Frequently Asked Questions

What is patristic theology?

Patristic theology studies the beliefs and practices of the Church Fathers, who lived from about 100 to 700 AD.

The word “patristic” comes from the Greek and Latin word for father, pater. “Patristics” is the term used for the academic study of the Church Fathers.

“Church Fathers” is a traditional title that refers to ancient authoritative Christian writers and theologians from around 100 to 750 AD. They are “fathers” in the sense that they came before us and helped the church to develop into what it is today.

Unfortunately, most surviving early Christian writings were written by men. Wherever possible we will also discuss the contributions of the women who helped shape early Christianity.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio recording that is usually distributed through an RSS feed. (An RSS feed is a way for users to automatically get updates of streams or new content. But you don’t need to know anything about RSS feeds to enjoy podcasts!)

You can find podcasts on your phone through Google Play and Apple Podcasts. You can also find podcasts online through sites such as ListenNotes, which is a podcast search engine.

If you’d like to be automatically notified when new episodes of your favorite podcasts are released, you can subscribe to shows using your podcast application. Subscribing is free and it helps the podcasters know that their show is appreciated.

Misogyny and Racism?

Regrettably, some ancient Christian writings present views that today we would consider misogynistic and racist.

It’s important to acknowledge that early Christianity wasn’t perfect. It was susceptible to human evils just like any other institution. It was also shaped by the culture around it—sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. Where early Christians committed evil, we should identify these acts as such. Ignoring them is dishonest and also damaging to reconciliation.

But don’t throw the baby out with the baptismal waters. We can also learn many positive lessons from the ancient church. Early Christians frequently demonstrated their faith through acts of love and self-sacrifice. Christian women and men fed the poor, took care of the sick, and challenged corrupt systems of power. 

Many early Christian theologians also profoundly reflected on God’s character and actions in the world. These theologians can challenge some of our modern assumptions. They may also help us to abandon certain unhealthy views about God. Additionally, studying early Christianity can help us understand and appreciate Christianity’s core beliefs and practices.