Jovinianus - Encyclopedia


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JOVINIANUS, or JovIANUS, a Roman monk of heterodox views, who flourished during the latter half of the 4th century. All our knowledge of him is derived from a passionately hostile polemic of Jerome (Adv. Jovinianum, Libri II.), written at Bethlehem in 393, and without any personal acquaintance with the man assailed. According to this authority Jovinian in 388 was living at Rome the celibate life of an ascetic monk, possessed a good acquaintance with the Bible, and was the author of several minor works, but, undergoing an heretical change of view, afterwards became a self-indulgent Epicurean and unrefined sensualist. The views which excited this denunciation were mainly these: (I) Jovinian held that in point of merit, so far as their domestic state was concerned, virgins, widows and married persons who had been baptized into Christ were on a precisely equal footing; (2) those who with full faith have been regenerated in baptism cannot be overthrown (or, according to another reading, tempted) of the devil; (3) to abstain from meats is not more praiseworthy than thankfully to enjoy them; (4) all who have preserved their baptismal grace shall receive the same reward in the kingdom of heaven.' Jovinian thus indicates a natural and vigorous reaction against the exaggerated asceticism of the 4th century, a protest shared by Helvidius and Vigilantius. He was condemned by a Roman synod under Bishop Siricius in 390, and afterwards excommunicated by another at Milan under the presidency of Ambrose. The year of his death is unknown, but he is referred to as no longer alive in Jerome's Contra Vigilantium (406).

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