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Tertullian, First Theologian of the West [Hardcover]

By Eric Osborn (Author)
Our Price $ 104.03  
 
 
Item Number 156616  
Buy New $104.03

Item Specifications...

Pages   308
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   1.19 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 3, 2003
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521590353  
EAN  9780521590358  


Availability  74 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 23, 2017 06:14.
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Item Description...
Overview
Tertullian was the first Western Christian to write theology, defending Christians against the hostility of the Roman state, as well as arguing against Marcion, Praxeas and theosophical fantasy. A complex thinker, Tertullian has, in the modern era, been rejected by both liberal Christianity and its secular critics. For a long time misquoted and misused, he now calls for sustained analysis and interpretation. This book offers a major reappraisal of his theology and its influence on the shape of the Western Christian tradition.

Publishers Description
Tertullian was the first Western Christian to write theology, defending Christians against the hostility of the Roman state, as well as arguing against Marcion, Praxeas and theosophical fantasy. A complex thinker, Tertullian has, in the modern era, been rejected by both liberal Christianity and its secular critics. But his ideas have become more accessible in our century, which has seen the destruction of enlightenment beliefs that reason should lead to a quasi-mathematical system. The work of Gedel, Wittgenstein, Rorty and so many others has opened up the way for an understanding of Tertullian's passion for opposites, contingency and rational argument. For a long time misquoted and misused, Tertullian now calls for sustained analysis and interpretation. This book offers a reappraisal of his theology and its influence on the shape of the Western Christian tradition.

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More About Eric Osborn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Eric Osborn is Honorary Professor at the Department of History, La Trobe University and Professorial Fellow at the Department of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology, University of Melbourne. His books include Beginning Christian Philosophy (Cambridge, 1981), The Emergence of Christian Theology (Cambridge, 1993), and Tertullian, First Theologian of the West (Cambridge, 1997).

Eric Osborn has an academic affiliation as follows - La Trobe University, Victoria, University of Melbourne La Trobe Univer.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Theological Perspective  Aug 14, 2001
I was not very certain who the intended audience for this book was, but it contains some very interesting material, and I wondered whether it is in fact an apologia for Tertullian to a modern secularised theological audience. If so, it is rather well done. It is telling that he begins with a well-phrased demand that some attempt should be made to understand Tertullian rather than moving swiftly to abuse him. He remarks that "Since the Enlightenment, no ancient Christian writer has attracted more hostility" and he acutely observes that much of the discussion in the past has failed to read the context of these remarks, and has therefore consisted "of the common game of 'telling men of straw that they have no brains.' "(p.xv).

Osborn describes the different reactions in the literature to 'What has Athens to do with Jerusalem' and 'Credo quia absurdum' in some depth. He tries to give a fair statement of the positions adopted; that Tertullian is an anti-rationalist; a rationalist; a mediaevalist - and then offers his own insights. There is constant interest in the Stoic influence on Tertullian, and in the connection with philosophy. Chapters follow on Adversus Marcionem, Trinity and Christology and Montanism - where he makes the interesting suggestion that Tertullian's theological views did not in fact change at all throughout his extant work; only the way in which they were expressed.

A barrier to the correct understanding of much of what Tertullian wrote he describes as 'Tertullian's trick', by which he means that 'missing' portions of the argument are often to be found elsewhere in Tertullian's output, and that Tertullian expects us to recognise it. It is also pleasing to find recognition of the humour in Tertullian. The book is not always as easy to read as it might be, perhaps because Dr. Osborn (rightly) tries to avoid imposing his own opinions on it. On the other hand he is evidently appreciative of the splendour of Tertullian's prose, and produces some nice translations of selected phrases.

These are just a few highlights from the book. Certainly worth a look, if you can cope with the vocabulary. The use of theological jargon such as the 'economy of God' without explanation may be a barrier to some readers.

 

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