Apostolic Fathers

The Apostolic Fathers (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Hermas, Polycarp, and Papias; and the authors of the epistle of Barnabas, the epistle to Diognetus, 2 Clement, and the Didache) form the literary link between the NT period and later Christian generations. From about 95 to 150 CE a number of epistles and treatises give an important insight into how the tradition was both preserved and developed. On the one hand, there are frequent quotations from the OT (LXX), but the doctrine of the ministry is in process of evolution: while the Didache suggests that sometimes prophets and teachers could preside at the Eucharist, Ignatius emphatically asserts the authority of the bishop. Clement of Rome (about 95 CE) has a definitely Trinitarian concept of God. Polycarp of Smyrna, writing to the Church of Philippi, appears to suggest that parts of the NT (gospels, 1 Peter, Hebrews, and certain of Paul's epistles) were being read aloud in the assemblies. The epistle of Barnabas, written in Alexandria about 125, uses allegory and typology in the interest of Christology. The Shepherd, written in Rome by Hermas about 125, consists of five ‘visions’ and at one time almost qualified for admission to the NT canon: both the Shepherd and the epistle of Barnabas are found in Codex Sinaiticus [[➝ codex]].

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Apostolic fathers — Apostolic Ap os*tol ic, Apostolical Ap os*tol ic*al, a. [L. apostolicus, Gr. ?: cf. F. apostolique.] 1. Pertaining to an apostle, or to the apostles, their times, or their peculiar spirit; as, an apostolical mission; the apostolic age. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Apostolic Fathers — n. 1. a group of early Christian writers of the late first and early second century traditionally believed to have known some of the Apostles 2. the writings attributed to them …   English World dictionary

  • Apostolic Fathers — The Apostolic Fathers are a small collection of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the 1st century and the first half of the 2nd century. These authors are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, but their… …   Wikipedia

  • apostolic fathers —    The apostolic fathers were Christian writers of the first and second century AD who had a personal relationship with the Apostles and so are considered to be reliable teachers of genuine apostolic doctrine. Prominent among these writers were… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • APOSTOLIC FATHERS —    Fathers of the Church who lived the same time as the Apostles: Clemens, Barnabas Polycarp, Ignatius, and Hermas …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Apostolic Fathers — 1. the fathers of the early Christian church whose lives overlapped those of any of the apostles. 2. the collection of works attributed to them. [1820 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • Apostolic Fathers —    See Fathers …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Apostolic Fathers — Ap′ostol′ic Fa′thers n. pl. rel the fathers of the early Christian church …   From formal English to slang

  • Apostolic Fathers — 1. the fathers of the early Christian church whose lives overlapped those of any of the apostles. 2. the collection of works attributed to them. [1820 30] …   Useful english dictionary

  • APOSTOLIC FATHERS —    those CHRISTIAN writers who lived immediately after the time of the APOSTLES, such as CLEMENT OF ROME …   Concise dictionary of Religion

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