Studia Antiqua


Minucius Felix, Octavius, Mendacia, Christian Apologist


Most scholars agree that Minucius Felix’s Latin Christian Octavius offers a sympathetic view toward Greco-Roman tradition. This consensus has been reached largely from work on the setting, date, and sources of the text, but no one has substantially investigated its rhetorical features and what they might reveal about Minucius’s view of Greco-Roman tradition. This paper sets out to do this work. After pointing out why previous conclusions are unsatisfactory, I look at rhetorically charged words and phrases from the text and how they behave elsewhere in the corpus of Latin literature. When investigated, these expressions give a clearer picture of Minucius’s rather negative view of Greco-Roman tradition. Such investigation is helpful for understanding Minucius in his historical context, but it also deepens our understanding of how the minority Christian culture attempted to define itself against an unmarked majority and develop a unique identity.



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