Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, or Tertullian was born ca. 155 AD and died ca. 240 AD. According to Eusebius of Caesarea he was raised in Carthage and may have had advanced rhetorical and legal training. He was an ordained Christian priest and wrote more than 35 attested works on Christian apologetics and theology, including many controversial works in opposition to Gnosticism and other positions he considered heretical. He generally was an advocate of an ascetic school of Christianity.
Perhaps the most well known quotation from Tertullian is found in Chapter 7 of De praescriptione haereticorum (On the prescription of heretics):
What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," ... Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus... With our faith, we desire no further belief.
This responds to an ongoing dispute in the early church about the role of pagan education and learning in the Christian community. Some (like the later writer Augustine) argued that pagan learning was like the gold the Jews took on their exodus from Egypt and could be put to good use by Christians, while others (including Tertullian) argued that revelation alone contained all a Christian needed to know.
English translations of several of Tertullian's works can be found online at The Tertullian Project.
Some of the major authentic works of Tertullian include:
- De Poenitentia (Of Repentance)
- De Baptismo (Of Baptism)
- Ad Martyras (To the Martyrs)
- Adversus Judaeos (Reply to the Jews)
- De Praescriptione Haereticorum (Prescription against Heretics),
- Apologeticus pro Christianis (Apology for the Christians)
- De Pallio (Of the Ascetic Mantle)
- Adversus Valentinianus (Against the Valentinians)
- De Idololatria (Of Idolatry)
- Adversus Marcionem
- De Carne Christi (Of the Flesh of Christ)
- De Resurrectione Carnis (Of the Resurrection of Flesh)
- Adversus Praxean (Against Praxeas)