A Source Book for Ancient Church History

Joseph Cullen Ayer


Excerpt from A Source Book for Ancient Church History: From the Apostolic Age to the Close of the Conciliar Period

The value of the source-book has long been recognized in the teaching of general history. In ecclesiastical history quite as much use can be made of the same aid in instruction. It is hoped that the present book may supply a want increasingly felt by teachers employing modern methods in teaching ecclesiastical history. It has grown out of classroom work, and is addressed primarily to those who are teaching and studying the history of the Christian Church in universities and seminaries. But it is hoped that it may serve the constantly increasing number interested in the early history of Christianity.

In the arrangement of the selected illustrative material, a chronological analysis and grouping of topics has been followed, according to the lines of treatment employed by K. Muller, F. Loofs, Von Schubert in his edition of Moeller's text-book, and by Hergenrother to some extent. The whole history of ancient Christianity has accordingly been divided into comparatively brief periods and subdivided into chapters and sections. These divisions are connected and introduced by brief analyses and characterizations, with some indications of additional source material available in English.

A bibliography originally prepared for each chapter and section has been omitted. When the practical question arose of either reducing the amount of source material to admit a bibliography, or of making the book too expensive for general use by students, the main purpose of the book determined the only way of avoiding two unsatisfactory solutions of the problem, and the bibliography has been omitted. In this there may be less loss than at first appears.

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