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The Apostolic Fathers in English epub

by Michael W. Holmes

The Apostolic Fathers in English epub

ISBN: 0801031087

ISBN13: 978-0801031083

Author: Michael W. Holmes

Category: History

Subcategory: World

Language: English

Publisher: Baker Academic; 3 edition (November 1, 2006)

Pages: 336 pages

ePUB book: 1292 kb

FB2 book: 1115 kb

Rating: 4.8

Votes: 528

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Michael W. Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is executive director of the Scholars Initiative at the .

Michael W. Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is executive director of the Scholars Initiative at the Museum of the Bible. He previously served as professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel University. Holmes (P. Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel University

Michael W. Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel University. Paperback: 336 pages. ISBN-10: 9780801031083. Start reading The Apostolic Fathers in English on your Kindle in under a minute.

Michael Holmes has done us a great service by presenting the texts of the . Good collection of the Apostolic Fathers

Michael Holmes has done us a great service by presenting the texts of the Apostolic Fathers with very illuminating introductions, and by providing excellent translations. I found his critical apparatus embedded in the text very useful indeed. Excellent collection of the Apostolic Fathers with both Greek and English texts, as well as introductions to each, and helpful footnotes. Good collection of the Apostolic Fathers.

The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations of Their Writings. by J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer. Pp. xiii + 609. The Text of the Fourth Gospel in the Writings of Origen, vol. 1 (Introduction, Text, and Apparatus). Co-authored with Bart D. Ehrman and Gordon D. Fee. The New Testament in the Greek Fathers 3. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992. x + 499. The Apostolic Fathers. Holmes, a leading text critic and scholar of the Apostolic Fathers, offers a highly readable . The introduction, notes, and bibliographies have been freshly revised as well. The Apostolic Fathers in English, 3rd ed. Holmes, a leading text critic and scholar of the Apostolic Fathers, offers a highly readable translation of the most significant body of proto-orthodox early Christian writings after the New Testament. This authoritative and contemporary translation is in the tradition of the magisterial J. Harmer version but is thoroughly up to date. The introduction, notes, and bibliographies have been freshly revised as well

Michael W. Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the former Chair of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota and has taught at Bethel since 1982. He was previously on the faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary, and has been Visiting Scholar at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. in history) from the University of California at Santa Barbara (1973), an . Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies .

Introductions and bibliographies are generous and up to date. In the textual apparatus, existing notes have been revised and expanded, and well over 200 new notes have been added. Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the former Chair of the Department of Biblical and Theological . in New Testament from TEDS (1976), and the P. from Princeton Seminary (1984)

The Apostolic Fathers is an important collection of writings revered by early Christians but not included in the final canon of the New Testament. Here a leading expert on these texts offers an authoritative contemporary translation, in the tradition of the magisterial Lightfoot version but thoroughly up-to-date. The third edition features numerous changes, including carefully revised translations and a new, more user-friendly design. The introduction, notes, and bibliographies have been freshly revised as well.
"Apostolic Fathers" designates the earliest existing Christian writings outside the New Testament (AD 70-150). The author gives the highest praise to Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889) as "one of the greatest New Testament and patristic scholars England has ever produced. He was a scholar of unrivaled erudition, clarity of insight, and sobriety of judgment. His work on the Apostolic Fathers must be reckoned as his most enduring contribution,...especially his five-volume magnus opus on Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna." So the author's book is "a revised translation" of Lightfoot's work only to make it more contemporary and readable.

FIRST CLEMENT (80-97 A.D.) (not the Clement who was the 3rd bishop of Rome but someone having the same name)
A letter from the Christians in Rome to the Christians in Corinth in an effort to restore peace and order after the younger Corinthian men rose up and took over the leadership from the older men. The author writes, "We see that you have removed certain people, their good conduct notwithstanding, from the ministry that had been held in honor by them blamelessly. The apostles knew there would be strife over the bishop's office. They appointed leaders who, if they should die, approved other men to succeed them, with the consent of the church. They have ministered to the flock of Christ blamelessly, humbly, peaceably, and unselfishly, and have been well-spoken of by all. These we consider to be unjustly removed from their ministry. It will be no small sin for us if we depose from the bishop's office those who have offered the gifts blamelessly and in holiness."

The author points the young Corinthian men to Christ as an example of humility, quoting Isaiah 53, "We saw Him, and He had no attractiveness or beauty; instead, His 'attractiveness' was despised, inferior to that of humans. He was a man of stripes and of toil, knowing how to endure weakness...This is the One who bears our sins and suffers pain for our sake...By His wounds we were healed....Like a sheep He was led to slaughter, and as a lamb before His shearer is dumb, so He does not open His mouth."

SECOND CLEMENT (AD 80-97) (written by an anonymous presbyter)
This is the oldest surviving complete Christian sermon outside the New Testament. Using Isaiah 54:1, it presents a call to repentance, purity, and steadfastness. It also contains the earliest instance of a New Testament passage being quoted as Scripture (Matthew 9:13).

The author carefully distinguishes between faith as a verbal assertion versus faith that evidences itself in obedience. "Let us, therefore, not merely call Him Lord, for this will not save us. For He says, 'Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will be saved, but only the one who does what is right (Matthew 7:21). So then, brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge Him in our actions by loving one another, by not committing adultery or slandering one another or being jealous, but by being self-controlled, compassionate, and kind."

Ignatius was the bishop of Antioch in Syria. Early in the 2nd century, a few weeks before his death, he was arrested and sent to Rome in the custody of ten soldiers to be executed. During this time Ignatius wrote letters to seven churches. He was concerned with (1) false teachers within the church, (2) the unity and structure of the churches, and (3) his own impending death, which he looked forward to with an almost macabre eagerness. He believed that imitating the suffering of Christ made him a true disciple. Also, if a Christian wanted to escape martyrdom, he would have to renounce Christ as his Lord (apostasy). This is why Ignatius did not want to be set free. He believed people would wrongly conclude that he had renounced Christ.

Ignatius tells the Ephesians that he is "only beginning to be a disciple." He exhorts them to continue running "in harmony with the mind of the bishop" and to "be careful not to oppose the bishop." He warns them against false teachers, "mad dogs that bite by stealth. You must be on your guard against them. Such teachers, having polluted themselves, will go to the unquenchable fire, as will also the one who listens to him."

"Let nothing appeal to you apart from Christ, in Whom I carry around these chains (my spiritual pearls!).

"It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians."
"In Jesus Christ love one another always."
"I want to forewarn you not to get snagged on the hooks of worthless opinions but instead to be fully convinced about the birth and the suffering and the resurrection that took place during the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. These things were truly and most assuredly done by Jesus Christ, our hope, from which may none of you ever turn aside."

"Ignatius the Image-bearer to the holy church at Tralles in Asia, dearly loved by God the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God, at peace in flesh and spirit through the suffering of Jesus Christ, who is our hope when we rise to be with Him, which I greet in the fullness of God in the apostolic manner and offer heartiest greetings."

"Be deaf when anyone speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was the son of Mary; who really was born, who both ate and drank; who really was persecuted under Pontius Pilate, who really was crucified and died while those in heaven and earth and under the earth looked on; who really was raised from the dead when His Father raised Him up. In the same way His Father will likewise also raise up in Christ Jesus us who believe in Him."

"Let me be food for the wild beasts, through whom I can reach God. I am God's wheat, and I am being ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, so that I may prove to be pure bread. Fire and cross and battles with wild beasts, mutilation, mangling, wrenching of bones, the hacking of limbs, the crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the devil -- let these come upon me, only let me reach Jesus Christ."

"Do nothing without the bishop. Guard your bodies as the temple of God. Love unity. Flee from divisions. Become imitators of Jesus Christ, just as He is of his Father. The Lord forgives all who repent."

"For I know that Christ was in the flesh even after the resurrection; and when He came to Peter and those with him, He said to them: 'Take hold of Me; handle Me and see that I am not a disembodied demon' (Luke 24:39). And immediately they touched Him and believed. And after His resurrection He ate and drank with them like one who is composed of flesh, although spiritually He was united with the Father."

"Certain people ignorantly deny Christ. Neither the prophecies nor the law of Moses have persuaded them, nor, thus far, the gospel nor our own individual suffering. Anyone who blasphemes my Lord by not confessing that He was clothed with flesh denies Him completely and is clothed in a corpse. They have no concern for love, none for the widow, none for the orphan, none for the oppressed, none for the prisoner or the one released, none for the hungry or thirsty."

"I greet the bishop, so worthy of God, and the godly council of presbyters, and my fellow servants, the deacons, and all of you, in the name of Jesus Christ and in His flesh and blood, His suffering and resurrection (which was both physical and spiritual), in unity with God and with you."

"So approving am I of your godly mind, which is grounded upon an unmovable rock, that my praise exceeds all bounds, inasmuch as I was judged worthy of seeing your blameless face. May it bring me joy in God."

"Bear with all people, even as the Lord bears with you. Devote yourself to unceasing prayers. Ask for greater understanding than you have. Be shrewd as a snake in all circumstances, yet always innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16). Be sober, as God's athlete; the prize is incorruptibility and eternal life."

"Don't let those who teach strange doctrine baffle you. Stand firm, like an anvil being struck with a hammer. It is the mark of a great athlete to be bruised, yet still conquer."

"Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be content with their husbands physically and spiritually. In the same way command my brothers in the name of the Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord loves the church."

"Let your baptism serve as a shield, faith as a helmet, love as a spear, endurance as armor. Be patient and gentle with one another, as God is with you. May I always have joy in you."

"Polycarp (how blessed by God you are!)"

Irenaeus of Lyons and Eusibius of Caesarea both considered Polycarp to be a significant link in the chain of apostolic succession. Polycarp believed that wrong beliefs inevitably produced wrong behaviors. He was deeply involved in the growing threat of persecution by the state, the emerging Gnostic movement and his opposition to Marcion, and the formation of the canon of the New Testament. Polycarp was martyred at the age of eighty-six (ca. 150-166).

"...believing in the one who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave him glory and a throne at his right hand. To him all things in heaven and on earth were subjected, whom every breathing creature serves, who is coming as judge of the living and the dead, for whose blood God will hold responsible those who disobey him. But the one who raised him from the dead will raise us also, if we do his will and follow his commandments and love the things he loved, while avoiding every kind of unrighteousness, greed, love of money, slander and false testimony, not repaying evil for evil or insult for insult or blow for blow or curse for curse, but instead remembering what the Lord said as he taught: 'Do not judge, so that you may not be judged; forgive, and you will be forgiven; show mercy, so that you may be shown mercy; with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.'" (Matthew 7:1,2)

What Polycarp thought of the Apostle Paul
"For neither I nor anyone like me can keep pace with the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul. When he was with you, he accurately and reliably taught the word concerning the truth. And when he was absent he wrote you letters; if you study them carefully, you will be able to build yourselves up in the faith that has been given to you."

"The presbyters...must avoid all anger, partiality, unjust judgment, staying far away from all love of money; they must neither be quick to believe things spoken against anyone nor harsh in judgment, knowing that we are all in debt with respect to sin. Therefore if we ask the Lord to forgive us, then we ourselves ought to forgive, for we are in full view of the eyes of the Lord and God, and we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and each one must action for his own actions."

Reject those who reject Jesus
"For everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is antichrist; and whoever does not acknowledge the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whoever twists the sayings of the Lord to suit his own sinful desires and claims that there is no resurrection nor judgment -- well, that person is the firstborn of Satan."

The letter from the church at Smyrna to the church at Philomelium known as the Martyrdom of Polycarp is the oldest written account of a Christian martyrdom outside the New Testament. The issue at stake was clear: Christians must worship Christ as Lord, not Caesar as lord. Therefore, the state viewed Christians as disloyal atheists who threatened the well-being of the empire. Polycarp exemplified a Christian martyr in that 1) martyrdom is a calling from God, not an individual accomplishment, 2) he was concerned for the salvation of others, and 3) he displayed endurance in the midst of suffering.

"For who could fail to admire their nobility and patient endurance and loyalty to the Master? For even when they were so torn by whips that the internal structure of their flesh is visible as far as the inner veins and arteries, they endured so patiently that even bystanders had pity and wept. But they themselves reached such a level of bravery that not one of them uttered a cry or a groan, thus showing to us all that at the very hour when they were being tortured the martyrs of Christ were absent from the flesh, or rather that the Lord was standing by and conversing with them."

"But as Polycarp entered the stadium, there came a voice from heaven: 'Be strong, Polycarp, and courageous." And no one saw the speaker, but those of our people who were present heard the voice...When the magistrate said, 'Revile Christ,' Polycarp replied, 'For eighty-six years I have been his servant, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?'...
Then having been bound...he looked up to heaven and said, 'O Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, the God of angels and powers and of all creation, and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your presence, I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, so that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit, May I be received among them in your presence today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice...I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly high priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with him and the Holy Spirit, both now and for the ages to come. Amen.'"

"The men in charge of the fire lit it...And we saw a miracle. The fire, taking the shape of an arch, like the sail of a ship filled by the wind, completely surrounded the body of the martyr [without burning it]. When his body was not consumed by fire, an executioner stabbed him with a dagger. When he did this, there came out a dove and a large quantity of blood that extinguished the fire."

"The blessed Polycarp was martyred seven days before the calends of March (Feb 22nd or 23rd), on a great sabbath, about two o'clock in the afternoon. He was arrested by Herod when Philip of Tralles was high priest during the proconsulship of Statius Quadratus, but while Jesus Christ was reigning as King forever."

"Gaius (who lived in the same city as Irenaeus) transcribed this account from the papers of Iranians, a disciple of Polycarp. And I, Socrates, wrote it down in Corinth from the copies of Gaius."

THE DIDACHE (ad 60-70) (The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles)
Although not inspired, the Didache contains a summary of basic instruction about the Christian life to be taught to those preparing for baptism and church membership.

"Now this is the way of life: First, you shall love God, who made you. Second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself; but whatever you do not wish to happen to you, do not do to another. Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies...You must love those who hate you."

"You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; your shall not corrupt children; you shall not be sexually immoral;...you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide. You shall not covet your neighbor's possessions;...you shall not hold a grudge...You shall not hate any one; instead you shall reprove some, and pray for some, and some you shall love more than your own life...Do not be lustful...Do not be foulmouthed."

This letter explains how Christians ought to interpret the Jewish scriptures, and what is the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. The author argues that when the Jews came out of Egypt, God did not ask them for animal sacrifices, but rather, "Let none of you bear a grudge in his heart against his neighbor." God did not ask them to fast, but rather "to break every unjust bond and set free those who are oppressed. Share your bread with the hungry, and if you see someone naked, clothe that person."

The author shows how various Christian themes are foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

The Cross of Christ
During a battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites, the Israelites would prevail when Moses kept his hands stretched out (Exodus 17:8-13). Isaiah 65:2 says, "I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people." For the author, Moses' outstretched arms foreshadow Christ's crucifixion.

The Messiah as Lord
In Psalm 110:1, King David says, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until i make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'" The Messiah is a descendant of David, or a son of David. But David calls Him "Lord" not "son".

The Temple of God
Isaiah 66:1 "Thus says the Lord, 'Heaven is My throne and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house you will you build for me, or what place for Me to rest?'" The temple of God is us. God dwells in those who receive forgiveness of sins and set their hope on Him.

Hermas was a Christian living in Rome. An "angel of repentance" appears to him in the form of a shepherd. Throughout the book Hermas struggles with whether repentance and forgiveness of post-baptismal sin are available. The answer, which seeks to balance God's justice and mercy, is yes, but only for a limited time, so one must repent before the opportunity passes.
A second concern in the book is the behavior of the rich and their relationship to the poor within the church. The Shepherd offers a glimpse of a Christianity whose piety is centered on obeying God and exercising self-control. The Shepherd tells him twelve commandments.
1) Faith in God -- "Believe in God, fear him, and exercise self-control."
2) Sincerity and Innocence -- "Speak evil of no one, and do not enjoy listening to someone who does. You will be responsible for the sin of the one speaking evil if you believe the slander that you have heard...and hold a grudge against your brother or sister."
3) Truth -- "Allow only the truth to come from your mouth, in order that the spirit that God caused to live in this flesh may prove to be true in the sight of all people."
4) Chastity, Marriage, Repentance -- "I command you to guard purity, and let no thought enter your heart about another man's wife or about fornication, for in doing this you commit a great sin. But always keep your mind on your own wife and you will never go wrong."
5) Patience and Anger -- "The Lord lives in patience, but the devil lives in an angry temper...How does an angry temper work? When you see people prospering, anger insinuates itself into your heart because of bitterness over worldly concerns. Anger is first foolishness, then bitterness, then wrath, then anger, then vengefulness. But patience is great and strong, and possesses a mighty power, is joyful, exultant, free from care, glorifying the Lord at all times, having no bitterness, always remaining quiet and gentle...For if you master patience, you will be able to keep the rest of the commandments."
6) The two ways of Righteousness and Unrighteousness -- "Follow the straight and level way, and leave the crooked one alone...The angel of righteousness is sensitive and modest and gentle and tranquil. When he enters your heart, he talks about righteousness, purity, holiness, contentment, every righteous deed, and every glorious virtue...The angel of wickedness is ill-tempered and bitter and senseless, tearing down God's servants...Recognize that he is in you when some angry temperamental outburst or bitterness overcomes you. Then comes the desire for much extravagant food and drink, much drunkenness, unnecessary luxuries, the desire for women, greed, arrogance, and pretentiousness."
7) Fear the Lord -- "Fear the Lord and keep his commandments...If you fear the Lord you will rule over the devil, because he has no power."
8) Self-Control -- "Exercise self-control over evil: adultery, fornication, lawless drunkenness, wicked luxury, the extravagance of wealth, boasting, snobbery, arrogance, lying, slander, hypocrisy, malice, and blasphemy."
9) Double-Mindedness -- "Gain mastery over double-mindedness with faith that is strong and powerful."
10) Cheerfulness and Grief -- "Rid yourself of grief and clothe yourselves with all cheerfulness."
11) True and False Prophets -- "The divine spirit from above is gentle and quiet and humble, and stays away from all evil and futile desires, and considers himself to be poorer than others, and speaks only when God wants him to speak...A n evil spirit exalts himself and wants to have a seat of honor, is arrogant, shameless, talkative, well-acquainted with luxuries, and receives money for prophesying."
12) Evil and Good Desires -- "Rid yourself of all evil desire: the desire for someone else's wife or husband, for the extravagance of wealth, and for many needless things to eat and drink, and foolish luxuries...Practice righteousness and virtue, truth and fear of the Lord, faith and gentleness."

True Fasting
"Keep a fast to God in this way: Commit no evil, and serve the Lord with a clean heart; keep his commandments and do not permit any evil desire to enter your heart, and believe in God. If you do these things, you will complete a fast that is great and acceptable to God."

The Virgins and the Women Dressed in Black
The Virgins are Faith, Self-Control, Power, Patience, Sincerity, Innocence, Purity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Harmony, and Love.
The women dressed in black clothes are Unbelief, Self-indulgence, Disobedience, Deceit, Grief, Evil, Licentiousness, Angry Temper, Falsehood, Foolishness, Slander, and Hatred.

A letter of Christian apologetics addressed to unbelievers, which J.B. Lightfoot called "the noblest of early Christian writings." During the Roman Empire, Christians were considered atheists because they did not believe in the Greek or Roman gods. They were often accused of incest, cannibalism, and infant sacrifice. In the face of such attacks, early Christian apologists argued for a fair hearing from the authorities, to demonstrate their value to the government, and to show that Christianity, by way of its Jewish heritage, actually preceded Greek philosophy.

The Folly of Pagan Idolatry
"Are not all these [idols] made of perishable matter? (Stone, bronze, wood, iron, pottery.) Are they not all deaf and blind, without souls, without feelings, without movement? Do they not all rot? These are the things you call gods. You serve them, you worship them, and you become like them."

The Distinctiveness of Christians
"They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted. They are poor, yet they make many rich. They are dishonored, yet they are glorified in their dishonor. They are slandered, yet they are vindicated. They are cursed, yet they bless. They are insulted, yet they offer respect. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers. When they are punished, they rejoice as though brought to life. By the Jews they are assaulted as foreigners, and by the Greeks they are persecuted, yet those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their hostility."

"No earthly discovery was committed to them. On the contrary, the omnipotent Creator of all, the invisible God himself, established among humans the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word from heaven and fixed it firmly in their hearts by sending them the Designer and Creator of the universe himself! He sent him in gentleness and meekness; he sent him as God; he sent him as human. He sent him as one who saves by persuasion, not compulsion; as one loving, not judging."

God's Son as Revealer and Savior
"He has revealed himself through faith, which is the only means by which one is permitted to see God. So then, having already planned everything in his mind together with his child [Jesus], he permitted us, during the former time [before Jesus came], to be carried away by undisciplined impulses as we desired, led astray by pleasures and lusts, not at all because he took delight in our sins, but because he was patient, in order that we who in the former time were convicted by our own deeds as unworthy of life, now by the goodness of God be made worthy, and, having clearly demonstrated our inability to enter the kingdom of God on our own, might be enabled to do so by God's power.
But when our unrighteousness was fulfilled, and it had been made perfectly clear that its wages -- punishment and death -- were to be expected, then the season arrived during which God had decided to reveal at last his goodness and power (oh, the surpassing kindness and love of God!). He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us. Instead, he was patient and forbearing. In his mercy he took upon himself our sins. He himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal. In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and the ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous person, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners!

"Happiness is not a matter of lording it over one's neighbors...But one who takes up a neighbor's burden, one who provides to those in need things one has received from God. When you realize what is the true life in heaven, when you fear the real death, which is reserved for those who will be condemned to the eternal fire that will punish to the very end those delivered to it."

The Author
"Having been a disciple of apostles...I try to minister in a worthy manner the teachings that have been handed down."

Irenaeus reports that Papias knew ("was a hearer of") the apostle John. He was a bishop of Hierapolis. Papias reminds us that 1) the written Gospels represent only a fraction of the written sayings and life of Jesus were in circulation during the last half of the 1st century and the first half of the 2nd century, 2) oral traditions continued to circulate even after the Gospels were written, and 3) oral tradition was often more valued than written materials during a time when memory was more relied upon than it is today."

The Gospel Writer, Mark
"Mark, having become Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately everything he remembered, though not in order, of the things said or done by Christ. For he [Mark] neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward followed Peter, who adapted his teachings as needed."

The Defeat of Satan
"He fell to earth...and led humankind astray into many evils...Then their battle extended into heaven, to Christ himself. Yet Christ came [to earth]; and the law, which was impossible for anyone else, he fulfilled in his body, according to the apostle. He defeated sin and condemned Satan, and through his death he spread abroad his righteousness over all. As this occurred, the victory of Michael and his legions, the guardians of humankind, became complete, and the dragon would resist no more, because the death of Christ exposed him to ridicule and threw him to the earth -- concerning which Christ said, 'I saw Satan fallen from heaven like a lightening bolt.'" (Revelation 12:7-9; Luke 10:18)
I would recommend Apostolic Fathers in English to anyone wanting to learn the roots of our Christian Faith, from the earliest century of Christianity. The introductory material is a little excessive, but the access to early letters and sermons from men who knew and were trained by the Apostles of Christ is a real treasure. Many of these same men had also experienced contact with Christ Himself, and were also eye-witnesses to His life, teachings, miracles, death and Resurrection, adding their accounts to the record of the Apostles themselves. I have just begun to read, sequentially, through the Fathers actual writings, and enjoy the sense of contact with the first Christians I find there. I didn't need to have my faith validated, but these letters and sermons do validate my faith all the same.

I would suggest to any reader to use the Table of Contents and go directly to "the horse's mouth" reading just the actual writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Leave all the introductory material until last so that any undue influence may be avoided in the reader's response to the Fathers' writing. The reader will come away feeling a sense of having touched the past, and found a link to the present. It's a challenging and comforting read.
If you don't have time to read 8600 pages of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, reading this work is very helpful to understand the position of the earliest of the fathers, the apostolic ones, the ones who sat at the feet of the apostles.
This book was required for my church history class. This was the first time that I read primary sources. Holman has done a great job of explaining the history of the writers before presenting their primary writings.
Having made extensive use of his Greek/English 2nd edition, this 3rd edition translation of the Apostolic Fathers is a great resource for pastors or interested laypeople. The translations are lucid, clear, and contemporary (without being at all "trendy"); newly expanded footnotes and biblographies for each work make full use of the most recent scholarship. The scripture-reference footnotes for Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians are particularly dense, given that Holmes makes full use of Berding's and Hartog's studies on Polycarp's use of the NT.

If you have more academic interests, the 2nd edition Greek/English is still a very good translation and has a host of technical footnotes not included in this edition. If you just want to read the Apostolic Fathers in clear English, this is the one for you.
Good collection which is really necessary to supplement the New Testament. The New Testament does not fully recapture all the activity and beliefs of the first century Church.
Everyone should be aware of these works as an insight to what early Christians thought about their faith. This work is a more recent translation that makes the thoughts of early believers available to the average reader and should be read by every student of Christianity.
This is a helpful reference book to find information about most of the Apostolic Fathers. Their writings are translated into easy-to-read English.. I bought the Kindle edition.