The 'Noddy' guide to Tertullian
2. He was brought up a pagan (De paenitentia 1.1), had a relative who turned a philosophical dialogue (the Pinax attributed to Cebes, the friend of Socrates) into a cento of Virgilian verse (De praescriptio haereticorum 39.4), knew the rhetorical schools and could quote the peroration of a popular rhetor, named Phosphorus (Adversus Valentinianos 8.3), delighted in adultery (De resurrectione mortuorum 59.3), and he married a Christian girl after conversion (De uxorem). His movement towards Montanism is attested by notes referring to them (e.g. Adversus Praxean 1) and is discussed by Barnes.
3. Notably T.D.Barnes in his revisionist study. See bibliography.
4. No-one actually knows why or how this bright young pagan came to Christ, as Barnes has pointed out. However many writers (including Bardenhewer, Quasten) have seen Tertullian's description of how the sight of Christians in the arena affects the pagan in the Apologeticum as autobiographical. It is certainly true that Tertullian returned to the theme that the true note of a Christian is the willingness to face martyrdom (De corona, De fuga in persecutione).
5. See Quasten, II. Of course there are earlier scraps of work - the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs - but these are anonymous. See also Vincent of Lerins in 434AD, Commonitorium, 17, where he describes Tertullian as 'first of us among the Latins' (Quasten IV, p.549).
6. General agreement among writers both ancient and modern that have been cited so far on this one.
7. For an example that appeals to me, see Apologeticum 40: "If the Tiber rises so high it floods the walls, or the Nile so low it doesn't flood the fields, if the earth opens, or the heavens don't, if there is famine, if there is plague, instantly the howl goes up, "The Christians to the lion!" What, all of them? to a single lion?"
8. See the end of De Baptismo, where he asks the newly baptised to pray for "Tertullian, a sinner". Or the introduction to De Patientia, where he describes himself, "always burning with the fires of impatience".
9. The word veritas (truth) is used 162 times in one of his works (Quasten, vol 2, p.247).
10. See Jerome's version of Eusebius' Chronicle, entry for 208AD, here (from Barnes).
11. In my opinion, anyway.
12. See Barnes, p196, for an assessment. See also p.332 of the postscript in the 2nd edition, for a qualification, that Tertullian may have depended more on encyclopedias than he had at first thought. But see also F.G.Kenyon, Books and Readers, p36, for a different view on the need to use compendia of knowledge - cheap papyrus books mean that at that period, there is no real need to suppose the unavailability of the actual texts quoted.
12a.Vincent of Lerins in 434AD, Commonitorium, 17
13. Lists of works are derived from Quasten, and Barnes. Text problems are likewise discussed by both, and in the introductions of the critical editions. For an example of the problems, see T.R.Glover on the Apologeticum, p.xxii ff. For the unfinished nature of Adversus Judaeos and De cultu feminarum I, see Barnes, .
14. For Trinitas, see Quasten, vol 2, p286, who gives ch.2 of Adversus Praxean as the first use of Trinitas as a technical term by a Latin writer.
15. For Montanism, see the references to Eusebius and Epiphanius on my Montanism page. It's a large issue, and only peripheral to Tertullian, so I've not listed much on this. Barnes gives some references, p130ff.
16. According to Tertullian, in the fragment of his lost work De ecstasi quoted by the author of Praedestinatus.
17. De fuga in persecutione, De pudicitia.
17a. The earliest statements in favour of the argument that he did leave are by Jerome and Augustine. But there are some scholars who do not accept that they had any special knowledge. It is therefore argued that in view of the way that the early church venerated North African 'Montanists' like St.Perpetua, and the use of Tertullian by St. Cyprian, that he must in fact have never been condemned, or done more than take part in a para-church grouping of those influenced by Montanism. See Tabbernee, Montanist Inscriptions, pt II for this, and references to other scholars. In fact this view seems to have become orthodoxy in anglophone circles. The original article was Douglas Powell, Tertullianists and Cataphrygians (1975). I understand the issue is discussed in David Rankin, Tertullian and the Church, (Cambridge University Press 1995),xvii+229 pp, 35, on p.27 with full bibliography, but I haven't seen this.
18. Jerome says he lived to an advanced old age, Barnes suggests we do not know this is true, and since his last known works place him about the age of 40, for all we know he may have been martyred (p.59).
19. T.R.Glover, Apologeticum, ix.
20. T.R.Glover, Apologeticum, x-xi, for examples of Gibbon and Matthew Arnold doing just that.
21. See Bartlett's quotations, for both the erroneous and correct versions of De carne Christi 5: "It is certain because it is impossible." NB: Certum est, quia impossibile est. This is usually misquoted, "Credo quia impossibile" (I believe it because it is impossible).
22. Barnes, p84, quoting De pudicitia 21.17.
23. He has been called the Father of Latin Christianity, but I don't have a reference for this. The introductions to Quasten, Souter's editions of Adversus Praxean, Bardenhewer, make his position in Latin Christianity clear.
24. According to Jerome (see above).
25. Barnes, p101-2.
26. Praedestinatus I, 26.