Gottschalk of Orbais: A Medieval Predestinarian
By Francis X. Gumerlock
Kerux, Vol. 22:3 (2007)
Introduction: Seven hundred years before Calvin wrote his Institutes, a medieval monk from Saxony named Gottschalk articulated and defended the doctrine of salvation through the sovereign grace of God. This article will introduce the person of Gottschalk and present his views on the bondage of the human will, the gracious enablement of God necessary for a person to perform salutary acts, predestination and election, and Christ’s atonement. Gottschalk’s positions on these subjects will be illustrated from his own writings, most of which were discovered and edited in the twentieth century and recently translated by Victor Genke, an accomplished linguist and historian who resides in Russia, and myself. The article will then discuss the opposition against him, compare and contrast Gottschalk with the early Reformers, and briefly answer questions which participants raised about Gottschalk at the 2007 Kerux conference hosted by Northwest Theological Seminary. It will conclude with an exhortation for prospective researchers and translators to continue working on Gottschalk and the ninth-century predestination controversy.