Early Church Theology Month

Hey everyone, I am making January “early church theology month” and would like some recommendations. Here is what my reading entails thus far:

  • Anthanasius’s On the Incarnation (It has been too long since I’ve read this)
    • Athanasius: The Coherence of His Thought by Khaled Anatolios
  • Basil the Great’s Asketikon and his On the Holy Spirit
  • Augustine’s The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love
    • I hope to get, but probably not yet read, Ayres newest volume on Augustine on the Trinity
  • Irenaeus of Lyons’ On the Apostilic Preaching
  • Cyprian of Carthage’s On the Unity of the Church
  • Cyril of Alexandria’s On the Unity of Christ
  • Gregory of Nazianzus’s On God and Christ
  • I will also be working through the four volumes of the “Sources of Early Christian Thought” series put out in the 80’s by Fortress for some shorter readings.

In terms of more secondary literature, I plan on reading Fairbairn’s Grace and Christology in the Early Church and Rowan William’s book Arius: Heresy and Tradition. Is there anything that is a must read that I should try to cover as well. I have a couple of books floating around that I’ve been meaning to read, but January is only so long! I would love some recommendations.


15 thoughts on “Early Church Theology Month

  1. That is a mighty good list. Maybe you should consider Augustine’s “On Free Choice of the Will.”

    Also, Oliver O’donovan has a great “source book” for Christian Political theology. It goes from the fathers through the early modern period. The early stuff from Irenaeus, Augustine, Lactantius, etc is really interesting. Plus the O’Donovans have introductions to each segment.

    • I’ve actually been meaning to get O’Donovan’s reader, but have never pulled the trigger. I like the idea of getting into some more Augustine, but I am trying to focus a bit more of my time right now on Athanasius. My book buying budget just took a hit because of a conversation I had with James Merrick (classic), so I’ll have to look for Augustine online somewhere. Thanks!

  2. Add On Pastoral Care by Gregory the Great and for secondary sources add, Broken Lights and Mended Lives: Theology in the Early Church by Rowan Greer.

  3. A few secondary sources I have found helpful for the fourth-century are R.P.C. Hanson’s “The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God” and Christiopher Stead “Philosophy in Christian Antiquity.” An interesting book on Augustine that came out recently is Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos, eds. “Orthodox Readings of Augustine.”

    Those Fortress series books are great translations and good reads. I wish I could make some time for more reading these days.

  4. Kyle – Good list! If you want more secondary stuff I recommend the new second edition of Frances Young’s “From Nicaea to Chalcedon.” I’d also echo the vote for Hanson’s book.

    Anatolios’ book on Athanasius is probably the best out there (and offers a rather different take to Hanson). Weinandy’s is also worth looking at.

  5. Ayres’ new volume is good. I have it and am working through it now. Robert Wilken’s The Spirit of Early Christian Thought is also an excellent read. For primary readings, the volumes in the Routledge Early Church Fathers series all have nice selections from primary sources. For example, Brian Daley’s volume in that series on Gregory Nazianzus has a nice translation of some previously untranslated orations, besides the ones included in On God and Christ.

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