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The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 1 [Paperback]

William A. Jurgens
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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First Sentence
The Didache was first published in 1883, following its discovery by Philotheos Brynnios, the metropolitan of Nicomedia, in the 11th century manuscript, Codex Hierosolymitanus 1056. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible reference and study source May 11 2004
This three-volume series is an impressive work of scholarship and an indispensable reference for anyone who wishes to learn more about the writings and teachings of the Early Church Fathers. Volume 1 covers the earliest Christian writings of the Pre-Nicene and Nicene eras from the Didache to St John Damascene. Volume 2 covers the Post-Nicene era through St. Jerome. Volume 3 covers the writings of St. Augustine through the end of the patristic era.
The various selections are preceded by a short introduction to each writer and the work in question. For example, the introduction to the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles tells of its first publication in 1883 following its discovery in an 11th Century manuscript, and summarizes the best current scholarship on the work's origin and use in the instruction of early catechumens. Extensive footnotes and cross-references to an comprehensive Doctrinal Index make these books an indispensable research tool and reference work.
The Doctrinal Index sets forth a number of concise doctrinal statements arranged in both alphabetical and numerical order followed by a number reference to each writing in the volume that discusses or supports the statement in question. The patristic texts are not intended as "proofs" of a particular dogma, but are extremely useful to demonstrate what the Early Church believed and taught. There is a specific index for each volume and a cumulative index in Volume 3.
In addition, there is an Index of Scriptural References and Citations listing each reference in the patristic texts to specific Scriptural passages from Genesis to Revelations and a General Index.
My only complaint is that nearly all the selections are redacted, making the work less useful as an anthology of the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional June 18 2003
By Mel
What can I say? Nothing I have ever read can compare to the collection and compilation of so many differnt church fathers, councils, and heretics. Anyone who wants to know about Christianity after the last verse of Acts of the Apostles needs to read this collection.
The first volume starts it all off. Have you ever wondered what went on in Christianity between the last verse of Acts of the Apostles and 1517? You'll want to read this one and when you do you'll find out that Luther, Calvin, and the rest of the "Reformers" weren't getting any closer to the original church and the teachings of Christ than the indulgence selling, mistress toting, warlord Popes of the time.
The Didache, Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Polycarp of Smyrna, etc. are all featured in this collection as well as the decrees of Church synods and the Coucil of Nicea. After reading the first one, read the second and third, they're follow up on the church until the time of John of Damascus in the early 8th century
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Discovering what the earliest Christians had to say about their understanding and experience of faith -- in their own words -- is an awesome and inspiring experience. And, believe me, there are *plenty* of surprises.
This is the first of three volumes -- and, in my opinion, the most interesting.
It contains the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was writing around 100 A.D. Scholars tell us that Ignatius most certainly knew the apostles Peter and John, and that he was probably ordained by one of them. We can assume that what he was teaching and preaching to others in the letters contained here, he learned from these towering figures.
And you'll find out about the martyrdom of the beloved St. Polycarp, whose second-century [demise] -- martyrdom by fire at the hands of the Romans -- is described in detail, as is the anguished reaction of the early community of believers.
Best of all, the material is all painstakingly indexed in the back, so you can find references to every religious practice and theological concept presented.
I recommend all three volumes, but get this one first. It is like sitting at the feet of those who sat at the feet of the apostles. And you know whose feet *they* sat at.
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