Christian apologist, flourished between 160 and 300; the exact date is not known. His “Octavius” has numerous points of agreement with the “Apologeticum” of Tertullian, similarities that have been explained by the theory of a common source — an apology written in Latin, and which is supposed to have disappeared without leaving any trace, not even in the name of its author. This hypothesis is now generally abandoned. … The most natural supposition is that one of the two writers, Minucius or Tertullian, is directly dependent on the other. Formerly, Minucius was regarded as posterior to Tertullian. … M. Waltzing, the scholar best acquainted with Minucius Felix and what has been written about him, is inclined to think him anterior to Tertullian. The arguments in favour of one or the other of these theories are not decisive. However, it may be said that in the passages taken from the ancient authors, such as Seneca, Varro, and especially Cicero, Minucius seems to be more exact and closer to the original; consequently he seems to be intermediary between them and Tertullian. …

The birthplace of the author is believed to be Africa. This is not proved by Minucius’s imitation of African authors, any more than it is by the resemblance between Minucius and Tertullian. … The “Octavius” is a dialogue of which Ostia is the scene. Caecilius Natalis upholds the cause of paganism, Octavius Januarius that of Christianity; the author himself is the judge of the debate. …

The persons are real. The dialogue may likewise be so, despite the fact that Minucius has transformed into an almost judicial debate what must have been a mere conversation or series of conversations. … The dialogue therefore consists of two discourses, the attack of Caecilius and the refutation of Octavius.

The Catholic Encyclopedia – Minucius Felix

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