By Robert D. Sider
Among the voices that stumble upon the centuries from early Christianity, few communicate with sharper accents, or in additional hugely coloured tones, than that of Tertullian. First within the Latin-speaking West to go away an enormous corpus of writings, Tertullian can be the 1st within the West to handle in either treatise and tract the problems faced via Christians of their come across with the encompassing pagan world.
Tertullian belonged to an period whilst Roman imperial strength used to be at its top and paganism may perhaps proudly declare the benefits of the common Roman civilization. although it used to be an formally tolerant international, unofficially it used to be suspicious of the politically fallacious: demanding social constructions was once an act of unthinkable bravado. Tertullian took at the challenge.
Before his conversion, Tertullian looks to have participated totally in his modern pagan tradition. A Carthaginian, his schooling used to be completely Roman; he was once fluent in Latin and Greek, and broadly learn in literature, philosophy, rhetoric, and drugs. His conversion to Christianity dropped at him a noticeably new imaginative and prescient of the realm, whereas his pagan schooling supplied him with the instruments to precise that imaginative and prescient with virtually exceptional energy. He possessed a common sense that penetrated via misty ambiguities to the guts of items; he practiced a formulaic variety that sharpened inherent contrasts; and he subtle a story artwork that enriched theology with vignettes of the pagan and Christian worlds of his day.
Tertullian is a first-rate resource for a contemporary realizing of the problems that when confronted--and nonetheless confront--Christians residing in a non-Christian global. regrettably, his writings have usually been forged apart as too tough to learn. during this quantity, Robert D. Sider undertakes a really apt pruning of the unique texts and brings a clean accessibility to the real writings of Tertullian.
"A very worthy anthology of [Tertullian's] works in a cheap and obtainable structure, one that permits sleek readers to come across a tricky and demanding author by way of supplying either context and annotation.... Sider's maximum contribution stems from his adventure at studying and figuring out Tertullian's rhetoric. He permits the reader to interact Tertullian and comprehend his argument by itself terms.... This quantity should still serve good as an advent to Tertullian for upper-level undergraduates or for graduate scholars new to the area of early Christianity."--Michael Heintz, Journal of Early Christian Studies
Robert D. Sider is professor emeritus of classical languages at Dickinson university and adjunct professor of background on the collage of Saskatchewan. a number one professional on Tertullian, he's the writer or editor of many works, together with the preferred textual content Ancient Rhetoric and the artwork of Tertullian.
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Additional resources for Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian
As far as arguments drawn from fact go, I find none more trustworthy than this: Saturn was welcomed by Janus right in Italy itself, where he finally took his abode after much traveling to and fro. (8) The mountain that he made his home was called the Saturnian. The city that he founded is called, even to the present day, Saturnia. The art of writing was first established there by him, and coins were struck with his image. 57 (9) How56. , wrote a novel of travel that described a utopia wherein it was affirmed that the great gods had originally been kings, therefore men.
But—being also, to a certain degree, human— he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled. Such have always been our persecutors, unjust, wicked, depraved men whom you yourselves are accustomed to condemn. (5) But of so many emperors from that time down to our own day who were wise in matters divine and human, show me one who persecuted the Christians! (6) On the contrary, we can point out our protector, if you will examine the letters of the most venerable emperor, Marcus Aurelius.
In the case of the Christian, you regard him as guilty of every crime, the enemy of the gods, rulers, laws, morals, and all nature. Yet you force him into a denial that you may acquit him. (17) You are making a sham of the laws. Whence comes this perversity of yours? 18 This name a certain power of a rival agency persecutes, making this its first and foremost aim, that people may be unwilling to obtain certain knowledge about that of which they are certain they have no knowledge. (19) Hence it is that they believe stories about us that are not proved and they do not want any investigation, lest it be proved that the stories they prefer to have believed are not true.
Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian by Robert D. Sider