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

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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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CONCLUSION This work was primarily concerned with three questions. The first question concerned the knowledge which Tertullian possessed in regards to individual New Testament books. It was specifically concerned with his knowledge and use of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. The second question concerned the exegetical approaches which Tertullian evi- denced in relation to these individual books. Finally, the third question sought to understand the manner in which these books informed the theological thought and development of Tertullian. Tertullian had a distinct vision of the New Testament. While he never listed the books of the New Testament, his usage of individual books can suggest a significant amount about his attitude toward them. Of the books investigated in this study, it has become quite clear that Tertullian did not use James or 2 Peter. The evidence is inconclusive concerning if this is due to his ignorance of the books or his outright rejection of the books; although his approach to Shepherd of Hermas suggests that Tertullian was unaware of the existence of James or 2 Peter, as Tertullian had given a specific indication when he had rejected a book that others might consider canonical. Jude was viewed as an authoritative book, but was only referenced as evidence for 1 Enoch‘s canonicity. The evidence is inconclusive concerning whether Tertullian has read Jude, or has only been made aware of certain elements within the texts. These books, therefore, offered little material for an investigation...

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