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The Divine Institutes, Books I–VII (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 49)


Publication Year: 2010

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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General Introduction

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pp. ix-xxvi

Lucius Caelius (Caecilius) Firmianus, or Lactantius, as he is generally called, lived through one of the greatest turning points in the history of Europe. It has been aptly described as the moment when the old world of paganism was in travail, when against its will it gave birth to the Christian Empire.1 ...

The Divine Institutes

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pp. 3-14

The principal work of Lactantius, the Divine Instructions, might be entitled An Introduction to the True Religion. This apology for Christianity, directed to pagan intellectuals or to those recently converted, consists of two parts: the one polemical, which is very short; ...

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Book I: On False Religion

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pp. 15-93

Whenever men of great and excellent character gave themselves completely to a doctrine, they bore whatever labor could be expended in despising all things, even private and public concerns, for the pursuit of searching after truth. It was their belief that to investigate and learn the reason of things human and divine ...

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Book II: The Origin of Error

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pp. 94-163

Although I have shown in Book I that the religions of the gods are false, because those, whose varied and dissimilar cults men have adopted by custom, consent, and foolish conviction throughout the world, were mortal and, having discharged their lot in life, were molded to divine usage at their death; ...

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Book III: On False Philosophy

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pp. 164-244

Since it is thought to be still lying in obscurity, either through the error and inexperience of the common people in subservience to varied and foolish superstitions, or through the philosophers who are distorting it rather than making it clear by the depravity of their abilities ...

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Book IV: True Wisdom and Religion

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pp. 245-325

It seems to me, as I think about it and often reconsider it in my mind, that that former state of the human race is equally strange and unbecoming, because, through the foolishness of one age or generation taking up various religions and believing that there are many gods, ...

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Book V: Concerning Justice

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pp. 326-390

There is no doubt in my mind that if anyone of those foolishly religious persons, as they are exceedingly intolerant of superstition, should come upon this work of ours in which claim is made for that singular Creator of all things and the Ruler of this immense universe, ...

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Book VI: On True Worship

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pp. 391-469

Under the instruction of the Divine Spirit and with the aid of Truth Itself, we have completed the duty of the work which we undertook. Science and the and Our Lord Himself imposed upon me the cause of investigating and revealing the truth. ...

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Book VII: On the Blessed Life

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pp. 470-542

It holds well; the foundations have been laid,1 as the distinguished orator says. We have not only laid the foundations which were firm and suitable for completing the work, but we have brought the entire structure almost up to its conclusion by great and vigorous efforts. ...


General Index

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pp. 545-558

Index of Citations

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pp. 559-561

E-ISBN-13: 9780813211497
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215679

Page Count: 587
Publication Year: 2010