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Arator on the Acts of the ApostlesA Baptismal Commentary$
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Richard Hillier

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198147862

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198147862.001.0001

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Aquila The Rejuvenation of the Eagle

Aquila The Rejuvenation of the Eagle

(p.180) 8 Aquila The Rejuvenation of the Eagle
Arator on the Acts of the Apostles

Richard Hillier

Oxford University Press

In Historia Apostolica 2. 506–550, Paul arrives in Corinth on a mission of baptism and conversion. Arator takes up the character of Aquila, who with his wife Priscilla had welcomed Paul into his house. He recounts the story that the eagle, when old, restores itself to youth by basking in the sun and then bathing three times in a stream. The account is to be found in the Physiologus, a collection of edifying fabulous anecdotes from natural history, the earliest version of which was written, probably in Egypt, in 2nd century AD. The eagle subjects itself to the heat of the sun and the cleansing of the water. Arator is also aware of the moralization; rebirth comes from the light and warmth of the true sun, the Sun of Righteousness, although again he is more interested in the regenerative power of the consecrated but real water used in baptism than in the metaphorical spring which is the word of God.

Keywords:   Arator, baptism, eagle, Historia Apostolica, Physiologus, rebirth

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