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In this classic and highly influential collection, England's Lord Bishop of Durham, J. B. Lightfoot, focuses all scholarly attention on the Apostolic Fathers, while making the texts accessible to a broader audience. The Logos edition will be complete with Lightfoot's edition of the Greek, his English translation, and introductions.
How are the "Apostolic Fathers" different from the "Early Church Fathers?" In brief, the writings known as the Apostolic Fathers include only the texts thought to have been written by people who knew the Apostles or were one degree separated from them.
The Encyclopedia of Christianity explains the origins of the term thus, "The phrase 'Apostolic Fathers' goes back to a 1672 Paris edition prepared by J.-B. Cotelier entitled Ss. Patrum qui temporibus apostolicis floruerunt … opera. This work contained Barnabas, 1 and 2 Clement, the epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Hermas. Although the historicity is debatable, the phrase has secured a place in historical study. It now applies also to Didache, the Epistle to Diognetus, the Quadratus Fragment, and the fragments of Papias."
These early Christian writings shed light not only on theological developments, but on issues of canonicity, lexicography, and ecclesiology. They are cited extensively both in lexicons (e.g., BDAG and TDNT) and commentaries (e.g., NAC and WBC). BDAG, for example, contains nearly 2,500 references to the letters of Ignatius alone! Read more about the value of the Apostolic Fathers for biblical studies.
Dr. Joseph Barber Lightfoot was educated at Cambridge and Oxford, became the Lord Bishop of Durham in the church of England, served as a minister in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and was Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University. He was also one of the original members of the New Testament Company of Bible Revisers. His other commentaries include volumes on Galatians and Philippians.
J. R. Harmer was the Lord Bishop of Rochester and Sometime Chaplain to the Bishop of Durham.