His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology, and he is recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. He was a notable early Christian apologist. He was also a disciple of Polycarp. His best-known book, Against Heresies c. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority—episcopal councils.
Clement of Alexandria was the first member of the church of Alexandria to be more than a name, and one of its most distinguished teachers. He developed a Christian Platonism. Origen, or Origen Adamantius c. According to tradition, he was an Egyptian  who taught in Alexandria, reviving the Catechetical School where Clement had taught. The patriarch of Alexandria at first supported Origen but later expelled him for being ordained without the patriarch's permission. He relocated to Caesarea Maritima and died there  after being tortured during a persecution. Using his knowledge of Hebrew, he produced a corrected Septuagint.
Athanasius of Alexandria c. He is remembered for his role in the conflict with Arianism and for his affirmation of the Trinity. At the First Council of Nicaea , Athanasius argued against the Arian doctrine that Christ is of a distinct substance from the Father. They were a 4th-century monastic family, led by Macrina the Younger — to provide a central place for her brothers to study and meditate, and also to provide a peaceful shelter for their mother.
These scholars set out to demonstrate that Christians could hold their own in conversations with learned Greek-speaking intellectuals. They argued that Christian faith, while it was against many of the ideas of Plato and Aristotle and other Greek philosophers , was an almost scientific and distinctive movement with the healing of the soul of man and his union with God at its center.
They made major contributions to the definition of the Trinity finalized at the First Council of Constantinople in and the final version of the Nicene Creed. Subsequent to the First Council of Nicea, Arianism did not simply disappear. The semi-Arians taught that the Son is of like substance with the Father homoiousios , as against the outright Arians who taught that the Son was unlike the Father heterousian.
So the Son was held to be like the Father but not of the same essence as the Father. The Cappadocians worked to bring these semi-Arians back to the Orthodox cause. In their writings they made extensive use of the formula "three substances hypostases in one essence homoousia ", and thus explicitly acknowledged a distinction between the Father and the Son a distinction that Nicea had been accused of blurring but at the same time insisting on their essential unity. John Chrysostom c. After his death or according to some sources, during his life he was given the Greek epithet chrysostomos , meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.
Chrysostom is known within Christianity chiefly as a preacher and theologian, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church; he is the patron saint of orators in the Roman Catholic Church. Chrysostom is also noted for eight of his sermons that played a considerable part in the history of Christian antisemitism , diatribes against Judaizers composed while a presbyter in Antioch, which were extensively cited by the Nazis in their ideological campaign against the Jews. Cyril of Alexandria c. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
He was a central figure in the First Council of Ephesus in , which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Archbishop of Constantinople. Cyril's reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles "Pillar of Faith" and "Seal of all the Fathers". In his early life, he was a civil servant and an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. However, he gave up this life in the political sphere to enter into the monastic life.
After moving to Carthage , Maximus studied several Neo-Platonist writers and became a prominent author. When one of his friends began espousing the Christological position known as Monothelitism , Maximus was drawn into the controversy, in which he supported the Chalcedonian position that Jesus had both a human and a divine will. Maximus is venerated in both Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity. His Christological positions eventually resulted in his torture and exile, soon after which he died.
However, his theology was vindicated by the Third Council of Constantinople , and he was venerated as a saint soon after his death. His feast day is celebrated twice during the year: on 21 January and on 13 August. His title of Confessor means that he suffered for the faith, but not to the point of death, and thus is distinguished from a martyr. His Life of the Virgin is thought to be the earliest complete biography of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
John of Damascus c. Born and raised in Damascus , he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem. A polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included law, theology, philosophy, and music, before being ordained, he served as a chief administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus, wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still in use in Eastern Christian monasteries. The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption because of his writings on the Assumption of Mary.
Those fathers who wrote in Latin are called the Latin Church Fathers. Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus c. Tertullian denounced Christian doctrines he considered heretical, but later in life adopted Montanism , regarded as heretical by the mainstream Church, which prevented his canonization. He wrote three books in Greek and was the first great writer of Latin Christianity, thus sometimes known as the "Father of the Latin Church". In his Apologeticus , he was the first Latin author who qualified Christianity as the vera religio , and systematically relegated the classical Roman Empire religion and other accepted cults to the position of mere "superstitions".
Later in life, Tertullian joined the Montanists, a heretical sect that appealed to his rigorism. He wrote that human beings are like little fish. Cyprian c. He was born in North Africa , probably at the beginning of the 3rd century, perhaps at Carthage, where he received an excellent classical pagan education.
After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop and eventually died a martyr at Carthage. He emphasized the necessity of the unity of Christians with their bishops, and also the authority of the Roman See, which he claimed was the source of "priestly unity"'. Hilary of Poitiers c. His optional memorial in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints is 13 January. In the past, when this date was occupied by the Octave Day of the Epiphany, his feast day was moved to 14 January.
Ambrose  was an archbishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was a Governor before becoming bishop. He is counted as one of the four original doctors of the Church. He offered a new perspective on the theory of atonement. Pope Damasus I — was active in defending the Catholic Church against the threat of schisms. In two Roman synods and he condemned the heresies of Apollinarianism and Macedonianism, and sent legates papal representatives to the First Council of Constantinople that was convoked in to address these heresies. He also wrote in defense of the Roman See's authority, and inaugurated use of Latin in the Mass , instead of the Koine Greek that was still being used throughout the Church in the west in the liturgy.
Jerome c. He also was a Christian apologist. Jerome's edition of the Bible, the Vulgate , is still an important text of Catholicism. Augustine — , Bishop of Hippo, was a philosopher and theologian. Augustine, a Latin Father and Doctor of the Church, is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. In his early life, Augustine read widely in Greco-Roman rhetoric and philosophy, including the works of Platonists such as Plotinus. When Rome fell and the faith of many Christians was shaken, Augustine wrote The City of God , in which he defended Christianity from pagan critics and developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God , distinct from the material City of Man.
Augustine was born in present-day Algeria to a Christian mother, Monica of Hippo. He was educated in North Africa and resisted his mother's pleas to become Christian. He took a concubine and became a Manichean. He later converted to Christianity, became a bishop, and opposed heresies, such as Pelagianism. His many works—including The Confessions , which is often called the first Western autobiography —have been read continuously since his lifetime.
Augustine is also the patron saint of many institutions and a number have been named after him. Gregory I the Great c. He was the first of the popes from a monastic background. Of all popes, Gregory I had the most influence on the early medieval church. Isidore of Seville c. Indeed, all the later medieval history-writing of Hispania the Iberian Peninsula, comprising modern Spain and Portugal was based on his histories. At a time of disintegration of classical culture and aristocratic violence and illiteracy, he was involved in the conversion of the royal Visigothic Arians to Catholicism, both assisting his brother Leander of Seville and continuing after his brother's death.
He was influential in the inner circle of Sisebut, Visigothic king of Hispania. Like Leander, he played a prominent role in the Councils of Toledo and Seville.
The Visigothic legislation which resulted from these councils is regarded by modern historians as exercising an important influence on the beginnings of representative government. A few Church Fathers wrote in Syriac ; many of their works were also widely translated into Latin and Greek. Aphrahat c. He was born in Persia around , but all his known works, the Demonstrations , come from later on in his life. He was an ascetic and celibate , and was almost definitely a son of the covenant an early Syriac form of communal monasticism.
He may have been a bishop , and later Syriac tradition places him at the head of Mar Matti monastery near Mosul , in what is now northern Iraq. He was a near contemporary to the slightly younger Ephrem the Syrian , but the latter lived within the sphere of the Roman Empire. Ephrem the Syrian ca. He has been declared a Doctor of the Church in Roman Catholicism. He is especially beloved in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems , and sermons in verse, as well as prose biblical exegesis.
These were works of practical theology for the edification of the church in troubled times. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds of pseudepigraphal works in his name. He has been called the most significant of all of the fathers of the Syriac-speaking church tradition. Isaac of Antioch — , one of the stars of Syriac literature , is the reputed author of a large number of metrical homilies The fullest list, by Gustav Bickell , contains which are extant in MSS , many of which are distinguished by an originality and acumen rare among Syriac writers.
Isaac of Nineveh was a 7th-century Syriac bishop and theologian best remembered for his written work. He is also regarded as a saint in the Church of the East , the Catholic Church , the Eastern Orthodox Church and among the Oriental Orthodox Churches, making him the last saint chronologically to be recognised by every apostolic Church. His feast day falls on January 28 and in the Syriac Orthodox calendar on March Isaac is remembered for his spiritual homilies on the inner life, which have a human breadth and theological depth that transcends the Nestorian Christianity of the Church to which he belonged.
They survive in Syriac manuscripts and in Greek and Arabic translations. The Desert Fathers were early monastics living in the Egyptian desert; although they did not write as much, their influence was also great. Many of their, usually short, sayings are collected in the Apophthegmata Patrum "Sayings of the Desert Fathers". In the Catholic Church, John of Damascus , who lived in the 8th century, is generally considered to be a Doctor of the Church and at the same time the first seed of the next period of church writers, scholasticism.
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not consider the age of Church Fathers to be over and includes later influential writers up to the present day. The Orthodox view is that men do not have to agree on every detail, much less be infallible, to be considered Church Fathers.
Rather, Orthodox doctrine is determined by the consensus of the Holy Fathers—those points on which they do agree. This consensus guides the church in questions of dogma , the correct interpretation of scripture , and to distinguish the authentic sacred tradition of the Church from false teachings. The original Lutheran Augsburg Confession of , for example, and the later Formula of Concord of —, each begin with the mention of the doctrine professed by the Fathers of the First Council of Nicea.
Though much Protestant religious thought is based on sola scriptura the principle that the Bible itself is the ultimate authority in doctrinal matters , [ citation needed ] the first Protestant reformers, like the Catholic and Orthodox churches, used the theological interpretations of scripture set forth by the early Church Fathers. John Calvin 's French Confession of Faith of states, "And we confess that which has been established by the ancient councils, and we detest all sects and heresies which were rejected by the holy doctors, such as St.
Hilary, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose and St. The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England , both the original of and the American version of , explicitly accept the Nicene Creed in article 7. Even when a particular Protestant confessional formula does not mention the Nicene Council or its creed, its doctrine is nonetheless always asserted, as, for example, in the Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Many Protestant seminaries provide courses on Patristics as part of their curriculum, and many historic Protestant churches emphasize the importance of tradition and of the fathers in scriptural interpretation.
Such an emphasis is even more pronounced in certain streams of Protestant thought, such as Paleo-Orthodoxy. Works of fathers in early Christianity , prior to Nicene Christianity , were translated into English in a 19th-century collection Ante-Nicene Fathers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jesus Christ. Jesus in Christianity Virgin birth Crucifixion Resurrection appearances. Bible Foundations. In , Andrew of Caesarea applied his superior exegetical skills to the challenging Book of Revelation and concluded that the end was not near, in spite of the crises that the empire was facing.
Standing in the stream of patristic tradition, Andrew wove together pre-existing written and oral interpretations of Revelation passages by earlier Fathers and anonymous teachers, drawing together various interpretive strands and pointing to a previously unknown rich tradition of Apocalypse interpretation in the Greek East.
His commentary also influenced the textual transmission of the Apocalypse and created a unique text type. Andrew influenced Eastern Christian eschatology and is responsible for the eventual acceptance of Revelation into the canon of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Fulgentius of Ruspe was perhaps the most brilliant North African theologian in the era after St. He wrote widely on theological and moral issues. Between the years AD and , Fulgentius engaged in correspondence with a group of Latin-speaking monks from Scythia, and that correspondence is translated into English—almost all of it for the first time—in this volume.
The correspondence is significant because it stands at the intersection of two great theological discussions: the primarily Eastern Christological controversies between the Fourth Ecumenical Council in and the Fifth in , and the largely Western Semi-Pelagian controversy, which ran from to the Second Synod of Orange in Contemporary Western scholars normally treat these controversies over Christ and grace separately, but there were noteworthy points of contact between the two discussions, and Fulgentius and the Scythian monks were the ones who drew the connections between Christology and grace most strongly.
These connections suggest that we today may do well to treat Christology and grace more as two sides of the same coin than as separate theological issues. Both sets of issues deal fundamentally with the relation between God and humanity: Christological questions ask how the divine and human are related in the person of the Savior, and grace-related questions ask how the divine and human are linked in the conversion, Christian life, and final salvation of each Christian.
It can also contribute to our contemporary thinking on the relation between two of the Christian faith's most central doctrines. Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe ca. When Fulgentius was born, North Africa had been under the rule of Germanic Vandals for several decades. His family was repeatedly victimized by Vandal persecutions, and Fulgentius himself suffered persecution and exile. While in exile, he continued his pastoral labors and became the theological spokesman of the displaced.
Though he was not an original thinker, he propagated the Augustinian heritage and defended it against its adversaries, notably the Arians and Pelagians or semi-Pelagians. With thorough understanding and conviction, Fulgentius promoted the Trinitarian theology of Augustine. He also defended and explained Augustine's difficult and controversial stance on the question of predestination.
Fulgentius contributed greatly to the transmission and interpretation of a theological heritage that would dominate and shape the Church in the West for hundreds of years to come. Of those that have survived, the most important are dated to the period of his second exile and the sixteen years from his return to North Africa from Sardinia until his death. This volume gives English readers for the first time an opportunity to study a representative selection of the writings of this early sixth-century author. It also presents Fulgentius's biography, the Life, for the first time in English.
The idea of writing about St. Severin, so Eugippius tells us, came to him as he witnessed the success of a Life, in letter-form, of the monk, Bassus, who had died—recently, it seems—in the south of Italy. The Letter, the work of a layman, was circulated privately, and a number of people took copies. Eugippius and his community thought the miracles of their founder should be made known in a similar way.
On hearing this, the biographer of Bassus offered his services and approached Eugippius for information. Eugippius feared that the work would be written in such an elaborate style as to be almost unintelligible to ordinary readers; and, to judge from the literary fashion of the times, such fears were not unfounded. Eugippius asked Paschasius to turn his sketch into a book of such form and style as its subjects would demand. This request, it seems, was not meant too seriously. Written in the sixth century but discovered only at the beginning of the twentieth, it presents a fascinating view of a writer who strove to be faithful to the teaching of the church while at the same time allowing his imagination to make sense of the stories and visions of Revelation.
In interpreting the events surrounding the destruction of the wicked he shows sensible pastoral restraint and refuses to be swayed by the dogmatic certainty shown even by some modern interpreters. The short introduction to the translation by John N. Suggit provides a brief account of the identity of the author and the theological issues with which he was involved, especially the controversy over the beliefs of Origen and his followers. The study is particularly interesting today when the words of Scripture are often interpreted literally without the poetic and dramatic quality which alone gives them true life.
The book therefore should be of interest not only to serious scholars, but also to those who are ready to listen to this New Testament book not as a record of past history but as the description of the drama of life today. Divided into 13 books, the Confessions are autobiographical admissions of his sinful youth and conversion to Christianity.
The translator believes this work was written to address God directly, being both a meditation on the workings of Providence and a hymn of divine praise. Perhaps one of the most profound treatises on Christianity and government, the City of God envisions Christianity as a spiritual force, which should preoccupy itself with the heavenly city, New Jerusalem, rather than the earthly municipal and state affairs.
The Fathers of the Church Series has divided this ancient classic into three convenient volumes. These letters, taken as a whole, present a vivid and fascinating view of life in North Africa at the beginning of the fifth century.
Early Church Fathers Overview: Snapshot of the Fathers - Crossroads Initiative
In addition to the comments about ecclesiastical and episcopal affairs, there are also letters on various threats to peace and security common in this period of the late empire, on slavery and the growth of the slave trade, and on Roman involvement in African affairs, both ecclesiastical and civil. There are letters dealing with moral questions and pastoral problems, in both marriage and the family, as well as in larger areas of doctrine and discipline in the Church.
The conflict resulting from the end of the Donatist schism becomes clearer, as does the refrain of desperation stemming from an inadequate supply of clergy for parishes needing to be served. A large number of these letters illustrate the day-to-day worries of a fifth century North African bishop: clerical scandals, Church finances, people seeking sanctuary in a church and the ensuing problems with the civil authorities , and disputed episcopal succession.
The Letters appearing here in translation were written approximately between the years and This period in Augustine's life coincides with the ending of the long controversy with the Donatists and the spread of the Pelagian errors concerning nature and grace. When compared with earlier letters there is more emphasis in these letters on intellectual and doctrinal matters.
Perhaps the most important, and certainly the longest in this collection, pp. It gives a vivid description of the crimes committed by the Donatists against Catholics. The civil authorities eventually intervened in these disturbances and at times with coercive measures. Finally on January 30, the Emperor Honorius made the profession of Donatism a criminal offense and ordered clerics and ministers of such heretics removed from the African soil which they had polluted by sacreligious rites. Though initially opposed to coercion, Augustine changed his view.
Most of the works of St. Augustine of Hippo — have been extant and studied for centuries by Christians throughout the world. Since this Doctor of the Western Church has long been the best known and most widely read of the Latin Fathers, it is so much more unexpected that a previously unknown work should be found. Johannes Divjak found not only a single work but in fact a whole collection of letters, which he published in a critical Latin edition in This volume contains the first English translation of these newly discovered letters.
The letters range in size from short memoranda to long treatises on various subjects. In addition, there are three other previously unknown letters: two written to Augustine by Consentius, a North African rhetorician, and one written by Saint Jerome to Aurelius of Carthage. Originally written between the years and , this commentary discusses Matthew 5—7, and is regarded as a product of his early years of his priesthood.
His exegesis reveals an unexpected spiritual insight for his limited training at the time of its composition. Although Augustine agrees that many things in Scripture may seem absurd to the unlearned, he holds that they can produce great pleasures once they have been explained. It was this tenet, realized in his spiritual rather than corporeal interpretation of Scripture, that led him to counter the impious attacks the Manichees used to attract those who sought a more intellectual understanding of God over and against an anthropomorphic view. The Teacher , written in the form of a dialogue between Augustine and his son Adeodatus, discusses linguistic philosophies, such as the association of words and their corresponding signs and the nature of that arrangement.
This exposes the natural miscommunication that occurs between two conversing humans, establishing his concluding point: we are all called to listen, as God is the source of all true and substantial knowledge. Finally, Grace and Free Will , written against Pelagius to defend the necessity of grace and simultaneously deny the sufficiency of free will , demonstrates that grace and free will are not mutually exclusive concepts. They were monks of Provence, led by John Cassian, who were disturbed by the more extreme consequences of the theology of grace and predestination that Augustine had worked out in his controversy with the Pelagians.
These treatises include some of Augustine's most significant statements on grace. Intended for scholars and students of theology and philosophy, this edition includes three treatises translated for the first time from modern critical texts. In Christian Latinity, the tractate is a specific type of sermon, delivered as part of a liturgy, which combines scriptural exegesis, preaching, spiritual commentary, and theological reflection.
This volume contains the first ten of the tractates on the Gospel of John delivered by St. Augustine, the world-renowned fourth-century bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa. As sermons they exemplify the theory of preaching he outlined in his De doctrina Christiana On Christian Instruction —to preach in a simple and direct style accessible to all without compromising the theological knowledge and spiritual experience of the message.
Beyond contemplation of John's Gospel, the Tractates reveal much about the heresies to which Augustine's congregation was exposed: Manichaeism, with its dualistic logic; Donatism, a schismatic, puritanical, and sacramental movement which involved the intervention of the state in the affairs of the Church; and Pelagianism, with its doctrines of original sin, grace, free will, and predestination. Augustine delivered these sermons in Ciceronian oratorical style, having as his purpose to teach, to please, and to persuade.
Through his allegorical exegesis, his audience was led to an understanding of the meaning of Scripture that would so affect their souls as to help them grow spiritually and bring them to eternal salvation. Of the tractates that St. Augustine delivered to his congregation at Hippo Regius, the first fifty-four form a distinct group. They differ in length and character from the remaining tractates, contain many chronological references, and consist of bitter attacks on the Donatists and other heresies. The remaining tractates 55— are brief and contain no chronological references to prior tractates.
Scholars maintain that the latter were dictated for later reading to the people rather than extemporaneously delivered. This volume contains tractates 11— In 11—16 Augustine continues the attack, begun in tractates , on the heresies of Manichaeism, Donatism, and Pelagianism. Beginning with the seventeenth tractate, however, he focuses greater attention on Arianism, a Trinitarian heresy whose major tenet was that divine being was uncreated, unbegotten, and unique and that Christ was not true God but a creature who had a beginning.
Augustine also attacks lesser Christological heresies: the Apollinarists, who assert that Christ did not assume the complete human nature but only the body, and Photinus of Sirmium, who held that Christ did not except for his miraculous birth and acquired a plenitude of grace through moral perfection. In these tractates Augustine combines scriptural exegesis, the refutation of false teachings, and theological reflections with the spiritual and moral instruction of his congregation.
For if you busy yourself in these things which the erring mind makes for itself, you speak with your own images, not with the Word of God; your images deceive you. Transcend the body and savor the mind. Transcend the mind also and savor God. In his preaching, St. Augustine developed an oratorical style based on the classical rhetoric he had learned prior to his conversion which he adapted to the unique demands of Christian preaching.
He still recognized the classical ends of rhetoric: to teach, to please, and to persuade. He gave, however, the place of most importance to content: what was said was more important than how it was said. He eschewed the more elaborate figures of speech, using a more direct manner to educate an audience that was, to a great extent, illiterate.
The result, however, is not a debased Ciceronian style but a method of preaching that is clear, lively, and well-suited to its purpose. His commentary, then, contains more than exegesis. His reflections on Scripture lead him to discussions of both moral action and dogma.
In unfolding the mysteries contained in these chapters of St. John, Augustine moves easily from exegesis to reflections on moral virtue and doctrine, especially the Trinity and the Incarnation. But he never loses sight of his audience. Even in his comments on the loftiest of ideas, he strives to make the teaching accessible to all. These tractates, then give us a glimpse of the man that we do not often get from his other works. This is the fourth of five volumes of John W. In the Tractates, Augustine progressively comments on the Gospel text, using a plain yet compelling rhetorical style.
With the keen insight that makes him one of the glories of the Latin church, he amplifies the orthodox doctrinal and moral lessons to be read therein. Modern scholars generally concede that Tractates 55— fall within a distinct group thought to have been composed between AD and In them Augustine deftly employs the sacred text to defend the teachings of Nicene orthodoxy. Among the more noteworthy theological features upon which the reader can focus is a defense of the much controverted Filioque in Tractate There is also an examination of the paradoxes inherent in the Incarnation: the entrance into history of an immanent and transcendent God the Word; how that union of that Word with human nature; how that union in the Person of Christ does not confound or diminish either Nature.
In these Tractates Augustine comments upon a discrete portion of the sacred text: the Last Supper and the priestly prayer of Jesus. The reader is left, in the end, in a state of watch with the Savior for his impending Passion, Death, and Resurrection, which will be discussed in the last volume of the Tractates.
In this volume, which concludes John W. Augustine clarifies the meaning of words and phrases often appealing to the Greek text , resolves obscurities, and reconciles apparent contradictions. He explains the Scriptures on several levels of meaning and draws from them practical implications for the Christian life. Always evident in his teaching and exhortation is his strong desire to lead souls to a knowledge and love of God. In order to maintain some continuity, he decided to preach upon the First Epistle of John.
Its central theme, which Augustine saw to be caritas Christian love , was especially appropriate at this time, for the Donatist schism had torn many away from the Church at Hippo. In the ten tractates on the First Epistle of John, Augustine develops an outline of his theology on love and explains its implications for the Mystical Body of Christ. He teaches that those who hate the members of Christ cannot truly love Christ—even if they profess otherwise, even if they were to lay down their lives for Him.
In these tractates Augustine once again reveals himself as the humble and zealous pastor of souls. His words seem to radiate the very love about which he speaks, so that few of his listeners could accuse him of preaching what he himself did not practice. The present volume consists of a collection of minor writings of St. Augustine is well known for his great masterpieces such as the Confessions and City of God, too little is known about him as a writer of short treatises intended for the general spiritual welfare of the people.
These little essays still have an unending appeal for people of all times who are concerned about the salvation of their immortal souls. Other works of moral and practical theology are not included, notably the De catechizandis rudibus, and the De doctrina christiana, but arrangements have been made to present these in other volumes. Augustine's, but it is included here because it comes from the same general period as the other essays and treats of a similar subject.
Moreover, it has special interest in that it probably was written by a close follower of Pelagius, one of St. Each treatise in this volume has its own introduction, giving pertinent information for an intelligent understanding of the essay and other matters of general interest. A collection of nine short works by Augustine and translated by numerous editors for the Fathers of the Church Series.
Among these works includes:. In the autumn of AD , St. Augustine returned from Italy to northern Africa. Here in his native Thagaste he assembled a monastic community. When the brethren found their leader Augustine in a rare moment of leisure, they had no misgivings about putting questions to him on a variety of topics which he answered from the store of his vast knowledge. These questions together with the answers were later collected and assembled in a random order ractions.
The English translation presented here affords the reader a rare opportunity to glimpse some of the topics that interested members of a community that eventually gave the early Church four bishops: Alypius of Thagaste, Severus of Milevis, Profuturus of Citra, and Possidius of Calama. Even though St. Augustine intended no specific sequence in this collection, four broad categories in the question and answer literary form are discernible.
One category serves as Christian apologetic, e. The second presents Augustine in the role of exegete of selected passages from both the Old and New Testaments.
After the death of his wife, Julian joined the clergy of his native diocese and eventually succeeded his father as bishop. With a mastery of Greek and Latin Julian combined a great store of theological learning which, however, was tainted with Pelagian errors. Because of his support of Pelagius Julian himself was condemned, deposed and expelled from Italy. In Against Julian Augustine stresses in the first two books the traditional teachings of the Church found in the Fathers and contrasts their teaching with the rationalism of the Pelagians.
Thereupon he refutes the error of the Pelagians that grace is given according to merits. This section is a valuable witness to the ritual of baptism as it was conferred in the age of the Fathers. This younger Augustine intends to disprove the boastings of the Manichaeans that their way of life is more pious and devout than the Catholics—and, further, that the Catholic faith is proven true by its truer systems of devotion. The major portion of St. As the aged Augustine reread his extensive production, he sought to identify and to report to his widely scattered readership anything in his writings that had offended him or might offend others.
In achieving this purpose, Augustine brought out a book scarcely to be matched in world literature. His letters and sermons are in general not dealt with; they were to be covered in further parts of the Retractations that Augustine did not live to achieve. Eusebius was commonly known among the ancients as Eusebius of Caesarea or Eusebius Pamphili.
The first designation arose from the fact that he was bishop of Caesarea for many years; the second from the fact that he was a close friend and admirer of Pamphilus, a proselyte of Caesarea and a martyr. At least 40 contemporaries bore the same name, among which the most famous were Eusebius of Samosata—and so arose the necessity of distinguishing him from these others by specific designation.
The year of the Edict of Milan, which divides the first from the second epoch of Church history, does like service for the life and for the literary medium of the Church's first historian. According to the growing assent of scholars, marks off chronologically the Alexandrian from the Byzantine period of Greek literature, and it is that cleaves into uneven but appropriate parts that career of Eusebius Pamphilil.
In training and in literary taste, Eusebius belongs to the earlier time. Officially and in literary productivity, he belongs to the later. It was shortly after that Eusebius became a bishop, as it was, for the most part, after that his works were actually composed. Of events contemporary with these later years, Eusebius recorded much that is valued, but it is for what he tells of the earlier period—of the days before the Peace of the Church—that he looms so large in the history of history and of literature.
Through him—through him almost alone—are preserved to us the feeble memories of an age that died with himself. Friend of John Chrysostom and pupil of Diodore of Tarsus, the founder of the method of exegesis practiced in Antioch, Theodore was appointed bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia in His works were condemned by the fifth ecumenical council of , and only the Commentary on the Twelve Prophets , here appearing in English for the first time, survives entirely in Greek.
Does Theodore deserve either or both of these extreme assessments? Why did his adversaries allow this one work to survive the flames untouched? Theodoret of Cyrus in the decades after Theodore's death had his works open before him as he commented on prophets, just as modern commentators will also appreciate his work. That may have been the reason why in he visited the Alexandrian scholar Didymus the Blind and requested a work on this prophet.
Though long thought to be lost, the work was rediscovered in at Tura outside Cairo along with some other biblical commentaries. As a result we have in our possession a commentary on Zechariah by Didymus that enjoys particular distinction as his only complete work on a biblical book extant in Greek whose authenticity is established, which comes to us by direct manuscript tradition, and has been critically edited.
Thus it deserves this first appearance in English. Even Cyril of Alexandria in the next generation will lean rather to the historical style of commentary found in the Antiochene scholars Theodore and Theodoret, whose works on the Twelve are also extant and who had Didymus open before them. Didymus alone offers his readers a wide range of spiritual meanings on the obscure verses of Zechariah, capitalizing on his extraordinary familiarity with Holy Writ despite his disability , and proceeding on a process of interpretation-by-association, frequently invoking also etymology and number symbolism to plumb the meaning of the text.
His zealous and intrepid defense of the orthodox faith and his contribution to handling the external affairs of the Eastern Church were by no means the whole service to which St. Basil the Great devoted his considerable talents. His life both exemplified and shaped the ascetical movement of his time.
After renouncing a brilliant career as rhetorician, he traveled widely, studying the various forms of asceticism practiced in Eastern Christendom. On his return, he retired in the year to a place near Neocaesarea to put into practice the best of what he had seen, and there disciples soon joined him. When his friend Gregory of Nazianzus visited him there in , he began to write his Rules and other works that have had great importance in promoting and regulating the common life of monasticism. Benedict in legislating for Western monasticism. The ascetical writings of St. Basil contained in this volume, addressed to both monks and laymen, are of prime importance for understanding the role their author played in the Church of the fourth century and, through his influence, still plays today.
The letters of St. Basil, in number, which comprise the most vivid and most personal portion of his works, give us, perhaps, the clearest insight into the wealth of his rich and varied genius. They were written within the years from , shortly before his retreat to the Pontus, until his death in , a period of great unrest and persecution of the orthodox Catholic Church in the East. Their variety is striking, ranging from simple friendly greetings to profound explanations of doctrine, from playful reproaches to severe denunciations of transgressions, from kindly recommendations to earnest petitions for justice, from gentle messages of sympathy to bitter lamentations over the evils inflicted upon or existent in the churches.
As may be expected, the style in these letters is as varied as their subject matter. Those written in his official capacity as pastor of the Church, as well as the letters of recommendation and the canonical letters, are naturally more formal in tone, while the friendly letters, and those of appeal, admonition, and encouragement, and, more especially, those of consolation, show St. He had the technique of ancient rhetoric at his fingertips, but he also had a serious purpose and a sense of fitness of things. To St. He himself disapproved of a too ornate style and carefully avoided it. His early education, however, had trained him for the use of rich diction and varied and charming figures, and, when the occasion warranted it, he proved himself a master in their use.
Whether we look at them from an historical, an ecclesiastical, or a theological point of view, the letters are an important contribution. These exegetical homilies explore numerous Psalms and the Hexaemeron—and ancient theological treatise on the six-day creation account. These writings on the Hexaemeron are the earliest written and were noted to be extremely popular among the educated Christians of his era, and display a profound devotion to God and evidence of his goodness in the workings of creation.
In Against Eunomius , we see the clash not simply of two dogmatic positions on the doctrine of the Trinity, but of two fundamentally opposed theological methods. Thus Against Eunomius marks a turning point in the Trinitarian debates of the fourth century, for the first time addressing the methodological and epistemological differences that gave rise to theological differences.
Amidst the polemical vitriol of Against Eunomius is a call to epistemological humility on the part of the theologian, a call to recognize the limitations of even the best theology. While Basil refined his theology through the course of his career, Against Eunomius remains a testament to his early theological development and a privileged window into the Trinitarian controversies of the mid-fourth century. The Christian funeral oration is one of the most elaborate of Christian literary forms. It represents an attempt to adapt to Christian use a pagan Greek form with many hundreds of years behind it.
The Christian masterpieces presented in this volume reflect a long, rich, and varied pagan literary tradition in East and West, and at the same time exhibit modifications and new elements which give them their specific Christian character. The volume presents the most generally admired ancient Christian funeral orations—four from the Greek those of St. Gregory Nazianzen , four from the Latin those of St. From the Bishop of Nazianzen, we have words spoken in honor of three kinsmen, his father, a brother, and a sister, and of the great St.
Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. Two of the orations from the lips of St. Ambrose are likewise for a kinsman, his brother Satyrus, while the other two are for wearers of the purple, the youthful Valentinian II and the emporor Theodosius. Raised in a multi-generational Christian family, Gregory of Nazianzus was also well-educated, well-traveled, and tutored in almost every discipline of the Greek arts, philosophies, sciences, and literatures.
The numerous poems written by Gregory had a profound influence over Byzantine hymnology, although, beyond that, they largely provide a treasure trove of autobiographical and historical data. This translation makes available nineteen orations by the fourth-century Cappadocian father Gregory of Nazianzus. Most are appearing here in English for the first time. Composed in a variety of rhetorical formats such as the lalia and encomium, the sermons treat topics that range from the purely theological to the deeply personal.
Up until now, Gregory has been known primarily for his contributions as a theologian, indifferent to the social and political concerns that consumed his friend Basil. This view will change. It has been due in large measure to the interests and prejudices of the nineteenth-century editors who excluded the sermons translated here from the Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Church. This new translation will help the English-speaking reader appreciate just how deeply Gregory was engaged in the social and political issues of his day.
Exemplifying the perfect synthesis of classical and Christian paideia, these homilies will be required reading for anyone interested in late antiquity. The introduction and notes accompanying the translation will assist both the specialist and the general reader as they seek to navigate the complex environment in which Gregory lived and worked.
In the Christian world of the fourth century, the family of St. Gregory of Nyssa was distinguished for its leadership in civic and religious affairs in the region of the Roman Empire known as Pontus. Cardinal Newman, in an essay on the trials of St. Macrina, a work included in this volume, we learn of the fortitude of the three preceding generations. On her death-bed, St.
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Macrina, recalling details of their family history, speaks of a great-grandfather martyred and all his property confiscated, and grandparents deprived of their possessions at the time of the Dioceltian persecutions. Their father, Basil of Caesarea, a successful rhetorician, outstanding for his judgment and well known for the dignity of his life, died leaving to his wife, Emmelia, the care of four sons and five daughters.
Gregory praises his mother for her virtue and for her eagerness to have her children educated in Holy Scripture. After managing their estate and arranging for the future of her children, she was persuaded by St. Macrina to retire from the world and to enter a life common with her maids as sisters and equals. This community of women would have been a counterpart of the monastery founded nearby by St. Basil on the banks of the Iris River. In a moving scene, St. Gregory tells of his mother's death at a rich old age in the arms of her oldest and youngest children, Macrina and Peter.
Blessing all of her children, she prays in particular for the sanctification of these two who were, indeed, later canonized as saints. Newman notes the strong influence of the women in the family, and in one of his letters, St. Basil gives credit to his mother and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, for his clear and steadfast idea of God.
The homilies on St. The 88 homilies, which date from about , work systematically through the text of St. In his exposition Chrysostom reflects his youthful Antiochene training in the interpretation of Holy Scripture through his emphasis upon the literal or historical meaning of the sacred text. The exposition focuses sharply on practical morality and thus often supplies telling information about fourth-century life and times.
Judged by modern tastes the Discourses may seem lengthy, and Chrysostom himself admits that they taxed his energies when he complains of having become hoarse. In Antioch of the late fourth century two highly divisive forces contributed to deteriorating Judaeo-Christian relations: very successful Jewish proselytizing, and Christian Judaizing. Both activities profoundly disturbed a vigilant leader and eloquent preacher such as Chrysostom was. These Discourses , frequently interrupted by applause from the audience, present in their historical context one facet of the deteriorating relations.
Antedating Chrysostom by some two centuries, emerging views that the Jews were a people cursed and dispersed in punishment for their unbelief and deicide were gaining credence; witness some statements by Irenaeus in Lyons and Tertullian in northern Africa. In the course of time certain passages of sacred Scripture began to be reinterpreted, when occasion presented itself, in such a way as to endow the polemics with divine authority. A simplistic view of the complex problem of anti-Semitism raised the cry, almost a century ago, that the Church nurtures hatred against the Jews and at the same time protected them from the fury she had unleashed.
Acta apostolicae sedis 58 — Therein the Council officially re-affirmed the common religious patrimony of Jews and Christians. It clearly rejected any alleged collective guilt of the Jewish people for the death of Christ and their alleged rejection of God. John Chrysostom presented here were delivered at Antioch over a period of several years beginning in AD The final two homilies were delivered in after Chrysostom became patriarch of Constantinople. All but one of the homilies aim at refuting the Anomoeans, heretics who revived the most radical tenets of Arius and blatantly claimed that man knows God in the very same way that God knows himself.
He departed from this series of refutations only in the sixth homily, which he delivered on December 20, , again at Antioch. It consists of a panegyric of St. Philogonius, bishop of Antioch ca. AD —, who before his episcopal ordination had led a very exemplary life, practiced law and contracted a marriage that was blessed with a daughter. In addition to their theological content, these homilies contain many other points of interest. On one occasion, people applauded the speaker and were very attentive to the homily but then left the church so that when Christ is about to appear in the holy mysteries the church becomes empty Hom III.
Chrysostom also indicates that people kept talking to one another at the sacred moment when Christ becomes present Hom IV. He also mentions that chariot races often proved more enticing than going to church Hom VII. Chrysostom relates the story of St. Babylas, bishop and martyr, who defended the Church against an evil emperor and whose relics produced sobriety at Daphne and silenced the oracle of Apollo. Although a product of Christianized sophistic rhetoric, the discourse on Babylas furnishes interesting new material on the development of the veneration of relics and church-state relations in the third and fourth centuries.
This translation makes available for the first time in English one of the most significant Old Testament commentaries of the patristic period. The Genesis homilies, his richest Old Testament series, reveal a theologian, pastor, and moralist struggling to explain some of the most challenging biblical material to his congregation in Antioch. While critical exegetical details go without mention and Chrysostom was limited to the Greek version of the Old Testament in his studies, his oratory has been judged golden and his theology profound. He was a preacher satisfied with commenting on Scripture with his moral purpose always to the fore.
Chrysostom studied the Scriptures with Diodore of Tarsus, a distinguished exegete known from fragments of his commentaries on Genesis and Psalms, and a polemic style developed from his pastoral concern to protect his congregation from the dangerous influences of fourth-century Antioch. As such, his Genesis homilies constitute a milestone in the history of biblical interpretation. This first of several volumes on Genesis contains homilies 1—17, delivered in Antioch before Chrysostom moved to Constantinople in Robert C. He continues in Homily 18 with Genesis 3 and finishes in Homily 45 with Genesis They seem to have been delivered perhaps as early as , half just before and during Lent and the remainder, from Homily 33 onward, after Pentecost.
The Genesis homilies reveal Chrysostom as commentator, preacher, moralist, and profoundly theological and precise exegete of Scripture, the truth of which he teaches for the betterment of this congregation. In the homilies in this volume, the last of three, Chrysostom concludes his examination of the lives and virtues of the Old Testament patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as recounted in the last three chapters of Genesis.
Known for his eloquent preaching, Chrysostom delivered these final 22 homilies after Pentecost. His motive for examining the accounts of the lives of the patriarchs is to show how the just forebears of the Israelites, in a time when both the law and the Gospel were yet unpreached, were able to live Christian lives with only simple trust in God and the balanced, almost ingenuous manners of antiquity. His interest in the events and characters of Genesis is largely moral, even moralistic; he tends to see Scripture as hagiography.
As an exegete, Chrysostom may seem disappointing to those grounded in the methods of modern biblical scholarship, since he largely ignores any sense of Scripture other than the literal and is generally unaware of how to resolve difficulties and appreciate subtleties that a knowledge of the original text would provide. However, what lacks in scientific accuracy he more than compensates for with his earnest practice of pastoral care.
John Chrysostom delivered nine homilies on repentance in Antioch of Syria sometime between and With conviction and certitude, he preached that repentance was a necessity for both the sinner and the righteous man. He believed that repentance is the liturgical tool that rejuvenates sinners and admits them into the life-giving Eucharist where they experience fully and dynamically the concrete presence of God. The powers of repentance have rich biblical roots, and Chrysostom masterfully weaves his teaching with a plethora of Old and New Testament citings.
From Scripture, the reader learns that repentance is never confined to the eucharistic context—it becomes a way of life for the believer. In his introduction to the homilies, Fr. Gus Christo includes a succinct biography of Chrysostom within which he sets the homilies in their chronological context. This volume presents for the first time in the Fathers of the Church series the work of an early Christian writer who did not write in either Greek or Latin.
It offers new English translations of selected prose works by St. Ephrem the Syrian c. AD — The volume contains St. The translators have enhanced the volume with a general introduction, extensive bibliography, and specific introductions to each of the works. Together these features provide an overview of the major scholarship on St. Ephrem and Syriac Christianity. In the two commentaries presented here, Ephrem focuses only on portions of the sacred text that had a particular theological significance for him, or whose orthodox interpretation needed to be reasserted in the face of contemporary heterodox ideas.
He does not provide a continuous, verse by verse exposition. Ephrem marshaled his considerable theological and rhetorical talent to challenge the appeal that the doctrines of the Arians, Manicheans, Marcionites, and the followers of Bardaisan might have had to the minds and hearts of Syrian Christians. In the face of their rational systems, his was the voice that insisted on the incomprehensibility of the divine nature.
Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria — , is best known as a protagonist in the christological controversy of the second quarter of the fifth century. Readers may be surprised therefore to find such polemic absent from this early work on the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. Indebted to the diverse approaches of Didymus, Jerome, and Theodore, Cyril appears in this work as a balanced commentator, eclectic in his attitude and tolerant of alternative views. Although he displays an occasional uncertainty in his grasp of historical and geographical details, as well as an inclination to verbosity, Cyril has conspicuously influenced the exegesis of his younger contemporary Theodoret of Cyrus, and has made a vital contribution to the development of biblical interpretation in the church.
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from to Cyril was well educated, wrote extensively, and was a leading figure in the First Council of Ephesus in , the third ecumenical council of the early Christian Church. The council convened amid disputes over the teachings of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Cyril led the charges of heresy against Nestorius.
Drawing insights from older contemporaries, Cyril examines in depth the historical contexts of prophetic texts, utilizing his knowledge of events and geographical locations in deriving his interpretations. Cyril in turn has exerted a direct influence on Theodoret of Cyrus, thus forging a link in the succession of patristic exegetical developments. For Cyril, as for the Fathers in general, the internal unity of the Bible guarantees that its texts can be applied to the interpretation of other texts within the scriptural canon. This relationship is the basis of a motif that unifies the Old and New Testaments, with the prophets serving as precursors of the Savior; thus their proclamations, though often aimed at the events of their own times, speak to believers of all eras.
Applying his knowledge of ancient Israelite history in his analysis of the immediate context for each of these prophetic books, Cyril believes that Zephaniah was addressed to the residents of Jerusalem in the years preceding the Babylonian Exile, and the other three were addressed to a newly repatriated, post-exilic nation. An emphasis on theodicy is a primary theme of this book. When no repentance ensues, God sends harsh but just punishments, employing the brutality of enemy nations as his instruments, yet always doing so with the loving purpose of returning his people to himself.
Where the prophetic oracles mention the Jewish priesthood, altar, or sacrifices, Cyril takes the opportunity to exhort Christian priests to preserve their moral purity and to fulfill their liturgical duties with devotion. This extrapolation from the ancient to the contemporary, from Israel to the Church, is compatible with the typological interpretation that Cyril utilizes in conjunction with his literal, historical approach.
The Temple is a type, or foreshadowing, of the Church, and the sacrificial lamb of the Passover prefigures Christ. Thus Cyril maintains his connection with the Alexandrian tradition of allegorical exegesis while presenting a balanced, multi-faceted interpretation that applies passages from many other parts of the Bible to extract a wealth of meaning from the prophetic books. Cyril of Alexandria famously took up the debate against Nestorius on the theological interpretation of the deity of Christ, a number of which are addressed in these volumes.
This fifth-century Christological controversey comprises most of the teaching of these letters, notably even letters not addressed to Nestorius. The conflict with Nestorius eventually brought Nestorius to condemnation after the Council of Ephesus in , in which Cyril presides at the request of Pope Celestine. Almost the entire collection here has to do with the controversey surrounding the Council of Ephesus and the schism of bishops on either side of the theological controversey.
Cyril of Alexandria is best known for his role in the Christological disputes of the fifth century. In recent years, however, scholars have turned their attention to Cyril the exegete. Cyril wrote extensive commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible; in fact, two-thirds of his extant corpus is devoted to biblical interpretation. Yet, despite this strong interest in Cyril as theologian and biblical interpreter, his activity as the Patriarch of Alexandria remains obscure. In Alexandria, festal letters functioned primarily as a vehicle for announcing the beginning of Lent and the proper date for the celebration of Easter.
They also served an important catechetical purpose by providing the patriarch with an annual opportunity to present his flock with a pastoral version of the theological issues that found more formal and complex expression elsewhere. Cyril of Alexandria is best known for his role in the Christological controversies of the fifth century. In recent decades, scholars have been attending more carefully to his exegetical legacy.
Indeed, during his long career he wrote commentaries on nearly every book of the Bible. Here the Festal Letters are especially helpful. The present volume completes the set. Festal letters were used in Alexandria primarily to announce the beginning of Lent and the date of Easter. They also served a catechetical purpose, however, allowing the Patriarch an annual opportunity to write pastorally not just about issues facing the entire see, but also about the theological issues of the day.
Thus, in these letters we catch a glimpse of Cyril the pastor writing about complex theology in an uncomplicated way. These letters also illuminate other realities of the ancient church in Alexandria, especially the relationship with the Jewish community and the rising influence of asceticism. This volume makes available for the first time in English the major biblical commentary by one of the leading exponents of Antiochene exegesis, Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus.
Though commentators less well acquainted with this lengthy work have been ready to dismiss Theodoret as lacking originality, a sounder assessment would acknowledge his willingness to take account of previous work, from both Alexandria and Antioch, and steer a middle course. He deliberately avoids the excesses of allegorical interpretation of Origen, on the one hand, and of the historicism found in Diodore and Theodore, on the other.
Moderation and flexibility are the hallmarks of his own approach to the Psalms, to which he comes not as scholar or preacher but as teacher and pastor. This translation respects the conciseness which the bishop sets as one aim for himself, his other principle being to let the text speak for itself. The work thus bears the marks of the theological currents of those years, especially as Theodoret was instrumental in convening that Council and was involved in the Christological and trinitarian debates of the period. Theodoret was the leading theologian of his time in the Antiochene tradition, and in the Eranistes written in he offers a lengthy exposition of his Christology, coupled with a refutation of the so-called Monophysite Christology that, despite its condemnation at the General Council held at Chalcedon in , survives to this day, having been embraced by several large churches of the East.
The Eranistes is written in the form of three dialogues between two characters: Orthodox, who represents Theodoret's thought, and Eranistes, who is presented as a heretic. In two dialogues Theodoret argues that the Word of God was immutable and impassible in his divine nature, and that Christ experienced change and passion only in his human nature.
A third dialogue argues that, in the union of the divinity and humanity in the one person of the Word incarnate, the natures remained unmixed. To bolster his arguments Theodoret incorporates extensive citations, not only from orthodox ecclesiastical writers, but also from the heretic Apollinarius and the suspected Arian, Eusebius of Emesa. The texts of many of these citations are known only from the Eranistes and are therefore important witnesses to the development of patristic Christology.
Critical issues in Antiochene and Alexandrian Christology are broached by Theodoret in the text and are further discussed by the translator in the introduction and notes. Bishop of Jerusalem for nearly forty years, he experienced three expulsions from his see, these due as much to politico-ecclesiastical rivalry as to his participation in the contemporary theological controversies, in which Cyril played an important and still disputed role. The present volume carries about half of the bishop's most valuable production, a series of catechetical lectures for Lent and Easter week.
The introductory lecture the Procatechesis admitted the catechumens to the instructions to follow. Of these, the Catecheses proper, the first twelve appear in this first volume, the remaining six, with the five Mystogogical Lectures for Easter Week , are in volume 2. The conferences are based firmly in the sacraments and in the successive articles of the Creed. It is upon the Creed and the various forms of it with which Cyril was involved that much of the extended Introduction centers. This volume includes the remaining six lectures for catechists and the five Mystogogical Lectures.
Ambrose was an archbishop of Milan and one of the most influential figures of the fourth century. He is one of the original four Doctors of the Church and Latin theologians. His writings had a direct influence on St. He furthered fourth-century Mariology, Christology, and soteriology, and allegedly ended Arianism in his diocese, Milan. These volumes of his collected and translated writings bring the intensity of his ancient rhetoric back to the present, allowing us an unusually full glimpse at the early church.
He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church and Latin theologians. This volume contains 59 homilies preached by St. Jerome on selected Psalms. As far as can be determined now these homilies were intended primarily for the instruction and edification of the monastic community that Jerome had established in Bethlehem where he spent the closing years of his life.
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They were recorded by scribes in the audience, and consequently the text may at times reflect the inadequacies of the listener. Some scholars believe that an affirmative answer is correct, others citing the evidence of Homily 69 on Psalm 91, think that the content of some homilies is too deeply theological to be an impromptu composition.
In any event, some patristic scholars have been bold enough to declare Jerome the most learned Latin Father of the Church. Capelle; the other on the First Sunday of Lent, edited by I. In the present volume, they are Homilies 89 and Dom Germain Morin, as noted in the Introduction of Volume 1 of this translation, discovered fourteen homilies, providing a second series on the Psalms, in four Italian Codices dating from the tenth and fifteenth centuries. This chief obstacle is that of chronology.
The De viris illustibus was written in all probability in —, whereas the homilies appear to have been written in , the date determined by the study of Dom Morin. Other scholars, as U. Moricca, A. Penna, G. There is question also whether the Septuagint or the Hebrew Psalter was in the hands of Jerome when he wrote or preached the homilies on Psalms 10 and They seem, in fact, to have been written rather than delivered, for he speaks of readers rather than hearers.
They differ from the regular series of sermons in their greater erudition, more sophisticated language, many Greek expressions, and variations from the Hexapla. The closing doxology so characteristic of the other sermons is missing in them. They are much longer, and Jerome speaks of certain details as if he had already explained them.
On the whole, they give evidence, too, of greater care in preparation.
The important service that he rendered to the Church in his doctrinal works is often overlooked or minimized by those who look for originality and independence of thought. Jerome was not a theologian in the strict sense of the word.