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Roger’s Version

Updike, John | Knopf, 1986


pp. 78 - 79

“’ . . . one is compelled to notice how much pleasanter, more reasonable and agreeable, the heretics in hindsight appear than those enforcers who opposed them on behalf of what became of Roman Catholic orthodoxy. Who wouldn’t prefer, for example, plump Pelagius (‘a corpulent dog,’ fumed Jerome, ‘weighed down with Scottish porridge’) and his amiable emissary Caelestius and his silver-tongued apologist Julian, with their harmless hope that Man could do some good, could do something on his own to activate redeeming grace—who wouldn’t prefer such humans to irascible Jerome and to romantic Augustine, with his hysterical insistence on the evil of concupiscence (his own at last sated) and the damnability of freshly born babies? ‘Once a Manichee, always a Manichee, Julian had shrewdly pointed out . . . ‘”