Arnobius, an African rhetorician, born in Sicca Veneria (supposed to be the Tunisian Keff), on the eastern border of Numidia, flourished at the beginning of the 4th century. He was a violent opponent of Christianity, which had been introduced into Nu-midia as early as 250, until, tradition says, he was warned in a dream to embrace the new religion. There is, however, reason to ascribe his conversion to a rational investigation of the gospels. On his conversion he applied to the bishop of Sicca for admission to the church. The bishop desired some-proof of the sincerity of a man who had been so zealous a defender of paganism. Arnobius therefore wrote the famous treatise entitled Adver-sus Gentes, in which he gives proof of his zeal for Christianity by exposing the fallacies of his former faith. The Adversus Gentes inclines to Gnosticism and Dualism, in the conclusion that, since the Supreme Being would not have created so imperfect a work as the human soul, it must have been created by some inferior being in his image.

Arnobius taught that immor-tality was not an attribute of the soul, but could only be acquired by effort to conquer evil and rise to the supremacy of good.