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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10656
Tertullian, On Modesty, 17


nanChallenge me to front the apostolic line of battle; look at his Epistles: they all keep guard in defense of modesty, of chastity, of sanctity; they all aim their missiles against the interests of luxury, and lasciviousness, and lust. What, in short, does he write to the Thessalonians withal? For our consolation (originated) not of seduction, nor of impurity: and, This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication; that each one know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence, as (do) the nations which are ignorant of God. What do the Galatians read? Manifest are the works of the flesh. What are these? Among the first he has set fornication, impurity, lasciviousness: (concerning) which I foretell you, as I have foretold, that whoever do such acts are not to attain by inheritance the kingdom of God. The Romans, moreover - what learning is more impressed upon them than that there must be no dereliction of the Lord after believing? What, then, say we? Do we persevere in sin, in order that grace may superabound? Far be it. We, who are dead to sin, how shall we live in it still? Are you ignorant that we who have been baptized in Christ have been baptized into His death? Buried with Him, then, we have been, through the baptism into the death, in order that, as Christ has risen again from the dead, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been buried together in the likeness of His death, why, we shall be (in that) of (His) resurrection too; knowing this, that our old man has been crucified together with Him. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall live, too, with Him; knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, no more dies, (that) death no more has domination over Him. For in that He died to sin, He died once for all; but in that He lives, to God He lives. Thus, too, repute yourselves dead indeed to sin, but living to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore, Christ being once for all dead, none who, subsequently to Christ, has died, can live again to sin, and especially to so heinous a sin. Else, if fornication and adultery may by possibility be anew admissible, Christ withal will be able anew to die. Moreover, the apostle is urgent in prohibiting sin from reigning in our mortal body, whose infirmity of the flesh he knew. For as you have tendered your members to servile impurity and iniquity, so too now tender them servants to righteousness unto holiness. For even if he has affirmed that good dwells not in his flesh, yet (he means) according to the law of the letter, in which he was: but according to the law of the Spirit, to which he annexes us, he frees us from the infirmity of the flesh. For the law, he says, of the Spirit of life has manumitted you from the law of sin and of death. For albeit he may appear to be partly disputing from the standpoint of Judaism, yet it is to us that he is directing the integrity and plenitude of the rules of discipline - (us), for whose sake soever, labouring (as we were) in the law, God has sent, through flesh, His own Son, in similitude of flesh of sin; and, because of sin, has condemned sin in the flesh; in order that the righteousness of the law, he says, might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to flesh, but according to (the) Spirit. For they who walk according to flesh are sensible as to those things which are the flesh's, and they who (walk) according to (the) Spirit those which (are) the Spirit's. Moreover, he has affirmed the sense of the flesh to be death; hence too, enmity, and enmity toward God; and that they who are in the flesh, that is, in the sense of the flesh, cannot please God: and, If you live according to flesh, he says, it will come to pass that you die. But what do we understand the sense of the flesh and the life of the flesh (to mean), except whatever it shames (one) to pronounce? for the other (works) of the flesh even an apostle would have named. Similarly, too, (when writing) to the Ephesians, while recalling past (deeds), he warns (them) concerning the future: In which we too had our conversation, doing the concupiscences and pleasures of the flesh. Branding, in fine, such as had denied themselves - Christians, to wit - on the score of having delivered themselves up to the working of every impurity, But you, he says, not so have learned Christ. And again he says thus: Let him who was wont to steal, steal no more. But, similarly, let him who was wont to commit adultery hitherto, not commit adultery; and he who was wont to fornicate hitherto, not fornicate: for he would have added these (admonitions) too, had he been in the habit of extending pardon to such, or at all willed it to be extended - (he) who, not willing pollution to be contracted even by a word, says, Let no base speech proceed out of your mouth. Again: But let fornication and every impurity not be even named among you, as becomes saints, - so far is it from being excused -knowing this, that every fornicator or impure (person) has not God's kingdom. Let none seduce you with empty words: on this account comes the wrath of God upon the sons of unbelief. Who seduces with empty words but he who states in a public harangue that adultery is remissible? Not seeing into the fact that its very foundations have been dug out by the apostle, when he puts restraints upon drunkennesses and revellings, as withal here: And be not inebriated with wine, in which is voluptuousness. He demonstrates, too, to the Colossians what members they are to mortify upon earth: fornication, impurity, lust, evil concupiscence, and base talk. Yield up, by this time, to so many and such sentences, the one (passage) to which you cling. Paucity is cast into the shade by multitude, doubt by certainty, obscurity by plainness. Even if, for certain, the apostle had granted pardon of fornication to that Corinthian, it would be another instance of his once for all contravening his own practice to meet the requirement of the time. He circumcised Timotheus alone, and yet did away with circumcision.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

10 results
1. Tertullian, To The Heathen, 1.16, 2.14 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.16. I am now come to the hour for extinguishing the lamps, and for using the dogs, and practising the deeds of darkness. And on this point I am afraid I must succumb to you; for what similar accusation shall I have to bring against you? But you should at once commend the cleverness with which we make our incest look modest, in that we have devised a spurious night, to avoid polluting the real light and darkness, and have even thought it right to dispense with earthly lights, and to play tricks also with our conscience. For whatever we do ourselves, we suspect in others when we choose (to be suspicious). As for your incestuous deeds, on the contrary, men enjoy them at full liberty, in the face of day, or in the natural night, or before high Heaven; and in proportion to their successful issue is your own ignorance of the result, since you publicly indulge in your incestuous intercourse in the full cognizance of broad day-light. (No ignorance, however, conceals our conduct from our eyes,) for in the very darkness we are able to recognise our own misdeeds. The Persians, you know very well, according to Ctesias, live quite promiscuously with their mothers, in full knowledge of the fact, and without any horror; while of the Macedonians it is well known that they constantly do the same thing, and with perfect approbation: for once, when the blinded Œdipus came upon their stage, they greeted him with laughter and derisive cheers. The actor, taking off his mask in great alarm, said, Gentlemen, have I displeased you? Certainly not, replied the Macedonians, you have played your part well enough; but either the author was very silly, if he invented (this mutilation as an atonement for the incest), or else Œdipus was a great fool for his pains if he really so punished himself; and then they shouted out one to the other, ῝Ηλσυνε εἰς τὴν μητέρα . But how insignificant, (say you,) is the stain which one or two nations can make on the whole world! As for us, we of course have infected the very sun, polluted the entire ocean! Quote, then, one nation which is free from the passions which allure the whole race of men to incest! If there is a single nation which knows nothing of concubinage through the necessity of age and sex - to say nothing of lust and licentiousness - that nation will be a stranger to incest. If any nature can be found so peculiarly removed from the human state as to be liable neither to ignorance, nor error, nor misfortune, that alone may be adduced with any consistency as an answer to the Christians. Reflect, therefore, on the licentiousness which floats about among men's passions as if they were the winds, and consider whether there be any communities which the full and strong tides of passion fail to waft to the commission of this great sin. In the first place, when you expose your infants to the mercy of others, or leave them for adoption to better parents than yourselves, do you forget what an opportunity for incest is furnished, how wide a scope is opened for its accidental commission? Undoubtedly, such of you as are more serious from a principle of self-restraint and careful reflection, abstain from lusts which could produce results of such a kind, in whatever place you may happen to be, at home or abroad, so that no indiscriminate diffusion of seed, or licentious reception thereof, will produce children to you unawares, such as their very parents, or else other children, might encounter in inadvertent incest, for no restraint from age is regarded in (the importunities of) lust. All acts of adultery, all cases of fornication, all the licentiousness of public brothels, whether committed at home or perpetrated out of doors, serve to produce confusions of blood and complications of natural relationship, and thence to conduce to incest; from which consummation your players and buffoons draw the materials of their exhibitions. It was from such a source, too, that so flagrant a tragedy recently burst upon the public as that which the prefect Fuscianus had judicially to decide. A boy of noble birth, who, by the unintentional neglect of his attendants, had strolled too far from home, was decoyed by some passers-by, and carried off. The paltry Greek who had the care of him, or somebody else, in true Greek fashion, had gone into the house and captured him. Having been taken away into Asia, he is brought, when arrived at full age, back to Rome, and exposed for sale. His own father buys him unawares, and treats him as a Greek. Afterwards, as was his wont, the youth is sent by his master into the fields, chained as a slave. Thither the tutor and the nurse had already been banished for punishment. The whole case is represented to them; they relate each other's misfortunes: they, on the one hand, how they had lost their ward when he was a boy; he, on the other hand, that he had been lost from his boyhood. But they agreed in the main, that he was a native of Rome of a noble family; perhaps he further gave sure proofs of his identity. Accordingly, as God willed it for the purpose of fastening a stain upon that age, a presentiment about the time excites him, the periods exactly suit his age, even his eyes help to recall his features, some peculiar marks on his body are enumerated. His master and mistress, who are now no other than his own father and mother, anxiously urge a protracted inquiry. The slave-dealer is examined, the unhappy truth is all discovered. When their wickedness becomes manifest, the parents find a remedy for their despair by hanging themselves; to their son, who survives the miserable calamity, their property is awarded by the prefect, not as an inheritance, but as the wages of infamy and incest. That one case was a sufficient example for public exposure of the sins of this sort which are secretly perpetrated among you. Nothing happens among men in solitary isolation. But, as it seems to me, it is only in a solitary case that such a charge can be drawn out against us, even in the mysteries of our religion. You ply us evermore with this charge; yet there are like delinquencies to be traced among you, even in your ordinary course of life.
2. Tertullian, Apology, 22.6 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

3. Tertullian, On The Soul, 27.4 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4. Tertullian, On The Apparel of Women, 1.1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

5. Tertullian, Exhortation To Chastity, 13 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6. Tertullian, On The Resurrection of The Flesh, 61 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

61. Now you have received your mouth, O man, for the purpose of devouring your food and imbibing your drink: why not, however, for the higher purpose of uttering speech, so as to distinguish yourself from all other animals? Why not rather for preaching the gospel of God, that so you may become even His priest and advocate before men? Adam indeed gave their several names to the animals, before he plucked the fruit of the tree; before he ate, he prophesied. Then, again, you received your teeth for the consumption of your meal: why not rather for wreathing your mouth with suitable defense on every opening thereof, small or wide? Why not, too, for moderating the impulses of your tongue, and guarding your articulate speech from failure and violence? Let me tell you, (if you do not know), that there are toothless persons in the world. Look at them, and ask whether even a cage of teeth be not an honour to the mouth. There are apertures in the lower regions of man and woman, by means of which they gratify no doubt their animal passions; but why are they not rather regarded as outlets for the cleanly discharge of natural fluids? Women, moreover, have within them receptacles where human seed may collect; but are they not designed for the secretion of those sanguineous issues, which their tardier and weaker sex is inadequate to disperse? For even details like these require to be mentioned, seeing that heretics single out what parts of our bodies may suit them, handle them without delicacy, and, as their whim suggests, pour torrents of scorn and contempt upon the natural functions of our members, for the purpose of upsetting the resurrection, and making us blush over their cavils; not reflecting that before the functions cease, the very causes of them will have passed away. There will be no more meat, because no more hunger; no more drink, because no more thirst; no more concubinage, because no more child-bearing; no more eating and drinking, because no more labour and toil. Death, too, will cease; so there will be no more need of the nutriment of food for the defense of life, nor will mothers' limbs any longer have to be laden for the replenishment of our race. But even in the present life there may be cessations of their office for our stomachs and our generative organs. For forty days Moses Exodus 24:8 and Elias 1 Kings 19:8 fasted, and lived upon God alone. For even so early was the principle consecrated: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. See here faint outlines of our future strength! We even, as we may be able, excuse our mouths from food, and withdraw our sexes from union. How many voluntary eunuchs are there! How many virgins espoused to Christ! How many, both of men and women, whom nature has made sterile, with a structure which cannot procreate! Now, if even here on earth both the functions and the pleasures of our members may be suspended, with an intermission which, like the dispensation itself, can only be a temporary one, and yet man's safety is nevertheless unimpaired, how much more, when his salvation is secure, and especially in an eternal dispensation, shall we not cease to desire those things, for which, even here below, we are not unaccustomed to check our longings!
7. Tertullian, On The Games, 21, 10 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

8. Cyprian, Exhortation To Martyrdom, 7 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

9. Cyprian, The Lapsed, 2 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

10. Cyprian, Testimoniorum Libri Tres Adversus Judaeos (Ad Quirinum), 3.11 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anger (ira) Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
apostolikon, marcions Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
avaritia Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
banquets Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
capital sins Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
cato, m. porcius (the censor, the elder) Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
clothing Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
cupiditas Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
cyprian Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
deliciae Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
emotions (passio, perturbatio), irrationality of Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
emotions (passio, perturbatio) Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
flesh (caro) Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
fornicatio Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
greed (auaritia) Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
jewels Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
law, biblical Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
lex oppia Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
lust vii Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
new testament Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
old testament Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
paul Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
pearls Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
polemic between christian groups' Blidstein, Purity Community and Ritual in Early Christian Literature (2017) 12
pompa Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
pudicitia Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
sexual desire Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
tableware Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
tertullian Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31
testament Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
tiberius Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
transfiguration Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century (2015) 408
virtue Nisula, Augustine and the Functions of Concupiscence (2012) 31; Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225
wine Romana Berno, Roman Luxuria: A Literary and Cultural History (2023) 225