This is my last post (at least in this series) on the Apostolic Fathers.  But together with my class, we have come up with a list of thumbnail descriptions to help us remember the various writings of the Apostolic Fathers.  Here is our list (in the order we read these writings):


Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians:  Helpful instruction about living a righteous life from perhaps the most important church leader of the early second century.

Martyrdom of Polycarp:  Polycarp’s  martyrdom described as “in accord with the pattern of the gospel of Christ” that we might imitate Christ like Polycarp did in his martyrdom.

Fragments of Polycarp:  Additional fragments of Polycarp as remembered by Irenaeus.[1]

Fragments of Papias:  Preferred the oral tradition; some dispute whether he thought there was one John (the Apostle) or two (John the Apostle and John the Elder).

Letters of Ignatius:  Wrote seven letters to churches on his way to be martyred in Rome.  Wanted everyone to obey the bishop unquestioningly.

1 Clement:  A letter from the church in Rome to the church in Corinth with warnings for a youthful faction that was challenging Corinth’s leadership.  Extensive use of the Old Testament.

Shepherd of Hermas:  Lots of visions and angelic visits.

The Didache:  Early church manual—very practical.

(So-called) Epistle of Barnabas:  Allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament.

2 Clement:  Early Christian sermon about repentance and self-control.

To Diognetus:  A defense of the Christian faith (apology) to an unbeliever named Diognetus.

[1] You will not find these fragments in any printed version of the Apostolic Fathers.  But they can be accessed in Charles E. Hill, From the Lost Teaching of Polycarp (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 37-71.