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Living Wisely with the Church Fathers

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The first centuries of Christianity are like a far country. But despite their foreignness, they hold a treasury of wisdom for living. Early Christians struggled and flourished in a culture that was in love with empire and military power, infatuated with sex and entertainment, tolerant of all gods but hostile to the One. And from this crucible of discipleship they extracted ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by IVP Academic
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Jacob Aitken
I approached this book with mixed feelings. On one hand, Christopher Hall is an accomplished scholar on the church fathers. On the other hand, it is published by InterVarsityPress. When IVP usually talks about money, war, and sex, it sometimes sounds like Bernie2020. Fortunately, Hall doesn’t do that. Hall introduces us to the wider framework of the spiritual disciplines, except the Fathers never called it that. They called it “askesis,” athletic training for the soul. Evangelicals have long (an ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary: An exploration of what we might learn from the church fathers about lives well lived, touching on everything from martyrdom to entertainment.

We turn to a variety of sources to figure out how to live well, sources ranging from lists on websites, to self-help books, to mentors and "life coaches," to the scriptures. Christopher Hall, in the concluding volume of a four volume series, explores what the early fathers of the church, speaking out of a very different context than ours, can teach
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
My introduction to patristics came through the Desert Fathers. I picked up a book (I can't remember if I read Helen Wadell's or Benedicta Ward's collection first) and discovered there compelling voices from another age. They were ethereal and strange, sometimes legalistic, but always thoughtful. They offered a compelling vision of the spiritual life. Since then I've read more widely the church fathers, exploring the saints of both the Christian East and West. Because their time was so different ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book that I truly enjoyed reading from start to finish!

Here are some excerpts that struck me while reading:

"Consider for instance, the materialism that characterizes North American culture, and compare it to that of the Roman world. Gregory of Nyssa, in his analysis of Roman materialism, links the desire for more and more stuff to the dulling effect of the passions on the human mind and especially on our memory. Too quickly we forget, Gregory believes, that everything begins with
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was on my Lenten Reading List in 2018:

This book is a treasure that I will be returning to on many, many occasions. I've made notes and highlights on almost every page. What a great source of wisdom for the ages!
I've been waiting for this book- the last in Christopher Hall's Church Father's series- for several years, so I was overjoyed when I found out that it was finally out. The project has been going on since the late nineties which is when I picked up the first book- Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers. That book proved extremely influential for me because it started me on an interest in patristics which stays with me over twenty years later.

This volume looks at the practical lessons of the C
Matt Pitts
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found some sections more interesting than others, but on the whole a fascinating and helpful book. Where else can you get so much information about the church fathers in one places without doing years of reading and research?
Melody Schwarting
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hall writes with a special grace about the early church, which shines in this volume on patristic ethics. The chapters on celibacy, marriage, and finding the good life in God are particularly delightful. It's a fount of lived wisdom from faithful people, and if that's not what my whole vocation is about, I don't know what I'm doing. ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading about the Church Father's views on a variety of everyday issues from wealth and poverty to entertainment. There were many times I felt certain sentences were speaking directly to me. I highly recommend this book. ...more
Stefan Äng
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to patristic thought on key ethical issues.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Useful in training and teaching, and even just a tiny bit encouraging.
Anthony Rodriguez
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
A helpful introduction to listening to the wisdom of the early Church.
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Christopher A. Hall (PhD, Drew University) is chancellor of Eastern University and dean of Palmer Theological Seminary in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, and has authored a number of books. He is an editor at large for Christianity Today and associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series.

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