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Victorinus of Pettau

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Estimated Range of Dating: 270-310 A.D.

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Information on Victorinus of Pettau

Claudio Moreschini writes, "Victorinus wrote commentaries on nine books of the Bible, which seem to have been chosen with the idea of studying the most famous of the historical (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus) and prophetic (Isaiah, Exekiel, Obadiah, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) books, and the Apocalypse. He also authored a commentary on Matthew. His exegesis was completely under the influence of Origen, who at that time was the most famous student of the sacred text; thus his fame had spread from Alexandria to distant Noricum. The method Victorinus followed seems to have been to compose 'scholia' after the manner of Origen. The interpretation is primarily allegorical, with a marked interest in arithmology. Despite his spiritualist exegesis, Victorinus supposedly professed millennialism in its crudest form, and for this he was much criticized." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, p. 397)

K. H. Schwarte writes, "Commentarius in apocalypsin (in apoc.), composed soon after the Valerian persecution, therefore ca. 260. The original version was published 1895/1916; known earlier and transmitted in older mss. is the revision (in language and content) of the original that Jerome undertook ca. 400 (additions from Tyconius and replacement of the chiliastic with a spiritualizing interpretation of the thousand-year reign [Rev 20]). Two later versions of Jerome's recension differ chiefly in the text of Rev that is used." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 596)

J. Quasten writes, "The exegesis of Victorinus is based on Greek authors, on Papias, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and especially on Origen. It seems that he did not give a running commentary on the entire text but contented himself with a paraphrase of selected passages. Thus Cassiodorus is more exact than Jerome, when he avoids the term commentary and states that Victorinus dealt briefly with some difficult places in the Apocalypse (Inst. 1, 9). The so-called Decretum Gelasianum de libris recipiendis et non recipiendis declared the works of Victorinus 'apocryphal,' most probably on account of their chiliastic tendencies." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 413)

K. H. Schwarte writes, "De fabrica mundi (fabr. mund.), a typological interpretation, based on number symbolism, of the week of creation, with a chiliadic interpretation of the days of creation and a chiliastic interpretation of the sabbath that ended creation." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 596) J. Quasten writes, "The chiliastic tendency that we notice in the Commentary on the Apocalypse appears clearly in the fragment De fabrica mundi, preserved in a single manuscript, Codex Lambethanus 414 saec. IX, from which it was published by W. Cave in 1688. It must be one of the 'many other' works to which Jerome refers without giving their titles. Style and thought are those of Victorinus." (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 412)

Claudio Moreschini writes, "Victorinus is sometimes regarded as the author of a work that has reached us in its entirety, although it has little historical value: Against All the Heresies (Contra omnes haereses). This is catalogue, rather than a refutation, of heresies down to that of Praxeas. The work has been transmitted among the works of Tertullian. According to others, however, this list is much older and dates from the time of Pope Zephyrinus (end of 2nd, beginning of 3d c.; see above, ch. 17, sec. 5)." (Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature, vol. 1, p. 397)

K. H. Schwarte mentions, "De decem virginibus (de decem virg.), an explanation of the parable of the ten virgins (Mt 25:1-3); of questionable authenticity." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 596) K. H. Schwarte adds, "Victorinus's exegesis was based on Greek models, Hippolytus and especially Origen. It would be a mistake to regard chiliasm, which Victorinus took over from Papias and Irenaeus, as the focal point of his theology. More important is his continuing influence as founder of the Latin reception of Origen." (Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 597)

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