Sermo apologeticus: the evolution and development of Christian expression in Latin up to AD 250 and its later reception.

Parkes, Angela Mary (2022). Sermo apologeticus: the evolution and development of Christian expression in Latin up to AD 250 and its later reception. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (1MB) | Preview


This thesis spans several disciplinary boundaries, theology, classics and linguistics, in seeking to trace the early development of Christian writing in Latin and to examine the later reception of this topic. Most studies concerned with this subject have focussed on the period from the fourth century, examining the wealth of primary source material available, particularly by Augustine, Jerome and Ambrose. In the present study I have concentrated my research on the earlier period, from the end of the second to the middle of the third century, which encompasses the works of Tertullian, the earliest extant Christian writer in Latin, and his near contemporary, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, whose death in 258 forms the terminus ad quem of this thesis.
In the first chapter I outline the position of Latin usage in the period under discussion, focussing particularly on North Africa, a region in which Latin formed the language of communication much earlier an in other parts of the Roman Empire. The second chapter considers, against this background, the gradual emergence of Christian expression in Latin and its relationship, to Greek.
A major part of this second chapter is devoted to the examination of the reception of Early Christian Latin, particularly the first study from a linguistic point of view carried out by Monsignor Joseph Schrijnen and Christine Mohrmann at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in the early part of the twentieth century, in which they developed the Sondersprache hypothesis, the theory that early Christians developed their own form of Latin.
The third and fourth chapters are devoted to the study of the two major writers of the period mentioned above, Tertullian and Cyprian. This early period of Latin Christian writing thus lays the foundation for the great flowering of Christian writing which would emerge in the fourth century.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year