An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers Series

From time to time I like to make series of blog entries that relate to a related topic [1] and seek to bring these posts together so that they may be discussed as part of an interconnected whole.  So it is here with the apostolic fathers, who are an obscure group of people in the late first and second centuries of the Christian era whose writings remain important as a bridge between the New Testament and the establishment of Christianity and the very different and Hellenistic form it took when it appeared again in the third and fourth centuries in the public eye.  How did this happen?  What relevance do these early Christians of a generally “proto-Orthodox” position have for Christians today?  How do these writings interact with the scripture that we consider to be authoritative?  What problems and struggles did these early leaders deal with that would be relevant to us as believers today?  These are among the questions that will be explored in these posts, and I thought it would be good to have a place to put all of these posts together, including posts I have already written about the apostolic fathers but which I wish to consider as part of this series as well, so that you may read them to your heart’s content.

Where did my interest in the Apostolic Fathers begin?  That is something difficult to say.  I grew up in an environment where I was encouraged from an early age to read about church history going back to the very beginnings of Christianity, and from my birth I have been a part of a fairly obscure corner of Christianity that held to views that had a high regard for the continuity of observance of biblical law between the Old and New Covenants, something that is very unfamiliar to most who profess Christianity.  My more formal religious studies during 2004 at my church’s religious educational institution allowed me the chance to gratify my interest in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, of whom the Apostolic Fathers are a part, despite my differences with a great deal of the theology of these Hellenistic Christians.  Even in conversations with the clergy of my church the topic has come up about which of these early and important writers would be considered to be of interest to us, with Polycarp and Clement being the most popular choices.  To be sure, my interest in this era of Christianity is not something shared by many of my own religious beliefs nor does it appear to be a generally popular interest even among mainstream Christians who might be expected to celebrate all the early historical figures they could in the face of contemporary pressures to believe in ancient heresies long rejected where they have not been entirely forgotten.  Be that as it may, I have always thought that the best way to understand the present is to be better acquainted with the past, even when that past is obscure and little understood, and in light of that historical interest I think it would be worthwhile to discuss this group of early writers who shine about the only light that can be found on the goings on of early Christianity in the period immediately after the apostles.

Without any further ado, here are the posts to the series:

An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers:  Part One (Identity) [7]
An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers:  Part Two (Writings)
An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers:  Part Three (Relevance)


The Didache:

The Puzzle Of The Lord’s Day In The Didache [9]
The Curious Connection Between The Didache And Diotrophes [10]
The Didache And 2 John:  A Shared Struggle With False Preachers [11]
The Curious Connection Between Dualism And The Epistle Of Barnabas And The Didache [12]

The Epistle Of Barnabas:

The Problem of Anti-Semitism In The Didache And Epistle Of Barnabas [13]
The Epistle Of Barnabas And The Perils Of The Allegorical Approach To God’s Laws [14]
The Issue Of Identity And Pseudonymity In The Epistle Of Barnabas [15]

Epistle To Diognetus:

Real And Fictive Audience In The Epistle To Diognetus [16]
A Brief Review Of The Argumentation Of The Epistle To Diognetus [17]
A Middle Ground Between Two Extremes: Examining The False Dilemma Of The Epistle To Diognetus Towards Judaism [18]


Quadratus The Obscure [27]

The Letters Of Ignatius of Antioch:

On (Not) Writing To The Bishops In The Letters Of Ignatius Of Antioch [23]
Ignatius Of Antioch:  Concerns Of A Dying Man [24]
Martyrdom In Ignatius Of Antioch’s Epistle To The Roman [25]
Anti-Semitism In Ignatius Of Antioch’s Epistles [26]


A False Dilemma Between Polycarp And Anecitus [2]
Some Thoughts On Polycarp’s Martyrdom [3]
The Martyrdom Of Polycarp As Genre Template [19]
The Portrayal Of Jews In The Martyrdom Of Polycarp [20]
Polycarp Of Smyrna:  The Unsung Hero Of The Apostolic Fathers [21]
The Citation And Reference To Sources Within The Epistle Of Polycarp To The Ephesians [22]
Rethinking Polycarp As A Friend Of The Sabbath [28]


Book Review:  After Acts [4]
Audiobook Review:  Great Courses:  After The New Testament:  The Writings Of The Apostolic Fathers:  Part 1 [5]
Audiobook Review:  Great Courses:  After The New Testament:  The Writings Of The Apostolic Fathers:  Part 2 [6]
Book Review:  Early Christian Writings:  The Apostolic Fathers [8]
Book Review:  The Shepherd Of Hermas

[1] See, for example:




























About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers Series

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers | Edge Induced Cohesion

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