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In these firsthand accounts of the early church, the spirit of Pentecost burns with prophetic force through the fog enveloping the modern church. A clear and vibrant faith lives on in these writings, providing a guide for Christians today. Its stark simplicity and revolutionary fervor will stun those lulled by conventional Christianity. The Early Christians is a topically In these firsthand accounts of the early church, the spirit of Pentecost burns with prophetic force through the fog enveloping the modern church. A clear and vibrant faith lives on in these writings, providing a guide for Christians today. Its stark simplicity and revolutionary fervor will stun those lulled by conventional Christianity. The Early Christians is a topically arranged collection of primary sources. It includes extra-biblical sayings of Jesus and excerpts from Origen, Tertullian, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Justin, Irenaeus, Hermas, Ignatius, and others. Equally revealing material from pagan contemporaries critics, detractors, and persecutors is included as well." Part I : The witness of the early church -- Eberhard Arnold -- Part II : The state, society and martyrs -- Pliny -- Polycarp -- Justin -- Letter from Vienne and Lyons -- Acts of martyrs -- Early apologies -- Part III : Self-portraits and portrayals -- Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, First apology -- Aristides, Apology -- Origin, Against Celsus -- Hippolytus, The apostolic tradition -- Letter to Diognetus -- Tertullian, Apology -- Part IV : Creed, confession and Scripture -- Apostolic confession -- Rule of faith -- Irenaeus, Against Heresies -- Athenagoras, A Plea Regarding Christians -- Late Athenagoras, On the Resurrection of the Dead -- Justin, First apology, Dialogue with Trypho -- Muratorian canon -- Part V : Sayings of Jesus and the apostles -- Extra-Biblical sayings of Jesus -- The Didache -- First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians -- Ignatius, Letters to the Ephesians, Romans, Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp -- Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians -- Letter of Barnabas -- Part VI : Meetings, worship and church practices -- Baptism -- The Lord's Supper or love meal -- Distribution of goods -- Leadership and gifts -- Prayers and hymns -- Part VII : Proclamation and the prophetic spirit -- Acts of Andrew -- Justin, Dialogue with Trypho -- Second Letter of Clement -- The Shepherd of Hermas -- Sibylline Oracles -- Montanus


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In these firsthand accounts of the early church, the spirit of Pentecost burns with prophetic force through the fog enveloping the modern church. A clear and vibrant faith lives on in these writings, providing a guide for Christians today. Its stark simplicity and revolutionary fervor will stun those lulled by conventional Christianity. The Early Christians is a topically In these firsthand accounts of the early church, the spirit of Pentecost burns with prophetic force through the fog enveloping the modern church. A clear and vibrant faith lives on in these writings, providing a guide for Christians today. Its stark simplicity and revolutionary fervor will stun those lulled by conventional Christianity. The Early Christians is a topically arranged collection of primary sources. It includes extra-biblical sayings of Jesus and excerpts from Origen, Tertullian, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Justin, Irenaeus, Hermas, Ignatius, and others. Equally revealing material from pagan contemporaries critics, detractors, and persecutors is included as well." Part I : The witness of the early church -- Eberhard Arnold -- Part II : The state, society and martyrs -- Pliny -- Polycarp -- Justin -- Letter from Vienne and Lyons -- Acts of martyrs -- Early apologies -- Part III : Self-portraits and portrayals -- Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, First apology -- Aristides, Apology -- Origin, Against Celsus -- Hippolytus, The apostolic tradition -- Letter to Diognetus -- Tertullian, Apology -- Part IV : Creed, confession and Scripture -- Apostolic confession -- Rule of faith -- Irenaeus, Against Heresies -- Athenagoras, A Plea Regarding Christians -- Late Athenagoras, On the Resurrection of the Dead -- Justin, First apology, Dialogue with Trypho -- Muratorian canon -- Part V : Sayings of Jesus and the apostles -- Extra-Biblical sayings of Jesus -- The Didache -- First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians -- Ignatius, Letters to the Ephesians, Romans, Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp -- Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians -- Letter of Barnabas -- Part VI : Meetings, worship and church practices -- Baptism -- The Lord's Supper or love meal -- Distribution of goods -- Leadership and gifts -- Prayers and hymns -- Part VII : Proclamation and the prophetic spirit -- Acts of Andrew -- Justin, Dialogue with Trypho -- Second Letter of Clement -- The Shepherd of Hermas -- Sibylline Oracles -- Montanus

30 review for The Early Christians: In Their Own Words

  1. 4 out of 5

    J. Ewbank

    I have long wanted to read the early Christian Fathers, but it seemed to be a very daunting task and one that I seemed to easily put off. However, this book allowed me to read many of the writings of the early Fathers without having to read a book or books by each one of them. The many quotations are not just short ones but some are longer in order to capaute the spirit and essence of the writing. I am really happy to have recived this book and to have taken the time to read it. J. Robert Ewbank I have long wanted to read the early Christian Fathers, but it seemed to be a very daunting task and one that I seemed to easily put off. However, this book allowed me to read many of the writings of the early Fathers without having to read a book or books by each one of them. The many quotations are not just short ones but some are longer in order to capaute the spirit and essence of the writing. I am really happy to have recived this book and to have taken the time to read it. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" "To Whom It May Concern" and soon "Tell Me About the United Methodist Church"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Don Hartley

    Absolutely brilliant if you want a view of what the early Christians since apostolic and post apostolic times, believed and taught. These early Christians speak through their own testimony by the writings presented. There are also the testimonies of the enemies of the Christians such as Roman officials. These testimonies are gleaned from letters of correspondence between these officials. Overall a 'goodread'. Absolutely brilliant if you want a view of what the early Christians since apostolic and post apostolic times, believed and taught. These early Christians speak through their own testimony by the writings presented. There are also the testimonies of the enemies of the Christians such as Roman officials. These testimonies are gleaned from letters of correspondence between these officials. Overall a 'goodread'.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becks

    I started this book and got through a good chunk of it. It's one that you can easily pop in and out of. I'd like to finish it someday. It's a compilation of historical accounts and texts from the early Christian church. Powerful. I started this book and got through a good chunk of it. It's one that you can easily pop in and out of. I'd like to finish it someday. It's a compilation of historical accounts and texts from the early Christian church. Powerful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Greg Williams

    This simple book is mostly quotations from early Christian writing (where "early" means within ~200 years of Jesus' death). The author organized these into the following categories: * the witness of the early church in the face of persecution from the government and society * how the early Christians described themselves * what the early Christians believed * extra-biblical sayings of Jesus and the apostles * what the early church's meetings were like * extra-biblical prophecy in the early churc This simple book is mostly quotations from early Christian writing (where "early" means within ~200 years of Jesus' death). The author organized these into the following categories: * the witness of the early church in the face of persecution from the government and society * how the early Christians described themselves * what the early Christians believed * extra-biblical sayings of Jesus and the apostles * what the early church's meetings were like * extra-biblical prophecy in the early church As someone who is fascinated with the Gospels and how Christianity developed in the first years after his death, this book was right up my alley. I really appreciated how the author let these early Christian writings speak for themselves. The first chapter is an introduction from the author and each chapter has additional endnotes to provide additional info about the setting of some of the quotations. But by and large, he lets these early Christians speak without interjecting his own interpretation. I especially liked the chapter that contained sayings of Jesus that are not in the Bible but have been preserved in other writings. I had read some of these works in the past in a translation of the "Apostolic Fathers". When I read those previously, the influence of the Sermon on the Mount on early Christian thought and practice came across powerfully. And it was the same with the quotations in this book. To be honest, I sometimes felt a little ashamed at my lack of devotion to my faith after reading some of these early Christian authors. I think the Christian church today would do well to revisit the practices of the early church in the first hundred years after Christ, not necessarily to do things exactly how they did it, but instead as an inspiration to consider how we can change our practices to be more faithful to the teachings of Jesus. I believe this book is out-of-print, which is unfortunate. However, I was able to buy a used copy in good condition via Amazon. As should be obvious, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in early Christian history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim Gallen

    I have often heard or read references to early Church writings that are not included in the Bible. Gnostic writings come with a caution, Church Fathers taught with authority and holy men and writings that did not “make the cut” have been alluring but seem too remote, too overwhelming, too much work to undertake their study. “The Early Christians In Their Own Words” provides introductions to many of these writers in easily readable selections. This work is divided into six chapters: The Witness of I have often heard or read references to early Church writings that are not included in the Bible. Gnostic writings come with a caution, Church Fathers taught with authority and holy men and writings that did not “make the cut” have been alluring but seem too remote, too overwhelming, too much work to undertake their study. “The Early Christians In Their Own Words” provides introductions to many of these writers in easily readable selections. This work is divided into six chapters: The Witness of the Early Church; The State, Society and Martyrs; Self-Portraits and Portrayals; Creed, Confession and Scripture; Sayings of Jesus and the Apostles; Meeting, Worship and Church Practices; and Proclamation and the Prophetic Spirit. Some entries purport to be historical accounts not recorded in the Bible, either because they occurred later or just were not included, but are interesting none the less, such as the martyrdoms of James and Polycarp. Others teachings of the early Church, condemning “shocking acts, males with males; who defile in every way just the most graceful and beautiful bodies; who drag the glorious handiwork of God’s creation in the dust” and identifying with “we who call those women murderers who take drugs to induce an abortion” are reflected in Church teachings down to this very day. Charges leveled against the early Christians, infanticide, incestuous dinners, godless feasts, indiscriminate intercourse and atheism seem absurd, but are the any more serious than the claims made against twenty-first century Christians? The names of the authors are many of whom we have heard: Clement, Polycarp, Justin, Tertullian and Origen, but their quotes put their reputations into words. The life rules found in the selection from the Didache are good for any Age. Language bearing on contentious theological arguments merits reflection. Justin, seemingly rejecting justification by faith alone tells us “Anyone who is not found living in accordance with his teachings should not be regarded as a Christian even if he confesses to Christ’s teaching with his lips. For he said that only those shall be saved who do not just talk but who also do the corresponding works.” Tertullian wrote “he sends the Holy Spirit…proceeding from the Father”, in accord with Orthodox teaching, but in contradiction to the Catholic Creed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. I have heard it said that Tertullian drifted into heresy. Perhaps this is an example. This tome was assembled by editor Eberhard Arnold in a search for the guiding principles of the early Christians by which he and his followers strive to live. Those who believe that the Church drifted from the original teachings may find confirmation of their beliefs on the pages of this book. I generally found consistency between the words of the early Christians and the faith taught by the Catholic Church today. I value this volume for the introduction it provides to the early Christian writers and it encourages me to overcome my reticence and delve more deeply into the legacy they have left us. I did receive a free copy of this book without an obligation to post a review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    In sections devoted to worship, daily life, creeds, and prophetic sayings, Arnold explores the lives of early Christians from 50AD-180AD. Each writing or saying is numbered and corresponds to notes that immediately follow the section. These notes are meant to give the reader more background information, but sometimes I felt that the notes assumed I knew what they were referring to and didn't make much sense to me. Still, the story of early Christians is fascinating. Two things struck me the most In sections devoted to worship, daily life, creeds, and prophetic sayings, Arnold explores the lives of early Christians from 50AD-180AD. Each writing or saying is numbered and corresponds to notes that immediately follow the section. These notes are meant to give the reader more background information, but sometimes I felt that the notes assumed I knew what they were referring to and didn't make much sense to me. Still, the story of early Christians is fascinating. Two things struck me the most; first, how those first few generations simply sought to live in community like Jesus and his disciples and how this was interpreted as a threat by the Roman government. Several excerpts from court records are included in the first section of the book that are just amazing to read. Second, how kind and just the simplicity of early life seemed and how this simplicity and equality began to fall apart as the church began to organize. Writings that come closer to the official establishment of an organized church become misogynistic and classist. I think this is an enlightening read that should help all Christians reflect on the lives we lead. Do we really represent God in the world as Jesus modeled and those closest to him followed?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keith Beasley-Topliffe

    This is a fairly interesting collection of excerpts (arranged by category) from the writings of early Christians. Justin Martyr and Tertullian show up a lot as do such books as The Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, The Odes of Solomon, and the Sybilline Oracles. Shepherd and Didache are quoted in large blocks and almost entirely. Some martyrdom stories are included. So are some heretical (Montanist, Gnostic) works--I suppose to show the variety of thought in early Christianity. The translations a This is a fairly interesting collection of excerpts (arranged by category) from the writings of early Christians. Justin Martyr and Tertullian show up a lot as do such books as The Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, The Odes of Solomon, and the Sybilline Oracles. Shepherd and Didache are quoted in large blocks and almost entirely. Some martyrdom stories are included. So are some heretical (Montanist, Gnostic) works--I suppose to show the variety of thought in early Christianity. The translations are sometimes idiosyncratic, using "overseer" instead of "bishop" for episcopos or "representative, adminstrating Spirit" for Paraclete. With such variety, reading was sometimes very interesting, sometime a slog.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This book is a collection of writings by Christians of the first two centuries, as well as writings by pagan writers about Christians from the same period. It includes an introduction by Eberhard Arnold, founder of an Anabaptist communal group, and he introduces each section. I found the writings very powerful, and I thought his introductions were insightful. Much of the material was new to me, as many of the very earliest Christian writers survive only in fragments or unpublished works.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Dubuc

    This is an interesting collection of writings from the first two centuries of Christianity. The excerpts are organized topically but might have better been organized by source as well. The editor provides an introduction that ties the subject matter together and extensive notes on most of the entries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ben Fredrick

    Really great and illuminating on the ways early Christians (within 100-200 years of Christ's death) viewed the Scriptures, enacted His teachings, were viewed by authorities and Jews at the time. I learned a lot! Really great and illuminating on the ways early Christians (within 100-200 years of Christ's death) viewed the Scriptures, enacted His teachings, were viewed by authorities and Jews at the time. I learned a lot!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ed Wojniak

    Might have been organized differently so as increase its coherence. Nevertheless, the book offered a good look into the mindsets of the early believers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kingsley Layton

    This book was both very helpful and very resourceful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim McLaughlin

    Meh.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ty

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sameh Maher

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Cox

  17. 5 out of 5

    Naum

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Hopkins

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heath LeBlanc

  21. 4 out of 5

    Slawrenson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

  24. 5 out of 5

    John W. Olsson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hampton

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Hohmeier

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Bailey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven Schallert

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rúben

  30. 5 out of 5

    Denny

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