All Coptic Links - Coptic Directory - Orthodox Church Directory The Agbeya - The Coptic Book of Prayers (English Agbiya + Arabic Agpeya) English Bible + Holy Bible in other languages - Arabic, French, Ethiopian Amharic Holy Bible, ArabicBible, Enjeel Saint Takla dot org - Main page - English Photo and Image Gallery: Jesus - Mary - Saints - St. Takla - Church - Priests - Bible - Activities - pictures and Icons.. Download and listen to Hymns - Carols - Midnight Praise (Tasbeha) - Midis - Videos - Liturgies - Masses - Sermons - Online Streaming St-Takla.org   Coptic Church Website Logo of Saint Takla Haymanot the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Website - Alexandria - Egypt - موقع الأنبا تكلا هيمانوت القبطي الأرثوذكسي FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Coptic and Christan Q&A - Faith, Creed, Site, Youth, Family, Holy Bible Contact Us - Address - Map - Online Support Send a free Christian and Coptic Greeting Cards to your friends موقع الكنيسة القبطية باللغة العربية - الموقع العربي StTaklaorg Site News and Updates Downloads.. Winamp Skins - Coptic fonts - Agbeya - Software - Freeware - Icons - Gallery - Mp3s Feedback - Submit URL - ideas - Suggestions.. Kids' Corner - Coloring - Songs - Games - Stories Free Coptic Books - Christian Arabic Books, Orthodox English Books  


Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:
Lactantius: General Note by the American Editor

Early Church Fathers  Index     

General Note by the American Editor.

Just here I economize a little spare room to note the cynical Gibbon’s ideas about Lactantius and his works. He quotes him freely, and recognises his Ciceronian Latinity, and even the elegance of his rhetoric, and the spirit and eloquence with which he can garnish the “dismal tale” of coming judgments, based on the Apocalypse. But then, again 1946 he speaks of him as an “obscure rhetorician,” and affects a doubt as to his sources of information, notably in doubting the conversation between Galerius and Diocletian which forced the latter to abdicate. This is before he decides to attribute the work on the Deaths of Persecutors to somebody else, or, rather, to quote its author ambiguously as Cæcilius. And here we may insert what he says on this subject, as follows:—  

“It is certain that this…was composed and published while Licinius, sovereign of the East, still preserved the friendship of Constantine and of the Christians. Every reader of taste must perceive that the style is of a very different and inferior character to that of Lactantius; and such, indeed, is the judgment of Le Clerc 1947 and Lardner. 1948 Three arguments (from the title of the book and from the names of Donatus and Cæcilius) are produced by the advocates of Lactantius. 1949 Each of these proofs is, singly, weak and defective; but their concurrence has great weight. I have often fluctuated, and shall tamely 1950 follow the Colbert ms. in calling the author, whoever he was, Cæcilius.”  

After this the critic adheres to this ambiguity. I have no wish to argue otherwise. Quite as important are his notes on the Institutes. He states the probable conjecture of two original editions,—the one under Diocletian, and the other under Licinius. Then he says: 1951 —  

“I am almost convinced that Lactantius dedicated his Institutions to the sovereign of Gaul at a time when Galerius, Maximin, and even Licinius, persecuted the Christians; that is, between the years a.d. 306 and a.d. 311.”  

On the dubious passages 1952 he remarks: 1953 —  

“The first and most important of these is, indeed, wanting in twenty-eight mss., but is found in nineteen. If we weigh the comparative value of those mss., one, … in the King of France’s library, 1954 may be alleged in its favour. But the passage is omitted in the correct ms. of Bologna, which the Père de Montfaucon 1955 ascribes to the sixth or seventh century. The taste of most of the editors 1956 has felt the genuine style of Lactantius.”  

Do not many indications point to the natural suggestion of a third original edition, issued after the conversion of Constantine? Or the questionable passages may be the interpolations of Lactantius himself.  


Footnotes

300:1946

Cap. xiv. (vol. i.) p. 452.  

300:1947

Bibliothèque Ancienne et Mod., tom. iii. p. 438.  

300:1948

Credib., part ii. vol. vii. p. 94.  

300:1949

The Père Lestocq, tom. ii. pp. 46–60.  

300:1950

This word is italicized by Gibbon.  

300:1951

Vol. ii. cap. 20.  

300:1952

Inst., i. 1 and vii. 27.  

300:1953

Vol. ii. cap. 20.  

300:1954

Now (1880) a thousand years old.  

300:1955

Diarium Italicum, p. 409.  

300:1956

“Except Isæus,” says Gibbon, who refers to the edition of our author by Dufresnoy, tom. i. p. 596.  


Next: Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died

Send this page to a friend

St. Takla Church - Main Index111111111 - Commentary on the New Testament by Matthew Henry تفسير العهد القديم - متى هنرى

Like & share St-Takla.org


© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: http://St-Takla.org / Contact us at

http://st-takla.org/books/en/ecf/007/0070308.html