Date of Submission

July 1999


In his book, Ancient Rhetoric and the Art of Tertullian, Robert Sider omitted any analysis of adversus Iudaeos because, as he stated elsewhere, the latter part of the treatise was an addition probably by someone other than Tertullian and taken from the third book of adversus Marcionem. Rather than accept that position unquestioningly this dissertation, inspired by Sider's methodology, provides an analysis of adversus Iudaeos according to the rules of classical rhetoric with regard to its structure (dispositio), its argument (inventio), and its style (elocutio). Particular attention is paid to the differences in rhetorical systems that are found in the writings of Aristotle, the anonymous author of Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero and Quintilian. The results of this analysis indicate that whoever wrote the first part of the treatise (chapters 1 to 8) made sufficient comment about the structure of the treatise to indicate that they planned to write on the topics that are found in the second part (chapters 9 to 14). This suggests that the treatise is the responsibility of one author. The argument of Saflund and Trankle that adversus Iudaeos was written prior not subsequent to adversus Marcionem are accepted as being valid. Repetition of material from one treatise to another does not imply the activity of some unidentified copyist any more than it does the idea that Tertullian found it convenient to re-use material himself from one work in another. The structure of the treatise as we have it now indicates that it remains in draft form as there are several passages that do seem out of place. Tertullian's argument rests mainly on making oratorical use of his interpretations of passages from the Hebrew Scriptures.;On a number of occasions he displayed knowledge of arguments made by Irenaeus and Justin Martyr from some of those passages, yet on quite a few occasions the arguments and interpretations Tertullian derived from the Scriptures make their first appearance in Patristic literature in this treatise. The results of this analysis are used in the conclusion of the dissertation to advocate greater attention being paid to this treatise in studies of early Christian anti-Judaic literature. Although many scholars would argue that this treatise provides no information about relationships between Jews and Christians in Carthage at the end of the second century, the position advanced in this dissertation is that how and what one interpreted in the Hebrew Scriptures was the contemporary issue between Jews and Christians still, as it had been since the time of the first followers of Jesus.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


547 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences