Orosius, Paul

, a learned Spanish ecclesiastic, flourished in the fifth century, and was born at Tarragona in Catalonia. He was a disciple of St. Augustin; and, in the year 414, was sent to Africa by Eutropius and Paul, two Spanish bishops, to solicit Augustin’s assistance against heretics who infested their churches. He continued a year with this doctor, and in that time made a great proficiency in the knowledge of the Scriptures. In the year 415, Augustin dispatched him to Jerusalem, to consult St. Jeroni upon the origin of the soul; and Orosius on his return brought into Africa the relics of the martyr St. Stephen; whose body, as well as those of Nicomedes, of Gamaliel, and his son Abiba, had been found during Orosius’s residence in Palestine. At length, by the advice of Augustin, our author undertook the history we have of his in seven books, under the title, as is said, of “Miseria humana;” containing an account of the wars, plagues, earthquakes, floods, conflagrations, thunder and lightning, murder, and other crimes, which had happened from the beginning of the world to the year of Christ 416. The purpose of it | was to shew, against some heathen objectors, that these calamities had not been more frequent, after the commencement of Christianity, than before; and farther, that it was owing to the Christian religion, that the Roman Cpmrnonwealth, which did not deserve to continue, was nevertheless then still subsisting. It has gone through several editions: as, Paris, 1506, 1524, and 1526, folio; Cologne, 1536, 1542, 1561, and 1572, 8vo, with the “Apologia de Arbitrii libertate;” at Mentz, in 1615, and lastly by Havercamp at Ley den, 1738, 4to, and 1767, the same edition with a different date. We have an Anglo-Saxon version by king Alfred, which was published with an English translation by the hon. Daines Barrington, in 1773, 3vo.

Orpsius also wrote “A Defence of Free Will,” against Pelagius, in which he inserted part of St. Augustin’s book “Pe natura & gratia” he also wrote a tract in the form of a letter, addressed to Augustin, against the Priscillianists and Origenists The time of his death is not known. Casauhon gives him the character of a very good man, and very zealous for the house of God; but censures him as too easy of belief, and credulous, having advanced many particulars in his history without foundation. 1


Gen. Dict.—Moreri.—Barrington’s Translation.—Ireland’s “Paganism and Christianity compared,1808, 8vo.