Read the Fathers, a reading group to study patristics

lmullen's picture

I'm getting together a reading group to study the church fathers, using the texts available on CCEL. Here is the idea:

By reading seven pages a day for seven years, you can study a vast library of theology, history, liturgy, apologetics, biblical commentary, and devotion written in the first seven centuries of the Christian church. We provide a schedule of readings, the texts in English translation, and—most important—a community to discuss what you're learning. Laypeople, clergy, seminarians, students, and Christians of all denominations will benefit from joining our community to read the church fathers.

The site is available here:

We get started at the beginning of Advent, on December 2. I thought people at CCEL might be interested in joining in. If you're interested, let me know. Perhaps there will be enough interest to start a CCEL reading group.

lmullen's picture

Read the Fathers

Thanks for the note, Tom.

I understand that seven years is a big commitment. I think a lot of people will join in when they can, drop out when they can't, and come back to the reading another time. There's no obligation, of course.

In answer to your other question, you might have missed this part of our FAQ:

Do you have a theological or ecclesiological bias?

Of course we do; we wouldn’t be interested (or interesting) if we didn’t. Suffice it to say that the first two organizers are Protestants (but not the kind of Protestants who usually read patristics). But we’re not promoting anything here beyond the reading of the fathers. The fathers of the church are the common heritage of all Christians, even those who deny that heritage.

To flesh that out a bit, we envision this group as being distributed rather than centralized. Perhaps two or three people from one church will be reading together, and in a different place two or three seminarians will be reading together. If in one group is Catholic and the other is Presbyterian, they will of course read the fathers by their own lights. Our purpose is to provide people a schedule, background information, and a way to find people to read with.