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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, subtitled "The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325", is a collection of books in 10 volumes (one volume is indexes) containing English translations of the majority of Early Christian writings. The period covers the beginning of Christianity until before the promulgation of the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea. The translations are very faithful, but sometimes rather old-fashioned.

Contents

Publication

The series was originally published between 1868 and 1873 by the Presbyterian publishing house T. & T. Clark in Edinburgh under the title Ante-Nicene Christian Library, as a response to the Oxford movement's Library of the Fathers which was perceived as too much catholic. The volumes were edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. This series was available by subscription but the editors were unable to interest enough subscribers to commission a translation of the homilies of Origen.

In 1885 a US firm, the Christian Literature Company, first of Buffalo, then New York, began to issue the volumes in a reorganised form, edited by the episcopalian bishop of New York, A. Cleveland Coxe. Coxe gave his "new" series the title: The Ante-Nicene Fathers.

In 1896, the American edition/revision was complete. In 1897, the volume 9 of this one which contained new translations, was published by T. & T. Clark as an additional volume to complete the original ANCL.

Apart of this volume 9, the contents entirely derived thus from the ANCL, but in a more chronological order. However Coxe took the liberty to add his own introductions and notes, which were criticised by many academic authories as well as Roman Catholic reviewers. One approved the faithfulness of the translations, but wrote that Coxe:

…deemed it his duty to distort the sense and purpose of the text by the addition of prefatory notices and footnotes, and to indulge in sectarian bigotry by endeavoring to explain away the evidence of Catholic doctrine taught by the Fathers... the notes of Dr Coxe abound in similar falsehoods and vile insinuations, and that no open-minded and honest student, Catholic or non-Catholic, of the Fathers, can profit by such interpretations of the Patristic books.

Surely convinced by the commercial success of the cheaper American version/revision of the ANCL - although of lesser quality on some minor points - the T. & T. Clark get associated with the Christian Literature Company and with others American editors for the publication of sequel: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

Contents

The volumes include the following:

Volume I. Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus

Writings. Didache

Volume II. Fathers of the Second Century

Volume III. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian

  • I. Apologetic
  • II. Anti-Marcion
  • III. Ethical

Volume IV. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume V. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume VI. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume VII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries

Volume VIII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries

Volume IX. Recently Discovered Additions to Early Christian Literature; Commentaries of Origen

See also

External links

  • The full text of the Ante-Nicene Fathers is freely available at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  • Details of the creation and piracy of the ANCL
  • http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=&scope=books#q=ante-nicene%20christian%20library%20review&filter=all&start=1&t=9XE3TR4jAsypdrQohHeY2w&sq=ante-nicene%20christian%20library%20review American Ecclesiastical Review at Live Books. Vol. 24 (1901) Pp 210–11 contain the review criticising Coxe
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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Contents

Summary

The Ante Nicene Fathers is a term used to describe those theologians and writers who predate the Council of Nicaea. Study of the Ante-Nicene Fathers is included in the discipline of patristics (Latin, from pater = father). However, the patristic period extends beyond the Council of Nicaea, until the Council of Chalcedon.

Introduction

The Ante-Nicene Fathers are generally considered to have been active prior to the first quarter of the 4th century A.D., with the patristic period widely regarded as ending 451 A.D[1]. Writing of this period often involves elements which at a later date would be considered heretical, because at this time there was not a formal standard of faith. Consequently, the following list of important figures includes, in combination, proto-Orthodox, Gnostic, and otherwise heretical leaders.

Important Figures

  • Justin Martyr
  • Irenaeus
  • Origen
  • Tertullian
  • Athanasius
  • Clement I
  • Ignatius
  • Polycarp
  • Bardaisan of Edessa
  • Marcion

Justin Martyr B. ca 100, d. ca 165, patron saint of philosophers in the Roman Catholic Church. Justin identified the concept of the Son of God as the life-giving Word (Logos spermatikos) that implants truth in the minds of all people. He also identified Christ as "The New Adam" and Mary as "The New Eve" in whom creation is made new - while Adam and Eve precipitate the fall of man by eating from a tree, Christ regenerates man by dying on one[2]. This concept would prove important for later writers. Justin was executed in the reign of Marcus Aurelius after refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods. He was scourged and beheaded, earning the surname Martyr.

Irenaeus B. ca 130, possibly in Smyrna, d. ca 200. Bishop of Lyons from 178-200 AD. Irenaeus is most widely known for his publication, Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies), which particularly targeted the movement of Gnosticism. The theology of Irenaeus was one of the single most important contributions to what would become orthodox Christianity in the future[3].

Origen B. ca 185, d. ca 254. Origen was one of the most significant early apologists of the Christian faith[4]. An apologist is a defender against criticism from opponents. He was an important theologian who had a large influence on the development of eastern Christianity, though he would be the subject of persistent attacks as he was allegedly ordained a priest illegitimately. Origen believed in the concept of apocatastasis, or universal salvation (including the future salvation of Satan)[5]. Origen's importance lies in two primary areas - in Biblical interpretation, he pioneered the concept of the threefold interpretation of scripture: literal, ethical, and spiritual. By literal is meant the face meaning of the words on the text; ethical means what the text teaches about the relation of man to man and man to God; by spiritual is meant the inner, divine meaning. All three levels exist simultaneously in the text. In Christology, Origen presented the idea that the Father is "more divine" than the Son. This has been perceived as the origin of the heresy of Arianism, and Origen himself was condemned as a heretic for this view.[6]

Tertullian B. ca 160 in Carthage, d. ca 225. Controversial theologian widely considered the founder of western, Latin Christian theology, Tertullian was originally a pagan who converted to Christianity ca. 190[7]. Tertullian was a major opponent of the heresy of Marcionism, and was the first to work out a systematic doctrine of the Trinity[8]. He was a significant proponent of purism in that he rejected any attempts to make Christian theology dependent on external sources such as Academic philosophy, leading him to argue the principle of sufficiency of scripture. Ironically, Tertullian became closely associated with the heresy of Montanism later in life[9].

Athanasius B. ca 296, d. ca 373. Athanasius served as the bishop of Alexandria and was a key figure at the Council of Nicaea[10]. Especially opposed to the theology of Arianism, Athanasius argued that it was a heresy. Arius believed that Jesus Christ was not in essence divine, but was "adopted" into the role of the Son by God the Father, and therefore Jesus was a human being in totality. Athanasius proved that the theology of Arius implied that salvation through God would be impossible, and that Christians, in worshiping Jesus as Christ and God, would be guilty of idolatry, in violation of the first commandment. Athanasius was instrumental at the Council of Nicaea in having Arianism declared a heresy[11].

Clement I Pope Clement I, a mysterious figure. There are two extent writings that are attributed to Clement, but dispute exists as to whether either were in fact written by him[12]. The First Letter of Clement, if genuine, would be the oldest surviving Christian document outside the New Testament[13]. The other document, entitled the Second Letter of Clement, or 2 Clement, is neither a letter nor was it written by Clement I[14]. Clement himself is never even named in the letter entitled 1 Clement, however the letter addresses itself to the church in Corinth from the church in Rome. Clement is traditionally identified as the fourth bishop of Rome, however some sources (e.g., Tertullian) claim he was the second, and was ordained by St. Peter[15]. Eusebius claims that Clement was the companion of the apostle Paul (see Phillippians 4:3)[16]. Hermas is the first to mention a Christian named Clement, in his Shepherd of Hermas, when he states that he was instructed to send two copies of a book to Clement in Rome in order that they be distributed to other churches[17]. First Clement's primary importance lies in the author showing the necessity of the unity of the church of God.

Ignatius


Polycarp


Bardaisan of Edessa


Marcion

The Ante-Nicene Fathers and Heresy

Certain of the Ante-Nicene fathers (e.g., Justin Martyr) are considered saints, and yet their extant writings include elements that would later be identified as suspect at best (Neo-Platonism). Others, such as Marcion, were excommunicated for heresy in their own lifteme, and still others (Athanasius) contributed greatly to what would become the norm of faith for the Christian church. Athanasius attended the Council of Nicaea.

References

  1. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 1-5 ISBN 0631225285
  2. Lives of the Saints, Richard P. McBrien, Harper San Francisco, p. 222 ISBN 9780061232931
  3. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 11 ISBN 0631225285
  4. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 11 ISBN 0631225285
  5. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 11 ISBN 0631225285
  6. Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, pg. 254 ISBN 9780195182491
  7. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 11 ISBN 0631225285
  8. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg 11 ISBN 0631225285
  9. Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, pg 254 ISBN 9780195182491
  10. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg. 12 ISBN 0631225285
  11. Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister E McGrath, Blackwell Publishing, pg. 12 ISBN 0631225285
  12. The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1', Bart D. Ehrman, Harvard Publishing, p. 18 ISBN 0674996070
  13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Clement
  14. The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1', Bart D. Ehrman, Harvard Publishing, pp. 18, 157 ISBN 0674996070
  15. The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1', Bart D. Ehrman, Harvard Publishing, pg. 21 ISBN 0674996070
  16. The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1', Bart D. Ehrman, Harvard Publishing, pg. 21 ISBN 0674996070
  17. The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1', Bart D. Ehrman, Harvard Publishing, pg. 21 ISBN 0674996070

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325
Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (original translators and editors);
Arthur Cleveland Coxe (editor of American edition, unauthorized; and author of annotations, notes, and introductions);
Philip Schaff (also credited as editor);
et al.
Information about this edition
The series was originally created by the presbyterian publishing house of T. & T. Clark in Edinburgh as the Ante-Nicene Christian Library and published serially from 1867 to 1885. The volumes were translated and edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson.
In 1885 a U.S. firm, the Christian Literature Company, began to issue the volumes in a reorganised form, edited by A. Cleveland Coxe. This was in fact piracy of the ANCL, and treated as such by T. &. T. Clark at the time. However there was little recognition of overseas copyright in the USA at this date, and Clark's were obliged to accept the situation. Coxe gave his series the title The Ante-Nicene Fathers. — Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This collection was followed by the collections Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I and Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II.
  • Volume I - The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
  • Volume II - Fathers of the Second Century
  • Volume III - Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
  • Volume IV - The Fathers of the Third Century
  • Volume V - The Fathers of the Third Century
  • Volume VI - The Fathers of the Third Century
  • Volume VII - The Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
  • Volume VIII - The Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
  • Volume IX - Recently Discovered Additions to Early Christian Literature; Commentaries of Origen
  • Volume X - Bibliographic Synopsis; General Index [not included]
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1915, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


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