The writings of the Church Fathers form a distinct body of literature that shaped the early church and built upon the doctrinal foundations of Christianity established within the New Testament. Christian literature in the period c.100-c.400 constitutes one of the most influential textual oeuvres of any religion. Written mainly in Greek, Latin and Syriac, Patristic literature emanated from all parts of the early Christian world and helped to extend its boundaries. The History offers a systematic account of that literature and its setting. The works of individual writers in shaping the various genres of Christian literature is considered, alongside three general essays, covering distinct periods in the development of Christian literature, which survey the social, cultural and doctrinal context within which Christian literature arose and was used by Christians. This is a landmark reference book for scholars and students alike.
Frances Young is Emerita Professor of Theology, University of Birmingham. Lewis Ayres is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University. Andrew Louth is Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies at the University of Durham.
Part I. The Beginnings: The New Testament to Irenaeus: 1. Introduction: Christian literary genres and their second-century development Frances Young; 2. Apostolic and subapostolic writings: the New Testament and the Apostolic fathers R. A. Norris; 3. Gnostic literature R. A. Norris; 4. Apocryphal material: acts of the martyrs R. A. Norris; 5. Apologetic material: Melito and the Peri Pascha R. A. Norris; 6. Irenaeus R. A. Norris; 7. Social and historical setting John Behr; 8. Articulating identity R. A. Norris; 9. Christian teaching Frances Young; 10. Towards a hermeneutic of second-century texts Frances Young; Part II. The Third Century: 11. The Alexandrians Ronald E. Heine; 12. The beginnings of Latin Christian literature Ronald E. Heine; 13. Hippolytus, pseudo-Hippolytus and the early canons Ronald E. Heine; 14. Cyprian and Novatian Ronald E. Heine; 15. Syriac literature Sebastian Brock; 16. Concluding review: the literary culture of the third century Frances Young; 17. Social and historical setting: Christianity as culture critique Karen Jo Torjesen; 18. Articulating identity Ronald E. Heine; 19. Christian teaching David Dawson; 20. The significance of third-century Christian literature Frances Young; Part III. Foundations of a New Culture: From Diocletian to Cyril: 21. Classical genres in Christian guise: Christian genres in classical guise Frances Young; 22. Arnobius and Lactantius Oliver Nicholson; 23. Eusebius and the birth of Church history Andrew Louth; 24. Fourth-century Alexandrians: Athanasius and Didymus Andrew Louth; 25. Palastine: Cyril of Jerusalem and Epiphanius Andrew Louth; 26. The Cappadocians Andrew Louth; 27. Fourth-century Latin writers: Hilary, Victorinus, Ambrose, Ambrosiaster David G. Hunter; 28. Jerome and Rufinus Mark Vessey; 29. Augustine Henry Chadwick; 30. John Chrysostom and the antiochene school to Theodoret of Cyrrhus Andrew Louth; 31. Cyril of Alexandria Andrew Louth; 32. Hagiography Andrew Louth; 33. Ephrem and the Syriac tradition Sebastian Brock; 34. The literature of the monastic movement Andrew Louth; 35. Women and words: texts by and about women Susan Ashbrook Harvey; 36. Conciliar records and canons Andrew Louth; 37. Social and historical setting R. A. Markus; 38. Articulating identity Lewis Ayres; 39. Christian teaching Frances Young; 40. Retrospect: interpretation and appropriation Frances Young.