The Martyrs of North Africa During the Persecution of Valerian: Text, Translation, and Commentary on the Acts of St. Cyprian, SS. Montanus and Lucius, and SS. Marian and James

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Mertens, M. Sairis O.S.B.
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Classics , Catholicism
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The composition of this thesis was guided by a threefold purpose: Firstly, to translate and edit the three texts, secondly, to establish their authenticity as far as this can be done, and thirdly, to study any possible connections between the three acts. | Regarding the translations, I tried to abide by the rule to be as literal as possible and as free as necessary. In order to preserve the originality of the acts, it was necessary to be rather literal. This fact accounts for some awkward sentence structures and the retention of the Latin paragraphing. On the other hand, a free translation was called for in obscure places, especially in the passions of Montanus and Lucius and Marian and James, and where a literal translation would have latinized the English too much. | In editing these texts, I refrained almost altogether from giving my personal opinion but instead quoted or paraphrased the opinions, comments, and criticisms of scholars in the field. | To establish the authenticity of these acts is a rather difficult task, first of all, because of their age; secondly, because of lack of information to what extent Diocletian was able to destroy the Christian books; thirdly, because of the absence of almost all non-Christian sources for the persecution; and fourthly, because of the purpose of these acts and passions. They were not intended to be historical pieces of biography but rather stories to be read to the faithful for the sake of edification. Thus we have to rely for the proof of their historicity almost entirely on internal evidence. | Internal evidence is also the only source for the study of any possible connections between the three acts. Since these writings were not intended to preserve historical data but rather to furnish future generations with examples of great Christian heroism, few or no dates are given and little concern is shown for chronology.
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