Reading Tertullian’s On Modesty as been beneficial to me – as a mental and a spiritual exercise. I have come to see Tertullian – in this instance – as a man deeply troubled by the lack of morality and holiness inside the church that he dearly loved. His antagonistic words were meant to counter the steep slide into moral depravity which he saw overtaking the church. Perhaps he was offensive and brutish, his rigorism showing, but surely he did it out of love for the Church and out of a plea for holy living.
Continuing our reading of Tertullian‘s work, On Modesty, we come to the ancient author’s piece on the dangers of transgression in interpretation. At several points, he make references to a strict form of biblical interpretation opposing, and predating, the methods employed by the Alexandrian school which insignificant things are used for great truths – such as the 100 sheep.
According to some sources this was one of the Tertullian’s last works, perhaps 222.
We are continuing our reading on Tertullian‘s work, On Modesty. In this we find him dancing around the argument, attempting to get to the heart of the matter, but by defeating any roads around. He uses a legal argument and style in that he sets his argument first, and then admits to a portion of that of his opponent, but in doing so, he underscores his own right position. He makes the case the parables of the lost sheep and coin do not refer to Christians (although he makes an allowance for such an erroneous position) but to sinners. In his attempt to explain it, I find an objection against Original Sin, with Tertullian ascribing the entire world to the Flock of God. It may be possible to read in his words original universalism, so that innocents who perish are saved, but sinners are in need for redemption.