Did the church fathers

believe their writings were scripture?

What level of authority do they claim for their own writings?

The word “scripture” means “a writing.” What I suspect you mean is, did the Church Fathers foresee their writings as inspired Scripture (canonical text as part of a Bible).

The Church Fathers (first generation bishops, I presume you are noting) didn’t see their writings as “Scripture” any more than I would see my text appearing in this forum response as such.

*Tradition * (primarily from oral recitations–there was no ancient “Xerox machine” other than scribes who were lucky to make a copy of the document or receive it orally for transliteration) takes many (though not all: search on “Origen”) notable and inspired writings of the Church Fathers as part of Magisterial teaching.

Scripture is merely the most inspired written versions of oral tradition. If the tradition wasn’t passed down, it faded or was documented but only occasionally recalled for illumination. There weren’t a codified series of books we know now as the Bible until the mid- to late 4th century.

Although Jimmy Akin’s book on the Church Fathers may have more information, to date I do not believe any works of the Church Fathers became part of the canon of the New Testament. Many of their writings have formed essential teachings over time, even without making it as Scripture.

So it follows that the Church Fathers did not claim authority on their writings unless they were ordained to have the apostolic authority to do so, such as St. Ireneus and St. Clement.

So how could they know that their writings would gain significance to become part of a canon that would not exist for another 200+ years? The history of ECF writings and canon formation makes the basis of your questions impossible to occur.

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