General Objective: To introduce the Church Fathers and early Christian Writers in the period between the First Century and the Council of Nicaea, presenting them with a broad overview within their specific contexts. To indicate the main features of their teachings and their significance for the history of theology and the development of dogma.
Course Outlines: 1. Introduction to the Fathers of the Church. Who they are. Their importance in theological studies. Today’s validity of their contributions. 2. The Apostolic Fathers. St Clement of Rome. St Polycarp of Smyrna. St Ignatius of Antioch. St Justin Martyr. St Irenaeus of Lyon. 3. The Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas. Athenagoras of Athens. Theophilus of Antioch. Clement of Alexandria. 4. The Apologists. 5. The Fathers of the Third Century: St Hippolytus of Rome. St Cyprian of Carthage. St Gregory Thaumaturge.
Textbook: Drobner, Hubertus. The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction. Translated by Siegfried Schatzmann. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing House, 2007. Bibliography: Aquilina, Mike. The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2013; Benedict XVI. Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008; Di Berardino, Angelo, ed. Encyclopedia of the Early Church. 2 vols. Translated by Adrian Walford. Cambridge: James Clarke, 1992; Dopp, Siegmar, and Wilhelm Geerlings, eds. Dictionary of Early Christian Literature. Translated by Matthew O’Connell. New York: Crossroadm 2011; Jefford, Clayton. Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014; Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol. 1, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971; Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. Vol. 1, The Beginnings of Patristic Literature. Notre Dame: Christian Classics, 1995; Quasten, Johannes. Patrology. Vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Literature After Irenaeus. Notre Dame: Christian Classics, 1995; Ramsey, Boniface. Beginning to Read the Fathers. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2012; Roberts, Alexander, James Donalson, and Arthur Coxe, eds. Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. 9 vols. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007; Simonetti, Manlio. Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church: An Historical Introduction to Patristic Exegesis. Translated by John Hughes. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2001; Willis, John, ed. The Teachings of the Church Fathers. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.
Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of the course, students are expected to: Be familiar with the ancient texts and how they are used today to give a clearer understanding of issues encountered by the early Church leaders; to identify and state the different approaches used by those writers to explain issues encountered in the early Church; to express familiarity with the content and language of the texts using and explaining the differences of approaches in expressing the problems encountered by early Church Fathers.