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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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A bequest dependent upon the secret will of another was, by the Roman law, termed captatoria institutio, and was forbidden. In a less technical sense, however, the captator answered substantially to our legacy-hunter, and the scandal seems to have been rife in the early Church. A law of Valen Valetiian, and Gratian (A.D. 370), in the Theodosian code, enacted that clerics or professors of continence were not to frequent the houses of widows and female Wards; nor should such persons receive aught from any woman with whom they might become connected under pretext of religion, by any kind of liberality, or by her last will. Every bequest so made was void, and was to be paid into the public exchequer. As respects the clergy, we. find, by a law of Valentinian and Marcian (A. D. 455), inserted in Justinian's code, that widows, deaconesses, virgins dedicated to God, nuns, and women bearing any other name of religious honor or dignity, received full liberty to leave, by will or otherwise, any part of their fortune.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Captator.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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