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On the Resurrection of the Flesh

The purpose of this research is to analyze key theological questions contained in Tertullian's On the Resurrection of the Flesh. The plan of the research will be to set forth the pattern of ideas contained in the work and to discuss the means by which the author develops his analysis of body-and-soul discourse, his Christological doctrine, and his view of the extent and manner of divine participation in the experience of human life, with a view toward explaining his affirmation of the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh at the time of the anticipated last judgment.

One need not be a professional theologian to detect in the text of Tertullian's discussion of the resurrection of the flesh the fact that he must have been at pains to justify to an emerging religion certain fundamental tenets of the faith that were meant to be shared and articulated with unambiguous fervor. That is made plain in the first few words of the text, which refer to "the heretics against whom this work is directed" (Tertullian). Yet it is not sufficient to note that Tertullian is engaged in a project of defining and explicating doctrine. Assuming appreciation of the fact that the patristic period of the Church was devoted to eliminating all manner of heresy so as to reinforce the unitary nature of the faith, there nevertheless remains the issue of understanding the content of orthodox belief. That is, it may be instructive to look at Tertullian's text for the purpose of identifying why his views of the interpenetration of bodily existence and the nature of the soul--and by extension and of utmost importance the interpenetration of divine and human experience--should have prevailed over the views of those he is at such pains to denounce.

Any attempt to reach meaning with Tertullian's text must begin with an attempt to understand what to modern sensibilities is surely an arcane expression but which seems decisively important to Tertullian himself: the Mo...

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On the Resurrection of the Flesh. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:59, January 25, 2021, from