11.09.2004

am working on an old tertullian proj. -- is old, was on the back burner -- the stuff's poison, but he wrote against beauty! and ornamentation, so it is useful to me

heres the flavor

Nobis vero semel homicidio interdicto etiam conceptum utero, dum adhuc sanguis in hominem delib[er]atur, dissolvere non licet. Homicidii festinatio est prohibere nasci; nec refert, natam quis eripiat animam an nascentem disturbet. Homo est et qui est futurus; etiam fructus omnis iam in semine est.

Indeed for us murder is forbidden once and for all, so it is not permitted even to destroy what is conceived in the womb. To prohibit the birth of a child is only a faster way to murder; it makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or prevents it from coming to birth. It is a human being, who is to be a human being, for the whole fruit is already present in the seed.

Text is CSEL 69; translation is based on Glover, Loeb edition, but made slightly more literal. Infanticide (particularly of baby girls, whether by drowning or exposure 'to cold, starvation and the dogs') and abortion were both legal and usual in antiquity. Glover quotes (p.49) the papyrus letter of Hilarion to Alis (AD 1); "If it was a girl, put it out."

Rosam tibi si obtulero, non fastidies creatorem. - If I give you a rose you will not disdain its creator.


Tu es ianua diaboli - You are the doorway of the devil
NB: Talking about woman, and notorious in feminist literature, following Simone de Beauvoir in Le deuxième sexe. Church, F. Forester, Sex and Salvation in Tertullian, Harvard Theological Review, 68, 1976, pp.83-101, (reviewed in CTC 76, §26) assesses this issue rather less polemically. (Not checked). Marie Turcan reviews the whole subject, Être femme selon Tertullien, Vita Latina 119 (September 1990), pp.15-21 (reviewed CTC 90, §51). Also in ...

from http://www.tertullian.org/quotes.htm

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