Introduction to Patristic Study by Henry Barclay Swete

Henry Barclay Swete [1835-1917], Patristic StudyIn his foreword H.B. Swete notes that he wrote this book to encourage younger clergy to read the church fathers for themselves and not to rely on second hand information. This brief introduction will be still of value to students of the early church more than a century after it was first published. This title is in the public domain.

Henry Barclay Swete [1835-1917], Patristic Study. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1902. Hbk. pp.194. [Click to visit the download page]

Contents

  1. Introductory
  2. Fathers of the First Two Centuries
  3. Fathers of the Third Century
  4. Post-Nicene Fathers (Greek and Eastern)
  5. Post-Nicene Fathers (Latin)
  6. Courses and Methods of Patristic Study
  7. Help to Patristic Study

Chapter 1: Introductory

The literary remains of the Apostolic age in the providence of God have become the common property of Christendom. Admitted into the canon of Holy Scripture, translated into the language of every civilised people, circulated by great societies established for that end, the Gospels and Epistles, the Acts and the Apocalypse are in the hands of all Christians who can read their mother tongue. A widely different fate has overtaken the post-Apostolic literature of the Ancient Church. If the names of some of the more eminent ‘Fathers’ are familiar to all educated men, few are attracted to the study of their writings. A grotesque misrepresentation associates the Fathers with dulness and ignorance. It is assumed that the writings which record the history, the life, and the thought of the Christian Church during the centuries which followed the death of St. John are destitute of literary merit or spiritual profit….