The Human Soul And The Soul 's Salvation

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In his letter to the priest, Sixtus, Augustine claims that “…when [humans] suppose that free choice is taken away if they agree that a human being cannot have a good will without the help of God, they do not understand that they do not strengthen human choice…” he establishes one of the most debated concepts of the Reformation period: The human soul cannot save its self. This idea of Soteriology, expressed in his “Letter 194” presents only one side of the argument. On the other side of the spectrum of soteriological ideology was Pelagius’s argument that “to be just in God’s sight, a person must be pure in both body and heart.” Through the use of Augustine’s “Letter 194” as well as Pelagius’s “Letter to Demetrias” I will first summarize each author’s argument on how much of a role human free will can contribute to the immortal soul’s salvation. Then I will explain why both sides of the argument appealed to large groups, and why each view point remained debated all the way into the Reformation period. Before either argument can be dissected however, some issues with the sources must be addressed. Firstly, Pelagius’s text “Letter to Demetrias” has been translated from its original language into English. Pelagius was very learned in both Latin and Greek, meaning that the original text was probably written in one of these languages. The translation into English means that there was an opportunity for error, and for details to get lost. It is also known that Pelagius was an
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