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The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 1: I Clement, II Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache (Loeb Classical Library) (Volume I)

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674996076
ISBN-10: 0674996070
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  • The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 1: I Clement, II Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache (Loeb Classical Library) (Volume I)
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  • Apostolic Fathers: Volume II. Epistle of Barnabas. Papias and Quadratus. Epistle to Diognetus. The Shepherd of Hermas (Loeb Classical Library No. 25N)
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  • Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History, Books I-V (Loeb Classical Library, No. 153) (Volume I)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ehrman's new Loeb Library edition of The Apostolic Fathers (a title unknown before the 17th century) presents a scholarly edition, with a lively translation, of Christian writings that circulated before the Biblical canon was established. (Tom D'Evelyn Christian Science Monitor 2003-12-23)

Bart Ehrman's new text and translation of the Apostolic Fathers in the Loeb series is an excellent example of solid scholarship presented in an accessible and engaging manner…Ehrman's general introduction contains a helpful bibliography, and is complemented by lively and accessible introductions to each individual text…This is a fine introduction to some important texts, and a worthy successor to the edition of Kirsopp Lake that it now supersedes. (Andrew Gregory Themelios 2004-10-01)

The Apostolic Fathers is a greatly needed and valuable contribution to the field of early Christian literature. The outlined contemporary discussions will enhance one's understanding not only of the texts but of the current methodology and views regarding the reading of the works. The two volumes are highly recommended for graduate students and scholars. (Despina Prassas New England Classical Journal)

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Product Details

  • Series: Loeb Classical Library (Book 24)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (December 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674996070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674996076
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nichael on April 25, 2012
I think there is some misunderstand about what this book, and its sibling volume, contain and what they represent.

For example, some of the reviews mention the skimpy nature of the commentary, and that half content of the book --i.e. it contains both English and Greek text-- is unnecessary and not of use to most readers and similar misgivings.

It is possible that Amazon has not done a good job of explaining the purpose of volumes in Loeb Library but, briefly, the Loeb Library publishes scholarly editions of classical --Greek and Latin-- texts, with a parallel translation into English which is supported by a decent set of textual notes (i.e. indicating variants in the existing manuscript-history). While most books in the series include a brief introductory, there is nothing on the scale of a complete commentary.

In short, these are _not_ intended to be detailed commentaries or "readers" editions. Rather, they are intended for readers (mainly scholars) who require a solid version of the original text.

This is probably too late for folks who have bought these volumes while wanting something else. But as a word to future buyers, if you are looking for a excellent, inexpensive (at least compared to a full-blown textual-edition), compact (approx pocket-sized) well-bound edition which have been prepared by a world-class scholar, you would hard-pressed to do better than the Loeb Library. (Of course, if you are in their target audience, I probably don't need to tell you that. ;-) )
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How did the New Testament come to be formed? What books were left out? What did some of those books say? These are some of the questions on the minds of many curious people today. Too often, local congregations ignore these questions, to the detriment of the church. But these questions about Christian origins are very, very real in the hearts and minds of many people today.

Now, from one of the most significant writers about Christian origins today comes a completely new edition of the Apostolic Fathers -- the letters of Clement, the letters of Ignatius, the letter of Polycarp, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the fragments of Papias and Quadratus, the Epistle to Diognetus, and the Shepherd of Hermas. These were early Christian writings that are generally attributed to church leaders of the late first and early second centuries CE (and, in most cases, are probably authentic). Clement, for example, was an early leader in Rome (circa 96 CE); Ignatius wrote a number of letters to churches in various cities (circa 110 CE), sort of following in the footsteps of Paul.

This two-volume set replaces the classic edition of the Apostolic Fathers in the Loeb Classical Library edited by Kirsopp Lake nearly a century ago. As with all books in the Loeb Classical Library, the original (in this case, Greek) text is presented on the left-hand pages, and an English translation is presented on the right. The text is extremely readable, and the introductions to each of the books are clear, succinct, and to the point.

Some of these books almost made it into the New Testament! The epistles of Clement are found in some early New Testament manuscripts and were widely read in the early churches.
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Exactly what I was expecting, the Greek helped in finding different meanings within the text. Lake's original was different, maybe more accurate, but Ehrman's is updated English and more accessible.
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First off, I believe it is best to state that I loved this book. Reading through the books of the Apostolic fathers is always fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. That being said, I have some complaints.

When I first found out that Ehrman was the translator I was hesitant to buy this book, primarily because I have read his books in the past, and whereas I have enjoyed his translations (Lost Scriptures) I have not enjoyed his other books (Misquoting Jesus). This is mainly because he uses circular logic and doesn't state all the facts (see here for refutation of Ehrman). I went into this book knowing that Ehrman believes that followers of Marcion or Gnostics could have become the dominant Christians in the first few centuries, so I was expecting to find the introductions in this book littered with far out sayings. But thankfully this was not the case. The introductions were short, sweet, and to the point, and they gave lots of information on the books which included the time of writing, author and recipients, and other small interesting details (However, the lack of commentary leads me to believe that Ehrman has no interest in understanding the spiritual value of these book, but rather just the historical value they hold).

The text itself is very easy to read, and it has helpful footnotes to show you what parts of the Bible the Apostolic fathers are quoting in their writings.
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