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E01033: Augustine of Hippo, in his treatise Against Faustus, argues that the superiority of virginity over marriage is proven by the fact that it was preached by *Paul (the Apostle, S00008) and chosen as her way of life by *Thekla (follower of Paul, S00092). Written in Latin in Hippo Regius (North Africa), c. 400.

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posted on 2015-12-30, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Augustine of Hippo, Against Faustus 30.4

Augustine rejects Faustus' opinion that the conviction of the superiority of virginity over marriage comes from demons. He argues that it was the teaching of Paul the Apostle, especially to Thecla in Iconium. In this context he says what follows:

Num igitur et de Christo eadem dicere poteritis aut de apostolo Paulo, quem similiter ubique constat et uerbo semper praetulisse nuptis innuptas et id opere quoque ostendisse erga sanctissimam Theclam?

'But will you say the same of Christ, or of the Apostle Paul, who, we know, everywhere expressed the same preference for unmarried women to the married, and gave an example of it in the case of the most saintly Thecla?'

Text: Zycha 1891, 752. Translation: Stothert 1887.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thekla, follower of Apostle Paul : S00092 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Thecla Paulus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo


Against Faustus belongs to Augustine's anti-Manichean treatises. Augustine wrote it some time after his episcopal ordination (397).


Even if Augustine refers to Thekla as the 'most saintly' (sanctissima) it does not prove that she had a cult in Africa. Still, Augustine seems to assume that her apocryphal story was well known to his readers and was as good for the sake of argument as any biblical passage.


Edition: Zycha, J., Contra Faustum Manichaeum (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 25/1; Vienna: Tempsky, 1891), 251-797. English translation: Stothert, R., Reply to Faustus the Manichaean (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series 4; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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