His frantic warnings about the dangers of unveiled virgins, his defense of the pallium, and his condemnations of cosmetics must therefore be taken seriously, as should this outstanding contribution to the study of ancient Christianity. Keenly observant, theoretically sophisticated and original, The Salvation of the Flesh is a must read for anyone interested in ancient Mediterranean religions, Roman history and gender studies.
Life in this world was a preparation for the next, a honing of this mortal flesh into glorious resurrected bodies. Carly Daniel Hughes brilliant and engagingly written new study shows how for believers, that transformation depended upon how one dressed in the here and now. Focusing on a controversial theologian, Tertullian of Carthage, she brings vividly to life Christian debates set within the visual and moral worlds of ancient dress codes, showing how matters of dress - both then and now - can spark controversy even as they shape religious and gender identities.
Review quote "Carly Daniel-Hughes has decisively shown that Tertullian s fascination with flesh, clothing and adornment expressed his deepest theological commitments. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. For instance, they allow a moiety of the resurrection; that is, simply of the soul , despising the flesh, just as they also do the Lord of the flesh Himself.
No other persons , indeed, refuse to concede to the substance of the body its recovery from death, heretical inventors of a second deity.
Driven then, as they are, to give a different dispensation to Christ , so that He may not be accounted as belonging to the Creator, they have achieved their first error in the article of His very flesh; contending with Marcion and Basilides that it possessed no reality; or else holding, after the heretical tenets of Valentinus , and according to Apelles , that it had qualities peculiar to itself.
And so it follows that they shut out from all recovery from death that substance of which they say that Christ did not partake, confidently assuming that it furnishes the strongest presumption against the resurrection, since the flesh is already risen in Christ. Hence it is that we have ourselves previously issued our volume On the flesh of Christ ; in which we both furnish proofs of its reality, in opposition to the idea of its being a vain phantom; and claim for it a human nature without any peculiarity of condition — such a nature as has marked out Christ to be both man and the Son of man.
For when we prove Him to be invested with the flesh and in a bodily condition, we at the same time refute heresy , by establishing the rule that no other being than the Creator must be believed to be God , since we show that Christ , in whom God is plainly discerned, is precisely of such a nature as the Creator promised that He should be. Being thus refuted touching God as the Creator, and Christ as the Redeemer of the flesh, they will at once be defeated also on the resurrection of the flesh. No procedure, indeed, can be more reasonable. And we affirm that controversy with heretics should in most cases be conducted in this way.
For due method requires that conclusions should always be drawn from the most important premises, in order that there be a prior agreement on the essential point, by means of which the particular question under review may be said to have been determined.
Hence it is that the heretics , from their conscious weakness, never conduct discussion in an orderly manner. They are well aware how hard is their task in insinuating the existence of a second god, to the disparagement of the Creator of the world, who is known to all men naturally by the testimony of His works, who is before all others in the mysteries of His being , and is especially manifested in the prophets ; then, under the pretence of considering a more urgent inquiry, namely man's own salvation — a question which transcends all others in its importance — they begin with doubts about the resurrection; for there is greater difficulty in believing the resurrection of the flesh than the oneness of the Deity.
On the Resurrection of the Flesh
In this way, after they have deprived the discussion of the advantages of its logical order, and have embarrassed it with doubtful insinuations in disparagement of the flesh, they gradually draw their argument to the reception of a second god after destroying and changing the very ground of our hopes. For when once a man is fallen or removed from the sure hope which he had placed in the Creator, he is easily led away to the object of a different hope, whom however of his own accord he can hardly help suspecting.
Now it is by a discrepancy in the promises that a difference of gods is insinuated. How many do we thus see drawn into the net vanquished on the resurrection of the flesh, before they could carry their point on the oneness of the Deity!
In respect, then, of the heretics , we have shown with what weapons we ought to meet them. And indeed we have already encountered them in treatises severally directed against them: on the one only God and His Christ, in our work against Marcion , on the Lord's flesh, in our book against the four heresies , for the special purpose of opening the way to the present inquiry: so that we have now only to discuss the resurrection of the flesh, treating it just as if it were uncertain in regard to ourselves also, that is, in the system of the Creator.
Because many persons are uneducated; still more are of faltering faith , and several are weak-minded: these will have to be instructed, directed, strengthened, inasmuch as the very oneness of the Godhead will be defended along with the maintenance of our doctrine. For if the resurrection of the flesh be denied, that prime article of the faith is shaken; if it be asserted, that is established. There is no need, I suppose, to treat of the soul's safety; for nearly all the heretics , in whatever way they conceive of it, certainly refrain from denying that.
We may ignore a certain Lucan, who does not spare even this part of our nature, which he follows Aristotle in reducing to dissolution, and substitutes some other thing in lieu of it. Some third nature it is which, according to him, is to rise again, neither soul nor flesh; in other words, not man, but a bear perhaps — for instance, Lucan himself. Even he has received from us a copious notice in our book on the entire condition of the soul , the special immortality of which we there maintain, while we also both acknowledge the dissolution of the flesh alone, and emphatically assert its restitution.
Into the body of that work were collected whatever points we elsewhere had to reserve from the pressure of incidental causes. For as it is my custom to touch some questions but lightly on their first occurrence, so I am obliged also to postpone the consideration of them, until the outline can be filled in with complete detail, and the deferred points be taken up on their own merits. One may no doubt be wise in the things of God , even from one's natural powers, but only in witness to the truth , not in maintenance of error ; only when one acts in accordance with, not in opposition to, the divine dispensation.
For some things are known even by nature: the immortality of the soul , for instance, is held by many; the knowledge of our God is possessed by all.
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I may use, therefore, the opinion of a Plato , when he declares, Every soul is immortal. I may use also the conscience of a nation, when it attests the God of gods. I may, in like manner, use all the other intelligences of our common nature, when they pronounce God to be a judge.
God sees, say they ; and, I commend you to God. Then, if even the heretic seek refuge in the depraved thoughts of the vulgar, or the imaginations of the world, I must say to him: Part company with the heathen , O heretic! For although you are all agreed in imagining a God , yet while you do so in the name of Christ , so long as you deem yourself a Christian , you are a different man from a heathen : give him back his own views of things, since he does not himself learn from yours. Why lean upon a blind guide, if you have eyes of your own?
Why be clothed by one who is naked, if you have put on Christ? Why use the shield of another, when the apostle gives you armour of your own? It would be better for him to learn from you to acknowledge the resurrection of the flesh, than for you from him to deny it; because if Christians must needs deny it, it would be sufficient if they did so from their own knowledge , without any instruction from the ignorant multitude.
He, therefore, will not be a Christian who shall deny this doctrine which is confessed by Christians ; denying it, moreover, on grounds which are adopted by a man who is not a Christian. Take away, indeed, from the heretics the wisdom which they share with the heathen , and let them support their inquiries from the Scriptures alone: they will then be unable to keep their ground.
Tertullian of Carthage ca. — Classical Christianity
For that which commends men's common sense is its very simplicity, and its participation in the same feelings, and its community of opinions; and it is deemed to be all the more trustworthy, inasmuch as its definitive statements are naked and open, and known to all. Divine reason, on the contrary, lies in the very pith and marrow of things, not on the surface, and very often is at variance with appearances. Hence it is that heretics start at once from this point, from which they sketch the first draft of their dogmas , and afterwards add the details, being well aware how easily men's minds are caught by its influence, and actuated by that community of human sentiment which is so favourable to their designs.
Is there anything else that you can hear of from the heretic , as also from the heathen , earlier in time or greater in extent? Is not their burden from the beginning and everywhere an invective against the flesh — against its origin, against its substance, against the casualties and the invariable end which await it; unclean from its first formation of the dregs of the ground, uncleaner afterwards from the mire of its own seminal transmission; worthless, weak, covered with guilt, laden with misery, full of trouble; and after all this record of its degradation, dropping into its original earth and the appellation of a corpse, and destined to dwindle away even from this loathsome name into none henceforth at all — into the very death of all designation?
Now you are a shrewd man, no doubt : will you then persuade yourself , that after this flesh has been withdrawn from sight, and touch, and memory, it can never be rehabilitated from corruption to integrity, from a shattered to a solid state, from an empty to a full condition, from nothing at all to something — the devouring fires, and the waters of the sea, and the maws of beasts, and the crops of birds and the stomachs of fishes, and time's own great paunch itself of course yielding it all up again? Shall the same flesh which has fallen to decay be so expected to recover, as that the lame, and the one-eyed, and the blind, and the leper , and the palsied shall come back again, although there can be no pleasure in returning to their old condition?
Or shall they be whole, and so have to fear exposure to such sufferings? What, in that case, must we say of the consequences of resuming the flesh? Will it again be subject to all its present wants, especially meats and drinks? Shall we have with our lungs to float in air or water , and suffer pain in our bowels, and with organs of shame to feel no shame, and with all our limbs to toil and labour?
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Must there again be ulcers, and wounds, and fever, and gout, and once more the wishing to die? Of course these will be the longings incident on the recovery of the flesh, only the repetition of desires to escape out of it. Well now, we have stated all this in very subdued and delicate phrases, as suited to the character of our style; but would you know how great a licence of unseemly language these men actually use, you must test them in their conferences, whether they be heathens or heretics. Inasmuch as all uneducated men, therefore, still form their opinions after these common-sense views, and as the falterers and the weak-minded have a renewal of their perplexities occasioned by the selfsame views; and as the first battering-ram which is directed against ourselves is that which shatters the condition of the flesh, we must on our side necessarily so manage our defences, as to guard, first of all, the condition of the flesh, their disparagement of it being repulsed by our own eulogy.
The heretics , therefore, challenged us to use our rhetoric no less than our philosophy. Respecting, then, this frail and poor, worthless body, which they do not indeed hesitate to call evil , even if it had been the work of angels , as Menander and Marcus are pleased to think, or the formation of some fiery being, an angel , as Apelles teaches, it would be quite enough for securing respect for the body, that it had the support and protection of even a secondary deity. The angels , we know , rank next to God. Now, whatever be the supreme God of each heretic , I should not unfairly derive the dignity of the flesh likewise from Him to whom was present the will for its production.
For, of course, if He had not willed its production, He would have prohibited it, when He knew it was in progress. It follows, then, that even on their principle the flesh is equally the work of God. There is no work but belongs to Him who has permitted it to exist. It is indeed a happy circumstance, that most of their doctrines, including even the harshest, accord to our God the entire formation of man. How mighty He is, you know full well who believe that He is the only God. Let, then, the flesh begin to give you pleasure, since the Creator thereof is so great.
And surely if the universe , after its ruin, is not to be formed again, why should a portion of it be? You are right, if a portion is on an equality with the whole. But we maintain that there is a difference. In the first place, because all things were made by the Word of God , and without Him was nothing made. And God , says the Scripture , formed man. For the creatures which were made were inferior to him for whom they were made; and they were made for man , to whom they were afterwards made subject by God. Rightly, therefore, had the creatures which were thus intended for subjection, come forth into being at the bidding and command and sole power of the divine voice; while man, on the contrary, destined to be their lord, was formed by God Himself, to the intent that he might be able to exercise his mastery, being created by the Master the Lord Himself.
Remember, too, that man is properly called flesh , which had a prior occupation in man's designation: And God formed man the clay of the ground. He now became man, who was hitherto clay.
And He breathed upon his face the breath of life, and man that is, the clay became a living soul ; and God placed the man whom He had formed in the garden. I wish to impress this on your attention, with a view to your knowing , that whatever God has at all purposed or promised to man , is due not to the soul simply, but to the flesh also; if not arising out of any community in their origin, yet at all events by the privilege possessed by the latter in its name.
Let me therefore pursue the subject before me — if I can but succeed in vindicating for the flesh as much as was conferred on it by Him who made it, glorying as it even then was, because that poor paltry material, clay, found its way into the hands of God , whatever these were, happy enough at merely being touched by them. But why this glorying? Was it that, without any further labour, the clay had instantly assumed its form at the touch of God? The truth is, a great matter was in progress, out of which the creature under consideration was being fashioned.
So often then does it receive honour , as often as it experiences the hands of God , when it is touched by them, and pulled, and drawn out, and moulded into shape. Imagine God wholly employed and absorbed in it — in His hand, His eye, His labour, His purpose, His wisdom, His providence , and above all, in His love , which was dictating the lineaments of this creature.
For, whatever was the form and expression which was then given to the clay by the Creator Christ was in His thoughts as one day to become man, because the Word, too, was to be both clay and flesh, even as the earth was then. For so did the Father previously say to the Son: Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.