Tertullian: First Theologian of the West
Tertullian was the first western Christian to write theology, defending Christians against the hostility of the Roman state, as well as arguing against Marcion, Praxeas and theosophical fantasy. A complex thinker, Tertullian has, in the modern era, been rejected by...
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Tertullian was the first western Christian to write theology, defending Christians against the hostility of the Roman state, as well as arguing against Marcion, Praxeas and theosophical fantasy. A complex thinker, Tertullian has, in the modern era, been rejected by both liberal Christianity and its secular critics. But his ideas have become more accessible in our century, which has seen the destruction of Enlightenment beliefs that reason should lead to a quasi-mathematical system. The work of Godel, Wittgenstein, Rorty and so many others has opened up the way for an understanding of Tertullian's passion for opposites, contingency and rational argument. For a long time misquoted and misused, Tertullian now calls for sustained analysis and interpretation. This book offers a major reappraisal of his theology and its influence on the shape of the western Christian tradition.
Eric Osborn is honorary Professor in History, La Trobe University and Professor Fellow in Classics, University of Melbourne. His most recent publications include Irenaeus of Lyons (2001).
- Introduction; 1. Simplicity And Perfection: End And Beginning; 2. The Puzzle: Athens And Jerusalem; 3. The Paradox: Credible Because Inept; 4. Strife Of Opposites And Faith As Recognition; 5. Antithesis In One God: Against Marcion; 6. Trinity And Christology: Against Praxeas; 7. Prayer And The Bible; 8. Mankind's Two Natures And A Sordid Church; 9. Argument And Humour: Hermogenes And The Valentinians; 10. Promise Of Laughter, Judgment Of Hell; 11. Ethics Of Conflict; Conclusion; Bibliography; Indexes.