These quick book reviews include links to our YouTube videos and blogs on the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers, plus related topics. We will also discuss how to read ancient works, and the problems scholars face when translating ancient works, and the 38-volume set of the writings of the Ante-Nicene, ante meaning before, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Church Fathers, translated into English.
The Complete Ante-Nicene & Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection: 3 Series, 38 Volumes, 65 Authors
This 38-volume library of the works of the Early Church Fathers in the first few centuries of the Church is an invaluable resource for the serious student of Theology, and the Scriptures also, since many of the writings of the early Church Fathers are Biblical commentaries. The originally published volumes are generally unavailable, new or used, but there paperback republications. Since the copyright has long expired, you can find these works on the internet, or you can purchase a DVD with all these works for under ten dollars.
However, we highly recommend that you purchase the individual volume DVD’s from Christian Book Distributors, as it contains the footnotes from the original translation, and also the valuable introductions. The hundred plus extra dollars for the individual DVD’s is money well-spent.
We discuss how to read these ancient works in this blog:
ANCIENT CHURCH HISTORIAN, EUSEBIUS
The ancient Church Historian Eusebius lived in the time of Emperor Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. We have quoted Eusebius quite often in our videos/blogs on the individual second-century Apostolic Fathers, and he is an invaluable source for how the early church formed a consensus on what books would be included in the New Testament canon. Eusebius is also an invaluable source for the early Christian martyrdoms, often describing them in gruesome detail.
The first volume of the Second Series of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers include the Church History by Eusebius, plus his hagiography of his boss, Emperor Constantine the Great.
The second volume of this series includes the church histories for approximately the 140 years after Eusebius by Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomenus, both of Constantinople. These are primarily histories of the Eastern Greek Church, this is a primary source for the history of the apostate pagan Emperor Julian, Athanasius, and the early Byzantine emperors following Constantine.
BOOK REVIEWS OF MODERN CHURCH HISTORIANS, AND COLLECTIONS OF WRITINGS
The Early Church, by Henry Chadwick
Henry Chadwick, an Anglican scholar, wrote this influential history of the early church. This book is a joy to read, and we quote him often.
History of Early Christian Literature (Midway Reprint Series), by Edgar Johnson Goodspeed
This remarkable History of Early Christian Literature by Edgar Goodspeed, covers the manuscript history of most of the early church works, plus lists the many works that have been lost in the sands of history.
Early Christian Writings, The Apostolic Fathers, Penguin Classic, introduction by Andrew Louth
An excellent modern translation of the Apostolic Church Fathers, except for Shepherd of Heras, due to its length, and excellent introductions.
The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, by Michael W. Holmes
This excellent affordable modern translation of the Apostolic Fathers is by Michael Holmes, who was a doctoral student of Bruce Metzger, includes the original Greek, and also has excellent introductions.
The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years Hardcover, by John Anthony McGuckin
The Orthodox scholar McGuckin’s history of the first millennium of the church includes chapters on how the church influenced many aspects of daily life in the ancient world, and reviews both the history and the literature of the early church.
Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1, by William A. Jurgens, Translator
The Faith of the Early Fathers includes works and fragments of the Church Fathers, including many that are hard to find elsewhere.
The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) (Volume 1), by Jaroslav Pelikan
Pelikan’s five volume set on the History of Christian doctrine includes many snippets from the original works, and a balanced discussion with no polemic bias, always consulting the original works in their original languages whenever possible. Pelikan assumes you already have a basic knowledge of church history.
The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Vol. 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) (Volume 2), by Jaroslav Pelikan
Pelikan’s second volume covers the Eastern Church Fathers. The other three volumes are on the Medieval Church, the Reformation, and the Modern Church through Vatican II.
After the New Testament: The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Audible Audiobook, by Bart D. Ehrman, The Great Courses
Bart Ehrman has an excellent series of lectures on the Apostolic Fathers in the Great Courses, although not in the Great Courses Plus. We want to caution our listeners that he seems to have lost his faith, but he treats the works with intellectual honesty.