Arnobius the Younger

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Fifth-century Christian writer; d. after 451. Arnobius was probably an African who lived as a monk in Rome. The list of his writings is equally uncertain, but modern critics, especially Dom G. Morin, have tried to establish them.

Arnobius wrote Commentarii in Psalmos (Patrologia latina 53:486552), which contains brief and pointed, but uncritical comments on the Psalms as well as an attack on the Augustinian theory of predestination. He probably wrote also Expositiunculae in Evangelium, a poorly constructed commentary on the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, and Conflictus Arnobii catholici cum Serapione Aegyptio (Patrologia latina 73:569580), a dialogue attacking the Monophysites (see monophysitism). Morin attributed two other works to him: Liber ad Gregoriam, a spiritual treatise addressed to an unhappily married woman, formerly attributed to john chrysostom; and Praedestinatus (Patrologia latina 73:587672), a tract in three books that surveys the heresies listed in Augustine's De haeresibus, outlines the doctrine on grace and predestination wrongly attributed to Augustine, and refutes these latter doctrines.

In Morin's attribution of these works to Arnobius, one problem remains unexplained: how can the man who attacked Augustinian teachings in both Commentarii and Praedestinatus be also the author of Conflictus, which defends Augustine's writings on Pelagianism almost as if they were the writings of an Apostle. Arnobius is considered a semi-Pelagian who approached orthodoxy in Commentarii with his recognition of the evils that befell mankind as a result of original sin.

Bibliography: g. morin, Anecdota maredsolana, v.3.3 (Maredsous 1903) 129151; Études, textes, découvertes, v.1 (Maredsous 1913) 383439. p. de labriolle, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 4:547549. h. keyser, Die Schriften des sogenannten Arnobius (Gütersloh 1912). m. monachesi, Bolletino del circolo universitario di studi storicoreligiosi, 1 (1921) 96, 2 (1922) 18. a. pincherle, Enciclopedia Italiana di scienze, littere ed arti 4:551.

[r. k. poetzel]