Peter Van Nuffelen

in Orosius and the Rhetoric of History

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655274
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745232 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies


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The Historiae have a negative press in scholarship. The main reason is that scholars such as H.‐I. Marrou and E. Peterson construed Orosius as the opposite of Augustine: whilst the latter was understood as having located salvation in eschatology, Orosius seemed to identify the Roman empire as the realization of God's promises. As a consequence, scholarship has focused on Orosius' theology of history and has neglected to study the Historiae as a work of history, which, in line with traditional practice, was heavily influenced by the study and practice of rhetoric. The introduction also shows that the audience Orosius aims at is identical to that of Augustine's City of God: elite Romans with sympathy for Christianity who had fled Rome after the sack of 410.

Keywords: Augustine; H.‐I. Marrou; E. Peterson; theology of history; audience; sack of Rome

Chapter.  9580 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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