Item description for The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide (Essential Guide (Abingdon Press)) by Clayton N. Jefford...
Overview A collection of early Christian writings from the late first and early second centuries, traditionally considered to have been written by those connected with the Apostles, and therefore reflecting authentic Apostolic teaching.
The Apostolic Fathers is a collection of early Christian writings from the late first and early second centuries, traditionally considered to have been written by those connected with the Apostles, and therefore reflecting authentic Apostolic teaching. These writings include 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Papias, Hermas, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Diognetus, and Quadratus. Considering their historical context, the Apostolic Fathers bear directly on the study of the New Testament, the development of the early Church, and the history of Christian theology. The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide will explain the nature of the collected writings as they stand between the world of the New Testament and later Christian writers, focusing upon what the texts say about ancient Christian thinkers, early church developments, and the evolution of theological ideas prior to the great ecumenical councils.Chapter Outline: *Chapter 1: The Collected Writings*Chapter 2: People and Places*Chapter 3: Connections to Scripture*Chapter 4: Theological Ideas*Chapter 5: Structures of the Ancient Church *Chapter 6: Roots of the Patristic Tradition
Here is a long awaited volume that treats in a concise and readable format a body of literature too often neglected, but absolutely essential to our understanding of Christian origins. Clayton Jefford brings unrivaled expertise to this task and serves as a sensitive and insightful guide to these texts, offering an introduction that will serve the needs of the beginning student and the seasoned expert alike. It is sure to be at the top of the reading list for anyone interested in this important topic. Stephen J. Patterson Eden Theological Seminary St. Louis The author s goal a simple and sensible first introduction to the ideas and beliefs of the Apostolic Fathers is fully realized as he organizes his survey of these intriguing ancient Christian writers according to topics including scripture, theology, and church structure of continuing contemporary interest. A reliable guide for students and study groups. Michael Holmes Bethel University
St. Paul, Minnesota
Clayton N. Jefford is Professor of Scripture at Saint Meinrad School of Theolgy and is the Secretary-Treasurer of the North American Patristics Society. He has written and edited six volumes and is best known for his research in the fields of the Didache and the Apostolic Fathers."
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 7.98" Height: 0.41" Weight: 0.54 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2006
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
Series Essential Guide - Abingdon
ISBN 068734204X ISBN13 9780687342044
Availability 0 units.
More About Clayton N. Jefford
Clayton N. Jefford (PhD, Claremont Graduate School) is professor of scripture at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Saint Meinrad, Indiana. He is the author of several books, including "The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament "and "The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide."
Clayton N. Jefford has an academic affiliation as follows - Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide (Essential Guide (Abingdon Press))?
Essential Reading Regarding Essential Documents Dec 28, 2007
The literary output of the apostolic fathers represents the earliest stratum of post-canonical Christian writings to be preserved. They were all composed in either the very, very late first century CE or the first three quarters of the second century CE. As such, they are an invaluable source of continuity and occasional divergence from the New Testament. It is indeed possible that some were written before the last of the canonical New Testament writings. And yet, they seem to be under appreciated by both Christians and scholars of Christian origins. With the exception of the Didache, most are now widely disregarded. Two other contemporary books along with this volume attempt to analyze and put these works into perspective. One is by Simon Tugwell and the other is by Paul Foster. Not one of these three books breaks one hundred sixty pages. The last major work on these writings was Robert Mcqueen Grant's magisterial translation and commentary in six volumes issued between 1964 and 1968 which runs to over two thousand pages and is of course currently practically unobtainable!
As an accompaniment to this book, I would suggest Michael Holmes recent English only translation of these documents which is lively, accessible, and accurate. This will allow you to read the fathers in conjunction with Jefford's commentary and analysis. And so, what does Jefford accomplish in this slim little book? He places each of the documents in place, time, and genre as well as possible. He explains how each illuminates the evolution of the liturgical rituals, faith confessions, ecclesiastical regulations and ethical norms in this critical period of early Church history. He assesses the reception and influence of each of these document in the Church. And, while they present multiple images of scattered early faith communities, the author finds in these writings collectively a relatively unified voice in support of proto-orthodoxy. Jefford weighs the extent and nature of each text's use of both OT and NT scriptures. In doing so, he persuasively illustrates a very early reception for much of the canonical NT.
One star is subtracted for a lack of ultimate exhaustiveness. Even without the documents in front of us, we are able to share in the faith experiences of Ignatius of Antioch, the martyrdom of Polycarp of Smyrna, the liturgical instruction of the Didache, as well as, epistles dealing with the ever present problems of specific faith communities and much more. There is a striking similarity exhibited by some of these writings with those of Paul and a definite reliance on certain gospel sources including John. These writings often expand on the pastoral epistles by being ever mindful of the ethical responsibilities of Christians as a reflection of their righteousness. Theology and Christology are not ignored, and by in large, the author finds strong support among the apostolic fathers for a vision of a divine Savior in Jesus of Nazareth. Also, there is an emphasis among the documents on the fully human nature of Jesus probably in counterpoint to Docetism. My reading of this book also indicates that Jefford is aware of all current scholarship on this topic and has factored it into his analysis and commentary. I would highly recommend this book to any student of the early Church, and would also suggest that it might serve as edifying and faith affirming reading for informed lay persons.
From Abingdon Press Feb 22, 2007
The Apostolic Fathers is a collection of early Christian writings from the late first and early second centuries, traditionally considered to have been written by those connected with the apostles, and therefore reflecting authentic apostolic teaching. These writings include 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Papias, Hermas, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Diognetus, and Quadratus. Considering their historical context, the Apostolic Fathers bear directly on the study of the New Testament, the development of the early church, and the history of Christian theology. This book will explain the nature of the collected writings as they stand between the world of the New Testament and later Christian writers, focusing upon what the texts say about ancient Christian thinkers, early church developments, and the evolution of theological ideas prior to the great ecumenical councils. Here is a long awaited volume that treats in a concise and readable format a body of literature too often neglected, but absolutely essential to the understanding of Christian origins. The author brings unrivaled expertise to this task and serves as a sensitive and insightful guide to these texts, offering an introduction that will serve the needs of the beginning student and the seasoned expert alike. It is sure to be at the top of the reading list for anyone interested in this important topic.
Founding Fathers of another sort... Mar 30, 2006
As author Clayton Jefford states in the first chapter, the body of literature collectively known as the Apostolic Fathers was, like the New Testament, not recognised as such during the time of composition, but rather is a categorisation that has been made much later, with the benefit of hindsight. 'In large part our Apostolic Fathers represent the remnants of early Christian writings that ultimately did not make it into the New Testament canon.' These are writings that were seen as having merit for the early Christian community, and continued to hold authority of some sort in most subsequent Christian times and institutions, but has never had an official church sanction in the way that the canonical Bible has had.
However, understanding the formation of the canon is important in understanding the Apostolic Fathers as a collection, and Jefford introduces this complex subject with clarity. The closeness of these works to the canonical scriptures can be seen in the fact that, on various ancient lists, some of the works appear with the current canonical books, while some canonical texts are missing. Jefford gives a brief introduction to each work of the Apostolic Fathers (Epistle to Diognetus, First Clement, Second Clement, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the seven Epistles of Ignatius, the Epistle of Polycarp, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Shepherd of Hermas, and fragments of Papias) - whereas each of the works dates back to the first or second century, the phrase and understanding of the collection is at least a medieval one, and Jefford states that the modern use of the term 'Apostolic Fathers' dates from Jean Cotelier in 1672.
Jefford has chapters devoted to historical context (people and places), scriptural connections, and theological ideas, as well as chapters that deal more generally with the ancient church in institutional terms and the influence and legacy that this early church, with possession of the body of literature from the Apostolic Fathers, had on later developments in Christianity. Jefford's historical survey organises things geographically, while Jefford's theological survey follows primary topics still strong in systematic theological circles (God, ecclesiology, eschatology, soteriology, and orthodoxy).
Despite their influence, which has resurfaced a number of times in the nearly two millennia since their composition, 'the collected writings of the early church that are now classified as the Apostolic Fathers unfortunately remain a complete mystery to most Christians.' Jefford makes apt contrast of these texts with other works such as the Gospel of Thomas and other 'lost' writings - the fact that these were preserved (even though not considered scriptural) shows that the church over time considered them important and worthwhile in ways that competing writings were not. Jefford also highlights the regional diversity and ethnic and ethical diversity of the authors of the Apostolic Fathers. 'They were not canonised, but neither were they rejected. In this way we might argue with some justification that, despite the fact that these writings derive from a variety of different authors and geographical settings, they do indeed stand as a unified corpus of writings that depict a genuine faith among early Christians.'
This is a book that will provide for the student, seminarian, minister, historian or other interested reader a good introductory snapshot of the Apostolic Fathers in terms of context, content, influence and importance.
There is no index in the book, which is a drawback for those who might want to use this book as a reference tool. However, the book is well written and concise, so making notes for one's own use in the back pages would not be a bad idea.
This is a book designed largely for the busy person in mind -- the reading is simple without being simplistic; there are not too many names and terms to wade through, and the whole of the book could be read in but a few hours, making this piece of church history readily accessible to even the busiest of lay persons, and a refresher handily available for the busiest of clergy.