View Full Version : Early church fathers
November 4th 2003, 04:40 PM
Where can I get accurate information about the history of the church and about the early church fathers?
Having access to the internet means that I can also get lots of misinformation, so where can I go that will give me lots of acceptable and accurate information on the internet? Also, any books recommended will be helpful. Thanks in advance.
Bill the Cat
November 4th 2003, 04:42 PM
November 4th 2003, 05:12 PM
i don't know about accuracy, but there are some church histories that are pretty widely accepted afaik. one guarded recommendation (since i think i've read it, but am not sure... i just bought it so i'm going to read it again anyways) is ken latourette's history of christianity. you can get it, in hardcover no less, from christianbook.com for $15 (it's a 2-volume set, and pretty big). covers early church to the modern era. you could also look to eusebius, i haven't read it yet (just bought that one too, i have a bunch of books to go through) but it hasn't changed in ~1600 years? so it's probably less likely to show bias. it covers from the book of acts up to the time of constantine.
most of the church fathers are at the site bill posted. roger pearce (sp?) posted a link before to some others, they are at tertullian.org iirc. if you want paper, they aren't cheap, but you can get the 10-volume anti-nicene set for $99. there's also a 'Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs', which is organized by topic with selected quotes from many church fathers; it is perhaps more possible to be biased (i haven't read all the original sources - yet - so i have no way to know), but it's a lot cheaper too - $20 at earlychurch.com.
one last recommendation i have is the Philokalia - it's more from the eastern side of the church, but just as good. volume 1 at least is very good, writings of early christian monks and desert fathers. harder to find, but worth it. many of the original works are online, but the philokalia tends to be shorter abridged and reformatted versions, which, for the couple who i have seen the original versions, is better for an introduction. i really enjoyed this, especially the writings of john cassian, and the proverbs of st. mark the ascetic.
hope this helps...
November 4th 2003, 05:14 PM
November 4th 2003, 05:29 PM
Thank you very much you guys, this is really helpful. Feel free to add more.
November 4th 2003, 06:03 PM
I highly recommend Philip Schaff. My dream is to someday save up the $300 for the Church Fathers set from CBD. Either that, or I am hoping my wife will get my family together and get it for me as a graduation present for my Ph D....60 years from now (what, no bitterness, not in l'il ol' me).
November 5th 2003, 03:03 AM
Where can I get accurate information about the history of the church...?
For the early church, Chadwick's "The Early Church" is a good quick read. And then once you've finished that you should move on to Frend's comprehensive "Rise of Christianity".
If you want to get a deeper overview of the doctrinal issues in this same period, I'd try Pelikan's "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition" - the first in a series of 5 covering the last 2 millenia.
I'd also try a reader for a selection of the original writings. There's a couple of books called "A New Eusebius" which contain a good selection of texts.
I have to also recommend Hans Kung's "Christianity" for a marvellous overview of the last 2,000 years.
Hope that helps.
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