Starting from Letter 134 of Basil of Caesarea, the question is asked what Basil means when he uses the term ταχυγράφος. For this purpose, exemplary passages from ancient Christian and non-Christian authors are compiled. It is obvious that a shorthand system was used at that time. However, the question remains whether such a system was always used, especially since many passages do not provide a precise description of the activities of a tachygrapher. Letter 135 of Basil, on the other hand, suggests that a tachygrapher probably did not work exclusively with a shorthand system. Thus, the term ταχυγράφος has no unambiguity in its usage. In part, it is used to refer to persons who have mastered a special system of signs with the help of which they can write faster. In part, however, it is also used to refer to people who write quickly, but using the conventional alphabet.
Right at the beginning of his “On Baptism”, Tertullian points out that he has composed this writing against a teacher “of the Cainite heresy”. Although “Caina” does not appear in the manuscripts, it is made plausible by the state of the textual transmission, especially by Jerome’s reception of Tertullian (Ep. 69.1.2). It may have been Irenaeus’ polemics (haer. 1.31) that first made Cain the protagonist of radical criticism against the God of the Book of Genesis, whence later heresiologists deduced the existence of “Cainites”. The “Paraphrase of Seem” (NHC VII 1) could belong to a tradition which the heresiologists would have labelled “cainite”. This text contains an exegesis of Gen 1 which leads to fundamental criticism of baptism with water. Now Tertullian draws his arguments in support of water baptism right from Gen 1, and his arguments, quite remarkably, make good sense as a reply to NHC VII 1.
The legend of Cyprian of Antioch and Justina has had a great aftermath in literature from the Middle Ages to Goethe’s Faust. Like Simon Magus, Cyprian is often considered the archetype of the ancient magician and the first case of a pact with the devil. A close examination of the two source writings conversio and confessio, however, reveals considerable differences in the notions of magic and demonology. The conversio depends, in its shaping of the legend, more on pagan sources such as Lucian’s Philopseudes, while the later confessio emphasizes the role of the devil. Therefore, we cannot yet speak of a devil’s pact with regard to the earlier conversio.
Using the example of Epistula 3 Jerome’s citation technique is analyzed in detail. For this purpose, a comprehensive classification grid of intertextual references is introduced for the first time, which allows a systematization of the narrative examination of citations and allusions. Thus, not only differences in the use of Bible verses and quotations of classics can be highlighted transparently but also a (radical) syntactic, structural, and semantic incorporation of biblical and classic pre-texts by Jerome’s text can be substantiated. In stark contrast to former, rather negative verdicts on Jerome’s “cento style” and semantic incoherences in his writing, this approach is capable of showing a high functionality and authority in Jerome’s strategy of referencing, which shapes the narrative of the friendship letter not only aesthetically but also significantly helps to constitute its semantics.
In his treatise de fuga in persecutione Tertullian argues that flight is not allowed for any Christian in times of persecution. As persecution originates in God and his will, there is no possibility to flee and avoid it. Such a behaviour would be nothing else than apostasy and would result in the loss of eternal life. Only by submitting oneself completely to God and his providence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Paraclete) it is possible to endure persecution and fulfil God’s demand for steadfastness. To convince his addressee Fabius, Tertullian gives his treatise a classical rhetorical disposition and arranges his arguments according to the partes orationis. This article investigates the rhetorical substance of the treatise and outlines its disposition as a deliberative speech. It is demonstrated, how Tertullian’s rhetoric influences and strengthens his argumentation.