Reading the Church Fathers discussion

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General > Recommendations for our first read of 2018

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message 1: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

While we're enjoying the holiday seasons, it's time to look ahead to 2018, and select our first group read of the new year.


message 2: by Luke (new)

Luke J. Wilson (mrlewk) | 70 comments Have you read Athanasius' "life of Anthony" before? If not, that makes for an interesting read!


message 3: by Janice (new)

Janice (jpski) The Journals of Jim Elliott.

Anything by Towzer or Spurgeon

Screwtape Letters or Mere Christianity by C S Lewis



Will there be discussion?


message 4: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments HI Janice,

Welcome to the group! I see that this is your first time commenting on Goodreads. :)

As it is written in the Description section of the group page, this group specializes in reading the writings of the church fathers in the first seven centuries. So while the books you recommend are all worthy reads, they fall out of the scope of this group. However, if enough members are interested, we might make an exception to the rule.

And yes, there will be discussions for the group reads, as we've done for all the groups reads in 2017.


message 5: by Fariba (new)

Fariba (fariba33) Luke J. wrote: "Have you read Athanasius' "life of Anthony" before? If not, that makes for an interesting read!"

I second that suggestion. I've read it before, and it's my favorite saints life. I would love to reread it with you all in 2018 (I would like to participate again in this group).


message 6: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments During the most recent discussion of possible readings, Nemo suggested:

Origen: Commentary on the Gospel of John
OR
Tertullian: Against Praxeas, in which he defends the Doctrine of the Trinity.

Those still/again seem good suggestions.


message 7: by MaryAnn (new)

MaryAnn Diorio (drmaryann) | 1 comments Origen's Commentary on John


message 8: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I am planning to read "on the trinity" by Augustine in the near future. It would be nice to do that together with this group, but maybe that book is too long for a group discussion?


message 9: by A (new)

A | 225 comments Nemo wrote: "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

While we're enjoying the holiday seasons, it's time to look ahead to 2018, and select our first group read of the new year."


Just stopping by to say I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and enjoy your group reading.


message 10: by Nemo (last edited Dec 27, 2017 02:23PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Ruth wrote: "I am planning to read "on the trinity" by Augustine in the near future. It would be nice to do that together with this group, but maybe that book is too long for a group discussion?"

No book is too long for a group discussion. :) I enjoyed Augustine's treatise On the Trinity very much. However, as a group read, it might be better to read a shorter book on the same subject first, as a sort of introduction.


message 11: by Nemo (last edited Dec 27, 2017 02:32PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Aaron wrote: "Just stopping by to say I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and enjoy your group reading. ..."

Hi Aaron,

At the beginning of the year, you said you planned to review one of Karen L. King's books on Gnosticism. Did you get around to that?


message 12: by A (last edited Dec 27, 2017 03:19PM) (new)

A | 225 comments Nemo wrote: "Aaron wrote: "Just stopping by to say I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and enjoy your group reading. ..."

Hi Aaron,

At the beginning of the year, you said you planned to review one of Karen ..."


Ahhh! That I did... in fact I said this yet again just last week :) I'll tell you what, I will re open it this Sunday. I used to think I needed to keep my current reading list to 5 books, but I don't think there's a rule that says one can't be reading 1000 at once!


message 13: by A (new)

A | 225 comments *actually it was The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, she does appear to have one called "What is Gnosticism" too though, still I accept it has Gnostic flavor.


message 14: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Aaron wrote: " I used to think I needed to keep my current reading list to 5 books, but I don't think there's a rule that says one can't be reading 1000 at once! "
Haha, I used to have such a rule too! Only one book at a time. Now I am also just reading whatever crosses my path. However, I am beginning to see that there is a benefit to *some* limits, namely if you ever want to finish a book..


message 15: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Nemo wrote: "However, as a group read, it might be better to read a shorter book on the same subject first, as a sort of introduction. "

Well, then this book mentioned by Clark might be an option?

Tertullian: Against Praxeas, in which he defends the Doctrine of the Trinity.


message 16: by Clark (last edited Dec 28, 2017 06:11AM) (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Ruth said: "Haha, I used to have such a rule too! Only one book at a time. Now I am also just reading whatever crosses my path.

For many years I would have an impulse to read a book I encountered but I would say to myself that I didn't have time to read it all or to read it well and I would not read any of it. As I moved closer to my warranty running out (three score and ten years, or whatever) I decided to read willy-nilly. Then, as a trivial follow-on, I created new Goodreads shelves such as "started and then stopped" and "to resume reading." The Goodreads shelves and public progress reporting do sometimes help me continue reading something I have started.

At the other end of the continuum I have shelves "to-reread" and "did-reread." (I am wondering why I put hyphens in the shelf names. Oh, well.)


message 17: by A (new)

A | 225 comments Haha it's funny how our perceived ideas about how we should take information affect our reading habits. I think it's all a natural phase some of us must go through. I was / am like both of you, I think my limits change as my freedom to read does. My reviewing habits are a whole 'nother story!


message 18: by Nemo (last edited Dec 28, 2017 12:00PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments I’m interested in reading Philo, who is said to have influenced Church Fathers such as Athenagoras, Clement, Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Isidore of Pelusium and Augustine.

One member, Erick, recommended it for group read a while back.


message 19: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Nemo said, "I’m interested in reading Philo, who is said to have influenced Church Fathers such as Athenagoras, Clement, Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Isidore of Pelusium and Augustine."

Philo is a neat idea. We would have to select a work to read. Based on my extremely limited knowledge I would pick The Life of Moses, because I think it influenced Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Moses.


message 20: by Jessie (Saffity) (new)

Jessie (Saffity) (saffity) I'm very new to not only this group, but also to the early Christian authors, so I don't have a suggestion, but very much look forward to learning with you guys this year.

I am taking an open learning course through iTunesU called Medieval Theology taught by Dr. Douglas Kelly so I'm hoping that I will have a better grip on the major players during that time and can suggest books in the future.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!


message 21: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Jesse said, "I am taking an open learning course through iTunesU called Medieval Theology taught by Dr. Douglas Kelly

Welcome, Jesse! If you want you can post a self-intro over here.

I looked at the web page of that course. The only direct overlap I see between that course and the set of works we read in this group are Augustine, (Pseudo) Dionysius the Areopagite, and Boethius.

I am the local cranky Orthodox guy so I will cheerfully say that that course ought to be called "Medieval Western Theology," since it covers Christian theology only as it was done in Western Europe and ignores Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy.

By and large the Christian Fathers as specified in this group's description are common to East and West. The thinkers in that course's description except for the three I mentioned are Western.


message 22: by A (new)

A | 225 comments Jessie (Saffity) wrote: "I am taking an open learning course through iTunesU called Medieval Theology"

I had wondered about those course in my iTunes, if anyone took them.

Clark wrote: "I am the local cranky Orthodox guy so I will cheerfully say that that course ought to be called "Medieval Western Theology," since it covers Christian theology only as it was done in Western Europe and ignores Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy."

Preach!


message 23: by Talea (new)

Talea | 5 comments I'm very new to the writings of the early Church, so I don't have much of an opinion on it. I joined so that I could deepen my faith by understanding my roots. I like knowing why and on what authority before I give consent, especially in matters of faith. Now that I've got a little more free time (had a family) after my conversion in 2000 I want to resume my education in matters of my faith.

(I've never been a "because I said so" or "because that's just how we do it" kinda gal and the Catholic Church has been the only Christian Church I've found that has never fallen back on that when I ask for reasons why, and on what authority, and yes, I contributed to the grey hair on my poor RCIA teachers heads. ;) )


message 24: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Clark wrote: "..I am the local cranky Orthodox guy .."

Thank you for being the resident cranky Orthodoxy guy of the group!

I think cranky people are really needed because they can say and do things the others don't have the guts or wits to say. :)

I've always wondered why Eastern Orthodoxy is not as populous and influential as Catholicism or Protestantism. Just to give some anecdotal evidence, over the years I've been approached by people from many different denominations, Protestants, JWs, Mormons and Catholics, in their proselytizing missions. But, I never met an Eastern Orthodox evangelist, not one.


message 25: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Talea said, "I joined so that I could deepen my faith by understanding my roots."

Welcome, Talea! If you feel like it, post a self-introduction here.

As part of my welcome I will give you a personal opinion, which may not be interesting or useful but here it is. I think this group can help you understand one side of your faith's roots -- the explicit, intellect side: apologetics, theology, etc. But this is only one facet of the ancient church and to my mind it is not the most important facet. YMMV ("your mileage may vary").


message 26: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Talea said, "I contributed to the grey hair on my poor RCIA teachers heads. ;)"

The Orthodox Church in America was kind enough or foolish enough to give me a certificate denoting me a catechist. But my hair was already thoroughly grey before they did that.


message 27: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments The poll is up. Please vote for the book you want to read. If you like more than one books, you're welcome to indicate them in the comment section.

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...


message 28: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments John Angerer wrote in the poll comment: "Oh, an I know the poll isn’t over yet, but the Philo book seems out of print, can you give instructions (again, I’m sure) to the database where we can download the book?"

Philo’s books are available online here:
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ph...


message 29: by Clark (last edited Jan 04, 2018 03:24PM) (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments John Angerer said in a poll comment, "... can you give instructions ... to the database where we can download the book?"

Nemo gave a link to the web site "Early Jewish Writings." One might consider buying the CD there to support the overall site. Yes, I bought it, long ago.

I looked for Kindle editions of Philo's works and quickly found three. There is one for $1 and one for $2. They are both of the Yonge translation. In my quick inspection of them I didn't see differences between them. The other one, for $3, has a name in addition to Yonge's. Perhaps it is a slightly revised edition. I don't know. Anyhow there are inexpensive Kindle editions available.

(If you read a Kindle edition then you can download from the Amazon site your highlights and notes from your reading. Ask me if you want help doing that.)


message 30: by Nemo (last edited Jan 05, 2018 09:24AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments It’s funny how publishers can get a ”New Updated” edition from somebody (Yonge) who has been dead for 126 years.


message 31: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Two days left before the poll ends. Get your votes in!


message 32: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Nemo said, "It’s funny how publishers can get a ”New Updated” edition from somebody (Yonge) who has been dead for 126 years."

In Chicago we have a long-standing tradition of dead people voting.


message 33: by Nemo (last edited Jan 05, 2018 09:00PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Clark wrote: "In Chicago we have a long-standing tradition of dead people voting."

Tradition is the democracy of the dead, eh?

I also have a new appreciation for the phrase “being dead still speaks”.


message 34: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments Nemo said, "Tradition is the democracy of the dead, eh?"

Nice phrase, that. Chesterton is one of my favorites.

But in Chicago the dead tend to vote for the latest progressive causes rather than for tradition.


message 35: by Clark (last edited Jan 06, 2018 06:17AM) (new)

Clark Wilson | 586 comments I spent time yesterday tracking down free online copies of the Loeb Classical Library edition of Philo. The Loeb classics have the original and a translation on facing pages, the Greek or Latin text on the left, the English translation on the right. The relevant volume of Philo can be read online or downloaded from here.


message 36: by Nemo (last edited Jan 06, 2018 08:34AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Clark wrote: "I spent time yesterday tracking down free online copies of the Loeb Classical Library edition of Philo..."

Thank you! I did a similar search but didn’t find it. I was able to download the files after a couple of timeouts.


message 37: by Nemo (last edited Jan 07, 2018 10:43AM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1503 comments Philo won the poll.

I've set up a new discussion folder and posted "Reading Text and Schedule" here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...


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