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Tertullian (The Early Church Fathers) 1st Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415282314
ISBN-10: 0415282314
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Editorial Reviews


'Features modern translations of Tertullian's Adversus Iudaeos, Scorpiace and De uirginibus uelandis which are supported by individual introductions and copious notes.' - Reviews in Religion and Theology

'His sound, scholarly approah and wide acquaintance with modern as well as ancient authorities augurs well for the high standing of the remainder of this collection.' - Theology

About the Author

Rec. Dr. Geoffrey D. Dunn is an Australian Research Council Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Christian Studies, Australian Catholic University. He is also a presbyter (priest) of the Catholic Diocese of Cairns. In recent years has has published more than a dozen articles on North African Christianity.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Early Church Fathers
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415282314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415282314
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,900,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Andy A-B on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read a copy I borrowed from Notre Dame library and decided to purchase a copy. The introductory material is very well researched and written. Dunn did his PhD on Tertullian and is particularly skilled at writing about Tertullian.

The translations are much, much better than those found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers editions from the 19th century. The first review here on gave the translations a low score, but I disagree. They are much more lively than what we used to have and based on better Latin versions. I found them highly readable and engaging in style and language. Dunn did a good job translating the texts.

My only complaint is the price: at $30 a pop this book is quite expensive and makes it not as accessible to a more popular audience than it should and could be at a lower price. But I suppose the costs of printing demand it be that high at this point. I purchased a copy even so.

If you are looking for an overview of Tertullian and also a few sample texts translated well into modern English, this would be a decent place to begin.

Andy Alexis-Baker
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This contains a set of prefaces, and new English translations of Adversus Iudaeos (mercifully without political correctness), Scorpiace, and De Virginibus Velandis.

The book is typeset in a way familiar to all who have ever bought a university textbook. Those are always appalling to read, because they know that people will have to read them, easy to read or not. Shame on you, Routledge, for this.

The prefaces are really useful and provide an up-to-date overview of anglophone thinking on Tertullian. The importance of rhetoric in his work is emphasised, a useful section of scripture is included.

The translations are rather dull. In fact they are too literal to be easy to read. Something more lively would have been better, but probably less accurate. Still, they will appear in footnotes for years.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephen H. Hulme on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I used Dunn's book to help prepare for my Master's thesis, which is a translation of Tertullian's De anima ("On the Soul"). Dunn's introductory material gives a pretty good introduction to modern thinking on Tertullian. He basically follows T.D. Barnes' somewhat controversial views. There's nothing wrong with that -- Dunn both presents Barnes' views somewhat more clearly than does Barnes himself, and Dunn builds on other scholarship that wasn't available to Barnes in the late 70's -- like the rhetorical influences on Tertullian.

Speaking as someone who is very familiar with Tertullian's Latin, I found Dunn's translations to be quite good. I have a higher opinion of the translations of Tertullian in the Ante-Nicene Fathers series than did a previous commentator. That said, Dunn gives us translations of some of Tertullian's work that is not available in English and he does a good job of it.

I found this book quite helpful for my thesis, and recommend it for anyone who wants to learn about a truly fascinating writer who lived in a very interesting period of history.
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Format: Paperback
Dunn gives a good background on Tertullian, a complex man and an important early Christian figure. It seems incredible today, long after the Muslim conquests, but North Africa was once a hub of Christianity. Four popes, Tertullian, Augustine, and many others attest to this fact. Certainly it is clear from Tertullian's rhetorical skills that he was able to obtain a first class education.

Dunn covers the vexing question of how to regard Terullian's Montanism. Was this heresy? Can we view his later works as no longer fully Christian? There are no solid answers here, only more questions.

The translations are excellent. I was especially intrigued by Tertullain's 'On the Veiling of Virgins", for the insight it gave into ancient society as well as Tertullian's views on women. For example, here is how he regarded the church: About the various apostolic churches there is "one faith for us and for them, one God, the same Christ, the same hope, the same mysteries of the ritual let me say once for all, we are one church" (p 144).

Here is a quote bound to cause controversy today: "'It is not allowed for a woman to speak in church' but also neither to teach, not to baptize, not to offer sacrifice at the altar, nor to claim a share of any male function, much less of priestly office" (p 153).

And about the age of marriage" "females at twelve years, male at two years more to the occupation of marriage" (p156).
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