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Title: Tertullian's understanding of death and the afterlife
Author: Imrie, Jennifer Morag
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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'The blood of the Christians is the seed'. This aphorism regarding the 'seed' of the Church is probably Tertullian's most memorable assertion regarding death. However, it would be misleading, indeed dangerously simplistic to confine his reflections on death to the theme of 'bearing witness'. The thesis seeks to demonstrate the complexity of Tertullian's reflections on death. Taking as its point of departure the physical phenomenon itself, the thesis explores, in turn, the six most prominent themes within the Tertullianic understanding of death. The said themes are death as a physical phenomenon, death as the imitation of Christ, death as a teaching medium, death as the culmination of man's conflict with the powers of evil, death as the ultimate sacrifice and death as the gateway to the hereafter. Did Tertullian regard death as 'natural'? Did he formulate a 'scientific' theory of death and putrefaction? Can a vision of discipleship which primarily focusses upon the motifs of 'indebtedness' and 'enslavement' be characterised as a genuine expression of 'imitatio Christi'? Did Tertullian regard the shedding of blood as a symbol of 'life' given over to death or did he simply regard it as a symbol of 'death' and 'violence'? Was his concept of martyrdom modified by his memories of the sacrificial demands of the Romano-Punic deities, Ba'al Hammon/Saturn and Tanit/Caelestis? These are but a few of the questions addressed by the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available