Thanks to the fine folks at Baker Academic (Twitter: @BakerAcademic), who sent along a review copy of Clayton N. Jefford’s Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction (Second Edition). You can learn a little more about the book at Baker Academic’s web site. The page lists some endorsements, so it is worth checking out.
As the title notes, this is a second edition. The first edition was published by Hendrickson Publishers in 1995. I examined it over the course of a few posts on this blog (here and here). Here’s the blurb for the 2nd edition from Baker Academic’s web site:
The Apostolic Fathers are critically important texts for studying the first century of Christian history. Here a leading expert on the Apostolic Fathers offers an accessible, up-to-date introduction and companion to these diverse and fascinating materials. This work is easy to use and affordable yet offers a thorough overview for students and others approaching these writings for the first time. It explains the context and significance of each document and points to further reading. This new edition of a well-received text has been updated throughout and includes a new chapter on the fragments of Papias.
I’ve gone on record in the past that if I were able to teach an intro class to the Apostolic Fathers, I’d use Jefford’s book. It targets the reader as one unfamiliar with the material, and does well to hit it.
This is true of the second edition as well. There have been some changes, but nothing too major. The largest (and very welcome) change is the addition of a chapter on the Fragments of Papias. There are some other changes I’ve noticed as well, I will go over those in a future post.
What material does the book cover? Here’s the table of contents, which gives you an idea:
Preface to the Second Edition
For the Reader
Introduction: What Are the Apostolic Fathers?
- The Letter of Barnabas
- The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (The Didache)
- The Letters of Ignatius
- The Fragments of Papias
- The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians
- The Martyrdom of Polycarp
- The First Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (1 Clement)
- The Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (2 Clement)
- The Shepherd of Hermas
- The Letter to Diognetus