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Creatianism And Traducianism

CREATIANISM AND TRADUCIANISM. Traducianism is the doctrine about the origin of the soul which was taught by Tertullian in his De anima - that souls are generated from souls in the same way and at the same time as bodies from bodies: creatianism is the doctrine that God creates a soul for each body that is generated. The Pelagians taunted the upholders of original sin with holding Tertullian's opinion, and called them Traduciani (from tradux: vid. Du Cange s. vv.), a name which was perhaps suggested by a metaphor in De an. 19, where the soul is described "velut surculus quidam ex matrice Adam in propaginem deducta." Hence we have formed "traducianist," "traducianism," and by analogy "creatianist," "creatianism." Augustine denied that traducianism was necessarily connected with the doctrine of original sin, and to the end of his life was unable to decide for or against it. His letter to Jerome (Epist. Clas. iii. 166) is a most valuable statement of his difficulties. Jerome condemned it, and said that creatianism was the opinion of the Church, though he admitted that most of the Western Christians held traducianism. The question has never been authoritatively determined, but creatianism, which had always prevailed in the East, became the general opinion of the medieval theologians, and Peter Lombard's creando infundit animas Deus et infundendo creat was an accepted formula. Luther, like Augustine, was undecided, but Lutherans have as a rule been traducianists. Calvin favoured creatianism.

Peter Lombard's phrase perhaps shows that even in his time it was felt that some union of the two opinions was needed, and Augustine's toleration pointed in the same direction, for the traducianism he thought possible was one in which God operatur institutas administrando non novas instituendo naturas (Ep. 166. 5. 11). Modern psychologists teach that while "personality" can be discerned in its "becoming," nothing is known of its origin. Lotze, however, who may be taken as representing the believers in the immanence of the divine Being, puts forth - but as a "dim conjecture" - something very like creatianism (Microcosmus, bk. iii. chap. v. ad fin.). It is still, as in the days of Augustine, a question whether a more exact division of man into body, soul and spirit may help to throw light on this subject.

See indices to Augustine, vol. xi., and Jerome, vol. xi. in Migne's Patrologia, s.v. "Anima"; Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Psychology, ii. § 7; G. P. Fisher, History of Chr. Doct. pp. 187 ff.; A. Harnack, History of Dogma (passim; see Index); Liddon, Elements of Religion, Lect. iii.; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, iv. §§ 3, 4, 9, 10.

(A. N.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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