Fathers of the Church

Fathers of the Church, collective name for the Christian writers of early times whose work is considered generally orthodox. A convenient definition includes all such writers up to and including St. Gregory I (St. Gregory the Great) in the West and St. John of Damascus in the East (see patristic literature). There are several conventional groupings of the Fathers of the Church. One of these is the Apostolic Fathers, usually considered to include the authors of the Didache, of the Epistles of Clement, of the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch, and of the Shepherd of Hermas. In an ancient category of honor eight Doctors of the Church are set apart; the Four Doctors of the Greek Church are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Athanasius; the Four Doctors of the Latin Church are St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory the Great. Since the 16th cent., the title Doctor of the Church has also been given by the Roman Catholic Church to later doctrinal writers, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventura, St. Anselm, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, and St. Catherine of Siena.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Christian Fathers
Maurice F. Wiles.
Lippincott, 1966
The Greek Fathers
James Marshall Campbell.
Longmans, Green, 1929
The Patristic Heritage and Modernity
Alfeyev, Hegumen Hilarion.
The Ecumenical Review, Vol. 54, No. 1-2, January-June 2002
Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology
Sachs, John R.
Theological Studies, Vol. 54, No. 4, December 1993
The Idea of Reform: Its Impact on Christian Thought and Action in the Age of the Fathers
Gerhart B. Ladner.
Harvard University Press, 1959
Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century
Bernard McGinn; John Meyendorff; Jean Ledercq.
Crossroad, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Spiritual Message of the Great Fathers"
The Study of Spirituality
Cheslyn Jones; Geoffrey Wainwright; Edward Yarnold.
Oxford University Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: "The Early Fathers" begins on p. 102
Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition: Studies in Justin, Clement, and Origen
Henry Chadwick.
Oxford University Press, 1984
Augustine the Bishop: The Life and Work of a Father of the Church
F. van der Meer; Brian Battershaw; G. R. Lamb.
Sheed & Ward, 1961
The Western Fathers: Being the Lives of Ss. Martin of Tours, Ambrose, Augustine of Hippo, Honoratus of Arles, and Germanus Auxerre
Christopher Dawson; F. R. Hoare.
Sheed and Ward, 1954
Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology: From the Fathers to Feminism
William J. Abraham.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers: Semantic Extension from the Ethnoscience Tradition
David B. Kronenfeld.
Oxford US, 1996
Anselm and the Unbelievers: Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Cur Deus Homo
Asiedu, F. B. A.
Theological Studies, Vol. 62, No. 3, September 2001
Search for more books and articles on the Fathers of the Church