Latomus 9 (1950) pp.316-7
|G. Septimi Florentis TERTULLIANI,
Adversus Praxean Liber,
ed. by Ernest EVANS (Londres, S.P.C.K., 1948), viii-342 pp.
in-8o, 21 s.
Le traité de Tertullien
contre Praxeas est sans doute un des écrits
M. Evans s'est occupé
pendant des dizaines d'années de ce texte
Le texte, sans apporter
beaucoup de nouveau, est bon, meilleur
Toutefois il y a certaines
négligences : ainsi on lit (p. 105, l. 27)
En effet, le savant
anglais ignore complètement la littérature sur
Dans ces circonstances un
peu plus de modestie aurait été souhai-
A cette observation on
pourrait répondre: 1) M. Waszink a publié
rieure de la substance divine, comme celle d'une probolh&
M. Evans n'a pas fait ces
rapprochements et ainsi il a manqué de
The treaty of Tertullian against Praxeas is undoubtedly one of the most significant writings of the Christian literature. On the one hand it shows how the author, while anticipating the dogmatic positions which were to become once final, has endeavoured to remain in the line of the biblical thought. In addition it appears clearly that the Trinitarian formulation of monotheism reveals the aspiration of the soul to a living God: of the rest Judaism, eight centuries later, was led with the speculations of Moses of Lyon, to a similar solution.
Mr. Evans occupied himself during tens of years with this extremely obscure text; he knows throughly the ecclesiastical authors and he has this sixth theological sense which enables him to see clearly in the most difficult problems. This is why one will find in the commentary penetrating observations,and interesting references to this author, that dogma.
The text, without bringing much new, is good, better even than that of Kroymann in the Corpus of Vienna.
However there are certain negligences: thus one reads (p. 105, l. 27) qua instead of quia; moreover, (p. 123, l. 7), the reading patri of the manuscript F, which alone can give a sense to this passage, is not mentioned in the apparatus; p. 103, l. 18, Mr. Evans proposes to read: dei et domini, without knowing that the same conjecture was defended by Kroymann in the second edition of the treaty and was accepted by Rosemeyer.
Indeed, the English scholar is completely unaware of the literature on Tertullian of the last half-century. He does not know that there is a Codex Luxemburgensis, the names of scholars like Löfstedt, Thörnell, Hoppe, Borleffs, Waszink are unknown to him. In short, one notes that Mr. Evans is, like his fatherland, a splendidly isolated island. And the introduction, which is very unequal, shows the results of this.
In these circumstances a little more modesty would have been desirable. In the foreword the author confides to us his project to provide a commentary on Tertullian's De Anima and he announces that he has the ambition to publish "the second volume of Tertullian's works, which was promised fifty years ago in the Vienna Corpus, but which has not yet appeared, nor in the present state of continental scholarship, is likely to appear for many years to come".
To this observation one could answer: 1) Mr. Waszink has published already an commentary-edition of De Anima, a magisterial work, of 800 pages; 2) the posterior volume of the second part of the Corpus of Vienna appeared in 1942; 3) R. P. Verhoeven, in a thesis of 1948, showed concerning the treatise against Praxeas, the cardinal importance of research of the sources, inaugurated by others, for the interpretation of the great African rhetor; it appears as of now well established that the design of an interior oi)konomi/a of the divine substance, like that of a precosmic probolh& was influenced by gnosticism. In this respect it is curious that one did not draw the attention yet to a very significant passage for this research: Dicit Candidus (Valentinianus) Filium de Patris esse substantia, errans in eo quod probolh&, id est prolationem asserit (Hieron., Ap. adv. Ruf. II, 19). . One indeed finds in Tertullian the consubstantiality as well as the probolh& of the Son.
Mr. Evans did not make these connections and thus he missed seeing the historical perspective of this imposing process which was the christianisation of hellenism and Eastern mysticism.
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