The Catholic University of America Press

The Trinity, The Spectacles, Jewish Foods, In Praise of Purity, Letters

Translated by Russell J. DeSimone

The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (Patristic series),  Vol. 67

Cloth 978-0-8132-0067-5 $19.95
January 1974 Out of Print
Paper 978-0-8132-1546-4 $24.95
February 2008 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-1167-1 $24.95
April 2010 In Print Add to Cart

After Novatian's break with the Church over the treatment of Christians who had lapsed in the persecution of Decius (A.D. 250-52), Church authorities were reluctant to recognize officially his contributions to Christian theology. Because his writings were too valuable to ignore, a number of them were attributed to less controversial authors. On the basis of stylistic and other internal evidence, scholars have been able to retrieve Novatian's work from obscurity and to give him recognition as a pioneer of Roman Latin theology.

This volume presents translations of all Novatian's surviving writings, which appear together in English for the first time under their author's name. The collection opens with the work that most clearly defines him as a theologian of central importance: The Trinity. This treatise refuted current heresies concerning Christ's dual nature and God's total spirituality.

The collection also contains a trilogy of pastoral letters: In Praise of Purity, The Spectacles, and Jewish Foods. Novatian, absent from his community, writes to his adherents about current problems in Christian morality and encourages them to remain faithful to the Gospel. In the three Letters, written to Cyprian Bishop Carthage after the martyrdom of Pope Fabian, Novatian speaks for the Church at Rome. They are an important source for the study of Penance as practiced by the early Church. Novatian insisted that those who had denied Christ during the persecution should be most strictly dealt with. There is little in him of Cyprian's conciliatory tone. Novatian's Letters illumine a third-century controversy that offers new perspectives for modern re-examination of the sacrament.

Product Details

Pages:ix, 223 pages

Dimensions:5.25x8.25 inches


CIP Information: 73009872 //r852/ BR65.N62/


1. Trinity, Early works to 1800

2. Christian ethics, History, Early church, ca. 30-600