Orosius

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Paulus Orosius (b. circa 375, d. not before 418),[1] less often Paul Orosius in English, was a Christian historian, theologian and student of Augustine of Hippo from Gallaecia. He is best known for his Historiarum Adversum Paganos Libri VII ("Seven Books of History Against the Pagans"), which he wrote in response to the belief that the decline of the Roman Empire was the result of its adoption of Christianity.

Contents

Biography

After entering the priesthood, he took an interest in the Priscillianist controversy then going on in his native country. He went to consult with Augustine at Hippo (now Annaba in Algeria) in 413 or 414, possibly in connection with this controversy. After staying for some time in North Africa as Augustine's student, he was reportedly sent by him in 415 to Palestine with a letter of introduction to Jerome, then living in Bethlehem.

The ostensible purpose of his mission (apart from the typical intent of pilgrimage and perhaps relic-hunting) was that he might gain further instruction from Jerome on the points raised by the Priscillianists and Origenists. In reality, it would seem that his business was to assist Jerome and others against Pelagius, who, after the synod of Carthage in 411, had been living in Palestine, and finding some acceptance there.

After his arrival. John II, bishop of Jerusalem, was induced to summon a synod in June 415 at which Orosius communicated the decisions of Carthage and read several of Augustine's writings against Pelagius. Success, however, was not achieved among Greeks who did not understand Latin, and whose sense of reverence was unshocked by Pelagius's famous question, Et quis est mihi Augustinus? ("Who is Augustine to me?") Orosius succeeded only in obtaining John's consent to send letters and deputies to Pope Innocent I of Rome; and, after having waited long enough to learn the unfavourable decision of the synod of Diospolis (Lydda) in December of the same year, he returned to north Africa, where he is believed to have died. According to Gennadius, he carried with him relics of the protomartyr Stephen from Palestine to Minorca, where they were reported to be useful in attempts to convert members of the Jewish community to Christianity.

His work

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