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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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Part One: The Known Books 5


PART ONE The Known Books As one of the first members of the emerging orthodox church who wrote in Latin, Tertullian stands at the precipice of a powerful, emerging tradition. He is clearly one of the earliest and most prominent representatives of Christianity in Roman North Africa, which served as one of the hubs of the early Christian movement.1 As such, the nature of his knowledge of scripture, which was the main component of his arguments, is one of great importance. During his time, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude were emerging on the Christian scene, and the history of their transmission and use is somewhat cloudy. This part of the book will seek to evaluate the level and nature of Tertullian‘s knowledge of these particular epistles. The first chapter investigates the question: which, if any, of these books does Tertullian know and use. The chapter will then conclude with an evaluation of if the known books formed part of a canonical collection for Tertullian. The second chapter will consider whether Tertullian knew these books in a Greek or Latin version. CHAPTER ONE Does Tertullian Know the Books? The question of which biblical books are used by Tertullian must, necessarily, begin with sets of indices. There are a number of indices which provide lists of biblical citations within the early church fathers. Among these locations are the index of CCL and Biblia Patristica.1 These indices provide a valuable starting point in determining...

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