This paper will examine Pelagius’s writings on the themes of slavery and women, and assess the impact of his literary output on these topics in the late antique and early medieval periods. Starting from analysis of the scale of copying of Pelagius’s works in the Middle Ages, this paper will then set out Pelagius’s ideas and their relation to views articulated by earlier writers of ascetic paraenesis. It will conclude with an assessment of the impact of Pelagius’s writings on these subjects.
Intriguing similarities exist between the Byzantine penitentials and the western Penitentials: both groups sin into numerous categories with different levels of penance, and both list a wide variety of sexual behaviors. My paper examines these correlations between Byzantine and Western approaches to shame, self-awareness, and confession in their treatment of sexual sins. I examine their treatment from punitive, expiatory, deterrent, and therapeutic angles. Ultimately, I view these efforts as part of a determined effort to shape the cultural norms of a society and the sense of self and sacred within the confessants themselves.
Paul’s Letter to Romans elicited significant commentary in the Middle Ages. In the concluding section, Paul mentions an otherwise unknown woman named Phoebe, whom he extols as a deacon or minister. In his commentary on Romans, Peter Abelard reviewed patristic opinions about Phoebe, putting into currency the ancient debate over women’s roles in liturgical and teaching ministry. About two decades after Abelard wrote his commentary, Phoebe was again resurrected, even more surprisingly, in a manuscript that transmitted the Carolingian commentary by Florus of Lyons, where Phoebe is not mentioned in the text but invoked visually in an illustration. This paper examines the emergence of Phoebe – an ancient model of women’s ministry – in an age of newly emerging forms of women’s religious life and expression.