« Arno of Salzburg Arnobius Arnobius the Younger »


ARNOBIUS, ar-nō´bi-us: A teacher of rhetoric at Sicca in proconsular Africa under Diocletian. At first he was a fierce opponent of Christianity, but he was converted and wrote seven books adversus nationes, in which he seeks to refute the charge of his contemporaries that Christianity was the cause of all misery in the world. To this point he devotes books i. and ii. The other books are a polemic against heathenism, showing in iii., iv., and v. the folly and immorality of the polytheistic mythology, while vi. and vii. speak of the heathen temple and sacrificial service. When the work was composed can not be stated exactly, but 301probably it was after 303. Arnobius was neither a clear thinker, nor a skilful writer (cf. Jerome, Epist., lviii. 10). Where he tries to pose as philosopher, he betrays no deep study. His ideas conflict not seldom with Holy Scripture. Greek mythology he knows only from the “Preceptor” of Clement of Alexandria, and Roman mythology from the writings of Cornelius Labeo, whom he sometimes attacks. He had only a superficial knowledge of Christianity. His naive modalism is merely the expression of a very superstitious sentiment, and his notions concerning the origin, nature, and continuance of the soul have anything but a Christian-ecclesiastical color.

G. Krüger.

Bibliography: Arnobius’s work is in MPL, iv. and was ed. by A. Reifferecheid, in CSEL, iv., 1875; Eng. transl. in ANF, vi. 405–543. Bibliography is in ANF, Bibliography, pp. 76–77. Consult DCB, i. 167; K. B. Francke, Die Psychologie und Erkenntnislehre des Arnobius, Leipsic, 1878; W. Kahl, in Philologus, supplementary vol. v., Cornelius Labeo, 717–807, Göttingen, 1889; A. Ebert, Geschichte der Litteratur des Mittelalters im Abendland, i. 64–72, Leipsic, 1889; A. Röhricht, Die Seetenlehre des Arnobius, Hamburg, 1893; idem, De Clemente Alexandrino Arnobii in irridendo gentilium cultu auctore, Hamburg, 1893; C. Stange, De Arnobii oratione, Saargemünd, 1893; Scharnagl, De Arnobii majoris latinitate, Görz, 1894–95; E. F. Schultze, Das Uebel in der Welt nach der Lehre des Arnobius, Jena, 1898; Krüger, History, 304–306; P. Spindler, De Arnobii genere dicendi, Strasburg, 1901.

« Arno of Salzburg Arnobius Arnobius the Younger »
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