Tips for Reading Early Christian Exegesis

IVP Academic, over the past number of years, is producing accessible and invaluable resources for the modern church. Among these sources are collected in the Ancient Christian Texts series. In 2013, David Maxwell translated Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John. The … Continue reading

Moving Trinitarian Discussions Forward

(1) Give attention to Historical Methodology: It would be helpful to have someone offer helpful comments on how to use historical data. “Augustine says this…” Followed by, “Tertullian mentions this…” Rounded off with “According to Calvin…” The geographical separation and the temporal separation … Continue reading

Martin Hengel on a Young Discipline in Crisis: An Appraisal for the New Testament and Early Christian Discipline

The following is a summary and personal reflection on Martin Hengel, “A Young Theological Discipline in Crisis,” in Earliest Christian History: History, Literature, and Theology, Essays from the Tyndal Fellowship in Honor of Martin Hengel, WUNT, ed. Michael F. Bird and Jason … Continue reading

Patrick of Ireland

Patrick-Cover-193x300Last year I was able to participate in a book project and  wrote some portions of Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact with Michael Haykin and Aaron Matherly (Amazon). This new book is the first of many in a new series: Early Church Fathers series (more info here). These books will be of value to any churchmen, pastor, or undergraduate seeking to gain familiarity on early church fathers, their literature, and personal piety.

Patrick is not only a man of courage, exemplar in piety, but a great example to the modern person! Though scholarship is divided, he leaves us with two works (Confessions and Letter to Soldiers of Coroticus; original language). They are simple to read and would highly encourage anyone to read through them in order to gain familiarity with Patrick.

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Book Review: Introduction to the History of Christianity

Introduction to the History of Christianity

Tim Dowley, ed. Introduction to the History of Christianity. 2nd Ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2013. Pp. 616. ISBN 978-0-8006-9969-7. $55.00 (Paperback).

Within the past month, Fortress Press released the 2nd Ed. of Introduction to the History of Christianity, edited by Tim Dowley. Although not a typical pattern in the humanities discipline, this history book is a multi-authored resource. And by multi-authored, I mean 65 authors. With my focused interests in early church history, I will necessarily focus my attention on the relevant chapters.

The array of historical introductions gladly welcome this new edition. The collaborative effort is one of the chief marks of its value. Christian historians, from varied geographical locales, team together to write a “bird’s-eye view of 2000 years of Christianity” (preface, 18). Part I: Beginnings AD 1–325 and Part II: Acceptance and Conquest: AD 325–600 include 15 chapters authored by Richard A. Burridge, David F. Wright, Ralph P. Martin, Michael A. Smith, and others. Each chapter also includes multiple 200–600 word “side-bars”, highlighting relevant data respective of the chapter’s topics. Here is a small sampling of authors and topics:

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The Didache Pt. 1: Why Read the Didache

For the past month, I have immersed myself in the text and literature of the Didache (AD 70–100). Anticipating leading a group of men at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Click here and here for more details) through its teachings, ethics, and grammatical organization, I have forced myself to become familiar with its material. My fascination with Patristic literature continues to increase as I’m pressed with the thinking, compositional style, and liturgical usefulness of these early generations.

I have been a skeptic of church history and historical theology spawning from a sense of chronological and modernistic snobbery, but have now jettisoned my former ways. Reading primary literature of early Christians aid the interpretation of Scripture, compel us to modify hermeneutical presuppositions, and create a world much larger than we have ever imagined. Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham, has provided three reasons why Christians should read early Christian texts, including the Didache, in The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians.
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