A succinct, comprehensive introduction to the documents commonly referred to as the "Apostolic Fathers". Ideal for students just gaining a footing in church history or theology, Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student's Introduction for ten key documents written in the church's apostolic period, roughly covering the first and second centuries.
Jefford provides the basic historical information on each text including its provenance and associated problems while also discussing manuscript evidence. Each chapter is arranged in a question-answer format, and near the end of each chapter an outline is given and any connection to the biblical material is noted. Lastly, Jefford also provides a succinct but quite helpful bibliography for extended reading on each letter. Supplemental charts and maps round out this volume nicely.Documents Covered:
- The Letter of Barnabas
- The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
- The Letters of Ignatius
- The Fragments of Papias
- The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians
- The Martyrdom of Polycarp
- The First Letter of Clement
- The Second Letter of Clement
- The Shepherd of Hermes
- The Letter of Diognetus
The Apostolic Fathers is a critically important collections of texts for studying the first century of Christian history. Here a leading expert on the Apostolic Fathers offers an accessible, up-to-date introduction and companion to these diverse and fascinating writings. This work is easy to use and affordable yet offers a thorough overview for students and others approaching these writings for the first time. It explains the context and significance of each document and points to further reading. This new edition of a well-received text has been updated throughout and includes a new chapter on the fragments of Papias.
Clayton N. Jefford (PhD, Claremont Graduate School) is professor of scripture at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Saint Meinrad, Indiana. He is the author of several books, including The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament and The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide.
Clayton Jefford has a gift. Not once, but twice, he has taken a complicated, diverse, and hotly debated collection of ancient Christian texts and made them intelligible for a modern, uninitiated audience. But make no mistake. His revised and expanded handbook, a companion and tutor to have along as one reads the Apostolic Fathers, is not simplistic. Jefford condenses and construes the critical issues and literature in a manner that the beginning student will find advantageous, and the expert insightful. Every traveler needs a guide. For the Apostolic Fathers, your journey begins with Jefford.
-D. Jeffrey Bingham,
chair and professor of theological studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Reading the Apostolic Fathers provides a succinct but comprehensive introduction to Christian literature of the 'sub-apostolic' age. It provides the basic background information needed to read these texts intelligently and provides bibliographical aids for further study. The work will be of special interest to students beginning their study of the history of early Christianity.
-Harold W. Attridge,
Yale Divinity School
This book, intended as a quick and simple guide to the Apostolic Fathers, achieves its goals admirably. The consistency of the format, the clarity of the organization and writing, and the inclusion of numerous tables, maps, and a handy glossary ensure that anyone encountering these documents for the first time will find here a reliable and user-friendly introduction to an often strange and mysterious world.
A welcome addition to the field of early Christian studies...Particularly useful are the diagrams, tables, and maps which help the reader place the author/document in his/its literary and historical context...This study represents a useful introduction to the Apostolic Fathers which can be used as a beginning for a further, deeper study of the literature of the early church.
-Roger S. Evans,
Journal of Early Christian Studies
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