Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Jeffrey Kloha

Scripture References in this Resource

2 Corinthians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 15:44-2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Corinthians 7:15; 2 Corinthians 7:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:9; Romans 12:13; Romans 13:14; Romans 16:27; Romans 7:9-15; Romans 8:3-8.


Stelzer, Wilbert, P. "The Biblical Text of Pelagius in His Commentary on 2 Corinthians: A New Reconstruction." PhD. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2013. 1767 pp.

What sort of Latin biblical text did Pelagius have when he wrote his commentary on the Pauline Epistles? Did he use an Old Latin text, a Vulgate text, or some mixture of the two? This question cannot be resolved by simply referring to the extant manuscripts since they are not in agreement.

Of the manuscripts that pass down Pelagius's early 5th century commentary, two stand out as more reliable than the rest. The Karlsruhe manuscript (A) and the Balliol manuscript (B)match up closely with the Pelagius quotations found in Augustine and Mercator while the other manuscripts provide a significant amount of additional material.

The problem with these two principal witnesses, however, is that A is of a strong Vulgate character while B tends toward the Old Latin. Alexander Souter adopted B as his manuscript of choice because it contained a higher percentage of Old Latin readings. Souter reasoned that scribes would have systemically eliminated older readings in favor of the standard, more contemporary Vulgate text.

Souter's position was eventually challenged by Hermann Frede, who argued that Pelagius’s text was best preserved in manuscript A instead of B. He arrived at this conclusion after observing that Pelagius's comments pointed to a text that more closely resembled the Vulgate.

Since Pelagius's own comments can be used as a key for determining manuscript reliability and for reconstructing Pelagius's text, there is little need to indiscriminately favor Old Latin variant readings over Vulgate ones as Souter had done. By using the comments as a foundation, this dissertation has sought to reconstruct Pelagius's biblical text of 2 Corinthians.

Along with the discovery that manuscript A was more reliable than manuscript B, came the conclusion that Pelagius's text stood very close to the Vulgate, matching word for word at a rate of 97% over all of 2 Corinthians. This lends credence to the disputed notion that the Vulgate for the Pauline Epistles existed by the early 5th century.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.