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The World of the Early Christians (Fathers Of The Church) Paperback – June 1, 1997
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According to the editor Thomas Halton, 'The term "Fathers" is usually reserved for Christian writers marked by orthodoxy of doctrine, holiness of life, ecclesiastical approval, and antiquity.' Particularly with concern for antiquity, the present series gives a bit more flexibility to the task, but for this particular volume, antiquity is certainly a common strand.
The author of this particular volume, Joseph Kelly, laments about the difficulty of writing such a text on the history of the early church; the audiences are varied, and will require different kinds of information - indeed, according to Kelly, even the seminarians and religious studies graduate students often have far more skill and knowledge in other areas of more 'practical' concern and relatively little knowledge about the early church. Kelly highlights some crucial questions often overlooked - why did the early Christians have a concern for using philosophy as a tool? Kelly also addresses the 'mythological' ideas of early Christendom, such as the idea that the Roman persecutions were general and continuous 'from the death of Jesus until some unspecified later time when, for some reason, they stopped.'
Kelly acknowledges that the world of the early Christians is a mixture 'of the foreign and the familiar' and that sometimes the more familiar can be equally problematic to our understanding.Read more ›