The Nature and Scope of Patristics

Ken Parry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Patristic literature covers a wide range of genres, including not only theology, spirituality, and apologetics, but also philosophy, ecclesiology, hagiography, homiletics, liturgics, epistolography, hymnography, and poetry. Generally speaking, patristic literature is retrospective in orientation; that is, it takes its inspiration from the past. In the age before printing, the writings of the Fathers were known largely through florilegia and collections consisting of thematic excerpts. Nowadays, the Fathers are benefiting from the digital age, giving us easier access to their writings than previous generations; but whether we are better equipped to understand them is another question. In the case of patristic authors, it may not be what we find as individuals that matters, but what we share with others from earlier generations who also admired them. The reassessment of asceticism has seen a renewed interest in the writings and spirituality of the desert Fathers and Mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics
EditorsKen Parry
Place of PublicationChichester, UK
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781118438671
ISBN (Print)9781118438718, 9781119517733
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2015

Publication series

NameThe Wiley Blackwell Companions to Religion
PublisherWiley Blackwell


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