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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Scapula, Proconsul of Africa

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Scapula, a proconsul of Africa, with whom Tertullian remonstrated for his persecution of the Christians; not because the Christians feared martyrdom, but solely because their love for their enemies made them desire to save them from the guilt of shedding innocent blood. Tertullian recounts the temporal calamities which had overtaken former persecutors of the Christians, and denounces the injustice of punishing men pure in life and loyal, and whose innocence the magistrates fully acknowledge by their evident unwillingness to proceed to extremities and by their exertions to induce the accused to withdraw their confession. If, as had been done in another province, the Christians of Carthage were to present themselves in a body before the proconsul's tribunal, the magistrate, he says, would find before him thousands of every age, sex, and rank, including many leading persons, and probably relations and intimates of his own friends, and might well shrink from severities which would decimate the city. The tract is later than the emperor Severus, of whom it speaks in the past tense.

The Scapula addressed was probably Scapula Tertullus, one of the ordinary consuls in 195. The usual interval between consulship and proconsulship was 15 to 20 years; this also would place the proconsulship not very long after Severus died on Feb. 9, 211.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Scapula, Proconsul of Africa'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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