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Tertullian’s Use of the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude


Mark A. Frisius

In Tertullian’s Use of the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude, Mark A. Frisius establishes that Tertullian (a third-century theologian) only used the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, and 1 Peter, although he at least knew of Jude. It is further demonstrated that he had no knowledge of James or 2 Peter, which has a distinct bearing on the emergence of the New Testament canon. Tertullian interprets these five texts in various ways, but always with an eye toward confrontational discourse. The author assesses Tertullian’s varying interpretive principles and also considers the effects of Montanism on his interpretive procedures. In conclusion, Frisius demonstrates that the Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, and 1 Peter provided Tertullian with significant material for his theological controversies. This book, in addition to being a resource for scholars, is also useful in senior level and graduate courses on ancient biblical interpretation.


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Introduction 1


INTRODUCTION As one of the first prominent churchmen to write in Latin, Tertullian holds an important place in the development of Latin Christianity and of the North African Church. He provides early Western evidence of a strictly disciplined life and of abhorrence for those he considered as heretical. However, as a result of his adherence to Montanism, Tertullian‘s reputation suffered, and he often became a forgotten man within the history of the church.1 Within the last several decades, interest in this North African thinker has been renewed and efforts have been made to restore his reputation as long held theories concern- ing his identity and view of the church have been revised in light of recent scholarly interest.2 However, in spite of this renewed scholarly interest, Tertulli- an‘s interpretive approach has remained largely unexamined. This book has the specific aim of contributing to the burgeoning discussion on Tertullian by examining his use of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude. The texts of 1, 2, and 3 John have purposefully been excluded from this study. The books of 2 and 3 John are universally seen as unused and unknown in early third- century North Africa,3 and I have found no reason to question this conclusion. The text of 1 John was widely used by Tertullian, and has been studied in connection with the Gospel of John and Revelation.4 To include 1 John with the remaining General Epistles would have resulted in...

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