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.Read more ›
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