This is the first in a new six-volume translation of - and commentary about - the works of the Apostolic Fathers. The writings of these men, which immediately follow the books of the New Testament, make up a body of literature that provides indispensable source material for the study of the formation of the Christian Church. Interest in the early Church is higher today than ever before. Theologians, religious authorities, students, and historians find the initial stages of Church development relevant to the contemporary structure of the Church.
This introduction to the series provides general information about the Apostolic Fathers and answers such questions as: Who were they? What did they do? What did they write? What influence did they have, either personally or through their writings? It analyzes the historical and theological significance of the Apostolic Fathers, the relationship of their writings to the Bible, the historical circumstances surrounding them and what they reflect of the early Church, its unity, ministry, worship, and daily life.
Here, too, Robert Grant surveys the effects of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers on later Christian scholars and theologians. He traces the relationship of their writings to the Church in later times. What use was made of these Fathers themselves as symbols of primitive faith? What effect did knowledge or ignorance of the writings have upon conceptions of the life and thought of the early Church as later writers looked back to it?
As an introduction to an important work of religious scholarship and as a survey of the life of the early Church, this much needed book gives impetus to and provides a solid foundation for the study and understanding of the formative period of the Christian Church.