Which Early Church Fathers book?


#1

If I were to buy only one book about the Early Church Fathers, which one should I buy?
[list]
*]Early Christian Writings
*]Faith of the Early Fathers, v I, II, and III
*]The Fathers Of The Church: An Introduction To The First Christian Teachers
[/list]
And if there are other books about the Early Church Fathers that you like that I didn’t include, please mention them.


#2

If you are looking for an introductory book, I would recommend

Beginning to Read the Fathers
Boniface Ramsey O.P.
Published by Paulist Press


#3

[quote=RichSpidizzy]And if there are other books about the Early Church Fathers that you like that I didn’t include, please mention them.
[/quote]

For more advanced reading, check out the Philokalia series.


#4

I voted for the three-volume set of *Faith of the Early Fathers * – what a wealth of information!!! I refer to it regularly, and my son (a freshman in a wonderfully orthodox Catholic high school) uses it for his theology research papers.

*Early Christian Writings * is a good book, too – small and concise. I admit I don’t that the third in my personal library.

'thann


#5

Wow, looks like Faith of the Early Fathers is winning by a landslide.

FYI, in case this helps with any of the decisions:
While I will be reading whichever book I choose, I want it primarily as a reference to use in an Apologetics Ministry I’m going to be running in my parish… Which reminds me, anyone live in Queens, NY that would be interested in my ministry (either as a regular participant or with an active role)?


#6

If you’re limited to only one of the selections for your apologetics ministry, I strongly recommend Faith of the Early Fathers. Early Christian Writings, however, should be in every apologist’s library.

'thann


#7

I voted for The Fathers Of The Church: An Introduction To The First Christian Teachers just allow for getting a good summary of the Fathers without going into too much detail that would be involved in Faith of the Early Fathers, v I, II, and III.

Afterwards, I would look into Faith of the Early Fathers, v I, II, and III or books on or by specific Fathers of the Church. For instance, Augustine’s works are so voluminous that no one book could do them justice.

Although some of them are hard to find, Catholic University has a series called The Fathers of the Church. Each volume (or volumes) covers one of the Fathers of the Church. Augustine alone has over 30 volumes :bigyikes:

PF


#8

I use The Ante-Nicene Fathers, a ten-volume set that contains all the non-canonical writings from the death of Christ to the council of Nicaea. It is comparatively inexpensive for all it offers, and I got it through an evangelical bookstore.

The presbyterian editor writes some pretty nasty anti-Catholic footnotes. However, it is interesting to see how evangelicals read the Church Fathers, even if their conclusions are wrong.


#9

Faith of the Early Fathers, especially volume 1.


#10

[quote=Madaglan]I use The Ante-Nicene Fathers, a ten-volume set that contains all the non-canonical writings from the death of Christ to the council of Nicaea. It is comparatively inexpensive for all it offers, and I got it through an evangelical bookstore.

The presbyterian editor writes some pretty nasty anti-Catholic footnotes. However, it is interesting to see how evangelicals read the Church Fathers, even if their conclusions are wrong.
[/quote]

I agree with Madaglan that the Ante Nicene Fathers and Nicene Fathers are still a very good collection regardless of the anti-Catholic footnotes contained therein. The works of the Fathers speak for themselves and more often than not represent Catholicism in its early stages. Unfortunately, these volumes do not contain all of the early Christian writers, like Epiphanius of Salimas of the fourth century who supported the Assumption of Mary in his writings. Nevertheless, this series is more extensive than the other publications listed above. These volumes are also free and can be accessed at

ccel.org/fathers2/


#11

Thanks for the great link. I have been thinking about this question too, for a while. Where to begin. Does Early Christian Writings include documents that are not in Jurgens’ three volume series?

I’m leaning towards the Aquilina book right now, becuase all thought the three volumes look like they have the most comprehensive information, I am not sure how motivated I would be to read it all if I bought them (:o). This might just be a fervent of the moment puchase and the three volumes are one hefty investment.


#12

The book I’d tend to recommend is Early Christian Doctrines by the Anglican scholar J. N. D. Kelly. (He’s usually highly regarded by Catholics, and I think most people agree that the book is quite fair.) However, more recently the Catholic scholar (convert from Lutheranism) Robert Louis Wilken has written a book called The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. I’ve only glanced at the book briefly so far, but Wilken is a very well-regarded scholar and I’d recommend anything by him very highly. This is a guy who reads the Fathers in Greek every morning as part of his devotions. I hoped to have the opportunity to study with him at one point–it looked as if my advisor was going to move to UVA (where Wilken teaches) and I was looking forward to taking classes with Wilken. However, it didn’t work out that way.

Henry Chadwick’s book on early Christianity is also well worth reading (he’s another Anglican), as is Jaroslav Pelikan’s five-volume history of Christian doctrine (the first volume of which is of course devoted to the Fathers–Pelikan was Lutheran but became Orthodox a few years ago).

In Christ,

Edwin


closed #13

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