Early Christian Literature

Was flipping through the Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature published in 2004. The volume is supposed to focus on c.100 - c.400.


What caught my attention is its 4-page "Chronological table of early Christian literature" which features "key writers, works and events" each with a column. The list starts wtih Philo of Alexandria (fl. c. 30-45) and ends with Jacob of Sarug (451-521), covering altogether 62 authors/works (authors with works mentioned counted once only). As I scanned down the list, the more important authors are listed both as "authors" and their important "works" are also listed (11 of them):


1. Origen (1+4) [note: (1+4) means listed in "writers" column and 4 "works" listed in the middle column]

2. Augustine of Hippo (1+3) 

3. Justin Martyr (1+2)

3. Eusebius of Caesarea (1+2)

3. Athanasius (1+2)

3. Basil the great (1+2)

3. Gregory of Nyssa (1+2)

3. Theodoret (1+2)

9. Gregory of Nazianzus (1+1)

9. Theodoret (1+1)

11. Palladius (0+2)


When the numbers of works listed are the same, I order by dates given. So for the period, primacy of Origen and Augustine are highlighted, and in the next tier, we have Justin Martyr, the pioneer in the 2nd century, Eusebius and Theodoret the Church historians, Athanasius who formulated the formula of Trinity, and 2 of the 3 Cappadocians.


In my selection of the Western list of 54 works, the 3 works included in this period for Christian literature are (beside the Bible) Origen, Augustine, and Eusebius. Eusebius is included because of its importance in starting a new paradigm in historiography. And because of the importance of the doctrine of Trinity, the work selected for Augustine is On Trinity - which, however, was not included as one of the 3 key works in the Chronological Table (On Christian doctrine, Confessions, City of God).

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