Tertullian and Western Theology

An Outline of an Article done by Gerald L. Bray, “Tertullian and Western Theology” in Woodbridge, Great Leaders, 49-54.
I. Background
A. Born in modern Tunis in North Africa
B. Sometime after A.D 150
C. Middle class family
D. Well educated in:
1. Literary
2. Legal
3. Philosophical
4. Greek
E. Died sometime after 212
II. Private Life and Occupation
A. Married
B. Possible that his wife died young
C. Nothing else is known about this area
III. Monasticism
A. He was drawn to this life
B. Selective on the use of their writings
C. Concentrated on the holiness writings
D. He saw this as a movement that advocated his teaching
IV. Tertullian’s Apologetics
A. The Apology – a long treatise in which he dissects pagan religion in order to point out its irrationality
B. Strong insistence on the power of baptism that he refused any remedy for post baptismal sin
C. Opposed infant baptism
D. The Soul- in which he shows himself to be pro-Stoic and anti-Platonsit in his general philosophical outlook.
E. He reached a point that the Eastern Church didn’t get to until the 451’s
V. Pastoral Writings
A. Exhortation to the Martyrs to Stand Fast in the Face of Persecution
1. Constant theme of Tertullian’s life
2. Often appealed to the examples of heroism set by the ancient Romans, rather than Biblical figures
B. Treatises that Deal with Matters of Personal Spirituality

1. Wrote with great sensitivity about suffering, prayer
For more reading on him and also many of Tertullian’s works (this could keep you busy for years) http://www.tertullian.org/

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