The Minor Works (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 54)

The Minor Works (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 54)

LACTANTIUS
Translated by SISTER MARY FRANCIS McDONALD
Copyright Date: 1965
Pages: 251
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt284xj4
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  • Book Info
    The Minor Works (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 54)
    Book Description:

    The writings of this author are, together with those of Eusebius, the principal sources for the period of the great persecution of Diocletian and for the first years of the peace of the Church after the Edict of Milan.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1154-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. THE WORKMANSHIP OF GOD
    (pp. 3-56)

    The de opificio dei (The Workmanship of God) is the first work of Lactantius to have been preserved for us. It is perhaps his first Christian work, and, as he states himself in the first chapter, his purpose was to provide some philosophical subject matter for the learned, ‘the philosophers’ of the religion to which he had been recently converted. Written about 304 or 305, in the period immediately after he had had to resign his chair of rhetoric at Bithynia because of the persecution of 303, the work is not at all allusive to the times during which he...

  5. THE WRATH OF GOD
    (pp. 59-116)

    The de ira dei (The Wrath of God) is a special work on an important theme. The treatise, promised by Lactantius in his major work, Institutiones divinae 2.17 (vol. 49, p. 160), was written in the year 313-314 as a refutation of false notions held about anger in God, chiefly those which were being popularized by the Epicureans.

    The Epicureans imagined God as utterly inert, completely aloof from this world, devoid of the passions of anger or kindness as inconsistent with His nature. The Stoics believed that God could be kind but not angry. A conception of some Hebrews, on...

  6. ON THE DEATHS OF THE PERSECUTORS
    (pp. 119-204)

    The de mortibus persecutorum of Lactantius is pamphlet literature. It is a treatise which could well be listed as outstanding in the field of popular apologetics of the period. The other works of Lactantius, those which he intended as doctrinal and which he wrote for a numerous enlightened public, are Ciceronian in their conception, tone, and language. Here, we do not find evidence of the author’s customary attitudes; nor is there indication of the quieting effect of study and the retirement effected by persecution. Rather, in its burning accents, we find a passionate outcry, the chant of Christian victory, the...

  7. THE PHOENIX
    (pp. 207-220)

    The beautiful poem, The Phoenix, which has been ascribed to Lactantius is the composition of a cultured man of letters for cultured readers. The legend of the phoenix, a brilliantly colored bird of the East, unique, with a life-span of a thousand years (other tremendous numbers are given, too), which reappears at long intervals, seemingly after having arisen from its own ashes, strongly attracted ancient writers.¹ The myth appears in old Sanskrit poetry, in Egyptian religious literature, and in many Greek and Roman writers from the time of Herodotus.²

    That an early Christian writer like Lactantius should have made such...

  8. APPENDIX Works Attributed to Lactantius
    (pp. 223-228)
  9. INDICES
    (pp. 231-241)