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The Platonist Christianity of Marius Victorinus

Department of Religious Studies, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604-3003, USA
Academic Editor: Warren Smith
Religions 2016, 7(10), 122;
Received: 18 August 2016 / Revised: 20 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 September 2016 / Published: 1 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plato among the Christians)
PDF [588 KB, uploaded 10 October 2016]


Marius Victorinus is the first representative of Platonist Christianity in the Latin church whose works display knowledge of Plotinus and Porphyry. Scholarship prior to the work of Pierre Hadot in the mid-twentieth century tended to treat him as an isolated figure, ignored by later Latin Christians who knew better how to moderate their Platonist borrowings. Scholars since then have been more willing to see Victorinus as earnest Christian who let himself be guided by the community standards of the church as laid out in the biblical canon and creedal definitions. Recent work on Victorinus’ sources has shown him to be more eclectic in his use of philosophical sources than previously thought and for that reason more creative in formulating his Platonist–Christian synthesis. After reviewing important lines of development in scholarship on Victorinus, this article focuses on his Platonist-inspired teaching about the soul as expressed in the three genres of his Christian works: theological treatises, hymns, and scriptural commentaries. The consistent “insider” stance of Victorinus in all of these different genres of theological writings suggests that the extremely Platonist character of his theology, when considered in light of other early Christian thinkers, is a difference of degree and not kind. View Full-Text
Keywords: Neoplatonism; fourth-century church; Arian Controversy; Trinity; commentary on Paulconversion Neoplatonism; fourth-century church; Arian Controversy; Trinity; commentary on Paulconversion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cooper, S.A. The Platonist Christianity of Marius Victorinus. Religions 2016, 7, 122.

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