Who is Tertullian (Tertullianus)?June 26, 2021
Tertullian, who is considered the first and greatest church father to write a defense in Latin, is African. Tertullianus, who was born in Carthage towards the year 160, is likened to Tatianus in some aspects of his thinking by historians of medieval philosophy.
Tertullian, who was radically opposed to philosophy, entered the Christian religion towards 190. The interesting thing is that Tertullian’s teaching is seen as materialist and Stoic despite its opposition to philosophy. This was evaluated as a situation related to his personality structure.
As a matter of fact, he later became a supporter of a movement called Montanism, and this time he harshly criticized Christianity. When he moved away from this teaching, he developed a unique teaching and established a sect. Tertullianus; He wrote works titled “Apologeticum”, “Provisions of Heretics” and “On the Spirit”.
According to Terullian, the right to interpret the scriptures belongs only to those who are Christians. Gnostics and philosophers do not have this right because they are heretics. The Christian has no right to choose and judge. What he has to do is to accept the belief as it is and not to argue. Because according to him, one becomes a Christian by the word of the Savior Jesus, not by the word of others. Faith is a regulafide for every Christian; It is a set of strict rules that must be followed. A Christian does not need anything else.
The reason for the perversions and proliferation of the Gnostic sects is the philosophers. Prophets are ancestors of Christians and philosophers are ancestors of heretical sects. The most ordinary devout Christian knows God, while Plato, the greatest of philosophers, says that it is difficult to know God and discover him. It is just a coincidence that philosophers have said things similar to the Christian faith. Tertullian transformed Christianity into a kind of anti-rationality. It is true that some of the dogmas are irrational and incomprehensible.
Tertullianus says in his work entitled The Body of Jesus: “The son of God was crucified. I am not ashamed of it, because it is necessary to be ashamed, and the death of the Son of God is something we can believe, because it is a foolish thing. And it is certain that he will be resurrected after he is buried, because that is impossible.” This strange discourse can only become intelligible in the light of the phrase “Credoquiaabsurdum” (I believe because it is absurd) attributed to him. This is an original idea that later found many adherents.
Another peculiarity that should be added to all that has been said is that, as we have stated above, he advocated a materialist and Stoic understanding of the soul and God. According to him, the soul is a thin and volatile three-dimensional object like air. It is a substance and is real, and everything real is also material. Tertullianusnefs, who defends the doctrine of reproduction by inheriting from Adam, makes the determination of the inner human for the soul. The body is the outer man or the cover of the inner man. The soul has its own organs. It is a branch separated from the father. That’s why every person has a Christian soul with a nafs inherited from his father. This was seen as a remarkable way to reach God, and a spontaneous call to God was based on this understanding.
According to Tertullian, everything that exists has a body. Since God exists, he is also bodily. It is the thinnest and brightest of all objects. It is so bright that it prevents us from seeing it. That’s why we think of it as incorporeal. God has created a spiritual substance of himself, which is logos. Logos is to God what the rays are to the Sun. The rays of the sun are logos, and the sun is God. Logos is the light emanating from the father. The Father is the source of lights and is superior to all rays. God created the universe out of nothing. However, logos; is the reason for creating, shaping and managing it. The holy spirit is added to it like logos without destroying the unity of the father.
Quintus Septimus Tertullianus (c. 160-225 AD) was a prolific Christian theologian from Carthage, the Roman province of North Africa. Tertullianus, who is considered one of the founding fathers of Catholic theology, both made technical philosophical explanations of Christian teaching and wrote polemical articles defending these explanations.
The Christian church, in stark contrast to Gnosis, has always placed dogma above knowledge. However, various trends within the framework of the church in this regard; There are currents that are friendly to philosophy and hostile to philosophy. One of the enemies of those who take a positive attitude towards philosophy is Tertullian.
According to him, it is necessary to adopt dogmas, regardless of their content, only with “faith”. We do not have the right to interpret dogma, to give meaning to it. So much so that Tertullian goes even further, arguing that dogma can be completely ‘contrary to reason’.
For example, the dogma in Christianity that God takes human form and suffers as a human being is a paradox, an idea that is completely contrary to reason. However, it is necessary to believe in dogmas, because dogmas force the mind to be humble. Thus, Tertullian argues that dogmas f