The Seven Books of History against the Pagans

The Seven Books of History against the Pagans

The Seven Books of History against the Pagans

The Seven Books of History against the Pagans

Excerpt

Paulus Orosius was probably born at Bracara, now Braga, in Portugal, between 380 and 390. Although a prominent person in his time, he received scant attention in writing from his contemporaries. In fact, from the scanty material available, only a very sketchy outline of his life can be assembled. His surname, Paulus, we are told by the literary-historian Martin Schanz, was first mentioned by Jordanes (middle of sixth century) in his Getica. Some would put his place of birth in Tarraco in Spain, but evidence leans more heavily toward Bracara.

We are able to say very little with certitude about Orosius' early life in Hispania. He became a presbyter, that is a parish priest, and took a leading part in the controversies then raging in his region over the teachings of the Priscillianists and Origenists.

From his own writings, it is clear that Orosius was well versed in pagan and Christian culture alike. He had a thorough knowledge of the classical authors of Rome, chiefly, Vergil, Horace, and Cicero, and had undergone a thorough training in the rhetorical schools. Even while attaining all this, he acquired a thorough grounding in Christian principles and became widely known as a man of strong faith.

When Orosius was about thirty years old (413 or 414), he left his native land. The precise reason for leaving is not known. He tells us only that he departed 'sine voluntate, sine necessitate, sine consensu', and that his ship under the guidance of divine providence was driven by a storm to the shores of Africa near Hippo, where St. Augustine was living. Some . . .

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