The Life and Times of Marius Victorinus
This chapter discusses the ancient testimonia to Victorinus, and reconstructs a probable vita of Victorinus. A professor of rhetoric at Rome who authored important school-treatises, and a translator of Neoplatonic writings (the libri Platonicorum mentioned by Augustine) and Aristotelian works, Victorinus was a significant late Roman academic whose secular works had an influence in his own time and on Boethius, as well as later medieval scholasticism. The events of the Trinitarian Controversy at Rome during the reign of Constantius II are examined to situate Victorinus in this milieu. After converting to Christianity c. 355, Victorinus continued teaching rhetoric until the Emperor Julian’s school-law of 362 interdicted Christians from holding state professorial posts. The anti-Christian initiatives undertaken by Julian, as well as earlier anti-Christian polemics, may have contributed to Victorinus’ agenda as he began to write his commentaries on Paul, probably not earlier than late 363.
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