On the Resurrection of the Flesh background information.

Early Christian Writings

Title: De resurrectione carnis (On the resurrection of the body) 


From: (tertullian.org)

Ante-Nicene Fathers

Τὰ ἀρχαῖα ἔθη κρατείτω. The Nicene Council

Related Link:   

By: Roger Pearse  

Our Ref:
ECST: 167.16.1.T77

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Declares the reality of the resurrection of the body, against the ideas of the gnostics who denied it, in favour of something more allegorical, from the texts of the Old and New Testament.


Alexander Souter’s summary of the argument is online here.


This work is more often entitled De resurrectione mortuorum in recent work, following the discovery of the Codex Trecensis.

Tertullian refers to the foundations being laid for the Odeum in Carthage, and graves found with bodies partially preserved at the time.

There is a discussion of the interpretation of scripture — partly by allegory, but not so as to destroy the literal meaning.

Tertullian says that those who in life were crippled or sickly will be healed when they are raised (c.57).


The work is present in two different collections of the works of Tertullian.

1.  It is contained in the members of the Cluny collection. (q.v.).  The primary witnesses, therefore, are:

• The 11th century Montpellier MS, Codex Montepessulanus H54 (M)

• The 11th century Payerne MS, Codex Paterniacensis 439, now at Selestat.

• The 15th century Florence MS, Codex Florentinus BNC Conventi soppressi J.6.9 (N). (From the Alpha branch).  The text is not in the remaining portion of M, the earlier codex from which N was copied.  [I don’t know if there are readings from D or G for this work]

• The 15th century Luxembourg MS, Codex Luxemburgensis 75 (X).

• The 15th century(1426) Florence MS, Codex Florentinus BNC Conventi soppressi J.6.10 (F).

• Rhenanus edition of 1521.  This is because his only source for this work was the now lost Hirsau MS (H), the ancestor of F and X.

Possibly also to be considered are:

• The Naples MS, Codex Neapolitanus, Mus. Naz. 55, portions of which were once in Vienna as Codex Vindobonensis 4194 (V).

• The BPL Leiden MS, Codex Leidensis latinus 2 (L) has been considered independent but is merely a copy of V.

which may or may not have some independent witness.  Many consider them simply copies of F, however.

2. It is contained in the 12th century Codex Trecensis 523 (T).

TITLE VARIATIONS1)http://www.tertullian.org/manuscripts/title_variations.htm

Incipit de resurrectione mortuorum Trecensis 523 (T),
. The same title is given in the catalogue of Cologne cathedral in 833
. see Leiftinck’s article in Vigiliae Christianae 5 (1951) p203ff,
. and Dekkers’ in Sacris Erudiri 4 (1952) pp 372
Incipit eiusDe De RESVRRECCIONE CARNIS Paterniacensis 439 (P)
Q.Septimy Florentis Tertuliani Incipit liber de carnis resurreccione Luxemburgensis 75 (X)

Note: The MSS have the over-score above the letter, but this requires a modern browser (N4/IE4+). It signifies an abbreviation.


Unless otherwise indicated, details are from Quasten’s Patrology, 2 (1955). See also Editions page and Critical Editions page for more information.

[Note: I need to add some biblio, from l’Annee Phil. for the years 1954-1974 and from CTC after that].


A. KROYMANN, CSEL 47 (1906) 25-125. Checked. (Personal copy)

J. W. Ph. BORLEFFS, CCSL 2 (1954) 919-1012. Checked. (Personal copy)

E. EVANSTertullian’s Treatise on the Resurrection (1960) Q. Septimii Florentis Tertulliani De resurrectione carnis liber. Tertullian’s Treatise on the Resurrection. The text edited with an introduction, translation and commentary by Ernest Evans.. pp. xxxvi. 361. S.P.C.K.: London, 1960. 8o. (Ref. from BL catalogue, and personal copy)



P. HOLMESANCL 15 (1870) pp.215-332; reprinted ANF 3 (1885), pp. 545-594.  Online.  Checked.

A. SOUTER, Concerning the Resurrection of the Flesh (SPCK). London, 1922. pp. xxiv. 205. 8oChecked. (Personal copy) See bibliography for an extract.

E. EVANSloc. cit., 1960.


L. GIRYDe la Chair de Jésus-Christ, et de la Résurrection de la chair, Publisher : Paris : Pierre Le Petit ( 1661). Description : pièces limin., 475 p. et la table ; 12°. Notes : De la traduction de Louis Giry. (Details from the Montpellier library catalogue)

M. CHARPENTIEROeuvres de Tertullien: Apologétique. Prescriptions contre les gentils. Du Baptême. De l’Ornement des femmes. [Contre les spectacles. De la Patience. De la Couronne du soldat. Contre Marcion, extrait. De la Chair de Jésus-Christ. De la Résurrection de la chair. Aux nations. – listed in table of contents but not on title page] Paris : Ed. M. Charpentier, 1844. 12o, III-504 p.  Another title page has the address:”A. Delahays, 1845″. “Oeuvres de Tertullien traduites en français” Checked (Details from BNF catalogue and personal copy).  De Resurrectione carnis is pp.326-456.

A. DE GENOUDEDe la Résurrection de la chair. Oeuvres de Tertullien2, Paris (1852). t. 1, pp.435-540.

Jean-Pierre MAHÉLa résurrection des morts. Texte traduit par Madeleine Moreau ; Introduction, analyse, notes par Jean-Pierre Mahé. [Paris] : Desclée de Brouwer, (1980) Series: Les Pères dans la foi. ISBN 2220022692. 160p. (Details from COPAC).


H. KELLNER, Von der Auserstebung des Fleisches, Ausgewählte Schriften des Septimius Tertullianus, Bibliothek der Kirchenväter1, 2 vols. (1870/2). vol. 2, p.219-355. Checked.  (Personal copy).  Not in the BKV2. Printed in a horrid gothic typeface.


C. MORESCHINI, Opere scelte di Quinto Settimo Florente Tertulliano. (Classici UTET). Turin, 1974.  (Details from BRAUN, SC 456 for Marc, but I presume contents as for 2nd edition.  Also in BN Florence OPAC).

Claudio MICAELLI, La resurrezione dei morti; traduzione, introduzione e note a cura di Claudio, Roma, Città nuova, 1990. 217 p. ; 21 cm. transl. (Details by Dr. Andrea Nicolotti)

Claudio MORESCHINI, Tertulliano, Opere scelte di Quinto Settimio Fiorente Tertulliano. 2. ed. interamente rifatta.Torino : Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, [1999]. 813 p., [8] c. di tav. : ill. ; 24 cm. ( Classici delle religioni. Sez. 4, La religione cattolica). Contiene: Gli ornamenti delle donne (tit. orig.: De cultu feminarum), Contro Marcione (tit. orig.: Adversus Marcionem), La resurrezione della carne (tit. orig.: De resurrectione carnis). ISBN 88-02-05362-6 (Details from BN Florence OPAC)


L. ATZBERGER, Geschichte der christlichen Eschatologie innerhalb der vornicänischen Zeit. Freiburg, 1896, 317-329.

A. J. MASON, Tertullian and Purgatory: JThSt 3 (1902) 598 ff.

M. POHLENZ, Die griechische Philosophie im Dienste der christlichen Auferstehungslehre: Zeitschrift für wissenschaftl. Theologie 46 (1904) 241 ff.

J. GEWIESS, Zum altkirchlichen Verständnis der Kenosisstelle (Phil. 2, 5-11): ThQ. 128 (1948) 463-487: De resurr. carnis 6.

Marco UGENTI, Noterella tertullianea (Res. 13:4), Vetera Christianorum 39 (2002), pp.399-400. (Details CTC2002).

Frédéric CHAPOT, Tertullien “De resurrectione mortuorum” 29-32 dans la tradition d’Ézéchiel 37:1-14.  La résurrection chez les Pères, Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch (2003), pp.135-159. (Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 7).  (Details CTC 2003, 24).

Roland MINNERATH, Tertullien: l’anthropologie de la résurrection. La résurrection chez les Pères, Strasbourg: Université Marc Bloch (2003), pp.119-133. (Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 7).  (Details CTC 2003, 49).

Souter’s translation.

Moreau’s translation.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.tertullian.org/manuscripts/title_variations.htm

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