Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JBTM 9:2 (Fall 2012) p. 75
Early Christian Thinkers: The Lives and Legacies of Twelve Key Figures. Edited by Paul Foster. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010, xx + 203 pages. Paperback, $23.00.
Paul Foster serves as Senior Lecturer of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology at the University of Edinburgh. The list of his publications on early Christian literature is lengthy and impressive. In this handy volume, Foster brings together twelve leading patristic scholars to briefly introduce and analyze the most prominent pre-Nicene writers (ca. ad 150–330).
Paul Parvis introduces Justin Martyr as an astute philosopher whose Dialogue with Trypho is a lengthy, early example of Christian interpretation of the Old Testament. Parvis shows how Justin creatively used legal procedures to post his extensive defense of Christianity (the Apologies) for elite audiences of Rome.
Paul Foster describes Tatian as Justin’s student from the east. Foster explores the nature of his apology and the language of his Gospel harmony (the Diatessaron). Foster shows how Tatian was later condemned as unorthodox for his alignment with the Encratites.
Denis Minns presents Irenaeus as a theologian with pastoral concern, who spent his life leading the church of Lyons. Against the rise of the Gnostics and other sects, Irenaeus wrote his magnum opus (Adversus Haereses), which Minns explores for Irenaeus’ concept of Scripture, tradition, truth, salvation, history, and Christology.
Rick Rogers introduces Theophilus of Antioch as an author overshadowed by bigger names of the second and third centuries. Rogers restores Theophilus to a place of significance with a careful reading of Jerome, Eusebius, and his Apology To Autolycus.
Judith L. Kovacs presents Clement of Alexandria as a dynamic thinker, biblical philosopher, and all-around polymath. Despite the dearth of biographical details about Clement, his writings evince a voracious reader familiar with a wide array of secular and Christian literature. Kovacs shows how ancients and moderns have spoken of Clement’s intellect and legacy in the highest terms.
Everett Ferguson describes Tertullian of Carthage as the first great Latin theologian. As an adult convert, Tertullian used his classical education to produce dozens of apologetic, doctrinal, and moral writings. Ferguson shows how Tertullian’s thought was influential for generations, even though he had sectarian tendencies and eventually joined the Montanists.
Sara Parvis introduces Perpetua as a young convert and courageous martyr whose innermost thoughts are recorded in her diary. Though influenced by dreams and prophecies, her ...
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