The “Octavius” of Minucius Felix: a tool for modern day Christians in their defence of the gospel
Moyer, Timothy Doy
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The Octavius of Minucius Felix was written at around A.D. 200 by a little-known Latin apologist. While there are similarities to his contemporary Tertullian, the Octavius stands as an independent work that is easily overlooked in the sea of the Patristics. The Octavius is an apologetics dialogue with three people present. Caecilius is a pagan who bows to a Roman image and then defends what he does. Octavius is a Christian who challenges Caecilius, then patiently listens and answers. Minucius, the author, is a Christians who is listening in and providing the final analysis of the discussion. Caecilius makes several false charges against the Christians that Octavius feels the need to address and correct. In the process of the discussion, the prominent topics that arise are worldview issues: the nature of God, the nature of human beings, the nature of knowledge, the nature of morality, and, as part of these, the natures of Christianity and the Gospel, including the cross and the resurrection. Because of the issues addressed and the methods used, this thesis asserts that the Octavius is a tool for modern day Christians in their defence of the Gospel. While the specifics of what they need to defend changes, the foundational matters found in the Octavius make it an important resource for thinking about persuasion in evangelistic and apologetic applications for a modern world nearly two thousand years removed. The emphasis, then, is on the practical value of the Octavius.
- Theology