Edgar J. Goodspeed (essay date 1942)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian," in A History of Early Christian Literature, University of Chicago Press, 1942, pp. 210-26.

[In the following excerpt, Goodspeed surveys Tertullian's writings and briefly summarizes the main characteristics of his literary style.]

In the latter part of the first century the writing of Latin literature was already passing into the hands of provincials, men from North Africa and Spain, like Seneca, Martial, and Quintilian. The district about Carthage was particularly active in literary lines, and it is not strange that it was there that the Bible began to be translated into Latin. It was there, and not in Rome, that Latin Christianity had its...

(The entire section is 2818 words.)

William P. Le Saint (essay date 1951)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "To His Wife: Introduction," "An Exhortation to Chastity: Introduction," and "Monogamy: Introduction," in Tertullian: Treatises on Marriage and Remarriage: To His Wife, An Exhortation to Chastity, Monogamy, translated by William P. Le Saint, The Newman Press, 1951, pp. 3-9, 39-41, 67-9.

[In the following excerpt, Le Saint examines Tertullian's three treatises on marriage—Ad uxorem, De exhortatione castitatis, and De monogamia—maintaining that these works demonstrate "the gradual deterioration of his thought from Catholic orthodoxy to … fanatical Montanism."]

The three treatises on marriage, [Ad Uxorem, De exhortatione castitatis, and...

(The entire section is 4948 words.)

William P. Le Saint (essay date 1959)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "On Penitence: Introduction" and "On Purity: Introduction" in Tertullian: Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and On Purity, translated by William P. Le Saint, The Newman Press, 1959, pp. 3-13, 41-52.

[In the following excerpt, Le Saint discusses and compares Tertullian's two treatises on the subject of Christian penitence—De pudicitia and De paenitentia.]

Orthodox Christianity regards the doctrine of the divine forgiveness of sins as an essential article of faith. The nature of this forgiveness, its manner and measure, its causes and its effects, have all been subjects of controversy, but whoever accepts the Apostles' Creed as an expression of...

(The entire section is 8672 words.)

Timothy D. Barnes (essay date 1969)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian's Scorpiace," The Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. XX, 1969, pp. 105-32.

[In the following essay, Barnes argues that Tertullian's Scorpiace was composed in 203-04, rather than during his post-207 Montanist period, as many scholars have contended.]

Modern scholarship has been unjustly selective in its treatment of Tertullian. Some of his works, most notably the Apologeticum and De Pallio, receive lavish attention and repeated investigation; and even a lost treatise is capable of provoking lengthy speculations.2 Yet other works, ultimately of no less importance, suffer almost total neglect. The consequences have...

(The entire section is 11101 words.)

Stephen Gero (essay date 1970)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Miles Gloriosus: The Christian and Military Service according to Tertullian," Church History, Vol. 39, No. 3, September, 1970, pp. 285-98.

[In the following essay, Gero investigates significant changes in Tertullian's attitude toward Christian military service, arguing that "Tertullian at first condoned Christian service in the army, but later, when he recognized its dangers … firmly and totally came to oppose it."]

The aim of this paper is to throw some light on Tertullian's attitude to military service. His statements on this subject are highly useful for a more accurate understanding of his own changing views on the empire and the duties of...

(The entire section is 7409 words.)

H. B. Timothy (essay date 1973)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian of Carthage," in The Early Christian Apologists and Greek Philosophy, Van Gorcum & Comp. B. V., 1973, pp. 40-58.

[In the following essay, Timothy explores the sustained antipathy toward Greek philosophy in the writings and thought of Tertullian.]

Tertullian is a man clearly with a quarrel on his hands. Dispensing with preliminaries he throws down the challenge to his opponents with these words:

"Our contest lies against these things, the institutions of our ancestors, the authority of tradition"—by which he means, as the context shows, the tradition of paganism—"the laws of our governors and the...

(The entire section is 6522 words.)

A. A. R. Bastiaensen (essay date 1977)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian's Argumentation in De praescriptione haereticorum 20, 1ff.," Vigiliae Chris-tianae, Vol. 31, No. 1, March, 1977, pp. 35-46.

[In the following essay, Bastiaensen probes Tertullian's rhetorical strategies in his writings against heresy.]

Tertullian's De praescriptione haereticorum does not cease to arouse the interest of the scholarly world. Not to mention other problems, up to this day the dispute continues about the important term praescriptio: has it a juridical background, as Mr. Michaelides maintains, in accordance with many previous commentators,' or is it a more general term of argumentation and discussion, as Mr....

(The entire section is 4780 words.)

John F. Jansen (essay date 1982)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian and the New Testament," in The Second Century: A Journal of Early Christian Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, Winter, 1982, pp. 191-207.

[In the following essay, Jansen studies Tertullian's views on and interpretation of the New Testament.]

Various aspects of Tertullian's use of the Bible have received scholarly attention. One excellent study has been devoted to Tertullian and the Old Testament.1 The present essay2 deals with Tertullian and the New Testament.


Tertullian and the Canon of the New Testament

By Tertullian's time the basic scope of the New Testament...

(The entire section is 7988 words.)

Karen Jo Torjesen (essay date 1989)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Tertullian's 'Political Ecclesiology' and Women's Leadership," in Studia Patristica, Vol. XXI. Papers Presented to the Tenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 1987; Second Century: Tertullian, the West, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, Athanasius, edited by Elizabeth A. Livingstone, Peeters Press, 1989, pp. 277-82.

[In the following essay, Torjesen examines Tertullian's scathing denunciation of women's leadership in the Church, noting that he saw the Church as a public and political body and, therefore, not the proper domain of women.]

The thesis of this communication is that Tertullian's attitude towards women's leadership...

(The entire section is 2526 words.)

David Rankin (essay date 1995)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Conclusions: The Church according to Tertullian" in Tertullian and the Church, Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 111-16.

[In the following excerpt, Rankin comments on Tertullian's view of the authentic Church and the imagery he uses to describe it.]

Occasional references to an 'ecciesia in caelis' can be found in Tertullian's writings. Yet, for the most part, Tertullian sees the true church as an historical, empirical reality the authentication for which can be found at least partly in the present age. This reality is partly determined by the nature and the circumstances of the church's foundation by the apostles, and partly by its Spirit-driven activity...

(The entire section is 1893 words.)

Eric Osborn (essay date 1997)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Simplicity and Perfection" in Tertullian, First Theologian of the West, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 1-26.

[In the following excerpt, Osborn observes the essential importance of simplicity, founded on the perfection of Christ, in Tertullian's thought.]

'We also are religious and our religion is simple', objected the Roman proconsul to the martyr Speratus, at his trial near Carthage on 17 July 180. 'If you will listen calmly', replied Speratus, 'I shall tell you the mystery of simplicity.1 Tertullian was not the only African who liked paradox.2 Speratus claims simplicity for Christians rather than pagans. He counters the...

(The entire section is 9895 words.)