Church Fathers - good books?


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Yorkshire, UK
The Early Church Fathers is one area I really ought to read up more about. The development of the Early Chruch is one that fascinates me, and the Early Church Fathers are obviously key to that process.

In which case, what good commentaries and books are recommended for covering the topic?

I'm preferring a distinctly historical approach - ie, one that shows the real warts involved, rather than seeks to gloss over serious issues for the sake of Christian Harmony.

If you;d like an example of what I mean by that then think in terms of Eusebius of Caeserea, and the claimed misrepresentations in his Ecclesiastical History.

I want to read criticisms of figures in the Early Chruch in terms of their historical reliability - and also details of what they actually wrote about (for example, I saw an interesting reference to Papias apparently commenting on the head of Judas Iscariot swelling up to the size of a carriage track).

Any suggestions from anyone?
The Early Church. From the beginnings to 461 -- Prof. W.H.C. Frend (there are other books by the same author on the early Church).

A New Eusibius -- edited by Stephenson & Frend

I heard Professor Frend speak once, and, in my opinion, he is one of the most authorative figures on the Early Church, although not the easiest of people to listen to -- he thinks everyone else is a professor I think. :)
A nice collection of original sources is at this site.

Two resources for you: Oblio over on the Pizza Parlor is a scholarly active convert to the Orthodox Church in America, and regularly posts apposite quotations from relevant Patristic sources. Lsura on SDMB is a librarian who was recently charged with putting together a collection of Catholic apologetics, and probably has a good resource collection as a result.
Yes, thank you for the recommendations. :)

Sorry about that - I was a bit slow there.
The early church we can read in the Gospel of Christ the book of Acts, Paul, John, Jude, James, Peter etc. Don't have to go far to find about the early church. The church of today is far removed from the early church with funny bibles, (NIV, NASV, ESL etc) that pervert the Gospel of Christ with 3000 words plus missing.
and according to our finds at Nag Hamadi/dead sea scrolls... lots of words added..

jesus at the well, cast the first stone....all of Johns first was the word...

what are these 3,000 words and which "version" of the bible is your "version"?
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the most accurate, best accounts out there, recorded by Jesus' own followers during the days he was upon the Earth, and hidden for a time when we might truly benefit from them ... although this time has not yet come.

It was predicted by Jesus himself in the early 20th Century that when they would be found, a few decades later, they would fail to impress the savants and experts - most of whom cannot even understand the simplicity yet the profundity of the Gospel Message. The prophecy was correct.

Origen is worth reading, as he is one of the few from the days of early Christianity who really got it right. Pay special attention to what the Catholic Church does not like about him. This is the part, some of it, which can set the record straight ...
Origen is worth reading, as he is one of the few from the days of early Christianity who really got it right. Pay special attention to what the Catholic Church does not like about him. This is the part, some of it, which can set the record straight ...
Well he really nearly got it right, but then it's no matter because he was utterly orthodox, and no-one is infallible. The 'revision' of his Platonism by Maximus the Confessor shows someone who really, really got it right.

Geddes Mcgregor, who claimed Origen preached reincarnation, really got it wrong, as anyone who's read Origen will know.

As a general point, Origen was 're-instated' decades ago, he's counted among the Church Fathers, after all ...
In The Letters of Helena Roerich, Vol. I, there are several short passages on Origen which are telling ... for those with eyes to see, and ears to hear:
Apollonius of Tyana was called to visit the Brotherhood, but He, in his incarnation as Origen, accepted the most difficult task of guarding the purity of the Teaching of Christ, and for this He suffered imprisonment instead of dwelling in the Abode of the Brotherhood and participating in the joyous work there. (LHR I, pp 202-203)

As the great Origen said, "Our mind alone is unable to comprehend God Himself, but can intuit Him as the Father of all beings from the beauty of his creations and the splendor of Nature.
And Origen continues: "Therefore, we cannot consider God as being a particular incarnation, or as incarnate at all. God is Uncompounded Spiritual Nature, excluding all complexes. He is intelligence, and at the same time the source and origin of all intelligence in Nature and Creation. God, Who is the origin of everything, should not be considered complex; as otherwise it might appear as though the elements that have created everything considered complex existed before their very origin." (LHR I, pp 306-307)

I strongly recommend that you read the works of the great Origen, that brilliant expounder of the true Teaching of Christ. (LHR I, p 385)
The significance of the first excerpt is only clear to those who already understand the Nazarene Adept to have been `Thrice Greatest Joshua' ... the appearance of this Soul as Apollonius being a familiar teaching, the part about Origen being something I have only seen here. It may be the insight of H. Roerich, it may be information shared with her by an Initiate or by her own Teacher. Or it may simply be something she has learned along the way from other sources. If so, I'd like to know which sources ...

... but the other excerpts are poignant, as the second one clarifies some of the things Origen taught and believed in - and some he did not.

When Origen speaks of Intelligence as a Principle, for example, he is referring to what is called in Sanskrit, `MANAS, or Mind - whence we arrive at the term `Man' - the term we use today for our Human Family as a whole, as a Kingdom in Nature.

Found in the individual this is the Manasic principle, yet in Cosmos and at large the term used is MAHAT, which appears in the Egyptian as Ma'at (also spelled māt or mayet) ... given good treatment at Wiki, albeit from a fairly exoteric perspective.

Origen's reference is to the monistic view, of course, and the very notion [is] that we are Sparks of the Divine incarnate ... just as all of Cosmos can be said to be the Incarnation of a Grand, Mighty Deity. Yet, notice the treatment given to this subject in the excerpt, and how Origen directly addresses this question! ;)