Early Church Fathers
85 pp. 129-140.
86 Even under Commodus, vol. ii. p. 598, this series.
1 [This solemn sentence vindicates the place I have given to the De Idololatria in the order adopted for this volume. After this and the Apology come three treatises confirming its positions, and vindicating the principles of Christians in conflict with Idolatry, the great generic crime of a world lying in wickedness. These three are the De Spectaculis, the De Corona and the Ad Scapulam. The De Spectaculis was written after this treatise, in which indeed it is mentioned, (Cap. xiii.) but logically it follows, illustrates and enforces it. Henece my practical plan : which will be concluded by a scheme (conjectural in part) of chronological order in which precision is affirmed by all critics to be impossible, but, by which we may reach approximate accuracy, with great advantage. The De Idololatria is free from Montanism. But see Kaye, p. xvi.]
2 Lit., "has not perished," as if the perishing were already complete; as, of course, it is judically as soon as the guilt is incurred, though not actually.
3 i.e., in idolatry.
4 A play on the word: we should say, "an adulterator."
5 Oehler refers to Ezek. xxiii.; but many other references imght be given- in the Pentateuch and Psalms, for instance.
6 Matt. v. 28.
7 Matt. 5. 22.
8 1 John. iii. 15.
9 Rev. ii. 24.
10 Matt. v. 20.
11 "Boiled out," "bubbled out."
12 Or, brass.
13 i.e., a little form.
14 Idolatry, namely.
15 [Capitalized to mark its emphatic sense, i.e., the People of God = the Jews.]
16 See Ex. xxxii.; and compare 1 Cor. x. 7, where the latter part of Ex. xxxii. 6 is quoted.
17 Lev. xxvi. 1; Ex. xx. 4; Deut. v. 8. It must of course be borne in mind that Tertullian has defined the meaning of the word idolin the former chapter, and speaks with reference to that definition.
18 Compare de Oratione, c. 23, and de Virg. Vel. c. 7.
19 "Sanguinis perditionis:" such is the reading of Oehler and others. If it be correct, probably the phrase "perdition of blood" must be taken as equivalent to "bloody perdition," after the Hebrew fashion. Compare, for similar instances, 2 Sam. xvi. 7; Ps. v. 6, xxvi. 9. Lv. 23; Ezek. xxii. 2, with the marginal readings. But Fr. Junius would read, "Of blood and of perdition"-sanguinis et perditionis. Oehler's own interpretation of the reading he gives-"blood-shedding"-appears unsatisfactory.
20 "In fanis." This is Oehler's reading on conjecture. Other readings are-infamis, infamibus, insanis, infernis.
21 Isa. xliv. 8 et seqq.
22 Ps. cxv. 8. In our version, "They that make them are like unto them." Tertullian again agrees with the LXX.
23 Cf. Chaps.viii. And xii.
24 i.e., the Discipline of the house of God, the Church. Oehler reads, "eam disciplinam," and takes the meaning to be that no artificer of this class should be admitted into the Church, if he applies for admittance, with a knowledge of the law of God referred to in the former chapters, yet persisting in his unlawful craft. Fr. Junius would read, "ejus disciplinam."
25 i.e., If laws of your own, and not the will and law of God, are the source and means of your life, you owe no thanks and no obedience to God, and therefore need not seek admittance into His house (Oehler).
26 1 Cor. vii. 20. In Eng. ver., "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called."
27 1 Thess. iv. 11; 2 Thess. iii. 6-12.
28 i.e., thieves who frequented the public baths, which were a favorite resort at Rome.
29 The Marcionites.
30 [The argument amounts to this, that symbols were not idols : yet even so, God only could ordain symbols that were innocent. The Nehushtan of King Hezekiah teaches us the "peril of Idolatry" ( 2 Kings, xviii. 4) and that even a divine symbol may be destroyed justly if it be turned to a violation of the Second Commandment.]
31 [On which see Dr. Smith, Dict. Of the Bible, ad vocem "Serpent."]
32 i.e., the Jewish people, who are generally meant by the expression "the People" in the singular number in Scripture. We shall endeavour to mark that distinction by writing the word, as here, with a capital.
33 See 1 Cor. x. 6, 11.
34 On the principle that the exception proves the urle. As Oehler explains it: "By the fact of the extraordinary precept in that particular case, God gave an indication that likeness-making had before been forbidden and interdicted by Him."
35 Ex. xx. 4, etc. [The absurd "brazen serpent" which I have seen in the Church of St. Ambrose, in Milan, is with brazen hardihood affirmed to be the identical serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness. But it lacks all symbolic character, as it is not set upon a pole nor in any way fitted to a cross. It greatly resembles a vane set upon a pivot.]
36 [Elucidation I.]
37 i.e., Unless you made them, they would not exist, and therefore [would not be regarded as divinities; therefore] your diligence gives them their divinity.
38 Matt. xviii. 8.
39 See chaps. v. and xii.
40 See chap. ii., "The expansiveness of idolatry."
41 Abacum. The word has various meanings; but this, perhaps, is its most general use: as, for instance, in Horace and Juvenal.
42 Alterius = e9te\ron which in the New Testament is = to "neighbour" in Rom. xiii. 8, etc. [Our author must have borne in mind Cicero's beautiful words-"Etenim omnes artes quae ad humanitatem pertinent habent quoddam commune vinculum," etc. Pro Archia, i. tom. x. p. 10. Ed. Paris, 1817.]
43 Quaestum. Another reading is "questum," which would require us to translate "plaint."
44 "Quorum manus non ignorantium," i.e., "the hands of whom not unwitting;" which may be rendered as above, because in English, as in the Latin, in adjective "unwitting" belongs to the "whose," not to the "hands."
45 "Ars" in Latin is very generally used to mean "a scientific art." [See Titus iii. 14. English margin.]
46 See Eph. v. 11, 12, and similar passages.
47 i.e., by naming the stars after them.
48 Comp. chap. iv., and the references there given. The idea seems fouinded on an ancient reading found in the Codex Alexandrinus of the LXX. In Gen. vi. 2, "angels of God," for "sons of God."
49 See Tac. Ann. ii. 31, etc. (Oehler.)
50 See Matt. ii.
51 Because the names of the heathen divinities, which used to be given to the stars, were in many cases only names of dead men deified.
52 Or, heathenish.
53 Or, sect.
54 See Ex. vii., viii., and comp. 2 Tim. iii. 8.
55 See Acts viii. 9-24.
56 See Acts xiii. 6-11.
57 1 Cor. i. 20.
58 See Acts viii. 21.
59 See 1 Cor. vii. 31, "They that use this world as not abusing it." The astrologer abuses the heavens by putting the heavenly bodies to a sinful use.
60 i.e., the seven planets.
61 See 1 Cor. viii. 10.