Reading the Church Fathers discussion

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General > Recommendations for our 2nd group read

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message 1: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments While we're still enjoying the discussion of Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1, it is time to look ahead and select our 2nd group read.


message 2: by A (new)

A | 225 comments I've already committed myself to the Nicene and Post-Nicene so I should be good for the next two year haha :)


message 3: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments That's good to hear. :)

Ideally, the group would select a book by or about Church Fathers that many are interested in reading and discussing. Failing that, there is always a fallback option, since I've already made a calendar of readings from the Ante-Nicene Fathers for the entire year of 2017.


message 4: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Aguilar | 5 comments How about "The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church" by Jimmy Aiken. I admit I am already reading it ;-)


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan Or I read, "When the Church Was Young: Voices From the Early Fathers" by D'Ambrosio/Marcellino. I thought it was very good. However both this and the Jimmy Akin book may come from too much of a 'Catholic' background for the whole group.
I think this is the book that prompted me to buy "Life of St. Anthony of Egypt" by Athanasius of Alexandria, but I haven't read it yet.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan Susan wrote: "Or I read, "When the Church Was Young: Voices From the Early Fathers" by D'Ambrosio/Marcellino. I thought it was very good. However both this and the Jimmy Akin book may come from too much of a 'Ca..."

Nope! I think it was "The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church" by Bennett, that prompted me to buy the St. Anthony of Egypt book, sorry.


message 7: by Erick (new)

Erick (panoramicromantic) A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot is a great quick resource and a great companion book for the Ante-Nicene volumes. I often recommend it.


message 8: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 317 comments Our reading schedule is already fairly rigorous, so I am happy just trying to keep up with it.


message 9: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Erick wrote: "A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot is a great quick resource and a great companion book for the Ante-Nicene volumes. I often recommend it."

Thanks for the recommendation, Erick. I've added it to the group bookshelf.


message 10: by Nemo (last edited Jan 26, 2017 08:59AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Kerstin wrote: "Our reading schedule is already fairly rigorous, so I am happy just trying to keep up with it."

14 pages a day is not exactly "rigorous", but it is definitely not light reading, especially if you're juggling multiple reading projects. :)

Are you saying you're happy to continue reading the Ante-Nicene Father series?


message 11: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 317 comments Nemo wrote: "Kerstin wrote: "Our reading schedule is already fairly rigorous, so I am happy just trying to keep up with it."

14 pages a day is not exactly "rigorous", but it is definitely not light reading, es..."


You have a point, the word is a bit strong :)
I am not a fast reader to begin with, so I imagine it takes me longer to get the daily segment done than most.

And yes, I'd be happy just continuing the series for now.


message 12: by A (new)

A | 225 comments I'm not a fast reader either Kerstin, and my progress depends on my mood or I'm reading, but not absorbing.

I will say Goodreads has helped me get more into reading things I've wanted to either start or finish for a lone time and at the same time assist in over committing myself which I've already dialed back on some.

I think we'll have a lot to discuss as is after all this group is called "Reading the Church Fathers". I'm sure new members will be just as curious in time. This group is a great place for discussion alone.

And while I may not always be active in the group (I've asked Nemo to keep me in) as duties pull me away from the keyboard as they will be bound to eventually, I have no plans to leave the site or the discussion forever.


message 13: by Genni (last edited Jan 26, 2017 11:46AM) (new)

Genni | 124 comments For what it's worth, I am in the same boat with Kerstin.


message 14: by Erick (new)

Erick (panoramicromantic) Nemo wrote: "Thanks for the recommendation, Erick. I've added it to the group bookshelf.."

Most welcome.


message 15: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Genni wrote: "For what it's worth, I am in the same boat with Kerstin."

Which boat is that? :)


message 16: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments :-) I read slowly. I think and process even more slowly. I am also in Aaron's boat. Lol I am interested in so many things I tend to start too many books at once and all of my reading suffers for it. Anyway, I am pretty full just reading what I can of the Ante-Nicene Fathers right now.


message 17: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 12 comments I relate to the description gave by Gianni.


message 18: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 12 comments Genni, sorry...


message 19: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Aaron, Genni and Marcus, you are content to just continue reading the ANF series. Do I understand you correctly?

I was going to collect recommendations in this thread, set up a poll this weekend and see which book wins the most votes. But, realistically, people who don't provide feedback here aren't going to join the group read either, even if they do vote. A show of hands here should suffice.


message 20: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 317 comments Genni wrote: ":-) I read slowly. I think and process even more slowly. I am also in Aaron's boat. Lol I am interested in so many things I tend to start too many books at once and all of my reading suffers for it..."

LOL! we must be kindred spirits here :) Interested in so many things and there is only so much time to devote to them.


message 21: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 12 comments That's it Nemo!


message 22: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 317 comments Aaron wrote: "I'm not a fast reader either Kerstin, and my progress depends on my mood or I'm reading, but not absorbing.

I am not so sure I need to absorb all the variants of early Gnostic heresies as Irenaeus so meticulously describes them. Some of that stuff I skimmed over. It suffices its all absurd. ... I wonder what Monty Python would have made of these...


message 23: by A (new)

A | 225 comments I haven't got there yet, I think I've got a 100 year old copy of "The Lost Books of the Bible and The Forgotten Books of Eden" if I'm up for some entertainment. And I was passed a copy of the Aquarian Gospel I haven't read, even so it seems the Ante-Nicene is only the beginning of a long journey with the Fathers and the Church for that matter.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan I agree with Kerstin. This is hard for me to get through/stay interested in. Possibly just because I don't know enough of all the mythology or whatever they are referring to, but also because it has convincingly, to me, been discounted.


message 25: by A (last edited Jan 26, 2017 06:46PM) (new)

A | 225 comments That's kinda my thing the history/mythology, I would be farther along, but I've stopped to checkout the citations which I'm greatly appreciative of. But for now I'm just going to stick with the plan of 15 pages a day keeping a notepad of things I find along the way that I want to return to once I'm all the way through the challenge.


message 26: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Marcus wrote: "Genni, sorry..."

It's ok. :-)


message 27: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Nemo wrote: "Aaron, Genni and Marcus, you are content to just continue reading the ANF series. Do I understand you correctly?

I was going to collect recommendations in this thread, set up a poll this weekend a..."


That's correct, Nemo. I don't think I handle another group read right now. :-)


message 28: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Kerstin wrote: "Genni wrote: ":-) I read slowly. I think and process even more slowly. I am also in Aaron's boat. Lol I am interested in so many things I tend to start too many books at once and all of my reading ..."

Yes, exactly!


message 29: by Genni (last edited Jan 26, 2017 06:52PM) (new)

Genni | 124 comments Kerstin wrote: "Aaron wrote: "I'm not a fast reader either Kerstin, and my progress depends on my mood or I'm reading, but not absorbing.

I am not so sure I need to absorb all the variants of early Gnostic heres..."


Lol! To be completely honest, the only things I have found really interesting in Irenaeus were the things he mentions that have absolutely nothing to do with Gnosticism. :o Like Jesus being 50 when he died??! I think he is an important historical witness, though. So for that, I am glad to have read him....


message 30: by A (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:02PM) (new)

A | 225 comments Haha I'm learning a method to my maddness now, part of it was just being new to the site in general (kinda like a kid in candy land). I'm planning to incorporate audiobooks to lighten my load a little, plus there's some really great narrator's out there.

Any how I'll keep poking and stirring in the discussions, but I feel like I will be in a much better position to discuss / debate once I've completed the Ante-Nicene.

Also is anyone able to update their progress on group read? I'm confused, I need to create shelf and set a date? Just so it shows up here? I'll figure it out or not.


message 31: by Nemo (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:59PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Re: Irenaeus

I've enjoyed reading him for three reasons:

1. His sense of humour. I never thought I would laugh out loud reading something titled "Against Heresies", but I did, many times already.

2. His fairness. He didn't dismiss the Gnostics offhand, but studied their doctrines as closely as he could, and understood them enough to give a detailed critique. I think he did this not to show them up, but out of genuine concern for their well-being.

3. The first two books read like a mystery novel, First come the problems and difficulties, giving the reader time and opportunity to solve the problem on their own, Then come the solution, affording the reader the pleasure and satisfaction of discovery.


message 32: by Erick (new)

Erick (panoramicromantic) Kerstin wrote: "I am not so sure I need to absorb all the variants of early Gnostic heresies. It suffices its all absurd."

Not all of the gnostics were equal in that regard. Valentinus for a time was considered to be an orthodox Christian. It was only after his death that he was anathematized. That was one of the reasons the Valentinians were especially pernicious to the early church because they did have so much in common. I admit as well that some of the early Valentinian writings are interesting. It seems that they became more and more absurd over time; early on their differences with the church were more subtle.


message 33: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Nemo wrote: "Re: Irenaeus

I've enjoyed reading him for three reasons:

1. His sense of humour. I never thought I would laugh out loud reading something titled "Against Heresies", but I did, many times already...."


I agree, Nemo. His humor struck me from the beginning, as well as his humility in tackling this subject. It is not his fault that his subject matter is, well, ridiculous. :-)


message 34: by Nemo (last edited Jan 26, 2017 08:38PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Many people today believe in some form of Gnosticism, imo.

I was listening to a debate on the historicity of the resurrection the other day. One of the debater, a best-selling author, argued that Jesus didn't physically rise from the dead, but there is "eternal" significance to the believers' experience of his "resurrection". I have no idea how he could make sense of his own arguments....


message 35: by A (last edited Jan 26, 2017 09:16PM) (new)

A | 225 comments I was looking for a short cut to the other scene you asked for Nemo so I didn't have to dig up my DVD and transcribe :) ..but as we are on the topic of humor I found this one instead:

The name of the rose - Did Christ laugh
https://youtu.be/jUUB96c6EpY


message 36: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments I stand reproved, Nemo. I will quit making light of the subject.


message 37: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Aaron wrote: "I was looking for a short cut to the other scene you asked for Nemo so I didn't have to dig up my DVD and transcribe :) ..but as we are on the topic of humor I found this one instead:

The name of ..."


I didn't mean to cause you such trouble, Aaron. Many movie transcripts are available on line. When I need to transcribe a scene, I just google "transcript" and the name of the movie. Could you find that scene in here somewhere?

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_sc...


message 38: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Genni wrote: "I stand reproved, Nemo. I will quit making light of the subject."

No, it was not meant as a reproof of anyone. :) I was just thinking about what Irenaeus reminded me of, and why he took the subject so seriously, and yet with humour. :)


message 39: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Aaron wrote: "I was looking for a short cut to the other scene you asked for Nemo so I didn't have to dig up my DVD and transcribe :) ..but as we are on the topic of humor I found this one instead:

The name of ..."


LOL! Thanks for the video, Aaron.

There is too much of the suave 007 in that Franciscan monk, however. :)


message 40: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments I see. It is hard to tell on the internet sometimes.


message 41: by A (new)

A | 225 comments Haha very true! Especially compared to the rest of them! I was hoping you caught that line of his about saints employing humor to ridicule the enemies of the faith :) perfect timing of this discussion.

Genni wrote: "I stand reproved, Nemo. I will quit making light of the subject."

Nemo doesn't strike me as the type who walks around threatening anyone with a Shillelagh ;)

By the way Neems thanks for that link! That will save some time no doubt!


message 42: by Nemo (last edited Jan 26, 2017 10:11PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Aaron wrote: "Nemo doesn't strike me as the type who walks around threatening anyone with a Shillelagh ;)"

Because I didn't know what a Shillelagh was, until now.

Anyway, I just remembered that the Rule of Benedict did forbid laughter:
The tenth degree of humility is that he be not ready and quick to laugh, for it is written, “The fool lifts up his voice in laughter.”

So you might say that scene is historically accurate.


message 43: by A (new)

A | 225 comments I think it's a tempered approach to life, much like they say about "moderation". My Bible (the one I have rated in my shelves) and now I forget where in the OT this is, but states what would life be like without beer? It states elsewhere not to be a drunken fool in so many words.

Sigh, can't find the scene now I've got to go looking for these statements too!


message 44: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Nemo wrote: "Aaron wrote: "Nemo doesn't strike me as the type who walks around threatening anyone with a Shillelagh ;)"

Because I didn't know what a Shillelagh was, until now.

Anyway, I just remembered that t..."


Aaron's right. You're not. :-) It was past my bedtime, I think. lol


message 45: by A (last edited Jan 27, 2017 02:11PM) (new)

A | 225 comments Hah it's usually always past mine... let's hope I am for the sake of our tender knuckles :) ..recounting some of the cruelties I've heard my older generation tell of their time in Catholic school back in the day.

They've come along way!


message 46: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments OK. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, here is a recap of what has been discussed WRT the group read:

According to the schedule, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1, will finish on Feb. 7, and so I asked for recommendations for our next group read. Now that we have a taste of the early Church Fathers, do we want to continue reading the ANF series in order, or do we want to be more selective as a group and only discuss books that interest us?

From the feedback given so far, I get the sense that some of us find Irenaeus hard to get into, and that many are having a hard time keeping to the schedule, given their multiple reading projects. I'm having a hard time myself, and I'm reading only one book at the moment, speaking of slow reader.

It's very natural that we react differently to different authors and subjects, and we relate to some better than others. I expect the same would happen with the writings of other Church Fathers that we'll read down the road.

Being a sort of a completist, I'm personally committed to the ANF series, and learning different perspectives from other people is what makes group discussion a very valuable experience for me. However, let's face it, there is no point doing a group read, if most members don't find the book or the discussion engaging. So I want to give people another opportunity to vote:

If you're content to read Anti-Nicene Fathers vol.2:Fathers of the Second Century, say, "Yes to ANF2"; If not, say "No to ANF2" and recommend a different book. We still have time to go to the polls.


message 47: by A (new)

A | 225 comments Yes I've changed my initial goal of 1 book to 10 (for this round). After that I'm read for the following 10 volumes.


message 48: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 12 comments YES to ANF2.


message 49: by Genni (new)

Genni | 124 comments Nemo wrote: "OK. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, here is a recap of what has been discussed WRT the group read:

According to the schedule, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1, will finish on Feb. 7, and ..."


Sorry, Nemo, I just want to confirm: If the group decides they want to read something else, are you still going to keep the AN Fathers as a simultaneous reading plan?


message 50: by Nemo (last edited Jan 27, 2017 06:53PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Genni wrote: "Nemo wrote: "OK. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, here is a recap of what has been discussed WRT the group read:

According to the schedule, Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1, will finish on..."


Good question. I thought about doing parallel group reads, but the group just vetoed it. So there will be only one group read at a time.

If a book not in the ANF series wins the poll, the person who first recommends it will be responsible for organizing the discussions, unless someone else volunteers for the task.


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