Tertullian and Stoic Materialism


Theology Still Matters

Within the blessed Trinity the three persons of the Godhead are distinct but united in nature.  Throughout history many have tried to explain the Trinity in various ways.  For example, St. Patrick used the very popular description of the three-leaf clover.  In the earliest days of the church a theologian by the name of Tertullian laid out a theory known as stoic materialism.  The purpose of this essay is to define this term and explain how it lead to subordination in his Christology.

Tertullian was hugely influential in defending and developing doctrine in the early church.  During his time there were opposed the positions of Monarchianism and Pagan Polytheism.  The latter set forth that only one person is God, and because of this it was actually the Father that was crucified.  This position, and his retort, can be followed very easily is his work titled Against Praxeas.  He also opposed…

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