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These are the only three existing ante-Nicene treatises on the Lord’s Prayer, and they became the starting point for many other commentaries. Of the three, however, only the discourse of Cyprian is an address to catechumens. Tertullian’s treatise contains additional material on the conduct of worship and on prayer in the assembly, and Origen’s commentary is a vast work on the whole subject of prayer, as much suited to advanced learners in the school of Christ as to those preparing for baptism.
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Alistair Stewart-Sykes has provided us herein with very readable, accurate, and generally inclusive translations of these three great spiritual classics in a way that should appeal to all readers. What is more, by means of his helpful introductions and notes, he has placed these works in their respective historical/liturgical/theological contexts. This volume merits wide use and readership in several different environments, from general reading to parish education sessions to the university and seminary classroom.
—Maxwell E. Johnson, professor of liturgical studies, University of Notre Dame
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian (c. 160–220 AD), was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy. Tertullian has been called “the father of Latin Christianity” and “the founder of Western theology.
Saint Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are still extant. He was born circa the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop (249) and eventually died a martyr at Carthage.
Origen (c. 182–251) was a Christian scholar and theologian and one of the most distinguished of the fathers of the early Christian Church. He is thought to have been born at Alexandria, and died at Caesarea. His writings are important as the first serious intellectual attempt to describe Christianity.
Alistair Stewart-Sykes is a leading scholar of Christian liturgical origins. The author of numerous books and articles on early Christianity and its liturgy, he had retired from teaching and is a vicar in the Diocese of Salisbury, England.