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Victorinus, Marius, c. 285–c. 365 CE  

Stephen A. Cooper

Marius Victorinus is one of the few direct links between the Platonist schools of late antiquity and Latin theology. A professor of rhetoric in mid-4th century Rome, Victorinus is perhaps the only Latin author whose writings, composed before and after his conversion to Christianity, survive. His school works of grammar and rhetoric were used for over a millennium, and he anticipated Boethius in integrating logic and dialectic into the rhetorical curriculum. He also translated the Neoplatonic works that deeply impacted Augustine. After conversion, Victorinus composed theological works of various genres: treatises and hymns in defense of the Nicene Creed and commentaries on the Pauline epistles, the first in Latin. The treatises reveal his chief contribution to the history of Christian thought: a philosophical interpretation of the trinity that drew deeply on late antique Platonist language and conceptuality to formulate a pro-Nicene theology. His commentaries on Paul employ the grammarian’s literal treatment of the text to identify the situational context of the epistles and the apostle’s rhetorical strategy. Victorinus was a pioneer of the synthesis of Christianity and Platonism in the Latin church, which reached its heights in late antiquity with Augustine and Boethius and flowered variously in the medieval Latin church.

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Proclus Constantinopolitanus, c. 385–446 CE; bishop, 434–446 CE  

Maximos Constas

An early archbishop of Constantinople and a popular preacher in the rhetorical style of Gregory Nazianzus (d. 390), Proclus was the principal architect of the Byzantine cult of the Virgin Mary. Nothing is known of his family, social class, or early life, although he seems to have studied under Alexandrian teachers of rhetoric recently established in the new capital. Later Byzantine sources make Proclus the student of John Chrysostom (sed. 397–404), who died in exile (d. 407) and whose relics Proclus had with great pomp returned to Constantinople (438). However, contemporary sources place Proclus in the service of Atticus of Constantinople (sed. 406–425), who ordained him to the diaconate and priesthood, and whom Proclus served as secretary and ghostwriter. After the death of Atticus, Proclus was a candidate for the archiepiscopal throne, but lost the election to Sisinnius (sed. 426–427), who subsequently ordained Proclus to the see of Cyzicus. The people of Cyzicus, however, resisting interference in the affairs of their church, rejected Proclus, who remained in the capital where he flourished as a popular preacher. After the death of Sisinnius, Proclus was again put forward as a candidate but was blocked by the emperor, Theodosius II (r.