Doctrinal Controversies of the Carolingian Renaissance: Gottschalk of Orbais’ Teachings on Predestination

  • Andrzej P. Stefańczyk The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy
Keywords: predestination; free will; foreknowledge; grace; nature; God; the reprobate; the elect


The article attempts to characterize three key doctrinal controversies in the Carolingian Renaissance, namely: the disputes over the Eucharist, the so-called trina deitas, and predestination. The core of the article is an exposition of the controversy concerning predestination, whose main protagonist is Gottschalk of Orbais. The article discusses four crucial issues related to the problem: (i) the concept of God, (ii) the understanding of grace, nature and free will, (iii) the relation of foreknowledge to predestination, and (iv) the doctrine of redemption, i.e., specifically the relationship between justice and mercy. The article is largely an attempt at an interpretation of the texts of the epoch, mainly those of Gottschalk of Orbais and his adversary, Hincmar of Reims. The conclusions point to difficulties in the issues discussed and outline what attempts at solving this problem have taken place in the coming centuries.


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