A-Z: General definitions: Jovinian


a fourth century monk who was a contemporary of Jerome. He wrote a treatise against asceticism and virginity in the priesthood and questioned the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. He was excommunicated in A.D. 390. Jerome received a copy of the treatise and replied in his famous Epistola adversus Jovinianum (Letter Against Jovinian) which became an important source for the medieval church in its arguments for clerical celibacy.

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