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Arnobius of Sicca

Michael Bland Simmons

Published in print November 1995 | ISBN: 9780198149132
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191672415 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198149132.001.0001

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Arnobius of Sicca

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Arnobius of Sicca, in North Africa, was a Christian convert writing in the time of the Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century ad. His most famous work, Against the Pagans, was written shortly after his conversion (c.ad 302), and is a brilliant defence of his new religion using arguments taken from the cream of pagan learning. It demonstrates exactly the nature and intensity of the conflict between pagans and Christians at this period. This book studies Arnobius and deals fully with every important aspect of his life and writing, from the complex and controversial question of the date of Against the Pagans, to the biographical data provided by Jerome, to the significance of the conflict between the African supreme deity, Saturn, and the Christian God. This book provides clear evidence to show that Arnobius' work is directly related to the anti-Christian writings of the famous Porphyry of Tyre, demonstrating how Arnobius used one work of Porphyry against another to disclose inconsistencies and contradictions in the great pagan polymath — the very method used by Porphyry in his own treatise, Against the Christians. This book discusses the philosophical background of Arnobius, arguing convincingly that he belonged to the Platonic, not Epicurean, school of thought as has often been alleged. Arnobius has hitherto been one of the most misinterpreted ancient authors. This book sets Arnobius firmly on the map as a writer of considerable interest and importance, who made a significant contribution to the final triumph of Christianity over its Graeco-Roman competitors.

Keywords: Arnobius of Sicca; Against the Pagans; pagans; Christians; Jerome; Saturn; God; Porphyry of Tyre

Book.  406 pages. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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Table of Contents

God and the World in Arnobius of Sicca

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God and Christ in Arnobius of Sicca

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God and the Gods in Arnobius of Sicca

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The Supreme God and Saturn in Arnobius of Sicca

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The Mortality of the Gods in Arnobius of Sicca

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