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Church Fathers - Workin' Mama - 01-01-2018

First of all, Happy New Year to all my SFL friends.

I would like to learn more about the early church fathers, so I've decided to read at least one work by one of the church fathers in 2018. I already read Dante's Inferno and excerpts from Augustine in college, so I'd like to read something different. Hopefully, something informative and inspirational. Any suggestions? Any thoughts on Saint Francis of Assisi?

RE: Church Fathers - myotch - 01-01-2018

You can get a rich history about the Fathers reading about the first church councils, too.

RE: Church Fathers - co_heir - 01-01-2018

Go back to Polycarp and others from around that time. There are a lot of writings from the first three centuries of the Church.

RE: Church Fathers - WalrusWrangler - 01-02-2018

I'd like to know more about the church fathers as well. My fundy upbringing was doing well to discuss the reformation every so often, but they rarely went back further than Billy Sunday. My current church encourages study of church history, but it's hard to know where to start.

RE: Church Fathers - Ricardo - 01-02-2018

Church fathers: I'm referring to church leaders from the first, second and third centuries.

There is a reason why the church fathers are not so well known: they are not easy to read. The translations of their writings are not as well done as biblical translations.

Additionally, quite a few of the issues they write about are incomprehensible to most of us. Esoteric theological issues we do not care about today. Diatribes against Gnostics.

And, they lift whole chapters of what became the new testament into their writings, for no apparent reason.

I would suggest looking for some college texts about them.

In the popular press, Bart D. Ehrmann has several books describing some of the more interesting issues -from his point of view- on Patristic writings. Not necessarily the "final" interpretation of these writings, but a good introduction. He writes well and is engaging.

RE: Church Fathers - Ricardo - 01-02-2018

By the way, Dante, while foundational regarding Italian literature, is not considered a Theologian.

Saint Augustine is solid Catholic Theology. But, it is hard to read. Two paragraphs will put anyone to sleep.

Saint Francis was not a theologian by any means. He was always right on the edge of being excommunicated. My kind of guy! Inspirational? You betcha!

RE: Church Fathers - WalrusWrangler - 01-02-2018

I'm not a fan of Bart Ehrmann. He wrote the textbook I used in my New Testament Literature class, and some of his positions just irked me. They felt contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

RE: Church Fathers - Ricardo - 01-02-2018

Part of what I hate about Ehrmann's books is the fact that the names of the books and the material on the covers are written by the marketing department. The stuff in the actual books end up being ho-hum stuff you can hear in any reputable divinity school.

BUT, he has taken subjects that until he came along were the exclusive purview of Theologians and Divinity School junkies and made the subjects accessible to the average church pew warmer.

The facts he comes up with are unimpeachable. The conclusions he comes up with are a matter of debate. Unfortunately, many of the attacks I've read about his books end up being mostly about him, the fact that he no longer considers himself a believer, ignoring in their attacks the actual facts contained in the books.

My point is, it is hard to get exited about studying Marcion, Arius, Pelagius, Justin Martir, Policarp, Iraneous, etc. If you read a "light" book about them, you can get at least a feeling about what was going on and why their writings were important. How the first three were declared heretics is fascinating!

RE: Church Fathers - steve95054 - 08-11-2018

Facebook page dedicated to quoting the Holy Fathers.

(See the Notes section.)