For the Conversion of the Jews
Translation from Latin by John Collorafi & Atila S. Guimarães
A timely return for a classic from the 2nd century!
The cover shows Our Lord Jesus Christ at age 12, discussing
with the Jewish doctors at the Temple. TIA art desk
One of the first Apologetic Fathers of the Church proves to the Jews
that the Messiah expected by the Prophets can be no one else but
A quite pertinent theme, since today’s Vatican recommends Catholics
to no longer stress this truth, and encourages them to admit the false
messiah of the Jews.
Add it to your library today! You won’t regret it.
Smooth translation, brilliant arguments, fascinating reading.
Format: Paperback, 80 pp. (A-22)
Publication Date: 2008
Foreword by Atila Guimarães
Why is TIA publishing this work?
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
- Chap. I: The Gentiles were chosen to replace the Jews, prefigured in the birth of Esau and Jacob
- Chap. II: The Law of Moses was already contained in the first precept of Paradise
- Chap. III: Circumcision in the Old Law was merely a symbol of Baptism in the New Law
- Chap. IV: The temporal Sabbath is but a symbol of the eternal Sabbath
- Chap. V: Carnal sacrifices were superseded by spiritual sacrifices
- Chap VI: The Old Law should end and a New Law be put into effect with the Messiah
- Chap VII: Only Jesus Christ reigned over all the earth as predicted of the Messiah
- Chap.VIII: The coming of Jesus Christ was predicted precisely by the Prophet Daniel
- Chap. IX: The birth and life of Jesus Christ were predicted by the Prophets
- Chap. X: The Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ were predicted by many Prophets
- Chap. XI: The infidelity of the Jews was predicted by Ezekiel, Moses, and Daniel
- Chap. XII: Only in Jesus Christ were the prophecies fulfilled
- Chap XIII: The chastisements the Jews received for rejecting Jesus Christ were also predicted
- Chap. XIV: Jesus Christ was humble in His first coming and will be glorious in His second coming, as predicted
Tertullian was one of the first Apologetic Fathers of the Catholic Church. He lived from around 150-160 to 245 during the Roman persecutions and when the Church faced her first heretics.
Converted from Paganism at about 35 years of age by the example of the martyrs and the zeal of the Bishop of Carthage, Agrippinus, the previous lawyer and professor of rhetoric would place his geniality and talent at the service of the Church. After his conversion, he identified himself with the Catholic Cause so completely that whenever an enemy of the Church would show his head, there Tertullian would be to vibrantly defend her and destroy him.
He wrote treatises against the idolaters, the Jews, the Gnostics, the heretics – Praxeam, Valentinian, Hermogenean, and Apelles, and a five-volume work against Marcion of Pontus. This constant counter-attack against the enemies of the Church and the pleasure he experienced in the polemic made him one of the earliest and best representatives of the Church Militant. Criticizing the militant character of Catholicism, progressivist Cardinal Yves Congar coined the expression the Tertullian Church as a synonym of the Church Militant. It is an analogy that says a lot about Tertullian’s influence.
This early defender of the Faith had another great quality that he transmitted to the Church: his lack of human respect. With panache he publicly defended the Church when most of the Catholics hid their faith to avoid the persecution; he provoked the Empire under which he lived by laughing at its Paganism; he challenged and threatened the civil authorities, warning them that if the Church, instead of encouraging her children to die without resisting, were to tell them to leave the Roman Empire, the Roman magistrates would lose their power since they would have no one over whom to exercise it – so numerous had the Catholics become. His intrepid defense of the Catholic Cause was of great benefit to the entire Church of the Martyrs, which had not realized until Tertullian that she could be defended with such flamboyance. But it was also a benefit for all Catholics throughout History. He taught us the brio of being Catholic. In some of the passages of the polemicist of Carthage, one senses the nerve of the chevalier, the audacity of the crusader, and the élan of the musketeer.
His Apologeticum, an apologia of the Church and Catholic Faith, is considered his master work, and one of his most beautiful. A unanimous opinion places it also as a master-piece of the entire period of the Church that goes from the Apostles to the invasion of the Barbarians.
This great warrior and brilliant thinker, however, did not die inside of the Church that he had so valorously defended. The reason he left the Church does not have a unanimous explanation. St. Jerome says that the jealousy and imprudent words of the Roman clergy were what precipitated him into heresy. St. Vincent de Lerins accuses him of desertion. St. Augustine argues that he left the Church because he did not agree with the legitimacy of a second wedding for the widow and widower.
Since his primordial vice was impatience, as he himself confessed in his Treatise on Patience, the delay in the coming of the Kingdom of God possibly contributed also to his apostasy.
He abandoned the Church to embrace Montanism, a heresy coming from Phrygia and already condemned as such. It presented its founder, Montanus, as the incarnation of the Holy Ghost. Two women who left their husbands became the prophetesses of the sect and they communicated with the “divine” by means of crying out, shaking, having contortions, speaking in tongues, dreams, and private revelations – an anticipation of the Pentecostalism of our days. At the same time, the trio preached a rigorous morals, which they did not follow in private, and a hatred of richness, luxury, comfort, and material goods. From this epoch proceed Tertullian’s writings condemning the forgiveness the Church gives to adulterers, apostates, and those who flee the arena or the battlefield. He also attacked Catholics for not being sufficiently “spiritual,” always turned to material things.
After a long period, he broke with Montanism and found his own sect, whose small remnant would be reconciled with the Church two centuries later through the personal apostolate of St. Augustine. No known document records Tertullian’s return to the Church.
In short: A fallen angel who traded his unparalleled vocation in the Church for heresy, charlatanism and mediocrity. We hope that in his last moment he repented.
Why is TIA publishing a translation
of Tertullian’s work against the Jews now?
There are many reasons to do so:
First, it is always good to try to convert the Jews. They are supposed to return to the good path before the end times. Even if we have not reached the last epoch, our present situation seems to be a pre-figure of it. So, it is timely to air good Catholic arguments that may bring the Jews back to the True Faith.
Tertullian studies texts from Scriptures – still not codified in our Vulgate by St. Jerome – and facts from History that no one can deny. Making a concordance of the various prophecies, he brilliantly proves that Jesus Christ, and no one else, was the awaited Messiah.
Second, today it is more necessary than ever to strengthen Catholics in their faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ since we have the Vatican itself promoting the opposite.. Indeed, in 2001 the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), then directed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI, published the work The Hebrew People and Its Sacred Scripture in the Christian Bible. This study, among other things, counsels Catholics to stop emphasizing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah in order not to offend the Jews. It also supports in different ways the false expectation the Jews have for their messiah. An analysis of this document entitled The Biblical Commission and the Jews: Changes in Doctrine and New Anathemas was published by TIA and is available in its online bookstore.
What could be more opportune than to show the error of the CDF’s appraisal based on the work of one who lived shortly after the Apostles?
Third, today Judaism spreads the false idea that any attack on the Jewish religion must be considered a prelude of the racial persecution of Nazism and Fascism, or a consequence of it. This historic bluff cannot be accepted by any honest intellectual. Again, we have the timing of Tertullian’s work that puts this lie to rest. His discussion with the Jews – based exclusively on religious arguments with nothing racial present – shows exactly the opposite.
Fourth, English translations of this work, as far as we could verify, are quite insufficient. Thus, TIA accomplishes one of its cultural goals, bringing a smooth translation of this valuable work of the early Father for our American public.
Atila S. Guimarães
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