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The Apostolic Fathers


The Apostolic Fathers

  • Course ID:GREEK 590
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Tom Cox

Description and Objectives

The earliest Church fathers, many of whose works are anonymous, are collectively known as the Apostolic Fathers. Many of these writers had direct contact with the Apostles and thus give us a unique window into what the early Church looked like as the apostles handed their authority on to the bishops.

In this course, we’ll read about Polycarp’s martyrdom, some of the letter Ignatius sends on his way to death (echoing St. Paul’s missionary work and his death just a couple generations after him), and we’ll look at some of the earliest compilations of belief and practice.


Course Requirements

This course will be built on a weekly quiz based on the material we’ve read that week. Taking good notes ensures you can use them on your quiz. Good notes means helpful syntactic and vocabulary aids, and does not involve writing out a translation. We will also have some memory work that we will work on every Monday and will show up on the Final as well. It will likely be some of the Psalms in Greek since they’re the oldest prayers prayed continuously by the Church for the last three thousand years or so.

Successful Students

Successful students will do a chunk of reading each day. Re-reading will also help in preparation for exams and so that one does not lose the forest for the trees. The overall ideas and arguments (the forest) are what we’re looking for, though this will be built on a foundation of syntactic precision and lexical acumen (the trees).

Additional Resources