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The Julian of the title is Julian of Eclanum, fifth century bishop and a disciple of Pelagius, the British monk who championed the idea of a radically free will, one which had no need of grace in order to do good. Augustine had responded before to Julian, in his Answer to the Two Letters of the Pelagians and his Marriage and Desire, and in this work Augustine responds once again, this time to Julian's To Florus, addressed to a Pelagian Bishop. In that work, Julian had defended the Pelagian theology, and attacked that of Augustine. In the Unfinished Work against Julian, begun in 427 and left unfinished at Augustine's death in 430, Augustine offers a paragraph by paragraph reply. The text alternates quotations from Julian's work with Augustine's commentary thereon. It is one of Augustine's largest works and has not previously been translated into English. Reading it, it is easy to understand why. Augustine is not at his best here. He often comes across as a tired, cranky old man. Even the most dedicated of Augustinians would find it hard to slog though this interminable work. Much of the time Julian and Augustine are two old men sniping at each other, with Julian accusing Augustine of being a Manichee, and Augustine reminding Julian that his teacher, Pelagius, had already been condemned by the church. The number of names by which they ridicule each other, and the invectives they toss around, do not show either one in the best light. But this is not to say that there is nothing worthwhile in the work. Because Augustine quotes Julian's work before replying, it offers the most extensive exposition of the Pelagian doctrine from a Pelagian's point of view. At the same time it offers a detailed exposition of Augustine's view of the effects of the Fall, a view he is forced to refine because of the nature of this work. One of the most interesting controversies is that concerning unbaptized babies. Julian argues that the doctrine of original sin makes marriage the work of the devil and brings into disrepute human nature itself. Augustine continues his traditional defense of marriage, and reiterates his position, seen especially in book fourteen of the City of God, that had Adam and Eve not sinned, the flesh, and hence sexual desire, would have been
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