From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Tertullus, a diminutive of Tertius, was the name of the ‘orator’ employed by the Jews to lay their case against St. Paul before Felix ( Acts 24:1). The term ‘orator’ indicates that the man belonged to the class of hired pleaders often employed in the provincial courts by those ignorant alike of Roman law and of the Latin tongue, in which as a rule all judicial procedure was carried on (but see Lewin, St. Paul , ii. 156). The speech delivered by Tertullus and briefly summarized in Acts 24 shows us the devices employed by such special pleaders. He seeks to conciliate the judge by flattering, if not very truthful, allusions to his actions as governor, particularly to his having established peace in the province (v. 2), no doubt a reference to the suppression of the bands of robbers that infested the country (Jos. Ant . XX. viii. 5, Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) II. xiii. 2). He carefully selects the points in the prisoner’s career fitted to create the impression that St. Paul was a danger to the Roman rule-an exciter of sedition, a leader of a sect, a profaner of the Temple (vv. 5, 6). In all probability Tertullus was a Roman, and not a Jew, as has been supposed by Blass ( Com. in loc ). It was customary for budding Roman pleaders to practise for a time in the provinces. The fact that in his speech Tertullus uses the plural form and speaks of ‘our law’ does not by any means prove Jewish birth or nationality. The advocate naturally speaks from the point of view of his clients.

Literature.-R. J. Knowling, Expositor’s Greek Testament , ‘Acts,’ 1900, p. 476; T. Lewin, Life and Epistles of St. Paul 3, 2 vols., 1875, ii. 156 ff.; article‘Tertullus’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols)  ; F. W. Blass, Acta Apostolorum , 1896, in loc.  ; H. H. Wendt and H. A. W. Meyer, Acts 8, 1899, in loc.

W. F. Boyd.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

A diminutive of Tertius. The Latin professional orator employed by the high priest Ananias to prosecute Paul before Felix at Caesarea ( Acts 24:1). As the law proceedings were probably conducted in Latin, Roman or at least Italian advocates were commonly employed in the provinces. Greek may have been used in the Syrian law courts, as indeed the emperors permitted it even at Rome (Dio Cassius, 57:15). Still his address has a Latin tinge. It was a common rhetorical device to conciliate the judge by flattery. (See Felix by putting down some rebels gave just enough color to Tertullus' eulogy to make its general falsehood the more glaring. (See Paul .)  Acts 24:6-8, "who also hath gone about ... whereof we accuse him," are omitted in the oldest manuscripts, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

TERTULLUS . This name (a diminutive of Tertius ) is that of the advocate hired by the Jews to speak for them against St. Paul before Felix (  Acts 24:1 ). From his name we should judge him to be a Roman; probably he was not a Jew. It has been conjectured (Dean Milman) that his speech is a translation from the Latin, though Greek was allowed in the law courts. It is a gross piece of flattery, for the Jews were in constant opposition to Felix. It accuses St. Paul of stirring up disturbances, of being the ringleader of an unlawful sect, and of profaning the Temple (cf. the reply in   Acts 25:8 ).

A. J. Maclean.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Tertul'lus. (Diminutive From Tertius). "A certain orator,"  Acts 24:1, who was retained, by the high priest and Sanhedrin, to accuse the apostle, Pau, l at Caesarea, before the Roman procurator, Antonius Felix. He evidently belonged to the class of professional orators. We may infer that Tertullus was of Roman, or at all events, of Italian, origin. (A.D. 55).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

A Roman orator or advocate, whom the Jews employed to bring forward their accusation against Paul, before the Roman procurator at Caesarea, probably because they were themselves unacquainted with the modes of proceeding in the Roman courts,  Acts 24:1-2 .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [6]

The famous orator before Felix,  Acts 24:1-9. It is somewhat singular that his name should be so very suited to his character, for it is a Greek derivation from Terata logos, and means a teller of lies.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Tertullus ( Ter-Tŭl'Lus ). "A certain orator,"  Acts 24:1, who was retained to accuse the apostle Paul at Cæsarea before the Roman procurator Felix.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

A professional orator or advocate, employed by the Jewish council, to argue the case against Paul before Felix.  Acts 24:1,2 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

Tertius   Acts 24:1-8 Acts 24:7

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Acts 24:1-9

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

( Τέρτυλλος , a diminutive from the Roman name Tertius, analogous to Lucullus from Lucius, Fabullus from Fabius, etc.), "a certain orator" ( Acts 24:1) who was retained by the high-priest and Sanhedrim to accuse the apostle Paul at Caesarea before the Roman procurator Antonius Felix. A.D. 55. (See Paul).

He evidently belonged to the class of professional orators, multitudes of whom were to be found not only in Rome, but in other parts of the empire, to which they had betaken themselves in the hope of finding occupation at the tribunals of the provincial magistrates. Both from his name, and from the great probability that the proceedings were conducted in Latin (see especially Milman, Bampton Lectures For 1827, p. 185, note), we may infer that Tertullus was of Roman, or at all events of Italian, origin. The Sanhedrim would naturally desire to secure his services on account of their own ignorance, both of the Latin language and of the ordinary procedure of a Roman law-court; for the Jews, as well as the other peoples subject to the Romans, in their accusations and processes before the Roman magistrates, were obliged to follow the forms of the Roman law, of which they knew little. The different provinces, and particularly the principal cities, consequently abounded with persons who, at the same time advocates and orators, were equally ready to plead in civil actions or .to harangue on public affairs. This they did, either in Greek or Latin, as the place or occasion required. The exordium of his speech is designed to conciliate the good will of the procurator, and is' accordingly overcharged with flattery. There is a strange contrast between the opening clause Πολλῆς Εἰρήνης Τυγχάνοντες Διὰ Σοῦ— and the brief summary of the procurator's administration given by Tacitus ( Hist. 5, 9): "Antonius Felix per omnem saevitiam ac libidinem,jus regium servili ingenio exercuit" (comp. Tacit. Ann. 12:54). But the commendations of Tertullus were not altogether unfounded, as Felix had really succeeded in putting down several seditious movements. (See Felix).

It is lot very easy to determine whether Luke has preserved the oration of Tertullus entire. On the one hand, we have the elaborate and artificial opening, which can hardly be other than an accurate report of that part of the speech; and, on the other hand, we have a narrative which is so very dry and concise that, if there were nothing more, it is not easy to see why the orator should have been called in at all. The difficulty is increased if, in accordance with the greatly preponderating weight of external authority, we omit the words in  Acts 24:6-8, Καὶ Κατὰ Τὸν Ἡμέτερον ... Ἔρχεσθαι Ἐπὶ Σέ . On the whole, it seems most natural to conclude that the historian, who was almost certainly an ear- witness, merely gives an abstract of the speech, giving, however, in full the most salient points, and those which had the most forcibly impressed themselves upon him, such as the exordium and the character ascribed to Paul ( Acts 24:5).

The doubtful reading in  Acts 24:6-8, to which reference has already been made, seems likely to remain an unsolved difficulty. Against the external evidence there would be nothing to urge in favor of the disputed passage, were it not that the statement which remains after its removal is not merely extremely brief (its brevity may be accounted for in the manner already suggested), but abrupt and awkward in point of construction. It may be added that it is easier to refer Παῤ Ου ( Acts 24:8) to the tribune Lysias than to Paul. For arguments founded on the words Καὶ Κατὰ ... Κρίνειν (yet. 6.) arguments which are dependent on the genuineness of the disputed words see Lardner, Credibility Of The Gospel History, bk. 1, ch. 2;: Biscoe, On the Acts, 6:16.

We ought not to pass over without notice a strange etymology for the name Tertullus proposed by Calmet, in the place of which another has been suggested by his English editor (ed. 1830), who takes credit for having rejected "fanciful and improbable" etymologies, and substituted improvements of his own. Whether the suggestion is an improvement in this case the reader will judge: "Tertullus, Τέρτυλλος , Liar, Impostor, from Τερατολόγος , A Teller Of Stories, A Cheat. [Q.y. Was his true appellation Ter-Tullius, thrice Tully,' that is, extremely eloquent, varied by Jewish wit into Tertullus?]"

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

ter - tul´us , tẽr - ( Τέρτυλλος , Tértullos , diminutive of Latin tertius, "third"):, An orator who descended with Ananias the high priest and elders from Jerusalem to Caesarea to accuse Paul before Felix the Roman governor (  Acts 24:1 ). Tertullus was a hired pleader whose services were necessary that the case for the Jews might be stated in proper form. Although he bore a Roman name, he was not necessarily a Roman; Roman names were common both among Greeks and Jews, and most orators were at this time of eastern extraction. Nor is it definitely to be concluded from the manner of his speech ( Acts 24:2-8 ) that he was a Jew; it has always been customary for lawyers to identify themselves in their pleading with their clients. His speech before Felix is marked by considerable ingenuity. It begins with an adulation of the governorship of Felix that was little in accord with history (see Felix ); and the subsequent argument is an example of how a strong case may apparently be made out by the skillful manipulation of half-truths. Thus the riot at Jerusalem was ascribed to the sedition-mongering of Paul, who thereby proved himself an enemy of Roman rule and Jewish religion, both of which Felix was pledged to uphold. Again, the arrest of Paul was not an act of mob violence, but was legally carried out by the high priests and elders in the interests of peace; and but for the unwarranted interference of Lysias (see Lysias ), they would have dealt with the prisoner in their own courts and thus have avoided trespassing on the time of Felix. They were, however, perfectly willing to submit the whole case to his jurisdiction. It is interesting to compare this speech of Tertullus with the true account, as given in  Acts 21:27-35 , and also with the letter of Lysias ( Acts 23:26-30 ).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Tertul´lus, the Roman orator or advocate employed by the Sanhedrim, to sustain their accusation against Paul before the Roman governor . The Jews, as well as the other peoples subject to the Romans, in their accusations and processes before the Roman magistrates, were obliged to follow the forms of the Roman law, of which they knew little. The different provinces, and particularly the principal cities, consequently abounded with persons who, at the same time advocates and orators, were equally ready to plead in civil actions or to harangue on public affairs. This they did, either in Greek or Latin, as the place or occasion required.