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….

Backhouse & Tylor’s Early Church History to the Time of Constantine

Edward Backhouse [1808-1879] & Charles Tylor [1816-1902], Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, 3rd edn. Early Church History to the Death of Constantine was Edward Backhouse’s final work and was completed posthumously by Charles Tylor. Backhouse intended to write church history from the perspective of The Society of Friends (Quakers).

His desire, perhaps not fully allowed to himself, was to find out with what early early teachers stigmatised as heretics he himself could in any way sympathise; what protests against priestly assumptions and ritualistic corruptions had been made in the early ages of the Church.

Thomas Hodgkin [1831-1913], Biographical Preface, p.xiii.

Edward Backhouse [1808-1879] & Charles Tylor [1816-1902], Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, 3rd edn. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd., 1892. Hbk. pp.333. [Click to download the complete book in PDF]

The book contains a number of photographs and colour plates. This title is in the pubic domain.

Contents

Biographical Preface

Part I to A.D. 200

  1. Promulgation of the Gospel – The New Society- Picture of Heathenism
  2. Nero’s Persecution – Destruction of Jerusalem – Jewish-Christian Church
  3. Domitian and Nerva – The Apostle John – Epistle of Clement of Rome and Letter to Diognetus
  4. Trajan and Pliny – martyrdom of Ignatius – His Epistles
  5. Hadrian – Insurrection of the Jews – Marcus Aurelius – Perseuction and Calumnies
  6. Justin Martyr
  7. The Octavius of Miniucius Felix – Martyrdom of Polycarp
  8. Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne
  9. Ireneus – Gnosticism – The Montanists – Attitude of the Church Towards Dissenters
  10. Worship in the Early Church – The Agape of Lord’s Supper
  11. Baptism – Infant Baptism
  12. Prayer – Almsgiving – Miraculous and Spiritual Gifts – Superstitious Practices
  13. Government of the Church – Maintenance of Ministers – Clergy and Laity – Church Action and Discipline – Places of Worship
  14. Holy Days and Festivals – Marriage – Asceticism – Burial
  15. The Catacombs
  16. Spread of the Gospel – Life ofth Early Christians, its Lights and Shadows
  17. Pagan Animosity and Christian Loyalty – The Philosophers assail the Church
  18. Christians and the Military Service – Slavery – Oaths
  • Appendix to Part I.

Part II – From A.D. 200 to the Death of Constantine, A.D. 337

  1. The Martyrs of Africa – Alexander Severus favours the Christians
  2. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria
  3. Hippolytus – The Churches have rest – The Decian Persecution – Cyprian – The Lapsed – Gallus and the Pestilence
  4. Origen
  5. Persecution undeer Valerian – Cyprian’s Martyrdom – His Life and Teaching – Novatian
  6. The Emperoprs Gallienus and Aurelian – Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, and Gregory Thaumaturgus
  7. The Diocletian Persecution
  8. The Diocletian Persecution (continued – Constantine
  9. The Diocletian Martyrs
  10. Constantine’s Legislation – He Assumes Power over the Church – The Donatists – The Christians Slaughter one another
  11. Manicheism and Sabellianism – The Arian Controversy – The Council of Nicaea
  12. Intolerant Edits of Constantine – He espouses the Arian Cause – Athanasius – Baptism and death of the Emperor – Lactantius
  13. Rapid Growth of Ritualism – Manner of Worship in the Fourth Century – the Eucharist – Baptism
  14. Power of the Bishops – Pretensions of Rome – Paul of Samosata – Maintenance of the Clergy – Tithes – Clerical Dress
  15. The New Age of Art and Splendour – Consecration of Churches – Pictures in Churches – Embroidered Garments – Lighted Tapers – The Catacombs
  16. Prayers for the Dead – Invocation of Saints – Worship of Relics – Fasts and Festivals – Education – Church Buildings
  17. “Fordbidding to Marry” – and “Commanding to abstain from Meats” – The HErmists – Paul – Anthony – Monks and Nuns
  18. The Gospel continues to spread – Armenia – Abyssinia – Britain – Assimilation of the Church to the World – The Magistracy – War – Conclusion
  • Index

 

New Resources Page on Origen’s Hexapla

Origen of Alexandria [c.185 – c.254]

Tyndale House has kindly supplied me with scans of the Origenis Hexaplorum [Oxford, 1875] in 2 volumes. This is still listed in reference works as the most complete collection of fragments of the Origen’s Hexapla every printed. To make the most of this important resource I have created a new page on the Hexapla so that those interested can find it easily.

Another important work on this subject is H.B. Swete’s Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek [1900]. The copies of this available in PDF of archive.org were disappointing, so I have scanned my copy to PDF and added it to the collection. You can now access all these works here. Note that Origenis Hexaplorum is a substantial download of over 60MB, though I have shrunk it down as much as possible.

G.L. Prestige’s 1940 Bampton Lecture on Origen

The following article is now online in PDF:

G.L. Prestige, “Lecture 3: Origen: or, The Claims of Religious Intelligence,” Fathers and Heretics. Bampton Lectures 1940. London: SPCK, 1940. Pbk. pp.43-66.

G.L. Prestige’s lecture is (in my opinion) one of the best short summaries of the life, works and significance of Origen. It should be required reading for anyone taking a course in early church history.