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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Earth Does Not Mean Matter as Hermogenes Would Have It.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXIV.—Earth Does Not Mean Matter as Hermogenes Would Have It.

I now return to the several points 6354 by means of which he thought that Matter was signified. And first I will inquire about the p. 491 terms. For we read only of one of them, Earth; the other, namely Matter, we do not meet with. I ask, then, since Matter is not mentioned in Scripture, how the term earth can be applied to it, which marks a substance of another kind? There is all the greater need why mention should also have been made of Matter, if this has acquired the further sense of Earth, in order that I may be sure that Earth is one and the same name as Matter, and so not claim the designation for merely one substance, as the proper name thereof, and by which it is better known; or else be unable (if I should feel the inclination), to apply it to some particular species of Matter, instead, indeed, 6355 of making it the common term 6356 of all Matter. For when a proper name does not exist for that thing to which a common term is ascribed, the less apparent 6357 is the object to which it may be ascribed, the more capable will it be of being applied to any other object whatever. Therefore, even supposing that Hermogenes could show us the name 6358 Matter, he is bound to prove to us further, that the same object has the surname 6359 Earth, in order that he may claim for it both designations alike.





Nec utique.




We have construed Oehler’s reading: “Quanto non comparet” (i.e., by a frequent ellipse of Tertullian, “quanto magis non comparet”). Fr. Junius, however, suspects that instead of “quanto” we should read “quando”: this would produce the sense, “since it is not apparent to what object it may be ascribed,” etc.





Next: The Assumption that There are Two Earths Mentioned in the History of the Creation, Refuted.

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