Front Page Titles (by Subject) INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO MINUCIUS FELIX. - Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume 4: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Part First and Second
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INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO MINUCIUS FELIX. - A. Cleveland Coxe, Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume 4: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Part First and Second 
Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume 4: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Part First and Second, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Revised and Chronologically arranged with brief prefaces and occasional notes by A. Cleveland Coxe (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885).
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INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO MINUCIUS FELIX.
Like Tertullian, our author appears to have been a jurisconsult, at Rome, at some period of his history. Beautiful glimpses of his life and character and surroundings are gained from his own pages, and nearly all we know about him is to be found therein. So far, he is his own biographer. He probably continued a layman, and may have lived, as some suppose, till the middle of the third century.
In the Edinburgh series, Minucius comes into view after Cyprian, and not till the end of the thirteenth volume of that edition. It will gratify the scholar to find it here where it belongs, and not less to note that it has an index of its own, while in the Edinburgh edition its contents are indexed with those of Cyprian. Consequently, the joint index is rendered nearly worthless, and the injury and confusion resulting to the Contents of Cyprian are not inconsiderable.
Here follows the valuable Prefatory Notice of Dr. Wallis:—
The Octavius, which is here translated, is a supposed argument between the heathen Cæcilius and the Christian Octavius—the writer being requested to arbitrate between the disputants. The date of its composition is still a matter of keen dispute. The settlement of the point hinges upon the answer to the question—Whether, in the numerous passages which are strikingly similar, occurring in the Apologeticus and the Octavius, Tertullian borrowed from Minucius, or Minucius borrowed from Tertullian? If Minucius borrowed from Tertullian, he must have flourished in the commencement of the third century, as the Apologeticus was written about the year 198 ad If, on the other hand, Tertullian borrowed from Minucius, the Octavius was written probably about the year 166, and Minucius flourished in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The later date was the one adopted by earlier critics, and the reasons for it are well given by Mr. Holden in his introduction. The earlier date was suggested by Rösler, maintained by Niebuhr, and elaborately defended by Muralto. An exhaustive exhibition of arguments in favour of the earlier date has been given by Adolf Ebert in his paper, Tertullian’s Verhältniss zu Minucius Felix, Leipzig, 1868.
In considering the claim of the dialogue to such praise as this, it must be borne in mind that the text as we have it is very uncertain, and often certainly corrupt; so that many passages seem to us confused, and some hopelessly obscure. Only one manuscript of the work has come down to us, which is now in the Imperial Library in Paris. It is beautifully written. Some editors have spoken of two other mss.; but it is now known that they were wrong. They supposed that the first edition was taken from a different ms. than the Codex Regius, and they were not aware that a codex in Brussels was merely a transcript of the one in Paris.
The Octavius appears in the ms. as the eighth book of Arnobius, and at first it was published as such. To Franciscus Balduinus (1560) is due the merit of having discovered the real author.