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Friday, May 27, 2011

Note (84.) to "History of the 'Christian' Trinity - HIST"

84. “But [Tertullian’s] well-known question, ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’ expressed a rejection of [Pagan] philosophy that was not true of his own works, since he demonstrated how pagan intellectual achievements could be made to serve [?] Christianity.” - Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity, p. 111, 1977.

Even though Tertullian is often “credited” with being the first (c. 215 A. D.) to apply the term ‘trinity’ to the Christian God, he wrote (c. 210 A. D.):

“It is this philosophy which is the...rash interpreter of the divine nature and order. In fact, heresies are themselves prompted by philosophy. It [philosophy] is the source of ‘aeons,’ and I know not what infinite ‘forms’ and the ‘trinity of man’ in the [heretical] system of Valentinus [c.140 A. D.].” - pp. 5-6, Documents of the Early Church, Bettenson, Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 1963.

Not only did Tertullian condemn the interpretation of the divine nature by philosophy, but he shows his familiarity (and contempt for) the use of the term ‘trinity’ (as applied to man) many years before he is ‘credited’ with first applying that philosophically derived term to God (and the divine nature)!

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