Patristic Studies


30 hours
TH 104

A. Course description

The course is aim to provide an introduction to the Fathers of the Church, to their lives and their theology. The main themes are as follow: (1) Introduction. Patrology, patristics and early gnosticis literature; (2) the apocryphal Bibles and the canonization of the New Testament; (3) the Apostolic Fathers; (4) Ignatius of  Antioch; (5) the martyrdom; (6) Justin Martyr and the Greek apologetic literature; (7) the nosticism; (8) Irenaeus of Lyon; (9) Alexandria between the 2nd and 3rd century: Clement and Origen; (10) patristic exegesis; (11) Tertulian and Cyprian; (12) Atanasio; (13) the Cappadocian Fathers: Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus; (14) Augustine.

B. Methods and requirements

The course’s methods include class lectures and group presentations and dialogues of various themes and assigned texts. Normally, each class begins with instructor’s lecture and continues with students’ presentations and dialogues. Students are thus expected to prepare personally assigned texts and to take part into the conversation with others in class. Each presentation will be led by a group of students and then includes the participation of the rest of class. Further, other materials and indications will be supplied by the instructor for the students’ further needs.

C. Key texts

  • Drobner, Hubertus R., The Fathers of the Church, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts 2007.
  • Quasten, Johannes, Patrology, 4 Vol., Christian Classics, Inc., Maryland 1986.
  • Akin, Jimmy, The Fathers know best, Catholic Answers, San Diego 2010.

D. Other recommended texts

  • Berardino, Angelo di, Nuovo dizionario patristico e di antichità cristiane, 3 Vol., Marietti, Genova-Milano 2006.
  • Bosio, Guido – Covolo, Enrico dal – Maritano, Mario, Introduzione ai padri della Chiesa, 6 Vol., Società editrice internazionale, Torino 1990.
  • Chadwick, Henry, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition, Oxford University Press, New York 1996.
  • Ferguson, Everett, ed., Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Routledge, New York 1999.
  • Marthaler, Berard L., ed., New Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 Vol., The Catholic University of America, Washington 2003.
  • Schaff, Philip, Fathers of the Church, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885.

E. Course assessment

This course will be assessed as following:

  • Class participation: 10%
  • Group presentations: 20%
  • Oral exam: 70%