Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas

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Harvard University Press, 1977 - History - 420 pages
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THIS EDITION HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEWER EDITION The writings of the Apostolic Fathers give a picture of Christian life and thought in the period immediately after New Testament times. Some of them were accorded almost Scriptural authority in the early Church. The nine texts subsumed under this title include the epistles of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, which were written while Ignatius was en route to Rome as a prisoner, condemned to die in the wild-beast arena. Here too is the "Didache," a book of precepts in religious instruction, worship, and ministry; and the "Epistle of Barnabas," which attempts to sever the connection between Judaism and the Old Testament. "The Shepherd of Hermas" is a book of revelations and a doctrine of repentance; and the "Martyrdom of Polycarp" gives an account of the persecution of Christians at Smyrna.

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The name "Apostolic Fathers" was given in the seventeenth century to a group of Christian writers from the earliest times who may have been contemporary to the apostles and their immediate successors but whose writings were not accepted into the New Testament canon, even though some early biblical manuscripts contain one or two of them along with other New Testament writings. Normally, the group comprises First Clement (Clement of Rome), Second Clement, the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Didache or Teaching of the Apostles, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Letter to Diognetus, and the Shepherd of Hermas.

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