Sources for these pages


These entries show what I have read (and liked), and some comments on them to help amateurs like myself.  The intention is to ensure that each statement of fact is backed by a precise reference. I have read everything listed on this page, and possess copies of much of it.  Remember that I too am a 'fan', not a professional.  I've digitised and translated a few articles.

There is a professional review along the same lines which appears regularly as Chronica Tertullianea et Cyprianea in the Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes.  This is essential reading for the Tertullianist, and reviews all the work on Tertullian that appears each year.   A volume of the first 20 years has just appeared, for a trivial price, so go and buy it! (It's available from Brepols).

Not everything I've looked at is listed, although most of it is. If I found it irrelevant or tedious, I've sometimes omitted it. Otherwise the good stuff would be swamped by material which even I don't think interesting.

All are in English unless otherwise noted.  My notes on whether I found the French easy or not were written when I was starting out with schoolboy French, as an aid to anyone considering plunging out of the English monoculture.  I've stopped noting this for French, as I'm afraid my French is getting so much better that my opinion is no longer a good guide.

In a few places I have come back to the review with a different opinion.  Since my first opinion would probably reflect a general reader's view, I have left it, but added a Second Thought section.

About T.D.Barnes' Tertullian

Barnes, Timothy D. Tertullian: A Historical and Literary Study. Rev. ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985 (1971 1st edn). 320 pages, 2 page ancient author index, 10 page subject/name index, 22 page bibliography and 1 page chronological table.  An sample excerpt (pp.107-112) is online.

This must be the starting point for any English-speaker interested in Tertullian. It contains wonderfully crisp summaries of the argument of each work, placing them in the context, doctrinal and historical, in which Tertullian wrote.  In it Tertullian comes alive. Documented in massive detail. A treasure.  Very hard to get hold of!

A few reviews follow. The tone of them is so negative, that it is no wonder that Dr. Barnes seems to have had little more to do with Tertullian, and went off to do more Roman History elsewhere. What a pity.

Robinson (see below) describes it as follows:

In this work Barnes provides the fundamental revisionist study of Tertullian in English. Iconoclastic on many of the received views on Tertullian's upbringing and background (e.g., that he was the son of a centurion, jurist, priest, etc.), it must be read in the reprint edition (1985) which contains the authors valuable "Tertullian Revisited: A Postscript" (pp. 321-35, with "Supplementary Bibliography", pp336-39) that is characterised by disarmingly honest mea culpas on his original version. The text is basically split into two parts: the first is the "clearing operation" in which Barnes debunked most of the then-current orthodoxies on Tertullians's education and family origins, and in which he attempts to bring a more systematic and rigorous method to the dating of Tertullian's works (see his 1985 "Postscript" on many of these). The second half of the work, less successful by Barnes's own admission (with chs. 9-10 the "weakest" of these), deals primarily with the content of Tertullian's works, his theology, and the location of his rhetoric within the so-called Second Sophistic.

* Frend, W.C, Classical Review 24 (1974): 72-76.

Review of Barnes, listed by Robinson. In English. Available online.

Some interesting points are made by this author of a fascinating guide to Early Christian archaeology.  But I was sorry to see that he evidently really took against the book!

* Matthews, Journal of Theological Studies (new series) 24 (1973): 243-245.

Review of Barnes, listed by Robinson. Available online.

* Momigliano, Arnaldo, Journal of Roman Studies, 66 (1976), 273 - 276.

Review of Barnes, listed in Barnes 2nd Edtn. Describes Barnes approach to Tertullian as 'romantic' (sounds like this would be a serious criticism in the eyes of the duller sort of modern academic). In English. Now online.

Some of the points of detail are interesting, and he rightly corrects some of the more extreme revisions proposed by Barnes. However it seemed to me that Momigliano really did not want to listen to Tertullian's voice - which this book above all makes us able to hear again - but rather to regard him as a 'specimen' for dissection - which is the ultimate insult you can offer any writer who is concerned above all with objective truth. Useful references to other studies.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, Tertullianus redivivus, in Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes, 19 (1973), p177-185.

Review of Barnes, listed in Barnes 2nd Edtn. In French. Various points discussed. Generally favourable, but not prepared to accept all of Barnes revisionist arguments, and quite right too.

* Sider, Rober D., American Journal of Philology 95 (1974): 302-303.

Review of Barnes, listed by Robinson. Now online.

Tertullian - Other
* D'Ales, Adhemar, Tertullien inedit?, Recherches de science religieuse, 11 (1921), p.98 also in .

Brief notice on the Codex Casinensis 384, containing excerpts from many writers, including one from Novatian, De Trinitate, which circulated in the middle ages with the works of Tertullian, and one from Scorpiace. The two excerpts had previously been thought to be from lost works of Tertullian. D'Ales quotes the two (2 sentences each) in full, and refutes that. In French, Online, with an English translation.

* Balfour, Ian, Tertullian on and off the internet, Journal of Early Christian Studies 8.4 (2000), pp.579-585

Dr. Balfour, who keeps an extensive personal bibliography of Tertullian studies, reviews the way in which the availability of the internet is impacting on the study of Tertullian, particularly by students, and assesses the degree to which material is being transferred and what the quality is like.  An interesting survey, and useful to see some numbers attached to it.  Will the internet simply be a faster way to spread misinformation?  (Dr. Balfour kindly refers to this site).

* Becker, Werner, Die Frobensche Tertullianausgabe von 1521: Zu den Bildgeschichten von Ambrosius und Hans Holbein d. J, Marginalien : Zeitschrift fur Buchkunst und Bibliophilie, Heft 52 (1973), pp.25-32.

The subtitle gives the game away - this isn't really about the Editio Princeps of Tertullian, so much as about its illustrations, initials, and so forth. Apparently these are mostly by Hans Holbein the Younger. After a rather pointless discussion of the various categories of buyer of illustrated books at that time, most of the article is taken up with verbal descriptions of the artwork - there are no illustrations in the article - and its symbolism. Rhenanus is only mentioned twice, Tertullian not much more, which I think gives the flavour. Only two references. In German.

* Boehmer, H, Eine bisher nicht beachtete Handschrift des Apologeticus Tertullians, Theologische Literaturzeitung 23 (1903), col. 645.  also in .

A note on the Rome Tertullian MS.  

* Braun, Rene, Approches de Tertullien : vingt-six etudes sur l'auteur et sur l'oevre, 1992.

26 articles from various journals collected together in book-form. Contains a review of Barnes under the title Un nouveau Tertullien and Le probleme des deux livres du De Cultu Feminarum, and indeed all his Tertullian stuff. However it didn't seem to contain anything I badly wanted to read, although I found the French rather impenetrable, so perhaps I'm being unfair.   I'll have to go back and try again someday.

* Borleffs, J.W.Ph., 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

The brief announcement of the discovery of the Codex Ottobonianus.

* Borleffs, J.W.Ph, La valeur du Codex Trecensis de Tertullien pour la critique de texte dans le traite De Baptismo, in Vigiliae Christianae 2 (1948), p185-200.

Prior to the discovery of the Codex Trecensis 523, De Baptismo was extant in no manuscript, and known to us only from the edition of Mesnart (1545). Borleffs assesses the impact of the discovery. In hard French.

* Borleffs, J.W.Ph, Un nouveau manuscrit de Tertullien, in Vigiliae Christianae V, 1951, p65ff.

The discovery of the Codex Ottobonianus latinus 25 in the Vatican library. A codex containing scraps of works, among them, it turns out, De pudicitia, De paenitentia, De patientia and De Spectaculis. In French.

* Borleffs, J.W.Ph., Zur Luxemburger Tertullianhandschrift, in Mnemosyne, Series III, vol 2 (1935), pp299-308. also in English translation

Details of the Codex Luxemburgensis 75, with a discussion of how it relates to the missing Codex Hirsaugensis. However J.C.Fredouille has more recently taken a different view on some of this in his edition of Adv. Valentin. Online in German and English.

* Callewaert, C, Le Codex Fuldensis : le meilleur manuscrit de l'Apologeticum de Tertullien, in Revue d'Histoire et de Litterature religieuses, VII (1902), pp. 322-353.

A classic comparision of the text variants from the Junius edition of the Codex Fuldensis with the text of the common recension, together with the Greek extracts of the text from Eusebius' Historia Ecclesiastica and Rufinus' translation of them back into Latin (both the Greek and Rufinus showing a text much like the Fuldensis), and also extracts from Isidore of Seville and the Altercatio extract of chapter 21. Callewaert concludes at length that the Fuldensis is much the best manuscript. He explains the common recension as arising from the survival into Carolignian times of only a single copy containing many lacunae, which in the interests of producing a text that could actually be read was then interpolated. This, he theorises, produced a popular classic from which all the other mss were derived, apart from the Fuldensis. However subsequent scholars have not always agreed.

Also contains information about the Codex Fuldensis, the dispersal and destinations of the Fulda mss, and about Modius. In French.

* Charlier, Dom Célestin, Les manuscrits personnels de Florus de Lyon et son activité littéraire, Melanges E. Podechard, Lyon (1945), pp.71-84.

Charlier describes an interesting discovery.  In the margins of many Carolingian manuscripts there are notes in a particular hand, often marking out passages with angle-brackets at the start and the end, and with connecting words in the margin.  These correspond exactly - the words quoted, and the words substituted - to passages in the works of the Carolingian scholar, the Deacon Florus of Lyons.  Charlier feels that the notes must therefore be by Florus himself, and indicate his access to these MSS.  The work is documented, with photographs, although sadly space limits him to two main examples.  He ends with a list of MSS containing these notes, which includes the Codex Agobardinus (p.83).  A fine piece of scholarship.

After reading this article, I was led to wonder whether Florus might have preserved extracts from the now lost portions of the Agobardinus.  It would be interesting to see whether it is possible to identify any such.  

In French.

Postscript: See De execrandis deis in the Spuria for an article by Marie Turcan suggesting that it is just such a collection of extracts.


(Various), Chronica Tertullianea et Cyprianea, Revue des Études Augustiniennes. 

Compilation available: Braun, René - Chapot, Frédéric - Deléani, Simone - Dolbeau, François - Fredouille, Jean-Claude - Petitmengin, Pierre, Chronica Tertullianea et Cyprianea 1975-1994, Institut d'Etudes Augustiniennes, Paris 1999.   Buy it from Brepols at around $50/50EUR/£30 (approx).  They shipped my copy in 10 days.

Usually found towards the back in any given volume of REAug. It started out only listing works on Tertullian. In 1986 it broadened out to include Cyprian and indeed anything relating to early Latin Christianity - which made it  less useful as a guide to Tertullianea. The entries are followed by half-a-page of chat in French. The French style is a bit dense for non-native French readers like me, so be warned, and take your aspirin with you.

Robinson (see below) describes it as follows:

An annual bibliographical review, since 1976, of books and articles on Tertullian and Cyprian. All entries are annotated (in French), and sometimes the annotation is extensive. Headings are in French. Nonetheless, a useful and up-to-date guide, especially since some of the titles are broader, and could be passed over by a student merely scanning the titles of articles and books, looking for the names of Tertullian or Cyprian. In the 1989 issue, 62 entries are cited.

Since I wrote the above, I have acquired the compilation, which is an essential for all interested in Tertullian.  I found it much more interesting this time around, although I still had to skim some of the stuff I'm less interested in.   The reviews can be very detailed, and are a wonderful guide to what is available.   Who would have thought Tertullian was being translated into Japanese?  It's also a guide to the editions of the various works in progress.  The editors are themselves engaged in producing critical editions of Tertullian in the Sources Chretiennes series, and in promoting the reading of Tertullian among the educated public.

I understand that a recent issue mentioned these pages (1997, p.339, item # 69) under 'News', although mysteriously misattributing them to 'Lester' Pearse.  Their kind wishes are appreciated, and indeed in a humble way, reciprocated.


(Various), Connaissance des Pères de L'Église : #79 : Tertullien, Septembre 1998, 55Francs.  Published by Editions Nouvelle Cite, 37, avenue de la Marne, 92120 Montrouge, Tel: 01 40 92 70 85 - FAX: 01 40 92 11 68.  See also or

I enjoyed reading this!  It's a magazine, each issue of which is devoted to some aspect of the Fathers of the Church.  No. 79 is Tertullian.  The articles vary, but are uniformly interesting.  I particularly liked Frederic Chapot's introductory article, correcting many of the misapprehensions that tend to circle around Tertullian.  His quote from St. Augustine on Tertullian, "This is said with more spirit than truth" was new to me and very apt sometimes.  Articles on penitence, the rule of faith, a translation and discussion of Ad Martyras, brief snippets on recent publications.   I bought it at the Oxford Patristics Conference so I don't know how to buy it in this country.  Worth it for the Chapot alone, which deserves an English translation.

* Dom E. Dekkers, Note sur les fragments recemment decouverts de Tertullien, in Sacris Erudiri 4 (1952) pp372-383.also in English translation

Reviews the new mss announced by Borleffs and Leiftinck (q.v.), and talks about the missing manuscripts listed in the library catalogues of Cologne in 833. Discusses the subtitles of the chapters of De Spectaculis, and shows that it was often a cause of 'lost' works in the catalogues. Excellent, easy to read, and important. It's interesting that Dom Dekkers is easy to understand, whether writing in French as here or in Latin (as in CCL). I wish more scholars had the knack of   being easy to understand by readers abroad. In French.  English translation online.

* Frend, W.H.C, Review of Tertullien et la conversion de la culture antique by Jean-Claude Fredouille, Paris, Etudes Augustiniennes, 1972, in Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, 24 (1973), pp. 249-251

Much more typical Frend, and an interesting read.  Review is in English, thankfully, and available online.

* Hanson, R.P.C., Notes on Tertullian's Interpretation of Scripture, Journal of Theological Studies, New Series 22 (1961), pp.273-9.

There is remarkably little in the literature on Tertullian's use of scripture.  This is one of the articles referred to in O'Malley's Tertullian and the Bible (qv).  17/8/00

* Hunt, R.W., The Need for a Guide to the Editors of Patristic Texts in the 16th Century, Studia Patristica XVII Part I (1982), pp.365-371.

Published posthumously, this article makes a plea for a guide to the early editors, and shows what can be found about a few editors of one author.  What makes it even more interesting for us is that Dr. Hunt takes as his example the editors of printed editions of Novatian.  These works passed under the name of Tertullian, they appear in editions of Tertullian, starting with Mesnart's edition of 1545, and so this article discusses what is known about Jean de Gagny (i.e. prone to finding single, rare mss), Mesnart (nothing), Pamelius, and at some length, John Clement.  Easy to read and with many fascinating details.  

My thanks to Dr. B.C.Barker-Benfield who helped prepare Dr Hunt's article for the press and recently very kindly brought the article to my attention.  18/11/00.

Now placed online.  I've no idea how to get copyright clearance, so I hope that if anyone feels they own the copyright, they will email me so I can ask their blessing.  1/1/2001.

* Klussman, Maximilian, Curarum Tertullianearum, Gotha, 1897.

All in Latin, in three parts, giving a collation of the Ad Nationes, and a description of the Codex Agobardinus in some detail. If you are looking for it in catalogues, take note that this is a book(let), not a serial or journal article.

* Kroymann, Emil, 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 manuscripts of Tertullian, with descriptions, and working out the derivative nature of nearly all of them, with a stemma, and text comparisons in support of it. A detailed and totally convincing analysis of the MSS, which has since been modified but never superceded. Classic text criticism.

In rather straightforward, chatty German (now with English translation), but with Austrian spellings - e.g. Theil for 'part' rather than 'Teil', and other words with 'th' rather than 't', constatieren rather than konstatieren for 'ascertained'. Now online. Note that in a few places mediaeval abbreviation symbols are used which are unreproducable in HTML. I have elected to show where these are by an underscore, or by {} (to represent a symbol like a '(' turned 90 degrees clockwise.   If anyone has a better suggestion, I'm listening!

* Kroymann, Emil, 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

Classic analysis of the types of text to be found in the main strands of the text tradition.  It includes a comparison of the Agobardinus with the main witnesses of the 'Cluny' group of MSS.  In German.

* Lehmann, Paul, Tertullian im Mittelalter, Hermes 87 (1959), pp.231-246.  Reprinted with additions in Erforschung des Mittelaters, Vol. 5, Stuttgart (1962), pp. 184-199.

A review of all the places in Migne where Tertullian’s name is given. He concludes that all are dependent upon Jerome’s De viris or Chronicon. Interestingly he gives a reference to Liber Tertulliani qui inscribitur De Spe Fidelium. in Hrabanus Maurus (PL 110, 853 – see also Hablitzel, J.B., Hrabanus Maurus : Ein Beitrag zur mittelalterlichen Exegese, Freiburg i. Br, 1906), not mentioned in Manitius. Also quotes from Adv. Iud. which he deduces are all via Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel, as they tend to start and stop at the same places! Also quotes from a Florilegium of the Apologeticum. In German.

According to CTC 83, §28, the reprint (which I have not seen) contains details of William of Malmesbury's Polyhistor.  Extracts of the Apologeticum are contained in this work, and Lehmann reprints extracts from Harleianus 3969, ff. 10v-11v, s.XIV, originally from Emmanuel College Cambridge.  The other MS of this work is at St. John's College in Cambridge, D22, also s.XIV, ff.185r-186v, provenance: St. Augustine, Canterbury.  Apparently John Leland did see yet another MS at St.Paul's London which has since vanished.  The CTC review is of a critical edition of the Polyhistor.

* Lieftinck, G.I., Un fragment de De Spectaculis de Tertullien provenant d'un manuscrit du neuvieme siecle, in Vigiliae Christianae 5 (1951) pp 193-203. Also in

Announcing the discovery of another fragment, this time related to the Codex Agobardinus, which had been used as a packing sheet. Photograph, collation, and useful info about the ancestor of the manuscript. In French, with an English translation.

* Lupton, J.M., Q.S.F.Tertullian De Baptismo, 1908. (excerpt online)

Latin critical edition, with English intro. Not very interesting, apart from a suggestion on the origins of the Codex Masburensis, and now out of date. Savaged by Souter in his review in JTS (see below).

* McKechnie, Paul, Tertullian's De Pallio and life in Roman Carthage, Prudentia 24.2 (1992), pp.44-66.

A useful overview of the work and the context in which it may have appeared. Placed here by permission of the author.  20/1/01. 


Mohrmann, C., Saint Jérôme et Saint Augustin sur Tertullien, Vigiliae Christianae V (1951), pp.111-2. Also in English translation

Short article on Tertullian's reputation after his death.  In French, with English translation.

* O'Malley, T.P., Tertullian and the Bible: Language - Imagery - Exegesis, Nijmegen (1967), (Latinitas Christianorum Primaeva XXI)

More or less what it says it is, although Fr. O'Malley does not discuss Tertullian's theological view of scripture and inspiration, giving references instead (p117).  He discusses the availability or otherwise of early Latin translations of the Bible to Tertullian.  "The canon of scriptures already appears as a settled unity" (p.119, with a reference to D'Ales, La theologie de Tertullien, p.224-230).  I'm afraid the book fell outside the range of my interests.    08/04/00

Osborn, Eric, Tertullian, First Theologian of the West, Cambridge University Press (1997), ISBN 0-521-59035-3. pp.xxi+285

Reviews: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 00.05.12 by Tim Hegedus.

(Note that this book presumes an interest in modern secular theology.  As it really falls outside the range of my sympathies, and it is therefore possible that my remarks do not do sufficient justice to Dr.Osborn's work.  The use of theological jargon such as the 'economy of God' without explanation may also be a barrier to some readers).

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 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.  27/04/00.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, A propos du "Tertullien" de Beatus Rhenanus (1521) - Comment on imprimait a Bale au debut du seizieme siecle, Annuaire de la societe des Amis de la Bibliotheque Humanistique de Selestat, 1980, pp.93-106.

Beatus Rhenanus published the first edition of Tertullian's works. How did he get hold of his MSS, and how did he come to undertake the project, and what was involved in setting it all up to print at the House of Froben? Petitmengin tells all. A delightful article, incuding details on the hesitation of the Abbot of Hirsau in lending his MS. I truly wish we had more articles like this. The technical details of the typesetting process are less interesting to the general reader, perhaps, but the article shows pages from the Codex Paterniancensis with Rhenanus' notes for the printer. In French, of course, and hard going for people with only schoolboy French, like myself.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, Errata Tertullianea, in Autour de Tertullien: Hommage a Rene Braun, Publications - Fac. des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Nice, 56 (1990), Vol 2, pp35-46.

Printing errors in CSEL, CCL, and SC, together with some valuable reminders about the importance of the early editions, and the risks of too uncritical a reliance on the modern editors. In French.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, John Leland, Beatus Rhenanus et le Tertullien de Malmesbury, Studia Patristica 18,2 (1989), pp. 53-60

Splendid article from the 1983 Oxford Patristics conference in which Petitmengin announces that he has located a letter from John Leland to Rhenanus in which he discusses the Codex Masburensis, giving details of it, and also a collation made by Rhenanus of 3 of the treatises in it (De Resurrect., De Praescript., De Monogamia) which he must have used for his edition of 1545, unknown to scholars, and marked these readings in brackets in his edition. In relatively easy French, for Petitmengin, and a taster for some upcoming work on the tradition of Tertullian.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, 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. 

It is very nice indeed to see Petitmengin return to the manuscripts and editions of Tertullian.  This article breaks fresh ground, as far as I know, in reviewing the work on the text of Tertullian between Rigault, the last to have fresh MS witness, and the final incarnation of his work, the edition of Migne.  We learn much about the former, and gain a considerable insight into the messy story of how the latter was compiled.  In between we meet the Maurist Fathers, learn of their visit to Luxembourg and encounter with MS. 75 (which remained substantially unknown until 1935), and their attempts to produce an edition.  The story is enthralling.  One after another, men who we meet dimly in prefaces or footnotes step into the light, and their story is told concisely but clearly.  Enough general remarks are made about the text of Tertullian that this article would place any general reader in a position to grasp what might be thought a recondite subject.

Once again unknown MS witnesses appear; a florilegium in Cambridge, and information about mysterious lost MSS frm Reims and Laon.  The diagrams illustrating the connection between editions and MSS are particularly useful - these are much harder to draw up than might be imagined.  Two plates complete the article - a page from the Luxembourg MS; and the title-page of Migne.

An interesting contrast appears between the Cluny and Agobardinus types of text, presented here very clearly with reference to de Exhortatione Castitatis.  This alone makes the article very useful.  Petitmengin reminds us all that a great wealth of erudition lies buried in the notes of many of these seldom-read editions, which would repay investigation.

This article will undoubtedly take up a permanent place in the literature about Tertullian.  It's main defect is that it has very few footnotes; deliberately so, as we are told it is a taster for the magnum opus that Petitmengin has been working on for many years now.  We can hardly complain, when he has given us a sample of what lies ahead.  I can only wait impatiently for more...! 

After seeing a TV programme here about the typesetting of Gutenberg's bible, it does occur to me that surely a TV programme might be made based on this article, touching as it does on the work of so many and so famous people?  TV needs to be visual, yet surely this could be done - the search of the Maurists, lots of men in 17th century clothes - while d'Artagnan and co are posturing, we even have Richlieu sitting upstairs reading De praescriptione.  Everyone loves a mystery.  All we need is a producer with vision.  If only ... 

I owe my knowledge of this article to Dr. Petitmengin himself, as copies do not yet seem to have reached major libraries in the UK.  

* Petitmengin, Pierre, Le Tertullien de Fulvio Orsini, Eranos 59 (1962), pp.116-135.

Wouwer's edition refers to a Codex in the possession of Fulvio Orsini. Petitmengin investigates, and leads the reader into the complex world of the 16th century editors of the Fathers, where manuscript readings were sent from one scholar to another, annotated in printed editions, and so forth. He shows that much of what Wouwer claims to be based on Orsini's codex is in fact conjectural, and shows that the readings that Orsini made from a 'vetus codex' are in fact extant as marginalia in a Gelenius, together with a manuscript collation. In difficult French, as usual with Petitmengin, but repays the time necessary to read it. Copious references.

CTC 1990, §17: Azzali Bernardelli, Giovanna, Quaestiones Tertullianeae criticae, Mantova, Edizioni Galli (1990)(Not checked).  This revists the issue - reviewed by P.P. - and has discovered 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.  This makes it possible that a codex did in fact exist, although only of the Apologeticum, ancient but badly written and full of errors.

* Petitmengin, Pierre, Une nouvelle edition et un ancient manuscrit de Novatien, Revue des etudes augustiniennes 21 (1975), p256-272

Interesting because Petitmengin has located the edition of Tertullian, a copy of Gelenius' dated 1566, into which someone wrote the readings of the lost Codex Johannis Clementis Angli (C), which then was further annotated by Pamelius and which he used as the basis for his edition. This gives us, in effect a collation of C. See pp258-9 and Appendix II for details. Hard French as usual with Petitmengin, and mostly about Novatian's De Trinitate, which was also in C.

* Rankin, David I., Was Tertullian a Jurist?, Studia Patristica 31 (1997), pp.335-342.  Reviewed CTC 1997, §14.

The answer given is no - Tertullian's use of technical terms is more that of an advocate than a jurist.  Rankin shows that terms used as evidence for the jurist theory are also used by people like Cicero and Lactantius.  Contains a good review of work on the subject, both for and against, but omits reference to the studies of R. Braun and J. Gaudemet.

* Powell, D, Tertullianists and Cataphrygians, Vigiliae Christianae 29 (1975), pp. 33-54.

A very important article discussing just what Montanism in Africa was, and rejecting the view that Tertullian ever actually left the church.  Anglophone scholarship has now largely adopted this view as orthodoxy, although doubts were expressed in the CTC by Rene Braun.  This is a closely argued and well thought-out article.  If I don't agree, it is because I feel it is unsound to ignore the ancient testimony of Augustine and Jerome without better reasons than are given here.  I feel nervous that an argument from a manufactured silence is lurking undetected; and to argue that we can only imagine that the statements made by Tertullian can be interpreted as given seems also risky.  But a fine and very interesting article.   27/10/01.

* Reed, A.W., John Clement and his books, The Library, 4th series, vol. VI (1926), pp.329-339

Lists of property seized from John Clement in the reign of Edward VI, and including a list of books.  Includes a Tertullian, but this is not labelled 'written' so probably not the famous Codex Johannes Clementis Angli. 1/1/2001

* Riley, M.T., Q. S. Fl. Tertulliani Adversus Valentinianos: Text, Translation, and Commentary, Diss. Stanford University (1971).  189pp.  Available from UMI microfilms.

I can't evaluate the critical edition, but the translation is fresh and lively and easy to read - quite a change after the stodgy old ANF version!  I found myself smiling at some of Tertullian's jokes.  The introduction on the MS tradition is a bit sketchy.  The suggestion that X is the ancestor of F, V, L etc is not generally regarded as sound.  There are full notes on the readings.  All in all a very useful edition.  My thanks to Dr. Riley for permission to place it online.

* Roberts, R.E., The Theology of Tertullian, Epworth Press, London (1924).  279pp.  Complete text online.

A printed dissertation, with the faults that such tend to have.  It's not a great piece of work - chapter 5, which deals with chronology, is hopelessly flawed.  But the collections of references on various topics should still be of use to someone trying to find his way around Tertullian's works.  It is curious that neither Roberts nor his supervisor knew of d'Ales' work on the same subject.  Although we have numerous monographs, is there a more modern overview in English even now, I wonder?   14/07/01. 

* Robinson, Rodney, The Inventory of Niccolo Niccoli, Classical Philology 16 (1921), pp.251-255.

Niccolo gave a list of mss and places to two Cardinals travelling in Germany, with a request that they go to those places and find those mss. Part of the list turned up in an MS recently. This article gives the text. It lists stuff from Fulda, including the Fuldensis Apologeticum / Adv. Iud, and a Adv. Marcionem in verse in 2 books. Interestingly he doesn’t list the Apologeticum together with the Adv. Iud, and implies that the latter was combined with Boethius De consolatione.   Also mentions Poggio, and the libraries at Reichenau, Hersfeld, Cologne and others.   English introduction to Latin text.  Now online.

* Schazmann, Paul-Emile, Passage du manuscrit a la premiere edition imprimee de La Patience de Tertullien, Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 1964, pp151-154.

Brief but interesting article, mostly about the artwork for Rhenanus' edition of 1521 and the use made of the Payerne MS (Codex Paterniancensis). In French, with an illustration of the first page of De Patientia in this edition.

* Sider, Robert D. "Approaches to Tertullian: A Study of Recent Scholarship." in Second Century vol 2 (1982): 228-260.

I found this dull when I first looked at it, but it's quoted in all the bibliographies.

Robinson (see below) describes it as follows:

Sider provides a detailed and well-organised review of English and foreign language works on Tertullian (mainly from the 1970's). Seven specific topics are analysed:

(1) Tools for research and scholarship
(2) Editions
(3) Life and Times of Tertullian
(4) Language and style
(5) Tertullian and the bible
(6) Tertullian and philosophy
(7) Tertullian and theology.

The last section is further broken down into

(a) Tertullian as Theologian
(b) A Question of Method
(c) Aspects of Theology, in which works on Tertullian's views of the Trinity, the Church, and ethics are discussed.

Sider points out that of the Latin Fathers, Tertullian stands third after Augustine and Ambrose in terms of attention in the scholarly literature. This issue of The Second Century also contains two other articles on Tertullian: Jansen, "Tertullian and the New Testament" (pp. 191-207) and Countryman, "Tertullian and the Regula Fidei" (pp. 208-227).

* Sider, Robert D., Credo Quia Absurdum?, Classical World 73 (1980), pp.417-9.

A brief but excellent discussion of the two quotations regularly used to condemn Tertullian as an advocate of irrational faith.  Dr. Sider shows that Tertullian's actual argument in fact "follows in the footsteps of  that cool philospher Aristotle" in Rhetoric 2.23.22, and is in fact part of an appeal to reason.  The article is now online.  In English.  08/04/00.  

* Souter, Alexander, The 'Acta Pauli' etc. in Tertullian, Journal of Theological Studies 25 (1923-4), p.292

Brief article noting that the discovery of the Codex Trecensis has clarified the famous text at the end of De Baptismo which refers to the apocryphal Acts of Paul by confirming that title is present in the text. In English, and online.


Souter, Alexander, Tertullian: The Resurrection of the Flesh, SPCK 1922.

Contains a good appendix on the then newly discovered Codex Trecensis, which I've used largely on my page about it. The section which gives a summary of the argument is online, here.

* Souter, Alexander, A tenth-century fragment of Tertullian's Apology, Journal of Theological Studies, 8 (1907), 297-300.

The discovery of the Codex Rheinaugensis, containing 3 chapters of the lost Fuldensis text form of the Apologeticum, with a collation. Text is online, minus the collation (is anyone reading these pages interested in it?).

* Souter, Alexander, A supposed fragment of the lost codex Fuldensis of Tertullian, Journal of Theological Studies, 22 (1921), 163-4.

Discusses Paris manuscript BN13047, and shows it to contain fragments of the Apologeticum, from the Fuldensis text form. Text is online.

* Souter, Alexander, Journal of Theological Studies 11 (1909-11), p140. Review of Lupton's edition of De Baptismo.

Souter regards the whole thing as a waste of time, and inadequate in almost every respect, apart from a brief note in the introduction (originating verbally from M.R.James, anyway) which establishes that the Codex Masburensis should be considered as coming from Malmesbury, of which he approves. Now online.

* Thomson, Rodney, Identifiable books from the pre-Conquest library of Malmesbury Abbey, Anglo-Saxon England 10 (1982), 1-19, with 11-13 relating to a Tertullian.

Much on the Codex Masburensis, John Leland, John Clement, and a useful corrective to what he calls the ignorance of continental scholars about this subject. Also corrects Lupton and Souter. An excerpt, covering the bits of interest to Tertullian people, is online.

* Tränkle, Hermann, Q.S.F.Tertulliani Adversus Iudaeos, 1964

Lengthy prefaces to a modern edition of this work.  Revists Kroymann and disputes some of his conclusions, providing his own stemma for this work.   Lots of useful footnotes. In German.

* Turcan, Marie, Être femme selon Tertullien, Vita Latina 119 (Sept. 1990), pp.15-21 also in English translation

A useful article on the subject of Tertullian's attitude to women, and a corrective to some of the shriller writing in the Anglophone world.  Often demonised by the politically correct (following Simone de Beauvoir) because of his phrase 'You are the doorway of the Devil' in De Cultu Feminarum I, 1, Dr. Turcan (editor of critical editions of this work and De Spectaculis for the Sources Chrétiennes series) shows that this approach is simplistic and ignores other, less dramatic statements on the position of man and woman before God.  She reviews all of Tertullian's statements on the issue, including his reverence for the Montanist prophetesses, to obtain a reliable statement of Tertullian's views.  In French.

This is a difficult journal to locate in the UK - my copy came from the US.  I'd like to thank Dr. Marie Turcan for her permission to reproduce the article here, and Dr. Anne-Marie  Turcan-Verkerk for her help in obtaining that permission.  

* Turcan, Marie, La tradition manuscrite de Tertullien a propos du De Cultu Feminarum, Revue des Etudes Latines 44 (1966), pp.363-372.

A fascinating study of the comparative merits of the Agobardinus and the Cluny MSS, during the preparation of her critical edition of that work.  Dr. Turcan shows that the Agobardinus has a better text, but one that has been edited at some point, while the Cluny MSS often reproduce literally a less good version of the text, but themselves are often corrupt.   In French.

* Waltzing, J.P., Les trois principaux manuscrits de L'Apologetique De Tertullien, in Le Musee Belge XVI (1912), pp181-240.(pp181-187 only online) also in English translation

Hard to obtain in the UK - I suspect my copy came via the British Lending Library from Belgium. Mostly contains a copy of the collation of the Codex Fuldensis from Junius' edition, on the grounds that this is very rare, and therefore scholars are not consulting it, but just passing on hearsay. He comments that Junius says explictly that the collation is not that of the Fuldensis on its own, but rather of several mss, foremost among them the Fuldensis, which may account for the mix of excellent and dreadful readings. Also describes P and M and includes them in the collation. Also describes the Bremen copy of the collation, and gives its readings. Includes biographical material on Modius, and useful references. Pages 181-187 are the chatty bits - the rest is the collation. Pp 181-7 online in French and English.

* J.H.Waszink, A review of Tertullian, Treatises on Marriage and Remarriage: To his wife, An exhortation to Chastity, Monogamy. Translated by W.P.Le Saint, S.J., in Ancient Christian Writers 13, in Vigiliae Christianae 6 (1952) p 183 ff.

Well, he likes it! Contains some suggested amendments to the translation. Waszink also comments favourably on the old Thelwall translations. Indicates that Waszink, like most others, has doubts about the soundness of Kroymann's conjectural emendations of the text in CSEL - 'brilliant but unsound' (P.G.Wodehouse) seems to sum it up. In English.

* J.H.Waszink & J.C.M.Van Winden, Tertullianus De Idololatria, E.J.Brill, Leiden/New York 1987, (in series Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, Volume I.), pp7-8

Lengthy description of the Codex Agobardinus as it relates to the De idololatria, and some interesting remarks on its ancestry. An excerpt with the relevant pages is online. In English.

* J.H.Waszink, Quinti Septimi Florentis Tertulliani : De Anima, edited with introduction and commentary, Amsterdam 1947.

Detailed introduction on the manuscript tradition, and notes on De Censu Animae, trying to decide what it must have contained. In Latin and English - English notes and commentary. Massive. With an extensive bibliography.

* Wilmart, Dom Andre, Academie des inscriptions et belles-lettres : comptes rendus des seances de l'annee 1920, Un manuscrit de Tertullien retrouve, p380ff. also in English translation

Announcing the discovery of the Codex Trecensis 523, by Dom Andre, who was actually not looking for stuff on Tertullian at all. Discusses the MS in some detail, and shows how it demolishes a theory of Kroymann's. Refers to a 'lost work' of Tertullian's, De munere, which is in fact merely part of De Spectaculis, according to Dom E. Dekkers (above in Sacris Erudiri 4).. In French. Online, with English translation.

* Wilmart, Dom Andre, 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

Lots of chat about the library at Troyes, including a two line new catalog entry for the Codex Trecensis, as part of Dom Wilmarts work in the library at Troyes. Unbelievably hard to find, and not worth the effort. Always given in the references, but hardly anyone can be bothered to quote the full title of this obscure journal, which means you can't find it in the catalogue. When you have, you find there are two sets of volume numbers, so go by the date, and even Dom Wilmart misquotes the page number! In French. The introductory pages are now online, in French and with an English translation.

* Wilmart, Dom Andre, Un Manuscrit du De Cibis et des oeuvres de Lucifer, Revue Benedictine, 32 (1920), pp.124-135.

An unintended but damning inditement of the integrity of Mesnart and Gelenius.  Dom Andre shows that, for the De Cibis of Novatian, (published first by Mesnart and then by Gelenius, both claiming various ancient mss as sources) the actual source is one late MS in Paris, used by Mesnart for his edition because it was easy to read, and then reprinted unchanged by Gelenius, despite his claims.  This work has cast doubt on the very existence of the Codex Masburensis that Gelenius claims to have used, or, at least, on the list of works he claims to have extracted from it - perhaps in reality it contained much less!

The Decretum Gelasianum
* Ernst von Dobschutz, Das Decretum Gelasianum De Libris Recipiendis et non Recipiendis, in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Altchristlichen Literatur, Leipzing (1912) 38, part 4. Also in

This appears to be the most recent (and only) critical edition of the Decretum Gelasianum, as I got the reference from J.K.Elliot's Apocryphal New Testament. Dobschutz assembles all the MSS he can find, and classifies them properly, thereby rendering obsolete just about all work on this document before him. He establishes that the two authentic branches of the tradition are those attributing it to Pope (a) Damasus and (b) Gelasius (the Pope Hormisdas version is a late Spanish variant of the Gelasius version). Two copies are printed - the first by way of summary, and then again with vast commentary on a line-by-line basis. Most material in German, Latin text. The summarised Latin text is now online.

* Howorth, H.H., The Decretal of Damasus. Journal of Theological Studies 14 (1913).

Howorth makes the case that the Decretal is a forgery from the masters of the age of the Forged Decretals - the mid-9th century. His style of argument is rather unstructured, but he builds up an impressive case that the Decretal is unknown to any writer (that is, any writer now extant - but he doesn't make this qualification for some reason) before that era, and therefore its appearance at that time is suspicious.

The argument is an example of what was wrong with text criticism at the time, and interesting to someone like myself for that reason. The argument from silence underpins the whole argument, and is made very convincingly. But the argument that something discovered only in the 9th century must be a forgery will sound unconvincing to those who know that a number of classical works held only at Monte Cassino remained unknown to anyone a good deal later than that. The arguments are made in a discursive rather than a structured manner, and conclusions are assumed rather than examined. Too much is made of arguments based on the varying titles given in various medieval MSS to the work - these are not reliable, or regarded by the copyists as portions of the text in a MS, as a look at the titles in the library catalogues discussed by Dom Dekkers in Note (above) tells us. And why doesn't he tabulate the evidence either way?

The most fascinating point, made by Leclerq in his article (below) is that there was no scientific study of the text in existence at that time, and until Dobschutz's edition, no real knowledge of the manuscripts. Once the MSS had been tabulated, certain facts became evident, which Howorth simply didn't know.

* Leclerq, H, Gelasien (Decret), article in Dictionnaire D'Archeologie Chretienne et De Liturgie, (1924) Vol 6 (G-GOTHA), p722-747.

Massive bibliography. Puts the case for 6th century authorship and reviews all work so far. In hard French. I've a feeling he's being quite sarcastic, and probably rather anti-clerical with it, but my French isn't good enough to be sure. But he doesn't mess about - there's masses of material! He reprints the Decretum in full, and discusses the authorship with much more hesitation than Howorth.

But again I came away with the feeling that there was inadequate recognition of the fact that we really know nothing of the history of the document, and that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But recommended anyway.

Patrology Handbooks
* Altaner, Bertold, Patrology, tr. Hilda Graef, 1960.

A single volume work covering the whole period to the end of the Patristic period (640 in the West, later in the East).  Useful for its later portions, although now well out of date.  Readers of Quasten will find it a bit sketchy.

O Bardenhewer, Otto, Patrology, tr. T. Shahan. Herder, 1908

Now well out of date, but an important reference in its day, and useful as a guide to the views that Barnes (q.v.) is reacting against. Fair amount of references. A dozen pages on Tertullian. German-oriented (natürlich).

H Hamell P.J. Handbook of Patrology, 1968.

Very lightweight paperback overview of the early Christian writers. Not an authority, but I still cribbed a few lines from it when I started out, so I may as well acknowledge it.


Quasten, J. Patrology, Vol II, Christian Classics library.

This is the part that contains Tertullian, and 50 pages on him at that. However the whole work, in 4 volumes, is a huge and fascinating guide, with detailed bibliography, to all the writings of the fathers. If you want to find e.g. a translation of some work, and want to know where to look, this is the place to look first. The last part was completed in 1986 - the rest dates to the mid-1960's. Recommended, and available from Amazon.

* Trithemius (Trittenheim, Johann von), De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, 1515 + (The first edition is 1494, published by Johann Amerbach).

I've only seen this briefly, but it looks a lot like the first printed manual of Patrology, complete with contents list of authors at the front, and then each author, followed by a list of his works.  Tertullian gets a page.  Of course this precedes the first printing of a collected edition, so Trithemius must know his stuff from MSS.  In that light, it is very interesting that he lists nearly all the works we have today, some very rare, and also De exstasi, but none of the other lost works mentioned in Jerome, etc.  Did he really know of an MS of De exstasi?  In Latin.   Beware differences in the editions for the ref. to De exstasi.

Editions - see also the pages on Early Editions and Critical Editions for further information on most of these. This section is really handled in more detail there, and I may remove it from here.
ANF See details given of Ante-Nicene Fathers, various editions, including online versions.

Corpus Christianorum Latinorum/ Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, 1954. Volumes I and II.
CPL E. Dekkers, Clavis Patrum Latinorum, 3rd edition. Brepols, Turnhout (1995).

As the name suggests, it's a list of all the works of Latin Christianity from Tertullian to Bede.  The CPL numbers are a reference understood everywhere.  There is a tiny amount of bibliography - enough to find a Latin text, and cross-refer to the PL, CSEL and CCSL.  Note that it is available online from Brepols in 3 versions; hardback, paperback, and a much cheaper paperback which is otherwise identical in the 'Brepols Humanities Library'.  I have this.  16/2/2

PL Migne, J.P. Patrologia Latina, 1844, reprinted by Brepols of Turnhout in Belgium in 1981 and in print. Also on CD-ROM.

Useful introductory matter on MSS and editions. Online:


Glover, T.R. Tertullian: Apology/De Spectaculis, Loeb Christian Library, 1931 + many reprints. Also contains the Octavius of Minucius Felix.

Easily the simplest way to get hold of one of Tertullian's works - buy it, it's still in print. Nice introduction too.

* Oehler, Franciscus, Quinti Septimii Florentis Tertulliani Quae Supersunt Omnia, Lipsiae (1853)[Praefatio]

The first critical edition, and the standard Victorian text from which the Ante-Nicene Fathers was translated.  I've placed the Praefatio to the editio maior online, as it is the starting point for all subsequent work on the manuscript tradition.  I've arranged the text on this page as close to the original as I can.

Manuscript and Edition Catalogues
Adams Adams, H.M., Catalogue of Books Printed on the Continent of Europe, 1501-1600 in Cambridge Libraries, Cambridge University Press (1967), 2 vols.

Often cited as 'Adams', and used as a basic bibliography for printed editions for every author.  Contains lists of all books apart from English-language in all the libraries in Cambridge.  The sections on Tertullian and Lactantius (whose editions sometime includes the Apologeticum) have been worked into the page of editions.  Numbering is letter followed by a numeric.  T=authors beginning with T.


Becker Gustav, Catalogi bibliothecarum antiquiori, Bonn 1885.  Reprinted by Olms and so in print.

A compilation of medieval catalogues of libraries.  It's a derivative work, compiled from other writers rather than direct from the catalogues themselves, which puts it at the mercy of duff earlier writers.  Copious references, and still a valuable source.  Why hasn't someone created a searchable electronic version?  In Latin.  A classic.

* Christ, Karl, Die Bibliothek des Klosters Fulda im 16 Jahrhundert. (Beiheft 64:) Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig 1933, pp.151-2; 235f

The three catalogues of Fulda.  In German.

* Delisle, Leopold, Inventaire des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale: Fonds de Cluny, Paris 1884.

Delisle gives us the catalogues of Cluny.  Actually he'd already done so in his Cabinet de manuscrits, but this is a corrected version.  A massive collection for the time.  In French and Latin.

* Delisle, Leopold, Cabinet des Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Impériale, t. 2, Paris 1874. pp. 458-481, p.459.. (NB: Imperiale was vol I, Nationale vol II ff)

Delisle was keeper of the MSS of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, or Bibliotheque Imperiale as it was before Napoleon III handed in his Tufty badge.  This volume is a printing of all the medieval catalogues that he had.  Some French, mostly Latin.  Not always accurate, I gather, but great stuff anyway.

* Manitius, Max,Handschriften antiker Autoren in mittelalterlichen Bibliothekskcatalogen, 67 Beiheft zum  Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig 1935, pp.151-153.

Organised by author, this invaluable volume lists now lost manuscripts of a given author geographically, with a reference to the catalogue, or whatever.  The excerpt containing the Tertullian entries is on line.  Can be hard to find if you don't realise that the Beiheft is a subsidiary series to the main series 'Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen'.  Excellent and recommended.  In German, but of course most of the data is in Latin.


Various, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, British Library, 1990 onwards, 4 volumes so far.

Information about the listed holdings of Medieval institutions. Vol 2 is the Registrum Anglie de libris doctorum et auctorem veterum - a union catalogue compiled by the Franciscans in the middle ages. Sadly there are no Tertullians listed.

In the 4 volumes published so far, the only reference is in volume 4, English Benedictine Libraries: The Shorter Catalogues, under Malmesbury, p262, where the books listed by John Leland in his Collecteanea 4.157 are listed, including #23, Tertullianus, mentioned by Leland in his Scriptores, 100, as containing Tertulliani librum de Spectaculis, de Ieiunio. It is suggested, based on the dates of the surviving volumes, that three quarters of the books dated from no later than 1100, and the remainder were copied in the twelfth century.

Ancient book production, bibliographies, and other interesting stuff
* Bell, H.I, Recent discoveries of biblical papyri, Oxford, 1937.

Material on the actual form of ancient books. Most memorable to me for an entertaining, but salutary passage on the date of St.John, giving conclusive evidence for dating it later than 150AD, and a footnote to the effect that, since papyrus fragment P52 of St.John has just (1936) been discovered, dated 125AD, there must be 'some other explanation' for the facts so convincingly marshalled. A warning to us all not to argue from silence, as most of us are tempted to do at one time or another.

* Bevenot, Fr. Maurice, The Tradition of Manuscripts: a study in the transmission of St. Cyprian's Treatises, Conneticut.

Interesting to see how even a 15th century manuscript (Holkham 121) can be more reliable in some ways than copies written much earlier, but from an inferior branch of the manuscript tradition. Quite heavy going, but some very interesting material indeed. Makes the suggestion that all of the stemmata postulated for patristic mss may be misleading due to the massive cross-contamination of the various 'branches' of the stemma.

* Brown, Michelle P., Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts : A Guide to Technical Terms, Getty/British Library, 1994.

A good glossary of terms of all sorts that you might run across while looking at manuscripts, and inexpensive. As a bonus, it has some nice illustrations too. Recommended.

* Büren, Veronika von, Le Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de Cluny du XIe Siecle Reconstitué, Scriptorium XLVI (1992), pp.256-267.

The Cluny catalogue lists 4 copies of the Apologeticum, and two other collections of works which have often beem regarded as the ancestor of the 'Corpus Cluniacense'. Dr. von Büren gives us a reconstruction of the physical characteristics of the 11th century catalogue, known from a late copy and the visits of 4 Maurist fathers. Lots of very useful references. Very interesting, and in quite easy French.  Dr. von Büren has also done further papers on the catalogue for each author listed, although not yet for Tertullian, which she was kind enough to send me.

* Canfora, Luciano, The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World, Translated by Martin Ryle, Hutchinson Radius (1989), ix+205, ISBN 0-09-977540-9 (Vintage reprint 1991).

A frustrating book.  I wanted a scholarly account of the library of Alexandria, which detailed the data and drew appropriate conclusions.  However this is a popularisation.  A narrative account occupies the first half of the book.  Scanty footnotes for these chapters follow, although they are very thin and tend to disappear at points of interest.  The remainder of the book deals with 'the sources', but sadly without any footnotes at all.  Gibbon is quoted as an authority.  Doubtless interesting to the beginner, but it left me wishing Dr Canfora had written something with more weight.  19/01/01

* Christ, Karl, The handbook of medieval library history, translated T.M.Otto, 1984.

More on medieval libraries. Lists the various monasteries where important scriptoria were located.  In English.

Includes the interesting snippet (p1 of the notes) that many works, including those of the jurist Ulpian, book 7 of whose work De officiis proconsularis listed in detail the punishments handed out to Christians (according to Lactantius), were already lost by the time of the compilation of the Theodosian code in 450AD, and known to the complier only in extracts.

p.3 : Pagan secular literature tended to dry up with the disappearance of an educated laity. The loss of texts was noted in the 6th century, and the number of authors known to Cassiodorus and Isidore was not much greater than what we have today.

* Clark, A.C., Descent of manuscripts, Oxford 1918, reprinted 1969

This is not a book, so much as a brain-dump, with very little introduction. Unreadable, which is a great pity because lurking within is a truly original idea - that a serious portion of all lacunae in manuscripts are complete lines or multiples thereof, and that by counting the missing letters, and presuming approximately equal size, spacing, etc (in the average), information will emerge from the averages of a given book about line-lengths in ancestor manuscripts. Very defensive - one has to presume the author has suffered harsh criticism at some point.

* Clark, A.C., The Reappearance of the texts of the Classics, Oxford, 1921.

Interesting but outdated article on the recovery of the classics.  Entirely derivative - no footnotes - and needs to be read in conjunction with Reynolds, Texts and Transmissions.  But still quoted in bibliographies, out of copyright, in English and so I thought it worth placing online.  05/05/01

* Forbes, C.A., Books for the Burning, Transactions of the American Philological Association 67 (1936), pp.114-25

A survey of all the cases of intentional destruction of books to around 500AD.  Probably not comprehensive, but interesting anywa.

* Gordan, P.W.G, Two Renaissance Book Hunters : the letters of Poggius Braccionlini to Nicholaus de Niccolis : translated from the Latin and annotated, Columbia University Press, New York and London (1974).

A frustrating book.  The letters are full of allusions, and need explanation.  Consequently two-thirds of the book is taken up with notes, banished to the back.  But most of them simply refer the reader to Sabbadini or Walser's works on Poggio, which means that they are useless unless you happen to have those volumes on hand.  In consequence it was very hard and pointless reading.  Clearly you need to know everything about Poggio and Niccolo before reading this, which is unfortunate.

The letters are not really interesting either.  Letter XL contains the phrase, "A man from the  monastery at Cluny will leave the Curia very shortly; he has become a friend of mine through my own efforts and promised to take care to have the Tertullian copied and undertook to do it.  I have high hopes that he will do something because he needs my help; still he is a monk but he does not seem in the least bit bad; he has some education and knows the book."   The reference given is Walser, Poggius Florentinus: Leben und Werke. Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Renaissance XIV. Leipzig, Teubner (1914), p.101 note 5, and Sabbadini, Le scoperte dei codici latini e greci ne' secoli XIV e XV, 2vols, Florence (1905, 1914, 1967), vol I, 110-111.  So now we know.  Or rather, we would if we had read those works instead.  In fact, the references tell us no more.

Letter IV in the appendix, from Franciscus Barbarus to Poggio, mentions "You and your helpful companion Bartholomeus have endowed Tertullian with life, and M. Fabius Quintillian, Q. Asconius Pedianus, Lucretius, Silius Italicus, Marcellinus, Manilius the astronomer, Lucius Septimius, Valerius Flaccus; ...".   No explanation is given.  Appendix Letter III by Poggio to Guarinus Veronensis describes finding Quintillian in the base of the church tower in St. Gall, "filthy with mold and dust.  For these books were not in the library, as befitted their worth, but in a sort of foul and gloomy dungeon at the bottom of one of the towers, ..."  Appendix Letter I (from Cincius Romanus) describes the same "nearby tower of the church of St. Gall in which countless books were kept like captives and the library neglected and infested with dust, worms, soot...".  Poggio in letter XI says there are no old books in England; the old monasteries have no secular books, the newer are all Royal foundations, and the catalogues he has looked at contain "nothing worthwhile".

These extracts I have given are the good bits in nearly 400 pages. Not really recommended, although easy to get hold of and with very detailed references.  It would seem that the story of the recovery of the classical and patristic learning still remains to be written in English.  Sabbadini is all there is - in Italian.

One nice quote, from letter LV, "Learning should be rejected if it is unaccompanied by a life of virtue".

Second Thoughts:  Since I wrote this review, I have in fact bought a copy.  I still wish it contained more 'meat', but as the only portion of Poggio's correspondence in English, it is an easy way to hear his voice.  Not as bad as I thought it!

* Griffith, John G., The survival of the longer of the so-called 'Oxford' fragments of Juvenal's Sixth Satire, Hermes 91 (1963), p104-114

Interesting discussion, following Bevenot (see above), showing how a single late and corrupt manuscript can contain some genuine material found nowhere else. Discusses the importance of the Abbey at Monte Casino for both the Holkham 121 and the Oxford Juvenal, and indeed for a whole collection of classical works known only through Mss which passed through it.

* Holzberg, Niklas, Lucian and the Germans, Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts XVI (1988) : The Uses of Greek and Latin, (ed. Dionisotti, A.C.; Grafton A and Kraye, Jill), pp.199-209.

An interesting paper which discusses how the consensus opinio of German scholars on the works of Lucian of Samosata changed from a fairly uncritical approbation to universal condemnation as a plagiarist almost overnight.  What makes this particularly interesting is that Holzberg shows that this change was inspired by the climate of increasing anti-semitism in Germany at that period, and that the seminal paper which effected the change was itself at points verbally identical with book by Hitler's mentor Houston Stewart Chamberlain published shortly before.    It would seem that there is a worthwhile project for someone to investigate just how far this compliance went in German scholarship of the late 19th century, so we can ignore it.  Tertullian enthusiasts will of course think of the eminence of Adolf von Harnack in New Testament and Patristic studies at that time.   But if this idea is right, then questions arise about his championship of the anti-Jewish Marcion, and his Marcionite approach to the NT.  It would seem worth asking just how far the 'higher criticism' of the time on the Bible was affected by anti-semitism.  A reminder of the importance of identifying whether one's ideas are merely period products.  In English.

* Housman, A.E, Selected Prose, Cambridge, 1961.

Contains papers on textual criticism; introductory material from his Manilius and Juvenal, and the The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism paper which should be kept in mind by all interested in textual criticism as a warning of the excesses that can be perpetrated by supposedly learned men. Rather aggressive, but a different perspective.

* Humphrey, John W; Oleson, John P. and Sherwood, Andrew N, Greek and Roman Technology : A Sourcebook, Routledge, London and New York, 1998.

Compilation of quotes from classical authors on technical subjects. Lots of detail, going well outside machines into agriculture, food-processing, mining etc. Includes a quote from Tertullian (Val. 7) about the massive and famous Roman apartment block, the Insula Felicles, which stood near the Flaminian circus.

* Jenkins, Fred.W., Classical Studies: a guide to the reference literature, 1996.

More or less what it says it is, but up-to-date and very useful.

* Kenney, E.J., The Classical Text : Aspects of Editing in the Age of the Printed Book, University of California Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London, 1974, ISBN 0-520-02711-6.

Not what I had expected, which was a guide to early printers, but something equally interesting.  This is in fact a history of the production of 'editions' of the classics, which inevitably turns also into a history of textual criticism.  Dr. Kenney begins with the first printers, Sweinheim and Pannartz in 1465, and assesses how they made up their editions, how they used manuscripts, and how they saw their duty to the text.  The problems created by the existence of a printed edition are evaluated.  The editio princeps was usually based on an inferior manuscript, and the book shows clearly the way in which subsequent editors felt unable then to ignore this text.  The story is continued up until modern times, with the changes in attitude to collection of manuscripts and conjectural emendation chronicled.  The approach taken by each generation is described and evaluated, with copious references.  In the process some fairly negative conclusions are voiced about the way in which textual criticism has been practised, and about the sort of results that it has tended to give.  While obviously favouring a 'radical' approach to emendation, he treats the conservative resistance to unfounded changes to the text fairly.  There is a good bibliography and extensive references.

This is not a book for a general reader beginning to read around the subject, because a good knowledge of the subject is assumed.  It is in fact rather dense, and the reader is often referred to other studies about leading figures.  But this is the best study of the history of textual criticism I have yet read, and puts the rather undergraduate confidence of many prefaces into a proper perspective.  My only niggle is to wonder whether perhaps he paints too dark a picture. 

There are far too many good things to quote.  Rhenanus (pp.26-27) emerges as a rather careful editor; Gelenius in his accustomed colours as a man prone to invent an ms upon which to parent his own conjectures.  It also seems that mss were often unbound to speed the printing process.  Often mss were sent to be printed, with apparently no expectation of return.  The discussion of the cultural expectations of each era, and the degree to which individuals were simply following the custom of their time is recognised, and it is very welcome, rather than the anachronistic condemnations usually written.

One interesting reference (p.99 n.1) to some work of Bentley on the Textus Receptus of the New Testament: "In point of fact there are almost no doctrinal issues of any significance which turn on the criticism of the text, as was remarked by Bentley ('Phileleutherus Lipsiensis', Remarks upon a late discourse of free-thinking, 8th ed. (1743) 102)."    08/04/00

* Kenyon, F.G, Books and Readers in Greece and Rome, Oxford, 1932, 2nd edn 1951.

A general introduction to the subject from the greatest authority on ancient bibliography at that time. Good, but not many references. Available as a reprint from Amazon.

Among the points of interest:

p. 36 : The mass of cheap Greek copies of literary texts found at Oxyrhynchus shows that the profuse quotations in ancient authors need not derive from compendia, as commonly supposed. Rather the volume of book production, even in unimportant provincial towns would easily supply most authors with their own copies.

p. 74 : The cheap and not very accurate provincial copies that we find at Oxyrhynchus should not be presumed to find their way back into the transmission chain for the Greek classics, which was mainly based around libraries such as that at Alexandria, where higher standards of copying and correction prevailed. Note also that these cheap books tended to use every bit of paper, and as such there was no room for marginalia, which are so frequently alleged to enter the text, producing 'long' versions of texts.

* Ker, N.R., English manuscripts in the century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960)

A useful survey of English bookhands, including a discussion of how these are objectively date.  The book is over-size - folio in fact - because it contains a large number of full-size monochrome plates at the back.  There is a reference to the Oxford Bodleian Tertullian which indicates that ff.1-18 are in the same (Norman) hand as the Carilef bible.  Very interesting to the student of paleography and anyone who wants to weigh the factual evidence supporting paleographical dates for this period.    In English.

* Metzger, Bruce M., The Text of the New Testament : Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, 3rd, enlarged Edition, Oxford 1992

The standard introduction to textual criticism for the New Testament. Interesting in its own right for its lengthy sections on ancient book production, the NT manuscripts, the history of textual criticism, and how it is applied to NT manuscripts. Profusely annotated - I owe the references to Housman and Bevenot to it - and almost entirely free from the aggressive anti-Christian bias that disfigures a good many books on this subject. Recommended.

* McCown, C.C., Codex and roll in the New Testament, Harvard Theological Review, 34 (1941), 219ff.

More on whether the codex or the roll was the original form of the NT documents. Much interesting material on early book-making practice.

* Parkes, M.B. and Watson G, Medieval scribes, manuscripts and libraries - essays presented to N.R.Ker. 1978

Interesting for an article on duplication of manuscripts by medieval stationers by hiring out pieces to copyists and students - the pecia system, and for material on the two editions of Cicero's Academica which (despite Cicero's intentions, expressed in a letter to Atticus), both ended up in circulation.

* Pfeiffer, Rudolf, History of Classical Scholarship : From 1300 to 1850, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1976.

An interesting survey of work upon the classics from Petrarch to Bentley, with lots of references.  Not a huge lot about the Fathers in here, but brief accounts of many scholars, including all the important humanists.  It feels unfinished, somehow, as if the author was too old and tired to really polish it off.  Only 214 pages, though.  Useful anyway.  In English.

p. 139. Tells us that Nicholas of Cusa (or Trevirensis) brought an ms of Plautus to Rome in 1429, as secretary to Cardinal Orsini.  Did a Tertullian ms come to Rome at the same time?

* Reynolds, L.D. and Wilson, N.G., Scribes and Scholars: a guide to the transmission of Greek and Latin Literature, Oxford, 3rd Edition 1991.

Guide for students with references, but interesting to people at all levels. An excellent introduction which presupposes nothing, and has an excellent section on the principles of textual criticism - better than any other I've seen so far. I'd like to have more in the useful bibliography, which discusses each work it refers to.  This volume is a standard work, I gather. Now (December 1998) in print again. Recommended.   Go and buy it - I did.  And let's hope for an expanded and improved still further 4th edition.

* Reynolds, L.D.(ed.), Texts and Transmission : A survey of the Latin Classics, Oxford (1983), ISBN 0-19-814456-3

When I lately wanted to know the details of the manuscript tradition of Tacitus, this was the work I turned to.  For every author of Latin antiquity, the manuscripts that form the basis of the tradition are discussed, together with any references during the gap between antiquity and the earliest ms.  The references are copious, but limited, as is inevitable if the volume were not to turn into a bibliography.  Issues of authenticity and authorship lie outside the scope of this work.

This is an expensive reference book ($150) but is in print and available from Amazon.  The place to start for every author it contains.  I've bought a copy.  I only wish there were something similar for the Greek Classics.  08/04/00

* Robinson, Thomas A, The Early Church, 1996.

This is a bibliography of work on the Early Church, with a short but punchy review of each and an introduction to each section.  If you want to read up a topic out of your own area of expertise, and don't know where to start, this is the place to start.  The comments allow one to judge of the value of each work referenced.  For each book there are references to the journal articles in which it was reviewed, which is useful.  It's mainly but not exclusively directed to the literature in English.  Very readable, very useful, and recommended.  It's up-to-date, in print and available from Amazon.  My only quibble is the price, which will be outside most people's pocket.

I'd like to add that Dr Robinson was kind enough to read these pages and to retrospectively volunteer me his permission to quote from this book, for which I am very grateful.

* Roberts, C.H, The Ancient Book and the Ending of St. Mark, Journal of Theological Studies 40 (1939), pp. 253 - 257.

Brief discussion of whether Mark was written on a roll or a codex, based upon the possible disappearance of the original end. Useful for its references to other works on the origins of the codex.

* Roberts, C.H., and Skeat, T.C., The Birth of the Codex, British Academy / Oxford University Press (1983).  78 pages and 6 plates.

Second edition in book-form of the earlier article The Codex, with much additional material.   Some of the views originally stated have been modified, and some new ideas propounded. 

This is a very fine example of how to do scientific academic work when you have very slender evidence.  It clearly states the limits to the hypotheses suggested and conclusions drawn.  In particular it was nice to see acknowledgement that our evidence on early Christian MSS is undoubtedly skewed by the predominance of evidence from Oxyrhynchus alone, that our ideas would be very different had Martial's epigram on the codex not survived, and some careful attempts to consider the way in which we should try to minimise the argument from silence.   It is also very nice to see some quantitative statistics as a basis for discussion, and the care taken not to misuse them.  In short it lets the evidence speak.

Convincing, non-polemical, readable and recommended.  If you want to know how the Codex replaced the Roll as the standard form for books, start here.   In English.

* Roberts, C.H, The Christian Book and the Greek Papyri, Journal of Theological Studies 50 (1949), pp.155 - 168.

How far do the fragments of papyri found during the previous 70 years confirm or modify accepted views of the form and use of the book in the early church?

Suggesting that the codex form was normal among Christians from pretty much day 1. Contains statistics of how many rolls, codices, etc are extant from each of the first 4 centuries, for both pagans and Christians. Sums up much debate in the preceding decade or two.

* Roberts, C.H, The Codex, Proceedings of the British Academy 40 (1954), 169-204.

Long article summing up most of the work of the previous decade, putting Sanders' article into context, listing many of the manuscripts, etc. Very solid stuff on invention and use of the codex.

* Roberts, C.H, An unpublished fragment of the Fourth Gospel in the John Rylands Library, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library Manchester 20 (1936), pp.44-55

This is the article that brought P52 - the fragment of John dated to around 125AD - to the notice of the learned world.  Well worth a read for its careful, painstaking approach.   Equally interesting to see the way in which 'political' support  for the announcement had evidently been arranged in advance.  Includes a monochrome photograph of the fragment.

* Sabbadini, Remigio, Le scoperte dei codici Latini e Greci ne' secoli XIV e XV, Florence, 1905/1914, 1967 (reprint).  Seems to have been in two volumes, one published in 1905, the second under  the same title with a tiny subtitle Nuove richerche col riassunto filologico dei due volumi, which gives no other indication of connection with the other, in 1914.  The reprint edition is reorganised and generally easier to use.

Still the classic narrative of the rediscovery of the texts of the classical world.  I don't read Italian (yet), and I only had a few minutes with the volume, so my notes are sketchy.  References to Tertullian are thin, but here they are:
p. 80, 255: Poggio found Tertullian in the area of St. Gall in 1417 (ref. to letter from Poggio to Fr. Barbari, Epistol. p.2).  This is identified as the Apologeticum and Adv. Iud. of Fulda.
p. 87: (see also p.255) Niccolo Nicholi acquires the Apologeticum of Tertullian from Cluny in 1424 (ref. Traversari, Epistol. VIII 5 of 1423; VIII, 3; VIII, 10 of 1424.  After receiving the Apologeticus to copy, Traversari wrote to Niccoli "Cum ardore maximo et studio continuo leger incepi; occurritque vera de illo viro a maioribus lata sententia, quod scilicet in loquendo sit".  T.Ugoleto also got one from there (ref. Prato, A. del, Librai e bibliotheche parmensi del sec XV, Parma 1905, p.40.)
pp.109-111 Niccolo da Cusa / Cusano locates "ingens volumen" with 27 works of Tertullian.  Referred to in Traversari, Epistol. VIII, 37.  This came into the hands of Cardinal Orsini, at the same time as the Plautus found by Cusano.
pp.255-6 (in Vol II in the reprint). Summary of the discoveries by author.   As well as the above notes, the Apologeticum seems to have been located early - various names - Bury (vol. II, p.8), Amplonio (vol. II, p.15), Dominici in 1405(II, p.177).
Clemangis saw 'aliquot volumina' (vol. II p.80).  Parentucelli in 1433 found in Germany 'tucte le opere' in two vols (p.115).
Vol II, p.8 Richard of Bury, Bishop of Durham and friend of Petrarch, in his Philibiblon (1344), published Francofurti 1610 in Philologicarum epistolarum centuria, pp.403-500, quotes from the Apologeticum (p.481).
Vol II, p.15 Amplonius Ratinck donated his library to the new university at Erfurt in 1412,.  In the catalogue, (p.10 n.54: Schum, Beschreibendes Verzeichniss der Amplonianischen Handschriften-Sammlung zur Erfurt, Berlin 1887), p865 (pp15-16 n.84) a volume containing Lactantius and Tertullian's Apologeticum, 'volumen rarum', is listed.
Vol II.p80 Nicholas of Clemanges, Epistle 26, mentions seeing some volumes of Tertullian, unspecified.
II, 177 Cardinal Giovanni Dominici, Lucula noctis, ed. R.Coulon, Paris 1908, pp.72,83-84 refers to the Apologeticum and to a work of Cassiodorus.

From Robinson's Niccoli I learn that Ambrogio Traversari was a Florentine Monk, and his letters were edited by Petrus Cannetus, Traversarii epistulae, vol VIII being the one that seems to interest us.  Although see the reference elsewhere, now I have seen this volume.

* Sanders, H.A., The beginnings of the modern book : The Codex of the Classical Era, Michigan Alumnus Quarterly Review 44 (1938), pp.95-111.

Important article in difficult to find journal. Argues that parchment may have been used for books, and therefore the codex also, at least a century before Christ, and probably longer. Argument is accepted for scratch notebooks, but not for literary productions, by the writers of the other articles quoted here (Roberts, Kenyon, etc).


Souter, Alexander, The Text and Canon of the New Testament, London 1912

Interesting because of the information on the movements of manuscripts from French and German monasteries into other hands at the time of the Reformation and the 30 Years War. Although dealing with biblical manuscripts, undoubtedly the works of Tertullian suffered similarly.

* Stadter, Philip A., Niccolo Nicholi: Winning back the knowledge of the ancients, Vestigia - Studi in onore di Giuseppe Billanovich II (1984), pp.747-764

A profile of Niccolo's activity in obtaining new or better manuscripts and correcting them.  Also discusses the precise nature of the Commentarium, it's recipients, and the discoveries of Thomas Parentucelli and other humanists.   Very interesting.  In English.

* Tabbernee, William, Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia : Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism, Patristic Monograph Series no.16, Mercer University Press, Georgia, USA, 1997.

A fine tabulation of every bit of stone that might be relevant to Montanism, with illustrations, detailed description and references.  This is the sort of book that is thoroughly worthwhile, and bound to become a standard.  (I understand a companion volume - R.E.Heine's The Montanist Oracles and Testimonia, 1989, holds the literary evidence, but I've not seen this). 

  • The general introduction, outlining the approach taken to deciding whether an inscription was relevant is itself a fine piece of scholarship and performed in a scientific manner, with a carefully structured approach to the task that brings no preconceptions to the job.  This objectivity is welcome.
  • The introduction to part I, pp.17-26 (165-179AD) outlines the early history of Montanism, as far as it is known.  There are sections on known Montanists, with copious references.  I recommend this to anyone interested in Montanism, as it would provide an excellent starting point to read around the literature.  
  • The introduction to part II, pp.51-60 (180-224AD) will be of interest to readers of this page, as it assesses Tertullian and North African Montanism. Unusually Dr.Tabbernee takes the view that Tertullian and the other North African 'Montanists' never actually left the catholic church at all, contrary to the later statements of Augustine and Jerome, but functioned rather as a para-church grouping.   In fact there seems to be a developing 'orthodoxy' along these lines at the moment.   This is based on a careful reading of the Passio Perpetuae, and argued with ingenuity.  However I don't yet understand the logic behind ignoring Augustine and Jerome, who after all had better information than we do, if only in the form of copies of De exstasi, so I'm afraid I'm still to be convinced.  After all, even if we ignore A and J, are we not still arguing from silence?
  • pp. 451-457 and 475-6 include a discussion of Tertullianistae (remember to look under Praedestinatus in the index, as the entry for 'Tertullianistae' is incomplete).  Dr Tabbernee believes that these boys need have no necessary connection with Montanism either, or indeed with Tertullian directly.  I'm still reading around this issue, thanks to some pointers kindly emailed me by Dr. Tabbernee.

An interesting book, taking some radically different views to those held since antiquity, and doing so without any of the ego that disfigures so many 'radical' books.  Well worth looking at, and considering the arguments.   But is he right?  I must try to find some reviews of this one, and see how those in possession of the field of studies respond.

* Tabbernee, William, Remnants of the New Prophecy: Literary and Epigraphical Sources of the Montanist Movement, Studia Patristica 21 (1989), pp.193-201.

An interesting article which looks at the actual extant material by Montanists.  He argues that Tertullian never in fact left the church, but that the 'Montanist' circles in Carthage remained in communion with the main church, basing his arguments mostly on the Passio Perpetuae.  Likewise he argues that the Tertullianistae cannot be taken as a Montanist group.  Worth a look for a very different reading of the evidence on these issues. (I've not read enough yet to make my mind up!)

* Thompson, J.W., Ancient Libraries, University of California, 1940.

A very useful little handbook. Unfortunately the author seems to be a militant atheist, and as such is unreliable when discussing things that could be used to discredit the Christians, e.g. the wonderfully daft suggestion that credit for copying the books all through the dark ages belongs to the pagan nobles of the 5th century, rather than to the Benedictine monks whose handwriting is on the pages! Not all the references he quotes support his text, when he gets into this mode. But otherwise this gives us a marvellous collection of facts and references about ancient books. Recommended.

Some points of interest:

p. 91 : A single bookselling firm at Rome by dictation to 100 trained slaves in a 10 hour day could produce 1000 copies of Martial, book ii, with a profit of 100% on each copy.

p.95 : Martial tells us that the price of a copy of his 13th book (about 14 pages) was four nummi. A 30 page book in a purple cover with polished pages might cost 5 denarii.

p. 106, note 50 : The Greek classics were transmitted from the second to the eleventh century with no real errors; the much derided Byzantine copyists did not in fact corrupt the text, and the best late vellum mss are often better than the papyri, because they represent the tradition of the libraries, where good archetypes and trained scribes and revisers would be available, while the papyri must often be the work of provincial scribes. (quoting F.G.Kenyon, The evidence of Greek papyri with regard to textual criticism, Proc. Brit. Acad. 1903-4, p. 164).


Thompson, James Westfall, The Medieval Library, The University of Chicago Studies in Library Science, 1939, reprinted with a supplement by Blanche B. Boyer, Hafner Publishing Co., New York 1957.

I suffered, trying to get hold of this.   What I didn't realise is that this book is actually a serial (honest!) - even though it has no volume number or anything - and must be requested as such under the title 'The University of Chicago Studies in Library Science', and then specify the details.  If you don't, the library won't be able to find it.

The work of Thompson's old age, many of the chapters were written by pupils and co-workers.  Not as copiously referenced as the previous work, and less sectarian.  But a wonderful read - I'm trying to buy a copy at the moment - and a splendid overview of how books got from antiquity to the renaissance.  A mighty 700 pages of information, and very readable.  Recommended.

* Traversarius, Ambrosius, Latinae Epsitolae, edited by Petrus Cannetus, Florence, 1759, in 2 volumes.

Two mighty volumes, each page being A3 in size.  The letters are actually in volume 2, but volume 1 contains a very useful introduction, life and index of authors mentioned, which allows us to find the right letters in volume 2 (where there is no index).  All in Latin.

* Ullman, Berthold L. and Stadter, Philip A., The Public Library of Renaissance Florence: Niccolo Niccoli, Cosimo de' Medici and the library of San Marco, Padua 1972

A useful discussion of the role of Niccolo Niccoli in acquiring MSS.   Also contains a transcription of the catalogue of San Marco, which is at Modena in the Archivio di Stato of the Este Princes.  Naturally this includes the 3 Tertullian MSS (Conv. Soppr. VI 9/10/11)  today in the Biblioteca Nazionale.  In English.

* Walser, Ernst, Poggius Florentinus: Leben und Werke. Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters und der Renaissance XIV. Leipzig, Teubner (1914)

This again is a serial.  Curiously it only refers to Tertullian on page 101, in reference to his letter to Niccoli of 1425 hoping to get a book from Cluny via a friendly monk.   So it's not very useful to us, I'm afraid.  I've not tried to read the rest, as my German isn't very good.  It would be useful if someone would translate it into English, as it seems to be still the standard work.  In German.

* Zahn, Theodor, Der griechische Irenäus und der ganze Hegesippus im 16. Jahrhundert, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 2 (1878) pp. 288-291.  Also in

An interesting article on a couple of lost texts. 20/1/1.



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