Disciplinary, Moral, and Ascetical Works

Disciplinary, Moral, and Ascetical Works

Copyright Date: 1959
Pages: 323
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Disciplinary, Moral, and Ascetical Works
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1140-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
    (pp. 7-10)

    This volume contains seven of Tertullian’s works which deal with disciplinary, moral, and ascetical questions.¹ The first five (To the Martyrs, Spectacles, The Apparel of Women, Prayer, and Patience) belong to the author’s Catholic period; the two remaining (The Chaplet; Flight in Time of Persecution) were written after he had broken with the Church and given his intellectual adhesion to Montanism.

    Considering Tertullian’s moral writings as a whole, we cannot help admiring the sincerity, earnestness, and zeal with which he sets forth the ideals of Christian life. The imitation of God and Christ is, as it were, the leitmotif of...

    (pp. 13-30)

    The reign of the African Septimius Severus (193-211) was not a time of peace for the Church in his native land where popular hatred intermittently led to sudden and violent outbursts against the Christians. The crises which persecution brought on for the Church called forth the remarkable pieces of apologetical literature which Tertullian, a recent convert to the faith, wrote in defense of his harassed brethren. From 197 he threw himself vigorously into the Christian cause, protesting against the lack of legal fairness in the treatment of Christians, who were simply condemned as such without previous examination of their morals...

    (pp. 33-108)

    In the time of the emperors the Roman world knew and enjoyed especially four kinds of public amusement: the chariot-races of the circus; the gladiatorial combats and hunting spectacles of the amphitheater; the performance of farces, such as mimes and pantomimes, in the theater; and the athletic contests of the stadium. The omnipotent rulers saw in these amusements the best means for purchasing popular favor, keeping the masses contented, and making them forget their own insignificance. Each emperor tried to outdo his predecessor in the frequency and splendor of his spectacles, so that, under some emperors, almost one half of...

    (pp. 111-150)

    In writing his two books on The Apparel of Women (De cultu feminarum) Tertullian addresses himself especially to women who have lately become converts to the Christian faith.¹ With solemn sternness, and often with caustic wit, he castigates the luxury and extravagance of dress and adornment which fashion and convention have imposed on the fair sex of his day. He describes these eccentricities of feminine vanity as fitting only for harlots and immodest women, and contrasts them with the virtues with which alone it becomes Christian women to embellish themselves.

    The two books do not form a coherent whole in...

    (pp. 153-188)

    With no diminution of zeal but with considerably less intensity and aggressiveness than appear in most of his writings, Tertullian sets forth to the catechumens, presumably in his native city of Carthage, his instructions on Prayer. No traces of unorthodoxy are present to detract from these inspiring exhortations. Consequently, it may be concluded that the composition of this work falls within the early years of Tertullian’s conversion (about 198-200).

    In many of his writings, Tertullian’s violent character and impassioned delivery have interfered with a well-ordered presentation of his material. Such is not the case with Prayer, which, after a brief...

    (pp. 191-222)

    In contrast to the impassioned rhetoric which stamps so distinctively the bulk of Tertullian’s writings, the homily on Patience presents an urgent, but gentle, exhortation to the practice of this truly Christian virtue. ‘I confess,’ he begins, ‘to the Lord my God that I certainly have courage, not to say presumption, to have dared to write on patience, a virtue which I am utterly unfit to practise, being, as I am, a man of no account.’ Such a disarming admission, followed by a humble acknowledgment of the need of divine assistance in order to attain to patience, together with the...

    (pp. 225-268)

    The treatise on The Chaplet is an occasional writing, prompted by an incident which is briefly described in the introductory chapter. On the death of Emperor Septimius Severus on February 4, 211, his two sons and co-rulers Caracalla and Geta followed the time-honored custom of bestowing on each soldier of the army a gift of money (the so-called donativum). When the gift was distributed in the camp, the soldiers wore, according to the regulations, a crown of laurel on their heads, except one of them who refused to wear the wreath on the ground that, being a Christian, he was...

    (pp. 271-308)

    In an earlier work, The Chaplet (1.5), Tertullian had touched upon a question which, in those uncertain times, was a matter of grave concern for every fervent Christian: Is the Christian allowed to take refuge in flight under the crucial test of persecution? The promise Tertullian had given on that occasion, namely, to give a detailed answer to this vexing question, he made good by writing a special treatise, Flight in Time of Persecution.

    The Church never did impose on its members the absolute duty of exposing themselves to martyrdom by boldly waiting for arrest, torture, and death. The Martyrdom...

  11. INDEX
    (pp. 311-323)