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01. The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ancient Christian Writers) Hardcover – January 1, 1978

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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About the Author

Quasten, Professor of Ancient Church History and Christian Archaeology.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Christian Writers (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press (January 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080910038X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809100385
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on July 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Along with volume 4 of the Ancient Christian Writers Series (Didache, Epistle of Barnabas...) these writings are second only to Scripture itself in early Church authority. In fact before the creation of the New Testament canon, the 1st epistle of Clement was widely regarded as Scripture.
This is a must-read for Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and anyone who wants to know anything about the early Church.
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Clement, bishop of Rome, was responding to reports about troubles again with those pesky Corinthian Christians. 40 years or so earlier, St. Paul had done the same. It's easy to see why for the first couple hundred years (even Eusebius, bp. of Ceasarea in Palestine considered it inspired in the early 4th century) this letter circulated with what would become the New Testament writings. His faith is apostolic as is his belief that he's merely standing in an authoritative line of men who are exhorting Christian behavior and beliefs. This letter was probably composed about the same time some of the writings of St. John were, and probably before 2 Peter and some of the pseudepigraphical Pauline literature.

This volume also shares with the reader the early 2nd century writings of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch and martyr. Again we get snapshots of early Christian communities in communion, part of the "great" Church, who submit to ecclesial authority, enjoy a sacred meal, etc.
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This is a wonderfully full and rich translation of St. Clement's letter to the Romans and St. Ignatius' 7 letters. With them we are treated to the doctrines of the early church on the structure and authority of church offices. There are few works that challenge the modern presuppositions of the early church like these of the earliest Christian tradition. This translation is ideal for sharing in a group study for their clarity letting the early fathers speak for themselves with limited interjection of commentary. Each section provides an introduction giving a brief outline of the lives of Clement and Ignatius. Each epistle is salted with note references. The notes are kept apart at the end of each epistle so that you can easily read the epistles without being distracted by lengthy footnotes on each page. The notes are there at the end of each epistle ready to shed more light on a particular passage without demanding notice at every turn of the page. The format is ideal for group or personal study. Very highly recommended.
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If you ever wanted documentary PROOF whether or not the earliest christians were Catholic (90 A.D.-107 A.D.), read this book. Apostolic Succession, obedience to the deacons, priests and bishops, real presence of Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the worldwide unity and Oneness of the Church, salvation that works through love, and NOT by faith alone. Not a SHRED of sola fide or sola scriptura anywhere. St. Ignatius of Antioch actually knew St. John the Beloved Disciple and the Blessed Virgin Mary and he is the first guy we have to record the term 'catholic church'. Clement wrote while St. John was still alive. It's a short book, the translation is modern, easy and fun to read, with enough notes to keep a layman happy. Jimmy Swaggert is always challenging Catholics to read the Church Fathers. I repeat that challenge to anybody. These are the two earliest saints we have, and it's obvious Swaggert never read either of these guys, or he would have seen on every page that they're both Catholic bishops. He makes that challenge because he knows it's an empty threat; nobody in his congregation is ever gonna bother to read the real sources. Especially you guys who don't like this review, I challenge YOU to read this book in it's entirety, and see if I speak the truth. And in the light of these, the first christian witnesses we have, go back and read the letters to Timothy, Titus, John 6, Ephesians, Colossians, James, Matthew, and you will see the bible teaches these doctrines exactly the same way these saints do... and the way the Church has always taught them, from the first century to the twenty-first century.
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I enjoyed this book and recommend it, if for no other reason than to be informed about the thinking of early Christians. However, I disagree with the judgment echoed by some reviewers and stated by the translator that "Clement, representing the Occident, and Ignatius, representing the Orient, are in agreement regarding the form of Christianity which they profess. The Christian Church shows the same face, whether seen through the eyes of Clement, or those of Ignatius." (p.7) On my reading Clement and Ignatius are quite different. Clement's writing clearly stems from an understanding of the gospel, specifically in the manner that Paul outlines, and a high view of Scripture. Consider the following statement by Clement. "So we, too, who have been called by His will in Christ Jesus, are sanctified not through ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or piety or any works we perform in holiness of heart, but through the faith through which Almighty God has sanctified all men from the beginning of time. To Him be glory forever and evermore. Amen." (p. 28)

In contrast, Ignatius extrapolates significantly beyond Scripture. The following, from Ignatius's letter to the Magnesians, would have been most out of place in Clement's letter. "...the bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the presbyters are to function as the council of the Apostles..." (p. 70-71) In addition, Ignatius is enamored with the ascetic ideal and seeks his own martrydom to the point that he admonishes the churches not to pray for his deliverance. This mindset is largely absent from Clement's letter. Clement's goal seems to be to bring man before his creator in praise, while Ignatius seems intent to insert mediators between God and man--forgetting that there is only one (1 Tim. 2:5).
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