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The Fathers Know Best - Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church Paperback – November 18, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

We are particularly blessed by this release of Jimmy Akin's superbly compiled synopsis of the writings of the early Church Fathers. There are other works, but Akin's finely selected and categorized collection provides a far more accessible introduction to the early Christians --Marcus Grodi, President of The Coming Home Network and host of EWTN's The Journey Home
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Catholic Answers (November 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933919345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933919348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Miller VINE VOICE on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is more than just a collection of quotes from the Church Fathers. The first major section contains a lot of information on the Church Fathers and related subjects. Ably and fully answered is the definition of what the definition is of a Church Father in the first place compared to who would come under the column of an ecclesial writer. A list of the Church Fathers along with short biographies and the time frame is provided along with other useful lists concerning the various councils and heresies from this period. Some of the stories included in the biographies are quite interesting and it is obvious care was taken to provide just information that could be historically verified.

The majority of the book is broken up into major topics and then sections within those topics. These sections such as the Trinity, Primacy of Peter, Women's Ordination contain an introduction followed by multiple quotes which are sorted by earlier to later Church Fathers. Where applicable along with these quotes are also listed any canons from Church Councils pertaining to the subject. The introductions are very good and give a good summary of the subject from scripture, tradition, and magisterial teaching.

For the most part the quotes are taken from a publicly available Protestant translation of the Church Fathers. So this is perfect for apologetics work and this makes it easy for others to see the full context of the original writings. In some cases fair use quotes of Catholic translations are used because they were left out of the aforementioned Protestant translation.

This is really one of the best references concerning the Church Fathers in that it is very easy to find information on the topic you want and their are multiple indexes in the back to make this easier.
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By Being Real on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is packed full of facts and statements from the Early Church Fathers, bringing to light clear and convincing evidence that the church Christ established upon his apostles 2,000 years ago is the Catholic Church.

Mr. Akin (author) identifies his work as being more akin to that of a reference book. I can attest to this as I mistakenly chose to read it like a novel (front to back) only to find myself overwhelmed by information, causing a circuit overload. However, in my second attempt (having changed course) I found it masterfully done, amazingly insightful and a fascinating journey in the truth.

My personal recommendation when reading this historical collection is to begin with the short introduction titled "About This Book" followed by selecting topics that most interest you under (Part Two) of the Contents. Then, if your desire more precise details on a particular Father, history, geographical area, councils, writings, heresies, etc... select from the list of subjects under (Part One) of the Contents.
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I bought this book with an interest in getting more knowledgeable about the Church Fathers. For this purpose it is good, and yet it isn't. This book really is there to provide material for Catholic apologists to demonstrate the fact that the early Church was Catholic. This the book does admirably, covering the various different parts of Catholic dogma that are most hotly contested today, varying from abortion to asking saints for intercession. For each topic there's a bunch of patristic quotes, going from earliest to latest. This provides an excellent way to be able to quickly find this sort of stuff. However, this book really should be used only as a starting point for studying the Church Fathers. The book really is crammed full of the various quotes (which are excellent), so unfortunately Jimmy Akin didn't really have much room to get too much into the various fathers. Yeah, he does give a pretty good basic overview, but when you compare it to some other introductions to the fathers such as Pope Benedict's Church Fathers, it pales in comparison. Still, I can't really fault Jimmy Akin for that too much, as a lot of information did have to be crammed into this book. However, I still have to take off a star because the advertising gives the impression that there's a lot more than just a basic overview of the different fathers here. Overall though this is an outstanding book if you have any doubts as to whether or not Catholic dogma really is from the early Church. It's elegantly designed, and an easy read. I heartily recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic resource when studying topically based Church teachings. It is very well organized, straight forward and approachable. You do not need to be a theologian or scholar to receive a significant boost to your faith. This book needs to be in your collection!

As always, pray for Christian unity!
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This book is written in a way that makes information about the Church fathers easy to find. It also grants easy access to information on topics of interest from then and now, as well as heresies.
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Reading this book, along with a lot of tough, honest prayer, started a chain of events which resulted in my re-entering the Catholic Church.

As one would imagine, you can write volumes on church history, theology and scriptural interpretation. But here's what this book does- tell me what the first Christians believed and how they worshiped. Once you know that, you have two choices: you can cling to your favorite christian doctrines, whether they were created in 1560, 1880 or 1998 and try to believe the christian church was lost for 1,500 years while waiting for the birth of Luther... or you can embrace the church that teaches what the believers in 90 AD, 150 AD and 250 AD believed and preached.

In my own life, I decided intellectual freedom and discovery are just fine but obedience, once the truth is presented, is what's expected.

Great book. Just don't bother reading it if you really don't want to know what the early church believed- it may rattle your cage, as it did mine.

God bless you.
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