Pierre de Labriolle, History and Literature of Christianity from Tertullian to Boethius. Tr. Herbert Wilson. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul (1924) pp. 55-105.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. I. Pope Victor. Apollonius, the "Senator." The Fragment of Muratori.----II. The Origins of the Church in Africa. Tertullian.----III. The Christian, view of Tertullian. The intellectual equipment of Tertullian.----IV. His life. His transition to Montanism. Tertullian, Head of a Sect.----V. His Apologetic Works.----VI. Tertullian in his relations to the Pagans.----VII. Tertullian and Gnosticism.----VIII. Tertullian and Montanism.----IX. Tertullian as Writer.----X. The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas. Was Tertullian the author of the account ? . . . . . .50
IT was Northern Africa which gave to Christian literature the greater part of the writers who shed their lustre on it for the space of nearly three centuries. Up to the IVth century, Africa was the home of Western Christian thought. We know that during the same period her contribution to profane literature was by no means insignificant. Here is the right place to give an account of the "genius" of Africa, her tendencies and her special characteristics. We must guard against any complete synthesis of these attributes, however brilliant the partial glimpses we may obtain: as a matter of fact, it is as embarrassing to note down the specific nuances of the African temperament as to define with exactitude the "Africanisms" in the vocabulary and syntax around which the school of Ed. Wölfflin made so great a stir some while back.1
We know nothing of the beginnings of the Church in Africa. Towards the end of the IVth century, there were noteworthy Christians in that country who were hardly better informed than ourselves. One would gladly consider her as an offshoot of the Church in Rome. This is a plausible hypothesis but one which goes further than the texts we have to prove it.2 She emerged on a sudden from the twilight in 180. On the 17th July, 180, twelve Christians 3 of the town of Scillium (possibly in the Pro-Consulate of Numidia, but the exact spot has not been located), seven men and five women appeared before the Pro-Consul Vigellius Saturninus. They remained steadfast in their wish to continue Christians; they even refused the reprieve of thirty days which the Pro-Consul offered them for the purpose of thinking over the matter again, and heard their sentence to perish by the sword. We possess both in Latin and in Greek several specimens of the Ada of their martyrdom. These Acta were originally composed in Latin. The passage, which is very short, bears the sobriety of language of a lawyer's statement wherein no rhetoric mars the stern truth of their words and attitude. |56
Some days previously, the same Pro-Consul had struck down four other martyrs at Madaurus. A period of calm seems to have followed this short persecution 4 and during this respite the Christian communities swelled rapidly in Africa, especially at Carthage. "If we are willing to offer to die," Tertullian was to say to the Pro-Consul Scapula 5 about the year 212, "what would you do with so many thousand people, with these men and women, these living beings of every sex and age, and of every condition, who would come forward to hand themselves over to you? How many butchers, how many swords would you need? What would happen to Carthage thus decimated by you when everyone would recognise there his near relations, his neighbours, perhaps men and women of your own rank, the leading citizens and the parents, or the friends of your friends?" In short, towards the end of the IInd century, the Church in Carthage was provided with all the organisation which assured its vitality: it counted a considerable number of the faithful, and the disputations on moral and doctrine excited there an interest which betrayed the ardour of her faith. Such was the milieu wherein was born the father of Latin Christian Literature, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus.6
TERTULLIAN became for the early ages of Christianity a famous example of the lamentable falling away to which men of rare intelligence are exposed. If a man like him fell into the snares offered by the wild speculations of Montanism, who could dare to feel sure of himself? They gave expression to words of grave pity in his regard not altogether lacking in bitterness. And they took advantage of his unsound reputation to copy from his writings abundantly----without giving his name! |57
However, admiration found its way through censures and scandalised looks. And it was for Tertullian's knowledge that it was especially felt. His style is sometimes accounted obscure and not sufficiently polished. But what prodigious erudition! St Jerome, whose competence no one will deny, exclaims in one of his letters: "Quid Tertulliano eruditius, quid acutius; Apologeticus ejus et contra Gentes libri cunctam saeculi continent disciplinam" 7 Vincent of Lerins went still further than these flattering terms in his famous Commonitorium.8 In his view, Tertullian was to the Latins what Origen was to the Greeks: "Who was more learned than this man? who as competent as he in things divine and human? So much so, that all philosophy, all the different sects of the philosophers, their founders, their adherents, and the systems defended by the latter, history and science under their multiple forms----all these, the wonderful extent of his intellect embraced. . . ." His praise of him goes on increasing in ample measure, to end, it is true, in regret that a man so eminent made so bad an ending and could become "a great temptation" in the Church.
Tertullian's scholarship is really remarkable. It will appear still more so if we compare it to that of the most learned pagans of his time. Nowadays we have become more scrupulous and harder to please, and are sometimes tempted to find it superficial, unreliable and second-hand. But we should be wrong in minimising its solid parts and especially its amplitude. Tertullian wrote with equal facility in Latin and Greek: many of his treatises were composed in both these languages. He was familiar with the greater part of the great systems of Greco-Roman philosophy, and, however incapable he was of following with impartiality and sympathy the ideas of others, he knew how to extract from them their leading characteristics for the purpose of refuting them, or compelling them to coincide with his contention. He borrowed much from profane philosophy especially from Stoicism. He was no stranger even to physiology: in an age when all development of an argument was evolved in the abstract by a simple chain of interlinked reasonings, or by texts placed together one after the other, Tertullian had the merit of enlarging the habitual field of the logicians and psychologues, his |58 predecessors or his contemporaries; he interested himself in the results arrived at from natural sciences; he foresaw what the thinker might draw from them in the pursuit of his own speculations; and of all the Greek and Latin writers for whom he gave evidence of the greatest consideration and even of respect, men of science held the first place.9 To this we must add his vast knowledge of law, which in a large measure gives to his work its general tone and individual colouring. It is easy to see that in this respect he is a past-master. When he touches on law, he is not like some amateur who ventures on ground which is not his own, but, if not quite like a consulting lawyer, at least like a causidicus who knows all its secrets, all its machinery, all its tricks, I was going to say, and who makes them cleverly serve his own purpose.10 If subtilty, strength of logic, the art of following without losing the thread of a fundamental axiom in its application to a multitude of different cases are the essential marks of the legal mind, Tertullian possessed them all in a high degree. We must also consider the great number of texts from Scripture which he has quoted, interpreted, and paraphrased with so much aptness and stubborn desire to convince. It is quite easy to see that he had at his service every instrumentum fidei, and his wonderfully accurate memory, whatever else one may say of it, provided him on each occasion with the deciding points of which he had need.11
Neither the primitive Christian literature, nor that of the IInd century even though heterodox, were strangers to him. He had read the Pastor of Hermas, which for long he treated with respect, then with fury and hatred when he saw the party view which his anti-Montanist adversaries drew from it; the |59 Acta Pauli on the origin of which he gives in the de Baptismo, XVII, much careful information; perhaps also the Acta Pilati (cf. Apol. XXI).
Among the Montanist opuscula, a collection of oracles of the Phrygian soothsayers came into his hands. In the de Anima, he quotes the Acta of Perpetua and Felicitas, certain portions of which are penetrated with the Montanist spirit. Further he examined the work of the anti-Montanist Apollonius, which appeared in about the year 212, next he was to add almost at once a seventh book directed against this polemist to the six books of his de Ecstasi. With regard to the Greek apologists, he did not perhaps testify all the gratitude which was their due. He only mentions Justin, and even then only on the score of his being an opponent of Gnosticism, not in his capacity of apologist. He is content to sum up en bloc and in a somewhat scornful manner at the beginning of his de Testimonio Animae the methods of his forerunners, their unfruitful efforts at conciliation between the wisdom of the pagans, and the truths of Christianity. Two of them, nevertheless, he has laid under large contribution, namely, St Justin, whose Apologies and his Dialogue with Tryphon he exploited, and Tatian, who provided him with some important notions on the theory of the Logos and on Christology. He also stripped bare, in pursuing his polemics against individuals, the writings of the Gnostics and anti-Gnostics. The longest of his treatises, the Adversus Marcionem, rests on an analysis of different documents emanating from Marcion himself, in particular the New Testament retouched by the heresiarch, and his Antitheses, in which he placed in strong relief the contradictions between the Gospel and the Law. While taking toll of the refutations previous to his own, Tertullian had read with his own eyes the Phaneroseis of Apelles, the work by Hermogenes on the eternity of matter, and several other opuscula which were circulating amongst the Gnostics, for example, a treatise on the lawfulness of flight in face of martyrdom. He made extracts from a large portion of the orthodox disputations, such as those of Irenaeus and Theophilus of Antioch, but in more than one case he went in quest of first-hand documents and thoroughly explored the prolific output of the Gnostics. He was equally familiar with the work of Melito of Sardis whose mental equipment |60 was not without analogy to his own. As regards Clement of Alexandria, his contemporary, it seems that he did not know him and that Clement also was equally unaware of Tertullian.
This is but a very rapid inventory. It will suffice however to reveal the amplitude of the breadth of his intellect. And what gives a correct estimate of its trend from this point of view, is to recognise that the cast of his mind was not purely speculative. There was nothing about him of the learned recluse, nor of the mystic absorbed in his dreams. He was admirably cognizant of the pagan and Christian world in the midst of which he was living. We find in his writings, interspersed in the midst of discussions and polemics, a host of features which make Carthage his native city, with its exterior and picturesque aspects, live again before our eyes, as well as its moral and religious life.12 And all this precise information extended far beyond the horizon of Africa, as far as the most distant regions of scattered Christianity.
Endowed with a mind fundamentally positive and practical, with a talent tempered to a superior fineness, which knew how to bind together in vigorous systems, theology, moral, and discipline, without mentioning the Latin tongue itself which he constrained with so much learning to new uses, this original and powerful personality inaugurated Latin Christian Literature in the West in a manner which was most resplendent.
A SHORT notice in St Jerome's de Viris Illustribus, § liii, and a few rare confidences of Tertullian about himself, offer us almost the only data at our disposal for relating his life.
He was born probably between the years 150 and 160: in any case, he had reached the full maturity of his talent by 197 when he wrote the Apologeticum. He was a native of Carthage. According to St Jerome, his father fulfilled the duties of "proconsular centurion," which may mean either a centurion of the town cohort stationed at Carthage, or an official |61 personage bearing the title of centurion, not officially but one in use by common parlance.13 His family was pagan. He himself deplores his errors of former days, and his sarcastic observations in regard to Christian beliefs: "Haec et nos risimus aliquando: de vestris sumus. Fiunt, non nascuntur Christiani" 14 He confesses that he was a sinner, that he frequented the public shows,15 that he committed adultery.16 He may possibly have had himself initiated into the mysteries of Mithra.17 He gives no very clear explanation of the reasons which influenced his turning to Christianity. The spectacle of the heroism of the Christians must have produced in his mind a lively impression: "Everyone, in the face of such prodigious endurance feels himself as it were struck by some doubt, and ardently, desires to find out what there is at the bottom of this matter: from the moment that he understands the truth, he forthwith embraces it himself." 18 He also energetically extols the evidence that existed of the power of exorcism possessed by the Christians: "What proof can be more certain? Here we see the truth displayed in its simplicity under the eyes of all, and strong in its own virtue. It is impossible to suspect any trickery." 19 Reading the Scriptures does the rest.20 Tertullian therefore was a convert who exchanged a very free manner of living for the rigours of Christian discipline. His horror of paganism, even where it was least open to blame, might have proceeded from his hatred of a past whereof he felt in himself the re-awakenings.
He was married. In his Ad Uxorem, he addresses himself to his wife and asks of her not to contract a second marriage. Was this jealousy for himself after he should be dead? Certainly not, since Christ predicted the altogether spiritual conditions of the Resurrection. But a salutary counsel of which every Christian will know how to draw profit.
He was a priest. St Jerome gives us formal testimony on |62 this point. This testimony is in opposition to the false interpretation of critics by which they have sought to invalidate it. How can one believe, after all, that Tertullian, a layman, could constitute himself without opposition the apologist, the polemist, the Doctor, which he was, and that he could have dared to give rules to a whole community in the intimate relations of their life with so much authoritative minuteness? Such a case would have been too exceptional in the early days of Christianity for no one to have stigmatised it as unusual. After the deceptions inflicted on the Church by Tertullian, there would not have been wanting people to diminish their importance or to give some explanations of their cause by reminding themselves that he had assumed the responsibilities of a teacher to which no official charge had appointed him, and that such a usurpation had intoxicated him with pride and finally ruined him. Now these considerations----so natural from the pen of writers in the Church----are nowhere apparent, and this silence completes our conviction that the information given by St Jerome can be and should be accepted as authentic.21
The great event in his life as a Christian was his going over to Montanism. How could such a man, with a mind so positive, so staunch a promotor of organised regulations, in full possession of his intellectual maturity and his prestige amongst his brethren, have allowed himself to become mixed up with an Oriental sect whose more or less frenzied external aspects were so little calculated to attract him? This is a somewhat confusing problem the solution of which, however, as we shall see, is not beyond attainment.
This sect had its birth in Phrygia, probably about the year 172, under the impulse of Montanus, a "Prophet," in which apostolate, two women, Maximilla and Priscilla were associated. Far from separating themselves from the "rule of faith," the Phrygian prophets formulated no proposition which was of a nature to stand in its way, and allowed themselves no rash speculations. It was not in this field that they directed their special efforts. Penetrated with the feeling that the world was shortly coming to an end (we know that this belief was common among the first generations of Christians, but these appeared to have sensed it with a quite special |63 intensity of apprehension), they desired above all to awaken souls from the moral lethargy under which they seemed to them to lie numbed, to arouse them by the fear of judgment to come, and to prepare them for this dread event through the agency of ascetic rules of a very precise nature. With a view to this, Montanus prescribed fastings, the carefully regulated programme of which left nothing to individual caprice; he advocated the joyful acceptation of martyrdom; he refused on principle all pardon to sinners convicted of grave delinquencies, in order not to encourage their weakness by any too accommodating amnesties.
This rigorousness, however formidable, did not go however to the excessive lengths to which asceticism is sometimes tempted to carry itself. Montanus possessed a certain sense of the practical, the impress of which he had shown in the clever organisation of his propaganda. Thus, he counselled that people should suffer martyrdom patiently, but not that they should go to meet it without necessity. Similarly, though distinctly hostile to re-marriage----and on this matter he had on his side a large part of the prevalent Christian opinion----he avoided any condemnation of the conjugal union in itself. He intuitively realised what human nature was capable of, but he had no hesitation in claiming from nature the most painful detachment in view of the imminent catastrophy.
Montanism might seem at first sight to have no other aim than to draw to itself, in order to carry them to the highest degree of exaltation and enthusiasm, the several strains of belief issuing from the purest vigour of Christianity. Notwithstanding, even in his native country, he soon awakened mistrust, and the Bishops of Asia were not lenient with him. The reason was that Montanus and his wives by no means gave themselves out as ordinary preachers of asceticism and virtue, as single-minded zealots seeking to communicate to others the flame by which they were animated. They considered themselves as the habitation of the Holy Spirit, or rather that they were identical with the Holy Spirit, the state of ecstasy being considered to have annihilated in them all that appertained to their own personality. Further still, the adherents of Montanus regarded him, and he regarded himself, as the living incarnation of this Consoler, this Intercessor, this |64 Paraclete, the coming of whom Christ had announced to his disciples according to the IVth Gospel (xvi), and who, in accordance with the promise of Jesus, was to lead them to the truth in its entirety. Thenceforward the oracles of Montanus became, as it were, a new Testament which in no way rendered void the Gospels, but completed them by filling up the gaps which Christ had left therein of His own will.
Montanism was not merely a movement, a simple guidance in the moral order, an aspiration towards a more rigid and purer life: it was belief in the mission of the Paraclete incarnate in the person of Montanus and in a lesser degree in that of his prophetesses, and in the absolute character of his precepts.
Such were the fundamental conceptions of the sect to which Tertullian gave his intellectual adhesion and the support of his rugged talent. He was not long in separating himself from the community at Carthage, and also in practically cutting off himself and his partisans from those whose lukewarmness he judged to be an offence. A passage from the de Anima, IX, proves that he celebrated the ritual ceremonies apart.22
However, the Montanist group at Carthage could never have been very numerous. People are not in the habit of giving themselves airs for loving the truth backed up by an élite, nor of mocking at the "vainglorious crowd of Psychics"; 23 nor do they haughtily quote the multi vocati, pauci electi (Matth., xxii, 14), when they have the consolation of numbering around them close ranks of adherents.
The little we know of the later history of this group in Africa comes from St Augustine who informs us in chapter lxxxvi of his de Haeresibus. He tells us: (1) that Tertullian did not hesitate to embroil himself with the Montanist sect, and from that moment established "his own conventicles"; (2) that the "Tertullianists"----by this name people distinguished his followers----lasted at Carthage up to the time of Augustine; that they there possessed a basilica; (3) that Augustine held a conference with the last adherents of the party, with the |65 result that they reconciled themselves to the Church and handed back their basilica to the Catholics.
Why should we question such precise and authoritative testimony? A man of intractable character, always prone to find fault with others, embittered further by disputes in which no mercy was shown, by the loss of his former authority, by the dull remorse due to his own inconsistencies, it is not to be wondered at that Tertullian did not succeed in keeping under his rod all his adepts in their first fervour, and that he withdrew himself from them with a handful of irreconcilables. Besides, Augustine, having come into contact with the "Tertullianists" of his time, was able and must have questioned them on their origin. We must also note that he speaks of their reconciliation with orthodoxy as a matter of common notoriety (basilicam, quae nunc etiam notissima est . . .; quod etiam te (he is writing to Quodvultdeus), meminisse arbitror). Neither any psychological likelihood nor any reasons of history invalidate the deliberate testimony which he gives.
When did Tertullian die? We do not know. A. Réville 24 supposed that he entered again "within the pale of the common Mother." "It is evident," he declares, "that a man of such ecclesiastical character, so episcopal as Cyprian, would not have made the writings of a Doctor, who had formed a separate sect, his favourite reading" (cf. St Jerome, de Vir. Ill., LIII). Réville's mistake is clear, and springs from the following considerations: (1) St Cyprian did, in fact, study Tertullian much. He closely imitated him in several of his treatises. But he never named him one single time, not even in the controversy around the baptism of heretics in which, however, he might well have availed himself of his opinion. (2) In addition, the tone in which ecclesiastical writers have spoken of Tertullian excludes the hypothesis of a tardy repentance. What cries of victory would have been heard had he finally recognised his error! Now, from no quarter whatever did these hosannas resound.
Many of the details, which it would have been interesting to know, elude us in the life of this tempestuous genius. It seems probable that he made one or several sojourns in Rome.25 |66 The supposition of a journey to Greece rests on a false interpretation of de Jejunio, XIII.26 However, the general line of his biography may be approximately sketched, and the examination of his works will render more precise its various stages.
IT is necessary to consider the books ad Nationes and the Apologeticum together. These two treatises were written in the year 197 at a few months' interval:27 precise allusions to the revolt of Albinus against Septimus Severus and to the reprisals which followed the defeat sustained by Albinus near Lyons on the 19th February, 197, enable us to give the priority to the ad Nationes. Besides, the ad Nationes, in more than one place, indicates the developments in the Apologeticum; and in places where the same arguments are arrayed in both, it is in the Apologeticum that they are clothed in a more finished form. The difference between the two opuscula is shown in the aim which the author pursues in them: the principal objective of the ad Nationes is to attack the pagan morals and beliefs; that of the Apologeticum is to defend the morals and beliefs of the Christians. Again, the ad Nationes is addressed to the "nations," that is to say, to the pagans, to the unbelievers without; the Apologeticum was destined not for the Roman Senate, as the historian Eusebius of Caesarea has wrongly supposed, but for the praesides provinciarum, the Governors of the Provinces----that is to say, for the Pro-Consul of Africa, and beyond Africa, for the entire body of those high magistrates on whom depended practically the fate of the Christians. Tertullian wrote his Apologeticum in the form of a speech by counsel. As a matter of fact, no defence whatever was allowed to a Christian accused before the tribunal. It is just this lack of legal fairness that Tertullian takes for his text in developing his plea in writing, which endeavours to anticipate the judgment of the praesides whom he pretends to harangue. |67
What were the occasions offered to Tertullian for lifting up his voice in protest? For some fifteen years past, the ProConsuls of Africa had shown a certain tolerance in regard to the Christians. But unequivocal indications revealed the virulence of the popular hatred, to which a few years later in 202, the edict of Septimus Severus was to give free licence. "Day by day the people beset us," Tertullian affirms; 28 "day by day they betray us, and very often they come to do us violence while at our meetings and assemblies." And again,29 "how often, without consulting you (the praesides), on their own initiative do not the people who hate us, attack us, with stones and torches in their hands? In their Bacchanalian fury they spare not even Christians who are dead; from their repose in the grave, from the resting place of death, they snatch their bodies rotting in corruption, they tear them in pieces and scatter their poor remains." To violence, they added derisive mockery. An apostate Jew had devised a representation of the God of the Christians under the form of a two-footed ass and had circulated this caricature in Carthage.
"Here," relates Tertullian,30 "is a new blasphemy against our God which the people pass from mouth to mouth. Not long ago, in this very town, an unmitigated scoundrel----a renegade from his own religion and who is only a Jew through the hurt which his own skin has undergone (we note the allusion to circumcision), exhibited a cartoon against us with this inscription: Onochoetes. It represented a personage with the ears of an ass, a cloak, a book, a cloven foot. And the crowd of people who believe this rascally Jew! . . . There is only talk of Onochoetes throughout the town."
It was necessary at all costs to create a reaction against popular prejudices partaking of a more educated state of mind. Tertullian on the whole did no more than yield to the pressure of the same circumstances which had brought forth the Greek Apologists. These apologetic works he exploited: but he placed his characteristic mark, so vigorous and easily recognisable to all, on what he borrowed from them. It is by |68 comparing Justin with Tertullian that we are able to form a better estimate of the masterful literary talent and of the strength of mind of the inexorable dialectician. Whether it was from scorn of vain technique or from an incapability of setting forth his ideas in order, Justin did not bind himself down to any settled plan of reasoning. When he wished to present a picture of the life of the Christians, he scattered their principal features in chapters xii, xiv, xv, xxix, lxii, of his first Apology and in chapter x of the second. He strikes some happy developments, but does not carry them to a point or extract the pith. The Apologeticum, on the other hand, is a compactly written and powerful composition. This has been sometimes contested: it could only have been otherwise without a very attentive consideration of the landmarks which Tertullian himself took pains to establish throughout the plan of his work.31 First there is an introduction (i-vi) in which he lays down, in the first place, the iniquitas odii erga nomen christianorum (I, 4), and secondly, the uncertain character of those human laws which were put in force against the Christians as though they were irrevocable. In § iv the general line of his argument is indicated: "I am going to demonstrate positively the innocence of the Christians. And I shall not only refute the accusations brought against us, but I shall return them against their authors (such is, as a matter of fact, his method throughout this work) . . .; I shall reply to each category of complaints which refers to the clandestine crimes which they bring against us (this point will be studied from § vi, 11 to § ix, 19), and to those which we perpetrate (as they say) within the knowledge of all (such as the crimen laesae divinitatis, examined from § ix, 20, to § xxviii, 2; and the crimen ---- or titulus ---- laesae maiestatis which is the subject of § xxviii, 3, to xlv), ---- crimes on account of which we are held to be abominable, mad, worthy of punishment and meet subjects for derision, in quibus scelesti, in quibus vani, in quibus damnandi, in quibus inridendi deputamur." 32 A summing up in five chapters (xlvi to l) |69 opposes the Christian doctrine to the doctrines of the philosophers and appeals to the justice of God against the ridiculous justice of man.
All this possesses a connected order as rigorously followed as the texture of the Apologies of St Justin is indecisive and wavering. It is especially in the passages dealing with law that the superiority of Tertullian declares itself. Thus, in chapter iv of his 1st Apology, Justin briefly criticised the illegality of the procedure practised against the Christians. Tertullian again takes up this point, but with a force, a sequence, and technical precision, which only a long practice in Roman law could have permitted him. The arguments which fill the first chapters of the Apologeticum are irresistible in logic and eloquence. They concentrate themselves into well hammered formulae, they narrow themselves down into irreducible dilemmas in which are shown the stupidity, and the entire lack of logic of a procedure which was opposed to all traditional forms of administering justice. In face of a contest conducted in this manner, the Romans were to learn that the issue was not with any haphazard attorney with more zeal than knowledge, but rather with a man of law, broken in to all the finesse of the bar, familiar with history and with law, and whose wrongs were worthy to move (if not to convince) their chief magistrates.33
The general tone of the work has an imperious and ironical ruggedness very different from the conciliatory amenities of Justin. Even when pleading for the sacred cause, Tertullian is not the man to have recourse to concerted accommodation or to diplomatic prudence. His keen wit takes his fill of mythology, and revives those discussions inherited from Greek apologists which likewise had received their full measure of Jewish apologetics and Hellenic philosophy. More respectful towards public authority, as the precepts of St Paul enjoin as a duty, he claims however for his brethren the right to shun the orgies for which the name-days of the Emperors provided occasion, and to avoid all deification of the Caesars. Where philosophers are concerned, there must be no concession, no coquetting with them: where he |70 desires to place in relief the humility, the purity and dignity of the Christians, it is to the pride of Plato and of Diogenes, to the depravity of Socrates and Speusippus, to the base flatteries of Aristotle that he marshals them in opposition. He only slightly unbends when describing the altogether simple and correct life of the believers: yet he mingles with this more moving picture some mordant shafts which he knows not how to forgo.
He is almost completely himself in this work, with his powerful logic, the virtuosity of which is sometimes near neighbour to sophistry, with his incisive and haughty ruggedness which, one may say, seeks to. humiliate his adversaries rather than to convince them, and with his nervous vigour of style.
It sometimes happens to writers to put their best selves into their first works. Tertullian has thrown into his Apologeticum a quantity of reflections which he is to resume later on in order to develop and make a profound study of them, and they were to form the substance of several of his treatises. Nearly all the thesis de Testimonio Animae is to be found in chapter xvii. He only had to accentuate in his ad Scapulam his proud declarations on liberty of conscience taken from chapter xxvii. In chapter xxxviii, he makes a preliminary flourish with vigorous invective against the theatre, which he is to thunder forth in the de Spectaculis. The leading motive of the de Praescriptione is already sketched out in chapter xlvii, 9 et s. And chapter xxi traces the outlines of the theory of the Word, which is to re-appear completed in the Adversus Praxean. All these questions, touched on en passant which he had neither the leisure nor the wish to study exhaustively at the time, he had in mind to take up again, when the right moment came, in order to clearly elucidate them and to extract therefrom their full measure.
The Apologeticum is one of those works which survive the circumstances which gave them birth and which enter into the common treasury of civilised nations. Nowhere shall we listen to more fervid demands for justice, tolerance, or the rights of an accused man; to more vivid protestations against the tyranny of unjust laws assumed to be irrevocable; lastly, to a more eloquent defence of Christianity, of its moral |71 nobility, of the heroism of its martyrs. If there be in this admirable special pleading forms which are worn out, arguments which have perished with time, the contrary would have been the more wonderful. Taken as a whole, his work holds good, it still lives. "Tertullian," said Chateaubriand, "speaks like a modern; the motives of his eloquence have their roots in the circle of the eternal verities. One part of his plea in favour of religion might still serve the same cause to-day" (Génie du Christian., III, iv, 2).
The educated Christians immediately felt this startling superiority. The Apologeticum was translated into Greek a few years after its appearance, it seems. Tertullian himself did not trouble to do this, for some fragments preserved by Eusebius betray slight errors of interpretation.34 At a time when translations of Latin works into Greek were so rare,35 it was to the advantage of the faith to encourage these exchanges between West and East, in disregard of the national susceptibilities of Hellenism.
Compared with this masterpiece of passion and eloquence, the De Testimonio Animae appears a little weak. In it we see Tertullian endeavouring to establish an original method for gaining access to the heart of non-Christians. He states that the tactics of the Apologists, his predecessors, had not succeeded. They had attempted to prove through the instrumentality of a quantity of extracts drawn from the profane philosophers and poets that there were agreements more pronounced than disagreements between the new doctrine and the old pagan wisdom. These attempts at conciliation had resulted in no good: the enemies of the faith had contented themselves with rejecting their most admired masters in places where they seemed to offer support to the truth of Christianity. It was useless to have recourse to this vain pursuit of learning; useless too, to eulogise the Holy Books, since in order to believe in them one must first be a Christian (ad quas [litteras] nemo venit, nisi iam Christianus). For the faith, the real point of contact must be sought for |72 in the human soul before it had undergone deformation through any learning: te simplicem et rudem et impolitam et idioticam compello. If we listen to the testimony of this yet whole-hearted soul, we shall realise the Christianity latent therein (testimonium animae naturaliter christianae). In the spontaneity of his language, of his entreaties, and of his exclamations even, his soul proclaims the unity and goodness of God, the existence of demons, a future survival and a reality of rewards beyond the grave. These are the truths which nature herself, nature pure and simple, had confided to him. And we must beware of seeing in these self-revealing phrases mere stereotypes, void of all thoughtful reflection, of the vicious forms and formalities to the use of which his familiarity with letters must have contributed. From what had literature herself borrowed these eruptiones animae, if not from the very soul itself? Let the sincere-minded pagan offer an attentive ear to this truth which he carries enshrined in himself, whose accents he knows not how to comprehend!
There is nothing more curious than the divergences of criticism over this opusculum. Moehler and Neander admired it. Viala, a Protestant theologian, wrote: 36 "Of all the works of Tertullian this one seems to me to be the deepest, most universal, and possibly also the only one which will last out." Others, on the other hand, consider it as "one of the most feeble" by this author, and remark "that it is made up entirely of studies in Sophism and of conventional phrases in the current language of the day." 37
Perhaps in the De Testimonio Animae there may be something to justify in a certain measure this enthusiasm and these slighting references. Tertullian promises more than he gives; he traces out the main lines of a method further than he has succeeded in applying it: he sketches the theory of an agreement between the supernatural and the human soul, without establishing it by adequately defined facts. He possessed an intuition which is full of interest and he seems to have owed this to the Stoic philosophy,38 but not sufficient |73 psychological penetration to enable anything vital it might contain to emerge, and his prescience has only approximately arrived at results.
The Ad Scapulam is a short "caution" in five chapters addressed to Scapula, the Pro-Consul of Africa, who, breaking away from the relative longanimity of some of his predecessors, in the year 212-13 began to persecute the Christians with hate, and did not hesitate to extend to them the penalty of burning which the worst criminals were generally able to avoid. The soldiery profited by this official rigour to despoil suspects likewise menaced by their own private enemies who denounced them freely. Right from the outset of this work, Tertullian lays down with perfect dignity the position which he intends to take up and maintain; it was not pity he demanded for the Christians,----in becoming Christian they made the sacrifice of their life; but it was to the self-interest of their enemies that he determines to appeal. He takes himself to task: "What am I saying? Of their enemies? rather of their friends, for 'to love those who love us' is a sentiment natural to all; it belongs only to the Christians to love their enemies (amicos enim diligere omnium est, inimicos autem solorum Christianorum)." He recalls certain fundamental principles: firstly, liberty of conscience (this he affirms in such formal terms that Pamelius, one of the editors of his works in the XVIIth century, cannot conceal his anxiety and observes that in the beginning of the Scorpiace there are precepts of quite a contrary kind): 39 "Every man receives by natural law liberty to worship what seems good to him. . . . It is no part of religion to exercise restraint upon religion which should be embraced of one's own free will and not by force (nec religionis est cogere religionem quae sponte suscipi debet, non vi)." From this ensues the perfect loyalty of the Christians: "The Christian is no man's enemy, least of all the Emperor's. Inasmuch as he knows that he (the Emperor) is established by his God, he necessarily must cherish him, must respect and honour him and must desire his welfare, as well as that of the whole Roman Empire so long as the world shall last, for the Empire will last so long as the world. We therefore honour the Emperor as we are permitted to honour him, as it is fitting for him to be honoured, that is to say, as |74 a man who is second after God . . . ." What subjects are more pacific than the Christians?----yet nevertheless if we had a mind. . . . A muffled threat here rumbles. Already a hint of this might have been discerned in chapter xxxvii, 3, of the Apologeticum. In other respects, the Apologeticum supplied the greater part of the reasonings which are developed in the Ad Scapulam. There is one however which is new and which gives to this work its particular intention. Tertullian enumerates a certain number of recent facts wherein Scapula should read the portending signs of divine anger: devastating rains, balls of fire suspended over the walls of Carthage, and an eclipse of the sun.40 We here recognise a development to which Roman historians were partial. We must note that Tertullian hits back in a very spirited manner against the pagans, and lays to their charge the common complaint, which imputed all public calamities to the Christians as despisers of the national gods. Then joining issue directly with Scapula he draws up for his consideration the warning spectacle of the punishments by which certain persecuting magistrates had been overtaken: one, Vigellius Saturninus, had lost his eyesight; another, Claudius Herminianus, was attacked by gruesome sores festering with maggots: he recognised his mistake and died almost a Christian. Was not Scapula himself, even at this moment, bowed down by illness? Now when had this illness begun? Just after he had delivered up to the wild beasts the martyr, Mauilus of Adrumyttium.
The idea that Providence manifests in the world below the effects of its rigour by the chastisement whereby it strikes the impious in their bodies and in their life had for long brought to the Christians (as to the Jews of old) its avenging consolations. Josephus 41 had shown Herod falling into putrefaction, consumed while living by worms, maddened with suffering, and putting an end to his unspeakable woes by suicide. Herod Agrippa, the persecutor of the Apostles had expired, he too devoured by worms.42 Pilate was reputed to have fallen under the yoke of such misfortunes that he was "compelled |75 to become his own murderer and his own hangman."43 Lactantius was to trumpet forth an ample score to the same strain in his De Mortibus Persecutorum. Tertullian already draws from these events their powerful effect in his Ad Scapulam; but he has sufficient moral and literary tact not to swell them to excess. The work possesses a noble and vigorous energy whose pathos becomes still more insistent towards the end where Tertullian supplicates the Pro-Consul one last time "not to fight against God" (μὴ θεομαχειν; the expression, borrowed from the Acts of the Apostles, xxiii, 9, is quoted in its Greek form).
It was not only against the hostility of the public powers and the ill-usage of the crowd that the Christians had to defend themselves; it was also against the Jews. Born of Judaism, long confounded with it by common opinion, Christianity did not have long to wait before undergoing the effects of the hostility of Israel for whom it cherished itself a profound antipathy. "Nam et nunc adventum eius (Christi) expectant (Judaei), nec alia magis inter nos et illos compulsatio est, quam quod jam venisse non credunt": "The Jews are still expecting the coming of Christ and between them and us no subject of disagreement is stronger than their refusal to believe that He has already come." 44 This in reality was the cardinal point of dispute between Jews and Christians. But many other secondary subjects of strife had arisen to add to this fundamental grievance.45
Very numerous in Africa,46 the Jews did their best to stir up the hatred of the pagans. Synagogas Judaeorum, fontes persecutionum is another phrase of Tertullian's.47 A recent disputation in public which had resulted in failure on account of the bad behaviour of some of the audience, was to suggest to Tertullian the idea of putting in writing the arguments which it had not been possible to deliver orally. From this incident |76 arose the Adversus Judaeos. The general purpose of this treatise is quite clear. Tertullian sets out to show the Jews that the general idea of revelation does not allow us to attribute to the Law of Moses any but a temporary value and that they were wrong in clinging to it, since the New Law had almost entirely taken the place of the ancient rites which had been abolished. An examination of the Prophecies proved that the expected Messiah had brought to mankind his message of salvation. From the time of Adam up to Christ, the divine ordinances had been evolved continuously, but from henceforth their end had been attained: "Non potes futurum contendere, quod vides fieri." In matters of detail the discussion suffers from some confusion. The last chapters (ix----xiv) are borrowed for the greater part from the IIIrd book of the Adversus Marcionem; 48 and this, together with instances of clumsiness, make us doubt whether it was Tertullian himself who made this unskilful transcription.49
THE apologetic writings of Tertullian form the most generous, the most vibrating portion of his works, but not perhaps the most curious to whosoever would seek to penetrate within this soul of wrath and passion. From this point of view, far more significant are the treatises wherein he undertakes to define the attitude of the Christians in Africa as regards pagan society, and the various forms of the civilisation of his day. Here we shall learn to know him through and through with all the fierce ardour and rage of his temperament.
"Christianity and the Empire," Ernest Renan 50 stated, "regarded each other like two animals who would like to devour each other. . . . When a society of men . . . |77 becomes a republic apart in the State, it is a scourge even though it be composed of angels. It was not without reason that they hated these men so gentle and benevolent to outward appearance. In very truth they were rending asunder the Roman Empire. They sapped her power. It was no good saying that a man is a good citizen because he pays his taxes, because he is an alms-giver and orderly, when in reality he is a citizen of heaven and only accounts his native land on earth as a prison in which he lives enchained side by side with the outcast." There are many who represent the first generations of Christians in the same light as did E. Renan; they imagined them as voluntary exiles from social life, and as stubbornly opposed to the temptations which it presented to them. We must not take too literally the somewhat emphatic declarations of certain apologists and the chiding unreasonableness of certain moralists. The reality appears to be very different. It is enough to read attentively the opuscula wherein Tertullian regulates matters dealing with questions of their interior economy to see how various were the leanings of the faithful in Carthage and Africa. There were the simple-minded, incapable and careless of speculative theories, who contented themselves with the quiet possession of their faith, but by reason of their simplicity were exposed to enervating sophisms; 51 there were the intellectuals, who prided themselves on broaching the most abstruse questions in religious metaphysics; 52 there were the weak, "the Christians fickle as air," 53 who, far from savouring of martyrdom,54 persecution,55 and repentance,56 before all else showed themselves desirous of their own tranquillity,57 and pretended to contrive here below as comfortable a life as possible; even though at the |78 price of the most grievous compromises; 58 there were the "liberals", who dreamed of reconciling Christianity with the world, or at least set themselves against all useless provocation; 59 lastly, there were the rigorists, like-minded with himself. Tertullian assumed the task of herding this fluctuating and diversified human flotsam and jetsam willy nilly into the narrow paths which formed for him the only way permitted to a Christian.60
What in reality did Christianity mean for him? A faith with no doubts, a regula fidei, in other words, a conglomerate compounded of precepts laid as of obligation upon the intelligence, whose authenticity was guaranteed by the unanimous voice of the Churches; but before all else, a discipline, that is a rule of life, and a check upon the will. His legal mind approved of the idea of a doctrine which throws upon human life -in all its different activities, in the infinite multiplicity of its acts, a closely circumscribed network of regulations, with the promise of eternal recompense for those who shall accept its enchaining hold, and the threat of eternal punishment against whomsoever shall set himself in opposition with a view to escape from it. The God whom he cherishes is the inflexible and jealous Judge who has established timor as the solid base of man's salvation, who scatters temptations in this world in order to prove His faithful ones, and who holds His vengeance ever ready. From this arose the strictures of Tertullian against the heretic, Marcion, who was given to making much of the anthropomorphic attributes of the God of the Old Testament.
"Hearken, ye sinners," cries Tertullian, "and you who are not yet sinners, in order that you may learn how you may become so. People have invented a God who doth not take offence, who neither groweth angry |79 nor taketh vengeance; a God in a hell wherein no flames bubble forth, and which hath no outer darkness, no terrors to make you tremble, no gnashings of teeth. He is all good, I tell you, He forbiddeth sin surely, but only on paper. He holdeth you in regard, if you are kind enough to grant Him your obedience, for making some show of honouring Him. As for Fear, He will have none of it." 61
A conception such as this enabled Tertullian to logically deduce for himself the necessity of a mortified life, entirely co-ordinated and hanging upon the thought of his own individual salvation. But he was not the kind of man to confine his efforts to the pursuit of a perfection purely egoistical. In addition to his duty as priest obliging him to exterior action, he was too combative, too passionate, too bent on winning over souls, and infusing into them his ideas, affections and hates, not to strive to impress on others his own ideal in so far as a perfect resemblance was possible.
To come to facts: see him busied in defining certain rules of conduct for the use of his brethren in cases of doubt or controversy. For example: in what measure was it lawful for a Christian to take part in the life of the pagans (De Idololatria), for a Christian woman to adorn herself (De Cultu Feminarum)? Must young girls wear the veil (De Virginibus Velandis)? When and how was it becoming to pray (De Oratione)? He is never content with stating general principles. He enters into particular facts, in every little detail which makes up the thread of day to day. The De Idololatria is a kind of treatise in moral theology wherein, after having laid down the gravity of the crime of idolatry, Tertullian passes in review the different phases of life in the world, its callings, ceremonies, even its language, and sets himself to define in each case how far the Christian, who should be the enemy of indolence, might take part therein. And with what minuteness does he determine the conditions of prayer, the tone, the gestures and the attitude to observe (De Oratione)! With what scrupulosity does he measure the length of the veil suitable for virgins, showing how it should be disposed before and behind, and just how long it should fall, and the exact age at which they should |80 begin to wear it! He is not one of those moralists who suppose that the spirit alone is sufficient to vivify everything. He likes to foresee, so as to give rules for everything, because he is aware of the feebleness, the perversity of man, and fears that he may escape by some side issue wherein he had omitted to trace the road he should follow or to erect warning notices. Rigidly defined explanations must therefore adapt the injunctions of the law to everyday realities.
This is the spirit, at once authoritative and punctilious, in which he treats of the problems sustaining the development of Catholic life in a heterogeneous milieu. Not that he was incapable of a kind of grave gentleness, even of a certain unction. Let us run hastily through the De Paenitentia: it is not a didactic treatise on penance as an ecclesiastical institution, but far more a kind of sermon wherein Tertullian addresses himself especially to the catechumens still only slightly familiar with the demands of Christian life, or too ready to elude them. One is struck by a certain soothing solicitude and benevolence in the tone which he adopts. Harshness, in very truth, is not wanting. He is prompt to anger against the "hearer of the word" who, while confessing to the purifying virtue of baptism, has thoroughly made up his mind, at the moment of receiving the rite, not to give up the sins which he loves (cf. § vi); against the sinner who grows weak with alarm at the thought that he will have to live "without taking the baths, sordidly deprived of all joy, in the coarse garb of sackcloth, under the unsightliness of ashes, with countenance disfigured by fasting" (XI). But in several places we are able to notice a gentle and compassionate mysticism, and accents of pious and tender charity: for instance, when in order to re-assure the sinner against every temptation to despair, he insists on the fatherhood of God (VIII).
The De Patientia and the De Oratione breathe the same relative serenity. In like manner, a virile emotion, with nothing insipid about it, permeates the entire Ad Martyres with a vein of consolation, the sustaining influence of which Tertullian brings to the benedicii martyres designati, who were awaiting the ordeal of torture and death in prison at Carthage. Here again, however, under an outward show of humility (nec tantus sum, ut vos alloquar . . .), together with respectful |81 entreaties to accept their glorious destiny, the rigour of his asceticism pierces through, which would quickly make itself pitilessly felt before even the shadow of any weakness.62
This asceticism is the foundation and leading principle of Tertullian's nature. Even before he had given his full and entire adhesion to Montanism, he never ceased combating faint-heartedness, falling away, and weakness, whose deadly languor in his view weighed down the atmosphere. Formal refusal to allow the Christians to take part in the public shows under whatever form (the circus, theatre, athletic contests, gladiatorial encounters)----for all these reminded them of idolatry or exhaled pleasure (De Spectaculis); formal injunctions against exercising any calling which, from near or far, might give any colour to the worship of false gods; against the teaching of profane literature; express reservations in connection with engaging in commerce which thrives by cupidity and fraud and is often near neighbour to idolatry; the forbidding of any participation in any feast-day, in any ceremony, in any custom inspired by the worship of false gods; a formal interdict against accepting any public office; the incompatibility existing between military service and one's duty as a Christian; a proscription of every kind of verbal expression savouring of paganism (De Idololatria); the forbidding of the re-marriage of widows; of Christians to contract mixed marriages (Ad Uxorum). These are some of the stern limitations which he exalts, and with what merciless harshness, with what resolute, brutal acceptance of all the consequences involved in the principles which he sets forth!
There are pages, on the other hand, admirable for their dialectic, their subtil vigour and their ardent desire to convince. The curious thing is that in this fiery inquisitor there smoulders one lingering weakness: he has preserved some kindly feeling for rhetoric, its refinements and its tricks of style. Amid so much rugged exhortation, certain passages of a refined and delicate turn give a singular effect. This is how at the end of the De Culta Feminarum, he enumerates the virtues with which alone it becomes Christian women to embellish themselves:----
"Show yourselves adorned with the cosmetics and ornaments imitated from the prophets and the apostles. |82 Derive your white vesture from simplicity, from modesty your red, paint your eyes with reserve, your lips with silence, hang on your ears the words of God, bind on your neck the yoke of Christ . . . , array yourselves in the silk of probity, the fine linen of sanctity, and the purple of chastity, and, decked out in this manner, you will have God for your lover!"
He once gave free rein to this hidden disposition. It is in the prodigious De Pallio which, of a surety, is the most difficult from its Latinity, and in regard to which Claude de Saumaise, that incomparable exegetist of the XVIIth century expended large stores of ingenuity without succeeding in unravelling all its hard sayings. Under colour of justifying himself for having exchanged the toga for the rough cloak, Tertullian lets himself go (on a subject otherwise well-defined in Christian tradition) 63 in the most astounding developments, as if he were desirous of proving to the lettered men of his age what an unrivalled rhetorician he might have been if it had pleased him to have made a profession of belles-lettres. Such purposely trifling virtuosity in the author of the De Idololatria and the Apologeticum scandalised the good Tillemont: "We find in the De Pallio," he says,64 "great erudition, but I do not think that we find in it all the wisdom and gravity which we might expect from a man with Tertullian's reputation." Malebranche,65 for his part, in whose opinion Tertullian is a type of those "strong imaginations" whom he dislikes because "they throw passion over everything," declares that there is no excuse for "this foolish idea of making himself obscure and incomprehensible." And we must confess that it is strange that a man so penetrated with the seriousness of human life and so quivering with expectation of the eternal fatherland, should have indulged in these distilled literary conceits. A contradiction like this reveals how far Tertullian remained a man of his time, and how profoundly its profane |83 learning, which in all other respects he affects to hold in distrust, had set its mark on him.
IT is not only in the practical order, but also in the intellectual, that Tertullian practised his magisterial scolding. The Gnostics had no more formidable enemy.
The unbridled imagery of these pseudo-Christian intellectuals, deeply infected with individualism, and eager to promulgate new doctrines, who turned topsy-turvy the theory of creation, distinguished between the true God, and God the Creator and Legislator of the Old Testament, and placed between this supreme God and the visible universe their married Aeons, their syzygies, their pleromata, their ogdoads and their archons; who made light of the reality of the events recorded in the Gospels and whittled down the historic Christ into a phantom Jesus who had neither suffered nor risen again, who enclosed in straitly circumscribed categories the benefits of a redemption reduced to absurdity, from which the greater part of mankind was excluded; who distorted the idea of the Church which they personified in one of the Aeons of their grotesque cosmogonies; of whom some ended by proclaiming that "it is quite lawful for gold to drag itself in the mud without soiling itself,"66 that the destinies of the soul are in no wise solidly compact with the weaknesses of the flesh----acts not being able to change the spiritual nature of the human being----and that no one is obliged to suffer for an unreal Christ whose Passion was entirely fictitious: this unrestrained criticism, this pride which refused to bow before the beliefs common among the faithful inspired in Tertullian the most furious opposition. All the more so that the Gnostics excelled in awakening doubt in the hearts of those who had the weakness or presumption to hold discourse with them,67 and that many souls felt themselves discouraged by certain desertions which had just afflicted the Church.
In the De Praescriptione Haereticorum, Tertullian applied himself energetically to counter this formidable contagion of |84 scandal. After an out-and-out indictment of profane philosophy, of Aristotelian dialectics,----that past mistress of subtilty, contradiction, and of vain curiosities of the mind,----he raises the juridical argument of "prescription" as a supreme counter-stroke against this heresy. The true bearing of this can only be appreciated through the practice of Roman Law, and some explanations are here necessary.
The Law of the Twelve Tables established that whosoever shall have enjoyed for the space of two years the use of any property in land, and for the space of one year any other form of property, shall become the legitimate owner thereof (with the exception of certain cases reserved).68 This form of acquiring property was called usucapio. But it was reserved only to those possessing citizenship.69 A different procedure was needed for property in the provinces which did not carry with it legal (Quiritian) ownership, and for aliens who, lacking the title of citizens, were not qualified to obtain the dominium.70 "It was permitted to anyone who had obtained possession of any property in the provinces in a regular manner, and had been in possession thereof for at least ten years, to rebut all claim on the part of the former possessor by means of a plea in demurrer, longae possessionis praescriptio." 71 Supposing a claimant came forward to claim any such property as belonging to him. The Praetor then handed to him a written form in which were defined the points on which the judge designate would have to pronounce. But at the head of this written statement he drew up, on the prayer of the defendant, a conditional restraint setting forth that, if the defendant had in reality possessed the property for the legal space of time, the plaint brought against him would be non-suited a priori. The praescriptio, therefore, was an exception enabling the possessor to render void the action which was being brought against him for the recovery of the property.72
Such was the method of procedure which Tertullian introduced into the domain of theology. The heretics arrogated to |85 themselves the right to make dissertations on the Scriptures; they interpreted them arbitrarily; sometimes even they corrected and mutilated them. Now the whole question resolved itself into this: had they the right to touch them? To whom did the Scriptures belong? This point, once decided, would render unnecessary any plea on the question of principle.
It was historically indubitable, affirmed Tertullian, that they are the property of the Catholic Church who is heir to them through the channel of legitimate transmission. It was a fact that Christ charged the Apostles to preach His doctrine and made them its depositaries; this fact they had transmitted in their turn to the Churches called Apostolic; and, by the intermediary of these Churches, they had passed to other centres of Christianity in proportion as they became enlightened throughout the world. And what proved this uninterrupted succession still more was the identity of the traditions which perpetuated themselves among the different groups of Catholics.
This is the leading idea of this treatise, which is one of the most vigorous and most strongly put together of the writings of Tertullian and the one which modern theologians have most admired.73 Strict logic would have demanded that, after it had been thus firmly supported upon law and upon history, any further disputation with the heterodox should have been refused. But it was too much to ask of this game fighter to obey the dictates of logic. It was above all for the use of the Catholic masses that he had hammered out his system. Once the bulk of his following had been placed in safety in the stronghold handed down to them, he did not hesitate to make on his own account the most brilliant sorties against the enemy as much to give additional assurance to his own people as to throw into confusion the opposite camp. The De Baptismo, which gives a complete theory of Christian baptism, is directed against a "viper" of the Cainite heresy. In the Contra Hermogenem, he joins issue with the painter of that name, "that heretic and mischief-maker who confounds eloquence with loquacity and impudence with stability." Hermogenes maintained that matter is eternal, |86 and that God made everything from it. Against him Tertullian opposes a certain number of difficulties, in addition to copious abuse. In giving to matter eternity----an attribute belonging to God----Hermogenes, in his opinion, made matter the equal of God. Further, he raised it above God by reducing God to the necessity of having need of it in order to accomplish His work of creation. God, therefore, did not certainly make use of it ut dominus. He could only make use of it precario, for if He had used it ex dominio, it would be necessary to make Him responsible for the existence of evil in the world, since He would not have permitted matter, an attribute of Himself, to spread abroad the evil which it holds within itself. Not having possessed it ex dominio, He could not on that account have made use of it except as of a property outside Himself,----aut precario because He had need of it, aut ex injuria, because He was the more powerful. Let Hermogenes choose! Thus, in each detail of the discussion, the argument from law crops up every moment. The Adversus Valentinianos is little more than a compilation of passages drawn from the great work of St Irenaeus, Irenaeus omnium doctrinarum curiosissimus explorator, as Tertullian calls him (§ v). He makes a point of bringing in some jesting and a rather amusing satire on the mystery in which the sect of Valentinus, the Gnostic, was presuming to involve itself. The five books of the Adversus Marcionem represent an original effort in quite another way.74 I will only mention here the essence of the Marcionist thesis. Marcion had been keenly struck by the differences existing between the idea of God as revealed in the Old Testament, and that which appears in the Gospels. On the one hand, a severe and even cruel God, in whom some of the passions belonging to man live and boil over, who loves, hates, takes vengeance, and is subject to indecision and repentance; on the other hand, a God of clemency and goodness, the celestial Father of all creatures. Marcion started from this opposition in order to accommodate to his liking the ideas contained in Revelation. In his view, the true God, the supreme God, had been in very truth and for the first time manifested in Christ; as for the God of the Old Testament, in his eyes He was a simple Demiurge, a |87 secondary God, responsible for the creation of the ὕλη, of matter evil in itself. Of course the Catholics could not accept these views. By denying Judaism, Marcion committed not only a "colossal historical error"; 75 he robbed Christianity of the majesty which the long vista of the centuries, previously preparing for the event, had added to the new religion. So Tertullian waged against this heresiarch a particularly implacable warfare. Each one of the five books of his treatise taken separately is longer than his other works. And what a mine of information (still indifferently well explored) for theology, history, exegesis, and the forms of Christian polemics!
However grateful the Catholics might be for such a champion, it is evident that with his mania for domineering over his fellow-Christians, Tertullian could not fail to excite around him the most lively opposition. People did not suffer themselves to be kept under as docilely as he could have wished. A coalition was set up against him, consisting not only of the "laxists," but also of the moderate minded who, pained at seeing the evangelic yoke weighted to excess, took occasion to entrench themselves behind the Scriptures and to oppose any exaction which did not find sure support in them. It is probable that the Bishops, whose actions Tertullian did not hesitate on occasion to criticise, were in favour of this reaction. How could the Bishops have supported this intransigeant to whom quieta non movere would have appeared the worst form of abdication, and who were constantly required to resolve questions on principle instead of leaving them to be cleared up by the exigencies of life itself?
Tertullian was well aware of this spirit of opposition; and he was the more exasperated thereby because the Scriptures, even when appealed to by the most accomplished of advocates and twisted by the most dexterous of tormentors into making the most convincing texts speak on his behalf, left him sometimes defenceless in the face of particular cases which the Holy Spirit (as they would have said) had not foreseen.76
In order to fill these terrible gaps, he essayed a fresh expedient. He made appeal to his studies as a man of law. He reminded himself that custom (mos, mores majorum, |88 consuetudo), was one of the sources whence flowed jus civile. Custom was considered by the Roman jurists as expressing the tacit consent of the people, the source of all law. Having been proved by long use, "it was equally binding on the judge as was the law," 77 and although its original influence was becoming progressively feebler, none the less in principle it remained one of the modes whereby law was fashioned. In certain instances therefore in which the Scriptures were either mute or ambiguous, and a certain tradition seemed to favour his views, Tertullian bade people note that custom, by the very fact that it is a custom, enshrines its justification in itself.78 Consuetudo evidently proceeds from traditio. But in order to render valid this traditio, was a written origin necessary as the "liberal" party pretended? Not the least in the world. Tradition, even without this point d'appui of origin, was perfectly admissible. Did not a thousand examples drawn from Christian practice prove this superabundantly? Had Christ anywhere ordained the pronouncing at the moment of baptism the words: "I renounce Satan, his pomps and his angels"? Where is it written that we must sign ourselves with the sign of the Cross on so many occasions? etc. . . . All these practices have no other authority than that of custom: traditio auctrix, consuetudo confirmatrix, fides observatrix. And, as a final deduction, it is reason which brings her support to tradition itself: Rationem traditioni et consuetudini et fidei patrocinaturam aut ipse perspicies aut ab aliquo qui perspexerit disces. From this follows, concludes Tertullian, that in default of a definite law it is custom which provides the law----just as in civil law----and this law has sufficient justification in the authority of reason. Has he made an end of it? By no means. He hastens to exclude a portion of this last consideration in order to guard himself against "customs" which are too beneficent to prevent any objections which might by chance be brought against him. If reason is a legitimate authority, why should she not pass judgment on a tradition whenever the latter should be found not to have explicit connection with a precept of our |89 Lord or of the Apostles? Better still, why not reduce to law all that reason prescribes? Why should it not be lawful to each believer (omni fideli) to do this, provided that the rule established be in conformity with the designs of God and that it be profitable in the matter of discipline and contribute to salvation? Has not God said: "Judge not of yourselves that which is just"? And did St Paul do anything else when he gave counsels in his own name under the patronage of divine reason?
Here we can well discern the real character of Tertullian: a passionate attachment to his own private judgment which, instead of frankly avowing it, seeks to justify his craving for making rules by a complete, complicated, and abstruse system. Tertullian would have liked to rigidly define every single thing by authority. But his Catholic sense of tradition, of things to be respected on account of their long continuity, or of the source whence they derived, restrained this individualistic craving. And it was a question with him how to reconcile more nearly these contradictory tendencies through the instrumentality of stratagems and sophisms.
Moreover, this kind of artifice, though useful in masking the weak spots in a line of argument carried to its last extremity, could not satisfy his own sense of logic nor long deceive those whom he had for a moment dazzled. He was in the position of a judge firmly convinced of the necessity of repressing certain evils for whom the "arsenal" of the law provided no suitable weapon. A living and divinely inspired message alone would have been capable of supplementing the insufficiencies of the Sancti Commentarii, or the silences and lack of rigour of tradition. But where could this voice be found to make itself heard in warning the frivola et frigida fides of the mass of Christians and in supplying a remedy against their weakness of character?
Such was the moral condition of the inexorable intransigeant when he came into touch with Montanism, or at any rate when he decided to make a profound study of it.
How did he come to know about it? We cannot tell. It is certain that he had in his hands a collection of Montanist |90 oracles, thanks to which he was put into direct contact with the thought and manner of life of the Phrygian prophets. Many things therein must have shocked him: for instance, the rôle that devolved upon women in the sect, and the leaven of anarchy that was contained in this doctrine wherein the "Holy Spirit" was everything. But side by side with these displeasing features, what seductive ideas he there met with! It will suffice to record his confessions thereon.
What struck him first was the respect in which doctrine was held by Montanus, and his disdain for purely theoretical questions.
Montanism accepted the Christian revelation as an accomplished fact, as a venerable tradition, and as a heritage on which no man might lay hands. Far from endeavouring (as was the case with Gnosticism) to dissolve by analysis its elements in order to put them together again with the aid of speculation, he reverently sought from them the means of justifying his own task and advertised no other ambition than to realise an expressed promise of Christ. There was nothing among those who propagated his doctrine to render them open to the charge of spiritual pride.
In addition, this doctrine appeared to have no other object in view than how to live. The ideal which it proposed to itself was altogether moral, and its object was not at all knowledge so much as practice. With its face set entirely on the future of mankind, whose destiny it assumed henceforward to be tottering to its fall, it took care not to go in search of any justifications which might favour dereliction from ordinary duties, which might serve as a cloak to laxities of the senses, or to secret infamies of the flesh. What could be more appetising to the soul of Tertullian? What more reassuring to the rigour of his puritanism?
Then, what a delightful surprise to see blossoming again in the bosom of Montanism all those religious phenomena whose signification the Scriptures, and especially the Epistles of St Paul, had revealed to him----predictions about the future, the reading of hearts, improvised psalms, visions, spiritual utterances spoken in ecstasy! As more and more fully he gave credence to the Phrygian seers, a twofold feeling came over him: first he felt better, purer, and had the impression of a moral renovation in which his ego was lifted |91 up;79 then, thanks to their clear teaching on the Paraclete, a host of problems on which hitherto his explanations had had an uncertain note through lack of explicit and unequivocal texts, received the most luminous solution, and one too which was least tolerant of the lack of firmness shown by so many Catholics.80
Tertullian was in search of a Code, and here he had found one which at once supplied him with a moral rule conformable to his secret desires, and an authority able to impose it by referring it to a divine source. How could he refuse to make it his own? It was the mind of the ardent lawyer that was first conquered and fixed his choice when it came to having to decide between Montanism and the Church.
It was not sufficient for him to be personally convinced that he had made this choice with discernment and wisdom: he felt bound in addition to impose it upon others and to discover arguments which would be likely to make them become its adherents. His whole personality was formed upon opposition, and had grown great thereby. From the first awakening of his curiosity in Montanism up to his complete submission, a long and burning series of meditations took place in him, stirred up by the attacks or the replies of his enemies. It is probable that influences came from without to spur him on and to precipitate the rupture. St Jerome mentions one of them definitely: "Invidia posthac et contumeliis clericorum romanae ecclesiae ad Montani dogma delapsus. . . ." 3 It was therefore jealousy and the insults of the Roman clergy that drove Tertullian to the point. We do not know the details of this quarrel. But to make up for this we can clearly distinguish the fundamental questions around which the dispute turned whether at Carthage, or perhaps at Rome. These were: (A) Ecstasy; (B) Flight during Persecution; (C) Re-marriage; (D) The Fasts; (E) Penance.
In default of the De Ecstasi, which has been unhappily lost, several passages scattered through the works of Tertullian |92 allow us to piece together approximately the thesis he there defends so far as it touches upon the lawfulness of ecstatic revelations.
Were they bound not to accept these "charismata" as authentic? This was certainly not the only question for him, but it was the point round which centred the disagreement between the Catholics and Montanists. He has too often stated this to allow of any doubt in the matter. It was important therefore to justify the form in which these "charismata" manifested themselves in the Montanists, since their adversaries drew therefrom a pretext for declaring them diabolic.81 In the eyes of Tertullian ecstasis was a state produced in a normal manner during sleep. The soul lost in that state its sense of its surroundings; its faculties of sense were suspended; the power of conscious reflection became stupefied; images, which it ceased to direct of its free will, assailed it. However, it preserved the memory of what it had thought it had seen and heard. God permitted this mode of special activity sometimes to take on a religious character and signification. Whether in sleep or even apart from sleep, the state of ecstasy, amentia, was the modification through which of necessity the human reason passes at the moment when it enters into direct relation with God. Visions and prophecies therefore postulated it of necessity.
This is the essence of Tertullian's doctrine, under reserve of supplementary proofs on which he had to support it.
We note how wise, serious, how little revolutionary it is. Of the "frenzy" with which in the course of their vaticinations the heralds of the new prophetic spirit were animated, not a word. He eliminates this element from his definition, although it was of capital import as an historical reality, and had excited so much distrust. Avoiding in this manner all confusion with the pagan mantique, he retains only the theory of the occasional loss of personality by the seer in order to give it strenuous support. |93
B.----FLIGHT DURING PERSECUTION
To be prepared for martyrdom was, in those uncertain times, one of the objects with which every fervent Christian was concerned. But the Church did not impose upon the faithful the absolute duty of steadfastly waiting for arrest, torture, and perhaps death. Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, yielding to the entreaties of his friends, had taken refuge in a small house in the country in the outskirts of the town. A similar attitude had been, or might have been, that of Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St Cyprian and of many other personages of incontestable courage. In Africa, not only the laics, but also the pastors themselves did not hesitate, when the occasion arose, to place themselves beyond the reach of their persecutors. Not long before, Tertullian had taken no scandal at this: "Etiam in persecutionibus," he had written in his Ad Uxorem (I, iii), "melius est ex permissu fugere quam comprehensum et distortum negare." And again, in the De Patientia (xiii): "Si fuga urgeat, incommoda fugae caro militat."
The teaching of the Paraclete forced him to withdraw this concession. "Nearly all the utterances" of the Paraclete were an exhortation to martyrdom; two of the oracles quoted by Tertullian expressly requested this of the faithful Christian. As for those who ran away, the Paraclete did not hesitate to "brand" them; to make up for this, he promised his assistance to whosoever should not shrink from its terrors and torments.
There is nothing to equal the easy assurance with which Tertullian executed the necessary volte-face. Without troubling to excuse his inconsistency, he and his new associates set themselves to denounce as unlawful every attempt to elude persecution.
In his De Fuga, he laid down a principle destined to make clear all that followed. Did persecution come from God or from the devil? Of a surety it comes from God since it exalts the faith and makes the servants of God "better." The devil is only its instrument; it is God who is its author, and who unchains it when it pleases Him in order to prove or to chastise the just. Therefore, however evil it may |94 appear to man's fallible judgment, persecution was a good thing in itself: nullo modo fugiendum erit quod a Deo evenit (§ iv). It was likewise unworthy to buy oneself off at the price of money, to treat with informers, soldiers or the judges. These negotiations were a disguised form of apostasy, a crafty method of "flight": Pedibus stetisti, cucurristi nummis. . . . Negatio est etiam martyrii recusatio. . . . Non quaeritur qui latam viam sequi paratus sit, sed qui angustam.
Was it, aye or no, lawful from the religious point of view to re-marry? To-day the problem appears to be without much interest; it is curious to have to state that during several centuries eminent minds were preoccupied----and doubtless as many souls were tortured----with moral difficulties which are nothing more than a matter of individual delicacy.
But if discussions on re-marriage have lost almost all value at the present time, at least they retain an historical importance: they clearly show the strength of the principle of asceticism held towards the beginning of the IIIrd century; on this question also Tertullian betrays some of his most secret arrière-pensées, and, in the opinion of St Augustine,82 it was the unbending attitude which he took up on this question which made him a "heretic," by the very fact that he assumed a position contrary to that maintained by the Apostle St Paul.
St Paul83 had nowhere concealed his very clear preference for the celibate; but, preserved by superior good sense from all excessive severity, he had contended on principle that the change from celibacy to marriage was in no wise sinful, and he had even gone so far to admit the lawfulness of re-marriage.
Such approximately are the nuances of the Pauline view. It was to interpret these nuances, to press them to an undue point, or even to force them against their real tenor, that |95 Tertullian applied the infinite resources of his sophistic reasoning in three treatises.
The order of succession of the Ad Uxorem, of the De Exhortatione Castitatis and of the De Monogamia, is easy to determine. We do not notice in the Ad Uxorem any declaration relating to Montanism. Further, Tertullian expressly recognises in it that a Christian may take flight from persecution, which he was to deny in the De Fuga. In the De Exhortatione Castitatis, the ditch had been leapt over, for Tertullian there quotes an oracle of the "holy prophetess Prisca"; but, besides this being the only mention of her, the fact that he abstains from all savage allusions to the Catholics, gives colour to the idea that, though he had already been conquered by Montanism, he had nevertheless not yet entirely effected his breach with the Church. On the other hand, no doubt is possible in regard to the De Monogamia. It is an aggressive and violent work in which he no longer extends any compromise.
In one work after another, therefore, further advances are made manifest, and we can follow the development of Tertullian's opinions on re-marriage from entire orthodoxy to declared Montanism.
It becomes evident that Montanism had scarcely modified his ideas radically. The Ad Uxorem contains, at least in germ, the greater part of the arguments developed in the two subsequent treatises. From the time when he wrote it, the antipathies in his mind gained in strength. Nevertheless, he represented perseverance in widowhood as being eminently profitable to the moral life rather than as a positive obligation: "Nam etsi non delinquas renubendo. . . ." 84 Once he had become attached to the Phrygian doctrine, he changed a counsel into a precept, and such a formal precept that all derogation therefrom was likened by him to stuprum. The tone of his discussion changes also. In the De Monogamia, he affects to consider his adversaries as beings wholly in servitude to their senses, and whose reasonings had nothing intellectual about them. He takes them to task even in their persons, their secret vices, and the shamelessness of their party. He makes no hesitation in alluding to an ignominious scandal in which, it appears, he had included the Bishop of |96 Uthina, one of the Roman colonies in Africa. He fights for his cause with all his heart and soul by crushing these sensual-minded people who disguise their passions under principles.
His attitude towards marriage in itself is fairly ambiguous. On several occasions he repeats that he has no wish to proscribe it, but only to apply thereto the rule of temperance. But looking at it closely, however, what contradictions, what malevolent insinuations, what morose lectures! If he does not go quite to extremes, if he is content to cast over marriage a sour discredit, instead of simply disapproving of it, the reason is that at first Montanus himself had not gone to that length, and secondly because he feared to be mixed up on this account with the ranks of his detested enemies, the Marcionists, who themselves condemned without restriction the union of the sexes. He had eloquently fought Marcion on this point; he did not dare, however much he might have wished, to appear to justify subsequently the heresiarch and his deep-rooted asceticism.
With regard to fasting, his principal effort seems to have aimed at setting up in Carthage the practices enjoined by Montanus, which consisted either in complete obligatory fasting, or in prolonging, of obligation, certain fasts far beyond the usual limits of the "xerophagies." 85
We can imagine how these rigorous and precise Montanist rules must have pleased Tertullian: all the postulates of his reason and all the instincts of his authoritative temperament there encountered their absolute satisfaction and blossomed forth in combative activity.
What seemed to be outrageous to the non-Montanist Catholics was this arrogant attempt to render nugatory, in the name of the prophetia nova, all individual initiative, and the substitution of a series of heavy mortifications ex imperio for mortifications which were ex arbitrio. Herein lay an encroachment whose lack of moderation threatened |97 the daily independence of everyone much more than his prohibition relating to re-marriage. Hence arose a general revolt against the pseudo-Paraclete, author of these dangerous concepts, whom the Catholics identified with the "devil" and "Anti-Christ," and against the band of "false prophets." The safest refuge offered for their defence seemed to the Catholics to lie in the Scriptures and in tradition, that is to say, the customs hitherto in force. All non-scriptural and non-traditional rules were proclaimed as a foolish novelty and a suspicious imitation of Judaic devotions, or the rites of Apis, Cybele and Isis.86
Tertullian could not fail to defend the authority of the Paraclete thus diminished.
His discussion is one of most rare insolence. The word gula occurs a dozen times in the De Jejunio. Guzzlers, greedy to fill their bellies, who covered their disgusting appetites under respectable terms----these are some of the features under which he depicts his adversaries. Further, gluttons were voluptuous: gluttony with them resolved itself into lasciviousness, per edacitatem salacitas transit. And Tertullian develops the picture and defines its leading characteristics with entire lack of modesty. The whole of chapter I is full of obscenities. There is nothing in his language more unchaste than this raving preacher of chastity.
There remains the question of penance. Of all those we have found space to study in regard to Tertullian, this question is the most important. Not that Tertullian had approached it with any new dispositions: he shows himself in the De Pudicitia, which is especially devoted to this subject, such as we have seen him in the De Monogamia and the De Jejunio,----just as violent, just as sternly decided to oblige men to become better, and to transform the Church so far as it depended upon him, into a community of saints. But this time the dispute between Catholics and Montanists was not concerned solely with discipline: a problem of a dogmatic order, the problem of the "Power of the Keys," was |98 involved in it. Tertullian was bound to take up a position; and thus he was forced to modify, not only his old treatises on penance, but also some portions of his conceptions of the Church and of the prerogatives attaching to the clerical hierarchy.
To begin with the De Paenitentia. I have mentioned the comparatively temperate and benignant character of this work. In it Tertullian admitted that the sinner who had fallen after baptism into one or more grave sins, had still the right to be pardoned once. How different appears the spirit animating the De Pudicitia, even from the most superficial study!
From the very first pages, Tertullian allows his wrath to break forth. The adversary to whom he takes exception is a Bishop, a Roman Bishop without doubt. The identification of this Bishop is a problem to which very different solutions have been given. It is commonly enough admitted to-day (but without decisive proofs), that it was Callistus who was aimed at.87 Now at that time, Callistus, by a public act, by a ruling read in the assemblies of the faithful, had just made known that he authorised fornicators and adulterers to re-enter the Church after due penance. With what abusive irony does Tertullian turn into ridicule the proud language of the Pontiff and (to him) the cunning hypocrisy of his allocution! And it is not only by this sectarian mood that his Montanism declares itself, but also by a notable change in his ideas as regards penance and to all purposes by an appreciable evolution in doctrine. "The marks of shame borne by the flesh which has been soiled subsequently to baptism cannot be washed away by penance" (XII, I), is the new principle with which he is inspired. There are some sins which a Christian must no longer commit: the Church, the spotless virgin, cannot countenance a stain. For sins like these there is no pity; and the guilty one need look no further to her! He disavows without hesitation the restrained conception which he had developed in the De Paenitentia. In chapter xxi, he even goes so far as to take away her power of pardoning from the Church of the "psychics" (in these words he describes the Catholic Church constituted |99 with her Hierarchy) in order to transfer it into the hands of the truly "spiritual" Church, the Montanist Church which at any rate will not make use of it except in altogether exceptional cases. And he is by no means sure that in this he has not exceeded the hardihood of Montanus himself in order to satisfy the demand of his own personal views and of his controversial attitude.
Taken as a whole, a careful examination of the Montanist treatises of Tertullian proves that we should be wrong in rigorously identifying the original Montanism with that bearing the mark of Tertullian's works. At the time when he fell under the influence of the doctrine of the Phrygian prophets, he was in the full maturity of his thought and in full exercise of his talents. From that moment it was inevitable that in giving in his adherence he should put his impress on it and should adapt it in some degree to his own conception. In his theory of ecstasy, as we have seen, he guards against legitimatising the physical excesses whereof the protagonists of the sect had given a rather scandalous exhibition in the East; with knowing hand he shaded off all that savoured of irregularity, incoherency, and morbidity in the Phrygian cult of prophesying. He also endeavoured (it is one of the leit-motifs of his discussions) to link it up with the past, and to persuade his readers that these so-called innovations of the "Paraclete" had nothing revolutionary in them, and that they might be found outlined or in germ if one only read the Scriptures carefully. On the somewhat frail theological web of primitive Montanism, he wove his fantastic theory of successive revelations explaining the necessary outcome of the plan inaugurated by God from the beginning of Creation by the operation of the Paraclete----a gradual development in discipline, in the sense of an ever-increasing rigour, and not as an evolution of the rule of faith which, according to him, was not susceptible of any further progress in matter of doctrine.
In his heart of hearts, he would have passionately liked to have the Montanist cult of prophecy "recognised" and authorised. Feeling at last that the Church----an organism founded on a Hierarchy and containing the great majority of the faithful----would be irreducible, he took the step of separating himself from her. In other respects, he preserved |100 intact his symbol of faith, his respect for the Scriptures, and his theory of prescription and the apostolic character of the Churches. Against dissentients, he continued to write vigorous treatises wherein, on more than one occasion, he has given to certain dogmatic formulae their almost definitive expression, as in the Adversus Praxean, the De Resurrectione Carnis, the Scorpiace, the De Carne Christi, etc.
Hampered by a past which he was not willing totally to disavow, he arrived at strange compromises and disastrous combinations, whereof no one better than he could appreciate the weak points. From the psychological and religious point of view, his case is one of extreme interest, in which there mingles some pity in regard to this strong mind struggling on incoherently and without succeeding, in spite of so much sophistry, in getting away from himself.
FROM the literary point of view, Tertullian may perhaps be compared with the most striking representatives of Latin literature in the time of the emperors. This is a truth which is sometimes overlooked but of which anyone who shall have held any close commune with his works will be irresistibly convinced. It is distressing to see with what ill-natured incompetence his language and style have been sometimes appreciated: we have David Ruhnken, the German philologist of the XVIIIth century,88 pedantically declaring: "Tertullianum latinitatis certe pessimum auctorem esse aio et confirmo"; and Auguste Matthiae 89 branding him on account of his "barbarous" language; Courdaveaux 90 deplores "that such a man, as great from the qualities of his heart as from the courage of his views, should only have as a vehicle for his ideas a poor provincial patois even more unsuited than the real Latin tongue for abstract discussions, and which he wrote in so obscure a style that his thought is even more difficult to disentangle than that of St Paul." |101
The truth is that Tertullian adhered strictly to the literary tradition of his age. He knew the methods of "artistic prose" as they had been formed among the Greeks under the influence of Gorgias, Isocrates, Theophrastus of Eresos and of the rhetoricians of Asia, which Cicero had permitted himself to appropriate, adapting them to the genius of the Latin tongue. Anaphora, alliterations, and symmetrical divisions by κῶλα, etc.----all this technique of rhetoric was familiar to him; and his works present numerous examples. It was not a question of the metrical rules governing the cadence of a sentence, which he generally observed in his terminations.91 This was the common ground of the Roman tradition which the schools had preserved and transmitted from one generation to another. In addition, Tertullian was contemporary with Apuleius whose works he had certainly read.92 A taste for variety in his vocabulary, a love of "uncommon" forms of expression, certain affectations in style, and certain obscurities of thought may have come to him from that source. We shall never know all the richness of his vocabulary until a complete inventory, which does not exist at present, shall have been drawn up of it. He has been called "the real creator of the Latin of the Church." 93 This opinion is perhaps not absolutely exact, for we must reckon the part which belongs to the anonymous translators of the Bible. But it is clear that he largely contributed to that collective work by which the appearance of the Latin tongue was renovated. His creations of new words are innumerable: the specialists hold that they appear to be conformable after a general fashion to the rules governing their Latin derivation.94 Likewise his syntax, with the exception of slight peculiarities, remains in line with that used by his contemporaries.95 But he coined words and phrases such as no writer since Tacitus had had the ability to do, because his genius animated, vivified and inflamed all he wrote. |102 Formed on the discipline of juridical learning, he illuminated his theological discussions with clear-cut forms which the West was to appropriate (una substantia, tres personae; duae substantiae, una persona; and, for the distinction between the Divine persons, distinctio, non divisio, discreti, non separati; for the distinction between the two natures in Christ, conjunctio, non confusio, etc.). Then, although marked by a hereditary culture, his dominating and original personality exercised a sovereign mastery of the forms he used. Unlike Minucius Felix or Lactantius and so many other Christian writers, we hardly ever surprise him practising the art of stealing his turns of phrase and similies from the classics. He disdained these lawful pilferings. It is in very truth his own vigour which circulates through so many sturdy and subtile pages. Far from impairing his literary gifts, Montanism gave them their full scope. Here and there there may be found a certain fastidious oppressiveness in his treatises at the beginning, in the De Baptismo and the De Paenitentia, for example. Montanism put his temperament at ease, long held in check by the fear of saying too much, and by certain scruples which were henceforth to vanish. And this wrathful and passionate soul breathed itself forth still more freely in that he believed that he was representing the true religious ideal in face of the lapses which dishonoured it in bringing it down to their level. His last treatises are brimful of sophistry, yet, notwithstanding, Tertullian was never so keen, so vibrating, so urgent and at the same time so pathetic.
When one has tasted the pleasure produced by his combative prose, one experiences some difficulty in not finding a certain insipidity in the purer and more sugary style recommended by classic "good taste." It has some strange condensations which in places render it formidable; but it is a triumph of mind to have succeeded in piercing through some of its obscurities.
A CONSIDERATION of the Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas should be taken in connection with Tertullian. We shall see a little further on the reason for this. On reading |103 this celebrated little account, instinct with such ardent and pure exaltation and with such touching and graceful simplicity, hardly spoilt here and there by a suspicion of rhetoric, we can easily understand it. Chapter I forms a prologue which we owe to the compiler who has pieced together the different portions of the account. In Chapter II, this compiler relates in a few words the simultaneous arrest of Vibia Perpetua, a young woman of twenty-two, educated and of good family, of two young people, Saturninus and Secundulus, and of two slaves, Revocatus and Felicitas----all catechumens. (Shortly after, a certain Saturus, who had instructed them, was to give himself up of his own free will: § iv.) He then states that he will leave Perpetua to continue the narrative, who drew up in her own hand the account of their sufferings. We then have the narrative of Perpetua herself beginning at § iii: she brought it to a close at the end of § x remarking that she stopped on the eve of the combat, and that it must be left to another to relate, if he will, what was to take place in the amphitheatre. At the beginning of § xi, the compiler takes up his pen again, but only for an instant: he merely adds the description given by Saturus himself of the visions which were vouchsafed to the martyr in his prison. All the last part of the Acta from § xiv is by the compiler who, in carrying out his own wish or rather as he says, the fideicommissum of Perpetua, traces a picture of the wonderful struggle of the martyrs and their bloody death, and in a peroration whose spirit is altogether analogous to that which is breathed in the prologue, accentuates the lesson which comes forth from these examples.
We must therefore represent to ourselves the incidents very much as follows: Perpetua and Saturus found leisure in their dungeon to draw up a short account of the sufferings they were enduring, and especially of the "graces" which God sent to them.96 These notes fell into the hands of a witness of their torment who takes information therefrom complementary to what he had not been able to see with his own eyes,97 completes the narrative given by the martyrs and, out of these diverse elements, forms a complete story which he encloses in a moral and religious exhortation. There are |104 thus two portions to distinguish in these Acta: the portion of the compiler and that of the martyrs themselves.
Some traces of Montanism have sometimes been thought to emerge from the passages explicitly attributed to Perpetua and Saturus. Thus, a point has been made of the four visions of Perpetua and that related also by Saturus. But how were these visions a Montanist phenomenon in a special degree? There were very few in ancient times (I will say pagan as well as Christian) who had any doubts as to the religious signification of such warnings.
The case of the compiler is very different. I think we may boldly identify him with Tertullian, and for reasons of an entirely philological order. It is his style, his language, his phraseology.98 His Montanism, which had not yet been declared but was already in full religious effervescence, is likewise betrayed (the text must have been written shortly after the years 202-3, the date of the martyrdom).
What was his aim in the twofold dedication with which the Passion begins and closes? He desired to show that the activity of the Holy Spirit has in no way diminished; that its "virtue" remains permanent; that God continues to fulfil his promises in "invisible proofs for infidels, favours for believers." Only a weak faith, a faith at its last gasp (imbecillitas aut desperatio fidei) could imagine that the Divine grace only dwelt within "the men of old time" and that the present age was excluded from it. It was thus a pious duty and a sure means to edification to put on record in writing (digerere) the graces recently given, just as it had been at the birth of Christianity in the case of the "old examples of faith." No preoccupation could be more correct.
But there is something else in this prologue. In the opinion of the author, the flood of grace had never been so abundant: there was an exuperatio gratiae and that was because the end of the world was quite near, and because God, by the mouth of his prophet Joel, had promised an "outpouring" of His Spirit "on all flesh" during the last days.
What is still more startling is that the compiler (let us say, Tertullian) takes upon himself to include in the instrumentum Ecclesiae the recent visions and also the "new prophecies." Instrumentum in legal language meant every |105 document claiming credence, and all written proof. It is evidently in this sense that he here uses this word. But if we are to believe that by instrumentum Tertullian means merely the Corpus of Scripture, we must note an ambiguity, under cover of which some vexatious confusion might arise.
The Passion, which is very attractive of itself, becomes still more so in so far as it reveals to us the state of mind of Tertullian in the first phase of his adhesion to Montanism.
[Footnotes renumbered and placed at the end]
1. 1 Cf. Wölfflin in the Sitz.-Ber. of the Academy of Bavaria, 1880, p. 333, and in several articles in A.L.L.; Sittl, die lokalen Verchiedenheiten der Latein. Sprache, etc., Erlangen, 1882.
2. 2 Paul Lejay, les Origines de l'Eglise d'Afrique et l'Eglise romaine, in the Mélanges Godefroid Kurth, Liége, 1908.
3. 3 It appears to be probable that out of the twelve names, six were added after the event and do not belong to the group of martyrs of the 17th July. Cf. Saltet, in B.L.E., 1914, p. 108-125.
4. 1 Tertullian, ad Scap., IV.
5. 2 Ad. Scap., V (Oehler, I, 550). Cf. ibid., II: "cum tanta hominum multitudo, pars paene major civitatis cujusque, in silentio et modestia agimus."
6. 3 These names are vouched for by testimony of differing value. Tertullian called himself Tertullianus (de Bapt., XX; de Exhort, cast., XIII: this last passage besides being very much spoiled is not found in the better manuscript, the Agobardinus) and Septimius Tertullianus (de Virg. vel., XVII). Lactantius calls him likewise Septimius Tertullianus (Inst. Div., V, 1, 23). Quintus and Florens are only provided by a subsequent tradition, gathered in the XVth century by the humanist J. Trithemius (John of Trittenheim) and Politianus (Angelo Poliziano).
7. 1 Ep. LXX, 6.
8. 2 § xxiv.
9. 1 This is what I have tried to demonstrate in an article in the Archives générales de Médecine, 1906, pp. 1317-1328.
10. 2 Cf. P. de Labriolle. Tertullian jurisconsulte, in the Nouv. Revue histor. de Droit français et étranger, Jan.-Feb. 1906; and Schlossmann, Tertullian in Lichte der Jurisprudenz, in Z. fur Kirchengesch., XXVII (1906), 261-275, 407-430. Schlossmann emphasises the exaggerations which tend to identify Tertullian with the lawyer of the same name whose five fragments are quoted in the Digeste (I, iii, 27: Mommsen, Berlin, 1908, p. 34; XLI, ii, 28: p. 701; XXIX, i, 23 and 33: p. 437, and XLIX, xvii, 4: p. 890).
11. 3 He possessed the Old Testament in the text of the Alexandrine Canon, and of the twenty-seven books of which the New Testament is composed, he omits in his quotations only the IInd Epistle of Peter, the IInd and IIIrd Epistles of John, and the Epistle of James (a passage in the Scorpiace, XII, proves that he was not acquainted with the latter). He attributed to Barnabas the Epistle to the Hebrews. His blunders in quotations from the Bible are rare; thus, in the de Fuga, II, he confuses the heretics of I Tim., i, 20, with those of II Tim., i, 16.
12. 1 I would especially mention the ad Scap., III-V; de Res. carnis, XLII; Apol. XVI; ad Nat., I, xiv; Scorp., VI; de Idol, XV; de Pallio, I; adv. Val., VIII, etc. Tertullian is an authority of the first order on the times of the Emperors.
13. 1 M. René Cagnat courteously communicates the following: This information of Jerome is confirmed by a passage in the Apolog., IX, 2, if we can admit the reading patris nostri which the Fuldensis alone gives. On this text, see Dessau in Hermes, XV (1880), 473, n. 2; Tissot, Fastes . . . , p. 8; Pallu de Lessert, Fastes des Prov. Afr., 1 (1896), p. 296; Audollent, Carthage Rom., pp. 399 and 720.
14. 2 Apol., XVIII, 4. Cf. de Paen, 1.
15. 3 De Spect., XIX.
16. 4 De Res. Carnis, LIX.
17. 5 A rather enigmatic allusion in the de Praescr., XL, 4.
18. 6 Ad Scap., V; cf. Apol, L, 15.
19. 7 Apol, XXIII, 7.
20. 8 Cf. Apol, XVIII, 1.
21. 1 Cf. R de Labriolle, B.A.L.A.C., 1913, 161-177.
22. 1 See P. de Labriolle, La Crise Montaniste, p. 461 et s.
23. 2 Gross, carnal beings. It was by this expression, borrowed from the vocabulary of St Paul, that the Montanists described those of the Catholics who had no desire to know anything about their apocalypses. See P. de Labriolle, La Crise Mont., p. 139 et s.
24. 1 Nouv. Revue de Théol., 1868, I, p. 100.
25. 2 P. de Labriolle, op. cit., p. 355.
26. 1 By the words quibus tunc praesens patrocinatus est sermo, the word sermo does not mean the speech of Tertullian taking part personally in the Council meetings which he mentions as taking place in Greece, but the word of God.
27. 2 Ad Nat., I, xvii; Apol., xxxv, 9.
28. 1 Apol., vii, 4.
29. 2 Ibid., xxxvii, 2.
30. 3 Ad Nat., I, xiv. Cf. Apol., xvi. The meaning of onochoetes has not yet been fixed (asinarius sacerdos: Oehler, Rauschen; "He who lies amongst the asses": Audollent: "engendré par accouplemont avec un âne": Dom Leclercq, etc.).
31. 1 These points to note are marked in the following passages: i, 4; iv, 1-2, 3; vi, 11; ix, 1, 20; x, 1; xv, 8; xvii, 1; xxviii, 3; xxxix, 1; xl, 1: xlii; xlvi. 1, 2; L.
32. 2 These last qualifications are too vague to my mind to allow one to connect them, as Callewaert would have it, with the separated parts of the development of his thesis from § vii to § xlix.
33. 1 M. Monceaux has, however, conceived with much subtilty what the Roman magistrates could have opposed to the arguments of Tertullian, and to the reflections which his juridical thesis might have suggested to them. Hist. litt. de l'Afrique chr., i, p. 249 et s.
34. 1 For example, compare Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., II, ii, 4, with Apol., v, 1-2; E. II, xxv, 4, with Ap. v, 3; E. III, xx, 7, with Ap. v, 4; E. III, xxxiii, 3, with Ap. ii, 6-7; E. V, v, 5, with Ap. v, 6-7. For inexactitudes in translation, see especially Eusebius, II, xxv, 4.
35. 2 Cf. E. Egger, Mémoires d'Hist. anc. et de Philologie, Paris, 1865, p. 266 et s. One might quote the Georgics translated by a certain Arrienus (who must be distinguished from the disciple of Epictetus) under Hadrian: The Historiae of Sallust, translated by Zenobius the sophist, likewise at the time of Hadrian,
36. 1 Tertullien considéré comme Apologiste, Strasbourg, 1868, p. 29.
37. 2 Guignebert, Tertullian . . . , p. 252.
38. 3 The idea of "universal consent" is a stoic idea. See Diog. Laert., VII, LIV. We even find in stoicism whispers of a similar kind in the vulgar tongue, as revealing certain truths: Chrysippus, Fragm. Stoic. Veterum, fragm. 892 (Arnim, II, 243); Seneca, De Benef., V, vii, 2; Marc. Aurelius, v, 8; x, 21.
39. 1 Ap. Migne, P.L., I, 777, note 2.
40. 1 This eclipse took place, according to the calculations of modern astronomers, on the 14th June, 212. This allusion enables us to give a more or less authentic date to this treatise.
41. 2 Quoted in Eusebius, H.E., I, viii, 3-14.
42. 3 Acts, xii, 23; cf. Eusebius, I, x.
43. 1 H.E., II, vii.
44. 2 Apol., xxi, 15.
45. 3 Regarding this question, which deserves to be treated to its fullest extent, see the documents collected by Jean Juster, les Juifs dans l'Empire Romain, Paris, 1914, vol. I, pp. 35-76. A good general aspect is given in Disc. et Conf., by Renan, p. 311 et s.; Harnack, Mission u. Ausb. des Christentums, I, pp. 39, 60, 399; II, p. 77.
46. 4 Monceaux, les Colonies juives de l'Afrique romaine (Rev. des Etudes juives, XLV , pp. 1-28); Dict. d'Archeol. chr. et de Lit., I, 745; Audollent, Carthage romaine, p. 705.
47. 5 Scorpiace, X.
48. 1 We may compare Adv. Jud., ix with Adv. Marc., III, xii, xiii, xiv, xvi, xvii; Adv. Jud., x with Adv. Marc., III, xviii-xix; Adv. Jud., xi-xii with Adv. Marc., III, xx; Adv. Jud., xiii with Adv. Marc., III, xxiii; Adv. Jud., xiv with Adv. Marc., III, xx-xxi.
49. 2 This problem in criticism can be studied anew in Monceaux, Hist. litt. de l'Afr. chr., I, 295 et s., and Harnack, Chron., II, 290, who both hold to its authenticity. Likewise Akerman, Ueber die Echtheit der letzteren Haelfte von T adv. Judaeos, Lund, 1918, but Einsiedler, De Tert. adv. Judaeos libro, Diss., Augsbourg, 1897, and Kruger, Gott. Gel. Anz., 1905, p. 31 et s., raise very strong objections.
50. 3 Marc. Aurèle, p. 428. A very similar argument occurs in E. Schuerer's die aellesten Christengemeinden in roemischen Seiche, Kiel, 1894, p. 9.
51. 1 "Qui simpliciter credidisse contenti non exploratis rationibus traditionum intentam probabilem fidem per imperitiam portant" (De Bapt., I); "rudes animas" (Adv. Marc., I, ix); "Nam et multi rudes et plerique sua fide dubii, et simplices plures quos instrui, dirigi, muniri oportebit" (De Res. C., 11); "Simplices enim quique, ne dixerim imprudentes et idiotae, quae major semper credentium pars est" (Adv. Pr., ii; cf. ibid., i).
52. 2 Cf. De Praesc., ix; Adv. Marc., I, ii.
53. 3 "... Plerosque in ventum et si placuerit Christianos . . ." (Scorp., i).
54. 4 Cf. ibid., i: "sauciatam fidem vel in haeresin vel in saeculum exspirat (infirmitas)." See Harnack, Mission, I, 404, note 2.
55. 5 Arguments advanced by the partisans of flight in times of persecution are given in the De Fuga in § v, vi, vii, viii, x; note in § vi (Oeh., i, 471) the words: "Sic enim voluit quidam, sed et ipse fugitives, argumentari. ..."
56. 6 De Paen., v, 10-12.
57. 7 "Mussitant denique tam bonam et longam sibi pacem periclitari " (De Cor., i).
58. 1 A goodly number of Christians were not at all disposed to deprive themselves of the theatre. Tertullian enumerates their excuses in the De Spectac., i, ii, iii, xx, xxix. We may compare the distress of the author of the De Spect. (generally attributed to Novatian) in regard to certain analogous sophisms (Hartel, Opera Cypriani, III, p. 3). Mixed marriages had likewise their partisans (Ad Ux., II). We shall notice, without wishing in any way to confuse these very distinct categories, that Tertullian admits that Christians could render themselves guilty of offences in common law (Apol., xliv, 3, and xlvi, 17) and of crimes against nature (De Pud., iv, 5).
59. 2 See especially the De Idololatria. It is easy to mark off the position taken up by his adversaries by following each refutation on Tertullian's side.
60. 3 De Fuga, xiv (Oe., i, 491).
61. 1 Adv. Marc., I, xxvii.
62. 1 Cf. § ii and iv.
63. 1 Cf. Varro in his satire entitled Modius, fr. 314; Apollonius de Tyana, Philostr, p. 307, 19 Kayser; Dion Chrys, Or., lxxii; Apuleius, Apol., xxii. Geffcken, Kynika und Verwandtes, Heidelberg, 1909, has well studied the question of its sources. He refers the De Pallio to the "Diatribe" class and suspects Tertullian to have made extended use of Varro. The Christian note is discernible especially in § ii, iv, v and towards the end of the opusculum.
64. 2 Mémoires pour servir a l'Hist. Eccl., Paris, vol. II (1701), p. 227.
65. 3 De la Recherche de la Vérité, Book II, part 3, chap. iii.
66. 1 St. Irenaeus, I, vi, 2 (P.G., VII, 508).
67. 2 Cf. de Praescr., VIII, i.
68. 1 Cf. Cuq, Les Institutions Juridiques des Remains, vol. I, 2 ed. (1904), p. 85; May, Eléments de Droit Romain, 3 ed. (1894), p. 168 et s.
69. 2 May, op. cit., p. 143.
70. 3 For further details, see Cuq, II, p. 249 et s.
71. 4 Cuq, II, p 249. The author adds, "This exception of which Gaius is unaware and which is mentioned for the first time in a rescript of 29th Dec. 199, was very likely embodied in certain provincial edicts before being made of general application by the emperors."
72. 5 May, op. cit., p. 170.
73. 1 I have made a study of the protracted fortunes of the argument from "prescription", R.H.L.R, xi (1908), 408-428; 497-514.
74. 1 The beginning of the Adversus Marcionem is very curious in the history of the book in days of antiquity. The author explains there how this work had three editions the third of which he intended should cancel the two others.
75. 1 E. Renan, L'Eglise chret., p. 359.
76. 2 For instance, as regards the question of the public shows: De Spect., III. From the point of view of the prohibition of flight in times of persecution, the text from Matth., x, 23 caused him a great deal of worry.
77. 1 E. Cuq, les Instit. Jurid. des Romains, vol. I, p. 20-21; 168 et s.; vol. II, p. 17, and the article Mores by the same author in the Dict. des Antiq. (III, 2, 2001); Ihering, Esprit du Droit Romain, trans. Meulenaere, Ghent and Paris 2 ed. 1880, vol. II. p. 28 et s.
78. 2 De Cor., ii et s.
79. 1 De Pudic. I, ii.
80. 2 De Resurr. Carnis, lxiii; De Fuga, i; Adv. Pr., xiii. s De Vir. Ill., liii.
81. 1 See especially the De Anima, xliii et s., and P. de Labriolle, La Crise Montaniste, p. 365 et s. This treatise De Anima is extremely rich in the matter of psychological and even physiological observations; it is one of those which beat shows the variety of Tertullian's learning.
82. 1 Haer., lxxxvi; Ep. ad Julianam Viduam, iv, 6 (P.L., XL, 433).
83. 2 Cf. 1st Ep. to the Corinthians, vii.
84. 1 Ad Ux., I, vii.
85. 1 For the nature of the xerophagic régime, see De Jej., I. Cf. P. de Labriolle, op. cit , p. 399-400, for a picture of the Montanist fasts as compared with the Catholic.
86. 1 De Jej., xi; xiv; xvi.
87. 1 For recent discussions however, cf. K. Adam, das sogen. Bussedikt des Papstes Kallistus, Munich, 1917 (Veroff. aus dem Kirchenhist. Seminar Munchen, iv, 5).
88. 1 Ruhnken passed a portion of his life at Leyden, but he was a native of Pomerania. Ruhnken's opinion is quoted at length by E. F. Leopold in the Zeitsch. f. hist. Theol. VIII (1838), p. 33.
89. 2 Grundriss der Gesch. d. griech. und rom. Litt., 3rd ed., Iena, 1834, p. 221.
90. 3 Revue de l'Hist. des Relig., XIII (1891), p. 1.
91. 1 Out of 852 terminations to chapters, one can count only 43, or 5 per cent, in which the closing words are not certainly of a rhythmic cadence.
92. 2 Cf. Kellner, Ueber die. sprachl. Eigentumlichkeiten Tert., in Theol. Quart., lviii (1876), p. 229; C. Weyman, St zu Apuleius u. seinen Nachahmern, in the Sitz.-Ber. d. Bayer. Ak. 1893, II, p. 340-343 and 352: Van Der Vliet, Studio, eccles., Leyden, 1891, I, p. 9 et s.; E. Norden, die Antike Kunstprosa, p. 614-615.
93. 3 Harnack, A.C. L., I, 667; cf. Norden, op. cit., p. 607.
94. 4 Hoppe, Synt. u. Stit. des T., L. 1903, p. 115.
95. 5 Ibid., p. 114.
96. 1 § ii: "sicut conscriptum manu sua et suo sensu reliquit"; § xi: "visionem, quam ipse conscripsit". Cf. § xiv.
97. 2 E.G. § xv.
98. 1 Cf. P. de Labriolle, la Crise Montaniste, pp. 345-351.
**A.C.L. = A. HARNACK: Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, I. Die Ueberlieferung und der liestand, Leipzig, 1893.
A.L.L. = Archiv fiir lateinische Lexicographic und Grammatik, Leipzig, 1884 et s.
B.L.E. = Bulletin de literature ecclesiastique, Toulouse.
B.A.L.A.C. = Bulletin d'ancienne Litterature et d'Archeologie chretiennes, edited by P. DE LABRIOLLE, Paris, 1911 et s.
* P.L. = Patrologia latina, by J. P. MIGNE.
* P.G. = Patrologia graeca, by J. P. MIGNE.
R.H.L.R. = Revue d'histoire et de littérature religieuses, Paris, 1896 et s.
© Kegan Paul: London, New York and Bahrain, 1924 and 1968. Reproduced by permission. Greek text in unicode.
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