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(born c. 155/160, Carthagedied after 220, Carthage) Early Christian theologian and moralist. Educated in Carthage, he became impressed by the courage, morality, and uncompromising monotheism of Christian martyrs, and he converted to Christianity. He became a leading member of the African church and one of the early Apologists. He devoted himself to writing for 20 years, producing works on such topics as defense of the faith, prayer and devotion, and morality, as well as the first Christian book on baptism, De baptismo. Later, dismayed by the laxity he witnessed among even his orthodox contemporaries, he joined the prophetic movement known as Montanism, then left it to form his own sect, which survived in Africa until the 5th century.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Tertullian, visit Britannica.com.