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Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy$
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Geoffrey de Ste. Croix, Michael Whitby, and Joseph Streeter

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278121.001.0001

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The Fourth Edict in the West and the Date of the Council of Elvira 1

The Fourth Edict in the West and the Date of the Council of Elvira 1

(p.79) 2 The Fourth Edict in the West and the Date of the Council of Elvira1
Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy

G. E. M. De Ste. Croix

Oxford University Press

This chapter responds to criticisms by W.H.C. Frend of the conclusions of Chapter 1 by investigating whether Diocletian's so-called fourth edict against the Christian Church was ever promulgated in the western part of the Roman Empire. Of particular importance for the enforcement of persecution in the West is the evidence for martyrdoms from Numidia, and the various Canons of Elvira, a Church Council held in Spain at some point between the 290s and the mid 4th century. Ste. Croix demonstrates that all western evidence for persecution is compatible with enforcement under Diocletian's first edict, an argument which involves reconstructing the administrative history of the province of Numidia. Ste. Croix also dissects the Canons of Elvira in an attempt to establish the chronological parameters for the Council, an investigation which is perused further in an appendix which considers Elvira's significance as the earliest attested Church Council.

Keywords:   Fourth Edict, Elvira, Numidia, enforcement, church councils

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