Questions tagged [church-fathers]

Theologians and church leaders of the post-apostolic period up to the 7th century.

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The statements of the early Church Fathers regarding the doctrine of the Trinity (pre-Nicea)

In an article answering Georg Kaplan's 1 denials of the Trinitarian doctrine, Ken Temple states : Even if the early Church had never applied the title θεός to Jesus, his deity would still be apparent ...
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Looking for references from the early Church Fathers on Galatians 3:13

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: [Galatians 3:13, KJV] ...As it relates to a Luther(esque) ...
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How did the early church fathers refute Adoptionism?

Adoptionism is a Christological heresy which denies the pre-existence of Jesus, and therefore denies Jesus's title as "God the Son" in the Trinitarian conception of the Christian God. See the ...
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113 views

Is the dignity of man pertains to his soul only or to the wholeness of his being meaning body & soul?

The Teaching of Tradition that support the Council of Trent interpretation on death penalty cited the reflections or teaching of St.Thomas Aquinas and St.Augustine; "They will never be beasts, but ...
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Were any of the Apostolic Fathers Jews?

A simple question; I am reading the Apostolic Fathers and have noticed how they frequently refer to themselves as 'Gods Chosen' and speak of the Old Testament prophets as 'Our Forefathers'. This ...
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98 views

What was the dominant theory of atonement shown in the Apostolic Fathers's writings?

Most articles I read about the theory of atonement in the early church say that Ransom Theory was the prevailing one, although some disagree. This thinking was promoted by a landmark book on the ...
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197 views

Jewish Festival of Lights and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception?

While I was doing some reading on how Catholics celebrate various feasts and festivals from around the world, I noticed that the city of Lyons, France celebrates the Festival of Lights on December 8th ...
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What do Protestants think about canon laws given by the Church Fathers?

In the seven ecumenical councils, and throughout early Christian history, various Church Fathers gave certain canon laws, or rules that the clergy and laity had to follow. What do Protestants think ...
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What was Paul's “revelation” (mentioned in Galatians 2:2)?

Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I ...
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Do any Church Fathers comment on the merciful Nature of Stoning (Catholicism)?

The Mosaic Law's penal system (among others) includes the severe punishment of death by stoning. To be a little gruesome here: it takes a while to be killed in this way, and so there would ...
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What is the Adventist response to Justin Martyr?

Justin Martyr described Christians worshiping on Sunday twice in his first apology. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place But Sunday is ...
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Do any Church Fathers speak about the similarity between εσωσεν and Ιησους?

The Greek verb for "he saves" is εσωσεν (esosen), and the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name of Jesus (Yeshua, meaning Saviour, but coming from the Hebrew yoshia, meaning "He saves") is Ιησους (...
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St. Augustine and woman sexuality? [closed]

Did Saint Augustine of Hippo say that "inter urinas et faeces nascimur" (we are born between urine and feces). As I understand this fragment implied the inferiority of female sexuality as something ...
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Why is Origen considered a Church Father, but not a saint?

I've heard and read in "Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West" (book by Anthony Grafton, page 222) that Origen was considered a Church Father but not a Saint by either the ...
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What did Clement mean when he said: “Fasting is better than prayer, and charity than both”?

In his second letter to the Corinthians (16:3), the anonymous church father, believed to be Clement of Rome, wrote: "Fasting is better than prayer, and charity than both". What did he mean by that?...
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Did Calvinism borrow its scheme of predestination from Valentinian Gnosticism?

How does the Calvinist notion of predestination differ from that of the Valentinian Gnostics' predestination? There are several sources outlining the Valentinian Gnostic system (anti-heretic "church ...
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Did Early Church Fathers have a Talmud of their own?

The Talmud(s) are compiled of about 2,711 pages. The Mishna, Midrash, and Gemara are many examples of Jewish literature that encompasses every-day life, from halacha (Jewish law) to marriage and ...
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Was Mary’s appearance to St. James the Greater in year 40 AD an apparition or bilocation?

Tradition has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary, sometime before her bodily Assumption into heaven, appeared to the Apostle St. James the Elder while he was living and preaching in Spain. After ...
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105 views

Why did Eusebius quote this passage?

So this is a quick question. We all know Eusebius quoted Testimonium Flavianum in his Church History. About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he ...
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136 views

Do the church fathers ever include quotes of Jesus that aren't from the Bible?

Jesus Seminar believes that Parable of the Empty Jar in Gospel of Thomas is authentic saying of Jesus: The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While ...
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Books on Patristics

What book(s) do you recommend on church history with emphasis on the church fathers? Would prefer something which is not biassed toward a given denomination or church, but an objective overview of the ...
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If Jesus was weak, how could he be a carpenter?

From the Gospels, we know that Jesus was a carpenter. Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?' And they ...
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107 views

Is disagreement over Jesus' physical look a problem? [closed]

I was talking with one Mythicist, and he claims that Church fathers dissagree about Jesus's appearence so much that He was just their invention. On Celsus's claim that Jesus was ugly and small, ...
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Did Athanasius and the Nicene Fathers draw the conclusion that Arius worshipped the Entity called ‘the Devil’?

Did Athanasius and the Nicene Fathers, in their condemnation of Arius, draw the conclusion that the personage which Arius is actually describing (and whom he, presumably, worshipped) is really the one ...
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475 views

What is the earliest mention of how often the Eucharist was celebrated?

There is no explicit mention of how often the Eucharist was celebrated in the Bible. What are the earliest historical documents that make reference to how often the Eucharist was celebrated?
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Did any other early church fathers besides Origen teach the pre-existence of souls?

Origen taught about the pre-existence of our souls, which, among many other of his teachings, was later condemned as heresy. Did any other early church fathers teach this doctrine?
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Biblical basis for claiming Eve was a virgin prior to the Fall

In Against Heresies (book 3, chapter 22) Irenaeus attempts to draw a comparison between Eve and Mary similar to the comparison Paul draws between Adam and Christ. He says that Mary obeyed in a state ...
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Is the Latin Mass, when celebrated not in Full Communion with Rome, not pleasing & acceptable to God?

For brevity, I would clarify my question as relating to the Traditionalist groups who are in full opposition to Pope Francis and to the teachings of Vatican II but would still consider themselves as ...
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Creation order of events: Was there unanimous consent among the Church Fathers?

Is there unanimous consent (as described here and here) among the Fathers of the Church who wrote on the interpretation of Genesis that the order of events of creation actually occurred in the order ...
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What did the early church believe about the “rapture”?

There are a lot of differing opinions on when the rapture will take place (pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation). From my own attempts to research the topic and look at Scripture from ...
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Did Origen castrate himself under a literal interpretation of Matthew 19:12?

I was just reading some history on extreme forms of asceticism and monasticism. In passing the subject of Origen it said he had castrated himself. Is this generally considered true by church ...
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What was the reason and the contents of the title pages “Old Testament” and “New Testament” in the earliest codex (extant or not)?

By dividing the collection of books in the Bible into "Old Testament" and "New Testament", the compiler of the books of the Bible made a strong theological statement that something "old" has passed ...
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Refusing to Baptize Illegitimate Infants

Who started the withholding of baptism from children born out of wedlock in the Catholic Church? Who is responsible for this belief? Was a Church Father, Pope, Priest etc? I now know that Pope ...
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Is it true that no post-apostolic theologians before St. Augustine believed in Eternal Security / Assurance of Salvation?

According to Wikipedia in it's entry of 'perseverance of the saints', eternal security has its roots in Church Father St. Augustine of Hippo. Considering that Augustine lived centuries after the ...
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Did Mary pray to give birth to the Messiah although a virgin according to any Church Father? [duplicate]

I have judged this to be a not-so-impossible theory after some time doing a little investigation into the original intention of, and original Hebrew (or at least non-Greek words) underlying, the angel'...
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Do any of the Church Fathers draw a connection between Eve and the Holy Spirit?

In Wild at Heart, author John Eldredge takes some effort to describe the language used in Genesis 2:18 to refer to Eve. While some translations and commentors translate the hebrew "עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ׃...
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138 views

Sources for baptismal exorcism of infants?

Are there any Christian texts before 600 CE which discuss the exorcism of infants or suggest that due to ancestral sin or for similar reasons infants are under the power of evil spirits? In ancient ...
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536 views

Did any early church fathers, other than Augustine, condemn or write about numerology?

I came across this quote by St.Augustine: “The good Christian should beware of mathematicians. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the ...
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Did Augustine believe in Purgatory?

Purgatory was one of the doctrines the Reformers reacted most strongly against, though many Reformers claimed Augustine of Hippo as being in agreement with their theology. Did Augustine teach a ...
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Protestant rejection of the Catholic implementation of confession

(Pardon the length - my original post was more concise, but wasn't clearly conveying my question.) Background: I am currently studying the Spiritual Disciplines at a Protestant seminary. For those ...
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What is the Christological difference between the early Church fathers and the Arians?

Arius wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia referring to the eternal Word that, '[B]efore He was begotten ... He was not, for He was not without beginning.'1 Where he qualified his argument on the fact that ...
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Did any church fathers after Chrysostom believe that Mary committed sin?

The belief that Mary never committed sin has been around a long time, much longer than the final formulation of the doctrine of her immaculate conception (which happened around the 13th century). ...
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Do any early Church Fathers record the event of the ceasing of spiritual gifts?

A central belief held by an overwhelming majority of Cessationists is that the "supernatural spiritual gifts" (e.g., tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles, etc.) ceased with the end of the apostolic ...
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Are there biblical passages supporting a “quasi-incarnation” attributed to the mystical union of the Holy Spirit and Mary?

The Logos or the Incarnate Word became flesh in what known to be "hypostatic union". Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us having two nature both ...
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What is the origin of the story that the Apostle John taught only “love one another”?

I've heard in a sermon that there is a story about Apostle John's last days, when he was working in Ephesus. The story tells that usually, at the Lord's Supper, John was invited to give a little ...
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Where did St. Jerome say this quote about the manger of the nativity?

I have seen on multiple websites, mostly websites about seeing the Holy Land or otherwise pilgrimage-focused sites, that St. Jerome said: If I could only see that manger in which the Lord lay! Now, ...
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What have old Christian writers opined about a couple living with in-laws during marriage?

I understand a question has been asked and was closed on this topic previously, but I wanted to more specifically ask about Christian writings on it, preferably early ones. Often people today use ...
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When was the word “trinity” first applied to God in Christianity?

The word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "trinity" first used in reference to God? After that first (known) occurrence, what are ...
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Do any church fathers directly connect “speaking in tongues” with anything other than existing human languages?

One of the arguments made by those who believe that the gift of speaking in tongues has ceased (cessationists) is that the "tongues" spoken of in both Acts and 1 Corinthians 12–14 are "real" human ...
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122 views

Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that?

Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that (if it occurred)?