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The Apostolic Fathers in English, 3rd Edition

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Baker Academic

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Michael W. 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. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer version but is 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.


Table of Contents: 

First Clement 

Second Clement 

The Letters of Ignatius

            To the Ephesians 

            To the Magnesians 

            To the Trallians

            To the Romans

            To the Philadelphians 

            To the Smyranaeans 

            To Polycarp

The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

The Didache

The Epistle of Barnabas

The Shepherd of Hermas 

The Epistle to Diogentus 

Fragments of Papias  



Michael W. Holmes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel University and the author or editor of several books, including a commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.



"This third edition of a well-known classic features improved layout, revised introductions, improved translations, and expanded bibliographies. In short, it is a splendid teaching tool for university or masters programs in which the Greek text cannot be used. Students will find these intriguing texts accessible and comprehensible."--Carolyn Osiek, professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School

"This newly revised, third edition of translations of the Apostolic Fathers by Michael Holmes offers a marked improvement over previous versions of the widely used Lightfoot/Harmer English-only tradition. In his own masterful style Holmes has reintegrated useful introductions and current bibliographies into the collection, tweaking the translations and advancing the overall feel of the volume. This work will undoubtedly make a worthy contribution to the personal libraries of students and scholars alike in patristic studies. I recommend it highly!"--Clayton N. Jefford, professor of Scripture, Saint Meinrad School of Theology

"After the New Testament itself, churchmen like Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp provide the very earliest writings of Christianity, and so their testimony is of enormous importance. More than church fathers, they are Apostolic Fathers, immediately adjacent to the events that gave rise to our faith. Small wonder, then, that Michael W. Holmes has focused his scholarship on this group, bringing out a third edition with all its enhancements in translation and commentary. Extremely readable and helpfully divided by headers, these texts are a gold mine of evidence on earliest Christian theology, worship, and history, including information on what happened to Peter and Paul at the end of their lives. As such, this material is next to the Bible in importance."--Paul L. Maier, professor of ancient history, Western Michigan University, and author of In the Fullness of Time

"Baker and Michael Holmes are to be congratulated on this new edition of Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers. It is a worthy successor to Lightfoot, with new introductions that bring the discussions up to date and enough revision of the translation to make it readable for a large audience. One hopes such a readable and useful one-volume edition will create new interest in this very important aspect of early Christian history."--Gordon D. Fee, professor emeritus of New Testament studies, Regent College

"J. B. Lightfoot was probably the greatest English-language analyst and exegete of earliest Christian texts. His work on the apostolic fathers was among his most important contributions to Christian scholarship. Michael Holmes has put a new generation of students in his debt by editing and revising Lightfoot's English translations, their value enhanced by new introductions, bibliographies, and notes."--James D. G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, University of Durham