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Inheriting Wisdom: Readings for Today from Ancient Christian Writers
Hendrickson Publishers / Paperback
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So many concerns of today's world require nuanced consideration and a sensitive response. Yet human nature and spiritual need remain remarkably constant. Practical, moral, and spiritual struggles are not peculiar to modern life.
Early Christians looked at all things through the lens of God and Christ, including those that today we would consider secular in nature, as the wide range of subjects these writers addressed clearly demonstrates. The words of Christian writers such as Tertullian, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, and Clement of Alexandria are organized around familiar, everyday themes. In study, reflection, or devotional reading, use this book to look through their eyes at our issues and, perhaps, find a deepened and sharpened awareness of what it means to choose the Christian life.
Introduced, organized, and translated by Everett Ferguson, these quotes are arranged to allow the ancient authors to speak for themselves. Inheriting Wisdom will refresh modern readers with the rich resources of early Christianity and provide direction and guidance for the twenty-first century.
Everett Ferguson is the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Abilene Christian University. He has authored numerous texts including Early Christians Speak and Backgrounds of Early Christianity and lectures on patristics throughout the world.
Pastors will appreciate this well-organized book of quotations drawn from the writings of ancient and medieval church fathers such as John Chrysostom, Tertullian, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, Ambrose and Irenaeus. Arranged topically, the book deals first with social existence, a catch-all category that includes family, marriage, education, caring for the body and dealing with the government. The second section addresses ethics, justice, sexual morality, negative emotions, sin and virtue, while the third (and shortest) section takes up the issues of conversion and salvation. The final two parts deal with spiritual questions (the nature of God, angels, revelation through scripture) and the vicissitudes of Christian living. Many readers will enjoy the book's user-friendly accessibility and topically relevant window into patristics. There are some small quibbles; translator/editor Ferguson draws from a very small sampling of the church fathers and shows a decided preference for the teachings of Clement of Alexandria. It would also have been helpful to have at least some historical context for each quotation, even the birth and death dates of the man in question, since some of them are separated by centuries. Still, this is a useful compendium of some early church leaders' reflections on important issues. Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly
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