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THE TEXT NEWLY REVISED FROM THE ORIGINAL MS.
WITH AN ENGLISH COMMENTARY ANALYSIS
INTRODUCTION AND INDICES
Edited for the Syndics of the University Press
REV. HUBERT ASHTON HOLDEN M.A.
FELLOW AND CLASSICAL LECTURER OF TRINITY COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE
MONG the writings of the early Apologists of Christianity, it may be doubted whether (excepting the eight books of Origen against Celsus) there be any which has much stronger claims to our notice, it is certain that none has gained more admirers, than the Dialogue of Minucius Felix, which is known by the name of Octavius.
Considering the universal testimony which has been borne to the peculiar elegance, if not classical purity, of its style, it is only surprising that so valuable a treatise should have hitherto failed to find a place, as a Class-book, in our Schools and Universities, by the side of or as a substitute for some Pagan writer, of inferior claims1.
1 The remarks of CELLARIUS in the Introduction to his Edition of this Dialogue, (A.D. 1726), where he is speaking de usu antiquitatis Ecclesiastica Christianis scholis commendanda, will, I trust, be considered pertinent.
"Quapropter ita sentio, atque sic animum induco, non bene consuli Christianorum scholis, si ecclesiastici veteres scriptores, iique puri ac elegantes, in iis omnes præterean-tur: nec illarum fructus magnos esse experimur, ex quibus omnes sæcu
lares sive ethnici exterminantur; sed
"Non puto multos esse qui con
It is more easy, perhaps, to account for the neglect, of which we speak, from the want of a suitable and convenient edition, than it is for the existence of such a desideratum. Now that the attention of English students is becoming more and more drawn to these primitive records of Christian Theology, and an increasing interest is manifested in them, the fulfilment of such a requirement will probably be more acceptable than it would have been some years ago. I think, we may safely conclude that, regarded as a mere literary composition, the pure Latinity of the Octavius, reminding us perhaps, more than any other Ecclesiastical writing, of the golden days of Latin Prose, will serve to make any attempt at illustrating it welcome to the classical Scholar, while its attractive form will secure for it the attention of the general reader. But the Theological Student will see that it possesses still further and higher claims to his attention for besides these acknowledged merits, it has the advantage of containing an admirably clear and condensed Summary of the arguments for and against Christianity, which were current in
tra nos negatum eant, e re scholarum fore et Christianorum, si amotis impudicis libris, et amorum fabulis illecebrosis, sæculares auctores optimi retineantur, iisque ex ecclesia jungantur qui purioris sermonis
amantes, elegantia non minus rem
the beginning of the third Century: and therefore it serves as an excellent introduction to the study of the writings of the other Apologists both Greek and Latin.
But, taking for granted the superior value of this dialogue, additional testimony to which, if needed, might easily be adduced, I proceed to offer a few remarks on the plan which has been pursued by me in the present edition.
It is unfortunate that there is only one known MS. of Minucius extant. This is now in the Bibliothèque du Roi at Paris, where, by the kind permission and assistance of M. HASE, Keeper of the MSS., I made a careful examination of it; a task rendered necessary by the variance existing between the collations hitherto made. Further observations on this MS. are reserved for the Introduction. I have now only to say that in my text I have adhered as closely as was possible to it, except in the matter of orthography. In the few passages which seemed to bid defiance to all construing, I have substituted such conjectural emendations, as appeared most probable; in others, to
captu adolescentiæ videatur, MrNUCIUM FELICEM, nihil Lactantio nitore stili concedentem, argumento parem, brevitate multum complexa juventuti gratiorem, quæ brevia sectetur, ne longitudine et copia ætati
nondum confirmatæ aliquod tædium suboriatur."
ERNESTI, in his Preface to Lindner's edition, writes in a similar strain.