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The text of Athenagoras’ Plea, like that of other Greek Apologies, is far from satisfactorily preserved. All the manuscripts, of which there are many, go directly or indirectly back to the famous Aretas Codex (Paris. Graec. 451838838For this see O. Gebhart, "Der Arethascodex," in Texte and Untersuchungen, Vol. I. 3, Leipzig, 1883. See also Hamack's study, "Die Überlieferung der griechischen Apologeten des II Jahrhunderts in der alten Kirche and im Mittelalter," in Texte and Untersuchungen, Vol. I.1, 2, Leipzig, 1882.). This was written by a scribe, Baanes, in A.D. 914 for the archbishop of Caesarea, Aretas. The archbishop himself corrected the Codex as carefully as possible, adding the accents and breathings, and separating the words that were undistinguished in the original uncial copied by Baanes. This uncial must have contained many errors, and Aretas made numerous emendations which can be differentiated from those of later humanists.

From this manuscript there directly derive Codex Mutinensis III D 7 and Codex Parisinus Graec. 174, both of the eleventh century. From the first of these the Strassburg Codex (Argentoratensis 9), destroyed in the fire of 1870, was copied.

The first edition of the Plea was published by C. Gesner in Zurich, 1557. The text reprinted in Migne, P.G. 6, cols. 887–1024, was by P. Maran, Paris, 1742. Critical notes were added by J. H. Nolte. The edition by J. K. Theodor von Otto, in his Corpus Apologetarum Saeculi Secundi, Vol. 7, Jena, 1858, has extensive prolegomena, notes, and indexes.

Modern critical study of the text is dependent on the work of E. Schwartz, "Athenagorae Libellus pro Christianis," in Texte and Untersuchungen, Vol. IV. 2, Leipzig, 1891. The three most 298recent editions are by Johannes Geffcken, Zwei griechischen Apologeten (Aristides and Athenagoras), Leipzig, 1907; E. Goodspeed in his Die ältesten Apologeten, Göttingen, 1914; and P. Ubaldi, Athenagoras, La Supplica Per I Christiani, Testo Critico e Commento, Turin, 1920, second edition, 1933. This was the basis for the edition published by Michele Pellegrino in the Greek series of the Corona Patrum Salesiana, Vol. XV, 1947.

For the translation offered here, Goodspeed's text has been followed. I have not, however, felt obliged to accept all his emendations. At times I have relied on other texts as well as on suggestions in modern translations.

The Plea has been rendered into English by B. P. Pratten in the Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Vol. II, pp. 123–148, Buffalo, 1885. The first English translation was by D. Humphreys, London, 1714. In German there is a translation by P. A. Eberhard in Frühchristliche Apologeten, in the second series of the Bibliothek der Kirchenväter, Vol. XII, Kempten and Munich, 1913 (with introduction and useful notes). Most recent is the French rendering by Gustave Bardy, Athénagore, supplique au sujet des Chrétiens, Editions du Cerf, Paris, 1943, in the series Sources chrétiennes. This has excellent introductory material and comprehensive notes. In Italian there is the edition by Michele Pellegrino already mentioned.

Invaluable material for the study of Athenagoras will be found in Johannes Geffcken's edition. While far from sympathetic, it is rich and often incisive in its handling of parallel literature, both pagan and Christian. The article "Athenagoras," by Spenser Mansel in the Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol. I., pp. 204–207, London, 1877, should be consulted, as also the study by G. Bareille in the Dictionnaire de la théologie catholique, Vol. I, cols. 2210–2214, Paris, 1903, and especially the one by P. Keseling in the Reallexikon für Antike and Christentum, Hiersemann Verlag, Leipzig, 1943, cols. 881–888. An earlier but fundamental work is that by L. Arnould, De Apologia Athenagorae, Paris, 1898; while Aim Puech has devoted a lucid chapter to Athenagoras in his Les Apologistes grecs, Paris, 1912. An introductory summary of the general field will be found in Philip Carrington's Christian Apologetics of the Second Century, New York, 1921.

There are several special studies dealing with the theology and philosophy of Athenagoras: F. Schubring, Die Philosophie des Athenagoras, Berlin, 1882; K. F. Bauer, Die Lehre des Athenagoras von Gottes Einheit und Dreieinigkeit, Bamberg, 1902; L. Richter, 299Philosophisches in der Gottes- and Logoslehre des Apologeten Athenagoras aus Athen, Mainz, 1905; H. A. Lucks, The Philosophy of Athenagoras: Its Sources and Value, Catholic University of America, Washington, 1936.

The following briefer essays may be mentioned: G. Losche, "Minucius Felix' Verhältnis zu Athenagoras," in Jahrbücher für protestantische Theologie, Vol. VIII, pp. 168–78, 1882; A. Pommrich, Die Gottes and Logoslehre des Theophilus von Antiocheia and Athenagoras von Athen, pp. 43–61, Leipzig,1904; J. Lortz, "Das Christentum als Monotheismus in den Apologien des zweiten Jahrhunderts," in Beiträge zur Geschichte des christlichen Altertums and der Byzantinischen Literatur, edited by A. M. Koninger, pp. 301–327, Leipzig, 1922; K. von Preysing, "Ehezweck and 2 Ehe bei Athenagoras," in Theologische Quartalschrift, pp. 85-I10, 1929; and the chapter by V. Spence Little in his Christology of the Apologists, pp. 210–228, Duckworth, London, 1934.

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