Tertullian of Carthage

quotes from Tertullian:→

Tertullian (155-220) lived in Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first writer in Latin known to use the term trinity.  Saint Jerome says that Tertullian lived to old age (Jerome. De viris illustribus. p. 53). Tertullian was the teacher of Cyprian of Carthage and was the predecessor of Saint Augustine, who, in turn, became the chief founder of Latin theology.  Perhaps the most popular phrase attributed to Tertullian is in response to the Roman persecution of Christians, when Tertullian wrote, “”the blood of the Christians is seed” (Apologeticum, 50).

Tertullian was a strict rigorist and praised the unmarried state as the highest (De monogamia, xvii; Ad uxorem, i.3) and called upon Christians not to allow themselves to be excelled in the virtue of celibacy by Vestal Virgins and Egyptian priests.  He also labeled second marriage a species of adultery (De exhortationis castitatis, ix).  Tertullian’s resolve to never marry again and that no one else should remarry eventually led to his break with Rome because the Catholic church disagreed with him. He, instead, favored the Montanist sect where they also condemned second marriage.  This break with the Church has prevented him from being called a Church Father, although some modern scholars reject the idea that Tertullian ever left the Church since Cyprian of Carthage sharply condemned schism and yet still regarded Tertullian as his master.

Despite whether or not Tertullian ever formally broke with the Church of Rome, he was a staunch defender of the necessity of apostolicity and of the Petrine Primacy of the Church of Rome.  In his Prescription Against Heretics, he explicitly challenges heretics to produce evidence of the apostolic succession of their communities.

Extant Writings:

  • The Apology
  • The Prescription Against Heretics
  • Against Marcion
  • Against Hermogenes
  • Against the Valentinians
  • Against Praxeas
  • Against All Heresies
  • An Answer to the Jews
  • On Repentance
  • On Baptism
  • On Prayer
  • On Exhortation to Chastity
  • On Monogamy
  • On Modesty
  • On Fasting
  • On Idolatry
  • On the Pallium
  • On the Apparel of Women
  • On the Veiling of Virgins
  • De Corona (The Chaplet)
  • The Soul’s Testimony
  • A Treatise on the Soul
  • On the Flesh of Christ
  • On the Resurrection of the Flesh

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