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The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity$
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Thomas J. Heffernan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199777570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199777570.001.0001

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The Date of the Passio

The Date of the Passio

(p.60) II The Date of the Passio
The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity

Thomas J. Heffernan

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the probable composition date of the Passionarrative. Based on a systematic review of the evidence, it shows that March 203 is the likeliest date of the actual games in which the Christians were killed. It then provides a terminus ante quem of 206–9 for the completion of the Passio. While the year of the persecution is not provided in the contemporary historical record, there is important inferential evidence which points to the year 203 as the most likely date for this persecution. The importance of determining the latest date for the composition is crucial. In order to resolve the correct terminus ante quem, three corpora of varying importance are used which indicate that the Passio was most likely completed by the redactor before 209. These are discussed in the following order: (1) the date of Tertullian's De Anima; (2) the redactor's comments to his audience in the preface (I.6); and (3) the mention of the anniversary of the Emperor Geta's birth (VII.8).

Keywords:   Passion, Passio, narratives, composition date, Christians, persecution, Tertullian, redactor, Emperor Geta, terminus ante quem

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