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The Fathers Know Best - Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church Paperback – November 18, 2010
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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. It is quite fascinating just to read through what the Church Fathers had said especially where you can see the development of doctrine or to see just how early and in-depth a doctrine had been fleshed out. Some things that I though had become more developed in the age of the Scholastics I was very surprised to see thought out in much detail very early in the Church.
As a one volume reference this is a worthy entry in the field of Patristics and I recommend it fully.
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.
As always, pray for Christian unity!