Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity

Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity

Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity

Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity

Synopsis

A monumental project which brings the English-speaking work key selections from the remarkable literature of early Christianity -- vertiable trasures of Christian faith and theology in superb translations.

Excerpt

Orthodox Christianity regards the doctrine of the divine forgiveness of sins as an essential article of faith. the nature of this forgiveness, its manner and measure, its causes and its effects, have all been subjects of controversy, but whoever accepts the Apostles' Creed as an expression of elementary Christian doctrine professes his belief in the basic truth that in some sense, in some way and under certain conditions God does pardon the sins of men. This belief has its foundation in Scripture and finds its historical expression in the traditional teaching of the Church. the great interest of Tertullian's treatises on repentance derives from the influence which they exercised on the development of this tradition in the West, and from the contribution which they make to our understanding of the Church's ministerial forgiveness of sins at a period quite close to the apostolic or sub-apostolic age. By common consent of competent critics they are the two most important documents of ancient Christian literature for the study of one of the most difficult questions in the history of dogma: the doctrine and discipline of ecclesiastical penance during the first centuries of our era. Bernhard Poschmann, a writer whose authority in all that concerns the early history of penitential theology is unexcelled, has stated that the judgement which one forms of the theory and practice of penance in Christian antiquity will be determined, in large measure, by the interpretation which one puts upon the De paenitentia and De pudicitia of Tertullian.

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