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In modern English 'flesh' has a more materialistic sound than
'body'. In Greek and in Latin the opposite is the case. Sw~ma
hardly ever seems to forget its Homeric meaning 'dead body',
and though both sw~ma and corpus come to signify the bodies of
living men and animals, they can also refer to the 'mass' of an
inanimate object. On the other hand sa&rc, caro, can only refer to
flesh actually or potentially alive: it denotes the material of which
the animate body consists, and in the case of actually living bodies
is understood to involve the soul, anima, that principle or entity
or ratio (differently conceived of by different philosophers, and
differently again by Christian theologians) which gives to the
material elements of the body their unity, life, and cohesion. The
subject of the present treatise is not the Body of Christ in either
the natural or the mystical or the sacramental sense of that phrase,
but his Flesh: that is, the substance, nature, attributes, and origin
of the whole of that human nature which the divine Word
assumed at the Incarnation. The question under discussion is one
of substance, even of material: not of body as the organized
vehicle and instrument of human life, but of the verity of the
whole human nature of Christ as involved in the statement that
his flesh is truly flesh and his soul is truly soul, both the one and the
other derived by natural descent from the progenitors of all



Those who interpret 'resurrection of the dead' in such a sense as
to exclude the flesh are also disposed to make difficulties as to the
truth of Christ's incarnation: logically so, for if Christ's body
which rose again was of flesh such as ours, this constitutes a 
presumption that our bodies also will rise again. So we have to build
up our case from the point at which these break it down, and the


purpose of the present discourse is to lay foundations for that
which will follow. Our subject here is the flesh of Christ, its
existence, its provenance, and its quality. The verdict in this case
will serve as precedent for the proof of our own resurrection. Our
adversaries are Marcion who denied Christ's flesh and his nativity,
Apelles who admitted the flesh while denying the nativity, and
the Valentinians and others, who profess to acknowledge both,
but in a non-natural sense. Actually Marcion, who alleged that
the flesh was 'putative', might just as well have acknowledged a
putative nativity and a putative growth to maturity.

1 istos Sadducaeorum propinquos. Tertullian supposes 
himself in court and refers to his adversaries as though they were
present. The Sadducees said there was no resurrection, neither
angel, nor spirit: Acts 23. 8.

2 moratam. This, followed by ita (Rigaltius), is undoubtedly the
right reading. Rhenanus, in the note quoted by Oehler, seems to
read the word as moratam (stabilem et firmam et inconcussam): so also
Oehler, whose index does not distinguish between the present
instance and De Pat. 4, moratus secundum dominum: De Anima 33,
integre morati: Adv. Marc. iv. 15, aliquid et cum creatore moratus nec
in totum Epicuri deus
(which last is rightly interpreted in a note by
Rigaltius, Oehler ad loc.). Here however we must surely read
moratam; cf. Juvenal vi. 1 Pudicitiam Saturno rege moratam in terris
visamque diu,
where the word stands for the non-existent past
participle of manere.

3 merito: logically, with good reason (as far as they are concerned). 
Cf. §4, si Christus creatoris est, suum merito amavit: §17,
si primus Adam ita traditur, merito sequens: and frequently. Cf. also
Novatian, De Trin. 10, quoted below on §2.

4 distrahunt. So all the MSS. except A (the oldest) which has
distruunt (an impossible word), on the strength of which Mercer,
followed by Kroymann, reads destruunt, which they observe
occurs in the following sentence. This would be good enough
stylistic reason for it not to occur here, and in any case the
sentences are not parallel. Here the point is that the flesh of
Christ is pulled asunder with inquisitions, like a body on the rack:


for quaestio can mean either a judicial inquiry (as in the republican
quaestiones perpetuae) or the examination of slave witnesses by
torture: e.g. Cicero, pro Milone 21. 57, facti enim in eculeo quaestio
est, iuris in iudido.
In the following sentence there is a change of
metaphor: Tertullian supposes that the aspirations of the flesh for
eternal life (carnis vota) are being pulled down or dismantled
(destruunt), and that it is his business to lay again their foundations
(praestruere) by establishing the verity of Christ's flesh and of its
resurrection. For the metaphor from building-works cf. Adv.
II. i, aliud subruere necesse habuit ut quae vellet exstrueret: sic
aedificat qui propria paratura caret:
and De Res. Carnis 4, statim
incipiunt et inde praestruunt, dehinc interstruunt.

4 tanquam aut nullam omnino. This was the view of 
Marcion, who regarded everything material as the work of the creator,
the enemy of the good god, and therefore evil. Consequently
in his view Christ, the representative of the good god, could
not have been in possession of a real body, and that which he
seemed to have was none at all. Cf. Adv. Marc. v. 20 for the
Marcionite comment on Philippians 2. 6, plane de substantia Christi
putant et hic Mardonitae suffragan apostolum sibi quod phantasma
carnis fuerit in Christo, cum dicit quod in effigie dei constitutus non
rapinam existimavit pariari deo sed exhausit semetipsum accepta effigie
servi, non veritate, et in similitudine hominis, non in homine, et figura
inventus homo, non substantia, id est non carne.
Tertullian in reply
quotes Colossians 1.15, 'image of the invisible God', and remarks
that if the Philippians text means that Christ is not truly Man,
then the Colossians text must mean that he is not truly God.

4 aut quoquo modo aliam. Marcion's disciples apparently so
far improved on their master's teaching as to admit that there is a
certain celestial matter or substance which is not evil, and suggested 
that Christ's flesh was of stellar origin: cf. §6, de sideribus,
inquiunt, et de substantiis superioris mundi mutuatus est carnem.
Others, apparently not Marcionites but Valentinians, were of
opinion that Christ's flesh was constituted of condensed (or 
otherwise transmuted) soul. Marcion's view is discussed §§1-5, his
disciples' §§6-9, the others' §§10-16. Quoquo modo would


naturally mean 'in any and every way', 'at all events', as in
§12 (twice) and Adv. Marc. II. 9, quoquo tamen, inquis, modo substantia 
creatoris delicti capax invenitur cum afflatus dei, id est anima, in
homine deliquit:
it is echoed here by omni modo, 'in every way',
'at all events', later in the sentence. But conceivably Tertullian
could have written quoquo when he meant aliquo,' in some way or
other', and that may be his meaning here.

7 carnis vota. Oehler compares De Res. Carnis 4, nimirum haec
erunt vota carnis recuperandae, iterum cupere de ea evadere.
But the
sentences are not parallel. Here carnis vota (a subjective genitive)
are the hope of the flesh concerning its own future: vota carnis
(an objective genitive) are the soul's hope that it will
be again united to the flesh from which death has separated it.

8 examinemus . . . certum est. Tertullian perhaps had in mind
Quintilian, Inst. Orat. xii. 3. 6, omne ius quod est certum aut scripto
aut moribus constat: dubium aequitatis regula examinandum est:
Lewis and Short (s.v. examine, ad fin.) are wrong in saying that
the reference is to judicial examination: rather it is to the advocate
preparing his case, and examinare (as in Tertullian) has not lost its
primary sense of 'weigh', 'estimate the value of'.

9 caro quaeritur etc. This reading, with the common 
punctuation of these sentences, is almost certainly right. The second
hand of T, and Mesnart, have carnis (dependent on veritas), which
makes sense, though not the best sense. It is not true that the
verity of Christ's flesh was being sought for, but that the flesh
itself was the subject of a judicial inquiry (quaestio). The subject
of the present treatise (retractatur) is its verity (an fuerit) and its
quality, which last involves the two further questions of its
origin (unde fuerit) and its attributes (cuiusmodi fuerit). Kroymann's
punctuation, with a semicolon after eius, spoils the rhythm of the
sentence without affecting the meaning. Qualitas is practically the
same as natura, the essential attributes by which an object is what
it is, but with a further suggestion of the worth or dignity attendant 
upon that: see a note on §3 periculum enim status sui.

11 renuntiatio eius. Kroymann wrongly observes, hoc est
responsio carnis. Renuntiatio
cannot mean a speech in reply to an


accusation or in support of a plea: it means the official declaration
either of the result of an election or (as here) of the judicial verdict.
Eius is an objective genitive, standing not for carnis but for veritatis. 
Cf. Cicero, Pro Murena 8. 18, non eundem esse ordinem
dignitatis et renuntiationis, propterea quod renuntiatio gradus habeat,
dignitas autem sit persaepe eadem omnium.
The verdict passed 
concerning the verity of Christ's flesh will constitute a leading case
(dabit legem) concerning our own resurrection: for (as already
observed) it is really our resurrection which these people wish to
impugn when they deny that Christ's flesh is of the same origin
and quality as ours.

13 invicem sibi testimonium responderent (A), the 
superficially more difficult reading, looks like the original: it is 
perfectly good Latin, of Tertullian's kind, though sufficiently unusual
to have provoked variants. Testimonium redderent (T) has the
appearance of an attempt at interpretation. The other readings are
evident conflations, and serve merely to show that both the older
variants were known to the copyists of M and P. Kroymann's
invicem sibi responderent hardly meets the case, for it means no
more than 'correspond' or 'form the counterpart of one another'.
What is required is not mutual correspondence but mutual testimony, 
and that is what A gives us. For other senses of respondere
cf. Apol. 9, cum propriis filiis Saturnus non pepercit, extraneis utique
non parcendo perseverabat, quos quidem ipsi parentes sui offerebant et
libentes respondebant
(either 'acceded to his demand' or, more
probably, 'answered in the affirmative the priest's challenge as to
whether they were making a willing gift'): De Corona ii,
credimusne humanum sacramentum divino superduci licere et in alium
dominum respondere post Christum,
a reference to the responsio fidei at

15 licentia often retains its natural sense of 'permission': e.g.
De Exhort. Cast. 8, multum existimo esse inter licentiam et salutem:
de bono non dicitur 'licet', quia bonum permitti non expectat sed assumi:
so also Ad Uxorem I. 2, per licentiam tunc passivam materiae subsequentium 
emendationum praeministrabantur, 'general permission',
and Adv. Marc. I. 29, vacat enim abstinentiae testimonium cum licentia


eripitur. But there are places where it means a permission assumed
rather than granted, something of the nature of presumption, as
seems to be the case here, and at Adv. Marc. i. 3, an duos deos liceat
induct poetica et pictoria licentia, et tertia iam haeretica.

16 Apelles, according to Hippolytus, Philos. vn. 38, said that
Christ ou0k e0k parqe/nou gegenh~sqai, ou)de\ a1sarkon ei)nai . . . a)ll'
e0k th~j tou~ panto_j ou)si/aj metalabo&nta merw~n sw~ma pepoihke/nai,
toute/sti qermou~ kai\ yuxrou~ kai\ u(grou~ kai\ chrou~
. For his relation
to Marcion see De Praescr. Haer. 30.

18 confessus, the reading of most MSS., should probably be
retained. Professus (T Kroy.) is the wrong word in this context.
Its correct use is of things personal to the professor, e.g. artem
aliquam, philosophiam,
etc. Its appearance here will be due to
editing by T or his archetype, on the ground that confessus is too
good a word for the supposedly insincere admission of a truth:
hence the substitution of professus in its medieval sense 'pretend to
acknowledge'. For confiteri in this sense cf. Adv. Marc. i. 6, deum
vero confessus utrumque
(sc. et potiorem et quem credit minorem) duo
summa magna confessus est.

18 aliter illas interpretari: so ATBmg. : illis of the other MSS.
makes no evident sense. According to Irenaeus, whose account of
the matter is adopted by Tertullian and Hippolytus, the Valentinian 
doctrine was briefly this: There are two Christs, both of
them distinct from (though one of them comes into a loose
association with) Jesus. The superior Christ, who is, and must
remain, totally unknown to any except his four superiors in the
pleroma, is the last-born fruit of the pleroma. Along with his
consort Holy Spirit he was emitted by Mind, after the expulsion
of Achamoth, with the function of teaching the aeons that Abyss
and Silence, the primary aeons, are forever unknowable and
incomprehensible. This gospel of the unknowable so delighted
the aeons that each of them contributed the best it possessed, and
the combination of all their gifts produced Jesus, the perfect fruit
of the pleroma. The lower Christ is in no way connected with the
above. He was fabricated by Craftsman, the non-divine creator of
the world, and (like his maker) is of 'spiritual' (i.e. non-divine)


constitution. This Christ appeared on earth in an 'animal' body,
i.e., a body constructed of soul (anima), being born 'through'
(not 'of') a virgin. At his baptism in Jordan he was taken
possession of by that composite almost-divine Jesus-Saviour. In
this manner the Valentinians, admitting Christ's flesh, 'otherwise
interpreted it' as being constructed of soul: and, admitting his
nativity, they could explain it in any or all of four ways—as 
confection by all the aeons, as fabrication by Craftsman, as birth
through a virgin, or as possession by Jesus-Saviour descending in
the form of a dove. The third of these, birth through a virgin, in a
body constructed of soul, is chiefly in Tertullian's mind here and in
§§10-16. The above description is condensed from Tertullian,
Adv. Valentinianos, Irenaeus, Haer. I, Hippolytus, Philos. vi.

19 sed et must be retained. Kroymann, without MS. authority,
writes scilicet, which is out of place in introducing an author's
explanation of his own remarks, its proper function being to
indicate his deductions (with which he suspects the other will not
agree) from the theories or expressions of his adversary. The
sentence refers to Marcion, who denied the flesh of Christ by
alleging it to be merely putative, and (removing all Matthew and
the beginning of Luke from the Gospel) denied the nativity
altogether, suggesting that Christ appeared on earth full-grown,
without antecedents, by the bank of Jordan in the fifteenth year
of Tiberius Caesar, in a form which was not flesh, but merely
looked like it. Tertullian retorts that he might just as well have
retained the nativity, arguing that it was only a phantasm of a
nativity in the same way as what had all the appearance of flesh
was merely putative flesh. Cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 8, phantasma vindicans 
Christum; and below, iam nunc cum mendacium deprehenditur
Christus caro, sequitur ut et omnia quae per carnem Christi gesta sunt
mendacio gesta sint, congressus, contactus, convictus, ipsae quoque
and again, sic nec passiones Christi eius (sc. Marcionis) fidem
merebuntur: nihil enim passus est qui non vere est passus: vere autem
pati phantasma non potuit.

20 nativitatem (A Oeh. Kroy.) receives support from mendacium
Christus caro
in the previous quotation: all the other MSS., with


Rhenanus and Mesnart, have nativitatis, which makes no difference
to the general sense, but runs better with phantasma confingere and
may be what Tertullian wrote.

21 infantis ordo, 'birth and growth of the Child': cf. Adv. Marc.
iv. 21, where ordo appears in the same connexion: quando nec 
confusionis materia conveniat nisi meo Christo, cuius ordo magis pudendus
ut etiam haereticorum conviciis pateat, omnem nativitatis et educationis
foeditatem et ipsius etiam carnis indignitatem quanta amaritudine possunt
Oehler, in a note to De Pud. 9, ordinem filii prodigi,
suggests that ordo means 'narrative', which in some cases is
possible, but not at Adv. Marc. iv. 7, reliquum ordinem descensionis
'the concomitants of that alleged descent'.

22 tw~| dokei=n haberentur. Kroymann marks a lacuna here,
which he suggests should be filled out with magis esse quam haberent
ut eosdem etc.
If this meant what it is supposed to mean, it would
indicate that Tertullian was a partial, but not a thoroughgoing,
docetist: which is not the case. Also it would throw fefellissent
into the wrong tense. The sentence is perfectly clear, and no
alteration is called for.

23 elusit, T (and, by implication, A) Rig. Oeh. Kroy.: the other
authorities have illusit. The sense required is apparently 'mocked
at', 'played tricks with', which would be illusit (which would
require a dative object, as at Tacitus, Ann. xvi. 1): eludere more
commonly means 'escape by guile', as at Petronius 97, scrutantium
eluderet manus
(like Ulysses escaping from the Cyclops), but it
can approach to the sense here required, as at Tacitus, Hist. I. 26
quaedam apud Galbae aures praefectus Laco elusit. For the general
sense cf. Adv. Marc. v. 20 (commenting on Philippians 2. 8) et
mortem crucis: non enim exaggeraret atrocitatem extollendo virtutem
subiectionis quam imaginariam phantasmate scisset, frustrate potius eam

quam experto, nec virtute functo in passione sed lusu.



Marcion repudiates the prophecies, and deletes from his gospel the
narratives, of Christ's conception, birth, and childhood. We can
guess his reasons for this, while denying his authority to do it.


If he is a Christian he ought to believe the Christian tradition.
But he is not a Christian: his own action in denying the Christian
belief he once held at once shows this and proves that that former
belief is older than the heresy he has invented, and is therefore the
original belief, and is the truth. This appeal to antiquity is my
standing refutation of all heresies, and would of itself be sufficient
in the present case: yet, to fortify my argument still further, I
proceed to examine the reasons he alleges.

1 quid illi etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. v. 6, quid illi cum exemplis dei
Similar phrases frequently occur. On the rejection of the
Old Testament cf. Adv. Marc. I. 19, separatio legis et evangelii
proprium et principale opus est Marcionis. Gabriel,
though mentioned
in the Gospel (but in those chapters which Marcion rejected),
belongs to the original creation and not (Marcion would say)
to the father of Marcion's Christ. Adnuntiatur, in the language
of the public spectacles, would refer to the (spoken) programme:
inducitur to entrance on the scene: but the theatrical metaphor is so
remote as to be almost out of view.

2 et in virginis utero etc. Utero (TB) (since inducitur follows)
is more likely to have been altered to uterum than conversely.
Conceptus, balancing nativitas, will be the substantive, not the
participle: there is no question of the child conceived being introduced 
into the womb, but rather of Isaiah's prophecy concerning
conception in a virgin's womb bringing that fact to public notice.

2 cum [Esaia) propheta creatoris? Esaia (XR) may be a
marginal note on propheta. A reads cum esset a propheta creatoris,
which is meaningless. For esset a TB (followed by Kroymann)
have essentia (omitting propheta), which is almost as meaningless,
for what has the essence of the Creator to do with the present
subject? The passages of Quintilian referred to by Kroymann
simply state that essentia was a word newly invented by Sergius
Flavius or by Plautus the Stoic: they have no relevance to the
present passage. Evidently Tertullian's point is that though we
refer to Gabriel and Isaiah for testimony to the reality of the
nativity and conception, Marcion repudiates both, as belonging
to the older dispensation: for according to him the new dispensation


began, not with any annunciation, but with the unheralded
appearance of Christ at the baptism in Jordan. Cf. Adv. Marc. i.15,
at nunc quale est ut dominus anno xii Tiberii Caesaris revelatus sit? and
ibid. 19, anno xv Tiberii Christus Iesus de caelo manare dignatus est,
spiritus salutaris.
This discrepancy in the dates is explained by
referring xii to the beginning of the ministry, xv to Pentecost:
but Luke 3. I has 'fifteenth year' for the former (unless perhaps
Marcion altered it to 'twelfth'). See also Adv. Marc. iv. 7 (quoted
in the following note).

3 qui subito etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 2, atquin nihil putem a deo
subitum, quia nihil a deo non dispositum.
Novatian, De Trin. 10,
ut merito haereticorum istorum testamenti veteris auctoritatem respuentium 
nescio cui commenticio et ex fabulis anilibus ficto Christo atque
fucato passim vere et constanter dicere, Quis es? unde es? a quo missus
es? quare nunc venire voluisti? quare tails? vel qua venire potuisti?
vel quare non ad tuos abisti, nisi quod probasti
[leg. probas te] tuos non
habere dum ad alienos venis? etc.
Novatian's argument is that the
Incarnation was the climax of a long preparation and the fulfilment 
of many prophecies: like Tertullian, he observes that
Marcion's Christ comes without preparation (subito) and as a
trespasser upon another's property. Cf. Adv. Marc. i (passim) and
iv. 7, anno xv principatus Tiberiani proponit eum descendisse in civitatem 
Galilaeae Capharnaum, utique de caelo creatoris in quod de suo
ante descenderat... apparere subitum ex inopinato sapit conspectum qui
semel impegerit oculos in id quod sine mora apparuit... quid autem illi
cum Galilaea, etc.?

4 aufer hinc, inquit, etc. These will not be supposed to be
Marcion's actual words: it is a common enough rhetorical trick
to put words into one's opponent's mouth which may reasonably
be supposed to express the consequences of his thought.

6 deum suum etc. As the angels belonged to the Creator's
dispensation it would have been their own God whom they
praised if Luke 2. 14 had been included in Marcion's gospel.
Viderit etc. seems to mean: 'What they meant by this, and what
particular bearing it has on nativity, is their own concern, and I,
Marcion, refrain from inquiring into it.' AF, followed by Oeh.,


Kroy., read, dominum: Tertullian usually, but not invariably, says
deus for the Father and dominus for the Son: by this rule, in view
of Luke 2. 14 deum would be correct, unless perchance honorans
refers not to the angels' song in particular, but to their presence in
honour of the new birth. Noctibus = noctu, as Kroymann observes:
but De Cor. 11 is not in point, as the sense there is distributive.

8 glorietur, i.e. at having his prophecy fulfilled: Jer. 31. 15,
quoted at Matt. 2. 17.

10 oblationis. I have adopted this reading of TB with some
hesitation: it is an obvious correction for anyone to make who
found obligations in his text, whereas there seems no reason for a
change in the other direction. Sumptu obligations would mean
'the expense to which the Law bound them', with a reference to
the thrice repeated 'Law of the Lord' in Luke 2. 22-24.

11 senem moriturum... contristet has the more abundant
MS. testimony. Tertullian makes Marcion misunderstand the
text. Simeon was not sad at the approach of death, but relieved at
the prospect of departure.

12 ne fascinet puerum. According to the superstition (still
current on the continent, and not unknown in parts of England)
the evil eye is put upon children by their having kind words
addressed to them by strangers, especially old women. Cf. De
Virg. Vel. 1
5 (quoted in part by Oehler): nam est aliquid etiam apud
ethnicos metuendum, quod fascinum vacant, infeliciorem laudis et gloriae
enormioris eventum: hoc nos interdum diabolo interpretamur, ipsius est
enim boni odium: interdum deo deputamus, illius est enim superbiae
iudicium, extollentis humiles et deprimentis elatos.
The latter, however,
is not 'evil eye', but more akin to what Homer calls ne/mesij.

12 originalia instrumenta. Instrumentum means documentary
authority: Lewis and Short give examples of this sense from
Quintilian and Suetonius: so also Apol. 18, instrumentum litteraturae,
'literary evidence', i.e. the Old Testament (where Oehler gives a
number of parallels). For originalia cf. De Praesc. Haer. 21, ecclesiis
apostolids matricibus et originalibus fidei,
'seedbeds and nurseries of
the faith': De Monog. 7, vetera exempla originalium personarum,
referring back to ibid. 6, sed adhuc nobis quaeramus aliquos originis


principes, 'our spiritual fathers from whom we trace our origin',
e.g. Adam, Noah, St Paul, Abraham in respect of faith, not of
polygamy, Joseph, Moses, Aaron: Apol. 21, dudum Iudaeis erat
apud deum gratia ubi et insignis iustitia et fides originalium auctorum,
so far as they continued in the notable righteousness and faith
of the patriarchs from whom they took their origin': Adv.
ii. 9, nec potest (inquis) non ad originalem summam referri
corruptio portionis—
in Marcion's view, the fall of man, resulting
from the corruption of that breath of life, the soul, which the
Creator breathed into Adam, proves that the originalis summa, the
original account on which (so to speak) the cheque was drawn,
i.e. the substance of the Creator, is delicti capax (which to Tertullian 
is blasphemy): Adv. Hermog. 19, ad originale instrumentum
Moysi provocabo,
'Moses' narrative of the creation'. So here
originalia instmmenta are the documents which testify to Christ's
origin, the nativity stories of the Gospel, which are as it were his
birth-certificate, and which Marcion has presumed to suppress.
At De Anima 3, by argumentations originales, id est philosophicas, we
must understand not (as Junius suggests) theories drawn from
natural principles, but theories which the philosophers have 
constructed concerning the origins of things.

14 ex quo, oro te: etc. Oehler's correction of A (quo for qua)
is apparently intended to mean, 'Since how long ago, pray?',
and gives a good sense in conformity with Tertullian's general
criticism of the recent emergence of the heresies: cf. e.g. De
Praesc. Haer.
30, where however we have ostendant mihi ex qua
auctoritate prodierint.
Kroymann, with more than his usual felicity,
takes the reading of TX, adding exhibe from A, ex qua oro te
auctoritate? exhibe,
which could find parallels in Cicero, e.g. Pro
32. 78, litteras...quas ea de muliere ad me datas...requisivit:
(though here recita is addressed to the clerk of the court).
For the general sense of the passage cf. Adv. Marc. i. 21, exhibe
ergo aliquam
(sc. ecclesiam) ex tuis apostolici census et obduxeris... non
esse credendum deum quem homo de suis sensibus composuerit, nisi plane
prophetes, id est non de suis sensibus: quod si Marcion poterit did,
debebit etiam probari.


15 si apostolicus. Cf. De Praesc. Haer. 32, 33, where the
following phrases occur, in this order: aetas apostolica: ecclesiae
(plural): ab apostolis in episcopatum constitutes apostolici
seminis traduces: apostolica doctrina: apostolicus
(sc. vir): apostolici
Also Adv. Marc. i. 21, apostolica traditio: apostolic census
ibid. IV. 2, apostolicos (Mark and Luke, as distinguished
from Matthew and John): ibid. v. 2, scriptura Apostolicorum (the
Acts). Also De Pud. 21, exhibe igitur et nunc mihi, apostolice, prophetica 
exempla, ut agnoscam divinitatem, addressed to the Roman
pontiff, with whose policy concerning second marriages Tertullian 
does not agree: apparently the pope described himself as
apostolicus: possibly so also did Marcion, with less justification.

16 si tantum Christianus es, for dummodo Christianus sis, seems
somewhat lame, but is not impossible: si autem (T) and si 
tantummodo (F) seem to be editorial attempts at improvement.

20 rescindendo quod retro credidisti: cf. Adv. Marc. i. 1,
non negabunt discipuli eius primam illius fidem nobiscum fuisse...ut
him iam destinari possit haereticus qui deserto quod priusfuerat id postea
sibi elegerit quod retro non erat:
ibid. iv. 4, adeo antiquius Marcione est
quod est secundum nos, ut et ipse illi Marcion aliquando crediderit.
the same effect De Praesc. Haer. 30, with a brief history of the
various sects.

Retro is Tertullian's regular word for antea: he even says retrosiores 
for aetate priores (Apol. 19). There is precedent for it in
Horace, Carm. iii. 29. 46, non tamen irritum | quodcunque retro est
efficiet, neque | diffinget infectumque reddet | quod fugiens semel hora vexit.
But there may be a Christian reason for Tertullian's practice. The
ancients, facing with hopeless longing towards a vanished golden
age, regarded the past as in front of them (e1mprosqen, antea) and
the future as behind them (o1pisqen, postea). The Christian,
looking for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world
to come, takes the opposite view: and, in spite of the inveterate
usage of the Latin language, the change of thought is reflected
in Tertullian's vocabulary. Philippians 3. 13 ta_ me\n o)pisw
e0pilanqano&menoj toi=j de\ e1mprosqen e0pekteino&menoj
(a metaphor 
from running a race) may have influenced Tertullian to the


regular use of a word which Horace used in this sense only once.
But I am not aware that other Christian writers copied him: nor,
for that matter, does modern English.

21 et nostri probant: wrongly omitted by Kroymann: what
he means by saying that they break the rule of the clausula is not
clear: they have precisely the same rhythm as those he leaves by
removing them. The circumstances are those referred to Adv.
i. i, non negabunt discipuli eius primam illius fidem nobiscum
fuisse, ipsius litteris testibus:
cf. ibid. iv. 4, quid nunc si negaverint
Marcionitae primam apud nos fidem eius adversus epistulam quoque
ipsius? quid si nec epistulam agnoverint? certe Antitheses non modo
fatentur Marcionis sed et praeferunt: ex his mihi probatio sufficit.
It is not clear what this letter was. It can hardly have been a
profession of faith exacted by the Roman church on Marcion's
arrival from Pontus: there is no evidence that at that date or for
centuries later any church exacted such written professions, even
from the clergy. It appears from the second quotation (above)
that the Marcionites denied the authenticity of the letter, so that
Tertullian is prepared to waive it and prove his point from the
Antitheses alone.

24 aliter fuisse is intelligible, though somewhat concise, and
need not be altered. Kroymann inserts creditum tibi, meaning
presumably abs te creditum: there is no need for it. Cf. De Praesc.
38, ex illis (sc. scripturis) sumus antequam aliter fuit, antequam a
vobis interpolarentur,
where the text is doubtful: ibid. 30, quidquid
emendat ut mendosum retro alterius fuisse demonstrat,
where Ursinus'
suggestion of anterius would simply duplicate retro, so probably
read and punctuate ut mendosum, retro aliter fuisse etc.: ibid. 32,
nisi illi qui ab apostolis didicerunt aliter praedicaverunt.

29 ex abundanti retractamus. The general rejection of all
heresies on the ground of their recent emergence would have been
sufficient to cover this present case: but, offering more proof
than our cause strictly requires, we proceed to discuss Marcion's
reasons for denying Christ's nativity. Tertullian dislikes argumentation, 
but he will use it under protest to prepare the way for
scriptural exposition: cf. Adv. Marc. i. 16, nunc enim communibus


plurimum sensibus et argumentationibus iustis secuturae scripturarum
quoque advocationi fidem sternimus.
Cf. Quintilian, Inst. Orat. iv. 5.
15, egregie vero Cicero pro Milone insidiatorem primum Clodium
ostendit, tum addidit ex abundanti, etiam si id non fuisset, talem tamen
civem cum summa virtute interfectoris et gloria necari potuisse:
ibid. v.
6. 2, the wise litigant will not rest his case on his own affidavit,
nor will he challenge his adversary to that course, but will prove
his case on argument or testimony and will introduce the affidavit,
if at all, ex abundanti.


Marcion's reasons for denying Christ's nativity can only be either
that to God such a birth is impossible or else that it does not be-
seem him. We discuss first the question of impossibility, on
which we observe: (1) That to God nothing is impossible except
that which is not his will, and thus we have to inquire whether
this was his will. We submit that if it had not been his will to be
born he would have abstained from showing himself in human
form and thus giving the impression of having been born: for
this would have been a false impression, unworthy of God.
(2) There is no force in the objection that it was enough that
Christ should know the truth about himself, and that it was men's
own fault if they received a false impression of him: the fact
would remain that he had forfeited our confidence by giving the
false impression. (3) Ill-founded also is the suggestion that if he
had really been born and had truly taken manhood upon him,
that is, if God had really been changed into man, he would have
ceased to be God. In ordinary cases, we admit, by changing into
something else a thing ceases to be what it was. But God, being
unchangeable, is not subject to this law, and it is in his power to
change into man without ceasing to be God. (4) We add that
angels are reported to have assumed real human bodies and yet
remained angels: if angels have this power (and they, according to
Marcion, belong to an inferior God), a fortiori Marcion's superior
god must have it. And Marcion dare not say that these angels
had only a phantasm of a body: for this would put the Creator's
angels on a level with Marcion's Christ. (5) Similar was the case


of the Holy Spirit descending in bodily form as a dove—except
that this is not in Marcion's gospel. If asked what afterwards
became of those bodies, we answer that they were withdrawn
into the nothingness from which they had been brought into
being: and, in any case, what the Scripture says must be true.

1 quatenus stands for quandoquidem: cf. Apol. 19, habetis quod
sciam, et vos sibyllam, quatenus appellatio ista verae vatis veri dei
passim super ceteros qui vatidnari videbantur usurpata est. Hoc,
judgement which Marcion considered himself competent to
make, non natum esse Christum. Arbitrium is strictly speaking a
judgement in equity concerning not the fact of obligation but the
amount: cf. Cicero, Pro Rosc. Com. 4. 10, iudicium est pecuniae
certae, arbitrium incertae.
It is from the other (also classical) sense of
arbitrium, 'power', 'authority' (e.g. Tacitus, Ann. vi. 51, rei
Romanae arbitrium,
the imperial power), that we obtain the
expression liberum arbitrium, 'freedom of choice'.

3 voluerit is the reading of all the MSS. Ursinus, followed by
Kroymann, reads noluerit, wrongly. The catch is in the particle an.
Tertullian uses these interrogative particles in ways peculiar to
himself: e.g. Apol. 1 (Hoppe, line 15), an = nonne: ibid. 9 (line 37),
necubi = annon alicubi: ibid. 19 (line 65) and frequently, non =
ibid. 35 (line 24), ne forte = an forte. Here an stands for
annon, and no alteration is called for.

4 compendium may prossibly be used here in its original sense of
weighing two things in the same balance: Lewis and Short give
several examples. The two questions, whether God was incompetent, 
and whether it was unseemly, could be treated as one. God
did consent to give the impression of manhood, and consequently
of having been born. That establishes the seemliness of it: and as
God's veracity requires that the impression given should correspond 
with the truth, we have also the answer to the question of
fact, and therefore of competence as well as seemliness. But the
question of seemliness is pursued further in the following chapter.
It appears then more likely that compendium here means a short
cut: cf. Adv. Marc. I. 1, nunc quatenus admittenda congressio est,
interdum ne compendium praescriptionis ubique advocatum diffidentiae


deputetur, regulam adversarii prius retexam, ne cui lateat in qua
principalis quaestio dimicatura est:
ibid. ii. 29, quodsi utraque pars
bonitatis atque iustitiae dignam plenitudinem divinitatis efficiunt omnia
potentis, compendia interim possum Antitheses retudisse.

10 illud is in all MSS. except A, and should no doubt be
restored. Kroymann rightly indicates that it is the object of
patiatur, not the subject of interest: but his reading falsam (sc.
opinionem) is unnecessary and unjustified. On the sentence as a
whole cf. Adv. Marc. i. 11, quid ergo tantopere notitiam sui procuravit,
ut in dedecore carnis exhiberetur, et quidem maiore si falsae? nam hoc
turpius, si et mentitus est substantiam carnis.

11 conscientia in common Latin usage is either (a) joint 
knowledge, knowledge shared with others, or (b) consciousness, or
(c) a good or bad conscience (not necessarily with bona or mala).
In Tertullian it seems to take its meaning from the Pauline text
(1 Cor. 4. 4) ou)de\n ga_r e0mautw~|, and to indicate that
which one is conscious of in one's own judgement of oneself,
though it may not of necessity be within the cognisance of others.
Cf. Adv. Prax. 13, ceterum si ex conscientia ('that private Christian
knowledge') qua scimus dei nomen et domini et patri et filio et spiritui
sancto convenire deos et dominos nominaremus etc.
The word appears
again at the end of the following sentence almost in its modern
sense of 'conscience'.

15 quantum ad fiduciam etc. This reading of A is apparently
correct. Quam tu, of the other authorities, is somewhat lame, and
tu is redundant. Fiducia apparently means our confidence or trust
in Christ: 'If his birth and his manhood were an acted lie, how
could we trust him in anything?' From Apol. 39, fidem sanctis
vocibus pascimus, spem erigimus, fiduciam figimus,
it seems likely that
fides refers to the formal content of the faith, while fiducia is the
Christian's personal trust in Christ.

19 hominem vere induisset. Homo is Tertullian's regular
word (and in this he is followed by the other Latin fathers, 
including St Augustine) for Christ's human nature, with nowhere
any suggestion that the use of this term might be mistaken (in a


Nestorian sense) to indicate a distinct human person. Cf. Adv.
30, hominem eius, and my note.

20 periculum enim status sui etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. I. 6, non
est autem dei desinere de statu suo, id est de summo magno. Status,
have suggested elsewhere (Adv. Prax., Introduction, pages 50-53),
represents the copulative verb in so far as it introduces attributes
which are essential and permanent, and constitute the natura of an
object: in that case, it also involves the idea of stability. And as
substantia represents the existential verb, being the thing as it is in
itself, in the case of God both substantia and status are ex hypothesi
indestructible and eternal: and as status represents the sum total
of the necessary attributes, the properties, the meaning here is that
whatever it is that God does with himself there is no danger of his
losing all or any of those properties (of eternity, immortality, etc.)
by which as God he is distinguished from all that is not God:
if there were, it would be conceivable that he could amittere quod
erat dum fit quod non erat.

21 conversum. Cf. Adv. Prax. 27, quaerendum quomodo sermo
caro sit factus, utrum quasi transfiguratus in carne an indutus carnem,
and the answer to this question there given. On the term con-
and its subsequent rejection I venture to refer to my note
on the above passage (page 320) and to my Introduction, pages 72,
73: to which I would now add that it seems possible that it was
Marcion who said conversum, and that Tertullian, to avoid com-
plicating the argument, accepts the word without protest and (for
the moment) argues from it without remarking on its un-

24 non competit ergo etc. A alone has eius cui (T is here
defective). Kroymann's (inexact) quotation from Ad Nat. i. 5
is apparently intended to show that competere can be used 
absolutely, to mean 'is possible'—which is true enough, though the
clause quoted does not exemplify this.

25 ea lege est is conceivably equivalent to a verb of commanding, 
and so is followed by ne instead of the more correct ut
cf. Adv. Marc. i. 3, conditions, et ut ita dixerim lege quae summo
magno nihil sinit adaequari.


27 nihil deo par est literally means that nothing is on a level
with God: from which it follows that there is nothing which can
be used as an analogy to suggest that what happens to it in certain
circumstances will happen to God in like circumstances: cf. Adv.
Marc. I.
4, de deo agitur, cuius hoc principaliter proprium est, nullius
exempli capere comparationem,
quoting Isaiah 40. 18, 25, and adding,
divinis forsitan comparabuntur humana, deo non ita: aliud enim deus,
aliud quae dei.

27 ab omnium rerum conditione: so ATP, the others having
condicione. The words are often confused, not by Tertullian, but
by his copyists. See a separate note, p. xxxix, in which it is suggested 
that conditio (when it does not mean the act or process of
creation, or the created world or rerum natura) refers to those
natural attributes or relationships which accrue to an object by
virtue of its natura, but looking outward rather than inward:
whereas condicio refers also to outward relationships, but of a more
fortuitous or transitory character. Here apparently conditione is
correct, (a) as contrasting the natural attributes of things with the
essential attributes of God, and (b) as suggesting that, being
created things, they will necessarily be subject to influences to
which the Creator is not subject.

30 diversitas means more than 'difference': in many cases
'opposition' will not be too strong, as in the common expression
diversa pars, 'my opponents'. Here the suggestion is that just
because created things are in this way affected by change, the
opposite must be the case with God, and that he cannot be
affected, even by change.

33 quorum utique etc. In the clause as usually punctuated
ut (added by Kroymann before in omnibus) seems necessary, unless
(as is very unlikely) utique can stand for sicut. But this makes
a very ugly sentence, and probably the easiest way out is to correct
the punctuation, placing a colon after non est.

34 angelos creatoris etc. The narrative of Genesis 18 and 19,
if carefully read, indicates that the Lord appeared to Abraham
accompanied by two angels: that after Abraham's hospitality
and the conversation with Sarah the two angels went away to


Sodom while the Lord remained behind in conversation with
Abraham: that the angels alone entered into Sodom and rescued
Lot: and that when they had come out of the city the Lord rained
fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven and destroyed it.
It was assumed by Tertullian (as by Justin and by practically all
commentators until the fourth century) that the Lord here is God
the Son—a point however upon which Tertullian does not insist
in the present context, being concerned only to refute the
Marcionite suggestion about the angels. His observations here are
a summary of what he writes Adv. Marc. iii. 9, where his argument 
is as follows: Marcion's suggestion that the flesh of Christ
can be taken to have been putative because the angels appeared to
Abraham and to Lot in phantasmate, putativae utique carnis, must be
rejected, because (1) non admitteris ad eius dei exempla quem destruis,
for, the better and more perfect you suppose your god to be, the
less do the Creator's precedents apply to him: (2) The angels' flesh
was not putative, it being just as easy for God to provide veram
substantiam carnis
as to exhibit real sensations and actions in putative 
flesh: (3) Marcion's god, who has created no flesh (nor anything 
else), might perhaps be allowed a phantasm of flesh, whereas
our God, who had made flesh out of clay, would have been able
to make for the angels flesh out of any material he wished: for it
was much easier for him to do this than to make the world out of
nothing, by his mere word: (4) The God whom Marcion acknowledges 
promises to men veram substantiam angelorum (Luke 20. 36):
why then shall not our God have given to the angels veram substantiam 
hominum, undeunde sumptam? (5) The verity of their flesh
is attested by three witnesses, sight, touch, and hearing: and it is
more difficult for God to deceive than to produce true flesh, undeunde : 
(6) Other heretics allege that the angels' flesh ought to have
been born of flesh: we reply that their flesh had to be human for
purposes of human converse, but needed not to be born because
the reason for their appearance was not (as Christ's was) to reform
our nativity by nativity and to destroy our death by resurrection:
for which reason Christ himself appeared to Abraham in veritate
quidem carnis, sed nondum natae quia nondum moriturae, sed et discentis
iam inter homines conversari:
(7) Since 'he maketh his angels spirits


(breaths or winds) and his apparitors a flaming fire', truly winds
and truly fire, he also made them truly flesh.

38 adeo detinebatur. It does not appear from Oehler's or
Kroymann's data who was responsible for this obvious correction
of the MSS. a deo. T's reading is easy to explain, and may safely
be disregarded.

39 inferioris dei . . . potentiori deo. It is necessary (though,
in view of his language, not always easy) to remember that
Tertullian's God, the God of Christians, is the Creator of the
world, the God of the Old Testament as well as of the New.
Expressions such as the present (which are sufficiently frequent)
are therefore ironical, arguing against Marcion on Marcion's own
ground. Cf. Adv. Marc. i. 11, nam et quale est ut creator quidem
ignorans esse alium super se deum... tantis operibus notitiam sui
armaverit...ille autem sublimior sciens inferiorem deum tam instructum
nullam sibi prospexerit agnoscendo paraturam?
Also ibid. ii. 1, nam
qui in inferiorem deum caecutis, quid in sublimiorem?
and ibid. ii. 27,
si enim deus, et quidem sublimior, tanta humilitate fastigium maiestatis
suae stravit ut etiam morti subiceret, et morti amis, cur non putetis
nostro quoque deo aliquas pusillitates congruisse?
The above reading
(of A alone) is therefore undoubtedly correct.

42 hominem indutus: see above, hominem induisset.

43 sed non audebis etc. Precisely because Marcion has ascribed
to Christ a phantasm of flesh, he is bound to maintain that the
flesh assumed by the angels was real: otherwise there will be
parallel action between the New Testament and the Old, and it
will follow that the same God is responsible for both—which
Marcion would not care to admit. A specious argument, but
hardly convincing.

48 qui spiritus cum esset. Hoc is without meaning, and must
be removed, as Mesnart suggested. Spiritus here is a general
term, the predicate of the sentence, 'and though he was spirit'.
From John 4. 24, deus spiritus est, Tertullian deduces that 'spirit'
is a generic term descriptive of the divine being, the kind of
'substance' God is. The meaning here is that although (or because)


the Holy Spirit who descended upon Jesus was God, he was no
less truly a dove than he was God, yet his assumption of that new
thing which he had not previously been, involved no destruction
of that divine Thing which is unalterably himself. Cf. Adv.
Prax. 26.

55 corporis soliditas. Cf. Cicero, De Nat. Deorum I. 19. 49,
who says that according to Epicurus the gods are perceived non
sensu sed mente, nec soliditate quadam nec ad numerum ut ea quae
ille propter firmitatem
stere/mnia appellat, sed imaginibus similitudine 
et transitione perceptis. This is probably the sense Tertullian
has in mind here. For other meanings of solidus see a note on § 6.


Having disposed of the suggestion of impossibility, we turn to the
complaint of unseemliness. It is possible to make great play with
the inconveniences, even the sordidness, of conception, pregnancy,
childbearing, and infancy. These are really sacred things, the
concern of all men alike, and those who think ill of them despise
our common humanity—which indeed Christ did not despise,
but loved it, redeeming it at great cost. In loving our humanity
he loved all that appertains to it, nativity and flesh included, for
these are inseparable from it. During his ministry he cleansed the
flesh from all manner of diseases, and finally from death itself.
If he had appeared among men in a form lower than human, this
in our human judgement might have been accounted foolish.
But 'God hath chosen the foolish things of the world'—and what
is it that the world counts as foolish? Not, surely, the conversion
of mankind from idolatry and their instruction in all virtues, but
that God should be born, born of a virgin, born in human
fashion with all its inconveniences. In spite of the fables of its
mythology the world can imagine no greater foolishness than

2 corporatio seems to be a new coinage. Swma&twsij is used by
Hermes Trismegistus (apud Stobaeum, Eclog. I, page 730) for the
eternal fact or process by which bodies are brought into existence
so as to be the object or instrument of the eternal operations of


science and art: for since science and art are eternal there must
eternally exist, or be coming into existence, in the transcendental
sphere, bodies for them to work on. This is certainly not what
Tertullian means by the word: the whole tenor of his argument
shows that by corporatio he means not the genesis of a body but the
assumption of one, either fabricated for the purpose, as in the
Theophanies, or drawn from the stock of Adam, as in the Incarnation. 
The word in this sense is a synonym of incarnatio, and by
implication scriptural: though it remains conceivable that in the
present context it is due not to Tertullian but to Marcion, who
may have wished to becloud the Incarnation by the use of a term
borrowed from an alien philosophy.

3 perora, age iam etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 11, age iam, perora,
in illa sanctissima et reverenda opera naturae, invehere in totum quod es.
Tertullian is an inveterate plagiarizer from himself. Cf. Adv.
iv. 20, where it is objected that Marcion's Christ, being
incapable of these indignitates, must also be incapable of confusio,
quoting Luke 9. 26, 'Of him shall the Son of man be ashamed.'

5 coagula etc. The punctuation used in the text seems to be
the best: Kroymann's is ingenious, but breaks the flow of the
sentence. All difficulty would disappear if we could insert sordes
after carnis.

6 in diem (TB) should perhaps be restored, if only on the 
principle that the longer text is usually the correct one.

9 honorandum is almost certainly correct: cf. infra, ham
venerationem naturae,
and Adv. Marc. iii. 11, quoted above. 
Horrendum (T) gives exactly the wrong sense, as horres, in the next
sentence, shows.

10 utique et oblitum. dedignaris quod etc. So I read, and
punctuate, following exactly neither set of authorities. Ablutum
would also make sense, 'even when he has been washed you
despise him because he is straightened out etc.' But the more
forcible word is better: Tertullian is making Marcion insist to the
full on the unseemliness of the process.

16 certe Christus dilexit etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. I. 14, postremo
te tibi circumfer, intus ac foris considera hominem: placebit tibi vel hoc


opus dei nostri quod tuus dominus, ille deus melior, adamavit, propter
quem in haec paupertina elementa de tertio caelo descendere laboravit,
cuius causa in hac cellula creatoris etiam crucifixus est:
and ibid. i. 29
(of Marcion's god, who forbids marriage), quomodo diligit cuius
originem non amat?

20 magno redemit, from i Cor. 6. 20, h0gora&sqhte ga_r timh~j,
where Lat. vg. has pretio magno: cf. ibid. 7. 23, timh~j h)gora&sqhte
(Lat. vg. pretio empti estis).

26 qui redemit. Qui, my own correction of what I took to be
a misprint in Oehler, seems also to have occurred to the corrector
of T.

31 si revera etc. This piece of bad taste is not without parallel:
it neither can nor need be excused. Opinor is commonly used
ironically, of an opinion attributed to the adversary, but with
which the writer does not agree: here the suggestion is the
writer's, and neither party ought to have entertained such an idea.

34 de nostro sensu etc. So I read, following A. We have a
perfect right, even a duty, to judge according to our own best
mind concerning things it is suggested that God might have
done. If any alteration is needed, it is the substitution of est for si
or sit before plane stultum.

35 si tamen non delesti. Marcion retained this text, 1
Corinthians 1. 27, 28. Cf. Adv. Marc. v. 5, etiam Marcion servat.
quid est autem stultum dei sapientius hominibus nisi crux et mors
Christi? quid infirmum dei fortius homine nisi nativitas et caro dei?
ceterum si nec natus ex virgine Christus nec carne constructus, ac per hoc
neque crucem neque mortem vere perpessus est, nihil in illo fuit stultum
et infirmum, nec iam stulta mundi elegit deus ut confundat sapientiam
Tertullian often quotes this text: e.g. De Praesc. Haer. 7,
de ingenio sapientiae saecularis quam dominus stultitiam vocans stulta
mundi in confusionem etiam philosophiae ipsius elegit.

45 apud. For the practical equivalence of apud and penes, cf.
De Anima 14 and Waszink's note. At Apol. 17, desinunt tamen
Christiani haberi penes nos,
it appears that penes has quite lost its
'internal' significance.



Since we are speaking of 'foolish things', things supposedly
unworthy of God, are not the passion of Christ, and its accompaniments, 
more foolish in appearance even than his birth and incarnation? 
Why does not Marcion excise these? Possibly because, as a
phantasm, Christ can have had no sensation of them. Therefore
we have to ask, was Christ really crucified, and did he really die?
If not, the apostle was at fault in claiming to know nothing save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and in insisting that he was buried
and that he rose again. In such a case our faith also is false and
our hope in Christ is a phantasm: also Christ's murderers will be
excusable, for they will be found not to have really killed him.
But all this is simply to deny the world's only hope. Our faith
has to have something for men to be ashamed of—else why did
our Lord warn us of the consequences of being ashamed of him?
It is precisely these things that can be considered a matter of shame :
yet how can they have been real in him, unless he was real in himself, 
having real flesh like ours? This in fact was the reason for his
becoming the Son of Man, that he might have wherewith to
suffer these indignities: and he cannot have been man without
flesh, or have possessed flesh without birth from a human parent,
any more than he can have been God without the divine substance, 
begotten of God as Father. This is how he is presented to
us, at the same time God with divine powers and man subject to
human weaknesses, his miracles showing the one, his passion
showing the other. It is not permissible to make out that Christ
was half a lie, for he is wholly the Truth: his manhood must be as
real as his godhead, and manhood involves human birth and the
possession of a body like ours. On his own testimony we may
not think of him as a phantasm, either before his resurrection or
after: and Marcion in particular has no right to think so, for he
derives his Christ from a god wholly good and candid and
veracious. But Marcion's Christ ought not to have come down
from heaven, but out of a troupe of wonder-working magicians—
except that, even so, he would have been a real man.


[This is one of the most lucid sections of Tertullian's work, in
which his Latin flows with unwonted ease and perspicuity. There
was therefore the less reason for Kroymann to have disturbed the
text with a multitude of alterations of words and punctuation.
The text printed is that commonly received, with perhaps one or
two minor improvements.]

7 sed non eris... credendo. This sentence, as Kroymann
remarks, is not necessary to the argument. But it is precisely the
kind of aside which would have been interpolated by a pleader
making a speech with his adversary present: and this is what
Tertullian is pretending to do.

8 passiones... non rescidisti. Marcion retained St Luke's
narrative of the passion, though he excised the parting of the
garments so as to avoid the acknowledgement of Psalm 22. See
Adv. Marc. iv. 40-42 for Tertullian's comments which (except for
the tone of voice in which they are made) seem entirely justified.
Apparently Marcion said that 'the Christ' deserted the phantasm
of a body at the supposed moment of death, and returned to
heaven: he omitted to consider what it was that was left behind,
or what it was for which Joseph provided burial—though this too,
with the narrative of the Easter appearances, was retained in his

9 diximus retro, i.e. in §1.

10 nativitatis... imaginariae. Imaginarius apparently in this
connexion means no more than 'unreal': cf. De Corona 13, omnia
imaginaria in saeculo et nihil veri:
so Adv. Marc. iii. 8, 11 caro
But there are places where it (still meaning 'unreal')
refers to the imaginary (supposedly real) entities of the gnostic
ideal worlds; e.g. Adv. Val. 27, ita omnia in imagines urgent, plane
et ipsi imaginarii Christiani:
and other places where it seems to
mean imaginative (if I understand these two passages aright) in a
reprehensible sense, as at De Monog. 10, the widow habet secum
animi licentiam, qui omnia homini quae non habet imaginario fructu
and Adv. Val. 17, of the conceptual effects of Achamoth's 


11 interfector may conceivably have the sense assigned to it
by Tertullian's compatriot Appuleius, in the phrase interfectae

11 crucifixus est deus: so all the MSS. except T, which has
dominus: but cf. passiones dei, deum crucifixum, above. The whole
context requires deus.

15 igitur means 'in that case', and there is no need to make the
present sentence into a question. It is the necessary deduction
from an affirmative answer to the questions preceding.

20 qui me confusus fuerit: Mark 8. 38, Luke 9. 26, conflated
with Matthew 10. 32. Cf. Apol. 4, bonorum adhibita proscriptio
suffundere maluit hominis sanguinem quam effundere,
'is more a
matter of exaction than of execution'. Confusus, for pudore
unknown in classical and pagan Latin, appears first in
the versions of the above texts. As appears from Irenaeus, Haer.
iii. 19. 4, the verb can be active, or deponent (with an accusative
object), or passive: et confusurum qui confundentur confessionem eius
...a Christo confundentur.
It belongs to that class of expressions
which developed in the popular speech which lies behind the
biblical versions, and is older than Christian Latin literature,
having become necessary in view of the new Christian attitude
towards certain moral acts or experiences. The Roman was 
incapable of personal shame or personal repentance: the most he
could arrive at was the impersonal pudet me, poenitet me. Christians
found that impersonality was not good enough, and developed
expressions like confusus sum, poenitentiam ago (which does not
mean 'do penance') to describe what was to them a personal act.
Rigaltius, and subsequent editors, altered me of the MSS. to mei,
apparently to balance eius in the following clause: the versions of
the Gospel all read confusus me fuerit... confundetur eum: Rönsch,
Itala und Vulgata, p. 354, makes no mention of genitive government.

23 bene impudentem. On first reading this (in Oehler's text)
I thought there was possibly a misprint for bene imprudentem,
which would balance better with feliciter stultum: but cf. non
pudet etc.,
below. Imprudens and impudens were often confused


by the copyists: cf. e.g. Cicero, De Lege Agraria ii. 17. 46, an is
impudenter populo Romano per legis fraudem surripiatur,
Lauredanus rightly suggests imprudente: ibid. iii. 2. 5, multo 
impudentior, where one group of MSS. have (wrongly) imprudentior:
ibid. iii. 2. 8, nemo est tam impudens istorum, where all the MSS.
have imprudens (corrected by Naugerius).

30 novit, almost equivalent to potest, is unusual in Latin,
especially with a non-personal subject. Tertullian may have been
copying the Greek idiom, e.g. Demosthenes, Phil. 1. 40, proba&l-
lesqai d' h2 ble/pein e0nanti/on ou1t' oi]den ou1t' e0qe/lei
. Posse to
Tertullian is a matter of power: whereas being born, and dying,
are in a sense a restraint of power, for which nosse is more suitable.
See the critical note for a possible difference of reading and

33 nisi si aut aliud etc. The sequence of thought is perfectly
clear, and no alteration is called for. It is admitted that Christ is
'man' and 'son of man', for so it is written in St Luke's Gospel.
If then, as Marcion demands, we deny the obvious deduction
from this, that Christ was possessed of human flesh, we need to
find some other means of justifying those expressions: which can
only be either (a) that 'man' signifies not human flesh but 
something else, or (b) that human flesh can have some origin other
than human birth, or (c) that Christ's mother is not human, or
(d) that the father of Marcion's Christ, Marcion's 'good god',
is human. The second and third suggestions are hardly in point
here: but they fill out a good rhetorical sequence, and there is no
reason for thinking that Tertullian did not write them.

37 nec deus sine spiritu dei. 'Spirit', once more, means the
divine substance: see above on §3, qui spiritus cum esset.

38 utriusque substantiae census, a pregnant expression, very
difficult to translate. Census means both origin, and the rank or
quality which depends upon origin. Perhaps 'the rank (or
quality) deriving from the two substances'.

40 quae proprietas conditionum etc. Cf. Adv. Prax. 27,
secundum utramque substantiam in sua proprietate adeo


salva est utriusque proprietas substantiae ut spiritus res suas egerit in caro passiones suas functa sit,
where Tertullian's argument
is that the facts of the case, recorded in the Gospel and referred to
by St Paul, preclude us from thinking that the Incarnation involved 
such a confusion or mixture of godhead and manhood as
would have produced neither the one nor the other but something
in between. Proprietas does not mean 'property' in any sense
involving possession, but the fact that each of the substances, and
the conditiones, is what it is and is not the other. On conditio see a
note on page xxxix.

44 perinde is the reading of A: the other authorities have
proinde. There are indications that, either by second-century
writers or by their medieval copyists, the two words were either
confused or treated as equivalent, as in several places in this
treatise. In the Medicean codex of Tacitus proinde occurs several
times in the sense of perinde: e.g. Hist. ii. 27, haud proinde id
damnum Vitellianos in metum compulit quam ad modestiam composuit:
ibid. ii. 39 and 97, where Rhenanus in the editio princeps substituted

46 maluit, credo, nasci etc. Cf. Adv. Prax. 11 (with C. H.
Turner's brilliant emendation), unum tamen veritus est, mentiri
veritatis auctorem semetipsum et suam veritatem.
I have ventured to
write credo for the MSS. crede or credi (the latter is certainly
wrong): though with some hesitation, for in Latin oratory this
interjected credo seems to be usually ironical, and not to express
the speaker's real opinion: e.g. Cicero, Phil. x. 7. 15, qui autem
hos exercitus ducunt? ei credo qui
C. Caesaris res actas everti, qui
causam veteranorum prodi volunt:
and ibid. 9. 18, non sunt enim
credo innumerabiles qui pro communi libertate arma capiant.

57 ecce fallit etc. This theme is developed more fully Adv.
iii. 8, especially: et ideo Christus eius, ne mentiretur, ne falleret,
et hoc modo creatoris forsitan deputaretur, non erat quod videbatur et
quod erat mentiebatur, caro nec caro, homo nec homo, proinde deus
Christus nec deus: cur enim non etiam dei phantasma portaverit?
quomodo verax habebitur in occulto tam fallax repertus in aperto?...
iam nunc cum mendacium deprehenditur Christus caro, sequitur ut et


omnia quae per carnem Christi gesta sunt mendacio gesta sint, congressus, 
contactus, convictus, ipsae quoque virtutes... sic nec passiones
Christi eius
(sc. Marcionis) fidem merebuntur: nihil enim passus est qui
non vere est passus, vere autem pati phantasma non potuit. eversum est
igitur totum dei opus etc.
The subject is continued ibid. iii. 10, and
frequently recurs.

60 nec deum praeter hominem. Tertullian regularly uses
praeter as a conjunction ( = nisi), e.g. De Res. Carn. 22, nec ulli
praeter patri notum: Adv. Prax.
13, nemo alius praeter unus deus. But
I can find no parallel to the present case, where praeter is equivalent
to sine.


Some of Marcion's disciples (of whom Apelles is one) are prepared 
to admit the reality of Christ's flesh, while still denying
that it was born. Apelles' informant is alleged to have been an
angel who spoke in (or to) the woman Philumena: the apostle (at
Galatians 1. 8) has provided us with a reply to this. Their statement 
is that Christ 'borrowed' flesh from the substances of the
superior world, and they support it by pointing out that in the
Scriptures angels are reported to have assumed human bodies
without being born. But (1) since they have assigned the Old
Testament to a god whose works they repudiate, they have no
right to apply its precedents to their own god. However, we
shall not press this objection, for our case is strong in itself.
(2) The purposes in those cases were different from the purpose of
Christ's incarnation. Christ came with the intention of dying
(which the angels did not) and consequently must needs be born.
And in fact, on the occasions referred to it was the Lord himself
who appeared in flesh not yet born because not yet to die. (3) Yet
since our adversaries do not admit that it was the Lord who thus
appeared, we shall challenge them to prove their case as if it were
angels. This they cannot do, for it is not so written: and we for
our part are justified (in default of contrary evidence) in suggesting 
that the angels' bodies were created out of nothing for each
occasion. (4) Neither are we told what happened to those bodies
afterwards, and so may well be right in suggesting that they


reverted to the non-existence from which they came. (5) Even if
we should allow that those bodies were formed out of some
material, it is more natural to suppose it to have been material
from the earth than from heaven, for they fed on earthly food.
And if it is objected that heavenly bodies could feed on earthly food
no less than earthly bodies on the manna that came from heaven,
we revert to our primary contention that the circumstances, like
the purposes, of Christ's incarnation were different from these,
and demanded a real birth as a precondition of a real death.

The question of the nature and origin of the corporal substance
assumed by the angels who appeared to Abraham and to Lot
(Genesis 18, 19) is discussed Adv. Marc. iii. 9, under the following
heads: (a) The Marcionite postulate of a superior and more perfect
god demands that his methods also should be better than those of
the Creator, his presumed inferior: and consequently non admitteris
ad eius dei exempla quem destruis. (b)
We do not admit that the
flesh assumed by those angels was putative: for if it was easy for
the Creator (as Marcion alleges) to have provided the semblance
of putative flesh, it was even easier for him, being the creator of
human flesh, to provide actual human flesh to act upon the perceptions 
of the observers, (c) Marcion's god (i.e. not the Creator),
being incapable of creation, would necessarily have to produce a
phantasm, being unable to provide the reality: whereas our God,
who formed flesh in the beginning out of the dust of the ground,
could equally well have formed flesh for the angels out of any
material whatsoever, (d) As the Marcionite gospel (Luke 20. 36)
records the promise that men will possess angelic substance, what
is to prevent our God from making angels possess human substance 
undeunde sumptam? (e) As Marcion does not feel bound to
explain from whence this angelic substance will be derived, neither
are we bound to explain the origin of that human substance, but
are at liberty to postulate its real impact upon the three senses of
vision, touch, and hearing: difficilius deo mentiri quam carnis 
veritatem undeunde producere, licet non natae. (f) The flesh assumed by
the two angels was true flesh, as also was that of the Lord who
appeared with them: but in neither case would it have been


proper for that flesh to be produced by process of birth. For
birth is the antecedent of death, and the angels were not going to
die, as neither was the Lord at that time. Afterwards, when the
Lord came with intent to die for our redemption, he would obtain
his flesh by birth: but the time for that was not yet. The angels,
therefore, neque ad moriendum pro nobis dispositi brevem carnis commeatum 
non debuerunt nascendo sumpsisse, sed undeunde sumptam et
quoquo modo omnino dimissam, mentiti eam tamen non sunt. (g)
the Creator 'maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flaming
fire', he is equally capable of making them flesh, (h) And finally,
the promise of reshaping men into angels (Luke 20. 36) is made
by the same God who had in former time shaped angels into men:
from which it appears that the same God is the God of both

The argument of the present chapter covers only the section
numbered (f) of the foregoing analysis. The suggestion that the
bodies of the angels may have been created especially for the
occasion seems to be Tertullian's own. The statement that one of
the three who appeared to Abraham was the Lord himself appears
in Justin Martyr and remains common form until the fourth
century (cf. supra, p. 100): it undoubtedly provides the most
reasonable account of the narrative. Cf. Adv. Prax. 14, and my
note (page 269). Irenaeus, Haer. iv. 14, referring to Genesis 18. 1
says deum... qui in figura locutus est humana ad Abraham, without
going more fully into the matter.

4 de calcaria in carbonariam. This ancient equivalent of
'out of the frying-pan into the fire' is not in the Adagia of Erasmus,
and seems to be otherwise unknown.

7 solidum Christi corpus. Solidus is used by Tertullian in two
senses: (a) 'Solid', as opposed to hollow, ethereal, or unstable:
e.g. Adv. Val. 16, exercitata vitia (sc. of Achamoth) et usu viriata
(sc. Soter) atque ita massaliter solidata defixit seorsum in
materiae corporalem paraturam: Adv. Marc.
iii. 9, caro verae et solidae
substantiae humanae:
so also De Exhort. Cast. 2, solida fides, and
here, solidum corpus, 'a body in three dimensions', (b) In a sense
derived from testamentary usage, 100 per cent: e.g. Ad Uxor. I. 1,


tu modo ut solidum capere possis hoc meae admonitionis fideicommissum
deus faciat: De Monog. 16, aliud est si apud Christum legibus Iuliis
agi credunt, et existimant caelibes et orbos ex testamento dei solidum non
posse capere ( = haeredes ex asse fieri non posse):
hence De Monog. 3,
etiam si totam et solidam (complete and entire) virginitatem sive
continentiam paracletus hodie determinasset, ut ne unis quidem nuptiis
fervorem carnis despumare permitteret:
and De Res. Carn. 36, solidam
(i.e., as appears from the context, utriusque substantiae 

8 suscepit ab ea carries an unobtrusive reference to the Roman
father's act of lifting up his wife's child from the ground and thus
acknowledging it as his own: the two preceding words make it an

8 et angelo quidem etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 11, nam et Philumene 
illa magis persuasit Apelli ceterisque desertoribus Marcionis ex fide
quidem Christum circumtulisse carnem, nullius tamen nativitatis, utpote
de elementis eam mutuatum.
The citation of Galatians i. 8 is repeated
from De Praesc. Haer. 6, where there is the comment, providerat
iam tunc spiritus sanctus futurum in virgine quadem Philumene angelum
seductionis transfigurantem se in angelum lucis, cuius signis et praestigiis
Apelles inductus novam haeresim induxit
(? introduxit): cf. ibid. 30,
where the angel becomes an energema.

11 his vero quae insuper etc. The apostolic text being sufficient
to rebut the claim to angelic inspiration, our own task is to controvert 
their supporting arguments. On argumentantur see a note
on §17 (page 156).

12 seqq. Kroymann's reconstruction of this passage is rash and
unnecessary: the traditional text makes perfectly good sense.
Moreover he is wrong in his observation that qualitas idem fere
quod substantia:
Tertullian is too careful with his words for this
kind of equivocation, and ex ea qualitate in qua videbatur stands, by a
common enough ellipsis, for ex eius qualitatis materia in qua 

22 sed utantur etc. Here, as frequently elsewhere, Tertullian
will not insist on his praescriptio, having a sound case on other


and more general grounds. Cf. Adv. Prax. 2, sed salva ista praescriptione 
ubique tamen... dandus est etiam retractatibus locus, etc.

28 comparent velim et causas etc. Causa, except where it
means an action at law, seems to be used by Tertullian almost
always for the final cause or purpose, while ratio refers to the
precedent cause or preliminary reasoning: these two aspects of
the same matter are indicated below, consequens erat, immo praecedens, 
etc. So also §10, et hic itaque causas requiro, where, once
more, final causes alone are brought under review. Cf. Adv.
ii. 4, videbimus causas quae hoc quoque a deo exegerunt... si legis
imponendae ratio praecessit, sequebatur etiam observandae:
ibid. ii. 11,
ita prior bonitas dei secundum naturam, severitas posterior secundum
and especially ibid. ii. 6, where the causa for which men
have freedom of will is, oportebat dignum aliquid esse quod deum
while ratio is the reasoning by which God thought out
this plan.

36 forma is the architect's or surveyor's plan: therefore 
'purpose' or 'intention'.

40 pro quo, by ellipsis for pro eo pro quo.

44 qui iam tunc etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 9 (referred to above),
ideoque et ipse tunc apud Abraham in veritate quidem carnis apparuit,
sed nondum natae quia nondum moriturae, sed et discentis iam inter
homines conversari,
but with the caveat that the 'learning' was for
our sake rather than his, so that we might the more easily
believe that he had come for our salvation if we knew that he had
done something of the kind already.

46 nisi prius... annuntiarentur, i.e. until the prophetic 
announcement of his birth and death (by Isaiah and others) had
prepared for him and ensured his recognition.

47 carnem de sideribus concepisse (A), as the more difficult
reading, should perhaps stand: the other may well have been a
marginal paraphrase of this, avoiding the apparently inappropriate
word concepisse.

50 etsi corporis alicuius: the angels, being of spiritual substance, 
have a body, for spirit is body, of its own kind—on the


Stoic principle that everything that exists is 'body' of some kind.
Cf. Adv. Prax. 7, quis enim negabit deum corpus esse? and my notes
on pages 232, 234.

52 ad tempus: cf. Adv. Marc. iii. 9, brevem carnis commeatum.
The text as printed, with this punctuation, seems to me best to
account for the variants: but there is little to choose between

67 fuerit, omitted by the MSS. of the Cluny group, seems to be
necessary as introducing the following sentence, which modifies
the preceding: it admits a point scored by a supposed interruption
in court from the opposite party. But, though we make this
admission, non tamen infringitur etc.—the point scored, and in fact
the whole question of the theophanies, has no bearing on the case:
for at the Incarnation the circumstances (condicio) and purposes
(causa) were entirely different, in that, as Christ was to die, he
must of necessity be born, and his flesh must needs be veritable
human flesh.


Whenever this subject is discussed, a suggestion is advanced that
our Lord's question, 'Who is my mother, and who are my
brethren?' constitutes a repudiation of those relationships and (by
implication) a denial of his human birth and his possession of
human flesh. Our answer is:

(1) Evidently the person who made the announcement was convinced 
that the mother and brethren were really who he said they

(2) The suggestion that the announcement was made for the
purpose of tempting cannot be sustained:

  (a) because the text of the Gospel does not say so, although
elsewhere when persons ask questions 'tempting him' the fact is
remarked upon:

  (b) this was not a suitable occasion for tempting him in respect
of his nativity:

(a) because such a question had never been raised, and there
is nothing in the context to lead up to it:


(b) because a denial of one's present possession of a mother
and brethren is not necessarily a denial of nativity—the
mother might be dead, and the brethren never have existed:

  (c) they would have been more likely to be testing his divine
knowledge by making a false statement—though even this will
not serve, for apart from divine insight he might have had private
information which assured him that they could not possibly be

(3) The true explanation of his answer is that he denies them
because of their unbelief, giving preference to others who were
interested in the work he was doing. For a denial of human
relationships a different occasion would have been required.
Moreover, he is here doing what he instructs his disciples to do,
giving the kingdom of God preference over earthly ties.

(4) The episode is also an allegory of the rejection of the Synagogue 
and the acceptance of the Church.

(5) Our Lord's answer to the exclamation of a woman from
among the multitude is to be interpreted on the same lines.

The reference is to Matthew 12. 46-50, Mark 3. 31-35: Luke 8.
19-21 omits the question, 'Who is my mother and my brethren?'
but retains' My mother and my brethren are these which hear the
word of God, and keep it.' The passage is also discussed Adv.
iv. 19, for which see a note below: at Adv. Marc. iii. 11 the
woman's exclamation (Luke ii. 27) and the announcement of our
Lord's mother and brethren (Luke 8. 19) are cited by Tertullian
himself as proof that qui homo videbatur natus utique credebatur, with
a promise of further discussion, which is given at iv. 19 and 26.

3 negare esse se natum. I have ventured to insert se, which
could easily have fallen out after esse. Kroymann, improving on
A, has negasse se, which comes to the same thing, except that the
present tense seems more natural: so Adv. Marc. iv. 19, ipse,
inquiunt, contestatur se non esse natum.
But in view of Adv. Marc.
iv. 26 (quoted below) possibly we should read, with T, negare


4 audiat igitur etc. The reference is to Adv. Marc. iv. 19,
where the argument follows the same lines as here, with some
verbal coincidences but with sufficient difference to indicate that
Tertullian is not here transcribing his earlier work but rehearsing
such of it as he carries in mind. This is, he says, the constantissimum
of those who question our Lord's nativity. Heretics
make a practice of either complicating the meaning of plain statements, 
or else of the overdue simplifying of statements conditioned 
by their context or by the thought behind them (condicionales 
et rationales). The latter is what they are doing here. Our
answer is: (1) The announcement that his mother and brethren
stood without could only have been made on the assumption that
he had a mother and brethren, quos utique norat qui annuntiarat vel
retro notos vel tunc ibidem compertos dum eum videre desiderant vel
dum ipsi nuntium mandant.
(2) The common response to this
proposition is that the announcement was made temptandi gratia:
but (a) the Scripture does not say this, though it is accustomed to
remark on such occasions. This reply would have been sufficient,
but (b) ex abundanti causas temptationis expostulo: if (a) for the purpose 
of ascertaining whether he had been born or not, I object
that the question had never arisen: his human characteristics made
it perfectly evident that he had been born, and they found it
easier to see in him a man and a prophet than God and Son of
God. Again (b) even supposing there were need for this enquiry
quodcumque aliud argumentum temptationi competisset quam per earum
personarum mentionem quas potuit etiam natus non habere.
over (g) they could have settled that question by consulting the
census roll. Consequently, the suggestion of temptation falls to
the ground, and we conclude that his mother and brethren were
really there. (3) Then what was in his mind when he asked the
question? He asked it non simpliciter, but ex causae necessitate et
condicione rationali,
being rightly indignant that, while strangers
were within intent upon his words, these close relations should
stand without and even seek to divert him from his task: non tam
abnegavit quam abdicavit, as he explains by adding nisi qui audiunt
verba mea et faciunt ea
(Luke 8. 21), thus transferring to others those
terms of relationship. But there could have been no transference


if there had not been those from whom (as well as to whom)
to transfer. The substitution of others then was meritorum condicione, 
non ex proximorum negatione, and he was giving an example
in himself of what he said to others elsewhere, qui patrem aut
matrem aut fratres praeponeret verbo dei non esse dignum discipulum
(Luke 14. 26). Thus his denial of his mother and his brethren is
itself an acknowledgement of their existence: quod alios adoptabat,
confirmabat quos ex offensa negavit, quibus non ut veriores substituit sed
ut digniores.
Finally, there would be no significance in his preferring 
adherents to blood relations, if he had had no blood
relations, si fidem sanguini praeposuit quem non habebat.1

6 materiam pronuntiationis. Below (twice) materia temptationis 
seems to mean the raw material out of which a temptation
could be constructed. So here it seems likely that the meaning
is 'the circumstances which gave ground for that remark'.

11 ista: Matthew 13. 55, 56: Mark 6. 3: John 6. 42. Luke has
nothing parallel to this. Creditum is of course Tertullian's insertion, 
safeguarding the truth which was unknown to those whose
words he is quoting.

18 quod nemo etc. The sentence is admittedly awkward. The
easiest way out would be to punctuate after significari, omitting
temptandi gratia factum as being a marginal explanation of quod.
But this would leave the end of a hexameter, a clausula which
Tertullian avoids. Kroymann's eo quod, with a comma after
factum, makes the beginning of the sentence ugly and breaks the
force of non recipio etc.

21 putaverint (A) seems the correct form: 'what can they
have thought a fit subject of temptation in him?' I have marked
the following sentence as the Apelleasts' supposed answer to this
question: logically, of course, it is a petitio principii.

23 eius de quo stands for eius rei de qua: so Adv. Prax. 30, de
= hac de re: and frequently.

32 adhuc potest quis etc. I have ventured to insert quis:
though possis would have served, except that it is too far from the

1 With this interpretation the alteration by Fr. Junius of quem to quam becomes


MSS. Kroymann's potes is too abrupt. Possibly female mortality
was at such a high rate that a man was more likely to have his
father living than his mother: but I can conceive of no reason
why a man was more likely to have maternal uncles than brothers.

33 adeo stands for ideo or quapropter: so in §16, q.v.

41 nota ei iam, Kroymann's excellent correction of AT.

44 simplicitas here means 'honesty', or what our grandfathers 
called 'candour': the person meant what he said. So also
Adv. Val. 2, simplices notamur apud illos, 'guileless', 'simpletons'.
Frequently the adjective and its derivatives indicate the literal, as
distinguished from the allegorical, sense of scripture: e.g. Ad
i. 2, ut tamen simpliciter interpretemur, as opposed to figuraliter.

44 nuntiatoris seems to have the better MS. testimony: the
following subjunctive is of indirect narration dependent on it
(as in quia dixerit above).

44 vere is not so much Tertullian's comment on this, as what he
supposes to have been in the messenger's mind, that certainty
which would have fortified his reaffirmation if challenged.

46 ad praesens seems to mean 'for that occasion only'.

48 mater aeque etc. This is apparently intended to suggest
more than it says, namely, that there is no direct evidence in the
Gospels that our Lord's mother was in sympathy with his work.
It might be added that there is equally no evidence that she was
not. The statement about the brethren is made at John 7. 5: at
Acts i. 14 they are shown to have changed their minds. Martha et
Mariae aliae
is my reading: the MSS. vary. There was in fact one
Martha and several Marys.

52 tam, proximi may conceivably be emphatic for tam propinqui: 
so Adv. Marc. iv. 19, tam proximas personas...magis proximos. 
But possibly Tertullian has forgotten that the word is a

57 si forte tabula ludens etc. This kind of ill-mannered
innuendo is almost a commonplace of the rhetoric of the schools.
It is imitated from Cicero (e.g. Philippic ii. 17. 42 seqq.—the


admitted model of all speeches), who however had the excuse that
his strictures were true.

63 alius fuisset etc. Oehler (followed by Kroymann) is
insistent that alius is a genitive, to be construed with sermonis.
In view of eius following they may be right, though this makes a
very awkward sentence. I should prefer to place a comma after
tempus and remove that after sermonis: 'He could have found a
different place and occasion, and a turn of phrase such as could
not have been used even by one who had a mother and brethren.'

74 sed et alias etc. This reference to the synagogue is omitted
Adv. Marc. iv. 19, no doubt because it might have led to further
argument as to why this is not a point in Marcion's favour.

79 eodem sensu etc. Cf. Luke 11. 27, 28: Adv. Marc. iv. 26,
exclamat mulier de turba beatum uterum qui illum portasset et ubera
quae illum educassent: et dominus, Immo beati qui sermonem dei
audiunt et faciunt. quia et retro sic reiecerat matrem aut fratres dum
auditores et obsecutores dei praefert
... adeo nec retro negaverat natum.
I had thought perhaps we should insert mulieris cuiusdam after illi:
but illi exclamationi means 'that much canvassed remark', and the
addition is unnecessary.


A further suggestion they make is that as the created world was
the result of the sinful act of an errant angel, it would have been
unseemly for Christ to become contaminated with earthly flesh,
which is the product of sin: and so he must be supposed to have
taken to himself not earthly flesh, but a celestial substance from the
stars. We answer that this leaves us where we were: for the sky
itself is part of creation, and if creation was a sin the matter which
composes the stars is no less sinful than earthly matter. Moreover
the text, 'The second man is from heaven', when rightly interpreted, 
supports our case, not theirs. The subject the apostle has
under discussion is not the creation nor the constitution of Christ's
human nature, but the contrast between man's earthly origin
and the celestial attributes he receives from Christ. Consequently,
since redeemed man is in Christ at once terrestrial and celestial,


it follows that Christ, with whom he is equated, was not only
celestial in his godhead but also became truly terrestrial in his

5 quam volunt etc. Cf. De Praesc. Haer. 34, facilius de filio
quam de patre haesitabatur donec ... Apelles creatorem angelum 

nescioquem gloriosum superioris dei faceret deum legis et Israelis, illum
igneum affirmans:
also De Res. Carn. 5, frivolum istud corpusculum . . .
ignei alicuius exstructio angeli, ut Apelles docet :
and De Anima 23,
Apelles sollicitatas refert animas terrenis escis de supercaelestibus sedibus
ab igneo angelo deo Israelis et nostro, qui exinde illis peccatricem 

circumfinxerit carnem. Thus what Tertullian reports here is not that the
seduced souls were transmuted into flesh, but that sinful flesh was
constructed for them: the material of which it was constructed is
left unspecified.

9 nominant. The name was actually mentioned, but is 
suppressed by Tertullian. Apparently it was the divine 
tetragrammaton in its triliteral Greek form IAW, for which see Adv.
14 ( = Irenaeus, Haer. i. 1. 7).

11 The libellus is not one of Tertullian's extant works. This
seems to be the only reference to it.

13 de figura erraticae ovis. According to Irenaeus, Haer. i.
1. 17, the Valentinians interpreted this of the transgression of
Achamoth, and her recovery by Soter. Tertullian refers to the
parable Adv. Marc. iv. 32, remarking that evidently the person
who seeks for a sheep or a coin must be the one who has lost it,
and consequently we must conclude that the world already
belonged to God who sent his Christ to recover it.

20 de peccatorio censu, 'by reason of its sinful origin ' — almost
'ancestry ' : cf. Adv. Prax. 5 , imago et similitude censeris, and my note.

22 Christo dedignantur inducere: so AT: the other, a much
weaker, reading seems to be an attempt to smooth out the
difficulties of this : strictly speaking it would require dedignetur.
here means 'clothe', but with a secondary sense of 'veil'
or 'becloud': at De Praesc. Haer. 6 (quoted above on §6), if the


text is correct inductus means 'misled' and induxit means 
'introduced' or 'imported'.

25 legimus plane indicates that the Apelleasts quoted 1 Corinthians 15. 47 
in favour of their own views. At De Res. Carn. 49
Tertullian has Primus, inquit, homo de terra choicus, id est limaceus,
id est Adam, secundus homo de caelo, id est sermo dei, id est Christus,
non alias tamen homo, licet de caelo, nisi quia et ipse caro atque anima,
quod homo, quod Adam:
at Adv. Marc. v. 10 he reads Primus, inquit,
homo de humo terrenus, secundus dominus de caelo.
On this we
observe (1) that it does not appear what was the origin of the
form de terrae limo, as quoted here: (2) that whether or not
Tertullian has the interpolation o( ku&rioj, he takes that to be the
meaning of St Paul's words, and not (as some modern commentators 
suggest) some supposed 'resurrection body' of heavenly
origin: and (3) that as he reads dominus de caelo only in controverting 
Marcion, there is a possibility that he is refuting Marcion
from Marcion's own text—that is, that the interpolated word is
due to Marcion. Both versions of the text were known to
Origen: it appears not to be quoted by Irenaeus or by any earlier

29 ad spiritum, i.e. Christ's divine substance, by virtue of
which, even in hac carne terrena (meaning, apparently, both in
this present life and after the resurrection), Christians are caelestes.

33 qualis et Christus. Et has stronger MS. authority than
est. The sense really requires est, to contrast with fiunt, which is
possibly why some copyists wrote it.


A further argument against the celestial origin of Christ's flesh is
that everything derived from some previously existent material
retains traces of the quality of that from which it was drawn.
Thus the human body has manifest affinities with the earth from
which it was moulded. All these earthly and human attributes
were plainly observable in the flesh of Christ, and it was these
alone which gave rise to the short-sighted view that he was a man


and nothing more. In no respect did his body show signs of
celestial origin. It was in his words and works alone that men
found anything to marvel at, though they would certainly have
remarked upon it if they had observed anything unusual in his
physical constitution. It was solely because his manhood was not
miraculous that they were astonished at his doctrine and his
miracles. Moreover his form was of even less than ordinary
comeliness, as the prophets testify, and as the indignities to which
he was subjected bear witness. There is thus no reason for regarding 
his flesh as celestial, and every reason for knowing it to be
terrestrial. It was terrestrial for the express purpose that it might
be the object of contumely and reproach.

1 praetendimus adhuc, a further argument to the same effect.
Oehler, in a note on De Pud. 17, observes: 'praetendere castrense
verbum est, significans praesidio esse.' He gives a number of
examples from late authors which serve to prove it a military
term, but its meaning in all of them is not 'defend' but 'contend'.
So also Tertullian, De Pud. 17, sanctitate praetendunt:
Adv. Marc.
ii. 6, ut et contra malum homo fortior praetenderet: ibid,
iii. 13, et Iudas praetendet apud Hierusalem (quoted from Zechariah
14. 14, parata&cetai, [Hebrew] R.V. 'fight'). So here, 'we assert'.
Ut is concessive, and equivalent to quamvis.

4 in novam proprietatem. Proprietas rarely, or perhaps never,
in Tertullian means property or quality, but the fact that a thing
is what it is and not something else. See my notes on Adv. Prax.
7 and 11, and ibid. 27, secundum utramque substantiam in sua proprietate 
distantem...salva est utriusque proprietas substantiae. So here
'a new identity'.

5 de limo figulatum: Genesis 2. 7: LXX e1plasen: Lat. vg.
formavit. Tertullian regularly uses figulare in this connexion:
e.g. De Exhort. Cast. 5, cum hominem figulasset. At De Bapt. 3
we have hominis figurandi opus, where apparently none of the
editors has suggested figulandi. Tertullian could hardly have used
formare here: it would have meant 'made into a pattern or rule':
cf. De Exhort. Cast. 5, contestans quid deus in primordio constituent


informant posteritati recensendam, 'a rule (sc. of monogamy) which
was to need to be re-enacted for future generations'.

5 ad fabulas nationum veritas transmisit. Ovid, Metam. i.
80, has a kindred word to Tertullian's figulare, and something
approaching 'in his own image' : '. . . sive recens tellus seductaque
nuper ab alto | aethere cognati retinebat semina cadi, | quam satus Iapeto
mixtam fluvialibus undis | finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta deorum : |
. . . sic modo quae fuerat rudis et sine imagine tellus | induit ignotas
hominum conversa figuras.' Veritas,
not truth in the abstract, but
the Truth of divine revelation: so Adv. Prax. 8, viderit haeresis si
quid de veritate imitata est.
It was common form among the apologists 
to allege that any correspondences between Christian and
pagan ideas were due to borrowing by the pagans : cf. Theophilus,
Ad Autol. I. 14, w{n timwriw~n proeirhme/nwn u(po_ tw~n profhtw~n
metagene/steroi geno&menoi oi9 poihtai\ kai\ filo&sofoi e1kleyan e0k tw~n
a(gi/wn grafw~n
, where Otto gives references to Justin, Apol. I. 44,
Tatian, Orat. 40, Athenagoras, Suppl. 9 : so also Tertullian, Apol. 47,
quis poetarum, quis sophistarum, qui non omnino de prophetarum fonte
potaverit? inde igitur philosophi sitim ingenii sui rigaverunt:
and (in
greater detail) Ad Nat. ii. 2.

6 utrumque originis elementum, now that it has the support 
of T, is the better attested reading : but the other is attractive,
as being logically less accurate and thus more likely to have
provoked the editorial hand.

7 nam licet alia etc. The punctuation of this and the following
sentence is mine. If (as Oehler and Kroymann seem to think)
hoc est etc. were a parenthetic explanation of the preceding clause,
we should need to read fiat: with fit, these seven words must be
its apodosis. In any case, ceterum introduces a further step in the
argument, and the question it introduces cannot (by its subject-
matter) be the apodosis of nam licet etc.

17 humana extantem substantia. So I have ventured to
write, this arrangement of the words seeming best to account for
extantem (A alone), and the position of the not very apposite
tantum (T alone). But it is tempting to read, with the Cluny


group, ex humana substantia : for though exstare, equivalent to esse,
'exist', is classical and sufficiently common, and may easily
enough come to mean 'consist' (as here), in Tertullian's usage a
thing does not 'consist' of substance, but rather it 'is' substance:
so that possibly extantem is wrong, and tantum could have crept
in from tantummodo, three words back.

26 despicientium formam eius. Forma here is a reminiscence
of 'form or comeliness' (LXX ei]doj ou)de\ do&ca) at Isaiah 53. 2, a
text frequently quoted, but usually to make the contrast between
human weakness and heavenly glory: so Adv. Marc. iii. 7, where
Isaiah 53. 2-14, 8. 14, Psalm 8. 6 and 22. 7 are brought into contrast 
with Daniel 2. 34, 7. 13 seqq. and other such texts: the same
set of texts, on both sides, are rehearsed at Adv. Iud. 14. At Adv.
iii. 17 Isaiah 52. 14 is quoted in the form, Quemadmodum
expavescent multi super te, sic sine gloria erit ab hominibus forma tua,
and Tertullian proceeds, Certainly David says, Thou art fairer
than the children of men, but that is in an allegoric sense: ceterum
habitu incorporabili
(i.e. eo habitu quem cum corpore induturus
erat) apud eundem prophetam vermis etiam et non homo, ignominia
hominis et nullificamen populi
(Psalm 22. 7): cf. De Idol. 18, vultu
denique et aspectu inglorius, sicut et Esaias pronuntiaverat.
The present
is apparently the only place in which Tertullian, led away by his
argument, suggests definite ugliness: so below, nisi merentem. At
De Pat. 3, sed contumeliosus insuper sibi est, Oehler has a long note,
with citations from Tertullian (as above), Origen, Augustine,
and some moderns, in the last four lines of which he gives his
own, evidently correct, interpretation of that phrase.

28 apud vos quoque, i.e. Apelles and his followers, as well as
Marcion, rejected the prophets. Nos (FB Oeh.) seems insufficiently
attested: if it is accepted the meaning is 'even though we, like
you, were to reject the prophets'.

30 probaverunt is not in AT: if it is rejected we shall need to
extract affirmant out of the preceding loquuntur—which does not
seem very natural.

37 opinor is evidently ironical: see the note on maluit, credo,


37 inquam is evidently correct: inquitis would require an
answer, and moreover the question is not one which the opponents
would ask.

38 sicut et dixit: Matthew 16. 21 ( = Mark 8. 31, Luke 9. 22),
and elsewhere.


The suggestion of some others, that Christ's flesh was made out
of soul, equally breaks down on examination. Christ's purpose in
assuming to himself a human soul was to save human soul, which
cannot be saved except in him: but there is no reason for supposing
that soul only becomes capable of salvation if turned into flesh.
Christ saves our souls while they not only remain souls, but even
when (in death) they are disjoined from the flesh: even less did
that soul which he took to himself need to become flesh so that it
might obtain salvation. Further, since these people assume that
Christ came to save the soul alone, and not the flesh, why should
he be supposed to change that which he was saving into that
which he was not saving? If it was his purpose to deliver our
souls by the agency of his soul, then his soul must needs have been
of the same fashion as ours—and whatever that fashion is, it is
not a fleshly one. It follows that if his soul was a fleshly one it was
none of ours, and as it did not save ours it is of no concern to us.
Moreover, soul that was not ours stood in no need of salvation.
But as it is common ground among us that soul was saved, it
follows that it was our sort of soul that Christ had, and not one
turned into flesh. So then, as Christ's soul was not turned into
flesh, neither was his flesh made out of soul.

This is clever debating, but of more than dubious theological
import. There seems to be an underlying suggestion that the soul
and flesh assumed by Christ needed to be brought to a state of
salvation so that ours could be saved through them. This is a form
of adoptionism of which there are traces in Hernias (e.g. Similitude
V. 6), who could not be expected to know any better, and it
might have pleased Nestorius: but the suggestion is not one
which Tertullian would really regard as tolerable. Elsewhere he


affirms that Christ's soul and flesh, though of the stock of Adam
(on which he insists most strongly), because they were not conceived 
by the ordinary process of human generation are exempt
from the consequences of Adam's sin (see especially § 16). So we
must surmise that in the present instance he has been carried away
by the implications of his opponents' supposition, which he is
content to controvert without sufficiently safeguarding his own
view of the truth.

It is not clearly indicated who these opponents were. That they
were gnostics of some sort seems probable, since it appears from
§12 that they introduced the concept of salvation by knowledge.
If they were, it is likely enough that when they said 'soul ' they
did not mean soul in the ordinary sense, but some sort of semi-
celestial 'matter', a kind of substantification of the 'passion' of
Achamoth. Tertullian was no doubt aware of this equivocation,
but preferred to argue on simpler grounds.

In this translation animalis is represented by 'composed of soul',
carnalis by 'turned into flesh', carneus by 'fleshly'. Evidently the
terms have taken on a special meaning from their context.
Carneus appears to differ from carnalis as referring to attributes
rather than constitution: so that anima carnalis will mean soul
turned into flesh, while anima cornea will be soul which has
acquired fleshly characteristics.

1 convertor ad alios etc. Cf. Adv. Val. 26, in hoc ( = ei0j
) et Soterem in mundo repraesentatum, in salutem scilicet animalis
(sc. substantiae). alia autem compositione monstruosum volunt illum
(i.e. that 'Christ' composed of four elements) prosicias ( =porricias:
Irenaeus ta_j a)parxa&j) earum substantiarum induisse quarum summam
saluti esset redacturus, ut spiritalem quidem susceperit ab Achamoth,
animalem vero quem mox a Demiurgo induit Christum, ceterum corporalem 

ex animali substantia, sed miro et inenarrabili rationis ingenio
constructam administrationis causa ideo tulisse
[incontulisse, A : quaero
an legendum circumtulisse] quo congressui et conspectui et contactui et
defunctui ingratis (=frustra) subiaceret: materiale autem nihil in illo
fuisse, utpote salutis alienum.
The exposition is continued ibid. 27.
Sibi prudentes, Romans 11. 25, 12. 16 par' e(autoi=j fro&nimoi.


4 causas require. Evidently throughout this context causa
means the final cause or purpose: see a note on §6.

8 animas...a carne disiunctas. Cf. De Anima 58, omnes ergo
animae penes inferos, inquis? velis ac nolis et supplida iam illic et
which are anticipations of those which will follow the
final judgement.

10 item cum praesumant. Praesumere and praesumptio 
invariably in Tertullian refer to opinions formed without any
foundation of evidence or reasoning: 'assume' and 'assumption'
usually give the proper sense. See a note by Heraldus (quoted by
Oehler on Apol. 49) who observes that the same word is used by
Appuleius, Metam. ix. 14, of Christian belief in one God: spretis
atque calcatis divinis numinibus, in vicem certae religionis mentita
sacrilega praesumptione dei quem praedicaret unicum, confictis observationibus 

vacuis, fallens omnes homines et miserum maritum decipiens etc.
So Apol. 16, atque ita inde praesumptum opinor nos quoque ut Iudaicae
religionis propinquos eidem simulacro initiari,
where Souter has
'presumed' (a Scoticism for 'assumed'): ibid. 21, quasi sub umbraculo 
insignissimae religionis... aliquid propriae praesumptionis abscondat
(Souter, 'some of its own arrogance'—better, 'some assumptions
of its own'): ibid., neque aliter de deo praesumimus (Souter, correctly, 
'nor is our idea of God different from that of the Jews'):
ibid. 25, illa praesumptio dicentium Romanos pro merito religiositatis
diligentissimae in tantum sublimitatis elatos
(Souter, 'prejudiced 
assertion'—better, 'unfounded statement'): ibid. 49, hae sunt quae in
nobis solis praesumptiones vocantur
(Souter, 'vain assumptions'—
'assumptions' would be enough): ibid., quae expedit vera praesumi vobis itaque praesumptio est haec ipsa quae damnat utilia
'presumed to be true', again meaning 'assumed': 'this very
prejudice', better, 'is neither more nor less than an assumption'):
ibid. 50, nec praesumptio perdita nec persuasio desperata (Souter,
'neither reckless prejudice nor desperate persuasion'—perhaps,
'reckless assumption', 'criminal conspiracy'). In the passage
before us the point is that the gnostic and Marcionite doctrine
that the flesh, being material, is incapable of salvation, is a mere
assumption, based neither on scriptural evidence nor on natural


reason or observed facts: it is mere guesswork or surmise, erected
into a dogma. At sed animae nostrae Codex Agobardinus ends.

15 illam quoque etc. The reading of T (followed by Kroymann) 
makes a sentence which will just construe but has no
apparent bearing on the words that follow. Kroymann's punctuation 
here is impossible. Forma in this context has its original
meaning 'shape'. Evidently soul, being corpus sui generis, has
some sort of shape, though this is in occulto, not visible to the eye.
At De Anima 9 it is alleged that when God breathed soul into
Adam the fluid 'set' like a jelly in a mould, taking its shape from
the body, omni intus linea expressum esse (sc. flatum vitae) quam
densatus impleverat et velut in forma gelasse.

22 non carnea is evidently equivalent to the preceding nostra,
not to non nostra.

24 iam ergo etc. clinches the first part of Tertullian's reply to
the postulate of an animal flesh. In it he assumes by simple conversion 
that animal flesh implies carnal soul, which, on the
ground of the doctrine of the Atonement, he shows to be inconceivable. 
The adversaries are now supposed to accept this argument 
by conversion and to suggest the causa demanded earlier in
the chapter, 'for the purpose of making soul visible'—a suggestion
dealt with in the next chapter.


When we point out that the supposition that Christ's flesh was
made out of soul involves the consequence that his soul was
changed into flesh, our opponents offer as a reason for this
latter, that it was God's intention that soul, of whose existence
and attributes the impediment of the flesh had caused some 
uncertainty, should now be made visible in Christ: and consequently, 
they allege, in Christ soul was turned into body so that
we might see it being born and dying and rising again. This is as
much as to say that soul was made dark so that it might have
power to shine. Moreover, the statement that soul was invisible
implies that it already possessed body, an invisible one: so that,


supposing it to have been God's purpose to make it visible, he
could with greater veracity have made it visible in its own body
than in the body of something else. Also, to make soul visible in
the guise of flesh is not to display it but to hide it. Even if (per
soul, as invisible, did exist without body of its own,
it would have been more fitting, as well as less embarrassing, for
God to make it visible in a new kind of body than in one which
was already appropriated to something else. 'To be visible among
men', they say, 'Christ had to be man': quite so, and so he must
have had the same sort of soul as any other man.

1 sed aliam argumentationem etc. This sentence, in connexion 
with what follows, is somewhat difficult. The solution
seems to lie in the meaning of convenimus. Oehler's index (s.v.)
gives these meanings: deprehendere, invenire, petere, iudicio aggredi,
between which no distinction is made. His note at Apol. 10, to
which he makes frequent reference elsewhere, says that convenire
is a juristic term. This is true: and the most natural meaning to
expect is iudicio oppetere, 'join issue with', 'tackle', as the following
citations show: Apol. 10, maiestatis rei convenimur: ibid. 31, de
quorum maiestate convenimur in crimen:
ibid. 35, in hac quoque religione 
secundae maiestatis de qua in secundum sacrilegium convenimur:
De Res. Carn.
18, resurrectio carnis, duo verba expedita decisa detersa:
ipsa conveniam, ipsa discutiam, cui se substantiae addicant: Ad Nat.
scio plane qua responsione soletis redundantiae nostrae testimonium
But if this is the most natural, it is not the only meaning: 
cf. De Res. Carn. 12, quodcunque conveneris,fuit, 'whatever you
come across, has already existed': De Ieiunio 13, convenio vos et
praeter pascha ieiunantes,
'I find you keeping other fasts besides the
Easter vigil': De Cor. 10, illorum deputatur (sc. habitus iste) in
quorum et antiquitatibus et sollemnitatibus et officiis convenitur,
found in use': Adv. Hermog. 45, atquin magis apparere coepit et
unique conveniri deus ex quo factus est mundus.
Transitional between
this meaning and the other is Adv. Marc. I. 6, conveniens enim et
quodammodo iniecta manu detinens adversarii sensum.
At Adv. Marc.
iv. 6 the meaning seems to be 'welcome' (unless perchance the
sentence is chiastic): haec conveniemus, haec amplectemur, si nobiscum


magis fuerint, si Marcionis praesumptionem percusserint. Our 
suggestion then is that in the passage before us the meaning is not
'we join issue with' but 'we meet with another argument of
theirs in answer to our inquiry why etc.'

1 exigentes cur etc. This also is difficult, through excessive
brevity. The argument of the preceding chapter is compressed
into one sentence and made the ground of a further interrogation.
The original suggestion was Christum animalem carnem subisse,
that Christ assumed flesh made out of soul. Tertullian has shown
that this involves the admission Christum animam carnalem habuisse,
that Christ had a soul that was turned into flesh. Assuming that
his adversaries acquiesce in this deduction by simple inversion,
he asks what reason they can suggest for Christ having had a soul
of that sort. Their answer follows, that it was for the purpose of
making evident certain facts about soul which until then had been
concealed through the hindrance of the flesh. The suggestion has
a Platonic sound, and it was no doubt from Platonic sources
(though not apparently immediately from Plato) that the Valentinians 
derived it: indeed the whole gnostic theory of salvation
by knowledge has a Platonic background, though the knowledge
on which Plato would have made salvation contingent would not
have been of particular facts such as the true nature of the soul,
but of the ideal and transcendent Good. That the suggestion is
ridiculous is summarily shown in the sentence et hoc autem quale
erit etc.,
after which the argument becomes more detailed.

11 dum id fit cui latebat. The sentence as punctuated gives a
perfectly good sense. Kroymann's cur latebat might perhaps be
right if cur could mean ob quod, and if ob quod could mean per quod:
the former seems unlikely, the latter is of no concern here.

12 denique ad hoc etc. This sentence also is difficult, and the
text must be regarded as doubtful. If prius and dehinc are correct,
Tertullian outlines a course of argument which he does not proceed 
to follow. Also we must either read an in totum as equivalent
to si in totum, or else take utrum as meaning sive... sive, either
of which is difficult, though neither is quite impossible. Kroymann, 
besides several other quite unnecessary alterations of the


text, reads adhuc pressius for ad hoc prius, and dicant qui for dehinc
This simplifies the sentence, and may conceivably (though not,
I think, probably) be what Tertullian wrote: adhuc is certainly not
impossible. Kroymann further suggests that et hoc autem (above,
line 9) has begun the second part of the refutation, the first part
having got displaced and now appearing as §13 and its appendix
§14. In this he seems to be mistaken, for the order of the refutation 
is (1) that if it were necessary to make soul visible, that would
be better done by making it visible as itself and not as something
else (§11): (2) soul is of its own nature competent to be cognisant
of itself, so that it was unnecessary for it to be made visible either
as flesh or as itself (§ 12): (3) soul is one thing and flesh is another,
and the terms cannot be interchanged: moreover our Lord himself 
speaks of his soul and his flesh as two distinct things and not as
one thing confused (§13). This concludes the argument, in Tertullian's 
usual style, with an appeal to scriptural facts: §14, an
appendix to the main theme, treats of a suggestion advanced in
answer to a further consequence of Tertullian's argument, that on
the theory just criticized Christ would be left without an effective
human soul at all.

20 omne quod est corpus est. See a previous note, on § 6 line 50:
and on the corporeal nature of soul see the curious narrative at
De Anima 9.

23 quia nec hic etc., a back reference to §3, plane interest illud
ut falsum non patiatur quod vere non est.

27 in carne conversa: whether or not it is worth while to read
carnem, the accusative is certainly to be understood. Conversa
(TR3) is evidently correct.

33 alterius iam notitiae, 'already known as something else'.
Kroymann's notae in this context could only mean 'brand', and
has no particular point. Sine causa here means frustra, 'to no
effective purpose'.

34 istis scilicet quaestionibus etc. Kroymann, at first sight
plausibly, reads iustis. But there is a reference back to the
'rackings' suggested in §1. The last clause of the present sentence


means 'so as to establish the case of human flesh against it', and
racking of some sort might be supposed to be necessary for the
extraction of evidence.

35 sed non poterat etc. This I regard as a supposed objection
by the adversaries, whose 'Christ', being of 'animal' nature,
needed to become 'carnal' so as to be visible to men. Tertullian
here disregards their supposition of a semi-divine 'Christ' and
concentrates on the matter in hand. See previous notes.


We might admit that soul was revealed through flesh, if we first
agreed that it stood in need of revelation, either to itself or to us—
though soul is not distinguishable from us, our whole existence
being soul: for without soul we are not men but corpses. Was soul
then in need of knowing itself? Soul is by nature perceptive, and
perception is so to speak the soul of soul. Since then soul gives
perception to things perceptive, is it reasonable to suppose it was
ever without perception of itself? Rather is it characteristic of soul
to be cognisant of itself: without such cognisance it could not
function as itself. And especially is this the case in man, who is
rational because he possesses a rational (and not merely a vegetative) 
soul: if soul were ignorant of itself, it could not make man
rational. And the facts show that it was not ignorant: even apart
from revelation it is conscious of its maker, its judge, and its own
permanence. Further, if it had been true that soul was ignorant of
itself, we might have expected Christ to give it instruction about
itself. But the instruction we do find him giving is not of the
soul's attributes but of its salvation: for the purpose of his coming
was not that soul should know itself <by seeing itself visible> in
Christ, but that it should know Christ <by being conscious of his
grace> in itself: and its salvation was in danger through ignorance
not of itself but of the Word of God. It was the Life that was
made manifest, not the soul: and Christ came to save the soul, not
to reveal it. We were in no ignorance of the soul's birth and
death, but only of its rising again. This Christ did reveal, in himself 
as in Lazarus and others; and it follows that, as their flesh was


not composed of soul, neither was his. Is there anything else about
itself that soul needed to learn?

4 cum totum quod sumus anima sit is a deliberately one-
sided statement or exaggeration for the purpose of the present
argument, and not necessarily in contradiction with De Res.
40, porro nec anima per semetipsam homo, quae figmento iam
homini appellato postea inserta est, nec caro sine anima homo, quae post
exilium animae cadaver inscribitur:
cf. ibid. 17, habet enim de suo
solummodo cogitare, velle, cupere, disponere: ad perficiendum autem
operam carnis expectat.

7 fieret evidently stands for fieri deberet.

8 sensualis. Sensus can mean either perception of things without,
or consciousness of thoughts within: here the emphasis is on the
latter. Cf. De Anima 38, where the natural attributes of the soul
are enumerated as immortalitas, rationalitas, sensualitas, intellectualitas, 
arbitrii libertas.

13 ex naturalium necessitate, 'from the necessity imposed
by, or arising from, its natural attributes and relationships'. Cf.
De Anima 38: auferenda est enim argumentatoris occasio, qui quod
anima desiderare videatur alimenta, hinc quoque mortalem eam intelligi
cupit, quae cibis sustineatur, denique derogatis eis evigescat, postremo
subtractis intercidat. porro non solum proponendum est quisnam ea
desideret, sed et cui: et si propter se, sed et cur et quando et quonam
usque: tum quod aliud natura desideret, aliud necessitate, aliud secundum
proprietatem, aliud in causam. desiderabit igitur cibos anima sibi quidem
ex causa necessitatis, carni vero ex natura proprietatis. certe enim domus
animae caro est, et inquilinus carnis anima. desiderabit itaque inquilinus
ex causa et necessitate huius nominis profutura domui toto inquilinatus
sui tempore, non ut ipse substruendus nec ut ipse loricandus nec ut ipse
tibicinandus sed tantummodo continendus, quia non aliter contineri possit
quam domo fulta.

16 se ministrare: 'cause itself to function': so almost, Apol. 2,
ne qua vis lateat in occulto
(i.e. some diabolic power) quae vos...
contra ipsas quoque leges ministret.


17 compotem et animam etc. will just construe with the
following relative clause. Should compotem require a dependent
genitive, this would be rationis, which could easily have fallen out
after rationale.

21 statum suum must have the meaning required by the
explanatory clause nihil magis audiens etc., i.e. 'its own permanence', 
though not excluding the other four natural attributes
enumerated at De Anima 38 (quoted above): so, perhaps, as a
more inclusive phrase, 'its own estate'.

21 nihil adhuc etc. These observations first appear at Apol. 17,
cum tamen (anima) resipiscit, ut ex crapula, ut ex somno, ut ex aliqua
valetudine, et sanitatem suam patitur, 'deum' nominat, hoc solo, quia
proprie verus hic unus. 'deus bonus et magnus' et 'quod deus dederit'
omnium vox est. iudicem quoque contestatur ilium: 'deus videt' et
'deo commendo' et 'deus mihi reddet'. o testimonium animae naturaliter
They are expanded De Test. Anim. 2 (of the one God,
the judge), 3 (of the existence of the devil), 4 (of the immortality
of the soul, and the resurrection of the flesh). The object of deo
as appears from Apol. 17 (above), is either 'itself' or
'its cause', i.e. not amicum peregrinaturum or anything of that

25 imprecari in a good sense is uncommon: so Lewis and
Short, who quote Appuleius, Metam. 9. 25, salutem ei fuerat 
imprecatus (after sneezing): Petronius, Sat. 78, ut totus mihi populus
bene imprecetur,
is hardly in point, for Trimalchio was not an
authority on Latin usage. Here the verb takes its tone from both

27 nihil...nisi seems to stand for nihil . . . potius quam.

28 effigiem. This instance should be noted as an exception to
my general statement (Adv. Prax., pages 234, 236) that Tertullian
commonly uses effigies for what is appearance and not fact.

29 non ut ipsa etc. Gnostics and others, both ancient and
modern, are prone to regard the gospel not as a gospel but as a
system of information, which if not given to their satisfaction


leaves them complaining of its uselessness. Tertullian may condescend 
to argue with such on their own ground: but he cannot
in the long run forget that Christianity is a gospel of salvation and
not a source of occult knowledge, and that salvation depends not
on knowledge of facts but on the knowledge of Christ.

33 ignorabamus nimirum etc. The text must be regarded
as doubtful, the authorities differing among themselves. That
given here is the reading of the Cluny group, and makes a satisfactory 
sense, provided it is observed that nimirum marks the
sentence as not Tertullian's own view but that imputed by him
to his adversaries: otherwise et mori will be wrong. Failure to
observe this may account for the editorial variations of the other
authorities. Ignoravimus plane marks Tertullian's own comment
on his adversaries' supposed view. A little lower, erit must be
correct: 'this it must be that Christ did make evident', the future
tense (as frequently) marking a necessary deduction.

38 dispositione refers to the same set of facts as status, natura,
and possibly also condicio, but from the point of view not
of what they are in themselves but of God who ordained that so
they should be.


It is inconceivable that soul should have been revealed as soul
by being turned into flesh, for the two things, if they are the same
thing, are neither the one nor the other. All understanding and all
discourse become impossible if names do not remain attached to
the things to which they belong. Even when one thing is turned
into another, as clay into pottery, it loses its old name and
assumes another. So the soul of Christ, if turned into flesh, will be
flesh and not soul, and must be so named, and there will result one
uniform substance in which the two elements cannot be discerned.
But in fact we find Christ himself referring in set terms to his soul
and to his flesh, not as one indiscrete thing but as two distinct
things: and that being so, neither has he a soul turned into flesh
nor flesh composed of soul. For no one will suggest that the texts


quoted refer to another soul and other flesh besides that which,
being both, is neither. Thus he himself safeguards the duality of
the two substances each in its own species, excluding the idea of
both together appearing under one single form.

1 caro facta est etc. The sentence is a summary and interpretation 
of the adversaries' answer to the question at the beginning 
of §11. Such lemmata are a common enough rhetorical
device, and there is no need for Kroymann's observation that there
is no formula of transition: the repetition itself is such a formula.

2 si caro anima est etc. The variations of T (see critical note)
are a misguided attempt to clarify the structure of the clauses, the
copyist (or his authority) being unaware that the most natural
Latin order is predicate before subject, as below, line 28, porro si
anima caro fuisset.
Kroymann follows T.

4 ubi ergo caro etc. The text of this sentence here printed is
that of T. That of the other authorities, given by Oehler, is neither
grammatical nor comprehensible. Even so, this use of alterutro
'each made into the other out of the other', is difficult
to defend. The word usually means' one or the other, no matter
which': but Lewis and Short quote it from Columella in the
sense of utrumque, and that may be the meaning here, in which
case alterutro in both cases will be due to scribal attempts at
correction, and should be omitted.

9 fides nominum etc. Cf. Adv. Marc. I. 7, where Tertullian
admits that names, such as 'god', are sometimes equivocal, and
contends that what we must discuss is not the names or terms but
the substantiae represented by them.

11 vocabulorum possessiones. Kroymann marks a lacuna
and suggests that aliorum has fallen out. If any alteration were
needed we should perhaps insert novas before accipiunt. But in
fact possessiones in Latin are 'new possessions', obtained by
squatter's right.

18 quod autem etc. I have ventured to insert nomen, which
could easily have dropped out through confusion with non:


in that case quod autem must be construed as equivalent to eius
autem quod—
a kind of ellipsis of which there are several examples.

19 ergo et anima etc. On soliditas see a note on § 6: here the
meaning seems to be 'completeness', though 'solidity' is not
impossible. Singularitas occurs at De Exhort. Cast. 1 meaning
bachelordom or widowhood: here it is 'singleness' as opposed to
duality : cf. § 14, hominem a solo et singulari serpente deiectum.

23 animam-carnem etc. The hyphens here are mine. I
imagine previous editors have seen the point, but I have preferred
to make it plain.

25 duarutn qualitatum. Qualitas is not 'a quality' in the
sense of one among many attributes, but the whole set of attributes 
which constitute the natura of each object.

26 quid is evidently no part of the text Anxia est etc., and it is
surprising that the editors, including Oehler and Kroymann, have
printed it so. Matthew 26. 38 ( = Mark 14. 34) peri/lupo&j e0stin
h( yuxh& mou e3wj qana&tou

36 in suo genere... unicam speciem. Genus and species are
here apparently not used in any technical sense: 'each in its own
kind'...'one single form': so also above, dividit species, 'distinguishes 
the two forms'. At De Bapt. 4, water (the whole of the
earth's water) is genus unum, but there are species complures: quod
autem generi attributum est etiam in species redundat,
i.e. the possibility
of its becoming a vehicle of the Spirit, indicated in the narrative
of the creation, becomes true of all or any water, whether sea or
pond, river or spring, lake or river bed: so that genus means
species, and species the individual instances.


We have proved that to suggest that Christ's body was made out
of soul is tantamount to saying that in his case soul was changed
into flesh. When we point out that this would leave him without
an effective soul, our adversaries reply that in addition to soul he
had also assumed to himself an angel who discharged the soul's


functions. Here again we ask for what purpose, (1) Certainly
not for the purpose of saving angels in the same way as his
assumption of humanity was for the purpose of saving man: for
though there are angels for whom the fire of damnation is prepared, 
it is nowhere on record that restoration has been promised
to them or that Christ has received from the Father any mandate
concerning their salvation. (2) Could it be then that he assumed
an angel as an attendant or assistant in the work of man's salvation?
Certainly not: for (a) the Son of God was by himself competent
without assistance to deliver those whom the devil without
assistance had enslaved: and (b) such a view would suggest that
there is not one God and one Saviour, but two saviours each ineffective 
without the other. Or (3) could it be that the angel was
not his assistant but his agent? In that case why did he need to
come himself? (4) Certainly he is described as the angel of great
counsel: but in this case 'angel' means messenger, being a term of
office, not of nature, for the Son is the angel or messenger of the
Father, and yet is not on that account reduced to equal terms with
other messengers. (5) The Psalm says that as man Christ is not the
equal of the angels, but is a little lower than they—though as spirit
of God and power of the Most High he is far above them: but
if he were possessed of an angel he would not be lower, and the
Psalm would be falsified. (6) This theory about an angel is
Ebionite in principle, for it makes Christ a mere man, inspired as
the prophets were inspired, as Zechariah ascribes his inspiration to
'the angel that spake in me'. But Christ, who speaks of himself
in higher terms than the prophets, never uses this expression, nor
even the common prophetic formula 'Thus saith the Lord', but
'I say unto you.' Finally (7) scripture explicitly rules out the
suggestion, when Isaiah says,' Neither an angel nor a deputy, but
the Lord himself hath saved us.'

In this chapter codex T presents an unusually large number of
variations from the traditional text, most of which are at least
interesting and not to be rejected without careful consideration.
In general they seem to give the impression of being due to editing,
not indeed by the actual writer of the codex but by someone farther


back who was no mean Latinist. A possibility, but not (I think)
a probability, is that the editor or reviser was Tertullian himself,
as Hoppe has suggested was the case with the Apology. In the
event, I have produced an eclectic text, which I submit with much
deference to the judgement of the learned.

1-4 sed et angelum etc. The punctuation of these sentences
is that which I wrote in my copy of Oehler thirty years ago: in
placing a period after causa it agrees with Kroymann's.

Qua ratione could mean 'on what principle', ratio referring to
the antecedent or formal cause, as below §17 ratio quae praefuit:
cf. De Cor. 4, rationem traditioni et consuetudini et fidei patrocinaturam
aut ipse perspides etc.,
and consuetudo autem etiam in civilibus rebus
pro lege suscipitur cum deficit lex, nec differt scriptura an ratione 

consistat, quando et legem ratio commendet, and the whole chapter: or
the meaning may be 'in what manner', as at Scorp. 1, The
scorpion's tail hamatile spiculum in summo tormenti ratione stringit,
'after the manner of a catapulted javelin'. In either case qua et
the adversaries' supposed answer, must mean qua et
hominem vos eum profitemini gestasse,
for the adversaries did not
admit the manhood.

2 eadem ergo etc. Between est and sit there is not much to
choose: but ergo as a rule introduces a deduction of fact, rather
than of requirement, and it seems more likely that Tertullian
wrote est, meaning, 'In that case there is the same purpose and
intention.' Causa once more refers to the final cause: see a note on
§ 10, to which add De Anima 24, si tempus in causa est oblivionis,
where the efficient cause is indicated: and Adv. Marc. v. 20, where
causatio (twice) is a translation of pro&fasij at Philippians 1. 18,
'pretence'. Below, nihil tale de causa est is perfectly good Latin,
and (in spite of Kroymann's rejection) the last three words should
be retained.

7 nullum mandatum etc. A reminiscence of John 10. 18,
tau&thn th_n e0ntolh_n e1labon para_ tou~ patro&j mou, and Hebrews
2. 16, ou) ga_r dh&pou a)gge/lwn e0pilamba&netai, which latter might
(if its authority had been acknowledged on all hands) have settled
the question under discussion.


10 cui igitur rei etc. Here, for the reason suggested above,
igitur seems the right word. Both forte (T) and fortem (XRB)
make good sense and it is difficult to choose between them: the
sentence naturally requires gestaverit, and possibly forte supplies
the suggestion of contingency which the indicative verb lacks.
Cum quo is in some slight contrast with per angelum, below: first
Tertullian rejects the idea of the angel as a partner or attendant,
then that of an agent for an absent principal.

13 salutificator. Oehler's index gives these references: in
every case there is a scriptural text in the background, and in each
case a variant reading: De Res. Carn. 47 = Philippians 3.20 (swth&r):
Adv. Marc. ii. 19 = Psalm 24 (23). 4 ( pata_ qeou~ swth~roj au)tou~):
De Ieiunio 6= Deuteronomy 32. 15 ( a)po_ qeou~ swth~roj au)tou~):
De Pud. 2 = 1 Timothy 4. 10 (swth_r pa&ntwn a)nqrw&pwn). The last
reference, with e0pi\ qew~| zw~nti in the context, suggests that here
deus is right and dominus (T) due to editing.

15 cur ergo descendit. ipse is in T alone; without it the
emphasis of the sentence is on descendit, where it ought to be, for
this word (and concept) here appears for the first time.

17 magni consilii angelus. T has angelus magni cogitatus, here
as below. Kroymann suggests that magni consilii angelus is an
editorial alteration based on mega&lhj boulh~j a!ggeloj (Isaiah
9. 5 LXX). It seems equally possible that (certainly with that text in
mind) Tertullian wrote magni consilii angelus, and in the next half-
sentence proceeded to interpret this as magnum cogitatum, equating
boulh& with bou&leuma. In that case it is T which has the edited
text. Also, the explanation id est nuntius comes more naturally if
angelus has just preceded: as below. Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 17. 3, has
magni consilii patris nuntius. LXX makes heavy weather of the
whole verse, so that the 'Prince of the Five Names' does not
appear. Tertullian quotes the earlier part of the verse Adv. Marc.
iii. 19.

21 nam et filius etc. Luke 20. 9-18. Deo vineae (T) is mani-
festly wrong. Vinitores (T) is attractive, though the word means
'vine-dressers' (Virgil, Ecl. x. 36), not 'vine-growers': and why


should XRB have altered it to cultores? If Tertullian wrote 
viticultores both readings are accounted for.

27 quomodo videbitur angelum induisse seems to give the
required sense. The contestants did not say that the Son became
an angel, or was an angel, but that an angel occupied the place of
the soul which had ceased to be soul by turning into flesh:
angelum induisse is the way that would be expressed. If we read
with T we must remove the comma which Kroymann puts after
angelus, and translate, 'How shall it have come about that an
angel has been, in the manner indicated, made lower than angels
by becoming man etc.?' It is possible that Tertullian wrote
angelum, leaving induisse or gestasse, or some such word, to be
understood, and that T's prototype short-sightedly altered this to
the nominative.

29 qua autem spiritus dei etc. Luke 1. 35: cf. Adv. Prax.
27, and my Introduction, pp. 65-70. Kroymann suggests the
deletion of this sentence on the ground that it has nothing to do
with the present argument, and that the required safeguard against
the misunderstanding of the previous sentence comes a few lines
lower in the remarks on the Ebionites. This is misconceived, it
being quite in Tertullian's style to interrupt his argument with a
passing caution (as an orator would interject an 'aside' in making a
speech): and in fact there is no anticipation of the remarks on the

31 tanto non, dum etc. All the authorities are at fault here:
tanto (TB) is evidently right: non, dum is from Gelenius. It does
not appear that, for the second gestat, any editor has suggested
gestet, though that is the mood required: for in fact the Son did
not take to himself an angel—a mere supposition of Tertullian's

32 poterit haec opinio etc. If sequence of tenses is of any
account, poterit is the correct form, with edicat following: poterat
could be the correction of one who recollected that Ebion (if
there ever was such a person) had long been dead when Tertullian
wrote. According to Irenaeus, from whom our other authorities
copy the information, the Ebionite doctrine of Christ was in


agreement with that of Cerinthus and Carpocrates, namely, that
Jesus was nudus homo ( = yilo_j a!nqrwpoj), the son of Joseph and
Mary, and that Christ (apparently a kind of semi-divine personage) 
came upon him at his baptism and left him before his crucifixion. 
Tertullian's other references to the Ebionites mention only
their observance of the Mosaic law, and say nothing about their
doctrine of Christ. In the present passage we seem to have indications 
of a doctrine somewhat different from that described by
Irenaeus, namely that Jesus was a mere man, not exactly possessed
by any semi-divine 'power', but inspired in the same manner
as the prophets were inspired. Prophetis aliquo gloriosiorem must
be taken as one of Tertullian's ironical interjections, meaning that
if it were the case that Jesus was a mere man, then he was somewhat 
less reticent about his own importance and greatness than
the prophets were about theirs: which of course is true, as Tertullian 
shows in the following sentence, and as is evident from the
Gospels in which our Lord is recorded as having from the beginning 
made himself the subject of his own preaching and as having
represented himself as the indispensable and only Mediator and
way of access to the Father. Gloriosior is an intentionally offensive
word, indicating that if the Ebionite doctrine of Christ were true,
then we should have to regard him as having said too much about
himself: but the odium of the offensive term is thrown back upon
the heretics who provoke it. Whether we read aliquo or aliquid,
it makes no difference to the meaning: Kroymann's aliquot could
only mean 'more boastful than a certain number of prophets'—
though it is unlikely that that was the meaning intended.

34 ut ita in illo angelum fuisse dicat (or edicat, or even
dicatur) is apparently the right reading. Ut introduces a consecutive 
clause dependent on constituit (plane...gloriosiorem being
parenthetic): ita is balanced by quemadmodum, below. This is in
some slight contradiction with angelum gestavit, angelum induisse,
above: but Tertullian is not now concerned with the main theme
of this chapter, his answer to sed et angelum gestavit, but with a
supposed parallel with the inspiration of Zechariah which he suggests 
that the Ebionite doctrine amounts to. In nonnullis (TB


Kroymann) will not do: Zechariah is the only prophet of whom
such a statement is made, and moreover the sentence in this form
is pointless. Between dicatur (TB) and edicat (XR) there is not
much to choose, though the latter seems too strong a word and I
suspect the prefix has been borrowed from fuisse: the passive of
dicere commonly introduces scriptural references, which is not the
case here.

39 quid ultra etc. It is difficult to imagine how audi got into
the text unless it (and the accusatives) were original. Quid ultra
seems to expect something new, which the text from Isaiah in
fact provides, returning from the digression about the Ebionites
and summarizing the argument of the whole chapter (as often)
in a scriptural quotation. If the preliminary et (T) has any
authority at all, perhaps we should read ecquid: certainly not sed


The Valentinian theory that Christ's flesh was spiritual is, no
less than the theories we have examined, discountenanced by the
express statements of our Lord himself, as of the prophets and
apostles, that he is truly Man. One of the Valentinians objects
(a) that if Christ did possess earthly and human substance, that
would make him inferior to the angels: and (b) that truly human
flesh would need to be born, as we are, of the will of a man.
He quotes texts which he thinks prove his case, and asks (c) why,
if our flesh is like his, we do not rise again the third day, or
alternatively, why his flesh did not see corruption. These are
the sort of questions the heathen raise, though with better excuse.
We answer (a) that there is good scriptural authority for saying
that in some sense Christ was made inferior to the angels: (b) that
the heretics are inconsistent, professing a sort of incarnation while
denying Christ's humanity: and (c) that the time for our resurrection 
has not come, and will not, until Christ has put all his
enemies (including these heretics) beneath his feet.

1 licuit etc. It is surprising that someone with an itch for
correcting Latin prose has not suggested libuit: but cf. §3, hoc putas


arbitrio tuo licuisse. On ex privilegio haeretico cf. §1, licentia haeretica, 
and the note there: it appears that the presumption which has
assumed a permission which has not been granted has now become
so inveterate as to be the basis of a claim for privilegium, the right
to take the initiative on any subject of discussion.

1 carnem Christi spiritalem comminisci. Again, why has
not someone suggested Christo? Caro spiritalis is evidently, in
this context, flesh constructed of, or condensed from, spirit. But
'spirit' to the Valentinians had a special meaning. The lower
Wisdom, Achamoth, despite her fall, retained some traces of the
divine or spiritual essence of her mother Sophia. These, without
being conscious of it, she in part communicated to her son
Craftsman, the non-divine creator of the world: he in turn, himself 
unknowing, passed on, in part, this semen spiritale to his
creation. It is this seed, breathed with the breath into Adam,
which when ripened (adultum) becomes competent to receive
(suscipere, i.e. physically assimilate) the sermo perfectus. Cf. Adv.
25, and passim. Spirit, in this context of thought, does not
mean (as elsewhere in Tertullian) the divine Word, but a kind of
rather less than divine substance, which (presumably) the divine
Christ collected from Achamoth on his way down to earth, and
converted into the semblance of flesh.

4 ex qua substantia could conceivably mean 'with what
confidence or assurance': cf. Adv. Prax. 31, and my note. But,
if this seems too far-fetched, it may be better to take it as 'in view
of what substance', seeing that the Valentinians held Christ to be
divine and his flesh 'spiritual', and so left him with nothing in
any sense human. Se, supplied by Ursinus after ipse, now appears
in T in a less suitable place: its omission altogether is not un-

8 et homo est etc. At Jeremiah 17. 9 LXX has baqei=a h( kardi/a
para_ pa&nta kai\ a!nqrwpo&j e0stin kai\ ti/j gnw&setai au)to&n
; misreading 
[Hebrew] (weak or sickly) as [Hebrew] (man, or mankind): English
R.V. 'The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately
wicked: who can know it?' Lat. vg. Pravum est cor omnium et
inscrutabile: quis cognoscet illud?
The text is quoted (also from


LXX) by Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 18. 2, quis est autem qui communicavit
nobis de escis
(1 Cor. 10. 16)? utrum is qui ab illis affigitur sursum
Christus superextensus Horo, id est fini, et formavit eorum Matrem:
an vero qui ex virgine est Immanuel qui butyrum et mel manducavit, de
quo ait propheta, Et homo est et quis cognoscet eum?
Cf. also ibid,
iii. 20. 2 where the text is quoted against those who allege that
Joseph was his father: and ibid. iv. 55. 2 among a long series of
prophetic testimonies to Christ. Tertullian, Adv. Marc. iii. 7 in
reference to the day of judgement, and in illustration of Zechariah
12. 12, cognoscent eum qui compugerunt: so also Adv. Jud. 14.

12 virum vobis a deo destinatum: so De Pud. 21. At Acts
2. 22 a)podedeigme/non appears to mean 'shown to be what we
claim him to be', or 'approved' (in the older sense of that word):
Tertullian seems to take it to mean 'appointed' or 'predestined',
which will not suit its original context. Lat. vg. approbatum.

13 vice does not mean 'instead of but 'as equivalent to': cf.
Apol. 17, the demons vice rebellantium ergastulorum sive carcerum
vel metallorum vel hoc genus poenalis servitutis, '
after the manner of
rebellious slaves etc.': ibid. 48, mundi species temporalis, quae illi
dispositioni aeternitatis aulaei vice oppansa est,
'after the manner of a
drop-curtain'. The texts quoted ought to serve as a praescriptio
and preclude all further argument, and would do so if it were
possible for heretics to be unprejudiced, and so forth.

15 imaginariae, XRB: the double reading of T, putative
only means that the copyist wrote down the wrong
word out of his head and immediately referred to his copy and
wrote the right one as well.

15 sine studio etc. Studium is prejudice in favour of a person
or opinion: so Tacitus, Ann. I.1 sine ira et studio, 'without rancour
or partiality'. Artificium contentionis hints that the discussion or
conflict was by far-fetched devices kept alive long after the
question ought to have been settled: at Adv. Marc. v. 20 per in-
vidiam et contentionem
translates Philippians 1. 15 dia_ fqo&non kai\
, to which there is also a veiled reference here.

16 quendam ex Valentini factiuncula will be the Alexander
dismissed briefly in §17. Factiuncula comes from Bmg. T: the


difficulty is that the Valentinianism was not a small faction, but a
wide-spread and influential movement. There is just a possibility
that ratione (XRB) may be right: if via can mean the Christian
religion, it is conceivable that ratio may mean a school of thought.

18 informatam can hardly mean indutam, as Oehler's index
suggests, but more probably 'was brought into shape', 'was given
organic form', namely, by the spiritus dei (in Tertullian's sense of
that term), which (or who) formed and brought into organic
shape that which was conceived in the virgin's womb.

20 similem nostri carnem is only intelligible if nostri stands
for nostrae, the feminine dative singular: if not, we should read
nostrae, as below, par nostrae.

21-24 et cur... dissoluta est? I assign these three sentences to
a supposed objector. The last two, which form a dilemma, are
perfectly clear. The first seems to have troubled the editors,
including Kroymann, who has altered the text into something
quite unintelligible. The objector is supposed to say, 'If Christ
had true human flesh, how do you account for the text, "Not of
corruption but of incorruption"?' The fact that I Peter 1. 23,
a)nagegennhme/noi ou)k e0k spora~j fqarth~j a)lla_ a)fqa&rtou, has no
bearing on the subject, would not trouble a controversialist, any
more than Jeremiah 17. 9 (above) troubled Tertullian.

25 exhaustus is evidently correct, as a reference to Philippians
2. 7 exhausit semetipsum accepta effigie servi (so quoted Adv. Marc.
v. 20). Exhibitus (T) is meaningless in this context: its true sense
is to be observed De Pat. 1, uti pudor non exhibendi quod aliis suggestum 
imus exhibendi fiat magisterium ('exemplifying' or 'displaying'): 
Adv. Marc. ii. 23, exhibe bonum semper ('put in evidence a
man who is always good'—if you can): De Res. Carn. 17, haec
erit ratio in ultimum finem destinati iudicii, ut exhibitione carnis omnis
divina censura perfici possit
(what is elsewhere called repraesentatio,
almost 'bringing into court').

28 non credendo credunt seems to mean that the heathen,
though they do not assent to the faith, at least know what it is


that Christians believe, whereas heretics credendo non credunt,
profess to believe, while refusing to accept the faith as we know it.

29 minorasti etc. Psalm 8. 5 is often quoted, as is Psalm 22. 6,
always in conjunction with these texts from Isaiah 52, 53: e.g.
Adv. Marc. iii. 7, 17; iv. 21.

34 hominem deo mixtum: see the Introduction, page viii.


Alexander argues that since, as he supposes, our belief is that
Christ's purpose in taking flesh of human origin was to bring to
nought sinful flesh, the implication is that Christ's flesh was sinful
—a conclusion abhorrent both to him and to us. 'Bring to
nought in himself the flesh of sin' is not precisely the expression
we use, and even if it were, his conclusion would not follow:
for evidently Christ's flesh, since it is now in heaven and is to
come again in glory, has not been brought to nought: and as in it
there was no guile it was not sinful. Our position in fact is, not
that sinful flesh was brought to nought in Christ, but that the sin
of the flesh was—the guilt of it, not the substance. When the
apostle says that Christ was in the likeness of sinful flesh he does
not mean the mere likeness of flesh and not its reality, but that
Christ's flesh, itself sinless, was in the likeness of ours which is
sinful, being like ours in natural kind but not like ours in defect.
Thus sin was brought to nought in Christ's flesh in that it, being
sinless, was the same flesh as in us is sinful. Moreover there would
have been nothing noteworthy in his bringing to nought the sin
of the flesh in flesh of a different kind from that which in us is
sinful: nor would it have been feasible for him to do it. So then,
it was our flesh he assumed; though in assuming it he made it his
own, that is, sinless. As for the suggestion (§15) that Christ's
flesh cannot have been our sort of flesh, because it was conceived
without male seed, the case of Adam is our answer: for his flesh
was constructed out of earth, also without the usual act of 


This chapter completes Tertullian's answer to the cavils noted
in the previous chapter, mentioning first a further objection
raised by Alexander, based on the Pauline phrase, 'in the likeness
of sinful flesh', and 'condemned sin in the flesh', and then reverting 
to a previous allegation that there could have been no truly
human flesh apart from the act of a human father.

That Tertullian has given the correct interpretation of' likeness of
flesh of sin' will no doubt be generally admitted. What he says here
is summarized from what he had already written Adv. Marc.
v. 14:

Though it is true that the Father sent Christ into the likeness of flesh
of sin, it will not follow that the flesh which was visible in him was a
phantasm. St Paul has already (Romans 7. 18, 23) attributed sin to the
flesh, and has described the flesh as the law of sin dwelling in our
members, hostile to the law of the mind (legi sensus). So he means
that the Son was sent into the likeness of sinful flesh for the purpose of
redeeming sin with a like substance, a fleshly substance, which was
like sinful flesh while itself not sinful. Nam et haec erit dei virtus, in
substantia pari perficere salutem.
It would have been nothing noteworthy
for the Spirit of God (i.e. the divine Word) to bring remedy to the
flesh: the great thing was for flesh like sinful flesh to do this, while it
was indeed flesh but not flesh of sin. Thus 'likeness' will apply only to
'of sin' (similitude ad titulum peccati pertinebit), but will not extend to
denial of the substance. He would not have added 'of sin' if his intention 
had been to indicate only likeness of substance while denying its
verity: he would have said merely 'likeness of flesh'. But the form he
has used, 'of the flesh of sin', involves an affirmation of the substance,
the flesh, while it relates the similitude to the defect (vitium) of the
substance, the sin. But even supposing he had said 'likeness of the
substance' there would still have been no denial of the verity of the
substance. If you ask in what sense flesh which is 'like' is also 'true',
this is because it is indeed veritable, though not conceived of seed of
like status, yet veritable in descent and quality.1 There is no likeness or
similitude in the case of opposites: spirit could not be referred to as
'the likeness of flesh', nor could flesh be in the likeness of spirit. If a
thing were not what it was visible as, the right word for it would be

1 This sentence is difficult, as editorial attempts at emendation show: what is
written above is a paraphrase.


'phantasm'. 'Likeness' is the word used when a thing is what it is
visible as: and it 'is' when it is equal to or like that other thing. A
phantasm, if only a phantasm, is not a 'likeness'.

At De Res. Carn. 46, for a different purpose, the same method is
employed: misso deus filio suo in simulacra carnis delinquentiae et per
delinquentiam damnavit delinquentiam in carne, non carnem in delinquentia: 

neque enim domus cum habitatore damnabitur. habitare enim
peccatum dixit in corpore nostro. damnata autem delinquentia caro
absoluta est, sicut indemnata ea legi mortis et delinquentiae obstricta est.
Something of the same kind had already appeared in Irenaeus,
Haer. iii, 21. 2, quoniam et ipse in similitudine carnis peccati factus est,
uti condemnaret peccatum et iam quasi condemnatum proiceret illud
extra carnem:
but Irenaeus, as a good pastor, proceeds, provocaret
autem in similitudinem suam hominem, imitatorem eum assignans deo,
and more to the same effect.

2 Alexander ille. Oehler observes, 'non constat de eo'. But
ille identifies him with the individual ex Valentini factiuncula who
wrote the book referred to in § 15. Locum sibi fecit may mean 'has
made himself conspicuous', though his theory seems hardly
significant enough for that: so possibly the meaning is 'has
broached the topic', or something of that nature.

3 ut evacuaret etc. is inaccurately adapted (by Alexander, not
by Tertullian) from Romans 6. 6, o( palaio_j h(mw~n a!nqrwpoj
sunestaurw&qh, i3na katarghqh|~ to_ sw~ma th~j a(marti/aj. Katargei=n
regularly represented by evacuare, need mean no more than 'bring
into desuetude', though frequently it appears from its context to
mean 'destroy'. Later in this chapter evacuavit peccatum in carne is
an inaccurate rendering of Romans 8. 3, kate/krine th_n a(marti/an
e0n th~| sarki/
. The substitution of evacuavit for condemnavit is
accounted for by quotation from memory: apparently Tertullian
thought this text belonged to the Romans 6 context, for immediately 
afterwards, quoting the other half of Romans 8. 3 e0n
o(moiw&mati sarko_j a(marti/aj
, he says et alibi inquit—which causes
Kroymann needless concern.

8 in suggestu. Oehler's index says the word means apparatus,
which appears to be the case in many of the places referred


to. Here however it has its original meaning of the raised seat of a
judge or king.

9 adeo, ut evacuatam etc. This is the punctuation I wrote in
my copy of Oehler long ago: Kroymann agrees. Adeo once more
stands for ideo: see a note on § 7 and Adv. Marc. v. 14, adeo et carnis
resurrectionem confirmavit.
The MSS. here are in some confusion.
After non possumus dicere a relative clause is needed, to balance in
qua dolus non fuit
at the end of the sentence. Kroymann's quia non
est evacuata,
despite the partial support of T, is mere tautology.
I long ago thought the lost words were quae in caelis est.

12 non materiam sed naturam. If, as previously suggested,
natura indicates the essential attributes of an object, and since in
this context natura is balanced by culpa, we must suppose that the
vitium shortly to be referred to has taken such hold upon humanity
as to be no fortuitous accident but to have become a factor in
what St Augustine calls natura secunda: that is, Tertullian, with his
usual sense of realities, is prepared to face the fact of original sin
(vitium), and original guilt (culpa).

18 Adae aequanda was my own correction of Oehler's text.
Adaequanda is now restored by Kroymann from T: but I still
think the reference to Adam is necessary, (1) because aequare
seems to require a secondary object in the dative, and (2) because
the reference to Adam at the end of the chapter (an anticipation
of what is to come later), along with ipsum, seems to have been
suggested by the mention of his name here.

22 neque ad proposition etc. Christ's propositum, purpose, was
to cleanse human nature from within itself, and not by some
external act of divine power: his glory is to have done this in
human weakness, by the hiding of his power.

25 naevum peccati peremit is a conflation of the MS.
readings. T has vim peccati peremit, which is easy: the others
either have or attest naevum peccati redemit. It is difficult to
account for the unusual word naevus unless Tertullian wrote it,
though redemit is hardly a suitable verb. Naevus is a birth-mark, a


fault or disfiguration with which one is born, and is thus a fair
enough metaphor for original sin: the way to remove it is not by
paying a price but by submitting to a surgical operation, for which
perimere is a more appropriate word than redimere.

30 quia non fuit. Fuerit (T) would be syntactically correct if
the statement implied in the subordinate clause were merely a
supposition or allegation of those who denied that Christ's flesh
was human flesh: but in Tertullian's view it was no supposition of
his adversaries but a fact drawn from Scripture and affirmed by
himself—for which reason he would write fuit (so, for that
matter, would Cicero).

31 sicut terra etc. See the passages from Irenaeus quoted on
the following chapter.


Leaving these a priori arguments, we restate the crucial question as
one of fact: Was the flesh that was Christ's derived from his
mother, or not? If it was, then it was human flesh by virtue of its
human origin—and this apart from further proofs, which also are
matters of fact, namely, his being habitually described as man,
as well as such human characteristics as that he could be touched
and handled, and that his passion issued in death. But the first
question of all is why it was requisite that he should be born of a
virgin. It was because, as the author of the new birth, he must
himself be born in a new manner, thus constituting the 'sign' of
which Isaiah spoke. This new birth, by which man is born in
God, begins at the point at which God was born in man, taking
human flesh without the agency of human seed, so that having
first cleansed it of its guilt he might reshape it of new and spiritual
seed. This newness, in all its aspects, was prefigured in the old. It
was virgin soil which brought forth the first Adam, a virgin
mother who brought forth the second or last Adam: and observe
in passing that the apostle's use of the term 'second Adam' is a
proof of Christ's humanity. Moreover the Incarnation is a reversal 
of the Fall: so that, as the word of temptation entering into


Eve engendered death, so the Word of God entering into Mary
engendered life: the evil effect of Eve's credulity is set right by
Mary's faith: the offspring of Eve was the wicked brother, his
brother's slayer, while the offspring of Mary was the good
Brother, his brother's Saviour. Christ must needs be born of
woman, so as to undo the evil wrought before the first woman

The subject of this chapter is also discussed Adv. Marc. iv. 10,
where the argument takes a different form; briefly as follows:

We begin with two postulates, (1) that when Christ called himself the
Son of Man he cannot have been lying, and (2) that no one can be a
man without at least one human parent: consequently we must ask, in
his case, whether this parent was father or mother. It is admitted that
God is his father, and (since God is not a man) it follows that the
human parent was his mother. Since God and not man is his father,
it follows that his mother is a virgin: otherwise he will have two
fathers, which is like the heathen stories of Castor and of Hercules.
Since then he is Son of Man by descent from his mother, and since,
because he has no human father, his mother is a virgin, we have the
fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy. If Marcion says a man was his father,
he denies the divine sonship: if he says that God is the father of his
manhood, the idea is heathenish: if that his manhood is from his
mother, he agrees with me: if that it is from neither father nor mother,
he makes Christ a liar. From this last result only one thing can save
him, namely, to affirm that Marcion's god, the father of Marcion's
Christ, is a man (as Valentinus did by putting Anthropos in the
pleroma), or to allege that the Virgin is not human (which even
Valentinus did not presume to do).

[What Tertullian means by this last alternative is not very clear:
I suspect we should perhaps read et for aut both times—'to affirm,
that Marcion's god is a man, while denying that the Virgin is
human'. See a note on page 109.]

Much of what Tertullian says in this and the following chapters
seems to have been borrowed from Irenaeus, as the following 
citations show: though perhaps by this time many things that Irenaeus
had written had become the standard Christian expositions of the
texts referred to.


Iren. Haer. iii. 31. Si igitur primus Adam habuit patrem hominem et
ex semine viri natus est, merito dicerent et secundum Adam ex Joseph
esse generatum. si autem ille de terra quidem sumptus est et verbo
dei plasmatus est, oportebat id ipsum verbum recapitulationem Adae
in semetipsum faciens eiusdem generationis habere similitudinem.
quare igitur non iterum sumpsit limum deus, sed ex Maria operatus
est plasmationem fieri? ut non alia plasmatio fieret neque alia esset
plasmatio quae salvaretur sed eadem ipsa recapitularetur, servata
similitudine. errant igitur qui dicunt eum nihil ex virgine accepisse,
ut abiciant carnis haereditatem, abiciant autem et similitudinem. si
enim ille quidem de terra et manu et artificio dei plasmationem et
substantiam habuit, hic autem non manu et artificio dei, iam non
servavit similitudinem hominis qui factus est secundum imaginem
ipsius et similitudinem, et inconstans artificium videbitur, non habens
circa quod ostendat sapientiam suam. hoc autem dicere est et putative
apparuisse eum, et tanquam hominem cum non esset homo, et factum
eum hominem nihil assumentem de homine. si enim non accepit ab
homine substantiam carnis, neque homo factus est, neque filius hominis:
et si hoc non factus est quod nos eramus, non magnum faciebat quod
passus est et sustinuit. nos autem quoniam corpus sumus de terra
acceptum et anima accipiens a deo spiritum omnis quicunque confitebitur. 
hoc itaque factum est verbum dei, suum plasma in semetipsum
recapitulans. et propter hoc filium hominis se confitetur et beatificat
mites quoniam ipsi haereditabunt terram: et apostolus Paulus in epistula
quae est ad Galatas manifeste ait, Misit deus filium suum factum de
muliere [et Rom. i. 3, 4].

Iren. Haer. v. 21. Misit deus filium suum, factum de muliere.
Neque enim iuste victus fuisset inimicus nisi ex muliere homo esset qui
vicit eum. per mulierem enim homini dominatus est ab initio, semetipsum 
contrarium statuens homini. propter hoc et dominus semetipsum
filium hominis confitetur, principalem hominem ilium, ex quo ea
quae secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est, in semetipsum recapitulans : 
uti quemadmodum per hominem victum descendit in mortem
genus nostrum, sic iterum per hominem victorem ascendamus in
vitam: et quemadmodum accepit palmam mors per hominem adversus
nos, sic iterum nos adversus mortem per hominem accipiamus palmam.

On St Matt. 1. 20, the following observation is worth recording:

[Justin] Quaestt. et Responss. ad Orthod. [acc. to Bardenhewer, by an
unknown author of the 5th century or later): resp. 133, 'Iwsh&f, fhsi/n,


ui9o_j Daui/d, mh_ fobhqh~|j paralabei=n Maria_m th_n gunai=ka& sou. to_
ga_r e0k gunaiko&j tinoj xwri\j pornei/aj tikto&menon ui9o&j e0stin e0c a)na&gkhj
tou~ a)ndro_j kai\ th~j gunaiko&j, w|{ tro&pw| bou&letai o( qeo_j dou~nai ui9o_n
tw|~ a)ndri/, h2 dia_ sunafei/aj h2 xwri\j sunafei/aj
. That is, 'pater est quem
nuptiae demonstrant'.

1 remisso Alexandro etc. I suspect that Syllogismi was the
title of the book written by Alexander. Tertullian's dislike of
syllogisms stems from his general dislike of argumentation, for he
seems never to use argumentari for argument of which he approves.
He disapproved, in fact, of deductive argument altogether, for he
regarded theology not as a deductive science deriving its conclusions 
by syllogistic reasoning from one transcendental first
principle or major premiss, but as bound to work by induction
from the recorded facts of Scripture or from what was implied in
the faith and practice of the Church. The Psalms of Valentinus
are referred to again in §20, and not (apparently) elsewhere:
Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 11. 12, says that the later Valentinians had
compiled a 'Gospel of Truth', and, ibid, 1 praef., that they pos-
sessed certain u(pomnh&mata, 'Commentaries', which he had read.
The subject of interserit is Alexander.

4 linea (like gradus) is used for a position taken up in discussion. 
The primary reference would be to the line marked in the
ring at a wrestling-match, congressio.

4 an carnem Christus ex virgine etc. There are two questions
involved: (1) whether it was, or was not, human flesh which
Christ derived from his virgin mother: (2) whether it was from
his mother herself that he derived what he did derive, or whether
what appeared to be his human flesh was not derived from her but
merely passed through her without her contributing anything to
it. The present chapter deals with the former question: the other
is discussed in § 18. What was not in question by either party was
the truth of the scriptural statement that Christ was conceived (or
at least, appeared to be conceived) without the normal process of
human procreation. The virginity of Mary was admitted (or even
insisted on) by both parties: arguments may be drawn from it or


explanations given of its reasonableness (as here), but, except in
the presence of Ebionites, it was never necessary to argue to it.

6 licuit is from liquere, not from licere: liquuit (introduced by
Mesnart) has no MS. authority, and is not Latin. It is already
clear from the four considerations mentioned, without need of
further discussion, that Christ's substantia is human: he was referred 
to as 'Son of man', he 'was found in fashion as a man', he
was touched and handled (Luke 24. 39, 1 John 1.1), and he died a
human death.

8 commendanda, 'must be recommended for consideration':
Kroymann, with greater felicity than usual, prints commentanda,
'must be discussed' or 'considered'. Ratio, once more, is the
precedent cause, the thought in the mind of God which saw that
this form of birth was necessary.

10 novae nativitatis dedicator. The meaning of nova nativitas,
both here and below, depends on the correct reading in the latter
context. If T is correct, with ex quo in homine, the new birth is
that which is the beginning of the Christian life, or of the eternal
life of which all Christians are heirs. If in quo homine is correct,
the new birth, in the second mention of it, is the birth of Christ:
the earlier reference (with dedicator) will still be to Christian
regeneration: the sign (Isaiah 7. 14) is a sign concerning this
precisely because it is itself the birth of Emmanuel, and it was
his act which was to make this regeneration possible.

13 Emmanuelem, nobiscum deum. The reading of T looks
like an editorial accommodation to the text of Matthew 1. 23.

14 ex quo in homine (T) seems to give the more satisfactory
sense. It would hardly be true to imply, with the other authorities,
that Christ was born in man already regenerate. But I wonder if
Tertullian did not write quo in homine, using quo for quoniam as
e.g. De Orat. 1 (several times).

15 ut illam novo semine etc. This clause states the purpose (not
the manner) of the Incarnation, illam referring to caro antiqui
in general, and not to caro a Christo suscepta. It comprises
three statements: (1) of the fact of regeneration through Christ,


and of the new constitution built up from that new birth by the
operation of spiritual seed (i.e. the divine Word): (2) of Christ's
redemptive sacrifice by which previous guilt is removed: and
(3), by the tense of the participle expiatam, of the logical precedence
of the latter. With some hesitation I have accepted spiritali from
T: semine spiritali, if it is the true reading, will be a reminiscence of
1 Peter 1. 23, ou)k e0k spora~j fqarth~j a)lla_ a)fqa&rtou dia_ lo&gou
zw~ntoj qeou~ kai\ me/nontoj
, in the line of Tertullian's practice of
using 'spirit' of all or any of the divine Persons.

17 sed tota novitas ista etc. The general meaning of this
sentence is that there is a parallel, both in the fact itself and in
various subsidiary respects (which are indicated in the sentences
which follow) between the virginal birth of Christ and the virginal 
birth of man as he was first born to the Lord (homine domino
) when God formed him of the dust of the earth. Rationali
seems to mean, 'by an ordinance or act of God the
reasons for which were pre-existent in God's mind'.

19 virgo erat etc. I wonder if Tertullian did not write nondum
vomere compressa,
in the sense familiar to readers of Terence. There
follows a reference to 1 Corinthians 15. 45, ei0j yuxh_n zw~san ... ei0j
pneu~ma zwopoiou~n
, which is St Paul's commentary on Genesis 2.7.

26 sed et hic etc. Ratio defendit, 'God's intention supplies the
answer'—as an advocate answers a question raised in court. This
sentence refers only to the main question, why the apostle calls
Christ the second Adam, not to the qualification of that question,
'if his manhood was not of terrestrial origin'. Aemulus in Tertullian 
invariably means 'opposite' or 'hostile'.

29 Kroymann's insertion of diaboli before verbum is unnecessary:
Tertullian's readers did not need to have every point driven home
with a sledge-hammer: and, if we must be precise, the word
required is serpentis. The parallel and contrast here indicated
between Eve and Mary is abbreviated somewhat from Irenaeus,
Haer. iii. 32. 1.

33 haec credendo delevit. Between the two readings there is
not much to choose, and it is not easy to see how the variation


arose. Correxit gives a better balance with deliquit, but delevit
makes a sort of assonance which is attractive.

34-35 ut abiecta pareret. Genesis 3. 16, 'Thy desire shall be to
thine husband, and he shall rule over thee': et in dolorous pareret,
'in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children'. Cf. Adv. Marc. ii. 11,
statim mulier in doloribus parere et viro servire damnatur, sed quae ante
sine ulla contristatione per benedictionem incrementum generis audierat,
Crescite tantum et multiplicamini, sed quae in adiutorium masculo, non
in servitium, fuerat destinata.

40 quo homo iam damnatus intraverat. This seems to
mean that Scripture does not make the statement Adam cognovit
uxorem suam
(Genesis 4. 1) until after their condemnation and
expulsion from Paradise. See my Latin note at the end of the
introduction to §23, page 179.


If Christ had been conceived of human seed there would have
been no room for divine sonship. Being already the Son of God,
of the Father's seed (which is spirit), he needed only to take to
himself human flesh, without the agency of man's seed. Before
the Incarnation God was his Father and he had no mother: at the
Incarnation the blessed virgin became his mother and no man was
his father. From God he derived his divinity <and his personality>, 
from his mother his humanity <without personality>.
Consequently the body born of the virgin was of her substance.
When it says that the Word was made flesh it certainly does not
mean that the Word transmuted part of himself into flesh. As it
only says 'what' the Word was made, and not 'out of what', it
leaves us to understand that it means 'out of something else'
and not out of himself: and 'out of what' more likely than out
of that flesh within which he was made flesh? In the statement
That which is born in the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the
spirit is spirit,
both clauses alike apply both to him and to those
who believe in him: for it cannot be supposed that the first part
applies only to other men (for this would be a denial of Christ's
manhood) and the second part both to him and to believers. So


it does state that of the Spirit he was born of God, while of the
flesh and within flesh he was conceived as man.

In this chapter Tertullian proposes (or assumes) a thesis which
he cannot express clearly in the terminology at his disposal. This
is that, whatever may be the contribution of the mother to the
corporal constitution of her offspring, and whatever may be the
joint contribution of father and mother to the constitution of the
soul (these being questions he discusses elsewhere, e.g. De Anima
36), the origin of the personality is in the father alone. What he
needed was some means of differentiating (no real distinction is
possible) between 'personality' and 'person'. This the Greek
theologians possessed, at least from the late fourth century onward, 
in the two terms u(po&stasij and pro&swpon, in the sense
conventionally imposed upon them: for which the Latins had to
be content with persona alone. Tertullian, having no term for
'personality', is forced back to its point of origin, the paternal
semen: a term which, suitable or not in the case of human generation, 
needs a great deal of interpretation when transferred by
analogy to the divine. This interpretation he supplies by his
explanation ex patris dei semine, id est spiritu. But the explanation,
if pressed, is itself misleading. It appears, however, that it is not
intended to be pressed, but rather that wherever semen appears in
divine connexion it is immediately to be interpreted as spiritus:
for (as he explains frequently elsewhere) the text deus est spiritus
indicates that 'spirit' (in this conventionally defined sense of the
word) is the kind of 'substance' God is. His meaning then is,
if we may express it in later terminology, that as in 'substance'
(i.e. what he is) the Son is identical with the Father, so in u(po&stasij
(i.e. 'personality', who he is) the Son, not being identical with the
Father, is begotten by him spiritu, by the divine fact (into which
we forbear to enquire) of eternal generation. So then, as the Son
from all eternity is a Person, possessing a divine u(po&stasij, there
is no room at the Incarnation for human paternity: for this would
have brought into being a second u(po&stasij—which is impossible, 
since Christ is one Person and not two. And as he was
to be the same Person incarnate as he was from all eternity


(habentem dei semen), human paternity was not only impracticable
(non competebat) but otiose (vacabat).

By parity of reasoning it is maintained that as the Son possesses
his divine nature and his u(po&stasij by spiritual generation from
the Father, so that which he is as man and Son of Man must be
derived from his mother, and consequently is flesh as real as that
within which it was formed. There is of course no suggestion that
at the Annunciation there took place any divine act analogous to
the process of human generation: in fact, in connexion with the
Incarnation the question of paternity does not arise in any form
whatever (as St Augustine explains at some length, Enchiridion 38).
That such a misunderstanding could arise is shown by Justin's
care to deny it (Apol. i. 33), and (without expressly mentioning it)
Tertullian here tacitly excludes it by the phrase caro sine semine ex

There is some doubt about certain details of the text and its
punctuation, and it seems impossible to follow either group of
authorities consistently throughout. I have in a few places
corrected (as I hope) the punctuation, and have at least succeeded
in making a text which will construe. The best contribution of T
is its confirmation (in three places) of Mesnart's in semetipso for in
semine ipso.

1 simplicius, 'more literally': by contrast with the allegories of
§17, we now proceed to deal with texts which directly bear on
the subject.

3 ut de Hebionis opinione etc. See a note on §14, line 32.
Oehler's suggestion of ut should probably be accepted: et would
require esset for erat.

12 igitur si fuit etc. Dispositio rationis refers back to dispositio
in § 17. Kroymann's objection to super filium.. .proferen-
is hard to understand: it is equally possible (if we are going to
use Greek illustrations) to say u(pe\r tou~ ui9ou~ or peri\ tou~ ui9ou~, and
what Luke 24. 49 and Hebrews 1. 3 have to do with it (or with
each other) is not apparent. Cur non ex virgine etc.: it being
admitted (by both parties, as it seems) that there was at least the
apparent birth of a human body from the blessed Virgin, what


reason can there be for supposing that this birth was no more than
apparent? There is in fact every reason for acknowledging it to
have been real: and in that case the body that was born took its
substance from that body of which it was born, and must be
presumed to be of the same nature with it. Quid aliud est etc.,
must go with what precedes, however awkward it makes the end
of the sentence: if attached to what follows it makes nonsense,
and throws inquiunt too far from the beginning. The point is,
that we know what it was that Christ received from God: and it
follows (as already observed) that he must have received the rest
from his human mother.

14 quoniam, inquiunt etc. suggests the opponents' presumed
answer: vox ista etc. is Tertullian's further reply—if we affirm
that it was from human flesh that the Word took the flesh in which
he 'was made flesh', it does not follow that it was not the Word,
but something unspecified, that was made flesh.

18 cum scriptura non dicat etc. Here we may disagree with
our author. Unless we had reasons both scriptural and rational
for knowing better, at least a possible interpretation of verbum
caro factum est
might have been that the Word conversant est in
i.e., ex semetipso. But such an explanation would be quite
contrary to the whole of the rest of our data, and would reduce
the Incarnation to unreality and thereby stultify the doctrine of
the Atonement.

22 vel quia etc., 'for other reasons, and especially because
etc.' Sententialiter et definitive, like a judge or a jurisconsult making
an authoritative and determinative statement.

23 quod in carne etc. The text is incorrectly quoted, both here
and Adv. Prax. 27: John 3. 6, to_ gegennhme/non e0k th~j sarko_j
sa&rc e0sti
. Once again we disagree: the text undoubtedly refers,
in both its contrasting clauses, to ordinary human generation and
regeneration, and has no immediate bearing on the Incarnation.
But Tertullian is right in his claim that if the second clause (quod
de spiritu etc.)
refers to Christ, so does the first: and he is right also
in his further suggestion that the whole sentence can only be true
of believers because it is already true of Christ.


26 atquin subicit . . . credentes ipsius. The whole of this
should apparently be assigned to an objector, who (1) finishes the
sentence half quoted (John 3. 6), and (2) adds two more of like
character (John 4. 24 and 1. 13) with a comment on all three. The
awkward use of the participle credentes as a substantive apparently
arose from the collecting together of several applications of the
verb pisteu&ein in this context: and cf. John 7. 39, peri\ tou~
pneu&matoj ou{ e1mellon lamba&nein oi9 pisteu&santej ei0j au)to&n

31 utramque substantiam . . . non negas. Tertullian's 
adversaries did not flatly deny the flesh of Christ: they merely cast
doubts upon its origin, and consequently upon its nature. His
claim here is that if they quote the second half of John 3. 6 in their
own favour, they must be consistent and quote the first half in his :
in which case the whole text is on his side.

33 conditione here apparently means both 'origin' and attributes 
or quality as determined by origin. In semetipso is my own
alteration, for in semet ipse.

35 I have revised the punctuation of the concluding sentence,
giving an eclectic text, which seems to make sense — as that of the
MSS. and editors does not. There seems to be no important
difference intended between natus and generatus, but only a stylistic
variation: otherwise generatus (if it means more than 'conceived')
would imply paternity at the Incarnation — which has just been


The text John 1.13 (already referred to in passing), when read in
the singular number, which is its only authentic form, refers not
(as the Valentinians claim) to 'those who believe on his name' but
to Christ himself: with the result that 'born of God' refers to his
divinity, while 'not of blood, etc.' is a denial of human paternity.
This, however, does not constitute a denial of human substance:
for it does not say 'not of the flesh' but 'not of the will of the
flesh', which is precisely what we mean by a denial of human
paternity. A consideration of the physiology of conception shows


this to be a valid interpretation of the text: and moreover the
piling up of the three negative phrases indicates that Christ's flesh
was of such reality that, apart from these denials, one might have
supposed it to have been naturally, not supernaturally, conceived. 
And, besides this, there would have been no use in his
being conceived in the womb unless it was his intention to receive
from his mother something which he did not yet possess: and this
can only have been human flesh, of the same quality as hers.

1 quid est ergo etc. This sentence must be ascribed to the same
supposed interlocutor who quoted part of it in the preceding
chapter: Tertullian gives him the credit of quoting (as he thinks)
the correct form of the text: he is not one of the adulteratores
mentioned below.

2 ex deo natus est. The text in this form seems to be quoted
only by 'western' authorities, and by these only infrequently.
(Souter's apparatus criticus to John 1.13 says it is found in Ambrose
and Augustine: the Benedictine indexes to these fathers make no
mention of it.) It occurs in one fragmentary MS. of the Old
Latin. Its first appearance (but no earlier appearance would have
been possible) is by implication in Justin, Dial. 63, commenting
on Isaiah 53. 8: th_n genea_n au)tou~ ti/j dihgh&setai;-ou) dokei= soi
lele/xqai w(j ou)k e0c a)nqrw&pwn e1xontoj to_ ge/noj tou~ dia_ ta_j
a)nomi/aj tou~ laou~ ei0j qa&naton paradedo&sqai ei0rhme/nou u(po_ tou~
qeou~; peri\ ou{ kai\ Mwush~j tou~ ai3matoj . . . ai3mati stafulh~j ... th_n
stolh_n au)tou~ plunei=n e1fh, w(j tou~ ai1matoj au)tou~ ou)k e0c
a)nqrwpei/ou spe/rmatoj gegennhme/nou a)ll' e0k qelh&matoj qeou~
This differs somewhat from Tertullian's explanation, for Justin,
paraphrasing 'but of God' as 'but by the will of God' makes the
whole text refer to the Incarnation. Irenaeus had this passage of
Justin in mind (Adv. Haer. iii. 20. 2): propter hoc generationem eius
quis enarrabit? quoniam homo est et quis agnoscet eum? cognoscit
autem illum is cui pater qui est in caelis revelavit, ut intellegat quoniam
is qui non ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntate viri natus est filius
hominis, hic est Christus filius dei vivi.
Irenaeus also agrees with
Justin as to the bearing of the concluding phrase: ibid. v. 1. 3:
et propter hoc in fine, non ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntate viri


sed ex placito patris manus eius vivum perfecerunt hominem uti fiat
Adam secundum imaginem et similitudinem dei.
Apparently both
Justin and Irenaeus thought that a)ll' e0k qeou~ stood for a0ll' e0k
qelh&matoj qeou~
. In a note on Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 17. 1, W. W.
Harvey explains how the variant could most easily have arisen in a
Syriac version by the omission of one letter: but we should still have
to account for [Syriac] (or [Syriac]) at the beginning of the sentence.

3 obduxero: cf. Apol. 50, sed obducimur, certe, cum obtinuimus.
ergo vicimus cum occidimur, denique evadimus cum obducimur,
Souter translates 'are convicted', and Mayor's note suggests that
this meaning arose from the practice of blindfolding criminals led
to execution.

6 ut ostendant etc. I suspect that Kroymann may be mistaken
in his suggestion that esse means 'really exist': it seems more
natural for the words to mean 'that these (sc. believers in his
name) are that mystic seed'. Semen illud arcanum: cf. Adv. Val. 25:
Achamoth, they said, had unwittingly derived from her mother,
the errant Wisdom, a certain portion of spiritual seed, which (no
less unwittingly) she communicated to her son Demiurge (the
gnostic creator). He in his turn, also unwittingly, when he
breathed into Adam's nostrils and gave him a soul, gave him with
it a portion of this spiritual seed. This it is which alone is capable
of receiving and welcoming the 'perfect Word', and this alone is
capable of salvation. This spiritual seed is the church, the reflexion
or antitype (speculum) of the syzygy Man and Church within
the Pleroma. So man consists of four elements: the spiritual
derived through Achamoth, the 'animal' (i.e. soul) contributed
by Demiurge, the choic (a sort of semi-material matter), and the
flesh (which is matter as we know it). 'Saviour' also, when he
made his appearance, had the counterparts of each of these four
elements—spiritual from Achamoth, animal (psychic, soul) from
Demiurge, but a corporal substance constructed of soul, so that
he might be visible, and so forth, but might not have contact with
matter, which is of necessity incapable of salvation—et totum hoc
(says Tertullian) ut carnis nostrae habitum alienando a Christo a spe
etiam salutis expellant. Quod sibi imbuunt
would naturally mean


'which they baptize for themselves', and perhaps it does: but
cf. Adv. Iud. 3, circumcisio carnalis, quae temporalis erat, imbuta est
in signum populo contumaci,
where the meaning seems to be 'was
instituted': so perhaps here, 'which they invent for themselves'.

7 quomodo autem etc. Tertullian will not admit that, even
in a secondary sense, the text Non ex sanguine etc. applies to the
faithful. He has already (§18) stated his preference for the interpretation 
of John 3. 6 as applicable to the Incarnation, and not to
believers only. For it appears from De Baptismo 5-8 that he had
no strong conception of baptismal regeneration. He describes the
ceremonies of baptism in three stages, as follows:

(1) There is a washing with water, which conveys forgiveness
of sins and restitution to God, ad similitudinem eius qui retro ad
imaginem dei fuerat
.1 This, according to Tertullian, is a preparatory
ceremony, and its effectiveness derives not from any direct action
of the divine Spirit, but from an angel who descends upon the
water: non quod in aqua spiritum sanctum consequamur, sed in aqua
[?emundati] sub angelo spiritui sancto praeparamur. This
remission or cleansing is obtained in response to faith sealed with
the threefold Name of God: angelus baptismi arbiter spiritui sancto
vias dirigit abolitione delictorum quam fides impetrat obsignata in patre
et filio et spiritu sancto

(2) The unction follows. This had its ancient precedent in the
anointing of priests. On account of it we are called Christians,
just as Christ receives his title because of his anointing by the
Father. Also, as baptism (sc. the washing already described) is a
carnalis actus with a spiritalis effectus, so the unction carnaliter currit
sed spiritaliter proficit

1 It seems more likely that eius in this sentence means Adam, perhaps with no
sharp distinction between the second Adam and the first Adam in that state
in which he was created. Borleffs (wrongly, I suspect) thinks eius means dei.
2 This probably refers not to the baptismal formula as such, but to the Creed,
apparently a four-clause creed, adding to the divine names the mention of the
Church, quae trium corpus est. There are several points of doctrine here which
later teachers thought it more prudent tacitly to drop.
3 Unctio seems to mean the oil, not the act of anointing: and currit stands for


(3) There follows an imposition of the hand per benedictionem,
advocans et invitans spiritum sanctum.
At this point the most holy
Spirit descends from the Father upon bodies which have been
cleansed and blessed. A parallel is suggested with the descent of
the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at our Lord's baptism, and
reference is made to the presence of the dove of peace at the
cessation of the waters of the Flood.

In all this there is no reference to any regeneration or new birth
unto everlasting life. The original sacramental act is limited in its
effect to the remission of sins, and that only as preparatory to what
Tertullian regards as the more spiritually effective acts of unction
(the grace of which is not precisely defined) and benediction
(which ensures the descent of the Holy Spirit). Further, it seems
to be Tertullian's view that this conveyance of the supreme
spiritual gift or presence is not the conveyance of a gift already
corporately held by the Church (for there is no reference at this
point to Pentecost) but is a repetition in each individual case of
what was done at our Lord's own baptism. Tertullian appears
nowhere to make any direct quotation of 1 Peter 1. 23 or of
John 3. 7.

11 quia verbum dei etc. As already observed, Tertullian
equates Luke 1. 35 (where he read spiritus dei and virtus altissimi)
with John 1. 14 (verbum dei). See my notes Adv. Prax. 26. His
meaning here is that at John 1. 13 only the negatives apply to the
Incarnation: ex deo natus est applies to the eternal generation. The
Incarnation, he suggests, was not an act of generation but of
creation (factum est), and that creation took place ex dei voluntate.

15 formalis apparently construes with nativitatis: 'a nativity
after our fashion' or 'according to our precedent'.

16 negans autem etc. I assign this sentence to the interlocutor, 
and suggest that we should read negarit for negavit:
'But when he denies, among other things, that he was born of the
will of the flesh, why should we not take him to have denied also
that he was born of the substance of the flesh?' Kroymann can
only make sense by omitting quoque and cur, an entirely illegitimate 
treatment of the authorities.


18 neque enim etc. The general meaning of the sentence is perfectly 
clear, and the statement is near enough to the physiological
truth to be acceptable. Kroymann's suggestion of colatum humorem
for calorem is attractive, though the parallels he cites in support of it
prove nothing: what is needed is some quotation from the medical
writers to justify constat, failing which, collatum humorem would
be better. The second half of the sentence, as it stands, is a simile
drawn from the dairy: Kroymann's incaseatio (which he admits
he invented) would turn the simile into a metaphor, and thus
demand the removal of id est lactis. Vis (restored by Gelenius)
could easily have fallen out through confusion with eius: though
(if we could account for its omission) materies would be better.

22 intellegimus ergo etc. Kroymann here, amending the text
of T, reads: intellegimus ergo ex concubitu nativitatem domini negatam,
quod sapit et <'non> ex voluntate viri et carnis', <id est> non ex
vulvae participatione.
This could only be right if the precise distinction 
between uterus and vulva, noted on page 179, applied
here also and were unduly emphasized. But it appears from
what follows that in the present chapter, as Kroymann himself
prints it, the words are synonymous.

28 quia non perinde etc.: i.e. the text of the Gospel does not
say non ex carne but non ex voluntate carnis, denying the existence
of a father but not of a mother.

30 cur descendit in vulvam?, omitted by T (Kroymann) is
necessary to complete the sense: oro vos introduces a peremptory
question, not a statement interrupted by a parenthesis, as Kroymann 
reconstructs these sentences. Tertullian supposed that the
divine Word descendit in vulvam to effect his own incarnation:
which is true, though not perhaps in the sense he intended.

30 potuit enim etc. The text is in some disorder, and probably
extra vulvam (at the end) must be removed: it could have crept in
as a marginal note on extra eam. Possibly also fieret should go,
unless we read ut intra vulvam (T), which is awkward. But the
meaning of the sentence is quite clear: flesh of spiritual origin or
constitution, if there were such a thing, could have been formed
with much less to-do without any pretence of a nativity at all. Cf.


Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 31. 2, e0pei\ perissh_ kai\ h( ei0j th_n Mari/an
au)tou~ ka&qodoj. ti/ ga_r kai\ ei0j au)th_n kath|&ei ei) mhde\n e1melle
lh&yesqai par' au)th~j

32 sed non etc. In Kroymann's critical note read 37 for 38.
The text as given by Oehler is that of the authorities (except T)
and makes good sense. Maxime.. .futurus can only mean praesertim
si...futurus esset.


The attempt of our opponents to substitute 'by the virgin' for
'of the virgin' must fail, as must their suggestion that' conceived
in her' (Matthew 1. 20) excludes 'born of her'. The two statements 
are not inconsistent: and our interpretation of them is confirmed 
by St Paul, who says 'made of a woman'—where by
using the word 'made' he brings himself into verbal conformity
with 'the Word was made flesh'. Also the twenty-second psalm
is in our favour, where it says 'thou didst rend me out of my
mother's womb', for evidently that which is rent away carries
with it something of that from which it is rent—which as a
physiological fact does happen at childbirth. Also the psalm says
'I hanged yet upon my mother's breasts', and it is well known
that the milk does not flow unless there has been a veritable birth
—a fact for which there are obvious physical reasons. So we conclude 
this discussion with the observation that the reason for
Christ's being born of a virgin was not that this was to be less than a
true birth, but that our regeneration in Christ was to be of virgin

The expression natum ex Maria virgine may be supposed to be
derived from Luke 1. 35 to_ gennw&menon e0k sou~ a3gion. It is however 
not quite certain that e0k sou~ is part of the text: it is absent
from most Greek MSS., but occurs in 'western' authorities from
the second century onwards. Tertullian himself has ex te (Adv.
26), in te (Adv. Marc. iv. 7, in a conflate quotation), but at
Adv. Prax. 27 (in a secondary quotation) omits the phrase entirely:
Souter's apparatus criticus should be corrected on this point. By
their substitution of per virginem Tertullian's adversaries meant


that Christ was not born 'of the Virgin in such a manner as to
be in any real sense her son, but merely passed 'through' her:
certain Apollinarians in the fourth century are reported to have
added, more explicitly, 'as through a pipe'. In that case his
apparently human body was not really human and was not real
flesh, but was supposed to be some 'psychical' or 'spiritual'
substance transformed into the appearance of flesh. Tertullian
insists that the word is ex, and not per, and that the preposition
must be understood in all its full implications, which he proceeds
to elucidate in detail. See also Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 31 (quoted
above on § 17), and v. 21. i : here also Rom. 1.3, 4 and Gal. 4. 4
are referred to. Justin, Dial. 100, quotes Luke i. 35 obliquely,
dio_ kai\ to_ gevvw&menon e0c au)th~j a#gio&n e0stin [probably read
a#gion e1stai] ui9o_j qeou~, and immediately, without any special
emphasis on the change of preposition, comments, kai\ dia_ tau&thj
gege/nnhtai ou{toj
. It seems unlikely that Tertullian's adversaries
claimed Justin as their authority.

3 in hac specie : cf. infr. ad hanc speciem. Species being the particular 
application of a forma or rule of law, the phrase here will
mean 'in this case' or 'on this particular subject'.

5 The punctuation given in the text seems the best way of
treating what otherwise would be an awkward sentence. There
is at least a pretence, throughout this and several other of Tertullian's 
works, that they are speeches addressed to a court: in
such a case, asides are quite in order. See also below, sine dubio
quae hausit.

6 nempe tamen etc. This and the following sentence together
mean that for the sake of our present argument the difference
between in ea and ex ea is of no great significance: the phrases
could be used indiscriminately without affecting our main
contention. But the sentences are awkwardly expressed: their
meaning would be clearer if the author had written diceret...
and again, quod in ea fuerat. Consonare
as a transitive verb is unusual: its subject here is perhaps the
evangelist, or the angel of God, who 'when he says "in her",
at the same time gives expression to "of her"': or possibly the


subject is the phrase ex ea—'When it says in ea, ex ea sounds along
with it.'

11 nascitur must be retained: the fact that the Greek has
e0gennh&qh and the Latin vulgate natus est will have prompted T
and N to make this alteration.

12 misit etc. Gal. 4. 4 is quoted De Virg. Vel. 6, with the remark
that in this text, as in some others, mulier includes virgo. Strictly
speaking, Tertullian says, a woman ceases to be virgo as soon as
she is betrothed, but that in his instructions regarding the dress
of women (1 Cor. 11. 5) St Paul is using the generic term to
include the particular. See also De Orat. 23.

14 potius is only in TB; its omission would be almost but not
quite in Tertullian's style.

20 se cecinit ipse Christus. Certain of the Messianic psalms
(e.g. Ps. 2. 7-12) represent Christ as speaking of himself. Psalm 22.
9 and 10 does not seem to be quoted by Tertullian elsewhere.
Justin quotes and comments on the whole psalm, Dial. 98-105,
but with nothing bearing on the present subject. Colloquentem
(TBmg.) may be what Tertullian wrote: actually the psalm is a
monologue, not a colloquy between the Son and the Father.

28 si adhaesit etc. The general meaning of the sentence is
clear, but its construction is difficult, and is not really improved
by Kroymann's transference of ex utero to the end of the con-
ditional clause. If the mood and tense of adhaesisset have any
significance, it can only be 'how should we be aware of its
adherence?' In the latter part of the sentence est is too far from
avulsus to be naturally construed with it. At the risk of correcting
the author himself, I should be disposed to write, quomodo adhaesisset 
nisi, dum ex utero exit, per illum nervum umbilicarem quasi
folliculi sui traducem adnexus adhaeret origini vulvae. Folliculus
is a
skin or bag: here it apparently means the caul: tradux is the
horticultural term for a 'layer' or shoot.

30 etiam cum quid etc. The omission of aliquid and quasi,
with some MSS., makes no difference to the meaning of this
sentence, but greatly improves its form. Kroymann's alterations


are no improvement. Produx apparently occurs only here: its
natural meaning is 'aftermath', which suits the present theme:
traducem, of some MSS., is obviously due to confusion with the
previous sentence. Mutui coitus probably means nothing more
recondite than 'interconnexion'. The point of the illustration is
that if things originally unconnected cannot, after being cemented
together, be taken apart again without force, and without one
taking something away from the other, even more, in the case of
those so closely connected as mother and child, must the child at
birth take something from his mother, and that by force. Hence
avulsisti in the psalm. But possibly avellere is too strong for the
Hebrew: Driver translates 'caused me to burst forth': LXX, 6

37 suspendentibus seems here to mean 'paying over', sub-
but I know of no parallel case. At Scorp. 6,
suspendere votum
means 'attach one's hopes': at De Anima 18,
suspendendae veritatis, 'holding back the truth'. The rest of this
clause, as printed, is what Gelenius made of the various MS.
readings: in mamillam, omitted by TBmg., may have originated
as a marginal note, or its omission may be due to confusion with

41 communicatione has an active sense: 'of that which the
womb provided' or 'imparted to him': not 'of that which he
borrowed from the womb'. Operata vulva, with the other two
participles, is evidently nominative, not ablative. Quae nisi
I have presumed to write pariendo for the MS. habendo,
which is meaningless, and could have been a copyist's anticipation
of habere in the next sentence. Kroymann retains habendo, and
writes quem for quae, leaving the sentence still meaningless.

45 quid fuerit etc. The meaning of the sentence is perfectly
clear, though it would be difficult to explain the syntax of nascendi,
except perhaps as a Graecism: o#ti me\n ou}n a!n ei1n to_ kaino_n e0n
Xristw|~ tou~ e0k parqe/nou gennhqh~nai pro&xeiro&n e0stin
. Kroymann's 
punctuation makes nonsense of the sentence, and his suggested 
alterations of the text are not Latin. If any alteration were
needed it would be the insertion of et after esset. Novitatis looks


back to §17, the beginning of this part of the discussion. Etiam
means 'even in physical origin and constitution, and
apart from any suggestion (which God forbid!) of actual sin':
for 'the flesh', that is, the animate body, is for the rest of mankind
the breeding ground of sin, inheriting the corrupt nature of fallen


The 'newness' of Christ's birth admittedly consists in his having
been conceived without the agency of a human father: but there
is nothing in our authorities to suggest that his mother also was
totally inactive in the matter—indeed there is very good evidence
to the contrary. The prophecy of Isaiah certainly contemplates
conception without human paternity: but this conception is
stated to be for the purpose of child-bearing, and as the conception
is the mother's act, so the child to be born is his mother's son. The
alternative (an impossible one) is that the Word should conceive
and bear himself, that is, should convert himself into flesh: in
which case the mother's part is otiose, and the prophecy loses its
point. So also do the words of the Annunciation to Mary, along
with every other Scripture which refers to the mother of Christ:
among which is the salutation of Elisabeth who addresses Mary as
'the mother of my Lord' and says 'Blessed is the fruit of thy
womb'. Moreover (reverting to Isaiah) how can Christ be the
flower of the stem which comes forth from the stock of Jesse
unless he is in true physical descent from Jesse through David?
He is the fruit of David's loins, which again postulates physical
descent from David: and this can only be a fact if he is veritably
the son of Mary, herself descended from David.

Of the scriptural texts quoted in this chapter, Luke I. 42, 43
appears not to be used elsewhere by Tertullian.

Isaiah 7. 14 has already been referred to in § 17 and will appear
again in §23. At Adv. Marc. iii. 13 Tertullian writes: Sed et
virginem, inquit
(sc. Marcion), parere natura non patitur, et tamen
creditur prophetae. et merito. praestruxit enim fidem incredibili rei,
rationem edendo, quod in signo esset futura. Propterea, inquit, dabit


vobis dominus signum: Ecce virgo concipiet in utero et pariet filium.
signum autem a deo, nisi novitas aliqua monstruosa, tam dignum
Latinius] nonfuisset. The Jews wish to read iuvenculam for
virginem: but such an event would not constitute a sign, sed signo
nativitatis novae adscripto exinde post signum alius ordo infantis edicitur
At Adv. Iud. 9 this is repeated, at greater length, and in a more
controversial manner. At Adv. Marc. iv. 10, he says, si ex deo
patre est, utique non est ex homine: si non et ex homine, superest ut ex
homine sit matre: si ex homine, iam apparet quia ex virgine....ceterum
duo iam patres habebuntur, deus et homo, si non virgo sit mater... .si ex
matre filius est hominis quia ex patre non est, ex matre autem virgine
quia non ex patre homine, hic erit Christus Esaiae quem concepturam
virginem praedicat.
All this is consistent with what is said in the
present chapter, though it belongs to a previous stage of the argument, 
and is designed to prove that the Christ of the New Testament 
is identical with the Christ promised in the Old. Our
present purpose is the further one of proving that Christ belongs
to our humanity in full reality and in no docetic sense.

Isaiah 11. 1 is referred to, Adv. Marc. iv. 1: eundem ex genere
David secundum Mariae censum etiam in virga ex radice Iesse processura 

figurate praedicabat. The text is quoted Adv. Marc. v. 8,
and the seven gifts of the Spirit enumerated, the claim being made
(a theme derived from Justin) quoniam exinde quo floruisset in carne
sumpta ex stirpe David, requiescere in illo omnis haberet operatio gratiae
spiritalis et concessare et finem facere quantum ad Iudaeos: sicut et res
ipsa testatur etc.
This also is repeated Adv. Iud. 9. The text is referred
to, De Cor. 15: quid tibi cum flore morituro? habes florem ex virga Iesse,
super quem tota divini spiritus gratia requievit, florem incorruptum
immarcescibilem sempiternum.
Here apparently requievit is taken in
its more natural sense.

Through this chapter Kroymann's alterations seem not to need
particular consideration.

1 si ergo contendunt etc. This sentence summarizes the preceding 
discussion concerning novitas: with the next sentence the
argument takes a new turn, suggested by the concluding words
of this. Competisse usually means 'be appropriate' or 'be pertinent':


here it seems to mean 'be essential'. I suspect that at the end of
the sentence Tertullian wrote ut caro non ex semine nata ex carne
semine nata processerit.

7 ergo ut ipsius etc. The text given is that of T. All the other
authorities have Ergo ut ipsius fuit concepisse, ita ipsius est etc.

9 si verbum ex se etc.: that is, if the Word converted himself
into flesh, a suggestion not yet discussed. But it was put forward
in the fourth century by the second generation of Apollinarians,
against whom is directed the sentence in Quicunque vult, Unus
autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed adsumptione 

humanitatis in deum.

14 quomodo enim etc. Kroymann's alterations of this sentence 
are not convincing. There does however seem to be something 
wrong, and I should suggest reading, ... nisi quia in utero eius
fuit? (ut quid in utero) si nihil ex utero etc.

19-28 tacebit igitur etc. The punctuation of these sentences,
down to ipse erit et fructus?, is mine.

25 If et qui is right, qui is an adverb, standing for quomodo or
qua ratione, and this seems to be the sense required. Ut quid,
adopted by Kroymann from T, can only mean quem ad finem,
which is not in keeping with the answer given in the next sentence.

31 suam (before radix) evidently construes with proprietatem:
'and thus make it impossible for the root, with the stem as
intermediary, to establish its claim that that which grows from
the stem, namely the flower and the fruit, are its own inalienable
possession'. Whether this sentence is punctuated as a statement
or as a question seems to make little difference: in the latter case
we might have expected an answer, which in fact is not given.

33 Before siquidem it is necessary to supply, at least in thought,
something like non recte (Adv. Prax. 3). Perhaps some such words
have fallen out: in which case the preceding sentence was a

35 adhaerere is perhaps too 'close' a word for the present context : 
it is carried over from the previous part of the discussion.
Pertinere would have been sufficient.


35 adeo: so T Kroy. The MSS. and early editions had deo, which
is meaningless. Pamelius wrote ideo, which gives the sense required.
But Tertullian regularly says adeo for ideo: see notes on §§7, 16.

38 in lumbis (at the end of the chapter): cf. Heb. 7. 10. There
was no need for T to change in to ex: even on stylistic grounds,
complete uniformity is inadvisable.


If the witness which devils bore to Christ as the Son of David is
not acceptable, there remain various testimonies of St Matthew
and of St Paul that he is the son of David, and through David
also of Abraham. All these link up with the fact that he is the
son of Mary, through whom he is descended from these, and
through these from Adam. Thus he is the Second Adam, and his
flesh can no more have been of spiritual origin and constitution
than was that of his forefathers.

The genealogies are not discussed by Tertullian elsewhere.
Romans 1. 3, 4 is adduced Adv. Prax. 27: sic et apostolus de utraque
eius substantia docet. Qui factus est, inquit, ex semine David: hic erit
homo et filius hominis. Qui definitus est filius dei secundum spiritum:
hic erit deus, et sermo dei filius. videmus duplicem statum, non confusum sed
coniunctum in una persona, deum et hominem Iesum.
Galatians 3. 8, 16
is referred to Adv. Marc. v. 4, but with no observations that bear
on our present subject: the same is true of the reference at De Pat. 6.

1 deleant is concessive: the ellipsis of quamvis is sufficiently
frequent to need no illustration. The testimonies that Jesus is the
Son of David were in fact not given by devils, but by afflicted
men asking for healing—Matthew 20. 30, Mark 10. 47, Luke 18.
38. Tertullian's memory has slipped, and confused these passages
with such as Matt. 8. 29: Mark 1. 24, 3. 11, 5. 7: Luke 4. 34, 41,
where the testimony of devils is that he is Christ, the Son of God.

1 proclamantia. The genitive plural (T alone) may safely be
disregarded: it is an alteration even in T. Ad Iesum, in the
majority of MSS., is more difficult—ad being grammatically


impossible: I suspect we should read dominum Iesum, for ku&rie
ui9o_j Dabi/d
occurs at Matt. 20. 30, and again, after 'Ihsou~ ui9e\
at Luke 18. 38, we have ku&rie i3na a)nable/yw at verse 42.

4 commentator a rare word, quoted by Lewis and Short
from Appuleius in the sense of inventor (omnium falsorum), which
is obviously not the meaning here: and from the jurists in the
sense of interpreter, which would serve here if by 'the gospel'
Tertullian means not the written record but the whole act of
God which the Gospel is. Or conceivably he means 'writer',
with the title of Caesar's work at the back of his mind.

5 compotes evidently means 'acquainted with': cf. De Pall. 2,
qui vero divinas lectitamus (sc. historias) ab ipsius mundi natalibus
compotes sumus,
'are well informed': Adv. Hermog. 22, si tantam
curam instructionis nostrae insumpsit spiritus sanctus ut sdremus quid
unde processerit, nonne proinde nos et de caelo et de terra compotes
reddidisset significando unde ea esset operatus, si de aliqua materia origo
constaret illorum?
At De Anima 45, si compotes somniaremus, there
seems to be a recollection of the standing phrase compotes mentis, 'in
full possession of our faculties'.

8 ad Christi nativitatem is what Tertullian ought to have
written, and for that reason may perhaps be an editorial correction. 
A Christi nativitate (all MSS. except T) would be true of
St Luke's genealogy, but not of St Matthew's.

10 inferens Christum, the reading of all the MSS., must evidently 
stand: it should be construed closely with de virgine, the
intervening words being a partial correction. The reason for the
correction is that of course the flesh itself was not an active agent
either during the line of descent or at the Incarnation itself, as the
less than accurately expressed beginning of the sentence might
have suggested: at the Incarnation at least the divine Word, who
is Christ, was the agent of his own incarnation. For the views of
Tertullian and others on this subject see my edition of Adv. Prax.,
Introduction, pages 63-74. Proditur, the reading of all MSS.
except T, would be grammatically tolerable: producitur (TBmg.)
is an obvious correction of some copyist who thought that


proditur could only mean 'is betrayed'. For all that, proditur can
hardly stand: an active verb is required, as Kroymann saw,
though his proditurus is in the wrong tense and is out of syntax.
If we could read prodit, 'comes forth', all would be well: the
passive termination may have slipped in by confusion with
describitur in the line above.

13 utique ipsius: i.e., when St Paul says' according to the flesh',
he means Christ's flesh, not David's.

14 sed secundum etc. We gain nothing, and lose nothing,
by following Kroymann in assigning this sentence to a supposed

16 quod (bis) appears to be the relative pronoun.

21 semine (TBmg) should almost certainly be restored: there is
nothing in Galatians 3. 8 seqq. to suggest nomine.

24 nihilominus (T alone) accentuates the fact (which would be
clear in any case) that whereas Galatians 3. 15, 16 was cut out of the
Marcionite Bible (cf. Adv. Marc. v. 14), we have retained it in ours.

32 eadem conditio substantiae here almost means 'the same
created substance', for substance is not the same as materia, and the
substance of Christ's flesh is the substance of the flesh of Adam,
and of all humanity, and that flesh is a created thing. But probably
Tertullian meant something more: 'the same substance, with
all those characteristics which essentially constitute that nature in
which it was created'.


The prophecy of Simeon, that the Child would be 'for a sign
that shall be spoken against', is come to effect in these persons
who deny the truth of the sign. For the sign is that prophesied by
Isaiah, of the virginal conception and child-bearing. These people
have seized upon the expression 'She bare and bare not', alleging
that it signifies the appearance of child-bearing without its reality.
Even if the text meant what they think it means, our statement of
the truth would be more in accordance with it, viz. that' she bare'
in that she really was a mother, and 'bare not' in that she was


never a wife. Actually however she did become a wife, not at
the conception but at her delivery: that which remained closed
at the conception was opened at the nativity. Hence the expression
'every male that openeth the womb'—an event which, in the
sense really intended, actually took place only on this single
occasion. Hence also St Paul's expression, 'born of a woman'.
Thus it appears that the text from Ezekiel was not a prophecy
of what actually was to happen, but was a warning against these
people and the quibble they were going to invent. For the Holy
Spirit does not indulge in that kind of ambiguity, but speaks
clearly and directly, as in Isaiah, 'shall conceive and bear'.

The alleged quotation from Ezekiel is not from Ezekiel but
apparently from some lost apocryphal writing. It was known to
Clement of Alexandria, who writes as follows (Strom. vii. 93, 94):

It seems likely that the majority of people even now think that Mary is
a puerpera, having become so through the birth of the Child: though
she is not a puerpera, for there is a report current that after her confinement 
she was examined by a midwife and found to be a virgin. Now
the divine Scriptures we find are like that. They give birth to the truth
while conserving their virginity, while they also conserve the mysteries
of the truth under a veil. The scripture says, 'She bare and bare not',
meaning that she conceived of her own initiative and not in consequence 
of marital intercourse. This is why, for those who are gnostics,
the scriptures are pregnant, whereas the heresies through lack of
intelligence consider them barren and hold them of no account.

[It is to be observed that by 'gnostics' Clement does not mean
Gnostics, but orthodox Christians of rather more than ordinary spiritual

The expression is also quoted by Epiphanius, Haer. xxx. 30,
where it appears that it was a heifer which bare and bare not:
but in later Greek da&malij can mean a girl. Apparently only
Tertullian ascribes the phrase to Ezekiel.

Ex eis quae sub hoc capitulo permisit sibi Septimius, vulvam
constabit haud ipsum uterum esse sed os eius externum: qua de re,
si ita curiosus sis, conferas quae scripserunt Iuvenalis, Martialis, et
alii profani.


4 contradicitur. Contradicibile (T) seems to be an anticipation
of what is written below. The Greek of Luke 2. 34 has the present
tense ( a)ntilego&menon), Lat. vg. the future, cui contradicetur.

8 Philosophers of the Academic school made a profession of the
uncertainty of all knowledge, and affected to avoid any direct
affirmation or negation. Tertullian suggests that a statement in
the form 'is and is not', 'did and did not', would be quite in
their line. His opponents were not in fact adherents of that school:
they would have repudiated any such connexion.

12 pepererit was a marginal suggestion in the first edition of
Rhenanus, and has been adopted by all editors until Kroymann.
It must almost certainly be retained. Kroymann attempts to
escape the difficulty by writing non tamen, ut apud illos, ideo non
peperit quae peperit quia etc.
This removes the grammatical difficulty
from the first part of the sentence, but introduces a new difficulty
of meaning, as well as making sed apud nos syntactically 

16 peperit quae peperit... resignavit. The meaning of the
sentence is perfectly clear, and Kroymann's alterations are uncalled 
for. No alterations can obliterate the appalling bad taste of
Tertullian's observation in quo nihil interfuit etc. Illud evidently
means corpus, and idem is masculine.

32 dubitative. Kroymann's dubitativam hardly improves the
sentence, and his explanatory note explains nothing. The point is
that the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to speak in ambiguous
terms, so that if (through Ezekiel) he did say peperit quae non
he was referring beforehand not to a fact which was to be
doubtful, but to these quibblers who were to doubt it.


All these various forms of heresy were foreseen and censured by
the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures, who condemns, first, the
common practice by which heretics refuse to employ or understand 
scriptural language in its natural sense: then, the Marcionite
postulate of another god besides God, and the Valentinian invention


of the genealogies of Aeons anterior to God, as well as the
Ebionite denial of Christ's divinity, and the claim made by
Apelles that his particular theories were revealed by an angel.
Likewise St John strikes at these persons who deny that Christ
came in the flesh, as well as all those who divide Christ into two
persons of opposite or complementary characteristics. The intention 
of these last, when they allege that Christ who rose again is
not the same as Christ who died, is to find support for their
further assumption that their own resurrection will be in a
different flesh from this present. But, in fact, Christ who will
come again is the same Christ that suffered, as they will find, to
their cost, when he does come: and thus there is no truth in the
idea that at the present time Christ's body, with or without the
soul, is set aside like an empty scabbard with Christ himself 

1 Kroymann is no doubt right in his suggestion that the subject
of this sentence (and indeed of those that follow) is spiritus sanctus.
So read et alias, with T. [Kroymann's apparatus is ambiguous
regarding F.] Suggillatio is bruising: cf. Petronius 128, noli
suggillare miserias,
'don't hit a man when he's down'. Whether
we read the ablative or the accusative, it seems to be the accusative
that is intended. The metaphors are slightly mixed: iaculari
suggests a shooting match, suggillatio a boxing match. The quotation 
of Isaiah 5. 20 was suggested by the reference to it above,
§23: cf. Scorp. 1, vae autem qui dulce in amarum et lumen in tenebras

3 qui nec vocabula etc: ista could mean anima, caro, deus;
(T) is probably right. On heretical methods in general, cf.
§1, licentia haeretica.

7 alio idipsum modo. This is what I make of the somewhat
confused MS. testimony. It has at least the advantage of being
good Latin and of being true.

10 The subject of respondit is still spiritus sanctus: the quotation is
the direct object of the verb. So in the following sentence, with


13 filium probably got into the MSS. by confusion with Philumena, 
and is better away. Cf. De Praesc. Haer. 30 Apelles in
alteram feminam impegit, illam virginem Philumenen...cuius energemate 

circumventus quae ab ea didicit Phaneroses scripsit. At Diodorus
iv. 51, e0nergh&mata are the effects of Medea's magic: Philumena's
energema seems to be not the effect of her possession, but the evil
spirit (reputed to be an angel) which possessed her.

13 Before qui negat we must supply in thought cum dicit or
some such phrase, to balance sicut et definiens, below: but it may
not be necessary (with Kroymann) to write it in the text.
Disceptatores appears to mean here those who dispute or deny
its existence: for the true sense of the word see Cicero De Part.
3. 10 quid habes igitur de causa dicere? auditorum eam genere
distingui: nam aut auscultator est modo qui audit aut disceptator, id est
rei sententiaeque moderator, ita ut aut delectetur aut statuat aliquid.
legal language a disceptator was a judge in a private suit.

16 ipsum Christum unum, a reference to 1 Corinthians 8. 6,
and perhaps to the variant reading at 1 John 4. 3.

16 multiformis Christi argumentatores could be the
Valentinians who conjectured a fourfold Christ. But the rest of
the sentence describes opinions or interpretations which more
properly belong to other forms of gnosticism, from Cerinthus
onwards. All of them began, or ended, by despising the flesh and
denying its resurrection.

20 ignobilem lacks anything to balance it: probably read alium
nobilem alium ignobilem.

26 nec ipse esse etc., 'he can neither be, nor be seen to be,

28 Kroymann's insertion of inanem after vaginam is uncalled for.
The note of Franciscus Junius, printed by Oehler, explains this
sentence perfectly: and there is probably no need to ask precisely
who were the persons responsible for the several suggestions,
which are in any case outside the particular subject of the treatise,
assuming as they do that the flesh of Christ exists, and that it is
real. Junius wrote: There are three possible opinions regarding


the flesh of Christ. The first, that it did not rise again, and consequently 
is not in heaven: which is the Valentinian view. The
second, that Christ's flesh rose again, and is where Christ is,
continuing in unity of person with his deity: which is the doctrine
of the Church. The third, that Christ's flesh rose again, but with
Christ abstracted from it—that is, out of union with the Word
and his divine nature. Of this last view there are three possible
ramifications, some imagining that the flesh abides alone in heaven
without personal union, others that this is the case with flesh and
soul together, and others again that the soul alone is in heaven.


Thus we dispose of the present subject. To have proved what
Christ's flesh is, ought to have been enough to prove also what it
is not: in spite of which, we have done more than was strictly
necessary, controverting various erroneous opinions. Also, as
we observed at the beginning, the present work will serve as
preliminary matter for the discussion of our own resurrection,
which is to follow: for as it was Christ's flesh that rose again, so
also will it be ours.

3 citra...abundanti: I have marked this as parenthetic, so
that ut cum eo etc. completes the sense of sufficere.

8 commonefaciat is Kroymann's excellent correction of the
MS. text.

10 resurrexerit is on Ciceronian principles syntactically correct,
and has better MS. support: resurrexit is what Tertullian would be
more likely to have written.


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Ernest Evans(ed), Tertullian's Treatise on the Incarnation. © S.P.C.K. 1956.  Reproduced by permission of SPCK.

Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1956.  Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2002.   Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.

This page has been online since 12th December 2002.

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