Dibdin, Thomas Frognall, An Introduction to the Knowledge of Rare and Valuable Editions of the Greek and Latin Classics.  Together with an Account of Polyglot Bibles, Polyglot Psalters, Hebrew Bibles, Greek Bibles and Greek Testaments, the Greek Fathers and the Latin Fathers, 4th edition, London (1827) pp. 207-210

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TERTULLIAN. A. C. 200-20.

The first impression of any portion of the works of this Father, was that of his Apologeticus adversus Gentes; printed at Venice, in 1492, by Bernardinus Benalius, in folio. Panzer refers exclusively to Denis, Suppl. p. 336. The date­less edition, supposed to be by the same printer, probably belongs to an edition of Lactantius of 1483, executed by the same artist: Schoenman (vol. i. p. 13) says of this latter edition “CHARACTERE ELEGANTI GAUDET.” It has as yet escaped my researches.

Opera Omnia.

FROBEN. Basil. 1521. Folio.

EDITIO PRINCEPS. “There can be no doubt, says Schoenman, p. 15. (note *) of this being the first impression of the entire works of Tertullian” The editor was Beatus Rhena­nus, a name to be respected and reverenced in the literary annals of the sixteenth century :* but although in the title-|p208page of this edition, the works of Tertullian (the most ancient of all the Latin Fathers) are said to be “first snatched from the dust and darkness in which they had been overwhelmed,” yet, it seems, that two of the principal, MSS. from which the text was formed, were full of all sorts of errors. The typographical execution of the volume is worthy of the press from which it issued. It is a book of uncommon occur­rence; and, as an editio princeps, should have a place in all libraries of any critical pretension. With all its imperfections, it was reprinted at Basil in 1526, 1528, 1536, and 1539. “Of such weight were the works of Tertullian considered by Origen, that he suffered no day to pass without reading a portion of them.” So says Beatus Rhenanus: probably on the authority of Origen himself.

DU PUIS. Lutet. 1634. Folio. 2 vols.

The editor was RIGALTIUS; and this impression is much superior to the edition of De la Cerda, published at Paris ten years before. Each however has a copious index. It |p209 was republished in 1641, 1664, and 1675. A good copy of this edition is worth 2l. Harwood calls the last edition the best; but this is very questionable. Schoenemann (Bibl. Patrum, vol. i. p. 38 and 48) is copious in his account of these editions especially of the first and third, from which I infer that the third is preferable.

DALLIN ET JOLY. Parisiis. 1658. Folio.

The editor was CHARLES MOREAU, a monk, of the order of St. Augustin. This is an edition full of curious research and sound learning: but it seems that the engravings of the figures of St. Austin and Tertullian, in the frontispiece of the work, where they are introduced as “two African prodigies of learning, talent, and eloquence, striving with each other for the palm”—were received by the Parisians with loud laughter and ridicule.

HAVERCAMPI. Lug. Bat. 1718. 8vo.

The APOLOGY only: The labours of Rigaltius are here ably reviewed and supported by the learning of Havercamp: and this edition is, on many accounts, the best of the treatise of its author.

GASPAR GERARD. Venet. 1744. Folio.

A reprint of the Parisian edition of 1675, with the notes of Havercamp in the Apology. A splendid, but most inaccu­rately printed book. It must be shunned.

SEMLERI. Halæ. 1776. 8vo. 6 vols.

Perhaps the best edition of Tertullian extant. Its com­modiousness of form will always render it popular; but we yet desiderate Schutz’s history of the labours and editions of Tertullian—promised to be here given. |p210

OBERTHÜR. Wirceb. 1780. 8vo. 2 vols.

The first two volumes of Oberthür’s Collection of the Latin Fathers. The text is that of Semler’s.


* In those pleasing little pieces of biography of which MELCHIOR ADAM is the author (Vitæ Germanorum Theologorum, &c. Francof. 1706, folio;) there is, in the Lives of the Philosophers, which form the last part of the volume, a brief biography of BEATUS RHENANUS. “In one word (says the biographer) he was a good and a learned man: yea, among the best and most learned men.” . . . He lived at Basle. His circumstances were respectable, and his table displayed simple but liberal fare. Erasmus was a great favourite and constant inmate with him. It seems that no riotous assemblies and gay doings were ever carried on in his house. Rhenanus dined at ten, and supped at six. These are precisely our present breakfast and dinner hours; and, in effect, we now eat and drink like Beatus Rhenanus of old! Though he loved domestic privacy, yet our editor would not unfrequently become a guest at other men’s tables. “in his manners he was free from all kind of severity, fastidiousness, ostentation, and self-prattle or boasting. Although he read, wrote, and heard much, he shewed no self-partiality; and on religious topics, be freely avowed his sentiments.” He married a worthy woman, but bodily infirmities did not allow cohabitation. Yet Rhenanus kept a sort of separate establishment for his wife, and died in his 62nd year, in 1547, intestate; leaving above 8000 aurea of Strasburg money behind him. His heirs were numerous and poor. Melchior Adam, p. 61-4.


The earliest editions of this Father will be found in the editions of Arnobius of the dates of 1542, 1546, and 1560:

and Harwood is therefore inaccurate in noticing the EDITIO PRINCEPS as published at Heidelberg in 1526. No such work appears to have been published there. Consult Panzer. He probably confounded it with the following edition published at that place.

EX OFF. LUCII. Heidelb. No Date. 8vo.

The mere text of the Author, but the preface, by Baldui­nus, is worth a careful perusal, from the short account of it by Schoenemann, vol. i. p. 67. I am unable to affix the year of the publication of the volume.

OUZELII. Lug Bat. 1652. 4to. 1672. 8vo.

Of these editions, which are absolutely overloaded with the commentaries of Ouzelius and others, the latter should seem to be the preferable impression, as the notes accompany the text; and the printing of Hackius is always a recom­mendation, as well for its beauty as its accuracy.


* Those who wish to go deep into the chronology of this Father, will do well to consult the Epistola Hist. crit. of VAN HOVEN, published in 1762, 4to. where there is much acute and erudite discussion upon this point, and from which it is inferred that Minucius Felix was anterior to TERTULLIAN. The purity and sweetness of his style are, in the critic’s opinion, one of the causes of his chronological priority. But this, alone, is far from being conclusive.

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