Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers (Penguin Classics)
The writings in this volume cast a glimmer of light upon the emerging traditions and organization of the infant church, during an otherwise little-known period of its development. A selection of letters and small-scale theological treatises from a group known as the Apostolic Fathers, several of whom were probably disciples of the Apostles, they provide a first-hand account of the early Church and outline a form of early Christianity still drawing on the theology and traditions of its parent religion, Judaism. Included here are the first "Epistle of Bishop Clement of Rome", an impassioned plea for harmony; "The Epistle of Polycarp"; "The Epistle of Barnabas"; "The Didache"; and, the Seven Epistles written by Ignatius of Antioch - among them his moving appeal to the Romans that they grant him a martyr's death.
Early Christian Writings
By Jason Richard - April 19, 2000
Staniforth's is a superb translation of the Apostolic Fathers, the best I have ever come across. It is very readable. Each writing comes with an introdution by the editor detailing its history --- when and where it was written, etc. --- and discussing its main themes. This would make a excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in early Christianity.The texts included in this volume are 1 Clement; the 7 epistles of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp; the epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians; the Martyrdom of Polycarp; the Epistle to Diognetus; the Epistle of Barnabas (despite what one of the previous reviewers says, it's included in this volume); and the Didache.Conspicuously absent are the Shepherd of Hermas and the fragments of Papias. Both have usually been considered Apostolic Fathers, and I am a little baffled at their omission.Other recommended Penguin Classics: "The Jewish... read more
A Valuable Link to the Post-Apostolic Church Fathers
By Todd Hudnall - September 5, 2001
Early Christian Writings is an excellent collection of the works of the Post-Apostolic Church Fathers. It is for anyone looking for literature that opens a window into the Post-Apostolic Early Church. The epistles included are The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians; The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, and to Polycarp; The Epistles of Polycarp to the Philippians; along with the Epistles to Diognetus and Barnabas. The book also includes the Didache and the martyrdom of Polycarp. For some reason Louth did not include the Shepherd of Hermas and the fragments of Papias, though he does mention them as being part of Cotelier's collection of writings by the Church Fathers. If you are interested in the writings of the Church Fathers, and have never read such a collection, you can have some enjoyable and moving reading ahead of you. In reference to his pending martyrdom Ignatius writes, "I am His (God's) wheat,... read more
Good for laypersons
By Joshua L Wright "book and music fan" - November 17, 2004
This collection is a decent collection and translation of the Apostolic Fathers for the general reader. I have two gripes though.
One is that the Shepherd of Hermas is not included. I would imagine this was because of its length, but the collection seems woefully inadequate without it.
The second is that the verse and chapter numbers are not given in a form that makes them the least bit usable when looking up passages that are referenced in other books.
For research purposes, I would recommend the Loeb Classical Library editions or the excellent one volume reworking of the Lightfoot edition available from Baker Books edited by Michael Holmes.
But if you're not out to be the next Jarislav Pelikan or J.N.D. Kelley, then this should do just fine for some interesting and inspiring reading.
Biographies, poetic compositions, works that are mystical, prophetic, visionary, or meditative: the selections here reflect the developments in medieval piety, particularly in the link between female ...