The Letter Kills but the Spirit Gives Life: Romans 7 in the Early Works of Augustine and in Rufinus’s Translation of Origen’s Commentary

Origen’s role in the Pelagian controversy that followed the Pauline renaissance of the late fourth century is given a sharp evaluation in terms of Augustine.

 The late fourth century witnessed a kind of Pauline renaissance in which Augustine and Rufinus participated. Around 400, the commentaries on Paul of six notable men became available: Origen’s (through Rufinus), Jerome’s, Pelagius’s, the Ambrosiaster’s, Marius Victorinus’s, and Augustine’s. Origen enjoyed some of his greatest success after his death: he directly influenced both Jerome’s and Pelagius’s work on Paul. Thus Origen’s presence is felt in the writings of half of the men who found this new interest in Paul at the turn of the fifth century. Caroline Hammond Bammel convincingly argues that even Augustine had read Orien’s Commentary on Romans, but not before 407 when Melania the Elder, a friend of Rufinus, visited Augustine at Hippo.