Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 13. Ecclesiastical Literature of the Ante-Nicene Age, and Biographical Sketches of the Church Fathers.” sec. 159-204.
§ 196. Tertullian and the African School.
After an extensive bibliography, Schaff observes that Latin Christianity arose at the end of the second century. However, it was centered in Carthage (Schaff 2014, loc. 22955, par. 1). Schaff also notes that the literature appeared rather suddenly, as opposed to a gradual unfolding.
Schaff provides us with an account of Tertullian’s life, since Tertullian is so prominent in this African movement of Latin Christianity (Schaff 2014, loc. 22960, par. 2). Tertullian was a native Carthaginian, born about 150 to a Roman legionary captain. He was well educated and devoted to political speech (Schaff 2014, loc. 22965, par. 2). He converted to Christianity near the end of the 2ned century, becoming ardent in his zeal, his dedication to family, and self-denial (Schaff 2014, loc. 22979, par. 3). Around the turn of the third century, Tertullian became associated with Montanism, a move Schaff considers consistent with Tertullian’s tendency to make radical moves in one direction or another (Schaff 2014, loc. 22980, par. 4). Despite his asceticism, Tertullian defended orthodox doctrinal stances (Schaff 2014, loc. 22985, par. 4).
Schaff compared Hippolytus and Tertullian, as their lives had considerable overlap (Schaff 2014, loc. 23000, par. 7). Hippolytus is known for charging popes with heresy and pursuing a very rigorous Christian life.
Schaff considers Tertullian as a very energetic character (Schaff 2014, loc. 23005, par. 8). He wrote in very forceful terms, showing an extensive grasp of philosophy and history (Schaff 2014, loc. 23019, par. 9). Schaff repeatedly compares Tertullian to Luther in his forceful manner of writing and his unwillingness to indulge heretics and other misinformed opponents.
Schaff continues with “gems from Tertullian’s writings” (Schaff 2014, loc. 23034, par. 12). He concludes that Tertullian expresses the great value of freedom of conscience. This was seen in free exercise of worship, which was a departure from the practices of other parts of culture (Schaff 2014, loc. 23043, par. 11).
Schaff closes this section by quoting various scholars’ statements about Tertullian’s character and writing (Schaff 2014, loc. 23043, par. 12).