Whether you have been reading along from the beginning or have just recently joined (or re-joined) us, we hope you are excited to enter the second year with Read the Fathers. By reading seven pages a day, we are steadily moving through the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, which we will finish this year. Year Three will commence with the Nicene Fathers in Advent, 2014.
This past year we have read from some of the most significant figures in early Christianity, including Irenaeus, Tertullian, and the Alexandrians, Clement and Origen. This year, with the exception of the highly influential Cyprian of Carthage, we will be reading from lesser known figures, many of whom our readers will no doubt be encountering for the first time.
Not only will we be meeting some new writers, we will also be encountering a much greater variety of writing. To this point we have read mostly apologetic works that have focused (sometimes in great detail) on the same heresies, such as Valentinian Gnosticism, or striven to counter the same types of anti-Christian slander. This year we will be continually jumping from epistles, to sermons and liturgy, to systematic theologies, and to the earliest known harmonies of the gospels.
As always, we invite both casual and disciplined readers to join us at any time. There is, of course, value to reading through the fathers from the beginning, gaining a sense of how patristic teaching develops and how later writers built on the foundations laid by earlier ones. But one need not read from the beginning to start deriving the benefits of learning from other Christians who confessed their faith to a world by ways similar to and disturbingly different from our own.
If you would like to share your experiences of reading through the fathers this past year—whether devotional, academic, or passingly curious—we would love to hear from you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.