Lactantius, a Latin-speaking native of North Africa, was a pupil of Arnobius and taught rhetoric in various cities of the Eastern Roman Empire, ending in Constantinople. He wrote apologetic works explaining Christianity in terms that would be palatable to educated people who still practiced the traditional religions of the Empire, while defending Christian beliefs against the criticisms of Hellene philosophers. His Divinae Institutiones ("Divine Institutions") is an early example of a systematic presentation of Christian thought. He was considered somewhat heretical after his death, but Renaissance humanists took a renewed interest in him, more for his elaborately rhetorical Latin style than for his theology.
A translator of the Divine Institutions starts his introduction as follows:
Lactantius has always held a very high place among the Christian Fathers, not only on account of the subject-matter of his writings, but also on account of the varied erudition, the sweetness of expression, and the grace and elegance of style, by which they are characterized.
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|Title||Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died & The Divine Institutes|
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