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On this page: Novatus – Novellius Torquatus – Novellus – Novensiles Dii – Novia Gens


middle of the fourth century, \ve learn that the Novatians boasted that their founder was a martyr.

The original and distinguishing tenet of these heretics was, as we have indicated above, that no one who after baptism had, through dread of per­secution or from any other cause, fallen away from the faith, could, however sincere his contrition, again be received into the bosom of the church, or entertain sure hope of salvation. It would appear that subse­quently this rigorous exclusion was extended to all who had been guilty of any of the greater or mortal sins ; and, if we can trust the expression of St. Am­brose (DePoen. iii. 3), Novatianus himself altoge­ther rejected the efficacy of repentance, and denied that forgiveness could be granted to any sin, whether small or great. There can be no doubt that com­munion was refused to all great offenders, but we feel inclined to believe that Socrates (H. E. iv. 28) represents these opinions, as first promulgated, more fairly when he states, that Novatianus merely would not admit that the church had power to for­give and grant participation in her mysteries to great offenders, while at the same time he exhorted them to repentance, and referred their case directly to the decision of God—views which were likely to be extremely obnoxious to the orthodox priest­hood, and might very readily be exaggerated and perverted by the intolerance of his own followers, who, full of spiritual pride, arrogated to themselves the title of KaOapoi, or Puritans, an epithet caught up and echoed in scorn by their antagonists.

It is necessary to remark that the individual who first proclaimed such doctrines was not Nova­tianus, but an African presbyter under Cyprian, named Novatus, who took a most active share in the disorders which followed the elevation of Cor­nelius. Hence, very naturally, much confusion has arisen between Novatus and Novatianus; and Lardner, with less than his usual accuracy, persists in considering them as one and the same, although the words of Jerome are perfectly explicit, distin­guishing most clearly between " Novatianus Ro-manae urbis presbyter" and " Novatus Cypriani presbyter." Indeed, the tenth chapter of his Ca­talogue becomes quite unintelligible if we confound them.

Jerome informs us that Novatianus composed treatises De Pasclia ; De Sabbato ; De Circumci-sione ; De Sacerdote; De Oratione; De Cibis Ju­daicis ; De Instantia ; De Attalo, and many others ; together with a large volume De Trinitate, exhi­biting in a compressed form the opinions of Ter-tullian on this mystery. Of all these the follow­ing only are now known to exist:—

I. De Trinitate s. De Regula Fidei, ascribed by some to Tertullian, by others to Cyprian, and in­serted in many editions of their works. That it cannot belong to Tertullian is sufficiently proved by the style and by the mention made of the Sabel-lians, who did not exist in his time, while Jerome expressly declares that the volume De Trinitate was not the production of Cyprian, but of Nova­tianus. The piece before us, however, does not altogether answer his description, since it cannot be regarded as a mere transcript of the opinions of Tertullian, but is an independent exposition of the orthodox doctrine very distinctly embodied in pure language and animated style.

II. De Cibis Judaicis., written at the request of the Roman laity at a period when the author had, apparently, withdrawn from the fury of the Decian



persecution (a. d. 249—257), probably towards the close of a. d. 250. If composed under these circumstances, as maintained by Jackson, it refutes in a most satisfactory manner the charges brought by Cornelius in reference to the conduct of Nova­tianus at this epoch. The author denies that the Mosaic ordinances, with regard to meats, are binding upon Christians, but strongly recommends moderation and strict abstinence from flesh offered to idols.

III. Epistolae. Two letters, of which the first is certainly genuine, written A. d. 250, in the name of the Roman clergy to Cyprian, when a vacancy occurred in the papal see in consequence of the martyrdom of Fabianus, on the 13th of February, a. d. 250.

The two best editions of the collected works of Novatianus are those of Welchman (8vo. Oxon. 1724), and of Jackson (8vo. Lond. 1728). The latter is in every respect superior, presenting us with an excellent text, very useful prolegomena, notes and indices. The tracts De Trinilate and De Cibis Judaicis will be found in almost all editions of Ter­ tullian from the Parisian impression of 1545 down­ wards. (Hieronym. de Viris III. 10 ; Philostorg. H. E. viii. 15 ; Euseb. H. E. vi. 43 ; Pacian. Ep. 3 ; Ambros. de Poen. iii. 3 ; Cyprian. Ep. 44, 45, 49, 50, 55, 68 ; Socrat. //. E. iv. 28, v. 22, and notes of Valesius; Sozomen. H. E. vi. 24 ; Lardner, Credibility of Gospel History', c. xlvii ; Schb'nemann, Biblioiheca Patrum Lot. vol. i. $ 5 ; Bahr, Geschicht* des Rom. Litterat. Suppl. Band. 2te Abtheil. §§ 23, 24 ; with regard to Novatus, see Cyprian. Ep. 52.) [W. R.]

NOVATUS. [novatianus].

NOVATUS, JU'NIUS, published a libellous letter against Augustus under the name of Agrippa, but was punished only by a pecuniary fine. (Suet. Aug. 51.)



NOVELLUS, ANTO'NIUS, was one of OthoV principal generals, but possessed no influence with the soldiery. (Tac. Hist. i. 87, ii. 12.)

NOVENSILES DII, are mentioned in the solemn prayer which the consul Decius repeated after the pontifex previous to his devoting himself to death for his country. (Liv. viii. 9.) Instead of Novensiles, we also find the form Novensides, whence we may infer that it is some compound of insides. The first word in this compound is said by some to be novus, and by others novem (Arnob. iii. 38, 39); and it is accordingly said that the Novensiles were nine gods, to whom Jupiter gave permission to hurl his lightnings. (Arnob. /. c.; Plin. H. N. ii. 52.) But this fact, though it may have applied to the Etruscan religion, nowhere ap­ pears in the religion of the Romans. We are therefore inclined to look upon Novensides as com­ posed of nove and insides, so that these gods would be the opposite of Indigetes, or old native divini­ ties ; that is, the Novensides are the gods who are newly or recently introduced at Rome, after the conquest of some place. For it was customary at Rome after the conquest of a neighbouring town to carry its gods to Rome, and there either to establish their worship in public, or to assign the care of it to some patrician family. This is the explanation of Cincius Alimentus (ap. Arnob. iii. 38, £c.), and seems to be quite satisfactory. [L. S.]

NOVIA GENS, plebeian, was of very little

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