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The Apostolic Fathers: An Essential Guide (Abingdon Essential Guides) Paperback – December 1, 2005
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However, understanding the formation of the canon is important in understanding the Apostolic Fathers as a collection, and Jefford introduces this complex subject with clarity. The closeness of these works to the canonical scriptures can be seen in the fact that, on various ancient lists, some of the works appear with the current canonical books, while some canonical texts are missing. Jefford gives a brief introduction to each work of the Apostolic Fathers (Epistle to Diognetus, First Clement, Second Clement, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the seven Epistles of Ignatius, the Epistle of Polycarp, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Shepherd of Hermas, and fragments of Papias) - whereas each of the works dates back to the first or second century, the phrase and understanding of the collection is at least a medieval one, and Jefford states that the modern use of the term 'Apostolic Fathers' dates from Jean Cotelier in 1672.Read more ›
As an accompaniment to this book, I would suggest Michael Holmes recent English only translation of these documents which is lively, accessible, and accurate. This will allow you to read the fathers in conjunction with Jefford's commentary and analysis. And so, what does Jefford accomplish in this slim little book? He places each of the documents in place, time, and genre as well as possible. He explains how each illuminates the evolution of the liturgical rituals, faith confessions, ecclesiastical regulations and ethical norms in this critical period of early Church history. He assesses the reception and influence of each of these document in the Church.Read more ›