Tuesday, 21 May 2019

COLOT Blandine: "To discard the 'Porphyry hypothesis' applied to Institutes V, 2, 3-11 : the 'interpretatio Romana' of the Christian Lactantius"

It seems that is now possible to bring to an end the puzzle play in which researchers engage repeatedly in their wish to identify the anonymous philosopher opposed by Lactantius at the beginning of Book V of the Divine Institutes- and in selecting Porphyry to fill this role.  It turns out that recent studies produced by specialists both on Lactantius and also on Porphyry converge sufficiently to make it possible to claim that this hypothesis is now definitively refuted.  It will be necessary in this study to rehearse the most recent and in our view essential arguments to this effect, arguments which derive their force from an overall understanding of the character of Lactantius as a rhetorician and philosopher, and as a Christian and a Roman. It will then be possible to describe this character by using fresh textual analyses, in particular of the De Mortibus Persecutorum. Through these we will be able to see the way that the political dimension of Lactantius's apologetic method serves to resolve the question at issue.

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