Shaping Christian lives : faith, knowledge and virtue in the Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers, a disparate collection of Christian writers in the early second century, have long been the poor relations of early Church history. They are often regarded as either a false start between the New Testament and the Apologists, or as the perverters of pure Pauline faith, sometimes as both. After a critical consideration of twentieth century scholarship on these figures, this thesis seeks to redress this imbalance from two perspectives. First, it rebuts the claim that the Apostolic Fathers are out of sympathy with Paul. An examination of the recent debate over Paul’s use of the phrase, TtiaTiq Xpiaxou, reveals the extent to which his understanding of that term is informed by the narrative of Christ, and denotes a transactional relationship between Christ and the community of believers, who in order to be ‘faithful’ need to share in the qualities that marked Christ’s own life. An examination of four of the Apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and the authors of 2 Clement and the Epistle of Barnabas, demonstrates the same determination to defend an understanding of The Apostolic Fathers, a disparate collection of Christian writers in the early niotiq determined by the narrative of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
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Author requested conversion to open access 2 Jan 2024