Christian apologist

Arnobius of Sicca (died c. 330) was an Early Christian apologist of berber origin, during the reign of Diocletian (284–305).




Adversus Nationes

Seven Books Against the Heathens, trans. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Full text online at the IntraText Digital Library.
  • Will you, laying aside all partiality, consider in the silence of your thoughts that we [humans] are creatures either quite like the rest [of animals], or separated by no great difference? For what is there to show that we do not resemble them? or what excellence is in us, such that we scorn to be ranked as creatures? Their bodies are built up on bones, and bound closely together by sinews; and our bodies are in like manner built up on bones, and bound closely together by sinews.
    • Book II, § 16
  • I should wish, however, to know what this reason is, through which we are more excellent than all the tribes of animals. Is it because we have made for ourselves houses, by which we can avoid the cold of winter and heat of summer? What! do not the other animals show forethought in this respect? … But if nature, which gave them life, had chosen to give to them also hands to help them, they too would, without doubt, raise lofty buildings and strike out new works of art. Yet, even in those things which they make with beaks and claws, we see that there are many appearances of reason and wisdom which we men are unable to copy, however much we ponder them, although we have hands to serve us dexterously in every kind of work.
    • Book II, § 17
  • But if men either knew themselves thoroughly, or had the slightest knowledge of God, they would never claim as their own a divine and immortal nature; nor would they think themselves something great because they have made for themselves gridirons, basins, and bowls, because they have made under-shirts, outer-shirts, cloaks, plaids, robes of state, knives, cuirasses and swords, mattocks, hatchets, ploughs. Never, I say, carried away by pride and arrogance, would they believe themselves to be deities of the first rank, and fellows of the highest in his exaltation, because they had devised the arts of grammar, music, oratory, and geometry. For we do not see what is so wonderful in these arts, that because of their discovery the soul should be believed to be above the sun as well as all the stars, to surpass both in grandeur and essence the whole universe, of which these are parts.
    • Book II, § 19

Quotes about Arnobius

  • We may therefore reckon Arnobius among those, who hold that the souls of beasts are rational. It is from him, without doubt, that Lactantius learned to put no other difference between them and man, but religion.
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