THE late Professor John E. B. Mayor, during his tenure of the professorship of Latin at Cambridge, frequently lectured on the Apology of Tertullian in the Divinity Schools. About the year 1892 he wrote out his notes in a copy of Oehler's earlier edition (Halle, 1849), that had been interleaved with sheets of paper about twice the size of the pages of the book itself. These notes were added to from time to time down to the year 1907, if not later, and they formed the matter of his lectures. Already in 1893 he began to publish them in The Journal of Philology, but the publication never went beyond the end of the fifth chapter.
After his death on December 1, 1910, his executors considered the advisability of publishing the whole of the notes, and honoured me with the request to edit them for publication. I had heard the lectures throughout two or more terms of my undergraduate period at Cambridge, and had been profoundly influenced by them. I therefore felt it binding on me to suspend my own work and perform this act of pietas.
The executors first arranged with Mr E. S. Payne of Clifton, Bristol, for a copy of the notes as a basis for the proposed publication. Though the Professor's handwriting is beautifully clear, it is at the same time so microscopic that this was no light task to perform. Mr Payne also verified many of the references, and appended a number of useful remarks on the notes themselves.
It may be at once admitted that only the Professor himself, or some one equally learned, could edit these notes in a satisfactory manner. I am fully conscious of my own unfitness for the task, which has been very heavy. I have felt it necessary to compare Mr Payne' s copy with the original MS, in which work I received valued help from the friend of thirty years, Mr James Taylor of the Aberdeen Centre for the Training of Teachers ; but this is only part of what was required. I have had to put the notes in correct sequence, to reduce to order the somewhat chaotic state of the references and quotations within the notes themselves, to supply references never filled |vi in, and to cut out references or quotations given twice in the same note. I have brought the references to the works of Tertullian that have appeared in the Vienna edition, into conformity with that edition, as the Professor himself would have wished. In the few cases where references have in some way baffled me, I have placed a point of interrogation within brackets as a danger signal. It is not often that I have added anything of my own. When this has been done, I felt sure that Prof. Mayor himself would have made the addition prior to publication. Such additions are enclosed within square brackets, and the editor's initials are appended.
The notes were not intended by their author to constitute a complete commentary, but rather to form a useful supplement to those already published, such as Havercamp's and Oehler's. They provide, however, so vast a body of illustration, both of the subject-matter and of the language of the Apology, that not only are they to be regarded as a commentary, but as by far the best commentary ever published. Nevertheless, as Tertullian is the most difficult of all Latin prose writers, and the notes are not of a type intended for schoolboys, it has been deemed advisable to add an English translation of the text. This translation has had the inestimable advantage of thorough revision by the veteran brother of the commentator, Emeritus-Professor Joseph B. Mayor, of King's College, London, who has spared no pains to make the whole book as perfect as possible.
The Provost of King's, Dr M. R. James, has given kind help in cases of extreme difficulty. I am also indebted to my assistant, Mr Robert Weir, formerly of Pembroke College, Oxford, for help in the reading of the proofs and the verification of references. Nor must I forget the extreme care of the press readers.
Prof. Mayor's introduction, with the notes on chapters I to V, has been reprinted from The Journal of Philology by kind permission of the editors. I have ventured to add a bibliography of the chief works on Tertullian, which have appeared since that article was published. I have also compiled the index.
22nd November, 1916.
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