[Circa a.d. 232.] Finding these fragments relegated, by the Edinburgh editors, to a place (unaccountably chosen) among the spurious Decretals,1 and dismissed as of dubious character, it looked as if modern light had been shed upon this author, and as if he had better, perhaps, be classed with the apocryphal works of our concluding volume. But, after considerable inquiry, I see no reason to dismiss Asterius from the respectable position assigned him by Lardner;2 and I now wish I had appended these fragments to those of the Roman presbyter Caius, to which the reader is referred.3 It is true, Lardner is quite undecided as to this author, though he accepts Tillemont’s conjecture as probable; viz., that the Asterius Urbanus mentioned by Eusebius is the author of the fragments, and that his work against the Montanists was written in the eleventh year of the Emperor Alexander, circa 232. It is doubtful whether the author was a presbyter or a bishop. On some occasions he seems to have been at Ancyra in Galatia, where he reluctantly consented to write his treatise at the solicitation of the presbytery there, and particularly of Abercius4 Marcellus, to whom it is inscribed.
The translator is not named, but here follows the very unsatisfactory preface of the Edinburgh edition: —
Nothing is known of Asterius Urbanus. The name occurs in Fragment IV.;5 and from the allusion made to him there, some have inferred that he was the author of the work against the Montanists, from which Eusebius has made these extracts. The inference is unfounded. There is no clue to the authorship. It has been attributed by different critics to Apollinaris, Apollonius, and Rhodon.
1 Edin., ed., vol. ix. p. 224.
2 Credib., vol. ii. p. 410.
3 Vol. 5. p. 509, this series. See note 3, p. 335, infra.