Friday, November 19, 2010

Early Church Fathers

The Early Church Fathers, (Church Fathers, or Fathers of the Church) are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian Church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. The term is used of writers and teachers of the Church, not necessarily saints. It is generally not meant to include the New Testament authors, though in the early Church some writing of Church Fathers were considered canonical (those books considered to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people).

Apostolic Fathers
The very earliest Church Fathers, of the first two generations after The Twelve Apostles of Christ, are usually called the Apostolic Fathers.

Famous Apostolic Fathers include
  • Ignatius of Antioch
  • Polycarp of Smyrna
  • Clement of Rome

In addition, the Didache (a brief early Christian treatise (c. 70–160 CE), containing instructions for Christian communities) and The Shepherd of Hermas (a Christian work of the second century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and occasionally considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers) are usually placed among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers although their authors are unknown.


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