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ISTM that this article gushes overmuch (for an encyclopedia article) when describing the qualities of Tertullian's writing. (Just a suggestion... I'm not watching the page.) — B.Bryant 23:53, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Latin unitas means "oneness, sameness, agreement." Thus, there seems to be a misunderstanding in the article, becuase tri + unitas = "three in agreement / three in oneness / three in agreement", unless this is what is meant by the phrase "tri (three) and unitas (one), tri-unitas (three in one) pointed to God as one God in substance and nature, but three in person — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. " —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:46, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

The Latin "trinitas" does NOT come from "tri" + "unitas." It comes from the Latin "trini" "three each" or simply "three" and the suffix "-tas" = the English "-ty," as in "unity," "corporeality," etc.

There is inconsistency among the dates for birth and death among the different languages, including a difference between the English language article and the "Simple English" article. Perhaps they should all agree?

POV rewording help[edit]

The following sentence seems POV and ackward and was wondering if anyone could rewrite it. I'm having a hard time trying to change it:

"If Tertullian went to an unhealthy extreme in his counsels of asceticism, he is easily forgiven when one recalls his own moral vigor and his great services as an ingenuous and intrepid defender of the Christian religion, which with him, as later with Martin Luther, was first and chiefly an experience of his own heart. " —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Andrew c (talkcontribs) 03:47, 1 April 2006 (UTC).

I fiddled with it a little. What do you think?--Okieinexile 20:24, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Married Presbyters[edit]

The phrase "In the church of Carthage he was ordained a presbyter, though he was married" (section: Life) suggests that presbyters should be celibate, which is counter to the doctrine prevalent over all christianity at his time (i.e. presbyters were required to be married as per 1Tim.3:2 and Tit.1:6) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:47, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

The sentence says at the end that it was not unusual at the time to be a married presbyter. I think the "though he was married" was added to accentuate the difference between now and then, not that it was an unusual thing in that age. Coppcar (talk) 06:55, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Presbyters were not required to be married, as this would contradict Paul's 1 Cor 7. Rather, the requirement for one wife was a maximal requirement; i.e. presbyters should have one wife is not to be interpreted as that they must marry, but that they should only marry one wife and no more. Otherwise 4th century mainstream Christianity would find itself in contradiction with a Bible passage. Gabr-el 23:51, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Biographical Notes[edit]

This articles seems to ignore a lot of recent academic scholarship in favour of turn a distinct flavour of early 20th century theology. This is particularly pronounced concerning Tertullian's education in classical rheteoric (Sider 1971). The biographical information is very tradition rendition, it takes Jerome's claims about Tertullian much less critically than they should be. E.G. the title ascribed to Tertullians' father "Centurio Proconsularis" is rather dubious, it is not apparent if that ever was a legitimate roman military title. (Barnes 1971) In a similar way, we really can't say for certain about his being a presybter, his break with the Church or anything else mentioned in Jerome's 'biography'. We might think that Tertullian's own writing seem to be more authoritative on personal details in which case he was most likely married layman. (Dunn 2004)This article could really do with work over that takes into account the more recent information available. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:32, 10 August 2006 (UTC) As someone currently studying Tertullian for a university course, I strongly endorse these comments. The article needs a thorough working over in lots of ways, though it does rejoice in a lot reference to primary sources available online, which makes it useful for that alone. Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 23:31, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Death penality[edit]

From [1]: "Even if conviction resulted, there could be no capital sentence, a practice dating back to Tertullian's fourth century belief that the church did not have the authority to impose the death penalty on believers." Other mentions of this? --Ann O'nyme 23:55, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 21:54, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Suggested edit[edit]

The Section on Tertullian's life cites Augustine (De Haeresibus, lxxxvi)claiming that he, improbably, asserts that Tertullian returned to the Catholic Church before his death. I read the citation and Augustine makes no such claim, though he does say that the Tertullianists, members of the sect he founded, disappeared by the 4th century, returning to the Catholic Church, and that they surrendered their basillica which is "even now a very famous one, to the Catholic Church." Nowhere does he suggest that Tertullian himself converted back to the Church before his death. (SEE Calvinwang (talk) 19:35, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Make the change. You're right. Roger Pearse 20:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Change applied. Roger Pearse 13:51, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Quality query[edit]

The article has been worked over by someone with rather a lot of enthusiasm and not a lot of knowledge. It contains a great deal of stuff that skews it. There is not the slightest evidence that Tertullian was of Berber descent for instance, four 'references' notwithstanding. I don't know how to improve this article except by chopping a lot of it. Suggestions? Roger Pearse 20:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

In the absence of suggestions, I have chopped that piece of misinformation. I've done a bit of revision, but it needs much more. It also needs some decent references. Roger Pearse 13:50, 2 September 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Roger Pearse (talkcontribs)
Well someone has restored that "piece of misinformation" with a footnote to the Works of Tertullian in French (, which seems to provide no support for him being a Berber. I have deleted it based upon the lack of support, and potentially fraudulent footnote. --Bejnar (talk) 17:17, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

"Berber origin"?[edit]

There's an odd entry appended to the first sentence, that reads "...Tertullian was Berber origin." This is incorrect English (unlike the rest of the first paragraph), so I suspect it comes from a different author. Regardless, there is no mention in the rest of the entry about Tertullian being of Berber origin, nor is its source cited, so I doubt its veracity. Any objection to its removal? Bricology (talk) 19:58, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

There is no evidence that he was a Berber. The source cited does not address the issue, but merely makes an offhand comment, perhaps even a joke, about Berbers. This lame mis-information should be deleted. Rwflammang (talk) 14:44, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


The following quote seems biased to me, even though I am a Protestant. "In later life he became a Montanist and has been seen by some as the first Protestant[3]."

It doesn't matter if some people view this, because Tertullian was not a Protestant. Wikipedia is supposed to be a source for correct and unbiased information,and the last part of the quote should be removed. Grailknighthero (talk) 04:44, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I have checked on the book by Timothy David Barnes, and can't find a single mentioning of the word "protestant" and only one mention of the word "protest" on page 248. Take a look here for whoever wants to see for themselves:,+Tertullian&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=esYTbMCKDH&sig=jwxUDubpdGkmoOsBWLFjs5eC89U&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA3,M1

I am going to remove this. Gabr-el 23:32, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Martyred or not?[edit]

Nothing is mentioned whether he was martyred or not. Its important to know, since Tertullian himself condemned those who denied their faith upon the threat of death. Gabr-el 23:53, 26 April 2009 (UTC) There is no suggestion anywhere that he was martyred. Jerome indicates that he lived to a very old age. There is no reason to believe that he was. Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 23:27, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

"Other Latin formulations that first appear in his work etc."[edit]

In the general introduction of the article we read:

Other Latin formulations that first appear in his work are "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostases, Homoousios").

Due to the strong claims, unsupported by specific quotations, I have appended to the sentence the following [citation needed][verification needed][dubious ] inline warnings.

Unless the needed citations are provided and correspond to the text of the sentence, I am going to edit it or remove it altogether.
Miguel de Servet (talk) 13:53, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't know whether Tertullian was first to use the Latin phrase, but I do know that it could not have come from the Greek at that time: the combination of hypostasis and homoousias were only applied to Trinitarian questions in an orthodox way in the 4th century; in the controversy surrounding Paul of Samosata, the term homoousias was actually condemned in the 3rd century (see Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, 2004, p. 172). (talk) 18:37, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Anonymous

Unnecessary Asceticism[edit]

Under the section "Moral Beliefs", a line is quoted out of context in regards to male ejaculation. The quote makes it seem as if he is arguing against sexual functions, but if you look at the passage, it's clear that he was drawing an analogy to the nature of body and soul. I believe this should be removed. GrimmC (talk) 10:11, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Vague doubts cast on Jerome's Accuracy as a Reference[edit]

"Jerome claimed that Tertullian's father held the position of 'centurio proconsularis' ("aide-de-camp") in the Roman army in Africa.[9] However, it is unclear whether any such position in the Roman military ever existed.[10]" In what way is it unclear? If there is no other mention of such a post in other documents, then state that. That is an argument from silence, and can and should be made, but the current wording is a bit weaselly as the words "it is unclear" suggests some greater level of uncertainty and seems to cast general doubt on Jerome's account through uncertainty. If we have detailed listings of military positions that do not include this position, then we should state that, but it should be stated where and when those positions were listed. After all, Jerome is a source, and he could be correct and others be wrong. The reader should be presented with enough information to make their own choice as to which source to believe. Muchado (talk) 04:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I see now from an earlier comments that this is probably a reworked quote from Barnes, 1971. If so, then it would be better to simply quote it explicitly, instead of leaving it as a vague comment. Muchado (talk) 04:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Slammed in another cite, which might be a derivation from the one already there. I understand the problem. I don't know how to resolve it. As the old phrase goes, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Student7 (talk) 20:41, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Caps in Latin[edit]

I have capitalized Trinity where changed. Partly from current use. Partly from WP:UE. Yes, Latin in not English, but "modern" Latin may have evolved. We need to employ current usage here. Note that Trinity is universally capitalized in its' own article. Student7 (talk) 18:30, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

The pictures of Tertullian[edit]

These are, of course, of a date long after his death, and their appearance does not suggest the Roman citizen that he was. What is the basis for choosing them, and are they actually appropriate, giving a misleading impression which is surely worse than none? Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 18:14, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

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