This monumental series places at the disposal of the English reading public a solid introduction to early Christian literature. It is the first work of its kind written originally in English. The first volume appeared in 1950.
Reviewers were unanimous in heaping praise upon the publication and looking upon it as a breakthrough in studying the Fathers of the Church. To arouse interest in the works of the Fathers, the author provides numerous excerpts in English. These are thought of as samples that, by giving readers a taste of the beauty and sublimity of the Patristic writings, may tempt them to take in hand the original and get their own impression of it, or, if that is too much for them, at least to read it in good translation. Only this, if achieved, will put readers close to Patristic literature, because only then do they sense the atmosphere of Christian antiquity and begin to penetrate its world. The author's experiences as a university professor prompted him to adopt this device. The selections are designed to also show the development of theology in the early centuries and to illustrate the approach of the Fathers to the deposit of faith.