Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
I wish to acknowledge with thanks the careful and critical reading given to this book in its preparatory stages by Prof. Thomas Halton and Prof. David Efroymson. Their suggestions added much to its final form. The solicitous and imperturbable guidance of Dr. David McGonagle, Director of the Press, contributed much to...
Of the life of Tertullian little can be said with certainty. He was an African, obviously educated—he wrote both Latin and Greek and had studied rhetoric, philosophy, and medicine. During the years of his known literary productivity, he appears to have lived in Roman Carthage. One gathers from his writings that he grew up a...
Very few documents from early Christianity reveal more vividly than Tertullian’s Apology the perspectives from which Christians might look upon the pagan world that surrounded them, and the presuppositions they brought to the justification of their own role in society. Indeed, the modern reader is forced into the hurly...
2. Testimony of the Soul
This little treatise—one of Tertullian’s shortest1—may in several respects be considered a companion piece to the Apology, which it appears to have followed within a year. In this treatise, as in the Apology, it is the image of the trial that provides the framework within which the argument proceeds. An ill-defined paganism that ridicules...
The ruins of ancient cities offer an impressive witness to the passion that the citizens of Rome and the empire felt for four kinds of entertainment: races in the circus; stage plays, mimes, pantomimes, and farces in the theater; athletic and other contests in the stadium; and gladiatorial...
4. To the Martyrs
For several reasons this little treatise deserves a place in a collection that attempts to elucidate the Christian response to a pagan world. First, the treatise introduces us, if a little obliquely, to some of the circumstances concomitant with the confession of the Name before the pagans. If we may judge from the account of the martyrdom of...
5. The Crown
The preceding treatises are all among the earliest of Tertullian’s work, possibly written shortly after his conversion. The Crown belongs decisively to Tertullian’s “Montanist” phase, and it invites, therefore, a brief comparison with the earlier writings. On the one hand, certain features of the treatise show a firm line of continuity with Tertullian’s...
6. Flight in Time of Persecution
Tertullian’s conviction, expressed in this treatise, that a Christian must not run away from persecution did not in general receive the support of Christian leaders who either preceded or followed him. Indeed, even he in his earlier years had accepted the traditional wisdom of the Church that one might follow the command given to the...
Index of References to Scripture
Index of References to Classical and Early Christian Literature
Production Notes, Back Cover