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Early Christian Fathers (Library Of Christian Classics) [Paperback]

By Cyril Richardson (Editor)
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Item description for Early Christian Fathers (Library Of Christian Classics) by Cyril Richardson...

Long recognized for the quality of its translations, introductions, explanatory notes, and indexes, the Library of Christian Classics provides scholars and students with modern English translations of some of the most significant Christian theological texts in history. Through these works, each written prior to the end of the sixteenth century, contemporary readers are able to engage the ideas that have shaped Christian theology and the church through the centuries. The Library of Christian Classics ensures that this great literature of the Christian heritage is easily available and invites the ongoing development of theology.

Publishers Description

This selection of writings from early church leaders includes work by Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, and Justin Martyr.

Long recognized for the quality of its translations, introductions, explanatory notes, and indexes, the Library of Christian Classics provides scholars and students with modern English translations of some of the most significant Christian theological texts in history. Through these works--each written prior to the end of the sixteenth century--contemporary readers are able to engage the ideas that have shaped Christian theology and the church through the centuries.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   415
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   1.11 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 27, 1953
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Series  Library Of Christian Classics  
ISBN  0664227473  
ISBN13  9780664227470  

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

Reviews - What do customers think about Early Christian Fathers?

An Intermediate View of Catholic and Protestant Doctrines  Aug 20, 2007
Catholics and Protestants both tend to see their distinctive doctrines reflected not only in Scripture, but also in the early Church fathers. Richardson tends to steer in the middle: He presents various doctrines as being in germ-form, or developmental in nature.

Consider, for example, the papacy. Richardson avoids the extremes of seeing the papacy directly traceable to Christ and the papacy as a centuries-later invention. With reference to Clement, he comments: "This implies more than a casual relation with other churches; and while this should not be pressed to vindicate much later papal claims, it does indicate that the Roman community took most seriously its responsibility as a sister church for the welfare of other congregations. Here, in germ, is that exercise of authority which was to become the papal primacy." (p. 36).

In like manner, Richardson takes a middle view of the validity of apostolic succession. He believes that the Greek of Clement's first letter is compatible with either an "episcopal" or a "presbyterian" interpretation of early church government (pp. 63-64).

Richardson treats other doctrines in much the same manner. All in all, the reader can appreciate Richardson's fairness and objectivity.
Early Church ideas and beliefs  Jan 4, 2007
Interesting how the early fathers determined what materials would be used. The arguments which occurred
Best Introductory Text for Early Patristic Writers  Nov 8, 2005
This is the best single-volume introduction to the "Early Church Fathers" (early Patristic Writers) of the 1st and 2nd centuries. I have a library of the Ancient Christian Writers series of many more Patristic authors, and have studied unabridged versions of their works, but I found myself looking for something accessible for a friend recently. After researching the matter, I bought two copies of this work - one for my friend and one for me.

Richardson and company take the earliest and best non-canonical Christian literature and present it, edited, in a handy volume that contains not only preforatory material for each letter, but also helpful footnotes and study aids.

Many people don't know that before the close of the age of the Apostles that Clement of Rome was penning a letter to the Corinthians (AD 95 or so), the same group that had given Paul so many headaches 40 years earlier. This letter starts of this work. Next, we move on to the kind, gentle Bishop Ignatius of Antioch. About AD 110, as he was being transported to Rome for his execution as a Christian, he wrote letters to Churches along the way exhorting them to continue in faithfulness. About the middle of the second century, Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna - a disciple of John the Apostle - wrote a letter to the Phillipians. That letter is in here. Next, his martyrdom is recounted in another early Christian document.

And on it goes. The Didache (or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) probably contains material from both the first and second centuries AD. It's a sort of manual on what Christian worship, procedure and organization should be. The so-called Second Letter of Clement follows that in which second century Christian living is described.

The second century Apologists are represented in the letter of "Mathetes" to Diognetus. This horatory letter is a Christian justification of the faith to a friendly pagan. Next, Justin (surnamed "Martyr" for his later martyrdom) explains Christianity in Greek terms, as does Athenagoras who follows him in this book.

Finally, there's a segment of Irenaeus's "Against Heresies" in which the Bishop of Lyons articulately defends "traditional" Christianity and scripture from abuses of those who possessed, in his words, "knowledge, falsely so-called." In short, Irenaeus combats the Gnostic heresies of his day.

The greatest value of this book is in showing the vitality of early Christianity as it - although persecuted - handled the business of not just surviving, but appealing to the hearts and minds of the citizens of the Roman Empire and Greek culture of its time.

For additional, scholarly works, see Quasten's Patrology or the Ancient Christian Writers series from Newman Press.
The Great Christian Church Fathers...  May 10, 2004
This book is an excellent text for those who are solely interested in the topic for pure curiosity and for those who are interested in doing a little research. The author, Richardson, has put together an excellent compilation of letters, and journal entires of various prominent early Christians. There are letters from the famous St. Polycarp, to the early Bishop St. Ignatius (not the Jesuit Ignatius) depicting the events and thoughts leading up to their martyrdoms. There are also letters from the early Popes illustrating the various problems the early church faced. All in all an excellent read for the beginner and for the far advanced. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in biographical information pertaining to the Early Chirstian Fathers.
A great introductory tool  Mar 22, 2003
A good book for prominent church fathers, but I was looking for a book including those less well known. If all you need is an overview, then this would be a great choice.

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