A possible chronology

The dating of Tertullian's works is controversial.  This page contains the 'standard' chronology, from CCL II pp. 1627-8.  This in turn quotes Harnack, A., Die Chronologie der Altchristlichen Litteratur, II, Leipzig, 1904, pp.256-296.  Monceaux, P., Histoire littéraire de l'Afrique chrétienne, I, Paris, 1901.  However Barnes has offered a radically different view and reviews all the evidence afresh, but his conclusions have not all been accepted.

Before Ad Nationes and Apologeticum:

Ad Martyras1

After 19 February 197:

Ad nationes2

A little later:


A little later:

De testimonio animae

After 198AD but before the Montanist period:3

De praescriptione
[First edition of Adversus Marcionem]
De spectaculis
De baptismo
[Adversus Iudaeos?]
De patientia
De paenitentia
De cultu feminarum
Ad uxorem
Adversus Hermogenem

After 204AD, with Montanist tendencies

[De ecstasi]4
[De spe fidelium]5
[De paradiso]6

AD 207-8

Adversus Marcionem, second edition containing books I, II and III 7

AD 208-212, having converted to Montanism

Adversus Marcionem, books IV and V - 3rd edition.
De pallio 8
Adversus Valentinianos
[De censu animae adversus Hermogenem] 9
[De fato] 10
De anima 11
[Adversus Apelleiacos] 12
De carne Christi
De resurrectione mortuorum
De corona
De idololatria 13

After the solar eclipse of 14th August 212:

Ad Scapulam 14

After the breakdown of relations with the 'Psychici' (=carnal), around 213AD

De fuga
Adversus Praxean
De virginibus velandis 15
De monogamia 16
De ieiunio
De pudicitia 17

Footnotes from CCL

1. Becker, C., Tertullians Apologeticum: Werden und Leistung, München, 1954, pp.350-354.
2. Book I, ch. 17, 4, reports the victory of Septimius Severus on this day over Albinus.
3. To this period also belongs the Passio SS. Perpetuae et Felicitatis (ca. 202-203), if Tertullian is involved with this volume.  Details of the work are in CCL CLXVIII.
4. Harnack, A., Die Chronologie der Altchristlichen Litteratur, II, Leipzig, 1904, pp.276-278. 
5. Before Adversus Marcionem III, 24, 2 which mentions it.
6. Before Adversus Marcionem V, 12, 8, and De anima 55,5 which mention it.
7. Book I, ch. 15, 1 refers to year 25 of the reign of Severus, i.e. 207-208 AD.
8. This must date to around 209-211 as ch.2, 7 refers to the united triple power of the three Augustii, probably Severus, Caracalla and Geta.
9. Before De anima, 1, 1 etc which mention it.
10. Before De anima, 20, 5 which mentions it.
11. After Adversus Marcionem II (cf. ch. 21, 6).  See also Becker, C., in Gnomon, XXV, 1953, p. 52 ff.
12. Before De carne Christi 8,3 which mentions it.
13. Probably mostly written rather earlier and a little after De spectaculis.
14. Cf. ch.3,2 which refers to this event.
15. Nöldechen, Kellner, Morel, De ontwikkeling van de christelÿke overlevering volgens Tertullianus, Brussels, 1946, p.24.
16. Ch. 3,9 states that he is writing 160 years after the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, and so around 212-219AD.
17. AD.222-223?


This page has been online since 18th February 2000.

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