Tertullian, Quintus Septimus
- (c. 160–c. 225)Theologian.Tertullian grew up as a pagan in Carthage, North Africa. He was converted to Christianity and he eventually joined the Montanist sect, but little is known of the details of his life. He is known for his theological and apologetic works. These included the Apologeticum, which is an appeal for the official toleration of Christians and Christianity. In De Praescriptione Haereticorum, he argued that only the one true Church possesses authority since her doctrines were handed down from Jesus, through the Apostles to the Bishops. He produced several polemics against marcion and other heretics and these were to provide the vocabulary and conceptual categories by which orthodoxy was later to be defended. He was also the author of the first surviving treatises on the Lord’s Prayer and baptism. Influenced by the pagan philosophy of stoicism, his works are all brilliantly argued and he has been described as the father of Latin theology. Today he is particularly remembered for his rhetorical question, ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’ and his statement, ‘Credo quia impossibile est’ (I believe because it is impossible).T.D. Barnes, Tertullian: A Historical and Literary Study (1971);T.P. O’Malley, Tertullian and the Bible (1967).
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