This is the companion to the first book in the series, Forty Days with the Fathers: A Daily Reading Plan. The first book originally took form on my blog as a daily post throughout the period of Lent in 2017 (hence the 40 days), and aims to give you a glimpse into the minds of that great cloud of witnesses that have come before us through short commentary of the early church texts.
This book follows the same forty day pattern and chapter breaks so you can read it alongside the first book, or as a stand-alone reading plan with no additional commentary, as it features the source texts in full as translated and edited by Philip Schaff et al. All the original footnotes are included as well as few of my own where certain things required clarification for 21st century readers. The more learned readers here may notice that I have chosen to only include the shorter Ignatian epistles in this collection—this is because I am convinced by the arguments for their genuineness over the longer letters which are thought to be interpolations.
The reading plan follows a collection of twenty-three early texts in full from the first four centuries. As an additional bit of information, at the beginning of each text I have given a preface which gives a Who, What, Why and When so you can read a short summary about the historical context, purpose for it being written, and the approximate date of each ancient text as well. At the end of each chapter, there is a notes section so you can jot down any thoughts you had during your reading, and at the very end of the book are some useful appendices containing historical data and maps to help bring more visual context the New Testament and Early Church texts.
Each daily reading will vary in length of time to read, and by day 40, you will have read the writings of ten different Church Fathers from the Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene period:
Didache, Diognetus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan, and Leo the Great.
I hope that you will enjoy this journey through part of the first 400 years of Church History from some of the more prominent Early Church leaders, Bishops and martyrs; and feel as challenged and enlightened about the Faith as I did after I read these ancient witnesses for the first time.
This has been an excerpt from the introduction to my recent book.
You can read more from the Early Church Fathers in my new book, 40 Days with the Fathers: Companion Texts, which is available now on Amazon.
Enjoying this? Consider contributing regular gifts for this content on Patreon.
* Patreon is a way to join your favorite creator's community and pay them for making the stuff you love. You can simply pay a few pounds per month or per post that a creator makes, and in return receive some perks!