Readings in the Fathers
For the last several Sundays I have been taking our adult morning study group through a survey of early Christianity. It has been a lot of fun. Also, I know there are some out there in the ether that are listening to the recordings, so I've been meaning to post the readings (and discussion questions when I have them)...and here they are (or were), including the readings I’m taking the group through this Sunday. I hope someone finds this beneficial.
- The Didache (http://earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html)
- Chapters 1-5 are about the way of life and the way of death. Compare and contrast the exhortations in this section to the NT’s teaching on these matters, especially the preaching of Jesus.
- Compare and contrast their practice of baptism with our own.
- Compare and contrast their practice of the eucharist and our own.
- What problems are the instructions about itinerant apostles and prophets trying to avoid
- Other than baptism and the eucharist, what does this document mention as practices that the Christians were to practice when they gather for worship.
- The Epistle of Barnabas 15-16 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html)
- First Clement 40-44 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-lightfoot.html)
- Ignatius’ Epistle to the Ephesians 3-6 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-ephesians-lightfoot.html)
- The Martyrdom of Polycarp 9-11 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/martyrdompolycarp-lightfoot.html)
- The Shepherd of Hermas 1-4 (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/shepherd-lightfoot.html)
Justin Martyr (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/justin.html)
- Dialogue with Trypho 12 – Troubles with the Jews
- Dialogue with Trypho 29 – Comments on the Scriptures
- First Apology 4 – Condemned by Gentiles
- First Apology 31 – The Hebrew prophets
- First Apology 61 – Baptism
- First Apology 65-68 – The Eucharist, worship and conclusion
- Second Apology 10 – Christ and Socrates
- Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 10 – The unity of the faith
- Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 11 – An example of Gnostic teaching
- Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapters 5-6 – About God and Jesus
- Melito of Sardis - "Concerning the Passover" (http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp)
- Hippolytus of Rome - "The Apostolic Tradition" (http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html)
- How does Melito's view of the fulfillment of the types of the Old Testament jive with your views?
- Though Melito is highly regarded among the fathers, some of his Christological statements seem to me to go in directions that might later have been deemed heretical. Are there any you can find?
- Concerning "The Apostolic Tradition", what are the primary offices and their roles in the church?
- While reading "The Apostolic Tradition" you will likely notice differences between their practices and our own. Instead of critiquing their practices, think past them to the ideas that they convey. Then compare them with the ideas behind our practices.