The Text Tradition
(An introduction to and overview of the manuscripts)

Apologeticum  Other Manuscripts Lost Works, Lost Manuscripts List of All Manuscripts Bibliography

The works of Tertullian come down to us in various medieval manuscripts, none older than the late 8th century.  The manuscripts sometimes contain only the Apologeticum,  often together with works not by Tertullian.  The other manuscripts contain a selection of his works.  There are five distinct collections, which however overlap, or only contain a subset.  Most of these manuscripts are 15th century.  Finally a number of his works are now extant in now manuscript, since all members of the 'Corbie' collection were lost by AD 1600.  These works are known to us from the earlier printed editions.

Useful links:


Tertullian's Apologeticum travelled separately down the centuries, and is extant in at least 39 manuscripts, in many of them by itself, although it did also become attached to later representatives of one of the main collections. For more details about these manuscripts, consult the list of manuscripts of the Apologeticum.


All the other works come in manuscripts containing more than one work.  These can be divided into families, depending on the contents.  Some works found their way into more than one family of Tertullian's works.

There are 5 collections of Tertullian's works known to us.


Some works have not come down to us at all - see Lost Works. However apart from those in the missing portion of the Codex Agobardinus, the works were probably lost at or before the end of antiquity, as there are no subsequent references to them. The only exception is the dubious reference to De exstasi by Trithemius in 1494.

Early editions often refer to now lost manuscripts.




-- Johann VON TRITTENHEIM (=TRITHEMIUS), De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, Amerbach (1494). 1515 extract online.  List of works which must come from some manuscript.
-- J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Latina vol. 1 (1844): Extract De codicibus (The Manuscripts) also in .
-- Franciscus OEHLER, Quinti Septimii Florentis Tertulliani Quae Supersunt Omnia, Lipsiae (1853) Praefatio online discussing mss, with English translation.
-- Gustav BECKER, Catalogi bibliothecarum antiquiori, Bonn (1885).  Prints medieval mss catalogues.  Many of them refer to Tertullian mss.
-- Emil KROYMANN, Die Tertullien-Ueberlieferung in Italien, Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-Historischen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 138 (1897 or 1898) 3rd booklet (34 pages). also in English translation. Classic study of the Italian Mss. of the Corpus Cluniacense.
-- E.PREUSCHEN, in A.HARNACK, Überlieferung und Bestand, p. 676, note 13. Not checked.  (Details from CCSL 1 table II).
-- Emil KROYMANN, Kritische Vorarbeiten für den III. und IV. Band der neuen Tertullian-Ausgabe, Sitzungsberichte der Philosophisch-Historischen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 143 (1901), Band 6 (39 pages) also in English translation. More on the Cluny corpus.
-- Emil KROYMANN, Rheinisches Museum 70 (1915), pp. 358-67. Not checked. About the BN13047 fragment of Iud.
-- C. CALLEWAERT, Le Codex Fuldensis : le meilleur manuscrit de l'Apologeticum de Tertullien, Revue d'Histoire et de Litterature religieuses 7 (1902), pp. 322-353. Checked.
-- H. BOEHMER, Eine bisher nicht beachtete Handschrift des Apologeticus Tertullians, Theologische Literaturzeitung 23 (1903), col. 645.  also in . Discovery of the S. Isidore Rome. Ms.  Online.
-- Alexander SOUTER, A tenth-century fragment of Tertullian's Apology, Journal of Theological Studies, 8 (1907), 297-300.  Checked. Discovery of Rheinau codex.
-- J. P. WALTZING, Les trois principaux manuscrits de L'Apologetique De Tertullien, in Le Musée Belge 16 (1912), pp181-240.(pp181-187 only online) also in English translation
-- Andre WILMART, Memoires de la societe academique d'agriculture, des sciences, arts et belles-lettres du department de l'aube, tome 81 (1917), p167. also in English translation. Discovery of the Trecensis.
-- Andre WILMART, Un manuscrit de Tertullien retrouve, Academie des inscriptions et belles-lettres : comptes rendus des seances de l'annee 1920,  p380ff. also in English translation. Trecensis.
-- Andre WILMART, Un Manuscrit du De Cibis et des oeuvres de Lucifer, Revue Benedictine, 32 (1920), pp.124-135. Checked. Did the Masburensis exist?  It did not contain what Gelenius said, anyhow.
-- Rodney ROBINSON, The Inventory of Niccolo Niccoli, Classical Philology 16 (1921), pp.251-255. Checked. Publication of a handlist of books including a Tertullian searched for in the 15th century.
-- Alexander SOUTER, A supposed fragment of the lost codex Fuldensis of Tertullian, Journal of Theological Studies, 22 (1921), 163-4. Checked. Discusses BN 13047.
-- J.W.Ph. BORLEFFS, Zur Luxemburger Tertullianhandschrift, Mnemosyne, Series III, vol 2 (1935), pp.299-308. also in English translation. First real notice of Luxemburg Ms.
-- Max MANITIUS, Handschriften antiker Autoren in mittelalterlichen Bibliothekskatalogen, 67 Beiheft zum  Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig (1935) pp.151-153. Extract online: manuscripts of Tertullian mentioned in medieval catalogues.
-- Heinrich HOPPE, Quinti Septimi Florentis Tertulliani Apologeticum, CSEL 69, Vienna (1939). Checked 
-- J.W.Ph. BORLEFFS, La valeur du Codex Trecensis de Tertullien pour la critique de texte dans le traite De Baptismo, Vigiliae Christianae 2 (1948), pp.185-200.  Checked.
-- J.W.Ph. BORLEFFS, Een nieuw handschrift van Tertullianus (De Patientia en De Paenitentia), Handelingen van het Een et Twintigste Nederlands Philologen-Congres (1950), p.27.  Also in English translation.  Brief announcement of find of Ottobonianus.
-- J.W.Ph. BORLEFFS, Un nouveau manuscrit de Tertullien, Vigiliae Christianae 5 (1951), p65ff.  More on the Ottobonianus.
-- G. I. LIEFTINCK, Un fragment de De Spectaculis de Tertullien provenant d'un manuscrit du neuvieme siecle, in Vigiliae Christianae 5 (1951) pp 193-203. Also in . Discovery of the Keppel fragment of the Cologne Ms. of the Corpus Corbiense.  But see Dekkers article of 1952 for its real meaning.
-- Dom E. DEKKERS, Note sur les fragments recemment decouverts de Tertullien, in Sacris Erudiri 4 (1952) pp372-383.also in English translation. Classic article on the Corpus Corbiensis.
-- Dom E. DEKKERS, CCSL 1 (1954), praefatio. Checked.  Excellent overview in Latin.
-- N.R. KER, English manuscripts in the century after the Norman Conquest, Oxford (1960).  States that ff.1-18 of Oxon C 284 are in the same (Norman) hand as the Carilef bible.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, Le Tertullien de Fulvio Orsini, Eranos 59 (1962), pp.116-135. Checked. The 'Orsini codex' 'used' by Wouwer was just conjectures.  But see Bernardinelli (1990)
-- Paul-Emile SCHAZMANN, Passage du manuscrit a la premiere edition imprimee de La Patience de Tertullien, Gutenberg Jahrbuch (1964) pp151-154. Checked. Small amount about the Paterniacensis.
-- Marie TURCAN, La tradition manuscrite de Tertullien a propos du De Cultu Feminarum, Revue des Etudes Latines 44 (1966), pp.363-372. Checked.
-- T. BRANDIS, Die codices in scrinio der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg 1-110, Hamburg (1972), pp. 79-80.  Not checked. From Petitmengin (2004) p.69 n.27. The Hamburg fragment of Adv. Iud.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, Une nouvelle edition et un ancient manuscrit de Novatien, Revue des etudes augustiniennes 21 (1975), p256-272. Checked.  P. has found a collation made for Pamelius of the Masburensis.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, A propos du "Tertullien" de Beatus Rhenanus (1521) - Comment on imprimait a Bale au debut du seizième siecle, Annuaire de la societe des Amis de la Bibliotheque Humanistique de Sélestat (1980) pp.93-106. Checked. How did Rhenanus get his manuscripts?
-- Rodney THOMSON, Identifiable books from the pre-Conquest library of Malmesbury Abbey, Anglo-Saxon England 10 (1982), 1-19, with 11-13 relating to a Tertullian. Checked.  Codex Masburensis.
-- M. MARIN, Problemi di ecdotica ciprianea.  Per un'edizione critica dello pseudociprianeo De aleatoribus, Vetera Christianorum 20 (1983) pp.141-239; esp. 165-166 and 157-159. Checked
-- J.H.Waszink & J.C.M.Van Winden, Tertullianus De Idololatria, Leiden/New York: E.J. Brill (1987) series: Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, Volume I. Pp7-8 online containing material about the Agobardinus.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, John Leland, Beatus Rhenanus et le Tertullien de Malmesbury, Studia Patristica 18,2 (1989), pp. 53-60. Checked. Discovery of collations of the codex Masburensis and others and a letter from John Leland about it.
-- Giovanna AZZALI BERNARDELLI, Quaestiones Tertullianeae criticae, Mantova, Edizioni Galli (1990).  Not checked. (and impossible to obtain in the UK).  Reviewed in CTC 1990, §17 by Petitmengin from which the following notes: Possibly the Orsini codex did exist, but only of the Apologeticum, ancient but full of errors.  She has found a new collation in an edition of 1545 in the Vatican (code: R.I.II.908) from Cardinal Sirleto (d. 1585) and annotated by many hands including Cardinal Marcello Cervini (Pope Marcell II, d. 1548), which is the source of the corrections PP discussed on p.130 of the 1962 article.
-- Felix HEINZER, Bibliotheksgeschichte und Buchkultur Hirsaus, in Hirsau. St. Peter und Paul 1091-1991, Stuttgart (1991), II. Geschichte, Lebens- und Verfassungsformen eines Reformklosters, p. 286. Not checked. Discovery of Stuttgart bifolium in a manuscript in the Hirsau area.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, L'Édition de Tertullien, De Nicolas Rigault à Migne, Tempus Edax Rerum: Le bicentenaire de la Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (1798-1998), Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg 2001, pp.27-39. Checked. More mentions of new mss witnesses.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, James P. CARLEY, Malmesbury – Sélestat – Malines: Les tribulations d'un manuscrit de Tertullien au milieu du XVIe siècle, Annuaire des amis de la Bibliothèque humaniste de Sélestat 53 (2003), pp.63-74.  Checked. Online at the Bib.Hum. website.  All about the Codex Masburensis.
-- Pierre PETITMENGIN, Tertullien entre la fin du XIIe et le début du XVIe siècle, in M. CORTESI (ed), Padri Greci e Latini a confronto: Atti del Convegno di studi della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino.  Firenze: SISMEL (2004).  pp. 63-88.  Checked.  Massive new analysis of the manuscripts of Tertullian, especially the Cluny collection.  Absolutely essential reading, with more new manuscript witnesses.

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