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) [60]
An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers:  Part Three (Relevance) [62]

The Epistle Of 1 Clement:

Poem:  A Lament For Clement [63]
The Epistle Of 1 Clement And The Prelude to Papal Claims Of Authority [29]
The Legend Of The Phoenix In The Epistle Of 1 Clement [30]
Bitten By Your Bad Reputation:  Echoes Of 1 Corinthians In 1 Clement [31]
The Exercise Of Authority In 1 Clement [32]

The Epistle Of 2 Clement:

Poem:  What Other Sermons Were Books? [61]
Pseudonymously Yours, 2 Clement [50]
2 Clement, Hebrews, And The Metadata Problem Of Homiletics [56]
A Fair Homiletic Standard [58]

The Didache:

Poem:  An Imaginary Failed Book Proposal Conversation About the Didache [59]
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:

Poem:  An Imaginary Conversation Between Barnabas And A Publisher [57]
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:

Poem:  Interview Questions For An Apologist [55]
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]

The Fragment Of Quadratus:

Poem:  You Had The Right Idea [49]
Quadratus The Obscure [27]

The Letters Of Ignatius of Antioch:

Poem:  Interview Questions For A Martyr [46]
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]

Polycarp:

Poem:  Facing The Lions [44]
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]

The Fragments Of Papias:

Poem:  At The Feet Of The Apostles [39]
On The Chance Survival Of The Fragments Of Papias [40]
Papias And the Metadata Problem Of The Gospels [45]
Papias And The Millennium [47]

The Shepherd Of Hermas:

Poem:  Are We Different Stones In The Same Building? [48]
Assessing The Shepherd Of Hermas As Literature [33]
The Shepherd Of Hermas And Its View Of Women [34]
Congregational Discipline In The Shepherd Of Hermas [35]
The Shepherd Of Hermas And The Shape Of Christian Allegory [38]

Conclusions:

The Apostolic Fathers As A Parting Of The Ways [53]
The Apostolic Fathers And The Rule Of Faith [54]
A Modest Proposal For The Collection Of The Writings Of The Apostolic Fathers [64]
The Roots Of Christian Anti-Semitism In The Apostolic Fathers [65]
Thirteen Reasons Why You Should Read The Apostolic Fathers [66]

Reviews:

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 [36]
Book Review:  The Two Ways: The Early Christian Vision of Discipleship from the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas [37]
Book Review:  The Christology In The Apostolic Fathers [41]
Book Review:  The New Testament in The Apostolic Fathers [42]
Book Review:  Six Lectures On The Ante-Nicene Fathers [43]
Book Review:  Patristic Study [51]
Book Review:  The Bible And The Rule Of Faith [52]
Book Review:  The Fragments Of Paipas [67]
Book Review:  The Second Epistle Of Clement To The Corinthians [68]
Book Review:  S. Clement Of Rome [69]
Book Review:  An English Translation Of The So Called Second Epistle Of Clement To The Corinthians [70]
Book Review:  Plato’s Shadow:  The Hellenization Of Christianity [71]

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/10/20/an-introduction-to-the-la-hotel-espero-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/29/an-introduction-to-the-y-u-no-finish-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/14/an-introduction-to-maternal-lines-in-scripture/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/04/18/an-introduction-to-the-naming-our-abuse-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/01/18/an-introduction-to-the-famous-last-words-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/11/18/an-introduction-to-the-psalms-commentary-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/05/02/an-introduction-to-satans-house-divided/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/04/08/a-false-dilemma-between-polycarp-and-anicetus/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/02/26/some-thoughts-on-polycarps-martyrdom/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/08/18/book-review-after-acts/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/11/audiobook-review-great-courses-after-the-new-testament-the-writings-of-the-apostolic-fathers-part-1/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/11/audiobook-review-great-courses-after-the-new-testament-the-writings-of-the-apostolic-fathers-part-2/

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/an-introduction-to-the-apostolic-fathers-part-one-identity/

[8] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/25/book-review-early-christian-writings-the-apostolic-fathers/

[9] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/20/the-puzzle-of-the-lords-day-in-the-didache/

[10] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/23/the-curious-connection-between-the-didache-and-diotrophes/

[11] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/27/the-didache-and-2-john-a-shared-struggle-with-false-preachers/

[12] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/28/the-curious-connection-between-dualism-and-the-didache-and-epistle-of-barnabas/

[13] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/03/29/the-problem-of-anti-semitism-in-the-didache-and-the-epistle-of-barnabas/

[14] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/03/the-epistle-of-barnabas-and-the-perils-of-the-allegorical-approach-to-gods-laws/

[15] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/04/the-issue-of-identity-and-pseudonymity-in-the-epistle-of-barnabas/

[16] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/05/real-and-fictive-audience-in-the-epistle-to-diognetus/

[17] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/06/a-brief-review-of-the-argumentation-of-the-epistle-to-diognetus/

[18] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/10/a-middle-ground-between-two-extremes-examining-the-false-dilemma-of-the-epistle-to-diognetus-towards-judaism/

[19] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/11/the-martyrdom-of-polycarp-as-genre-template/

[20] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/12/the-portrayal-of-the-jews-in-the-martyrdom-of-polycarp/

[21] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/13/polycarp-of-smyrna-the-unsung-hero-of-the-apostolic-fathers/

[22] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/14/the-citation-and-reference-to-sources-within-the-epistle-of-polycarp-to-the-philippians/

[23] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/18/on-not-writing-to-bishops-in-the-letters-of-ignatius-of-antioch

[24] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/19/ignatius-of-antioch-the-concerns-of-a-dying-man/

[25] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/20/martyrdom-in-ignatius-of-antiochs-epistle-to-the-romans/

[26] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/21/anti-semitism-in-ignatius-of-antiochs-epistles/

[27] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/22/quadratus-the-obscure/

[28] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/24/rethinking-polycarp-as-a-friend-of-the-sabbath/

[29] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/25/the-epistle-of-1-clement-and-the-prelude-to-papal-claims-of-authority/

[30] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/26/the-legend-of-the-phoenix-in-the-epistle-of-1-clement/

[31] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/27/bitten-by-your-bad-reputation-echoes-of-1-corinthians-in-1-clement/

[32] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/04/28/the-exercise-of-authority-in-1-clement/

[33] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/01/assessing-the-shepherd-of-hermas-as-literature/

[34] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/02/the-shepherd-of-hermas-and-its-view-of-women/

[35] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/03/congregational-discipline-in-the-shepherd-of-hermas/

[36] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/03/book-review-the-shepherd-of-hermas/

[37] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/03/book-review-the-two-ways/

[38] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/04/the-shepherd-of-hermas-and-the-shape-of-christian-allegory/

[39] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/17/at-the-feet-of-the-apostles/

[40] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/17/on-the-chance-survival-of-the-fragments-of-papias/

[41] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/18/book-review-the-christology-in-the-apostolic-fathers/

[42] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/18/book-review-the-new-testament-in-the-apostolic-fathers/

[43] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/18/book-review-six-lectures-on-the-ante-nicene-fathers/

[44] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/18/facing-the-lions/

[45] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/18/papias-and-the-metadata-problem-of-the-gospels/

[46] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/19/interview-questions-for-a-martyr/

[47] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/19/papias-and-the-millennium/

[48] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/21/are-we-different-stones-in-the-same-building/

[49] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/22/you-had-the-right-idea/

[50] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/22/pseudonymously-yours-2-clement/

[51] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/23/book-review-patristic-study/

[52] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/23/book-review-the-bible-and-the-rule-of-faith/

[53] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/23/the-apostolic-fathers-as-a-parting-of-the-ways/

[54] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/23/the-apostolic-fathers-and-the-rule-of-faith/

[55] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/23/interview-questions-for-an-apologist/

[56] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/24/2-clement-hebrews-and-the-metadata-problem-of-homilies/

[57] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/24/an-imaginary-conversation-between-barnabas-and-a-publisher/

[58] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/25/a-fair-homiletic-standard/

[59] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/25/an-imaginary-failed-book-proposal-conversation-about-the-didache/

[60] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/25/an-introduction-to-the-apostolic-fathers-part-two-writings/

[61] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/what-other-sermons-were-books/

[62] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/26/an-introduction-to-the-apostolic-fathers-part-three-relevance/

[63] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/27/a-lament-for-clement/

[64] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/29/a-modest-proposal-for-the-collection-of-the-writings-of-the-apostolic-fathers/

[65] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/30/the-roots-of-christian-anti-semitism-in-the-apostolic-fathers/

[66] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/05/31/thirteen-reasons-why-you-should-read-the-apostolic-fathers/

[67] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/07/book-review-the-fragments-of-papias/

[68] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/07/book-review-the-second-epistle-of-clement-to-the-corinthians/

[69] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/07/book-review-s-clement-of-rome/

[70] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/07/book-review-an-english-translation-of-the-so-called-second-epistle-of-clement-to-the-corinthians/

[71] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2018/06/28/book-review-platos-shadow/

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.

6 Responses to An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers Series

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

  2. Pingback: Assessing The Shepherd Of Hermas As Literature | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Two Ways | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: At The Feet Of The Apostles | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: Book Review: Six Lectures On The Ante-Nicene Fathers | Edge Induced Cohesion

  6. Pingback: Book Review: Patristic Study | Edge Induced Cohesion

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