A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs
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A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs

Edited By: David W. Bercot
Hendrickson Publishers / 1998 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Interest in the ways of the early church has never been more intense. What did early Christians believe about the divinity of Christ? What did they think about resurrection? How did they regard John the Baptist? What were the beliefs of those who sat at the feet of Jesus' disciples? Now, for the first time, a unique dictionary has been developed to furnish ready answers to these questions and others like them. David W. Bercot has painstakingly combed the writings of these early Christian leaders and categorized the heart of their thinking into more than 700 theological, moral, and historical topics to create this book.

Wonderfully suited for devotional or thematic study as well as sermon illustration, this resource offers a window into the world of the early church and affords a special opportunity to examine topically the thoughts of men like Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp, who were students of the original apostles, as well as the thoughts of other great lights in the life of the early church such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian. For anyone interested in historic Christianity, this book cannot be overlooked. This book features:
  • Relevant comments on key Christian concepts from prominent figures such as Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, and Hippolytus
  • Key biblical verses associated with each topic
  • Brief definitions of unfamiliar terms or concepts
  • A "Who's Who" of Ante-Nicene Christianity to put in context the ancient Christian writers
  • Discussion of more than 700 key theological, moral, and historical topics
  • Strategic cross-references to related topics
  • A topical index to the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 720
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Publication Date: 1998
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.12 (inches)
ISBN: 1565638700
ISBN-13: 9781565638709

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Publisher's Description

Interest in the ways of the early church has never been more intense. What did early Christians believe about the divinity of Christ? What were the beliefs of those who sat at the feet of Jesus' disciples? Now, for the first time, a unique dictionary has been developed to allow easy access to the ancient material and furnish ready answers to these questions and others like them. David W. Bercot has painstakingly combed the writings of these early church leaders and categorized the heart of their thinking into more than 700 theological, moral, and historical topics to create A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. Wonderfully suited for devotional or thematic study as well as sermon illustration, this resource offers a window into the world of the early church and affords a special opportunity to examine topically the thoughts of students of the original apostles, as well as other great lights in the life of the early church.

• Collects relevant comments on key Christian concepts from prominent figures such as Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, and Hippolytus.
• Includes key biblical verses associated with a given topic.
• Offers brief definitions of unfamiliar terms or concepts, allowing easy access to the ancient material.
• Provides a "Who's Who" of ante-Nicene Christianity to put in context the ancient Christian writers.
• Discusses more than 700 key theological, moral, and historical topics.
• Gives strategic cross-reverences to related topics.
• Functions as a topical index to the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

Author Bio

David W. Bercot, an Anglican priest and an attorney, graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and Baylor University School of Law. He is the author of Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up and is a member of the North American Patristics Society.

Editorial Reviews

"At times sermons and books refer to the beliefs and writings of early Christian leaders, and this dictionary is a compilation of those, arranged according to more than seven hundred topics. What did Clement of Alexandria say about abortion? What did Irenaeus note concerning the priesthood of the believer? How did Justin Martyr view the matter of divorce? Needless to say, the book is very interesting.

"The book begins with a 'Who's Who' listing of the ante-Nicene Fathers whose comments are included throughout this reference tool. The section lists not only their names but also what they are remembered for, when they lived, and how to pronounce their names. 'How to Use This Dictionary' at the beginning is useful too. . . . it is good to have a handy resource on what [the church fathers] believed and said." --Baptist Bulletin


"A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs is the best overall introduction to the ante-Nicene fathers in print, and is perfect for group study! The ultimate Sunday school reference work.
--www.AmericanVision.org

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  1. Dylan
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Ancient Christian Beliefs
    September 24, 2017
    Dylan
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs is of immense value to the student of the history of Christianity and what early Christians believed. Debates continue today about what these early Christians believed. No doubt scholarship has progressed in this field, for which I am thankful. Yet, people always look for the classics to possess on ones bookshelf. For example, Karl Barths Dogmatics is a classic in Protestantism. Or for our Catholic friends, volumes of Aquinass Summa. For a more conservative, Calvinistic Reformed position, Charles Hodges Systematic Theology or Herman Bavincks Reformed Dogmatics top the field. In the study of early Christianity and what they believed, there are few volumes I would recommend, but this is one of them.

    First, I recommend this volume for its thoroughness. The breadth and depth of topics covered is immense. This is fantastic for a time period we do not know much (or enough!) about. Again, I know that scholarship has progressed, but this volume, published in 1998, exhibits the wealth of research that no doubt provided the foundation for today.

    Second, in conjunction with the first, I appreciate the sources cited. Not only does the editor consult numerous church fathers, but also numerous sources of those fathers. There is not one specific source per father; rather, a plethora of sources per father. However, it is at this point I admit that I am disappointed there are not church mothers. There were plenty, I am sure, of women who influenced the beginnings of Christianity, and without whom we would not be where we are. Yet, still, I appreciate this editors contributions.

    Finally, I appreciate the editors presentation. The cover is ancient and has the color for that time period (sandy and brown), and on the inside, it is well organized and presented in a coherent manner. Also, the editor provides examples on how to use the book, pitfalls to avoid, and a Whos Who of ante-Nicene Christianity to put in context the ancient Christian writers. (back cover)

    For whom is this book written? I would recommend this book to pastors, young or old, who want to refresh their memory of certain beliefs from early Christianity; but, as the editor warns, do not use this book for proof-texting. These early Christians did not believe as we do today. I would also recommend this to undergraduate and seminary students looking for a resource that concisely condenses the amount of information from the early years of Christian development. Finally, I recommend this book to anyone remotely curious about the development of Christian belief. I hope you will add this wonderful reference book to your library.
  2. Denise
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Wonderful place to start
    August 24, 2011
    Denise
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is an amazing book and a wonderful starting place for looking up early church beliefs.

    Of course it can't contain everything. If you want something that doesn't leave anything out, buy the whole set of ante Nicene writings. If you want a nice one volume reference, this book is for you.

    You could easily spend hours in amazement as to what early Christians believed and how far mainstream Christianity has changed from the original.
  3. dennis dickinson
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    November 8, 2008
    dennis dickinson
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    This text is probably more note worthy for what it leaves out than for what it puts in. The Author will not stand before anyone who has actually read the early Fathers. Seems he found what he wanted to find rather than what was there. I reviewed the book for a friend and found it very poor indeed! I teach the Early Church Fathers and this book will not be found helpful to any reader.
  4. Sherwin Samonte
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    January 11, 2008
    Sherwin Samonte
    An excellent resource for those who have no access to the volumes of ante-Nicene writings. Here is a compilation of important quotations from early Christians arranged topically. Interestingly, through this book, one can trace back Anabaptist doctrines such as non-resistance and non-conformity to early Christianity.
  5. Ryan Cartwright
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 23, 2007
    Ryan Cartwright
    David Bercot's greatest work on the patristic writings truly help to open a vast body of literature not easily accesible for the average individual. I find this work a very useful tool in assisting to delve deeply into these writings for even those unfamiliar with the Church Fathers. While I would advise to use this book as a starting point to get deeper into the source material it is a spectacular and much needed work for anyone interested in Church history, doctrinal issues and development of theology. Bercot has also prepared many audio lessons which I have found to be very interesting and useful.
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