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Ante-Nicene Leaders & Literature

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1 Ante-Nicene Leaders & Literature

2 Apostolic Fathers

3 Apostolic Fathers “Apostolic Father”: One who had come into contact with apostles Characteristics of their writings: Devotional and edificatory Some were considered inspired Informal: letters, stories, allegories Reflect a Hebraic way of thought Septuagint is primary scriptural authority Church is healthy and relatively free of corruption

4 Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
No connection to the 12 Apostles Originated in current document Manual of moral instruction and church order Opens with discourse on “Two Ways,” which functioned as catechesis Sections on baptism, fasting and prayer, the “Eucharist,” and apostles and prophets

5 1 Clement 1 Clement – Epistle to the Corinthians written by Clement, 3rd bishop of Written to correct dissensions; used illustrations from OT and the martyrdoms of Peter & Paul; pleaded for unity and discipline In 170, 1 Clement was read in Corinthian churches alongside Scriptures

6 2 Clement Incorrectly attributed to Clement; not an epistle
Homily – earliest extant Christian sermon Probably originated in Corinth and attached to 1 Clement in transcription Discusses Christian’s moral combat

7 Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-107)
Theophóros “bearer of God” Theóphoros “borne by God” Matt. 18:2-4

8 Ignatius of Antioch Other speculation suggests that he was a pagan persecutor of Christians before he was converted He was the 2nd bishop of Antioch

9 Ignatius of Antioch Ignatius was arrested in Antioch under Trajan’s policy (possibly betrayed, possibly volunteered) He was transported to Rome for execution En route, he wrote seven letters: five to churches in Asia Minor; one to Rome; and one to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna These letters were highly esteemed and widely quoted in the early church He probably died in the colosseum in Rome

10 Ignatius of Antioch Discussed church organization in Antioch at turn of the second century Stressed obedience to the bishop, who was safeguard of Christian unity against heretics, especially Judaizers and Docetics “Do nothing without the bishop” – baptism, Eucharist, marriage Early sacramentalism in baptism & Eucharist

11 Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 70-156)
According to Irenaeus, Polycarp may have studied under John the Apostle He was a link between the apostolic age and the 2nd-century apologists Epistle to Philippians – probably two letters Chapters 13-14: cover letter with collection of Ignatian letters (c. 110) Chapters 1-12: written 20 years later to denounce Marcion (c. 130) Composed almost entirely of direct and indirect references to Scripture

12 Epistle of Barnabas Pseudonymous letter; probably originated in Alexandria Hostile to Judaism Insists that Christians, not Jews, are the true people of God Also includes discourse about the “Two Ways”

13 Shepherd of Hermas Apocalypse with series of revelations given to the author, first by old woman, second by an angel disguised as shepherd Also religious allegory Purpose: to preach repentance; to teach that a Christian who commits serious sin after baptism has only one chance to be restored through penitence Hermas was brother of Pius, bishop of Rome c

14 Papias (c ) According to Irenaeus, Papias was a companion of Polycarp and John (Apostle or Elder) He wrote “Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord” Only quotations in Irenaeus & Eusebius survive Papias: Mark became interpreter of Peter and set down everything he remembered of the words and actions of the Lord Matthew composed “the oracles” in Hebrew, and everyone translated them as best he could

15 Second Century Apologists & Polemicists

16 Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) Born to pagan parents in Samaria
Searched through philosophies – Stoicism, Aristotelianism, Platonism – before becoming a Christian Established school in Rome Foremost apologist of his day: Apology 1 & 2; Dialogue with Trypho Addressed his apologetic writings to emperor & senate

17 Justin Martyr 1st Apology: refutes accusations raised against Christians; presents and justifies Christianity; describes worship, baptism, Eucharist 2nd Apology: shorter postscript to first Dialogue with Trypho: records Justin’s two-day conversation with a learned Jew; sole example of an apology directed at Jews to present Jesus as fulfillment of Law

18 Justin Martyr First Christian thinker to seek reconciliation between faith & reason Claimed that traces of truth were found in pagan philosophies, although only Christianity contained the truly rational creed Utilized Greek concept of Logos to bridge the gap: the reason why Logos became incarnate was to teach humanity truth and to redeem humans from Satan’s power

19 Tatian Student of Justin Martyr, Apologist
Address to the Greeks denounced Greek philosophy; praised primitive roots of Christianity Diatessaron: compilation of four Gospels After Justin’s martyrdom, Tatian returned to Syria and founded a Gnostic sect, the Encratites, who were extremely ascetic

20 Athenagoras (2nd century)
Philosopher & apologist of Athens Supplication for the Christians: rebuts charges of atheism, orgies, & incest On the Resurrection First to elaborate a philosophical defense of doctrine of Trinity

21 Irenaeus (c ) Native of Smyrna; sat under Polycarp (apostolic link: John-Polycarp-Irenaeus) Moved to Gaul; became bishop of Lyons c. 178 Against Heresies (180) attacked Gnosticism and formulated foundational principles of Christian theology Proof of the Preaching Apostolic summarizes Christian beliefs & doctrines

22 Irenaeus Emphasized God’s purpose to draw humanity into unity with him through divinization (sanctification) God progressively unfolded his purpose from Old Testament to Incarnation Recapitulation: Jesus redeemed humanity by assuming each stage of life, including old age (Jesus died at age 50) Irenaeus was first great theologian; “Father of Church Dogmatics”

23 Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
Born to pagan parents in Athens; converted as young man; sought Christian teacher; settled at Alexandrian Catechetical School under Pantaenus; became instructor in 190 Persecution under Septimius Severus forced him to flee in 202; wandered the eastern Mediterranean area; died c. 215

24 Clement of Alexandria Exhortation to the Greeks (Protrepticus): intended to convert the reader The Instructor (Paedagogus): taught the Christian way of life The Miscellanies (Stromata): a collection of diverse materials describing the ideal of a complete Christian, perfect in all spiritual knowledge (gnosis)

25 Clement of Alexandria Interpreted Scripture allegorically; taught that maturity comes with understanding parabolic sense His extreme allegorizing led to highly abstract “elitist theology” Synthesized Christian thought and Greek philosophy Justin synthesized to call pagans to Christianity; Clement, to show Christians truth in philosophy Paved the way for the church to accept the relationship of faith and reason

26 Origen (c. 185-254) Born to Christian parents in Alexandria
Father Leonidas was Christian teacher, martyred during reign of Septimius Severus Studied under Clement and, when Clement fled, took his place at age 18 He literally interpreted Matt. 19:12 Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, excommunicated Origen, and he settled in Caesarea He died during the Decian persecution, 254

27 Origen He advocated a triple interpretation of Scripture:
Literal – dealt with the earthly, carnal, Jewish sense Moral – dealt with religious matters of life Allegorical – related to heavenly life and the world to come

28 Origen Prolific writer of up to 2,000 works; only a fraction survive
Hexapla: six versions of OT in parallel First Principles: first systematic theology Against Celsus: apologetic work Discourse with Heraclides: defense of Trinity Exhortation to Martyrdom & On Prayer Commentaries & Homilies

29 Hippolytus (c ) The most important Roman writer of the 3rd century Condemned Callistus, bishop of Rome , over doctrine & discipline; became rival bishop (first anti-pope) Continued to attack bishops Urban (222-30) & Pontianus (230-5) Reconciled to Pontianus after both were exiled to Sardinia together Died in exile 235

30 Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies: An important source of information about Gnosticism & Montanism Apostolic Traditions: An important source of information about liturgical practices of early church

31 Tertullian (c ) Raised a pagan in Carthage; well-educated in law, literature, and rhetoric Converted c. 195 in Rome; became first Latin theologian, apologist, and polemicist “Father of Latin Theology” Later became adherent of Montanism, a reforming sect, known for rigorism

32 Tertullian Over 30 treatises survive
Apologetics: To the Nations; Apology; To Scapula Polemics: Prescription of the Heretics; Against Praxeus; Against Marcion Catholic works: On Baptism; On Prayer; On Patience; On Penitence Montanists works: On Modesty; On Fasting; On Monogamy; On Flight from Persecution

33 Tertullian Formulated two concepts fundamental to Christian doctrine:
Trinitarian formula – “one substance, three persons” Christological formula – “one person, two natures”

34 Cyprian (d. 258) Pagan rhetorician in Carthage; converted c. 246; two years later, elected bishop Fled Decian persecution (249); continued to lead the church from exile After return, he dealt with question of the lapsed and the related issue of rebaptism raised by Novatianist schism Died as martyr under Valerian’s persecution, 258

35 Ante-Nicene Leaders & Literature

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