Tertullian, De Spectaculis

LCL 250: 230-231

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Tertullian

De Spectaculis

I. Qui status fidei, quae ratio veritatis, quod praescriptum disciplinae inter cetera saecularium errorum etiam spectaculorum voluptates adimat, dei servi, cognoscite, qui cum maxime ad deum acceditis, recognoscite, qui iam accessisse vos testificati et confessi estis, ne aut ignorando aut dissimulando quis peccet. Tanta est enim voluptatium vis, ut et ignorantiam protelet in occasionem et conscientiam corrumpat in dissimulationem. Ad utrumque adhuc forsan alicui opiniones ethnicorum blandiantur, qui in ista causa adversus nos ita argumentari consuerunt: nihil obstrepere religioni in animo et in conscientia tanta solacia extrinsecus oculorum vel aurium nec vero deum offendi oblectatione hominis, qua salvo erga deum metu et honore suo in tempore et suo in loco frui scelus non sit. Atquin hoc cum maxime [89v]paramus demonstrare, quemadmodum ista non competant verae religioni et vero obsequio erga verum deum. Sunt qui existimant Christianos, ex­peditum

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De Spectaculis

De Spectaculis

I. The conditions of faith, the reason inherent in truth, the law of our discipline, which, along with all the other errors of the world, takes from us also the pleasures of the public shows,—what these are I would have you learn, O servants of God, you who are even now making your approach to God; and you too I would have rethink it all, who have witnessed and borne your testimony that you have already made that approach; lest by ignorance, real or pretended, any of you fall into sin. For such is the force of pleasure that it can prolong ignorance to give it its chance, and pervert knowledge to cloak itself. In addition to both these things, it may be that the opinions of the heathen have, to this day, an appeal for some. For in this matter they commonly take this line of argument against us; as that there can be no clash between religion, in your mind and conscience, and these great refreshments of eye and ear that lie outside us; that God is not offended by a man’s enjoying himself, but that, so long as his fear of God and God’s honour are unhurt, it is no guilt in its proper time and place to avail oneself of such enjoyment. But it is exactly this which here and now we purpose to prove—that this does not square with true religion or with duty toward God. There are those who think that

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tertullian-de_spectaculis.1931