Item description for Tertullian's Theology of Divine Power (Rutherford Studies, Series 1: Historical Theology) (Rutherford Studies on Historical Theology) by Roy Kearsley...
Overview This book traces Tertullian's handling of key doctrines and draws implications for some of today's crucial issues: Trinitarian faith, the status of creation, gender, authority and power abuse. It takes the agenda of early Christian thought seriously and finds it profoundly relevant for today.
Publishers Description This book traces Tertullians handling of key doctrines and draws implications for some of todays crucial issues: Trinitarian faith, the status of creation, gender, authority and power abuse. It takes the agenda of early Christian thought seriously and finds it profoundly relevant today.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.99" Width: 5.83" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.63 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2000
Publisher AUTHENTIC UK
Series Rutherford Studies In Historical
ISBN 0946068615 ISBN13 9780946068616
Reviews - What do customers think about Tertullian's Theology of Divine Power (Rutherford Studies, Series 1: Historical Theology) (Rutherford Studies on Historical Theology)?
Almost unreadable Apr 5, 2003
Studies of the theology of Tertullian in English are rare things, and the quality tends to be low. The 1905 classic "La theologie de Tertullien" by D'Ales has never had an English equivalent -- indeed Roberts in 1924 was able to write his less than useful book without even referencing D'Ales. So it is exciting to come across a book, however curiously named, which addresses itself to the subject.
The book is copiously annotated. Indeed I found it very useful as a guide to publications on aspects of Tertullian's theology. For instance, three pages are devoted to the famous 'credo quia absurdum', in which Kearsley summarises 3 ways to look at this, with references. This was indeed useful. Likewise it is possible to dip into the book at points, searching for texts and concepts and find a useful collection of books and articles for further reading, and some sort of digest of them.
Unfortunately the book has many serious defects. The first which strikes the reader is the style, which is turgid and unreadable. The book derives from a PhD thesis, and I suspect the process of condensation must bear some of the blame.
The second issue that strikes the reader forcibly is that every other sentence seems to be a reference, not to Tertullian, but to the opinion of some modern theological writer about him. (The overwhelming majority of these are anglophone, which is disappointing). This makes the book intensely frustrating to the reader who wants to hear the voice of Tertullian, not that of modern writers about him.
For instance, in chapter 2 there is a discussion of why Tertullian placed Athens and Jerusalem in opposition, and what Tertullian thought of 'philosophy'. It's too condensed, for one thing. Many things might be said about this. But the focus is on modern opinions (all rather uninteresting), not on Tertullian, and I frankly felt that neither the author nor his sources had actually read and enjoyed the first 10 chapters of De praescriptione haereticorum as a living text with something to say, rather than as raw material for his thesis. It is very hard to read Greenslade's excellent version and then regard these pages as useful comment on it.
The volume is likewise marred by political correctness of a particularly intrusive kind. Apparently the idea of political authority stemming from the emperor is anathema in the author's circles. This anachronism is very destructive. There is much talk of 'rescuing' bits of the Christian gospel (the PC code-word for syncretism), in order to relate them to this PC fad or that. This is deeply offensive to Christians, and logically nonsensical. Finally the text is stuffed with theological jargon, all of it smelling strongly of the lecture-notes of some salaried and tenured professor of religious studies at some marginal secular university.
All of this makes the volume very hard indeed to read, and I found my attention wandering on just about every page. I cannot say that I learnt anything about Tertullian from it. Probably there are some useful insights, if you can get past the obstacles. But I didn't find any. D'Ales is immensely better.
The general reader will find T.D.Barnes, "Tertullian: A Literary and Historical Study" a far better introduction to Tertullian as a whole. However, it would be unfair to complain that Kearsley does not rival Barnes, as he did not set out to do so.
I'm not sure to whom this book can be recommended. It has a certain value as a guide to the literature.