SOME TECHNICAL TERMS
THE following words, as terms of logic, are of frequent occurrence
throughout Tertullian's works. Substantia means the thing itself (e.g.
I. 28. 4), and can often be translated 'objective reality': it may also
mean property or possessions (e.g. I. 15.
1), or occasionally confidence.
Materia is the substance out of which a thing is composed or constructed.
Conditio and natura indicate the totality of those essential attributes by
virtue of which a person or object is what it is: the former also bears
some reference to the fact that it or he was created so (e.g. II. 16. 4).
Status, representing the copulative verb, suggests the established fact
that the properties of an object are what they are, often with some hint
of status or quality, almost in the social sense of those terms. Condicio
refers to those attributes of an object or person which are caused or
conditioned or limited by relation with things or persons outside of
itself: 'circumstances' will frequently meet the case. Proprietas means that
an object or attribute is precisely what it is, and nothing else, or that
it belongs specifically to such and such a person and to no one else.
Ernest Evans(ed), Tertullian: Adversus
Marcionem. © Oxford
University Press. 1972. Reproduced by permission of Oxford
Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1972
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2002
This page has been online since 6th July 2002.