“Non intelligis stultitiam tuam impudentiae copulatam”. St. Jerome contra Pelagius


Reading the ancient scriptures of Christians of the first centuries, one can easily notice numerous invectives. From among the Fathers of the Church there are three who in particular deserve the title of “fathers of Christian invectives”. One of those who best can be described as such is St. Jerome of Stridonius. It should not come as a surprise, because in ancient times one did not reach only for intellectual arguments when defending their views. A logical elucidation was merely a part of argumentation. The other part, of no less importance, were arguments ad homi­nem, including also invectives. Verbal insults were integral part of argumentation and the lack of them would decrease the value of debate. In this article, based on St. Jerome’s of Stridonius writings, I portrayed his reactions to the phenomenon of pelagianism, as well as to the person of Pelagius himself. This subject has been analysed in many articles, but I presented it from a different angle. Namely, I em­phasized varied interesting invectives that St. Jerome – well-known for his sharp tongue – directed to Pelagius, basing on argumentum ad personam.


St. Jerome; Pelagius; Christian invective; argumentum ad personam

Augustinus, Contra secundam Iuliani responsionem imperfectum opus, PL 45, 1049-1608.
Hieronymus, Dialogus adversus Pelagianos, PL 23, 495-590, , ed. C. Moreschini (Dialogi adversus Pelagianos libri tres), CCL 80, Turnhout 1990, tłum. W. Szołdrski: Św. Hieronim, Dialog przeciw pelagianom, w: Św. Hieronim, Żywoty mnichów, Dialog przeciw pelagianom, PSP 10, Warszawa 1973, 69-193.
Hieronymus, In Jeremiam prophetam, Prologus, PL 24, 705-708.
Hieronymus, Epistulae, ŹMT 54, 55, 61, 63 i 68 [wyd. łacińsko-polskie, tekst łac. i oprac. H. Pietras, tłum. J. Czuj, oprac. M. Ożóg, t. 1-5], Kraków 2010-2013.
Tertullianus, Adversus Hermogenem, PL 2, 195-238.
Jeanjean B., Saint Jérôme et l’hérésie, Paris 1999.
Kelly J.N.D., Hieronim. Życie, Pisma, Spory, tłum. R. Wiśniewski, Warszawa 2003.
Longosz S., Zarys historii inwektywy wczesnochrześcijańskiej, RT 43 (1996) z. 2, 363-390.
Opelt I., Die Polemik in der christlichen lateinischen Literatur von Tertulian bis Augustin, Heidelberg 1980.
Seliga S., Quibus contumeliis Hieronymus adversarios carpserit?, „Eos” 34 (1932-1933) 395-412.
Seliga S., De invectiva Hieronymiana, CT 16 (1935) 145-181.
Süss W., Der heilige Hieronymus und die Formen seiner Polemik, „Giessener Beiträge zur deutschen Philologie” 60 (1938) 212-238.
Toczko R., Heretic as bad rhetorician: how Augustine discredited Pelagius, AugSt 42 (2011) 211-231.

Published : 2018-12-16

Jóźwiak, M. (2018). “Non intelligis stultitiam tuam impudentiae copulatam”. St. Jerome contra Pelagius. Vox Patrum, 68, 399-407. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.3366

Magdalena Jóźwiak 
Uniwersytet Wrocławski  Poland

Most read articles by the same author(s)