Early Church Fathers
54 The Peripatetics called God the locus rerum, to/poj pa/ntwn, the "locality and the area of all things;" that is, the being in whom all else was contained.
55 [This prayer of Arnobius is surely worthy of admiration.]
56 Diagoras of Melos and Theodorus of Cyrene, called the Atheists. The former flourished about B.C. 430, the latter about B.C. 310. See Cic., Nat. Deor., i. 2. [Note the universal faith, cap. 34, infra]
57 Protagoras of Abdera, b. B.C. 480, d. 411.
58 Democritus of Abdera, b. B.C. 460, and Epicurus, b. B.C. 342, d. 270.
59 Obstinatione, literally "stubbornness;" Walker conjectures opinatione, "imaginings," which Orelli approves.
60 So the ms.; for which Meursius would read, nobis vobisque, communis esset (for cessat)- "is to us and to you, the anger of the gods would be shared in common."
61 So Ursinus, followed by most edd., for the reading of the ms. Fenta Fatua, cf. v. 18. A later writer has corrected the ms. Fanda, which, Rigaltius says, an old gloss renders "mother."
62 So restored by Salmasius for Dioscuri, and understood by him as meaning Dea Syria, i.e. Venus, because it is said that a large egg having been found by the fish in the Euphrates, was pushed up by them to the dry land, when a dove came down, and sat upon it until the goddess came forth. Such was the form of the legend according to Nigidius; but Eratosthenes spoke of both Venus and Cupid as being produced in this manner. The Syrian deities were therefore Venus, Cupid, and perhaps Adonis. It should be remembered, however, that the Syrians paid reverence to pigeons and fish as gods. (Xen., Anab., i. 4, 9), and that these may therefore be meant.
63 So all edd., except those of Hildebrand and Oehler, for the ms. censum-"list."
64 That is, that God is a Spirit. [Note our author's spirit of faith in Christ.]
65 Orelli would refer these words to God; he thinks that with those immediately following they may be understood of God's spiritual nature,-an idea which he therefore supposes Arnobius to assert had never been grasped by the heathen.
66 So Gelenius, followed by Orelli and others, for the corrupt reading of the ms., idem ne quis; but possibly both this and the preceding clause have crept into the text from the margin, as in construction they differ from the rest of the sentence, both that which precedes, and that which follows.
67 The phrase animalibus causis is regarded by commentators as equal to animatis causis, and refers to the doctrine of the Stoics, that in the sun, moon, stars, etc., there was an intelligent nature, or a certain impulse of mind, which directed their movements.
68 Lit. "shall see"-visuri, the reading of the ms.; changed in the first ed. and others to victuri-"shall live."
69 Some have suggested a different construction of these words-memoriam nullam nostri sensus et recordationis habituri, thus-"have no memory of ourselves and senses of recollection;" but that adopted above is simpler, and does not force the words as this seems to do.
70 The ms. and 1st and 2d Roman edd. read, qui constringit- "who restrains."
71 It was a common practice with the Romans to hang the spoils of an enemy on a tree, which was thus consecrated to some deity. Hence such trees were sacred, and remained unhurt even to old age. Some have supposed that the epithet "old" is applied from the fact that the heathen used to offer to their gods objects no longer of use to themselves; thus it was only old trees, past bearing fruit, which were generally selected to hang the spoila upon.
72 [This interesting personal confession deserves especial note.]
73 Vel personae vel capiti.
74 So all the later edd.; but in the ms., 1st and 2d Roman edd., and in those of Gelenius and Canterus, this clause reads, cruciatoris perpetitur saevitatem-"but suffers the cruelty of his persecutor."
75 The words post paenas in the text are regarded as spurious by Orelli, who supposes them to have crept in from the preceding sentence: but they may be defended as sufficiently expressing the agonies which Hercules suffered through the fatal shirt of Nessus.
76 The words deum propitium are indeed found in the ms., but according to Rigaltius are not in the same handwriting as the rest of the work.
77 Cybele whose worship was conjoined with that of Atys.
78 So Orelli, but the ms. Attis.
79 This refers to the practice of placing the images of the gods on pillows at feasts. In the temples there were pulvinaria, or couches, specially for the purpose.
80 The phrase potentiarum interiorum is not easily understood. Orelli is of opinion that it means those powers which in the Bible are called the "powers of heaven," the "army of heaven," i.e., the angels. The Jews and the early Fathers of the Church divided the heaven into circles or zones, each inhabited by its peculiar powers or intelligent natures, differing in dignity and in might. The central place was assigned to God Himself, and to Christ, who sat on His right hand, and who is called by the Fathers of the Church the "Angel of the Church," and the "Angel of the New Covenant." Next in order came "Thrones," "Archangels," "Cherubim and Seraphim," and most remote from God's throne the "Chorus of Angels," the tutelar genii of men. The system of zones and powers seems to have been derived from the Chaldeans, who made a similar division of the heavens. According to this idea, Arnobius speaks of Christ as nearest to the Father, and God of the "inner powers," who enjoyed God's immediate presence. Reference is perhaps made to some recondite doctrine of the Gnostics. It may mean, however, the more subtile powers of nature, as affecting both the souls of men and the physical universe.
81 So Orelli with most edd., following Ursinus, for the ms. suo ge-ne-ri-s sub limine, which might, however, he retained, as if the sense were that these ordinances were coeval with man's origin, and translated, "tribes saw at the beginning of their race."
82 Magus, almost equivalent to sorcerer.
83 Arnobius uses nomina, "names," with special significance, because the Magi in their incantations used barbarous and fearful names of angels and of powers, by whose influence they thought strange and unusual things were brought to pass.
84 All these different effects the magicians of old attempted to produce: to break family ties by bringing plagues into houses, or by poisons; open doors and unbind chains by charms (Orig, contra Cels., ii.); affect horses in the race-of which Hieronymus in his Life of Hilarion gives an example; and use philters and love potions to kindle excessive and unlawful desires.
85 So Orelli and most edd., following a marginal reading of Ursinus, auxiliaribus plenum bonis (for the ms. nobis).
86 In the height of his indignation and contempt, the writer stops short and does not apply to his opponents any new epithet.
87 This is contrasted with the mutterings and strange words used by the magicians.
88 So the ms. according to Oehler, and seemingly Heraldus; but according to Orelli, the ms. reads immoderati (instead of-os) cohibebant fluores, which Meursius received as equivalent to "the excessive flow stayed itself."
89 Penetrabilis, "searching," i.e., finding its way to all parts of the body.
90 So Orelli, LB., Elmenhorst, and Stewechius, adopting a marginal reading of Ursinus, which prefixes im-to the ms. mobilitates- "looseness"-retained by the other edd.
91 Cf. John ii. 25. [He often replies to thoughts not uttered.]
92 No such miracle is recorded of Christ, and Oehler suggests with some probability that Arnobius may have here fallen into confusion as to what is recorded of the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
93 The Latin is, per purae speciem simplicitatis, which is not easily understood, and is less easily expressed.
94 [I have already directed attention to Dominic Diodati's essay, De Christo Graece loquente. ed. London, 1843.]
95 So almost all edd.; but the ms. and 1st and 2d Roman edd. read scire-"to know," etc.
96 See book ii. chap. 36, infra
97 The gods in whose temples the sick lay ordered remedies through the priests.
98 So all edd. except LB., which reads with the ms. superponere- "that (one) place the juices," etc.
99 That is, the physician.
100 So the edd. reading tri-v-erunt, for the ms. tri-bu-erunt- "given up," which is retained in the first ed.
101 Pietatis, "of mercy," in which sense the word is often used in late writers. Thus it was from his clemency that Antoninus, the Roman emperor, received the title of Pius.
102 So most edd., following a marginal reading of Ursinus, which prefixes in-to the ms. firmitate.
103 "They, too,...those labouring under the inflictions of these:" so LB., with the warm approval of Orelli (who, however, with previous edd., retains the ms. reading in his text) and others, reading sub eorum t-ortantes (for ms. p-) et illi se casibus; Heraldus having suggested rotantes. This simple and elegant emendation makes it unnecessary to notice the harsh and forced readings of earlier edd.
104 So understood by Orelli, who reads quo Dius est, adopting the explanation of Dialis given by Festus. The ms., however, according to Crusius, reads, Dialem, quod ejus est, flaminem isto jure donavit; in which case, from the position of the quod, the meaning might be, "which term is his," or possibly, "because he (i.e. the priest) is his," only that in the latter case a pronoun would be expected: the commentators generally refer it to the succeeding jure, with this "right" which is his. Canterus reads, quod majus est, i.e., than the Pontifex Maximus. [Compare vol. iv. p. 74, note 7.]
105 So the ms. reading aequalitas, which is retained by Hild. and Oehler; all other editions drop ae- "that the quality of deed and doer might be one."
106 This passage has furnished occasion for much discussion as to text and interpretation. In the text Orelli's punctuation has been followed, who regards Arnobius as mentioning four Zoroasters-the Assyrian or Chaldean, the Bactrian (cf. c. 5 of this book), the Armenian, and finally the Pamphylian, or Pamphilos, who, according to Clem. Alex. (Strom. [vol. ii. p. 469]), is referred to in Plato's Republic, book x., under the name Er; Meursius and Salmasius, however, regarding the whole as one sentence, consider that only three persons are so referred to, the first being either Libyan or Bactrian, and the others as with Orelli. To seek to determine which view is most plausible even, would be a fruitless task, as will be evident on considering what is said in the index under Zoroaster. [Jowett's Plato, ii. 121.]
107 So Orelli, reading veniat qu-is su-per igneam zonam. LB. reads for the second and third words, quae-so per- "let there come, I pray you, through," etc., from the ms. quae super; while Heraldus would change the last three words into Azonaces, the name of the supposed teacher of Zoroaster. By the "fiery zone" Salmasius would understand Libya; but the legends should be borne in mind which spoke of Zoroaster as having shown himself to a wondering multitude from a hill blazing with fire, that he might teach them new ceremonies of worship, or as being otherwise distinguished in connection with fire. [Plato, Rep., p. 446, Jowett's trans.]
108 So Stewechius, Orelli, and others, for the ms. Zostriani- "grandson of Zostrianus," retained in the 1st ed. and LB.
109 So the edd., reading in rebus eximiis for the ms. exi-gu-is, which would, of course, give an opposite and wholly unsuitable meaning.
110 So generally, Heraldus having restored delitu-it in Christo from the ms., which had omitted -it, for the reading of Gelenius, Canterus, and Ursinus, delicti-"no deceit, no sin was," etc.
111 So emended by Salmasius, followed by most later edd. In the earlier edd. the reading is et merito exutus a corpore (Salm. reading at instead of a, and inserting a period after mer.)-"and when rightly freed from the body," etc.
112 It may be instructive to notice how the simpler narrative of the Gospels is amplified. Matthew (xxvii. 51) says that the earth trembled, and Luke (xxiii. 45) that the sun was darkened; but they go no further. [ See p. 301, note 4, supra]
113 Or, "which if...itself, would never," etc. [Note the confidence of this appeal to general assent.]
114 That is, by the climate and the inclination of the earth's surface.
115 So the 1st ed., Ursinus, Elmenhorst, Orelli, and Hildebrand, reading munerandis, which is found in the ms. in a later handwriting, for the original reading of the ms. munera dis.
116 According to Rigaltius the ms. reads ista promiserunt in immensum-"have put forth (i.e. exaggerated) these things to an immense degree falsely, small matters and trivial affairs have magnified," etc.; while by a later hand has been superscribed over in immensum, in ink of a different colour, extulere-"have extolled."
117 So the ms., 1st ed., and Hildebrand, while all others read atqu-i-"but."
118 So LB., reading quo for the ms. quod.
119 So most edd., reading intercipere for the ms. intercipi-"it is that the progress be obstructed," etc.
120 So Orelli and Hildebrand, reading glabre from a conjecture of Grotius, for the ms. grave.
121 i.e., that the one should be masculine, the other feminine.
122 i.e., does not one of you make the plural of uter masc., another neut.? [Note the opponent's witness to the text of the Gospels.]