Thursday, 5 February 2015

Binder Stephanie: Tertullian in the Face of Romanisation; Some aspects.

In my presentation, I will illustrate the suggestion according to which Tertullian converted to Christianity in reaction, or rather in rejection, of the Romanisation of North Africa and discuss the signs that could lead to such a hypothesis. I will point at some aspects of Tertullian's Christianity that do not stem from his Greco-Roman education and even sometimes stand in complete opposition with Roman culture.

While modelling Christian faith the way it serves him, Tertullian adopts some features inspired by the Oriental world and especially by Jewish culture. What motivated him to use precisely such features? How did the "ethnic Jews" of the Carthaginian Church influence Tertullian's Christianity? What can we study from Tertullian's alleged heresies, especially from his affinities with Montanism, which is supposed to have some "Judaizing" sides? What do we learn from his treatise De Idolatriawhich stands on the border between Roman and Jewish cultures but offers something new to the Christians? And is it not precisely what Christianity aims at, to create novelty based on mixing both of the cultures? Finally we will see that Tertullian never managed to free himself definitely from his Greco-Roman background but also, on the other hand, that whatever motivated his conversion, he adopted sincerely and thoroughly the Christian faith, which became a part of him and of his raison d'être.

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