Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/653

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

up by others, saw the light in 1563 at Rome. The same decade witnessed the appearance of Morel's Paris edition (1564), and of that of J. de Pamele (Antwerp, 1568); the former is said to have improved the text, the latter to have corrupted it by the use of interpolated manuscripts. An "epoch-making" edition was that of Nicholas Rigault in 1648.

The Latin Apologists alone remain to be discussed. Lactantius, first printed in 1465, was one of those writers who appealed most strongly to the humanists; and the number of reprints of his works, belonging to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, is correspondingly great. The first critical edition worth mentioning is probably that of Basel (1563) with the commentary of Xystus Betuleius.

Arnobius and Minucius Felix go together. The only two manuscripts of their writings which we possess have handed down the Octavius of the latter as if it were part of the Disputationes of the former; and two editions appeared before the mistake was detected. The first was that of Faustus Sabaeus of Brescia (Rome, 1543), librarian of the Vatican, to whom our oldest manuscript (now at Paris) belonged. The second was by Sigismund Gelenius, three years later, at Basel.

Of the great post-Nicene Fathers, Eastern or Western, we have decided not to speak in this place. It has already been said that they had attracted attention from the first moment of revival; and, though much notable work was done in collecting and publishing their writings during the sixteenth century, a review of that work would swell the present chapter to an undue size.

We prefer to notice the rise of those great collections of the minor Christian writings which are generically known as the Bibliothecae Patrum. It was the chief merit of these that they brought together, and put into the hands of a large circle, a number of brief tracts of the most diverse ages, which ran the risk either of passing unnoticed or dropping out of existence altogether. That the texts of the works thus published were uniformly good we neither expect nor find; but of their extreme value to the men of their time there can be no doubt. Even now they are the best available authorities for a good many writings.

The series is headed by a publication of Sichard of Basel (1528), called Antidotum contra diversas...haereses. It contains treatises by twenty authors, the earliest of whom is Justin Martyr.

The Microprestyticon of 1550, also a Basel book, numbers thirty-two writers. Aristeas, the fabulous Chronicle of "Philo," and the Letters of Ignatius and Polycarp, are among its contents. Five years later appeared the Orthodoxographa, edited by Herold, with seventy-six headings. The collection of Grynaeus, issued with the same title in 1569, includes eighty-five. The printer of these four was Henricus Petri.