Title variations in the works of Tertullian

I've taken copies of the start of each work from CCL, and tried to annotate the variants, because I think they are interesting.

The manuscripts and editions are represented in abbreviation. Look on the manuscripts page for an explanation.

Remember that in a medieval codex, there is normally no title page or list of contents (the Codex Agobardinus is a rare exception), and no lettering on the spine, as in a modern book. There are no divisions between paragraphs, or even words. So the start of a new book is marked in the text, and is called the incipit (literally 'it begins'). At the end, there could be a similar explicit (it ends), and either or both of these might indicate author and title, or maybe subject. Consequently these vary far more than normal text does, and can get added or lost in transcription far more easily. For more on the structure of medieval manuscripts - a fascinating field - see the bibliography.

For the works of Tertullian, these incipits and explicits are the only place where Tertullian's full name is recorded.


All the notes of title variants come from CCL I and II, as do any remarks about which leaves of the codex the work is found on.

This page has been online since 11th December 1999.

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