Best Book on Church Fathers

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    What are the books you recommend on the Church Fathers and the history of the Church?
     
  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Booty, John E. The Church in History. The Seabury Press: New York. 1979.
    This is a lay friendly easy read that is surprisingly comprehensive for a short volume. This was part of a series that the Episcopal Church was publishing at the end of the 70s.
    Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids. 2012.
    This one selects thirteen key events from Church history and attempts to establish a context, narrative, and effect of what happened. This is still quite lay friendly, though some friends told me it was the Church history textbook when they were going through Trinity School for Ministry.
    Wilken, Robert L. The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity. Yale University Press. 2012.
    This one is more academic than the first two but not dry.
    Hillerbrand, Hans J. The Division of Christendom: Christianity in the Sixteenth Century. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville. 2007.
    This is a very specialized and detailed study of the Reformation but still quite readable.
    A series which covers the Trinitarian controversies comprehensively is The Way to Nicaea with The Nicene Faith (2 volumes) by John Behr of St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, available through SVS Press. This series is highly technical: I'm talking about having some baseline knowledge of Greek to really unpack some of Behr's argument.
     
  3. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Those are what I am looking for
     
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  5. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    These books reflect my dual Orthodox-Anglican, East/West perspective, and my focus on understanding the theology of the Church chiefly through liturgiology, the study of Christian worship, and heresiology, the study of heretical sects and theological errors (where the real heroes among the Church Fathers like St. Athanasius or St. Basil the Great tend to reveal themselves).

    The former principle is based on the idea of lex orandi, lex credendi, that is, tne rule of prayer is the rule of faith. The latter is a derivation of the Orthodox idea of apophatic theology, which states that God in His divine essence is incomprehensible and can only be reasoned about through negation; this principle seems to work with Orthodox and Anglican theology because both define a region of acceptable belief, the former primarily through anathemas, the latter through the formularies this site requires for the Anglican badge, but there remains a realm of acceptable theological opinions, or theologoumemna (singular, -memnon), for example, low church vs. high church.

    I have also included several works of Patristic quotations, several histories, some attempts at systematic theology that reference the fathers, including some I disagree with, such as Aquinas and Calvin, and lastly, the comprehensive encyclopedic handbooks, guides and histories recently published by Oxford.

    Lastly, you might be interested to know I was a Methodist until I could no longer tolerate the rock music worship at some parishes, and the elder at my own parish outing himself as a homosexual Arian. So I fell in love with Anglicanism but took a repose on the other side of the Bosphorus as we say to insulate myself from secularization while I recovered spiritually and focused on learning much more about the faith.

    From antiquity:
    The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
    The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea
    The Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius the Great
    De Incarnatione, by aforesaid
    The Panarion of St. Epiphanius of Salamis

    From the dark ages:
    The Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, by St. John Damascene
    The Book of the Bee, by a Catholicos of the Church of the East
    Amusing Sayings, by St. Mar Gregorios bar Hebraeus, Maphrian of the East
    The Ecclesiastical History, by the Venerable Bede
    The Philokalia, vol. 1-3, compiled by St. Nicodemus and St. Macarius the Hagiorites, translated by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware and Mother Mary, most especially the writings of Nikitas Stithatos

    From the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment
    The Philokalia, vol. 4, compiled and translated by aforesaid, specifically the writings of St. Symeon the New Theologian and St. Gregory Palamas
    The Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas, OP
    The Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin
    The Book of Common Prayer and Book of Homilies (all editions up to the 1982 Church of Wales Edition
    The Pedalion, compiled by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite

    From the 19th Century
    The Way of the Pilgrim (anonymous)
    The Arena by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
    On the Prayer of Jesus, by aforesaid
    Tracts for the Times, edited by Edward Pusey
    The Parson’s Handbook, by Rev. Percy W. Dearmer

    From the 20th century
    The Shape of the Liturgy by Dom Gregory Dix
    The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
    The Liturgy of the Hours, East and West, by Robert Taft, SJ
    The Eucharistic Liturgies, by Paul Bradshaw and Max Johnson
    The Liturgies of the Western Church, edited by Baird Thompson

    From the 21st Century
    The Liturgy in Medieval England, by Richard W. Pfaff
    The Oxford Handbook to Anglican Studies
    The Oxford Handbook to Methodist Studies
    The Oxford History of Christian Worship
    The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer

    Several of these books are either public domain, or cheaply available online, and I would be happy to help you find them if you PM me.
     
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  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. That looks like a great list
     
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  7. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    The Apostolic Fathers by Michael W. Holmes

    The hardcover version is a fairly small volume which includes Greek-English side by side texts, forewords explaining their history, and other things that make it a very informative volume. This only includes the very early texts like the Didache, Ignatius, Hermas, Clement, and others, but is still easy to understand in modern english and a nice little book to keep with you for reference.
     
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  8. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am learning a lot from this thread, thank you everybody
     
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