Too often pastoral care is uninformed by historical practice and is overly influenced by psychological theory and practice, according to Andrew Purves. At least one consequence of this is that it is often disaffiliated from the church's theological heritage. Purves examines Christian writers from the past who represent the classical tradition in pastoral theology--classical in the sense that they and their texts have shaped the minds and practices of pastors in enduring ways. He reflects on texts from Gregory Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, Martin Bucer, and Richard Baxter. He includes a brief biography of each author, introduces the major themes in the writer's theology, and discusses the issues arising for pastoral work.