As I’ve poked my way through the 2nd edition of Clayton Jefford’s Reading the Apostolic Fathers: A Student’s Introduction (amazon.com), I’ve compared some things to the 1st edition.
As I said in an earlier post, the major difference in the 2nd edition is the inclusion of a chapter on the Fragments of Papias. This is awesome, and fills a small hole left by the earlier edition.
However, I noticed another change, this one smaller. In the chapter on First Clement, there has been a change in the range of dates given for Clement’s writing. In the 1st edition (ch. 6, p. 98), you’ll see:
Date—AD 81–110 (probably 81–96, reign of the emperor Domitian)
In the 2nd edition, however (ch. 7, p. 103) you’ll see:
Date—AD 65–110 (probably reign of Emperor Domitian, AD 81–96; possibly end of reign of Emperor Nero, AD 54–68)
The text describing the various possibilities of dating hasn’t changed much. My guess is that Jefford has been influenced by Fr. Thomas Herron’s book, Clement and the Early Church of Rome. And, reviewing my copy of that book, I remember the note from its preface that Jefford utilized Herron’s basic argument in a 2006 book on The Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament (amazon.com) (pp 18–19). So it is no surprise that Jefford extends his window for Clement’s authorship. [Note: I interacted with some of Herron’s arguments earlier on this blog.]
This is probably the largest of the slight changes I’ve run across. There are some indicative of a copyedit, perhaps conforming to Baker Academic house style (I noticed a “that” changed to a “which”, or something like that). There were some other phrasing changes, but no other deep changes in content that I noticed.
So, I’ll say it again: If I was teaching an “Introduction to the Apostolic Fathers” class, I would use this book. If you have the first edition, I don’t think you need to run out and get the second edition. But if you’re looking for an introduction to the Apostolic Fathers actually written to an audience that knows little to nothing about the Apostolic Fathers, then Jefford’s book is your best bet.
(Thanks again to Baker Academic for the review copy)