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

 

Alfred Plummer’s Church of the Early Fathers

I recent conducted a poll on the Facebook Group Theology on the Web asking members to vote to the most useful book on church history from a list of possible titles I had available to scan. The winner was a work by Alfred Plummer (1841-1926), which was regarded as one of that author’s most important books. The full text is now available on-line and is in the Public Domain.

Alfred Plummer, The Church of the Early Fathers, 6th edn. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1892. Hbk. pp.210.

 Preface

The Christian Church has three ideals set before it in Scripture- to be Universal, to be Holy, and to be One. It is to ‘ make disciples of all the nations.’ It is to be ‘ without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. ‘It is to ‘ become one flock ‘ with a union between its members admitting of no lower standard than the Unity of the Divine Persons in the Godhead. The external history of the Church is the history of the attempt to realise the first of these three ideals; its internal history tells of the attempt to realise the second and third. The three taken together sum up what is meant by ecclesiastical history – the history of the spread of Christianity and of the development of Christian life and Christian doctrine. Thus a convenient division of the subject is at once suggested. Only the first of these three points is treated in this handbook the progress of the Church in the attempt to become universal, including all that impeded that progress, especially literary attack and civil persecution. The worship and discipline of the Church and the development of its doctrine, though often touched upon, are reserved for treatment in a separate volume.

The present sketch is limited to the Ante-Nicene period, and indeed to only a portion of that. Neither the Apostolic Age nor the history of Arianism falls within its scope. Its limits are, roughly speaking, the second and third centuries, or, more exactly, the period from the death of St. John, about A.D. 100, to the Edict of Toleration published at Milan by Constantine and Licinius A.D. 312 or 313.

It is obvious that in a volume of this size nothing more than a sketch can be attempted; but help will be offered to the student who desires to have fuller information and to examine original sources for himself. A list is given of some of the best and most easily accessible authorities, especially in the English language, together with the chief ancient witnesses from whom the information given by modern writers is ultimately derived. Perhaps in no branch of history is it more important to study original authorities than in the history of Christianity during the second and third centuries. Neither in number nor in bulk are these sources so formidable as in the later periods of Church history; so that the ordinary student may hope to do a good deal in the attempt to make himself acquainted with primary materials. Moreover, nearly all these early writings have been translated; so that even those who are unable to read Latin or Greek are never the less able to obtain fairly accurate knowledge of what these early writers in their own words tell us. This handbook will have failed in one of its objects if it does not lead some of those who use it to check its statements by a comparison with standard works, and above all by an appeal to the original authorities.

As references are almost entirely forbidden by the plan of this series, the compiler of this volume is unable to express in detail his obligations to other writers. They are very numerous to a large number of the works mentioned below, especially to those of Bishop Lightfoot and Dr. Schaff, and to the ‘ Dictionary of Christian Biography ‘ edited by Smith and W ace. An asterisk is prefixed to the name of modern writers whose writings are of special importance.

Click here to continue reading.

Introductions to Tertullian, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr by Johnson Thomaskutty

The following short introductions were originally published on Facebook. In order to make them available to a wider audience Dr Thomaskutty has kindly granted permission for them to be republished on earlychurch.org.uk

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the First Systematic Theologian of the Second Century (Johnson Thomaskutty, Faculty of New Testament, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India)

Tertullian, the Father of Latin Western Theology and an Advocate of “Freedom of Religion” (Johnson Thomaskutty, Faculty of New Testament, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India)

Gerald Bray on the Theology of Tertullian

The following book is now available online in PDF:

Gerald L. Bray, Holiness and the Will of God. Perspectives on the Theology of Tertullian. Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1979. Hbk. ISBN: 0551055936. pp.179.

Contents

Preface
1: Past and Present
2: The Man and his Times
3: The Nature of Holiness
4: The Pattern of Authority
5: The Holy Life
6: Epilogue
Notes [now included as footnotes in each chapter]
List of Tertullian’s Work’s
Bibliography
Index

My thanks to Professor Bray for his kind permission,

Nigel Scotland on Signs and Wonders in the Early Church

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Nigel Scotland, “Signs and Wonders in the Early Catholic Church 90-451 and their Implications for the Twenty-First Century,” European Journal of Theology 10.2 (2001): 155-168.

It is refreshing to find a good academic defense for the continuance of spiritual gifts after the Apostolic Age and this one is probably the best I have read. Given my own experience with Ellel Ministries I found myself agreeing heartily with Dr Scotland’s comments about its founder.

Those wanting to read further on this subject should look out for the following title when it appears: