Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1.: THE RESCRIPT OF ANTONINUS CONCERNING THE CHRISTIANS — ( P. 30 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3
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1.: THE RESCRIPT OF ANTONINUS CONCERNING THE CHRISTIANS — ( P. 30 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 3.
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THE RESCRIPT OF ANTONINUS CONCERNING THE CHRISTIANS — (P. 30)
The authenticity of this edict has not yet been finally determined. It has come down to us in three forms: (1) in Eusebius, H.E. iv. 13, (2) in Rufinus, H.E. iv. 13, which is merely a free rendering of the Greek text in Eusebius, and does not rest on a Latin original, (3) in a fourteenth century MS. of Justin. Harnack, who has thoroughly discussed the whole question (in his Texte u. Untersuch. xiii. 4), has shown satisfactorily that the version in Justin is not independent, but is taken from Eusebius with certain “tendenziös” changes. The most striking difference between the Justin version and the Eusebian (Rufinus) is in the title; in the former the edict is attributed to Titus, in the latter to Marcus. But the context in Eusebius shows that he regarded the edict as issuing from Titus; and so it would seem, as Harnack suggests, that he found the incorrect title in his source and did not venture to omit or alter it, while he assumed it to be wrong. But in any case, the title is a clumsy forgery, for Marcus is described as Αρμένιος (he did not possess the true title Ἀρμενιακός so early as 161), and the name of Lucius Verus his colleague does not appear. In regard to the authenticity of the rescript as Eusebius gives it, Harnack points out that he had a Greek, not a Latin (as in other cases, iv. 9; vii. 13; viii. 17), copy before him, and that this cannot have been the original. The comparison between the behaviour of Christians and pagans to the advantage of the former is clearly a Christian interpolation. Harnack attempts to restore the original Greek form of the rescript, in whose authenticity he believes (though he owns that certainty cannot be attained). The rescript was an answer to a petition of the κοινόν of Asia, and Harnack thinks that the copy used by Eusebius was preserved (and interpolated) in Christian circles.
The difference between the rescripts of Hadrian and Antoninus was that the former protected the Christians against calumnious accusation; the latter against the accusation of atheism in general.