Classical Review - New Series 5 (1955) pp. 109-110.


ERNEST EVANS : Tertullian's Tract on
the Prayer
. Pp. xx+69. London
S.P.C.K., 1953. Cloth, 12s. 6d. net.

TERTULLIAN's De Oratione is much less im-
portant than his Adversus Praxeam, and ac-
cordingly Dr. Evans treats it much less fully
than he did the latter work, but with the
same excellent scholarship. He gives us a
brief introduction, a text, a translation, and
twenty pages of notes. Though the text is
conservative if compared with Reifferscheid's
in the Vienna Corpus (and rightly so), he is
driven by the scanty evidence of the two im-
perfect manuscripts to a few scripsi's which
deserve attention. In several places he im-
proves the punctuation of earlier editors, as
he had done in his Adversus Praxeam. The
translation is more accurate and penetrating
than previous English versions. It follows the
Latin very closely, at the price of occasional
stiffness. To take a small example, compare
'which thing alone is what the faithful need'
with Souter's 'which is all the faithful need'.
Of course it is often impossible to put any
considerable stretch of Tertullian into idio-
matic modern English without allowing one
self a degree of freedom which so precise a
scholar as Canon Evans would probably find
distasteful.

    The brief commentary is not intended to
be exhaustive. Useful as the notes are,
whether on points of Latinity or of subject
matter, the choice of words or passages for
comment seems a little capricious. Statio,
which is indeed referred to in the introduc-
tion, might well have a full note, while the
difficult vibrantes spiritum suo more a few lines
from the end calls for discussion. The longest
note is on the passage corpus eius in pane
censetur, where Dr. Evans rightly discounts
the use often made of it in eucharistic con-
troversy. He is sometimes bold. Can any
parallel be found for taking substantia pas-
sionis
as 'by the suffering of the passion'?
Would not 'by the reality of his suffering' be
possible and make the same point?


    Dr. Evans properly values his indepen-
dence. That he very nearly carried it too far
in this case is frankly admitted. 'Diercks'
grande volumen came into my hands when my
own work was, as I thought, complete.' And
that edition was published in 1947. In the
end, Dr. Evans has made good use of Diercks,
and some agreements arrived at indepen-
dently are all the more satisfying. He does not
refer to Dekkers, Tertullianus en de Geschie
denis der liturgie
, nor to Bishop Chase's study
of the Lord's Prayer in the Early Church
(Texts and Studies, i). Sometimes a note
could have been strengthened from the lin-
guistic writings of Hoppe and Lofstedt. But
Dr. Evans knows Tertullian himself.

S. L. GREENSLADE

University of Durham


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