Church Fathers

Verbum Scripture Study Software and Much More!Updated August 8, 2015: Added a section of resources at the end of the page for resources available in the Logos/Verbum format. (Verbum is the Catholic section of Logos — or Faithlife as I think it’s now called.)

Early Church MosaicFathers of the Church: The Early Church Was Catholic!

One of the things non-Catholics (and even many Catholics) are surprised to discover is how Catholic the Early Church was. (As in, VERY.) And nothing makes this point better than reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Below is a list of resources that will help introduce you to the Fathers. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but, hey, it’s a start. Many of the sources below are free.

Videos

  • Early Christian Studies, audio and video of talks at the Institute of Catholic Culture. (Do take some time to explore the extensive and expanding library of wonderful talks available at ICC. And check out their new iOS app, too.)
  • Consuming the Word, Scott Hahn. “With words that are both accessible and erudite, Dr. Scott Hahn introduces us anew to the Eternal Word of the New Testament, a word that is given to us, not simply as a text in a book, but as the living and real presence of the Lord Jesus himself.”
  • How Do We Know the Early Church, Dr. William Marshner. “How did early Christians learn and pass on the faith? The early period of the growth of Christianity (ca. A.D. 50-700) is a rich source for learning how the earliest disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ passed on the “faith delivered once and for all to God’s holy ones” (Jud 3). From Ignatius of Antioch in the early second century to Gregory the Great in the early seventh, the story of the Church’s proclamation in winning over pagan culture to Christ is widely diverse in practice and wonderfully unified in doctrine. The faith of these early Saints inspires and challenges us to live more deeply in love with Christ and in continuity with our forbearers in Christ. (This talk was originally given in 2004 at the CHNetwork‘s “Deep in History” conference)

Websites, Blogs

Books, Printed and Digital

Software and Libraries in the Logos/Verbum Format

A quibble: Logos seems to be somewhat ambivalent about Verbum and Catholics at best, though it is getting better, I think. High praise: That said, it blows away every other piece of Scripture study software I’ve ever used, it’s hand-tagged by HUMANS, and it’s got Catholic Tradition in there, too. Hands down, the best, quibbles aside.

  • Catechism Collection VerbumCatechism of the Catholic Church Collection (9 vols.). By 8 authors, 8 publishers, 1851–2011. See video on product page.
    • Any study of Catholicism must begin with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Officially promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1997, it is the first “universal” Catholic catechism since the Reformation, and only the second in history. It is an epochal work that expresses the tenets of the Catholic faith consistent with their articulation at the Second Vatican Council, while remaining in organic unity with the tradition of the Church, drawing in abundance on the sources of Sacred Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and magisterial authority. If one wants to know what the Catholic Church teaches, the Catechism, as John Paul II stated, is the “sure norm.”
    • In the Catechism of the Catholic Church Collection, thousands of the Catechism’s citations come alive, linking to the original documents. The collection gets you behind the Catechism’s summary of the faith and into the primary sources themselves. It includes the most important texts the Catechism cites, and so lets you see not only what the contemporary Church teaches, but what it bases this teaching on. You can use the Catechism as a type of commentary on the other texts in the collection—for example, you can quickly find every instance of the Catechism’s citing a certain Bible verse or document of Vatican II. The collection includes the Lectionary of the Catholic Church, so the Catechism becomes an automatic companion to the daily readings.
    • With the Catechism of the Catholic Church Collection, the Catechism is transformed from a summary of Catholicism into a gateway to the Catholic faith.
  • Faith of the Early Fathers, Logos Verbum formatFaith of the Early Fathers 3 Volume Set, W. A. Jurgens, Liturgical Press, 1970–1979:
    • Providing a wide array of early church writings translated into English, Faith of the Early Fathers offers excerpts of critical theological developments in the first seven centuries of Christian history.
    • From Clement of Rome and Polycarp to Augustine and Basil, and from Chrysostom to Ambrose and Jerome, these volumes track the formation of Christian doctrine—both the orthodox and the heretical.The passages are keyed to the numerical order established in M. J. Rouët de Journel’s Enchiridion Patristicum.
    • But these volumes are not just a translation of that standard work. William A. Jurgens has investigated and selected the most frequently cited patristic passages, including much that is in Rouët’s volume and much that is not. All passages have been freshly and accurately translated from the best critical editions.
    • Each selection is prefaced with a brief introduction addressing authorship, time and place of composition, and its purpose.
    • Each volume is thoroughly and critically indexed by doctrine, Scripture, and general terms.
  • The Fathers Know BestThe Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church, by Jimmy Akin.
    • The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church is a unique resource. It introduces you to the teachings of the first Christians in a way no other work can. It is specially designed to make it easy for you to find the information you want and need. Amazing features in this fact-packed book include:
      • More than 900 quotations from the writings of the Early Church Fathers, as well as from rare and important documents dating back to the dawn of Christian history.
      • Mini-biographies of nearly 100 fathers, as well as descriptions of dozens of key early councils and writings.
      • A concise history of the dramatic spread of Christianity after Jesus told his disciples to evangelize all nations.
      • Special maps showing you where the fathers lived, including many little-known and long-vanished locations.
      • A guide to nearly 30 ancient heresies, many of which have returned to haunt the modern world.
      • The fathers’ teaching on nearly 50 topics, including modern hot-button issues like abortion, homosexuality, and divorce. This groundbreaking work presents the teachings of the early Christians in a way unlike any other book. It flings open the doors of the crucial but little-known age covering the birth of Christianity and the triumphant march of the gospel throughout the ancient world.
  • Fathers of the Church, 127 volsFathers of the Church Series (127 vols.), by 69 authors, five publishers, 1947–2013:
    • The rich Christian heritage of East and West comes alive in the volumes of The Fathers of the Church, a series widely praised for its brilliant scholarship and unparalleled historical, literary, and theological significance. The series consists of now 127 published volumes, representing the longest modern run of translated church fathers on the market.Spanning the first five centuries of Christian history, many of these ancient works had never been accessible in English before these publications—and many are still inaccessible outside of these editions. Containing hard-to-find writings from early church fathers such as Cyprian, Jerome, Basil, Ambrose, Peter Chrysologus, and many more, these volumes provide the best scholarship in translation and early church history, making these works not only delightful to read, but unmatched in patristic work.
    • In Logos, these works become the backbone of any study on the early church. Links to the patristic writings of the Early Church Fathers will bring you right to the source—to the very quote—allowing you to see instant context. Footnotes appear on mouseover, as well as references to Scripture and extra-biblical material in your library, and you can perform near-instant searches across these volumes, searching for references to keywords or Scripture passages.
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2 Responses to Church Fathers

  1. Pingback: How Catholic was the Early Church? Read the Early Church Fathers and see! | Catholic Heart and Mind

  2. Pingback: Always Room for Another Resource, Or Three | Catholic Heart and Mind

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