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Patristics: Overview

What is Patristics?

  • Branch of theological study
  • Also referred to as patrology
  • Examines earliest Christian writers/theologians, known as the Church Fathers
  • Name derived from the latin and greek words for father: Latin pater and Greek  πατὴρ
  • Focuses on historical aspects of what the Fathers did and theological aspects of what they thought, believed and wrote
  • Period of interest: Apostolic Age (c. AD 100) to either AD 451 (date of the Council of Chalcedon) or to the 8th century and the Second Council of Nicaea (AD787)

Who were the Patristics?

Chronological classification

  • Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANCF):  lived and wrote before the first Council of Nicaea in AD 325

  • Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF): lived and wrote during and after the time of the Nicene Council.

Language classification

  • Greek Fathers

  • Latin Fathers

Key Writers

  • Ambrose of Milan
  • Athanasius of Alexandria
  • Augustine of Hippo
  • Basil of Caesarea
  • Clement of Alexandria
  • Cyprian of Carthage
  • Gregory of Nyssa
  • Ignatius of Antioch
  • Jerome
  • John Chrysostom
  • Justin Martyr
  • Origen
  • Priscillian of Avila
  • The Acts of the Council of Gangra
  • Tertullian

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