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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part I: Book II

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter I
Philosophers Had Not Succeeded in Discovering God. The Uncertainty and Confusion of Their Speculations.
The Physical Philosophers Maintained the Divinity of the Elements; The Absurdity of the Tenet Exposed.
Wrong Derivation of the Word Qeός. The Name Indicative of the True Deity. God Without Shape and Immaterial. Anecdote of Thales.
The Physical Theory Continued. Further Reasons Advanced Against the Divinity of the Elements.
The Changes of the Heavenly Bodies, Proof that They are Not Divine. Transition from the Physical to the Mythic Class of Gods.
The Gods of the Mythic Class. The Poets a Very Poor Authority in Such Matters. Homer and the Mythic Poets. Why Irreligious.
The Gods of the Different Nations. Varro's Gentile Class. Their Inferiority. A Good Deal of This Perverse Theology Taken from Scripture. Serapis a Perversion of Joseph.
The Power of Rome.  Romanized Aspect of All the Heathen Mythology. Varro's Threefold Distribution Criticised. Roman Heroes (Æneas Included,) Unfavourably Reviewed.
A Disgraceful Feature of the Roman Mythology. It Honours Such Infamous Characters as Larentina.
The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to Death. Much Indelicacy in This System.
The Original Deities Were Human--With Some Very Questionable Characteristics. Saturn or Time Was Human. Inconsistencies of Opinion About Him.
The Gods Human at First.  Who Had the Authority to Make Them Divine? Jupiter Not Only Human, But Immoral.
Gods, Those Which Were Confessedly Elevated to the Divine Condition, What Pre-Eminent Right Had They to Such Honour? Hercules an Inferior Character.
The Constellations and the Genii Very Indifferent Gods. The Roman Monopoly of Gods Unsatisfactory. Other Nations Require Deities Quite as Much.
Inventors of Useful Arts Unworthy of Deification. They Would Be the First to Acknowledge a Creator. The Arts Changeable from Time to Time, and Some Become Obsolete.
Conclusion, the Romans Owe Not Their Imperial Power to Their Gods. The Great God Alone Dispenses Kingdoms, He is the God of the Christians.
Appendix: A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen.
Elucidation.


Next: Chapter I

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