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Metaphysics and Morals in Marius Victorinus' Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians

A Contribution to the History of Neoplatonism and Christianity

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Stephen Cooper

Marius Victorinus was the first Latin Christian of the fourth century to show the influence of Neoplatonism (Plotinus and Porphyry). As a convert from paganism, Victorinus' version of Christianity offers the student of Late Antiquity a window for understanding the conversion of the upper classes in the Western Roman Empire to Christianity. Because he was a professional rhetorician, an analysis of the exegetical work enables us to see how the moral mindset of the rhetorical schools found itself at home within Christianity. The Neoplatonic influences in the works of Ambrose and Augustine can be appreciated better when understood in relation to the intellectual circles that preceded them, Victorinus being the most well documented figure of this milieu.