siricius must be referring to gladiatorial spectacles—the emblem non pared of pagan Rome for Christian writers and one of their favorite polemical targets. Kelly argues that Jovinian's success and the vehemence of his opponents might both have been due to the effects of the so-called "Pagan Revival" in late fourth-century Rome ( Kelly, Jerome, p. 179). Though the chronology and even the seriousness of the so-called "Pagan Revival" have been challenged (cf. Allen Cameron, "Paganism and Literature in Late Fourth-Century Rome." Christianisme et Formes Litteraires de VAntiquite Tardive en Occident: Entretiens Hardt 23. Vandoevres, 1977; pp. 1-30), it can hardly be assumed that Symmachus was bereft of influential allies. His dispute with the emperor and Ambrose over the removal of the Altar of Victory from the Senate is ample evidence of the existence of a Pagan party which possessed enough influence to threaten to impede the agenda of the Church in late-fourth century Rome. Indeed this phrase can be taken as an attempt to link the efforts of Jovinian with those of a conservative Pagan party in Rome, famously represented by Symmachus, or at very least the largely demonized Pagan past. The implication made by identifying the monk Jovinian with the "Pagan party" is that, despite Jovinian's "cloak of a religious name"~Siricius uses this figure three times in a single paragraph (Ep. 7.3), and is throughout the letter determined to reveal Jovinian to 59 be a "wolf in sheep's clothing"~he is not really a Christian at all; he is fundamentally of one purpose with the Church's ancient enemy. Arguably, the most visible point of agreement between our Christian monk and the "Pagan party" existed in their discomfort with the rising tide of ascetic enthusiasm. The Church ("us") and its teaching are thus defined to such a degree by the ascetic cult of mortification that a critique of the latter is, for the pope, an attempt to undermine the Church. 7. The site of this perfidy is close at hand indeed. The Evil One, according to Siricius, is "to be punished by abstinence." The well-being of the Fiend and his agenda are, then, clearly identified with the corporal appetites and their satisfactions. "He hates fasting," the pope writes, reinforcing the suggestion that there is, in fact, something approaching an ontological identity between "the flesh" and the Devil—not a very subtle argument for one attempting to refute a man that implied his opponents' views were Manichaean. 8. "...even while by means of his preaching ministers he calls it superfluous," Siricius continues, introducing his human targets for the first time in the letter. These "ministers" of the devil are mentioned only after the tremendous rhetorical inertia of the preceding list has been established, and are irresistibly swept up into its torrent of signification. Siricius thereby establishes a clear picture of the heretic: it is an inversion of the Evangelical and Pauline ideal of the dotrios christou\theou. The figure of the servant of God or Christ is transformed into the almost equally "selfless" servant of the "Ancient Enemy." 9. "...proponit inter abstinentiam ciborum et cum gratiarum actione perceptionem eorum, nullam esse distantiam" (Jerome, Adv. Iov. 1.3, cited in Valli, Giovinicmo, p. 14). "Redundant" here must be taken as a hostile distortion, though it is true enough that the Jovinianists, because of their understanding of I Timothy 4.1-5, were hostile to any suggestion that fasting either carried soteriological value or merited rewards. We cannot know whether or not it could have been seen as occasionally expedient, in the way Jovinian and many of his continent followers evidently viewed their own continued celibacy (Jerome, Letter 48.2). 10. Presumably construing Jovinian's denial of "rewards" as an Epicurean-style rejection of consideration of the after-life. This is the more probable since it is joined immediately to I Corinthians 15:32 (itself a quotation of Isaiah 22.13): "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." The whole opening paragraph paints a picture of the devil (and his servants) supremely concerned with distracting human beings from ascetic effort; Jovinian's ideas, for Siricius, are calculated to inculcate an indifference to the struggle against the appetites. This struggle is identified with the struggle against the devil, the definitively Christian undertaking. 11. It is interesting to note the contrast between pudicitia, modesty, and aadacia, boldness, set up in the Letter. We have seen that Jovinian by his choice of examples gave his sanction to a kind of 60 sancta audacia; nowhere did he try to appropriate the example of a Thecla or other figures in Christian literature that went to heroic lengths to preserve their "purity" or "modesty." 12. This image, along with the language throughout the letter which assumes not merely delusion, but malignant intentionality as Jovinian's motive, and references to "serpentine argument" and "poison" suggest that Siricius was familiar with Epiphanius' Panarion. Gerard Valee (A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics, Waterloo, 1981, pp.65-67) offers an excellent discussion of Epiphanius' use of reptiles as a unifying device throughout the work. 13. An effective piece of heresiological rhetoric: Jovinian, the heretic, is from the beginning outside the Church. The fact that he elected both to differ from and to challenge the consensus of Siricius, Pammachius, and their peers ("the Church"), "even in trivial matters" (CT 16.10.13, "Mandate of Arcadius and Honorius on Penalties for Deviation from Christianity," Coleman-Norton, Roman State and Christian Church, pp.459-460), demonstrates, according to Siricius' presentation, Jovinian's fundamental "otherness." His identity as Christian, as priest, as monk, can henceforward be construed as deception and invasion to be detected and repulsed. 14. Again ascetic renunciation is associated directly with salvation. To remove the motivation to seek the rewards earned by austerities is to encourage the human mind to "flit about through open spaces," which "drag[s] the hearts of many innocents into destruction," and "casts the whole man into death." 15. This is sole indication that Jovinian was a priest as well as a monk. If it is a fact, then a question, impossible to answer, arises: could Jovinian's change of lifestyle and convictions have been, in part, triggered by his ordination and consequent adoption of a more pastoral role? If he had been a monk for some time and at some point ordained, he would in all likelihood have been catapulted into contact with numbers of married Christians. Intimacy with the common, married Christians of Hippo is known to have very considerably broadened Augustine's own views. As Peter Brown puts it: "The sharp tone with which he had spoken of material things, immediately after his conversion, had mellowed. He had quietly discarded views of the human person, of society, and, consequentially, of sexuality, that had been taken for granted in ascetic circles in Italy. He had become a very different man than Ambrose and Jerome." (The Body and Society, p. 396) 16. Matthew 7.15. Perhaps the "fruits" that Siricius has in mind are dedicated virgins' abandonment of their vows for marriage-some of them "already well advanced in age." (Augustine, De Haeresibus 82, PL 42, pp.45-46.) 17. Siricius is relentless: to entertain these views is to entertain apostasy. Christians sustain their identity as Christians in rejecting Jovinian and his followers. 61 18. Recalling both the primal, archetypical scene of diabolical deception in Genesis and the usage of Epiphanius. Again the thrust of the rhetoric is that Jovinian, the heretic, is the willing pawn of the devil. 19. A frequent term of abuse in Scripture, usually a representation of mocking and destructive figures seeking the downfall of the holy person or people: Psalm 22.16; Revelation 22.15; and especially 2 Peter 2.22, which is set in the proto-heresiological context of a warning about "false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies...And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled." (2 Peter 2.1-2) 20. Perhaps Siricius is employing the language of this parable (Matthew 22.11) in order to invoke the paradoxical imagery of the dedicated virgin as "Bride of Christ," an image much in vogue among such ascetic enthusiasts as Ambrose and Jerome. 21. Likely by encouraging virgins and widows to marry, and the married to act "boldly" with respect to their condition. This latter would have included, one suspects, evincing a disregard for the Christian ritual purity which had become fashionable. A concern for such ritual purity could become extreme indeed in the hands of such a representative of the new ascetic enthusiasm as Jerome. In his refutation of Jovinian's first thesis, he produced an exegesis of I Corinthians 7 that can be called little short of Encratite: "...the Apostle says 'it is good for a man not to touch a woman.' But inasmuch as he who is once married has no power to abstain except by mutual consent, and may not reject an unoffending partner, let the husband render his wife her due...'Defraud ye not one another, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer.' What, I pray you, is the quality of this good thing which hinders prayer? which does not allow the body of Christ to be received?...So long as I do the husband's part, I fail in continency. The same Apostle in another place commands us to pray always. If we are to pray always, it follows that we must never be in the bonds of wedlock, for as often as I render my wife her due, I cannot pray" (Adv. Iov. 1.5). 22. "Madness" and "poison" are two stockwords of the heresiological lexicon of Epiphanius; cf. Vallee, A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics, p. 69. 23. Siricius seems here to imply that a considerable number of otherwise model, orthodox Christians embraced Jovinian's ideas; it is possible that once this number had grown beyond a critical point, demonizing and excluding them would have been a gross tactical error that the Pope may have been careful to avoid. The sentence also suggests that, in the first instance at least, it was this body of followers, with whom Siricius wanted to remain conciliatory, that made Jovinian's views public currency. 24. Though use of the singular here may be generic and inconsequential, it is suggestive. Siricius attacks only two of the propositions provided by Jerome: the first, on the equality of the married 62 and the renunciate, and the third, on the equality of abstinence from meats and wine and their reception with thanksgiving. Is it possible that the two were treated in one "commentariolusl" If so, then the order given by Jerome is called into question. Siricius speaks below of destroying the "scriptura horrifica" again using a singular. It may be that, in reporting the condemnation, the Pope only felt it necessary to report the (to him) most offensive proposition, since it alone sufficiently demonstrated Jovinian's heresy. 25. Pammachius and his associates are meant; cf. Jerome, Letter 49.2. 26. Galatians 1.9. 27. About these associates of Jovinian nothing more is known. 63 The embassy of Crescens, Leopardus, and Alexandras151 conveyed this letter to Ambrose in Milan. Siricius must have known that it was thence that Jovinian would flee. It is uncertain just why he would do so; scholars have guessed that he hoped to find Imperial protection152, or perhaps shelter with the large monastic community there153. Certainly he could hardly have expected the sympathy of Ambrose, one of the day's leading theorists of Christian sexual purity154, and an energetic promoter of the cult of Mary. AMBROSE: RESCRIPTUM AD SIRICIUM PAP AM Ambrose responded to the verdict of the Roman synod by calling his own. This assertion of independent authority on the part of Ambrose can be and has been seen as a symptom of tensions between the two episcopal seats155. Siricius was engaged in furthering Roman claims to primacy 1 5 1 Ambrose, Letter 42.13, where Ambrose adds that these same three priests drove the Jovinianists "as fugitives from Milan." 1 5 2 If Kelly is right, with the usurper Eugenius, whose supporters and entourage were dominated far less by members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy than was Valentinian II (Jerome, p. 182). In fact Eugenius, who was a Christian and had unsuccessfully sought the support of Ambrose, nevertheless "had been a professor in Rome, and a representative of ancient and traditional culture" (Hans Lietzmann, The Era of the Church Fathers, London, 1951, p.93). He was defeated at the river Frigidus by Theodosius in 394. 1 5 3 Valli, Gioviniano, p. 13. 1 5 4 Cf. Peter Brown, The Body and Society, pp.347, 352-359, for a discussion of Ambrose's central pre-occupations with maintaining boundaries and avoiding "admixture." Integritas, as Brown argues, especially with respect to sexual identity, holds an intimate relation to sanctitas in Ambrose's thought. 1 5 5 Even Neil McLynn, who minimizes such tension and emphasizes Ambrose's "usefulness to Rome," nevertheless feels that this episode shows Ambrose's "instinctive identification with and appropriation of [Rome's] authority," and notes that there were "ominous implications for Rome 64 and centrality launched in earnest by his successor, Damasus; Ambrose nevertheless overshadowed the pope in prestige and power at the time156. Siricius insisted on a regular and gradual ascent through the clerical grades157; Ambrose, in 374, was acclaimed bishop while still a catechumen, a fact which must have irked the Pope. The rescriptum ad Sirichim papam 1 5 8 , Ambrose's reply to Siricius in which the verdict of this synod is recorded, has a tone which differs significantly from Siricius' letter. The luxuriant and bewildering profusion of diabolical epithets that characterized the Pope's condemnation is nowhere in evidence; nor do we find the Epiphanian pronouncement of diabolical inspiration used to radically demonize Jovinian and his followers. Instead, a single, relatively mild figure, woven from two of the scriptural images used by the Pope, is sustained until the closing paragraphs of the letter. The Pope has shown himself to be a "good shepherd," says Ambrose, and in a bishop's casual remark that Ambrose spoke 'as if he were the successor of the apostle Peter" (Ambrose of Milan, Berkeley, 1994, p.28G). 1 5 6 Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of the Popes, pp.35-36. 1 5 7 Ibid. 158 Letter 42 (Haller pp.72-80), in Ambrose: Letters, Mary Melchior Beyenka, trans., FC 26, pp.225-230. 65 Since you know so well the sheep of Christ, you will readily catch the wolves and meet them like a wary shepherd that they may not scatter the Lord's flock by their habitual unbelief and mournful barking.159 The intention to deceive is still an important aspect of Ambrose's depiction of the heretics; the reference to "sheep" and "wolves" is a foolproof evocation of Christ's warning (Matthew 7.15-16) against hypocritical teachers with selfish motives. Nevertheless, the diction of the letter approaches something like considered refutation and dialogue. This casts the heretical party in the role of persons—persons to be rejected, to be sure, and denounced—in error. And to be a person in error, no matter how obstinate, is a good way from being the open-eyed "minister of the devil," as Siricius had portrayed Jovinian.160 Ambrose provides a list of the Jovinianist arguments in the second paragraph that he will aim to refute: ...it is brutish barking to show no favor for virginity or claim for chastity, to wish to group all deeds indiscriminately, to abolish the different degrees of merit, and to intimate a certain poverty in heavenly rewards...161 In the above list, the first position corresponds to the first proposition provided by Jerome; the second seems to be at the same time a distortion162 and conflation of the first, third, and fourth theses, while the last is a reformulation in bad light of he fourth proposition. 159 Letter 42.1; Ambrose is echoing the language of Siricius, Letter 7.3, in which the pope quotes Matthew 7.15-16 and compares heretics to "dogs barking at the mystery of the Church." 1 6 0 Siricius, Letter 7.1. 161 Ambrose, Letter 42.2. 66 In a manner evoking the model provided to us by Trungpa, Ambrose shows, in his rephrasing of the last proposition, an offended "spiritual materialism." Ambrose is indignant; Jovinian implies a "poverty in heavenly rewards," as if Christ had but one palm to give, as if countless claims to reward did not exist in great numbers.163 Ambrose begins at this point to exploit the religious rhetoric of paradox with a series of breathtaking non sequiturs. Topically, he proceeds first with a re-confirmation of the superiority of the virgin to the married, then to a lengthy defense of Mary's perpetual virginity, next to the honor due to widows, and finally to fasting. Meeting Jovinian's first proposition, Ambrose confirms the Jovinianists' attempt to rehabilitate marriage: They pretend that they are giving honor to marriage. What praise is possible to marriage if virginity receives no distinction? We do not say that marriage was not sanctified by Christ, since the Word of God says: 'The two shall become one flesh164' and one spirit.165 A distortion not elaborated by Ambrose, but picked up later by Augustine (De Haeresibus 82, PL 42, pp.45-46), who explicitly represents Jovinian's position thus: "...omnia peccata, sicut stoiciphilosophic paria esse dicebat..." ("just as the Stoic philosophers, he used to say that all sins were equal"). Certainly this is not a wholesale inversion of Jovinian's teaching. We will recall that Jovinian, according to Adv. Iov. 11.18, had stated: "Lot's wife is a clear warning that we must not deviate a hair's breadth from right." This assertion occurs in the context of a string of Scriptural passages reinforcing his fourth thesis, that "there is one reward in the kingdom of heaven for all those who have kept their baptismal vow" (Adv. Iov. 1.3). The corollary of this is a stress on one punishment for the sinner; but in the tradition of Hippolytus, Ambrose and Augustine after him connect Jovinian to the Stoic tradition, trying to show that he had, to paraphrase Tertullian, more to do with Athens than with Jerusalem. The equation of all sinners—fox Jovinian, those without the body of Christ—is transmuted into the easily identified and refuted Stoic equality of all sins. 163 Letter 42.2. 1 6 4 Matthew 19.5.. 67 It is hard to miss the tension in Ambrose's concession to the licitness of marriage. It is the diction of a man "towing the line," much as one would expect an American corporate CEO to affirm "of course, we affirm the good of organized labor." A refusal to say so, needless to say, would have left the bishop wide open to charges of Manichaeism, Encratitism, or other heresy; nevertheless, confirming marriage's sanctity seems to go against the grain: the Word of God might say it, but if Ambrose had the choice, he wouldn't. We have seen the same language used by Siricius: Of course we accept the vows of the married, not despising them—among whom we are "in clothing"~but virgins, whom marriages create, devoted to God, we hold in higher honour.166 We have seen, also, that Jerome expressed views that would be difficult to distinguish from Tatian's in his refutation of Jovinian167; and yet he furnished the Adversus Iovinianum with a long preamble in order to make it clear that For ourselves, we do not follow the views of Marcion and Manichaeus, and disparage 168 marriage... What are we to make of the consistency of this pattern? 165 Letter 42.3. 1 6 6 Siricius, Letter 1A. 1 6 7 See above, p. 10n.26. 1 6 8 Adv. Iov. 1.3. Jerome seems either to have grown increasingly intoxicated with and emboldened in his rhetoric as the treatise progressed, or perhaps, realizing in some way the peril such views might (and in fact did) place him in, affixed the preamble's apology for insurance's sake. 68 Robert Markus notes that in the fourth century Christian "identity crisis," which he sees as the most weighty consequence following upon the "Constantinian revolution," ...One instinctive response was to turn to the ancient ascetic tradition embedded in their religion and to draw on its resources to help them define their identity in the emerging Romano-Christian culture.169 Nevertheless, the process of accommodating a religion forged in a crucible of social marginalization and difficulty to a place, not only of privilege, but of normative status for an entire civilization was, in Markus' view, one fraught with tension and anxiety: The Christians needed every device of intellect, imagination and devotion to help them accommodate themselves to their present without an acute sense of having betrayed their past.170 Might we not be witness to the psychological dynamics of such a tension when we examine the aggressive reactions, and (to us) awkward, unconvincing endorsements of marriage characteristic of Jovinian's opponents? Did Jovinian in fact touch the raw nerve of tensions which were unresolvable, and impossible for most Christian thinkers to face directly? After the aforementioned bow to the Scriptural legitimacy of marriage, Ambrose presents a concise argument for the superiority of virginity which reaches its climax in the example of Mary. The argument consists of a series of antitheses: ...one is under the law, the other under grace. Marriage is good: through it the means of human continuity are attained. But virginity is better: through it are attained the inheritance 1 6 9 Markus, The End, p. 34. 1 7 0 Robert Markus, The End of Ancient Christianity, Cambridge, 1990, p.91. 69 of a heavenly kingdom and a continuity of heavenly rewards. Through a woman distress entered the world; through a virgin salvation came upon it. Lastly, Christ chose for Himself the special privilege of virginity and set forth the benefit of chastity, manifesting in Himself what He had chosen in his mother.171 For Ambrose, virginity is equatable with salvation. It is under grace, while marriage remains in the bonds of the old dispensation. It is in some way the privileged means of the advancement of the kingdom of heaven; the salvation of the world is somehow predicated upon the virginity of its Saviour and His mother. "Grace" here appears in a curiously constricted form. Far from the "unmerited gift of God," it is a condition characterized by a state of exclusion capable of being entered, at will, by the individual. Valli's objections aside, it is not difficult to see how Harnack can cautiously call Jovinian "a Protestant of his time" for his evangelical opposition to such views; the contrast must have seemed, to the Lutheran, irresistibly familiar.172 Ambrose had carefully guided his argument to arrive at Mary, and the bulk of the letter is given to defending her perpetual virginity. This "proposition," as we have seen, is unmentioned either by Jerome or Siricius173. He launches this argument with a paradoxical non sequitur, as he had done in the case of the previous argument: 171 Letter 42.3. 1 7 2 Though, of course, baptism serves a similar role for Jovinian. But for Jovinian it is the Body of Christ~the Christian community~which is the locus of grace. It is not acquired, as Ambrose seems to suggest, on a sort of sexual or other via negativa. Since grace abounds in that community without regard to individual efforts at attaining sanctity, the "Protestant" emphasis on the reception, as opposed to the attainment, of sanctity does seem to be foreshadowed. 1 7 3 See above, p. 10, n. 18. 70 How great is the madness of their mournful barking when the same persons say that Christ could not have been born of a virgin and also assert that human virgins remain among womankind which has given birth to human offspring! Does Christ grant to others what they say He cannot grant to Himself?174 Since virgins do exist, Mary's virginity can certainly have remained inviolate: a very great mystery indeed. Ambrose then explains that a virgin birth was an apposite way for the incarnate Deity to have entered the world.175 We have no reason to believe that Jovinian would have disagreed; he is nowhere accused of denying that Mary conceived virginally. Ambrose acknowledges that Jovinian's party believed so: Those on the path of evil are known to say:' She conceived as a virgin but she did not bring forth as a virgin.' How could she conceive as a virgin but be unable to bring forth as a virgin? Conception always precedes; bringing forth follows.176 A logic of cause and effect is invoked, albeit weakly, for the first and last time in the entire text. Of more interest is what seems to be a quotation of a Jovinianist slogan: "Virgo concepit, sed non virgo generavit."177 This slogan is what scholars generally call the "fifth thesis.178" There is no way of establishing a sure place for this slogan in the order of Jovinian's arguments, and no evidence to '"Letter 42.4. 115 Letter 42.2. 176 Letter 42.4. 1 7 7 From the Latin text of Haller, Iovimanus, p.75. Haller is certain that these words "sind Worte Jovinians." Ibid., n.7. 1 7 8 So, for instance, Hunter, "Resistance," p. 51. Valli, interestingly, declines to report the phrase accurately, but says that it "can be summarized: Christus ex virgine non potuit generari." (Gioviniano, p. 14) The six-word slogan hardly required summarizing, and we seem to catch Valli in a neo-Patristic distortion of the sort that Hunter felt called to redress ("Resistance," p.48). 71 establish that it was ever written down and developed in the way that the arguments presented by Jerome were. This in itself neatly accounts for the fact that Jerome, many hundreds of kilometers away from Jovinian and his associates, never mentions it179. It seems more plausible that it was a stock Jovinianist response to a predictable line of argument. If virginity is not especially honored, an Ambrose might say, then why was Christ born of a virgin? A virgin indeed conceived, would be the reply, but a virgin did not give birth180. The only way to really emphasize the privileged sanctity of virginity in the scenario, rather than the sanctity simply of divine favour181, is to assert that Mary remained a virgin182~to which assertion a Jovinian would naturally have reacted more insistently. At least in Adversus Iovinianum, he does seem to rebut this position in Letter 48.21. 1 8 0 A more aggressive campaign to turn the rising tide of the sort of Marian doctrine preached by Ambrose had been launched circa 383, when Helvidius proclaimed on the basis of the Gospels that Joseph and Mary had, after Jesus' birth, enjoyed normal married relations (Jerome, Against Helvidius 3), and that Jesus' "brothers" were his true brothers, and Mary their mother (Against Helvidius 11). Jerome, interestingly, took the opportunity to argue that marriage was inferior to virginity (Against Helvidius 22 ff). It can hardly be imagined that Jovinian was unaffected by the debate, though he would still have been staunchly dedicated to the ascetic party. 1 8 1 David Hunter, "Helvidius, Jovinian, and the Virginity of Mary in Late Fourth Century Rome," JECS1:1, p.70-71, laments this collapse of Mary as a universalist symbol: "The symbol of Mary's virginity, in Jerome and Ambrose, came to bear a significance profoundly different from that which it had borne in previous Christian tradition. What was once a testimony to the presence of God in Christ had become an affirmation of absence, an emblem of exclusion and closure; what was once a sign of salvation extended to all became a symbol of holiness possessed by the few. Once it was extended beyond the scope of its originally christological meaning, the doctrine of Mary's virginal integrity became, ironically, divisive." 1 8 2 Thus asserting that God had intervened to maintain that virginity, and was concerned with the state in itself. 7 2 Ambrose then argues in a general way that miracles occur and that the post partem virginity of Mary is one such. Moreover, he argues that the famous passage from Isaiah, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,183" explicitly means that a virgin, as a virgin, shall "bring forth."184 Ambrose then proceeds typologically, and maintains that the "east gate" of the sanctuary which remains shut and passable only to God185 must refer to Mary, the perpetual virgin.186 Before another typological exegesis, this time of Exodus 14.21 (Moses is the "Hebrew virgin [that] led an army through the sea),187 Ambrose returns to a tactic of collecting miracle stories from both the Old and New Testaments into a dense heap of references, hoping, apparently, to demonstrate again that "with God all is possible."188 1 S i Isaiah 7.14. The Hebrew word is almah, fatefully translated as parthenos in the LXX. Almah does not indicate a virgin per se; bethulah is the word which specifically bears this force. Nevertheless, the LAX carried the prestige of an inspired translation for the early Christians, and the Greek parthenos was rendered into Latin as virgo. 1 8 4 Letter 42.5. 1 8 5 Ezekiel 44.20. 186 Letter 42.6. 187 Letter 42.7. 188 Letter 42.7. 73 The fasting of the widow Anna then gives Ambrose an opportunity to denounce Jovinian's views on the subject. Of real interest is Ambrose's charge that the Jovinianists may have even construed "fasting"—recall that in our case this means abstinence from meat and wine—to be a fault: Such persons even fear that their former fasting will be charged to them. Let them have their choice. If they have ever fasted, let them suffer the hardship of their good deed; if never, let them admit their intemperance and wantonness.190 What is likely at issue here is the fact that Jovinian considered systematic abstinence from specific foods to show a denigration of creation and a scrupulosity more proper to "a Jew" or the "superstitious Gentiles."191 More seriously, this "error" was the "departure from the faith" foretold in I Timothy 4; to follow it would have been to ignore the Apostle and give "heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons... who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods."192 Given such a conviction, past austerities based upon what Jovinian had come to believe were demonically inspired views of the world, the human being, and salvation may indeed have provided occasion for regret. This would be especially the case in debate, in which "shame" for having practiced such austerities would have been an effective rhetorical inversion of the confidence, even pride, of some ascetics. Luke 2.36-37. Letter 42.10 Adv. Iov. II.5. I Timothy 4.1-3 74 Ambrose believes that fasting, like virginity, has soteriological value; he seems almost to be fitting himself to the target of Jovinian's critique: .. .if Adam had covered himself with fasting he would not have become naked. Nineve freed herself from death by fasting.193 In concluding the letter, Ambrose describes the Jovinianists crime and condemnation in an interesting way: ...those very persons shave paid a price befitting their disloyalty, having even come here so that there might be no place that they were not condemned.194 In describing the Jovinianist critique as "disloyalty," Ambrose implies that orthodoxy is, in part, a matter of allegiance. The view seems to look forward to the Middle Ages. Jovinian's crime can be considered as such in part because he promoted a view that he knew diverged from the view of prominent members of the hierarchy. The remainder of the conclusion is given to making the wildly improbable charge of Manichaeism against Jovinian and his party. To accomplish this impossible feat, Ambrose with panicky diction outdoes himself in his use of "paradoxical" non-logic: And they have proved that they are Manichaeans in truth by not believing that He came forth from a virgin. What madness, pray tell, is this, equal almost to that of the present-day Jews? If they do not believe He came, neither do they believe that He took a body. Thus, He was seen only in imagination, in imagination He was crucified. But He was crucified in truth; in truth He is our Redeemer. A Manichaean is one who denies the truth, who denies Christ's Incarnation. To such there is no remission of sins. It is the impiety of the Manichaeans which the most clement emperor has abominated and all who have met them mn from them as from a plague. Witnesses of this are our bretheren and fellow-priests, Crescens, Leopardus, and Alexander, men imbued with the Holy Spirit, men who 193 Letter 42.11. 194 Letter 42.12. 7 5 brought upon them the condemnation of all and drove them as fugitives from the city of Milan. Therefore, may your Holiness know that those whom you condemned—Jovinian, [his followers' names195] have also been condemned by us in accord with your judgement.196 The distortion both of Jovinian's position and argument here are only explicable, as Hunter197 points out, "when it is acknowledged that Jovinian had first charged Ambrose with Manichaeism." We have no direct evidence of such a charge; in Adversus Iovinianum 1.5, Jerome quotes Jovinian calling his opponents "followers of the Manichees," but not making a direct identification.198 Nevertheless, Jovinian no doubt included Christian advocates of ascetic enthusiasm and Manichees together in a group comprehending all those that fit the description of those "giving heed to deceitful demons" in I Timothy 1-5. The same list seen in Siricius' Letter 1A. 1 9 6 Letter 42.13-14. 1 9 7 "Resistance," p.53. 1 9 8 An important if subtle distinction. There can be no doubt that Manichaeism was a serious force in late-fourth century Rome; cf. S.N.C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China: a Historical Survey, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985. Hunter argues for the strength of Manichaean ascetic propaganda at Rome in the 380s by reference to Augustine's works against them during that time, after a stay in Rome ("Resistance," p.54). He is nevertheless over-confident when he asserts that "we know with certainty that Jovinian accused those who defended the superiority of virginity of being Manichees... Jerome answers the charge directly in Adversus Jovinianum" ("Resistance," p.50); he makes this statement on the strength of the denunciation we have just seen ("...you are followers of the Manichees") and on Jerome's opening repudiation of Marcion, Tatian, and Mani in Adv. Iov. 1.2 (he refers in the paper mistakenly to 1.9). However, Jovinian makes similar points about dietary scrupulosity in Adv. Iov. II.5, except that he refers not to Manichees but to Jews and devotees of Isis. These are not accusations of identity, but broad smears whose intent is to dismiss ascetic enthusiasm as a prominent feature of the most visible non-Christian religions of his day. 76 With the execution of Priscillian by Maximus on similar charges in recent memory, as Hunter demonstrates, and draconian anti-Manichaean legislation on the books, even a bishop such as Ambrose might have reason to feel insecure as a result of Jovinian's preaching: The force of many of Jovinian's arguments may have been the very factor which impelled the ecclesiastical authorities to silence the troublesome monk.199 The three priests are represented as hunting the Jovinianists down as if they were Manichees, in an attempt to comprehend their status as a "dissenting" group with another group which was already popularly, religiously, and legally marginalized. OTHER SOURCES: JEROME: LETTERS 22,39,48, 49, 50: We will temporarily reverse our procedure in dealing with these letters. We will start with the latest evidence, and like a detective follow a trail back to a time when Jerome was still in Rome, a decade before the Jovinianist controversy per se began. In doing so, I am suggesting an aetiology for the progress of this controversy; for the evidence seems to indicate that the seeds for the Jovinianist controversy are already planted in Rome by the mid-3 80s. "Resistance," p.63. 77 In letters 48-50, of394 , Jerome deals with the fallout generated in Rome by the reception of the Adversus Iovinianum. In general, the Christians of Rome seem to have been appalled at some of the extreme language used by Jerome in subordinating marriage to virginity. Letter 50 is addressed to Jerome's friend, the Roman priest Domnio. Jerome is replying to a letter in which Domnio had reported that a certain monk was "gnawing, rending and tearing asunder the books...Against Jovinian."201 The monk in question, who has been tantalizmgly identified by some scholars as none other than Pelagius202, was no ally of Jovinian; indeed, he is said to have met Jovinian in a debate: "...his eloquence has crushed Jovinian in person."203 On what grounds, we cannot be sure; but we do know that this monk was also moved to denounce what he and so many others viewed as Jerome's excessive denigration of marriage: As it is, without hesitation or shame, he raises again and again the noisy shout, "Jerome condemns marriage!"204 2 0 0 Freemantle, Jerome, p.66, 80. 201 Letter 50.1 2 0 2 Cf. Hunter, "Resistance," p.62, n.79. 203 Letter 50.2. 204 Utter 50.5. 78 Finally, of very great interest indeed is the fact that Jerome includes in this letter something that might be called "Jovinian's post-condemnation statement." Jerome represents it as a direct quote:205 That the bishops condemn me, he says, is not reason but treason. I want no answers from nobodies who, while they have the authority to put me down, have not the wit to teach me. Let one write against me who has a tongue that I can understand, and whom to vanquish will be to vanquish all.206 This is a feisty performance, if its authenticity can be trusted. It is not hard to understand a certain frustration and even disdain on Jovinian's part; we have seen that his own writing was characterized by coherence and systematic development, and that his episcopal opponents' condemnations were, on the contrary, characterized by excited and rather insubstantial rhetoric. This little paragraph is an extremely important bit of evidence, for it shows us a Jovinian unbowed by the condemnations of 393 and determined to continue his teaching and criticism publicly. Letter 49 informs us that Pammachius withdrew some of the copies of Adversus Iovinianum that he had put into circulation, but that the treatise, as Jerome has it, was nevertheless still circulating in Rome and even the Holy Land.207 By using the word inquit and the indicative mood. Letter 50.4. Letter 49.2 79 Letter 48 is an apology for the Adversus Iovinianum, addressed to Pammachius, who had both requested the work in the first place and then felt the need to withdraw it from public circulation 2 0 8 The complaint was, as Jerome says, that "I have been excessive...in praise of virginity and in depreciation of marriage," and that in so doing, he seemed to many people to have produced a "condemnation of marriage."209 Jerome is confused and angered by the fact that while he is condemned for ranking the two states thus, his opponents seem to act on such a conviction while saying otherwise: I wonder that clergymen and monks—who both live celibate lives—refrain from praising what they constantly practice.210 Especially offensive to Rome, apparently, was Jerome's suggestion that the sexual intercourse of a married couple involved spiritually crippling pollution: Let married men, if they please, swell with rage because I have said, "I ask you, what kind of good thing is that which prevents him from receiving the Body of Christ?...But if we are always to pray we must never yield to the claims of wedlock, for as long as I render her due to my wife I incapacitate myself for prayer."211 Jerome reminds his readers of events and of writings from a decade previous, when, he claims, "every lover of chastity strained his ears to catch [his] eulogy of continence:"212 While Damasus of holy memory was still living, I wrote a book against Helvidius "On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary," in which, to extol the bliss of virginity, I was 2 0 8 Letter 49.2. 2 0 9 Letter 48.2. 2 1 0 Letter 48.2 211 Letter 48.15. 2 1 2 Letter 4%. 18. 80 forced to say much of the troubles of marriage. Did that excellent man-versed in Scripture as he was, and a virgin doctor of the Virgin Church—find anything to censure in my discourse? Moreover, in the treatise213 I addressed to Eustochium I used much harsher language regarding marriage, and yet no one was offended by it.214 No one offended? Helvidius had published his treatise in early 383, in opposition to one Carterius who had written a tract full of grandiose praise for the virgin and celibate life, a tract which denigrated the married and used as its "trump-card" the assertion that Mary was perpetually a virgin 2 1 5 Kelly, noting that Helvidius employed an honest, down-to-earth exegesis of the Gospel texts216 and earlier Latin authors (Victorinus of Pettau, Tertullian), calls Helvidius' entry into the fray straight speaking: courageous speaking, too, for it contradicted the views of powerful figures like Pope Damasus and Ambrose of Milan. It must have gladdened the hearts of critics of ascetic enthusiasm, just as it scandalised its devotees.217 About a year after Jerome had disdainfully dissected and dismissed Helvidius' contentions, using language and argument that strongly foreshadow Adversus Iovinianum, he was causing very great offense indeed. Zii Letter22. 2U Letter 4S.\S. 2 1 5 Kelly, Jerome, pp. 104-105. 2 1 6 Largely Matthew 1.18-25, but also Luke 2, and the various places where Jesus' "brothers" and "sisters" are mentioned. Kelly, Jerome, p. 105. 2 1 7 Kelly, Jerome, pp. 105-106. 81 Kelly shows that Jerome in 383-384 was engaged in "an ascetic campaign which [he] was carrying on with the pope's approval."218 As part of this campaign Jerome composed, for Paula's youngest daughter, Eustochium, a treatise on virginity in the form of a letter219 which was destined for wide circulation 2 2 0 Kelly summarizes some of the letter's central themes thus: Jerome urges Eustochium to shun the society of married women and women of the world; they can only remind her of things she has renounced. For companions she should choose dedicated women, "pale and thin with fasting"; and, as far as possible, she should keep to her own room, not even going out to visit the martyr's shrines..221 This "campaign for an intensified asceticism," combined with his "scornfully denunciatory attitude to the great body of Christians, clerical and lay," helped to stir a widespread reaction against the favorite of the Pope.222 This reaction, and a growing popular distrust of the ascetic enthusiasm espoused by the three most influential figures in the clerical hierarchy of Italy, was about to get immeasurably worse. In the summer of 384, Blesilla, the beautiful eldest daughter of Jerome's patron and friend Paula, recovered from a fever and found herself suddenly open to the pleading admonitions of Jerome to embrace a life of penitence and austerity.223 In so doing, she "scandalized society as much as she 218 Jerome, p. 101. 219Letter22. 2 2 0 Kelly, Jerome, p. 101. 2 2 1 Ibid 222 223 Kelly, Jerome, p. 108. Kelly, Jerome, 98. 82 delighted Jerome." Four months of Jerome-prescribed mortifications later, she was dead Rome was shocked. Jerome's Letter 39, written ostensibly to comfort Paula after Blesilla's death, became also the vehicle for Jerome to convey his displeasure with her emotive mourning: it was deepening the already profound scandal and disgust that the death had aroused against him: When you were carried fainting out of the funeral procession, whispers such as these were audible in the crowd. "Is this not what we have often said. She weeps for her daughter, killed with fasting...How long must we refrain from driving these detestable monks out of Rome?.. .They have misled this unhappy lady.. 2 2 6 The next year, 385, Jerome was in fact forced to leave Rome 2 2 7 But he left behind him, I would suggest, an unsettled and explosive cauldron of tensions and issues. An intimate witness to all of this will likely have been a Roman monk named Jovinian, who, seven or eight years hence would compose a work(s) whose themes echoed Helvidius' own tract. As we will see, scholars have proposed a number of explanations for Jovinian's "conversion" from a life devoted to austerity, for the basis of his insights, and the subsequent motives for publishing 2 2 4 Ibid. 2 2 5 Kelly, Jerome, p.99. 226 Letter 39.6. 2 2 7 Kelly, Jerome, p. 114. 83 his views. Recently, David G. Hunter228 has argued that Jovinian is best understood as an "opponent of Manichaeism and of what he saw as Manichaean tendencies among the Christian ascetics at Rome."229 1 would argue, on the contrary, that the use of the word "Manichaean" is actually rather spare in Jovinian's writing, and that its use can be explained by the fact that it was an aspersion non pared by which an ascetic could be quickly discredited, or at very least, held in grave suspicion. Given Jovinian's agenda, it would have been suprising, to say the least, if he had not made recourse to the powerful rhetorical force of the word in his historical context230 In contrast with Hunter, I would suggest that the issues disturbing Jovinian and motivating him both to radically alter his views and to publish his new convictions were jokingly raised on doctrinahtheological, emotional and social levels during the tumultuous events surrounding the ascetic campaign of Jerome in the period 383-385. The bold raising of the main issues of the controversy by Helvidius in 383, and the scandal of Blesilla's death in 384—largely under the direction of the man who had seemed to "best" Helvidius—could not have remained unconnected in the minds of many thoughtful observers. I suggest that this troubling series of events would have been more than sufficient to heighten to a high pitch any latent tensions with respect to these "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late-Fourth Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian," Theological Studies 48 (1987), pp. 45-64. 2 2 9 "Resistance," p.46. 2 3 0 Hunter does a very convincing job of showing how seriously an implication of Manichaeism would have been taken, "Resistance," p. 63. 84 issues in the minds of serious Christians at Rome; these tensions may have been among their highest for a monk such as Jovinian was. I will offer below some arguments to advance the probability that there would have been implicit tension between those committed to traditional monastic ascetic values and the boosters of the new ascetic enthusiasm. Among the proponents of the latter we can count no monks in the basic sense, unless we include the rather singular Jerome; we do count, though, powerful figures among the ecclesiastical hierarchy, viz., Ambrose, Damasus, and Siricius, and wealthy Christian aristocrats, viz., Pammachius, Paula and her daughters, Marcella. Moreover, these sets overlap in a pre-eminent way in the figure of Jerome. As the next text that we will examine shows, however, Jovinian continued to have supporters among the monks: and we will presently meet such monks in a situation of conflict with their aristocratic Bishop, Ambrose. A M B R O S E : L E T T E R 63: This letter, the longest in Ambrose's correspondence, is securely dated to 396; the occasion was the inability of the church at Vercelli to agree upon a bishop.231 Jovinian is not named in this letter, nor are any of the other eight that are specifically named as his followers by Siricius and Ambrose. We do not find any of the Jovinianists in this letter that had been named by Siricius in his condemnation.232 Ambrose is taking the occasion of the letter to warn the church against two 2 3 1 Mary M. Beyenka, Saint Ambrose: Letters, in FC 26, p.321, n.l. 2 3 2 Siricius Letter 7.4; Ambrose Letter 42.14. 85 lapsed monks from his own monastery who had once performed austerities, but after a spell spent outside the monastery changed their habits; Ambrose refused them readmission.233 These monks, Sarmation and Barbatianus, were now at Vercelli preaching the following notions: ...there is no merit in fasting, no grace in frugality, and none in virginity; that all persons are of equal value, and that they are mad who chastise their body by fasting in order to make it subject to the Spirit.234 Plainly, Vercelli was playing host to two Jovinianists. Nothing more is to be found about these renegade Jovinianist monks in this letter or elsewhere. We may note two significant facts: the first is that Jovinianists were still plainly strong enough in numbers to cause trouble; and as we have seen, we have every reason to believe that Jovinian himself continued to be active until the State was finally prevailed upon by "bishops" to seize, punish, and exile him and his followers.235 The second fact is that these two were monks, as Jovinian continued to be. This fact should arouse our attention, particularly when Valli, for one, frequently refers to Jovinian's teaching as "predicazione antimonastica."236 The Jovinianist controversy offers some good reasons to reconsider an equation that is all too easy to make between the rise of monasticism and the rise of urban ascetic enthusiasm. 233 Letter 63.7-9. 234 Letter 63.7 235 Codex Theodosiamis 16.5.53, in Coleman-Norton, Roman State and Christian Church, pp. 556-557. 236 Gioviniano, p. 13. 86 The latter, as we have seen, supported theories of hierarchy237 and offered means for judging between the merits of people based upon their degree of self-mortification. There is good reason to believe that such an approach would have been profoundly antipathetic to those authentically connected and committed to the values of early monasticism. The "basic values" of early monasticism have been treated in overview in a recent paper by theologian and scholar of early monasticism Roberta Bondi 2 3 8 In considering much of the basic literature of early monasticism—e.g., the Lives of Pachomius and Antony, the Apohthegmata Patrum, and other works—Bondi has identified three central convictions that she feels are widely enough attested to consider them "basic" monastic views. She feels that, in the fourth century, the ground of the monastic life can generally be reduced to the call to "be perfect," and that this perfection meant pre-eminently perfection in fulfilling the Great Commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your strength, and all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself 2 3 9 2 3 7 And was supported by members of the hierarchy. 2 3 8 Roberta Bondi, "The Fourth Century Church: the Monastic Contribution," in Faith to Creed: Ecumenical perspectives on the Affirmation of the Apostolic Faith in the Fourth Century. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1991, pp.60-82. 2 3 9 Bondi, "Monastic Contribution," p.72. 87 She sees in most of Fathers of the Desert and the Cappadocians an understanding that being created in the image of God, it is a fundamental aspect of human nature that we are created both to love God and His image-other people-and so fulfil the Commandment240 This love is always a response to the love of God for humankind, and is not produced at will.241 Bondi sees a profound respect for variety in expression of the Christian life, a respect which is derived from Origen's teaching that God reveals "God's self to each person according to that person's need."242 Closely related to this notion is a common, if often broken conviction, that judgmentalism is "the enemy of love;" that acting judgmentally toward another is to risk the great sin of "driving that other away from God. " 2 4 3 My aim in making this brief citation of an already concise and very general piece has been simply to suggest that monastic values, as presented by Bondi, show a strong affinity to the monk Jovinian's views. In Bondi's view, early monastic values would not easily have accommodated 2 4 0 Ibid. 2 4 1 Bondi, "Monastic Contribution" 73. 2 4 2 Bondi, "Monastic Contribution," pp. 74-75. It is a point made very emphatically by Thomas Merton in his reading of the Verba Semorum: "...the spirit was still very much a spirit of personalism and freedom, because even the coenobite knew that his Rule was only an exterior framework, a kind of scaffolding with which he was to help himself build the spiritual structure of his own life with God." The Wisdom of the Desert, New York: New Directions, 1960; p.6. 2 4 3 Ibid. 88 scales of holiness that could have been applied to Christians in order either to exalt or denigrate them; such an activity would have violated early monastic convictions both with regard to love and humility. All four of Jovinian's propositions aim at undermining such techniques of distinguishing the sanctity and value of persons. Such an observation suggests the direction a future study might take. An intimate, even causal link is often supposed between Eastern monasticism and the rise of urban ascetic enthusiasm, probably because proponents of the latter almost always claim inspiration and legitimacy from the monastic example. The Jovinianist controversy, on the other hand, seems to offer evidence that this view is simplistic and glosses over serious tensions between the two approaches and their proponents. The next piece of evidence to be examined shows this tension at its extreme: Jovinian, branded a heretic by powerful members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, is finally identified as an enemy of the State, which in turn was acting in response to the requests of "the bishops." CODEXTHEODOSIANUS 16.5.53244: The mandate, published in 398 (the year of Ambrose's death), of Honorius and Arcadius245informs us that Jovinian maintained a circle of supporters after his condemnations, and that he met with this circle outside the bounds of the city: 2 4 4 In P.R. Coleman's invaluable Roman State and Christian Church: a Collection of Legal Documents to 535. London, 1966, pp.556-557. 89 The bishops' complaint deplores that Jovinian conducts sacrilegious gatherings outside the most sacred city's walls.246 The "bishops" in question would certainly have included Jovinian's (and, for that matter, Jerome's) old nemesis, Siricius, who died in 399. Siricius and the others making the complaint prevailed upon the Augusti to use force against the stubborn heretic and his sympathizers: Wherefore we command that the aforesaid person should be arrested and, after having been beaten with a leaded scourge, should be confined by exile with all the rest of his adherents and attendants; moreover that he himself, as the machinator, should be expelled with swift speed to the isle of Bua and that the rest...should be deported in perpetuity to solitary islands situated at a great distance from one-another.247 Although it is presumed that Jovinian did in fact go into exile, we can by no means assume he lived long enough to do so; for despite what many scholars argue was the singular nature of Priscillian's execution, we know from the testimony of Augustine that a great many that were punished with the leaded scourge did not survive. Augustine, to his credit, was against its use248. The law was designed to ensure that Jovinian's ideas did perish: Moreover, if anyone by pertinacious improbity shall have repeated such prohibited and condemned things, he should know that he will suffer a severer sentence.249 2 4 5 In fact the law bears the date 412 and the name of Theodosius II rather than Arcadius, but Coleman-Norton {Roman State and Christian Church, p. 556) points out that, among other things, the addressee, Felix, was prefect of Rome in 398, while for 412 two different urban prefects—Palmatus and Epifanius~are known; the year 398 also "fits into the data of Jovinian's life." 246 CT 16. 5. 53.2. 247 CT 16. 5. 53.3. 248 Letter 10*. 2 4 9 C r 16. 5. 53.4. 90 Other writers sealed the condemnation of Jovinian and his ideas after his torture and exile. One of these, responding to the persistence of the monk's ideas and the challenge that "Jovinian could not be answered by praising marriage but only by condemning it,250" would produce texts destined to shape European views of marriage and sexuality for 1600 years. AUGUSTINE: DE HAERESIBUS 82 2 5 1 This work provides evidence of a method of Jovinian's "proselytizing," of the duration of Jovinian's arguments, and for the way in which Jovinian's arguments became distorted when conveyed by oral and perhaps epistolary report. Augustine felt called to respond on several occasions, after Jovinian's exile\death, to the questions raised by his protest, and especially by his defense of the equality of the married and virgins.252 De Haeresibus 82 is here examined because it sums up Augustine's knowledge about Jovinian, his activities, and ideas. The entry on Jovinian in the De Haeresibus (82) has, relative to the polemic of Jerome or his Italian opponents, a neutral tone. 2 5 0 Augustine, Retractiones 2.22, cited in Hunter, "Resistance," p.49. 251 PL 42, pp. 45-46. 2 5 2 In the treatises De Bono Coniugali (Patrologia Latina 40, 373-396) and De Sancta Virginitate, (Patrologia Latina 40, 396-428), both of 401, in which Hunter notes that Jovinian is refuted without being named; in the Retractiones, (Patrologia Latina 32, 583-659) of 426, in which he is clearly identified—the persistence of his teaching being cited as the motive for undertaking the two works on marriage and virginity— and in the De Haeresibus (Patrologia Latina 42, pp.45-46) of428, which is examined in this paper. 91 He is critical of what he believes to be Jovinian's "Stoic" equalization of all vices, which is plainly a distortion of the monk's reduction of fates into "damned" and "saved" without consideration of degree253. He also had received, or chose to present, a serious distortion of the second thesis. "Those reborn in baptism in fullness of faith cannot be overthrown by the devil" becomes "cannot sin."254 He writes that Jovinian "destroyed" the virginity of Mary, "dicens earn pariendo fuisse corruptam.255" Augustine confirms that Jovinian's teaching had concrete effects: He even equated the merits of chaste and faithful marriages to the virginity of holy women and the continent, celibate life among those holy by choice, with the result that, when he taught these things, some virgins, already well advanced in age in the city of Rome, are said to have married after hearing him 2 5 6 Although Augustine plainly agreed that Jovinian was a heretic, writing approvingly that Quickly, however, that heresy was suppressed and wiped out, nor was it able to proceed thence to the deception of other priests,257 he seemed to have had some sympathy for the man, confirming the monk's own choice of celibacy without further comment: to be sure, he neither had nor wished to have a wife.258 253 De Haeresibus 82. 2 5 4 Ibid. 2 5 5 Ibid. 2 5 6 Ibid. 2 5 7 Ibid. 92 Augustine's after-the-fact solution to the Jovinianist controversy remains the bedrock of Catholic teaching on marriage and sex to this day. The saint even gets the last word in the latest consequential look at Jovinian: a paper by the young Catholic theologian David G. Hunter. Hunter will open and close our exploration of the modern attempts at reconstructing and interpreting Jovinian. The purpose of this review of the literature is suggested by its place in this study; we cannot expect, in the usual sense, to arrive at a current "scholarly consensus" or state of the question on Jovinian. This is because the questions that have been asked have in general been idiosyncratic—the only sustained debate in scholarly literature has been to a significant extent theologically and denominationally motivated. This is not to say that these scholars—Haller, Valli, and Hunter—have not done thorough, sound, and creative work. Nor is it to assert that Hunter's work cannot be seen as representing, in a useful way, the current state of the question. What I will assert, however, is that the way Jovinian has been reconstructed and used has to a more than usual degree been shaped by the pre-convictions of these authors. Again, this is not necessarily cause to assume that massive distortion has been the result, and it is not in any way cause to diminish the value and importance of their work; much less will I be so bold as to claim that I have, in this study, rescued the debate from my own platform of privileged objectivity. But I have become aware that it would be a mistake to treat this debate as if it has evolved along the 93 lines of a Hegelian dialectic, which, for better or worse, is an implicit assumption scholars make or desire to make when approaching a review of the literature on any question. The absence of such a dialectic is even more apparent when looking at the incidental treatments of Jovinian offered by a recent generation of scholars. Not making Jovinian their primary concern, most of these scholars have elected simply to present a picture of Jovinian that is sound and germane to their own aims, based generally on Haller or Valli, but without reference to or tension with the views of their (largely social historian) peers. So it is that the following review will proceed, for the most part, chronologically, as if following a debate; I will try to discern continuing dialogue where possible and follow it, though in general we will find ourselves proceeding from view to view with little dialectical tension to engage us. I have chosen Hunter's "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late-Fourth Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian" as my target and "current state of the question." I will, with the preceding caveat, engage Hunter's views in coming to my own conclusions. RECONSTRUCTING AND WIELDING JOVINIAN: SECONDARY STUDIES: "Jovinian deserves to be re-examined for both historical and theological reasons," Hunter notes, pointing out that Jovinian remains unique in antiquity for his energetic, theologically grounded critique of late antique ascetic enthusiasm.259 2 5 9 "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late Fourth Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian" Theological Studies 48, 1987. pp. 45-46. 94 THE BEGINNING OF THE DEBATE: HALLER AND VALLI: The first "modern" attempt at such a re-examination, and the foundation of all later and current work on Jovinian, was offered in 1897 by a student of Adolf von Harnack. This was Wilhelm Haller, who in that year published Iovinianus: Die Fragmente seiner Schriften, die Quellen zu seiner Geschicte, sein Leben und seine Lehre260 As we have seen, Harnack held a favorable view of Jovinian, going so far as to call him a "witness of truth in antiquity."261 Haller shared Harnack's opinion. Both saw in Jovinian's rejection of merit through renunciation and his equation of the virtue of the married and virgins a Pauline, "Protestant" stance, and Harnack in fact asserts, though cautiously262, that Jovinian may be called a "Protestant of his time." Haller felt that the heart of Jovinian's position was a genuine assertion, in the Pauline sense, of the priority of faith and grace over righteousness through works 2 6 3 Haller's study is the foundation of all later work done on Jovinian, being the first collection and 260 Texte und Untersuchungen (17/2; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1897). 2 6 1 Harnack, op. cit., 58. 2 6 2 "...we must not mistake a point of difference: the indwelling of God and Christ in the baptized is more strongly emphasised than the power of faith." Harnack, op. cit., p. 58. 2 6 3 Haller, Ioviniamis, p. 159. 95 consideration of all the source material for him.264 But this analysis—which almost seems to portray Jovinian as a proto-Lutheran—was flawed in the judgement of the next scholar to examine Jovinian. This scholar was Francesco Valli, a Roman Catholic working out of the University of Urbino. In 1953, he produced a study as thorough as (albeit less voluminous) Haller's. In Gioviniano: Esame delle fonti e del frammenti, Valli argues that Haller's work is anachronistic and does not adequately come to grips with Jovinian's own arguments and categories. The Lutheran tension between faith-grace and works-righteousness which Haller had found so compelling is not explicit in any of Jovinian's propositions, Valli argues.265 Furthermore, Valli is distressed by Haller's "apologetic" agenda266 and the resultingly partisan treatments, as he sees it, of both Jovinian, to whom he is "partial" at "every opportunity," and of Jerome, to whom he is "unjust."267 But what does dominate three of the four propositions to be attacked by Jerome are arguments which focus on the nature and efficacy of baptism.268 2 6 4 Hunter, op. cit., 45. 265 Gioviniano, p.77. 2 6 6 Haller's exuberant and partisan praise of the heretic (not to mention the naked abuse of Harnack that we've already seen!) could only have seemed a denominational challenge needing to be met to a pre-Vatican II Catholic scholar like Valli. 2 6 7 "Le pagine dellHaller tradiscono lo scopo apologetico che lo rende parziale con Gioviniano, di cui si ha sempre una difesa in ongi occasione, e ingiusto con Girolamo, di cui si misconosceringegno." Valli, op. cit., 11. 268 Gioviniano, p. 77. 96 Valli argued that Jovinian's fundamental argument was focused on the nature of Christian baptism, and particularly upon what Jovinian held to be the resulting equality of all the members of the Body of Christ269 This position is quite sound, bearing as it does a more immediate relation to the texts at hand. Valli's writing is careful but much more readable than Haller's dense Teutonic prose, and he makes a number of excellent observations in his notes; he demonstrates very clearly, for instance, that the cult of virginity in no way owes its origins to monasticism270. The critique, too, made of Haller's "Protestantizing" approach to a Patristic author was necessary. Nevertheless Valli's analysis seems, in one aspect, to be superficial; making the assertion that the nature of baptism was Jovinian's basic concern is to miss the forest for the trees. Was baptism not, rather, the basic fact of Christian identity, the universal referent upon which Jovinian could build his Johannine discourse of participation in the mystical Body of Christ? Such a willingness to emphasize the form of Jovinian's discourse over implicit (and often explicit) content arises, perhaps, from a desire to indulge in some subtle latter-day heresiology; despite discussing the fact of his un-abandoned monasticism elsewhere, Valli speaks without adequate qualification of his GiovMano, p. 121. Gioviniano, p.78, n.l. 97 "predicazione...antimonastica.271" It can in general be said that Valli's study is marred by a polemical tone. Indeed, Valli seems to assume the position of the Church Fathers who had attacked Jovinian fifteen centuries previously, and refers to Jovinian throughout his study as Veretico--"the heretic."272 He adopts the accusation of the polemicists that Jovinian's success was confined to a "massa amorfa di cristiani che avevano perduto il primitivo fervore273" who welcomed the chance to rationalize their moral laxness and sensuality. His remark, however, that other followers of Jovinian may have been "certi malumori che aveva destato il monachismo romano e che avevano gia provocato la partenza di Girolamo274" is probably true enough—despite the fact that Valli seems to be indignant at Rome's treatment of Jerome—given the scandal surrounding the death of Blesilla. The "malumuri" spoken of by Valli are those who cried out indignantly at the girl's death: Is this not what we have often said? She weeps for her daughter, killed with fasting...How long must we refrain from driving these detestable monks out of Rome?275 In assuming the fundamental validity of the Jerome's condemnation of Jovinian, Valli makes little attempt to gain a really multi-dimensional and original insight into the character and aims of the 2 7 1 Gioviniano, p. 13. 2 7 2 Hunter, "Resistance," 48; Valli, Gioviniano (Urbino: Universita di Urbino, 1953.) To be fair, the man was a heretic. It is, regardless of the sentiments of modern theologians, an historical fact that he was denounced, scourged, and exiled as a heretic, and died as a heretic; though to be sure he would have little difficulty in today's Church. 2 7 3 Gioviniano, p. 27. 2 7 4 Girolamo, p.27. 2 7 5 Jerome, Letter 39.6. 98 monk and his supporters. He fails, for instance, to come to terms with the fact that Jovinian himself remained celibate, as did many of his followers276; nor does he allow himself to entertain the possibility that Jovinian's emphasis on baptism might have been a rhetorical means rather than an end. Nevertheless, Valli's scholarship sufficiently impressed our century's most important biographer of Jerome, J.N.D. Kelly, for Kelly to base his own understanding of Jovinian on the Italian's work. HISTORICAL SKETCHES 1975-1992: Jerome's Adversus Iovmiamim is his longest, and, in the opinion of Kelly, best conceived polemical treatise 2 7 7 When Kelly produced his definitive study, Jerome, it was thus necessary for him to reconsider Jovinian. Kelly considers both Haller's and Valli's work, and remarks in a note that Valli's is "much better." 2 7 8 Indeed, Kelly accepts Valli's essential point concerning the central importance of baptism for Jovinian. He does not, however, follow Valli's analysis in its tone, logic, or conclusions. 2 / 6 Hunter, op.cit., 49. 2 7 7 Kelly, op. cit., 182: "The lengthiest of all his [Jerome's] polemical treatises...it is also the most accomplished of them, and marks the full revival of his unrestrained use of pagan classics and of'rhetoric'." 2 7 8 Kelly, op. cit, 181. 99 Kelly examined the personality and writing of Jerome with great care. As a scholar he is sympathetic to his subject, but is writing as a biographer, rather than (ostensibly at least) as a defender of a particular theological stance~a weakness, perhaps, of both earlier works. In particular, he resists Valli's rather old-fashioned tendency to give uncritical approval to the pronouncements of the Church Fathers. Jerome's weaknesses, and those of his polemic, are all too apparent to Kelly: His treatise abounds in coarse abuse, describing, for example, Jovinian's book as 'vomit he has thrown up' and the man himself as the 'debauchee preacher.' It also contains robustly libellous caricatures, depicting him as wantoning in pleasure gardens, or in baths where men and women bathe together, surrounded by pampered favourites of both sexes while the true followers of Christ languish like strangers in this world...For all its polemical bravado, however, for all its technical expertise, Against Jovinian seems to modern readers singularly superficial and unconvincing...But what is most disappointing is that he nowhere comes to grips with, nowhere seems to understand Jovinian's central thesis...279 As Kelly sees it, this thesis is that "...baptism received with genuine faith really does abolish original sin and effects a total regeneration, creating a unified, holy community in which distinctions based on merit are without meaning."280 This is an excellent and accurate one sentence summary of the monk's arguments, and it is very near to Valli's positions, but Kelly assumes the thesis to be both sincere and substantial. He feels that Jovinian presented "...a challenge to the conventional Catholicism of the day which deserved to be debated at a deeper level."281 2 7 9 Kelly, op. cit, 186. 280 Ibid. 281 Op. cit, 187. 100 And whereas Valli had downplayed the enthusiastic response Jovinian's teaching had met with among certain Christians, both underestimating it and attributing it either to cynical laxness or gullibility on their part, Kelly emphasises the success of his teaching, and theorizes that it was due to "the disarray into which the pagan revival was throwing Christians at Rome."282 The scholarship touching on Jovinian of the previous decade has been characterized by a marked sensitivity to the social and political contexts in which religious discourses and persons were shaped. We will look at how two social historians, Peter Brown and Elizabeth Clark, and one more textually oriented scholar whose work is informed by their approach, Elaine Pagels, have interpreted Jovinian and the Jovinianist controversy. Two of these scholars who have recently considered Jovinian do so in the context of the larger theme of sexual renunciation in Christianity's first four centuries. The first of these was Peter Brown, who in 1988 published The Body and Society™ in which he aimed to study the practice of permanent sexual renunciation-Continence, celibacy, life-long virginity as opposed to observance of temporary periods of sexual abstinence-that developed among men and women in Christian circles in the period from a little before the missionary journeys of Saint Paul, in the 40's and 50's A.D., to a little after the death of Saint Augustine.284 2 8 2 Op. cit., 181. 2 8 3 Op. cit. 2 8 4 Brown, op. cit., xiii. 101 Brown asserts in the epilogue of The Body and Society that Historians must bring to [Early Christian themes of celibacy, continence, and virginity] their due measure of warm, red blood. By studying their precise social and religious context, the scholar can give back to these ideas a little of the human weight which they carried in their own time.285 When Brown examined Jovinian, he perceived not only a doctrinal reaction against other doctrinal positions. Jovinian's concern was, for Brown, something more concrete and immediate. This was a concern for community, for congregation without the dramatic gradations of a hierarchy that were becoming evident in every aspect of Christian life and thought.286 In the background of Jovinian's controversy, Brown sees the progressive identification of Paul's notion of the "flesh"~for Paul, everything in the present world opposed to the Spirit of God—with the sexual impulse in itself. 2 8 7 As Brown sees it, this was a process of "whittling down" a massive, powerful concept into something more manageable.288 It gave to Christian clergymen a readily graspable means of setting themselves apart from the world-especially needed, as Brown notes, in more insecure provinces, where prospective bishops could not have been expected to avoid the taint of violence and power—as well as a theoretical basis and defense for the clergy's growing role as arbiters of 2 8 5 Brown, op. cit., 446-447. 2 8 6 Brown, op. cit, 359. 2 8 7 Brown, op. cit., 258. 2 8 8 Ibid. 102 social status. Brown often returns to one of his fundamental insights: Mediterranean society was, by the late fourth century, fascinated and governed by rigidly hierarchical ideologies, and spiritual ambition for Christians of this period is a very often a phenomenon parallel to political and ecclesiastical ambition; it is the same desire to achieve a place of high favour, to know one's place and the place of others. Sexual impulse and sexual status were excellent markers in this regard, capable of immediate definition and (with a struggle that itself more and more became definitive of the holy life) control. Speaking of Jovinian's first two opponents, Brown remarks that Siricius' views coincided with those of Ambrose in that both rested on the unquestioning acceptance of a notion of hierarchy. Both asserted the existence of distinct grades of perfection in the Christian life, and both believed that these distinctions could be measured in terms of the degree of a person's withdrawal from sexual activity. On this scale, virgins came first, the widows second, the married persons third. This was a universal scale, applicable to both sexes...The long history of celibacy in the Catholic Church makes it easy for us to forget the novelty of such a claim.290 It is against this "novel" claim and its dramatic threat to the egalitarianism native to ancient Christian society that Brown sees Jovinian taking his stance, mustering theological arguments for the defense of his basic insight: So steep-pitched a notion of hierarchy was far from obvious to all Christians in Milan and Rome. The presence of a baptismal pool always spoke to Ambrose of an "ascent"; and Ambrose had little doubt that the peak of that ascent, in this life, was the virgin or continent state. Jovinian, a serious minded ascetic in Rome, drew very different conclusions from the same pool of water: in his opinion, all Christians emerged from the Brown, op. cit., 358-359. Brown, op. cit., 359. 103 baptismal waters equal. They had equally been rewarded with the gift of forgiveness and with the possession of the Holy Spirit. There was no further need for gradations of "grace and favor" within the Catholic congregation. No groups of continent men and women needed to stand in an ambiguous middle-ground, between a duly ordained clergy and the mass of the laity. For Jovinian, all baptized Christians were equally holy: they formed a single people of God, delivered, by baptism, from their sins.291 In Brown's view, making his opinions known to both pagans and Christians at this time was a "serious step" for Jovinian to have taken. 2 9 2 Brown feels that it was "Jovinian's delightfully old-fashioned denial of hierarchy" (Ambrose called Jovinian's doctrine "a peasant's hue and cry") that was both his primary assertion and main offense in his opponents eyes.293 This stance, as Brown sees it, threatened to undo all that the revolution of late antiquity had achieved for the Christian church. Hierarchy, and not community, had become the order of the day.2 9 4 Brown also touches on another accusation that Ambrose made in a letter responding to Jovinian's followers; this accusation was that to hold Jovinian's position on marriage, celibacy and fasting was to imply that voluptas, a capacity for sensual pleasure, had been a part of the human person intended by God at Creation. To say this was to deny the whole trajectory of man's painful return to Paradise through sexual abstinence and fasting: [as Ambrose wrote,]"how can sensuality recall us to Paradise, when it alone robbed us of its delights?"295 291 Brown, op. cit., 359-360 292 Brown, op. cit., 360. 293 Brown, op. cit., 360-361 294 Ibid. 295 Brown, op. cit., 361. 104 This assertion of the neutrality and naturality of the human capacity for pleasure would be made openly by the young Pelagian, Julian of Eclanum, as he joined with Augustine, his (as he argued) "Manichean" opponent in the next decade. Brown, unfortunately, neither considers Hunter's thesis296 (although he cites his paper) nor the possible influence of Jovinian on Julian. Brown insists that historians "must bring their measure of warm, red blood" to the study of these figures and their ideas. He substantially succeeded in doing so in The Body and Society by looking at Christians as human beings, grappling with human impulses and problems, and wrestling with a growing corpus of religious ideas within the restrictions and opportunities afforded them by their society—each in search, ultimately, of peace and freedom. In practical terms, this means that Jovinian's controversy is seen, not as a doctrinal debate which involved issues of sexuality and status, but as a struggle between differing approaches to sexuality, identity and society in which Christian doctrine was the arena of the contest and raw material of discourse. In the same year that saw the publication of The Body and Society, Elaine Pagels, Brown's colleague at Princeton (Pagels holds a chair in the department of Religion and Brown in History), published Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Pagels hoped, with this book, to show how certain ideas-in particular, ideas concerning sexuality, moral freedom, and human value—took their definitive form during the first four centuries as interpretations of 2 9 6 That Jovinian is best understood "as an opponent of Manichaeism and of what he saw as Manichaean tendencies among the Christian ascetics at Rome." Hunter, "Resistance," p.46. 105 the Genesis creation stories, and how they have continued to affect our culture and everyone in it, Christian or not, ever since.297 Pagels is even more insistent than Brown in refusing to rest content with a "bloodless" examination of religious ideas in relative isolation from factors other than religious discourse. After denying the substance of an unnamed colleague's (Brown's?) objection, that "religious ideas cannot be reduced to political agendas," Pagels states that she nevertheless does intend to show that religious insights and moral choices, in actual experience, coincide with practical ones. Scholars and theologians may separate them theoretically, but at the cost of distorting our understanding: in our actual experience—as in that of Christians in the first four centuries—moral choices are often political choices. An act of religious affirmation is always, in some sense, a practical and consequential act...What I am thinking of is what the anthropologist Foucault calls "the politics of truth"--that is, that what each of us perceives and acts upon as true has much to do with our situation, social, political, cultural, religious, or philosophical.298 For Pagels, the great rallying cry of Christians until the late-fourth century had been autexousia— self-authority and free will. Like Brown, she sees that that freedom from social constraints was often gained in celibacy, particularly for women, who thereby gained the freedom to study, travel, found and direct monastic houses, and so on.299 Moreover, when Imperial persecution became Imperial patronage, the social status and living conditions of Christians, and especially their bishops, Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Vintage Books, 1989) xxviii. Pagels, op. cit, xxvii. Pagels, op. cit., xxv. 106 changed radically. No longer targets of arrest, torture, and execution, now they received tax exemptions, donations in gold, great prestige, and, in some cases, even influence at the imperial court. Now that becoming a Christian was no longer the heroic choice it had been for Christians like Perpetua, some of the most intense believers in the age of Constantine longed for the ascetic life as proof of devotion, a kind of self-inflicted martyrdom. As we have seen, many regarded ascetic Christians as celebrities, living examples of "God's athletes."300 For Pagels, it is this universal acceptance of severe ascetic mortification as proof of sincere zeal which is the most important factor of the environment into which Jovinian threw his theses; it both casts him into relief as a bold and original character and explains the seriousness with which his several opponents responded to him. What is really noteworthy in Pagels' brief analysis of Jovinian is her assumption—left, unfortunately, quite undeveloped301—that Jovinian's basic impetus was, in the first instance, intensely personal: Barefoot and unshaven, Jovinian had dressed in a rough cloak and grimy tunic, refused to eat meat or drink wine, and strictly avoided any contact with women. But after some years of these austerities, Jovinian underwent a change of heart and questioned whether they were spiritually beneficial (italics mine).302 Pagels, though in other respects adding comparatively little that is noteworthy to our understanding of Jovinian303—and in fact making some rather striking omissions and mistakes in 3 0 0 Pagels, op. cit., 90. 3 0 1 A possible reason is the absence of any solid textual basis for defining this proposed "change of heart." And yet the fact that the man fundamentally altered his lifestyle and identity can scarcely be creditably attributed to a purely intellectual process; a "change of heart" at the level of powerful emotional and spiritual experience must surely be assumed. 3 0 2 Pagels, op. cit, 91. 3 0 3 Her examination, though, of differences in exegetical strategy, pp.92-94, is of value. 107 the reconstruction of the controversy -is one of a very few scholars to have explicitly assumed that his basic insight stemmed in an important way from practice and experience, and not from a strictly conceptual process of internal dialectic or as an intellectual response to doctrine that he reasoned to be unsound or (as Jerome, Ambrose and Valli would have us believe) inconvenient to his "voluptuous" lifestyle. Pagels, perhaps, proceeds from an understanding of the primacy of experience because, unlike the great majority of earlier scholars who had examined Jovinian, she is not by training a theologian or even a historian, but a professor of Religion. She has explored (and employs as analogues in her writing) other religious traditions305, and seems to be quite comfortable with more comparative and phenomenological approaches to her subjects.306 Her own researches into early Christianity 3 0 4 She states, for instance, that Siricius was "led by three future saints of the church—Jerome, Ambrose, and their younger contemporary Augustine" in his condemnation of Jovinian. Augustine's contribution to the controversy (his moral treatises on marriage and virginity, and still later his De Haeresibus and Retractiones) did not begin to appear until well after Jovinian's death. The shepherd of orthodoxy to be credited with putting both the pope and Jerome onto the unfortunate monk's trail is, rather, Pammachius. She also holds that Jovinian "vigorously protested his excommunication and wrote commentaries to prove that the scriptures were on his side." As entirely probable as this is, there is nothing in the fragments of Jovinian preserved by Jerome to suggest that the writings in question were written after his condemnation, with the compelling exception of Jerome's silence on Jovinian's denial of Mary's in partu physical virginity. 3 0 5 Pagels, op. cit., 65: "...no orthodox Jew, any more than an orthodox Christian, could say, with the Hindu devotee, 'I am Thou.' But Gnostic interpreters [of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures] share with the Hindu and with Eckhart that very conviction—that the divine being is hidden deep within human nature..." 3 0 6 In her epilogue (p. 152), Pagels asserts that "From a strictly historical point of view, there is no single 'real Christianity,'" Her point being that the proper objects of study are the Christians themselves, in all their "variety of voices, and... extraordinary range of viewpoints." She goes on to 108 and Gnosticism have left her with an abiding sense of the rich plurality of Christian beliefs and practices from the first century onwards307. She refuses to accept the Christian mythos of orthodoxy—namely, that this very plurality was a lamentable result of the fracturing and perverting of an originally single and revealed body of teachings—at face value. Such plurality is also a basic assumption of Elizabeth A. Clark, professor of History at Duke University. The nuclei of religious allegiance are for Clark primarily personal and social and subsequently doctrinal; with this perspective she has recently considered Jovinian. In 1992, Clark's The Origenist Controversy20* was published. Her examination of this controversy—which began in the later fourth century and lasted until the council of Chalcedon in the mid-fifth—begins with an examination of the vast social networks in existence during this period, and of the determinative roles that friendship, gift-giving, hospitality, mentor-student relations and family alliances played in the decisions of given Christians to cleave to the cause of one (ostensibly doctrinal) party or another: [an] aspect of my study has been to suggest how, given the admittedly fragmentary remains left to us, Origenist and anti-Origenist ideas threaded their way through social quote William James at length, and in her final paragraph states "finally I came to see that more important, to me, than taking sides on such specific issues...is the recognition of a spiritual dimension in human experience." 3 0 7 Pagels, op. cit, 151-152. 3 0 8 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. 109 networks...the wider aim of my study has been to probe the varying ways by which Origenist theory was grounded in the praxis of both asceticism and relationships.309 Clark combines an intimidating mastery of her sources and sharp analysis with a refreshing emotional engagement with her subjects and the issues at stake. Her research leads her to assert that Christians were roughly, but certainly divided into two vast social networks across the Mediterranean world in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. One is the "party" that emerged victorious and determined both the shape of the historical evidence and the future signification of the label "orthodox," a group including Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Epiphanius of Salamis and so on; the other included those overt Origenists with a strong, practice-oriented mystical bent, such as Evagrius Ponticus; other pro-Origenists concerned with maintaining both the justice of God and the freedom and dignity of the human person against notions of predestination and (Augustinian, in any case) original sin, including Origen's great champion, Rufinus; and the Pelagians. This group includes people of widely differing temperament and opinion, but Clark asserts that they were certainly linked together over time and the whole Graeco-Roman world by some or all of the social bonds she enumerates, and that they held in common a similar vigorous optimism about the divine potential and destination of human beings. Clark plainly is attracted to this group and their ideas. The fact that many of these ideas were anathematized with their champions and lost to the world in favor of the sterner vision that became Latin orthodoxy is, for her, a regrettable fact. Clark is disdainful of standard "theology text" opinions: Clark, op. cit., 247. 110 My approach, as even the inattentive reader will soon note, is admittedly partisan. Although I have brought all the relevant documents of which I am aware to bear upon my interpretation of events, I have been concerned throughout to give a sympathetic reading to the Origenist side of the debate. Evagrius Ponticus, Rufinus, and the Pelagians are thus the "heroes" of my account—not Epiphanius, Jerome, and Augustine. Mine is not the approach of most theology textbooks. It is, rather, an attempt to raise up for consideration a defeated theology that for a few years stirred the Christian world to new intellectual creativity.310 Jovinian enters Clark's portrait as one of the Origenists. Clark is interested not so much in Jovinian as in the "Jovinianist controversy" that he initiated. And, for Clark, the Jovinianist controversy is important because it was, as she sees it, a substantial element of a wider and more consequential phenomenon—the Origenist controversy. Clark investigates Jovinian and the debate over his assertions primarily in terms of his effect upon the language and direction of the anti-Origenist discourse of Epiphanius and Jerome. Epiphanius, as Clark sees it, responds positively to Jovinian's stress on the good of reproduction and wields his arguments against the Origenists, while Jerome is spurred on to a vigorous defence of an earthly and heavenly hierarchy of merit based on ascetic renunciation311. It is this element of the debate-between hierarchy and community with regard to ultimate destiny-that is for Clark the most revealing. She regards Jovinian's position as one that echoes or has been inspired by Origen's 3 1 0 Clark, op. cit., 10. 3 1 1 Clark, op. cit., 98-100. I l l doctrine of the apokatastasis-xhs, eventual restoration of all things, the devil not excepted, to God in Christ312. Jovinian is thus, for Clark, an Origenist or at least a peripheral member of this camp. The theory that Jovinian derived his denial of a heavenly hierarchy based on ascetic merit from Origen's notion of the apokataslasis seems problematic. First of all, Jovinian stresses one reward and one punishment, using the parable of the sheep and the goats to substantiate his claim. Even more problematic is the fact that Siricius was notoriously sympathetic to Rufinus, John of Jerusalem, and the other Origenists against whom Epiphanius and Jerome railed.313 These historians, notably Brown, have given us some valuable tools for seeing past the surface of the Jovinianist debate and the discourse of past scholarship. It is with the (implicit, at least) benefit of these tools that we will re-enter the debate begun by Haller and consider the work of David Hunter. THE CURRENT STATE OF THE QUESTION: HUNTER: David G. Hunter produced, in 1987, the most important of recent studies to have been specifically devoted to Jovinian.314 3 1 2 Clark, op. cit., 99. 3 1 3 This is in fact the basis of much of Jerome's hostility toward Siricius, and so of the reason that Siricius was only recently granted the sainthood which is generally assumed for the early popes. J.N.D. Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of the Popes, p. 36. 3 1 4 Hunter, op. cit. 112 It is not the pagan revival, which had interested Kelly, that is significant to Hunter, but rather the well documented upsurgence in the popularity of Manicheism in Rome and its attendant dualism and extreme ascetic revulsion to the body and the material world. Hunter frames his aims thus: Jovinian is best understood, I suggest, when he is seen not as the opponent of monasticism or asceticism per se, but rather as a kind of ecclesiastical watchdog wary of the influence of extreme dualistic views on the community at Rome. His primary concern is not to attack virginity or abstinence as legitimate Christian practices, but to reject the view that asceticism was a higher and truer form of the Christian life, a view which he believed led inevitably to Manicheism.315 Hunter notes that in the same decade that Jovinian produced his pamphlet, three imperial edicts were issued against Manicheism, and that the Spanish bishop Priscillian had been executed on charges of sorcery and suspicions of Manicheism.316 The atmosphere was therefore charged with what might be called a "McCarthyesque" sensitivity to what was seen as a very serious--and dangerous-charge.317 Jovinian, maintains Hunter, openly accused those who maintained that virginity was superior to marriage of Manicheism. The first to feel the sting of this charge were, in fact, two of the most powerful figures in Western Christendom-Ambrose of Milan and Pope Siricius.318 3 1 5 Hunter, op. cit., 49-50. 316 , Op. cit., 50. The three edicts are CT 16. 5. 9, of 381; CT 16. 7. 3., of 383; and CT 16. 5. 18, of389. 3 1 7 A feature of the Arian controversy (early-fourth century), the Pelagian (late-fourth century), and the Origenist (roughly 374-451) as well. 3 1 8 Op. cit, 50-51. 113 It is in this light that we are to understand the swift and severe condemnation of Jovinian and his views, Hunter argues. Hunter feels that all five of Jovinian's basic theses can be understood as anti-Manichean in intent, viz. (1) Virgins, widows, and the married are all of equal merit after baptism, given equality of virtue in other respects. (2) The Christian who has been regenerated in baptism in fullness of faith cannot be overthrown by the devil. (3) Receiving food with thanksgiving is not inferior to abstinence from it, and abstinence gains no greater reward in heaven. (4) All who preserve their baptism receive one reward in heaven. (5) Mary conceived virginally, but lost that virginity in the process of giving birth.319 The last point interests Hunter for the broad diversity of rebuttal that it inspired among Jovinian's opponents. Jerome, he notes, makes no mention of it320, perhaps because (as Hunter and Kelly both argue) Jerome himself often insisted that Mary suffered all the usual pains of giving birth. Augustine grants that this point is "most acute," while Ambrose, as Hunter sees it, deliberately distorts Jovinian's proposition in order to fling back an entirely impossible counter-charge of Manicheism at Jovinian: If Jesus was not born of a virgin, he could not have been bom of flesh at all.321 As Hunter points out, however, the prevailing view was that Jesus passed through the birth-passage in the same way he would pass, after the resurrection, through a door to meet his 3 1 9 Op. cit., 51. 3 2 0 Except, possibly, for an oblique attack on it in Letter 18; see note 7. 3 2 1 Op. cit., 51-53. 114 disciples. Hunter cites Augustine's Confessions, in a passage describing his beliefs while a Manichee, for evidence of the Manichean view of Jesus' birth: "such a nature as [Christ's] could never have been born of the Virgin Mary without becoming intermingled in the flesh." ...Jovinian, on the other hand, insists on the physical reality of Christ's birth and all that it implies.322 Hunter then deals with the remaining propositions, citing Augustine profusely to make clear the extent of contemporary Manichean activity. Hunter's argument is that the Manichees were winning support and converts through their demonstrative and extreme asceticism, and that certain Christians had accepted these criteria and had fallen into competition with the Manichees and others to prove the validity of the faith by heroic renunciation.323 By accepting these "game rules," Hunter believes that Christian enthusiasts of extreme asceticism had, in Jovinian's view, embraced the false dualism that had inspired the practices in the first place.324 Hunter demonstrates that both Manicheans and Priscillianists held views directly counter to the first, third and fourth propositions of Jovinian.325 In other words, they strongly emphasised the superiority of virginity to the married state or widowhood, they agreed that fasting accrued great 3 2 2 Op. cit., 52. 3 2 3 Op. cit., 63-64. 3 2 4 Op. cit., 63. 3 2 5 Ibid. 115 merit which would earn the ascetic a correspondingly greater reward in the afterlife, and they believed that there was a very great variety of reward and punishment in store for human souls after death, tied directly to renunciation or indulgence in earthly pleasures.326 The Manicheans, Hunter shows, rejected the Old Testament and its "married saints," and he feels this forms the background for Jovinian's defense of marriage.327 Jovinian did state, Hunter notes, that Christian exaltation of virginity implied a denigration of the Old Testament.328 The third and fourth theses are closely connected and Hunter treats them together. Christian ascetics, like Jerome, often argued that fasting was a meritorious activity which deserved and would earn the ascetic a greater reward than that waiting for other Christians. Hunter feels that this position would have been, to Jovinian, disturbingly suggestive of the Manichean dichotomy between the "Elect" and the "Hearers," the former gaining paradise after death for their sexual continence and severely restricted eating habits, and the latter having to return to the world in another form.329 326 Op. cit., 53-59. 3 2 7 Op. cit., 55. 3 2 8 Ibid. 3 2 9 Op. cit., 55-56. 116 Hunter finally examines Jovinian's second proposal, the only one not to be directly concerned with ascetic practice: that those baptised in full faith cannot be overthrown by the devil. Hunter takes this proposal to be a broad attack on what Jovinian perceived to be Manichean pessimism, and a radical affirmation of the power of Christian baptism, which the Manicheans derided as being powerless.330 Hunter, in bringing his argument to a conclusion, makes clear his hope to "rehabilitate" Jovinian and vindicate him: I have argued that the monk Jovinian, generally considered to be an anti-ascetic heretic, may have had more orthodox aims. All of the positions which Jovinian articulated can be interpreted as rejections of extreme ascetic and dualistic ideas such as those espoused by the Manichees and Priscillianists...Jovinian's popularity and following also show that many Christians must have recognized his anti-Manichean intentions and acted accordingly.331 Jovinian's condemnation stemmed, in Hunter's view, from several factors. The first was the growing call for celibate clergy332~Pope Siricius is, significantly, the first bishop of Rome to legislate for clerical celibacy—and the related strategy of Christians of countering claims of rival groups like the Manichees by matching or exceeding them in feats of asceticism. Thus, in the eyes 3 3 0 Op. cit, 60-61. 3 3 1 Op. cit., 63. 3 3 2 Op. cit, 62. Hunter notes that, though Jovinian does not seem to have opposed celibacy per se (his enemies admitted that he himself had remained celibate), "his arguments would certainly have undermined the papal claims for requiring it." 117 of an Ambrose or a Siricius, Jovinian's ideas and their application threatened, ironically, to undermine the claims of the Church in the context of Christian/Manichean debate.333 Another must have been what Hunter calls Jovinian's "lack of discretion in calling Siricius and Ambrose Manichees," though the evidence that he made this accusation nakedly is somewhat tenuous. The assumption is based upon a sentence in Adversus Iovinianum 1.5, in which Jovinian calls his opponents "followers of the Manichees," and certain of Augustine's later works, in which the bishop defends himself against Julian of Eclanum's accusations of Manichaeism by asserting that this tactic had been attempted by Jovinian with Ambrose.334 Although Hunter arrives at different conclusions than did Valli, having come to them through a more even-handed approach to Jovinian and the environment in which he lived, he nevertheless shares with Valli at least one key assumption as a theologian: the importance of the orthodox/heterodox dichotomy as a rubric for evaluating historical religious thinkers. And this assumption helps to shape the purpose of his study: "to show that... Jovinian...may have had more orthodox aims"335. Hunter's closing statement, after a fresh reconsideration of the status of a notorious heretic, is a "reassuring" nod to the compromise that would come to be the foundation of orthodox teaching on sex and marriage in the West: Op. cit., 64. Hunter, "Resistance," p.50. Op. cit., 63. 118 It took a greater intellect, in the person of Augustine of Hippo, to express intelligibly both the bonwn of marriage and the sanctitas of virginity.336 One of the suprising effects of this nod is that Hunter should proceed from a clear demonstration that the late-fourth-century Church had begun to compete in an essentially Manichaean contest to a conclusion in which he tentatively identifies Jovinian's "failure" as a failure to articulate the superiority of virginity over marriage—a failure because In the late fourth century, asceticism, and especially virginity, possessed the status of evidence of value for a religious tradition. [Italics mine]337 Is it not actually probable that Jovinian recognized precisely the above fact? To judge from the scriptural texts that Jovinian adduced for his position, a primitive Christian hostility to ostentatious sanctity and to the arrogation of spiritual pride and authority which develop therefrom ("spiritual materialism")~a hostility strongly in evidence in the canonical gospels and true Pauline epistles, and, as we have seen, in the culture of early Egyptian monasticism itself—must have been fundamental to his motivations. An intuition of this fact perhaps also explains the warm reception Jovinian has generally had with Protestant commentators. Ironically (and eirenically and 3 3 6 Op. cit., 64. To be fair, this is probably an altogether necessary procedure for Hunter, a Catholic theologian, while he attempts what is, after all, a rather daring re-appraisal of a pivotal moment in the history of doctrine. As a Catholic theologian, in the employ of the Church at a Catholic school (the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul), Hunter is required to be a conduit for the magisterium of the Church. Given these strictures and what has been for the last decade and more a rather conservative theological environment, Hunter is to be applauded for his courage and sense of mission. 3 3 7 Hunter, "Resistance," p. 64. 119 ecumenically!) Hunter is recommending that Jovinian be reconsidered as an orthodox figure for, among other things, his Scripturally sound views—a very (historically) Protestant approach. There is another, more subtle way in which Hunter attempts to rehabilitate Jovinian. This is in Hunter's portrayal of Jovinian as "an anti-Manichaean polemicist.338" It is with this strategy for reclaiming Jovinian for the orthodox tradition and the distortion which I suggest it introduces that I will begin the conclusion to this study. CONCLUSION: JOVINIAN THE MONK, JOVINIAN THE HERETIC: Hunter explains his aim this way: ...Jovinian has been the subject of quite conflicting theological evaluations. By calling attention to the anti-Manichaean intention of Jovinian's positions, I hope to provide a way out of this impasse.339 We can indeed find a way out of the impasse this way, but our guide in this escape, I would suggest, would be a red herring. For Jovinian, in none of his own writings preserved by Jerome, and in no source text extant, appears in the least concerned with actual Manichees. His targets are Roman Christians who have adopted the value system of the new ascetic enthusiasm; if Jovinian's arguments can be used to counter Manichaean positions—and Hunter has done a masterful job in demonstrating that they can340-it only means that Jerome, Siricius, et al., share some of their 3 3 8 Hunter, "Resistance," p.46. 3 3 9 Hunter, "Resistance," 46. 3 4 0 "Resistance," pp.52-61. 120 values with the Manichees. If Jovinian's targets were Manichaeans, we would certainly expect to see some direct evidence in the Adversus Iovinianum of this, or at least a mention of such activity by Augustine. We don't. All we see is Jovinian using the word "Manichaean" as a charge against his Christian opponents, using the word, in all likelihood, because there was no word more heavily laden with negative signification that could be used to discredit a proponent of extreme asceticism--a point which Hunter also demonstrates convincingly.341 Hunter tries to redirect Jovinian's critique, I would suggest, in order to "defuse" him. It is doubtful that a Catholic theologian could manage the feat of re-admitting Jovinian, or any other figure, to orthodoxy, if his insistent and cutting critique of Ambrose, Jerome, and Siricius were frankly acknowledged, especially since Augustine had reaffirmed Jovinian's status as "heretic." By suggesting that Jovinian was fundamentally misunderstood, however, Hunter "defuses" Jovinian in such a way that he becomes more palatable to those concerned to maintain an orthodoxy which is strongly rooted in the pronouncements of the fathers. I would suggest, on the other hand, that outside of the limited sphere of certain types of doctrinal discourse, Jovinian is only properly understood as a heretic. Aware of dominant, (newly) normative positions on the issues he raised, he nevertheless had confidence in his own understanding of matters, and made a haeresis, a choice to energetically dissent. "Resistance," p.63. 121 He moreover remained defiant in the face of the hierarchy in his Italy that determined the bounds of orthodoxy for that society. And at the end, an "orthodox" empire, at the urging of orthodox bishops, had Jovinian scourged and (if he survived) exiled as a heretic. Although questions of larger import for understanding late antique and later Latin Christianity are raised by this line of argument, such questions lie well beyond the boundaries of this study; I will suggest below one way in which the problem might, in the future, be freshly approached. My primary aim in urging that Jovinian be seen as a heretic is simply to de-stigmatize the term, at least for the purposes of this study. I would suggest that it is only reasonable, when dealing with an authoritarian state whose culture included an insistence on religious uniformity in various matters under the name of orthodoxy, to refer to a person that deliberately opposed an aspect of that orthodoxy as a heretic, and to the beliefs and teachings of such a person as heresy. It is my contention that only by doing so can we do justice to the experience of the figures in question, and to the power dynamic that existed between such figures and their opponents, which in turn would have determined the nature and shape of the evidence in consequential ways. From the evidence of Jerome's Adversus Iovinianum, I have argued that Jovinian's heresy can be summarized as follows: The Church is the Body of Christ, whose function is pre-eminently to be a vehicle for the Spirit, actively expressing the will and power of God. In such a Church, entered by baptism in faith, such distinctions as are wrought by differing marital status and austerities are of little moment because 122 they are not and cannot be a source of holiness: only God's continuing presence in His people and the continual, active expression of this presence form the locus of the sacred. Participation in this divine activity bestows sanctity (and salvation) without distinction, as refusal to participate in it severs the person from sanctity's Source. The Church is, so to speak, the continuing physical presence of the illimitable God, and its members will therefore be empowered to act beyond the limits of the world's expectations and boundaries. Such acts, expressing the will of God, possess at the very least the status of a soteriological sign, and are the concomitant fruit of real faith. Jovinian raised these views against a group of Christians that he felt to be apostate and perhaps demonically "deceived:" I have also demonstrated that, for Jovinian, the rise of the ascetic enthusiast party was an eschatological sign predicted by Paul in I Timothy 4.1-5. This would have given him, as he viewed it, the divine sanction to be bold in opposing these views at Rome. In providing a translation of Siricius' Letter 7, and analyzing it in company with Ambrose's Letter 42,1 have tried to demonstrate that the episcopal reaction against Jovinian was nervous, swift, and extreme, less concerned to refute his arguments than to demonize his person and effectively remove him from participation and discourse in the community. I have suggested that the nature of the reaction is symptomatic of the giant "identity crisis" which Robert Markus sees as convulsing fourth century Christianity, especially in the West; Jovinian was challenging the very basis on which the episcopate was attempting to construct and rationalize a hierarchy of sanctity, and was touching the "raw nerve" of unfacable tensions between the privileged present and the 123 holy past, and on both counts was thus perceived as a massive threat. I would argue that in Ambrose's, and especially Siricius' fear and aggression, we see the shadow of those unresolvable tensions. I have also tried to demonstrate, by close attention to a selection of Jerome's letters, that the rearing of these tensions in an extremely dramatic way in Rome between 383 and 385, viz., the explosive mixture of the Helvidian dispute, Jerome's excessive campaign of ascetic proselytization, and the shocking death of Blesilla under his care, would have been quite sufficient to bring any previously existing tensions in the minds of serious Christians to a fever pitch with respect to these issues. In this respect, I have attempted to show that such tensions would very probably existed in the mind of a monk witnessing these events, as Jovinian was; I have suggested that basic monastic spiritual and ethical values would have been in conflict with the hierarchical and aristocratic values of the urban ascetic enthusiasts, and that the close relation that is usually assumed for the two phenomena should be reconsidered. In addition to the basic task I had assigned myself of offering a fresh reconstruction of Jovinian and his motives, themes, and arguments, it is clear that, like Hunter, my aim has also been in some measure to "rehabilitate" the monk. I have tried to valorize him, however, not by bestowing upon him a belated orthodoxy-however much the monk might have felt vindicated thereby~but as a 124 heretic, whose convictions in the face of overwhelming and powerful hostility required courage and integrity to maintain. I hope, too, that my brief attention to the legal and political basis and implications of the charge of heresy as it was applied to Jovinian in late fourth-century Rome will suggest the direction of a future study; the often draconian anti-heresy laws of the fourth century and their chilling punishments suggest that post-Nicene Roman Christian discourse evolved in an atmosphere of tension, grave fear, and the widely felt need to be found, at the end of the day, on the right side of the ideological fence. We are invited to re-ask basic questions; for the quest for and consolidation of Christian orthodoxy in the Roman Empire cannot realistically be assessed, such evidence implies, as a fully open quest for truth or even consensus. 125 WORKS CITED PRIMARY SOURCES: Saint Ambrose. Letters, vol. 26, The Fathers of the Church. Translated by Sister Mary Melchior, O.P. New York: 1954. Saint Augustine. De Haeresibus 82. Patrologia Latina 42, pp.45-46. The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version. World Publishing Company: Cleveland, 1962. Codex Theodosiamts. in Coleman-Norton, Roman State and Christian Church: a collection of Legal Documents to A.D. 535. London: S.P.C.K., 1966. Jerome. Letters and Select Works. Translated by W.H. Freemantle. vol.6, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1994. PaWadius. Historica Lausiaca, cited by Coleman-Norton, Roman State and Christian Church: a Collection of Legal Documents to A.D. 535. London: S.P.C.K., 1966. Siricius. Letter 7, Ad diversos episcopos. Patrologia Latina 13, pp. 1168-72 SECONDARY SOURCES Bondi, Roberta. "The Fourth Century Church: the Monastic Contribution," in Faith to Creed: Ecumenical Perspectives on the Affirmation of the Apostolic Faith in the Fourth Century. New York: The Commission on Faith and Order, 1991. Brown, Peter. The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Reminciation in Early Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. Budzin, Allen J.. "Jovinian's Four Theses on the Spiritual Life: an Alternative Patristic Spirituality," Toronto Journal of Theology, Spring, 1988. Clark, Elizabeth. The Origenist Controversy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. 126 Coleman-Norton, P.R. Roman State and Christian Church: a Collection of Legal Documents to A.D. 535. London: S.P.C.K, 1966. Grubbs, Judith Evans. "'Pagan' and 'Christian' Marriage: the State of the Question," Journal of Early Christian Studies 2:3,1994, pp. 361-412. Haller, Wilhelm. Iovinianus: Die Fragmente seiner Schriften, die Quellen zu seiner Geschichte, sein Leben und sein Lehre. Texte und Untersuchungen 17/2, Leipzig: Hinrichs 1897. Hunter, David G. "Resistance to the Virginal Ideal in Late-Fourth-Century Rome: the Case of Jovinian," Theological Studies 48, 1987, pp. 45-64. --"Helvidius, Jovinian, and the Virginity of Mary in Late Fourth Century Rome," Journal of Early Christian Studies 1:1, 1993, pp. 47-71. Kelly, J.N.D.. Jerome: His Life and Controversies London: Duckworth, 1975. —The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Lea, Henry C. History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church. London, 1907 Lietzmann, Hans. A History of the Early Church. Translated by Bertram Lee Woolf. London: Lutterworth, 1963. Markus, Robert. The End of Ancient Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Merton, Thomas. The Wisdom of the Desert. New York: New Directions, 1970. Pagels, Elaine. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. New York: Vintage, 1989. Trungpa, Chogyam. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Berkeley: Shambhala, 1973. Vallee, Gerard. A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1981. Valli, Francesco. Gioviniano: Esame delle Fonti e dei Frammenti. Urbino: Universita di Urbino, 1953. 127 


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