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The Apostolic Fathers in English 3rd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801031083
ISBN-10: 0801031087
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael W. Holmes (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel University. A leading scholar of the Apostolic Fathers, he is currently writing a major critical commentary on Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians and The Martyrdom of Polycarp.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 3 edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031083
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Having made extensive use of his Greek/English 2nd edition, this 3rd edition translation of the Apostolic Fathers is a great resource for pastors or interested laypeople. The translations are lucid, clear, and contemporary (without being at all "trendy"); newly expanded footnotes and biblographies for each work make full use of the most recent scholarship. The scripture-reference footnotes for Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians are particularly dense, given that Holmes makes full use of Berding's and Hartog's studies on Polycarp's use of the NT.

If you have more academic interests, the 2nd edition Greek/English is still a very good translation and has a host of technical footnotes not included in this edition. If you just want to read the Apostolic Fathers in clear English, this is the one for you.
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I'm not an academic and I don't know Greek but am probably more widely and deeply read than the average layman. I find "thee/thou" language difficult to navigate and, for that reason, have had difficulty reading 19th Century English translations of the Church Fathers for any extended period. Holmes' translation is perfect for someone like me. The language is up to date and much easier to read than, say, Schaff, but his writing maintains an academic respectability. Think NIV or NRSV for the Apostolic Church Fathers. Some of the commentary strikes me as Protestant (I'm Eastern Orthodox), but reading the early Fathers has never been as enjoyable and enlightening. This is the best book purchase I've made in years.
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I would recommend Apostolic Fathers in English to anyone wanting to learn the roots of our Christian Faith, from the earliest century of Christianity. The introductory material is a little excessive, but the access to early letters and sermons from men who knew and were trained by the Apostles of Christ is a real treasure. Many of these same men had also experienced contact with Christ Himself, and were also eye-witnesses to His life, teachings, miracles, death and Resurrection, adding their accounts to the record of the Apostles themselves. I have just begun to read, sequentially, through the Fathers actual writings, and enjoy the sense of contact with the first Christians I find there. I didn't need to have my faith validated, but these letters and sermons do validate my faith all the same.

I would suggest to any reader to use the Table of Contents and go directly to "the horse's mouth" reading just the actual writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Leave all the introductory material until last so that any undue influence may be avoided in the reader's response to the Fathers' writing. The reader will come away feeling a sense of having touched the past, and found a link to the present. It's a challenging and comforting read.
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This book makes an excellent addition to anyone's personal library, especially if you are a student of Christian theology or just want to know about the early beginnings of the church. This book allows the reader to experience the troubles that the early church experienced through the words of those directly involved leading the church through the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone of faith.
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Everyone should be aware of these works as an insight to what early Christians thought about their faith. This work is a more recent translation that makes the thoughts of early believers available to the average reader and should be read by every student of Christianity.
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I loved that the introductions were concise, but also insightful. This is a great collection of the Apostolic Father's writings. Holmes is an apt guide through these 1st and 2nd century documents.
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I have greatly enjoyed reading this book and have found it very informative. Holmes did a great job of putting together some of the best of the writings from the early church fathers.
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Great, but the one with the original Greek text is even better!
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