Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tertullian on Tongues: a New English Translation

Tertullian: Against Marcion. Book V. 8:7-12


Seeing as the Creator especially promised the gift of the Spirit in the latter days; and moreover Christ appeared in these latter days as the dispenser of spiritual gifts to which the apostle says, ”But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son,”(1) Galatians 4:4 and again, ”Because the time is now in short supply”,(2)”Quia tempus iam in collecto est” — perhaps from I Cor. 7:29 “hoc itaque dic fratres tempus breve est” and it is evident that this gift of the Spirit leads with praises towards Christ. Now compare the types between the apostles and Isaiah: “To one is given”, he says, “by the Spirit the word of wisdom;” and Isaiah steadfastly prefers the spirit of wisdom. “To another, the word of knowledge;” this will be the spirit of understanding and counsel. “To another, faith by the same Spirit;” this will be the spirit of holiness(3)religionis and fear of the Lord. “To another, the gifts of healing, and to another the working of miracles;” this will be the power of might. “To another prophecy, to another another discerning of spirits, to another various kinds of languages, to another the interpretation of languages;” this will be the spirit of knowledge.(4)agnitio See how the apostle is bringing together and developing the concept of one spirit and in the prophet’s precise way that applies about interpreting. I can say this very thing that he has harmonized throughout the many and diverse members of our body the unity of the various gifts into a structured form, and on the same theme he shows the Lord in regards to the human body and Holy Spirit, which he did not want the merits of the gifts to be in the context of a spiritual body, nor did he establish such things in the context of a human body in relation to love, which is naturally put ahead too over all the other gifts. This guided the apostle as the lead principle to be established and because Christ esteemed this: “You shall love your neighbour as your own self.”(5)This is an abbreviated version of Luke 10:27 “diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et ex tota anima tua et ex omnibus viribus tuis et ex omni mente tua et proximum tuum tua et proximum tuum sicut te ipsum.”

When he mentions that it is written in the Law, he is recalling the Creator is going to proceed to speak in other languages and lips, he validates this reference with the gift of languages — a different gift here of the Creator cannot be shown with special mention. Equally so, this apostle recommends silence of the women in the Church, nor that women should speak anything specifically for the reason that a male is going to learn, (yet shows the right for the ability to prophesy is currently also given to the female participant, he additionally assigns a veil with with the woman who prophesies), he reinforces from the Law the responsibility of the woman is someone who ought to be subordinate, which, let me say once for all, that he ought not to know [what the woman is teaching] except for its repudiation.(6)nosse non debuit nisi in destructionem Let us now move from the spiritual things, the matters themselves ought to prove which of us blindly claims his god, and whether it is possible to oppose against our side, and even if the Creator promised these things for His Christ who had not yet been revealed, as being only destined to the Jews, getting ready to have His works in His time, in His Christ, and in His people. Marcion is then to exhibit gifts from his god, some prophets, who nevertheless have spoken not from the human sense, but by the spirit of God, which the things to come are going to be proclaimed, and the secrets of the heart are going to be exposed.(7)cordis occulta traduxerint He is probably showing some type of psalm, vision, prayer, merely a spiritual thing, in ecstasy, that is in madness,(8)Tertullian is mocking the form of worship as lacking structure and simply creating stupidity and senselessness like the ancient Greek prophets. It is trying to be spiritual but lacks any definition. as if an interpretation of languages had occurred.(9)accessit Let him show to me also a woman who exaggerates among them that can prophesy according to those most sacred women(10)ex illis suis sanctioribus feminis — I think this is not be taken literally but referring to a religious order of women but lack information to be conclusive about this If all these things are being easily made known by me, and by all means these things work together in one accord as a basic principles, the construct of the arguments, and teachings of the Creator, without doubt Christ, the Spirit, and the apostle will be of my God. It contains my statement that anyone would have been certain to examine.


Partially translated and revised by Charles A. Sullivan. Some portions are directly taken from the translation by Peter Holmes’ found in the Ante–Nicene Fathers. Vol. 3 (1885).

For the actual Latin text, click on the following link, Tertullian on Tongues: the Latin.

References   [ + ]

Tertullian on Tongues: the Latin

Tertullian on the doctrine of tongues: the Latin text.

Against Marcion, Book V.

As found at the Latin Library.

Et utique si in novissimos dies gratiam spiritus creator repromisit, Christus autem spiritalium dispensator in novissimis diebus apparuit, dicente apostolo, At ubi tempus expletum est misit deus filium suum, et rursus, Quia tempus iam in collecto est, apparet et de temporum ultimorum praedicatione hanc gratiam spiritus ad Christum praedicatoris pertinere. Compara denique species apostoli et Esaiae. [8] Alii, inquit, datur per spiritum sermo sapientiae: statim et Esaias spiritum sapientiae posuit. Alii sermo scientiae: hic erit sermo intellegentiae et consilii. Alii fides in eodem spiritu: hic erit spiritus religionis et timoris dei. Alii donum curationum, alii virtutum: hic erit valentiae spiritus. Alii prophetia, alii distinctio spirituum, alii genera linguarum, alii interpretatio linguarum: hic erit agnitionis spiritus. [9] Vide apostolum et in distributione facienda unius spiritus et in specialitate interpretanda prophetae conspirantem, Possum dicere, ipsum quod corporis nostri per multa et diversa membra unitatem charismatum variorum compagini adaequavit, eundem et corporis humani et spiritus sancti dominum ostendit, qui merita charismatum noluerit esse in corpore spiritus quae nec in corpore humano collocavit, qui de dilectione quoque omnibus charismatibus praeponenda apostolum instruxerit principali praecepto, quod probavit et Christus, [10] Diliges dominum de totis praecordiis et totis viribus et tota anima tua et proximum tuum tanquam te ipsum. Et si quod in lege scriptum esset commemorat, in aliis linguis et in aliis labiis locuturum creatorem, cum hac commemoratione charisma linguarum confirmat, nec hic potest videri alienum charisma creatoris praedicatione confirmasse. [11] Aeque praescribens silentium mulieribus in ecclesia, ne quid discendi duntaxat gratia loquantur (ceterum prophetandi ius et illas habere iam ostendit, cum mulieri etiam prophetanti velamen imponit), ex lege accipit subiciendae feminae auctoritatem, quam, ut semel dixerim, nosse non debuit nisi in destructionem. [12] Sed ut iam a spiritalibus recedamus, res ipsae probare debebunt quis nostrum temere deo suo vindicet, et an nostrae parti possit opponi, haec et si creator repromisit in suum Christum nondum revelatum, ut Iudaeis tantum destinatum, suas habitura in suo tempore in suo Christo et in suo populo operationes. Exhibeat itaque Marcion dei sui dona, aliquos prophetas, qui tamen non de humano sensu sed de dei spiritu sint locuti, qui et futura praenuntiarint et cordis occulta traduxerint; edat aliquem psalmum, aliquam visionem, aliquam orationem, duntaxat spiritalem, in ecstasi, id est amentia, si qua linguae interpretatio accessit; probet etiam mihi mulierem apud se prophetasse ex illis suis sanctioribus feminis magnidicam: si haec omnia facilius a me proferuntur, et utique conspirantia regulis et dispositionibus et disciplinis creatoris, sine dubio dei mei erit et Christus et spiritus et apostolus. Habet professionem meam qui voluerit eam exigere.

Treatise on the Soul

Tertulliani, Liber De Anima, as found at Documenta Catholica Omnia

IX. DE EFFIGIE. [1] Cum animae corpus adserimus propriae qualitatis et sui generis, iam haec condicio proprietatis de ceteris accidentibus corpulentiae praeiudicabit aut haec adesse, quam corpus ostendimus, sed et ipsa sui generis pro corporis proprietate,  aut etsi non adsint, hoc esse proprietatis, non adesse corpori animae quae corporibus  ceteris adsint. Et tamen non inconstanter profitebimur sollemniora quaeque et omnimodo debita corpulentiae adesse animae quoque, ut habitum, ut terminum, ut illud trifariam distantiuum, longitudinem dico et latitudinem et sublimitatem, quibus metantur corpora philosophi. [2] Quid nunc, quod et effigiem animae damus, Platone nolente, quasi periclitetur de animae immortalitate? Omne enim effigiatum compositum et structile affirmat; dissolubile autem omne compositicium et structile; sed animam immortalem, igitur indissolubilem, qua immortalem, et ineffigiatam, qua indissolubilem, ceterum compositiciam et structilem, si effigiatam, tamquam alio eam modo effigians intellectualibus formis, pulchram iustitia et disciplinis philosophiae, deformem uero contrariis artibus. [3] Sed nos corporales quoque illi inscribimus lineas, non tantum ex fiducia corporalitatis per aestimationem, uerum et ex constantia gratiae per reuelationem. Nam quia spiritalia charismata agnoscimus, post Iohannem quoque prophetiam meruimus consequi. [4] Est hodie soror apud nos reuelationum charismata sortita, quas in ecclesia inter dominica sollemnia per ecstasin in spiritu patitur; conuersatur cum angelis, aliquando etiam cum domino, et uidet et audit sacramenta et quorundam corda dinoscit et medicinas desiderantibus sumit. Iamuero prout scripturae leguntur aut psalmi canuntur aut allocutiones proferuntur aut petitiones delegantur, ita inde materiae uisionibus subministrantur. Forte nescio quid de anima disserueramus, cum ea soror in spiritu esset. Post transacta sollemnia  dimissa plebe, quo usu solet nobis renuntiare quae uiderit (nam et diligentissime digeruntur, ut etiam  probentur), ‘inter cetera’, inquit, ‘ostensa est mihi anima corporaliter, et spiritus uidebatur, sed non inanis et uacuae qualitatis, immo quae etiam teneri repromitteret, tenera et lucida et aerii coloris, et forma per omnia humana. Hoc uisio’. Et deus testis et apostolus charismatum in ecclesia futurorum idoneus sponsor; tunc et si res ipsa de singulis persuaserit, credas. [5] Si enim corpus anima, sine dubio inter illa quae supra sumus professi, proinde et coloris proprietas omni corpori aderit. Quem igitur alium animae aestimabis colorem quam aerium ac lucidum? Non, ut aer sit ipsa substantia eius, etsi hoc Aenesidemo uisum est et Anaximeni, puto secundum quosdam et Heraclito, nec ut lumen, etsi hoc placuit Pontico Heraclidi [6] —- nam et cerauniis gemmis non ideo substantia ignita est, quod coruscent rutilato rubore, nec berullis ideo aquosa materia est, quod fluctuent colato nitore (quanta enim et alia color sociat, natura dissociat) —-, sed quoniam omne tenue atque perlucidum aeris aemulum est, hoc erit anima, qua flatus et spiritus tradux, siquidem prae ipsa tenuitatis subtilitate de fide corporalitatis periclitatur. [7] Sic et effigiem de sensu iam tuo concipe non aliam animae humanae deputandam praeter humanam, et quidem eius corporis quod unaquaeque circumtulit. Hoc nos sapere interim primordii contemplatio inducat. Recogita enim, cum deus flasset in faciem homini flatum uitae, et factus esset homo in animam uiuam, totus utique, per faciem statim flatum illum in interiora  transmissum et per uniuersa corporis spatia diffusum simulque diuina aspiratione densatum omni intus linea expressum esse, quam densatus impleuerat, et uelut in forma gelasse. [8] Inde igitur et  corpulentia animae ex densatione solidata est et effigies ex impressione formata. Hic erit homo interior, alius exterior, dupliciter unus, habens et ille oculos et aures suas, quibus populus dominum audire et uidere debuerat, habens et ceteros artus, per quos et in cogitationibus utitur et in somniis fungitur. Sic et diuiti apud inferos lingua est, et pauperi digitus, et sinus Abrahae. Per has lineas et animae martyrum sub altari intelleguntur. A primordio enim in Adam concreta et configurata corpori anima, ut totius substantiae, ita et condicionis istius semen effecit.

Book Review: My Promised Land

My Promised Land Cover

My Promised Land is a controversial, thought provoking and important read for those wanting to understand the Middle East from an Israeli perspective.

The well known Israeli journalist, Ari Shavit, weaves a delicate story of the ever changing doctrine of Zionism from its utopian non-sectarian, communist vision of the early 1900s to its current identity of self-preservation. He shows a modern Israel stripped of its stereotypes and what it really is — a country mired in an identity crisis. A place that is part-libertarian, hedonist, Orthodox, Western European, Middle Eastern, and everything inbetween. These competing forces along with the ominous threat of a much larger Arab community around them leads Shavit to be cynical of Israel’s future.

The story of the forced expulsion of the Arabs from the city of Lydda is the shocking highlight of this book. This may be the most controversial as well. Shavit claims that Israeli based soldiers massacred Arabs and caused further deaths during the forced exodus of the residents. The homes, cars, businesses and all that the Arab residents owned were confiscated and pillaged by the Israeli conquerors. The people of Lydda were never allowed to return. Martin Kramer refutes this in an article entitled, What Happened at Lydda for the Jewish based Mosaic. However, Kramer omits any recognition on the death march or expulsion of the Arabs from their community, nor address that they were never allowed to return.

Lydda is just one example among many others shown in his book. Shavit offers these historical travesties unapologetically. He doesn’t like this history but never goes beyond being trite. He takes the role of an intimate narrator and offers little solutions or apologies. This attitude can be understood later on in his works when he outlines the Israeli mantra of self-preservation. This appears central to the Israeli psyche even if it is often irrational.

My Promised Land is a story of the oppressed turned to oppressor. It is puzzling how this reversal occurred. Shavit often touches on this, and teases the reader, but does not adequately tie this part of the plot together.

The book begins to lose momentum after the historical portrayal of Zionism and shifts into contemporary observations. This is the same problem found in Michael B. Oren’s bestseller, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, whose factual accounts and writing style were very engaging until he reached the history relating to the formation of Israel from 1948 until the present.

The romantic stereotype of the modern Israeli and their Masada mentality is also broken by Sharit. It is not the religious symbolism, or the prophetic voice that has integrated Masada into the Israeli psyche, as most Evangelicals or Christian Zionists are led to believe, but an alternate identity based on the recent past, not the historic religious one. Zionism is charting its own identity regardless of external stereotypes or expectations and seeks to define itself on its own terms. Shmaryahu Gutman, according to Sharit, observed in the early 1940s that Zionism was losing its mission and needed to redefine itself. Masada was the answer Gutman was looking for.

”He knows that Zionism is on the brink and need a poignant symbol that will be a substitute for church and theology and mythology. In Masada he finds this symbol that will unite and Inspire Zionism’s followers. He finds a pillar for Zionist identity that is at once concrete, mythic, and sublime. In Masada, Gutman finds both the narrative and the image that will give the young Hebrews the depth they lack.”

Gutman succeeded in instilling this image within the Israeli soul — a perception that many non-Jewish readers may easily overlook. My Promised Land fortunately covers this important aspect in a comprehensive and modern way.

Hope is not found in this book, rather it is one of skepticism. The current roadmap to him is more war, not negotiation — not that he entirely subscribes to this, he simply believes it is inevitable. The rise of Iran’s nuclear program is one of his greatest fears for the future of Israel.

He neither makes any moral call for repatriation of the Arabs forced out of their homes by gunpoint, nor of compensation to their losses, or dismantling illegal settlements.

It is also a tale told from an isolationist perspective. When Shavit outlines the Israeli nightlife along with its sexual and hedonistic offerings, he thinks it an internal reaction to the problems Israel faces rather than recognizing the external forces that have molded the modern Israeli identity. Neither does he recognize the historical political and religious effect of Evangelical belief that played an integral part of Zionist dreams. Unlike Sharit’s caricature, it wasn’t Jewish Zionism or hardiness alone that succeeded in their settlement of Israel. It was cooperative effort that included a variety of foreign sources that made it happen.

This self-determination that Shavit describes may be the source of the Israeli success over such great odds, and can easily be titled modern miracles, but this can also be a serious weakness. This is something that the author failed to take a close look at.

He also believes that the introduction of Hebrew as the primary language in Israel has significance in stripping Jewish immigrants of their past identity and forcing the formation of a new Israeli based one.

My Promised Land slightly picks up some momentum towards the end but much of the second half of this book could have been significantly reduced in length.

This book is especially recommended for the Evangelical reader who has many default stereotypes about Israel and its people. This book will help build a proper modern understanding.

The Alliance between Israel and Evangelicals.

  • Is Middle East News Coverage Balanced?
  • Anti-Semitism in the Ancient Church