Inheriting Wisdom: Readings for Today from Ancient Christian Writers

edited by Everett Ferguson

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Retail: $16.95
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Binding: paper
Pages: 336
Pub Date: 2004
ISBN: 1565633547
ISBN-13: 9781565633544
Item Number: 33547
Categories: Christian Living; Devotionals

Product Description

Collected wisdom crossing time to engage current issues. . .

So many concerns of today’s world require nuanced consideration and a sensitive response. Yet human nature and spiritual need remain remarkably constant. Practical, moral, and spiritual struggles are not peculiar to modern life.

Early Christians looked at all things through the lens of God and Christ, including those that today we would consider secular in nature, as the wide range of subjects these writers addressed clearly demonstrates. The words of Christian writers such as Tertullian, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, and Clement of Alexandria are organized around familiar, everyday themes. In study, reflection, or devotional reading, use this book to look through their eyes at our issues — and, perhaps, find a deepened and sharpened awareness of what it means to choose the Christian life.

Introduced, organized, and translated by Everett Ferguson, these quotes are arranged to allow the ancient authors to speak for themselves. Inheriting Wisdom will refresh modern readers with the rich resources of early Christianity and provide direction and guidance for the twenty-first century.


“Ferguson’s latest book, a collection of writings from early Christian authors, will aid Christians in two ways. It will help them become more aware of the alternative beliefs and lifestyles that existed in the Greco-Roman world. And, they will come to see how understanding those beliefs will deepen and sharpen their convictions about life as a Christian. . . . This is a superb work written in the same vein as Ferguson’s Early Christian Speaks.
The Christian Chronicle

“It would be tempting and all too easy to dismiss writings from the early years of the Christian Church as irrelevant to 21st century problems. In Inheriting Wisdom Everett Ferguson produces plenty of evidence that our ancestors sought answers to situations which posed similar difficulties to them as to us. . . . The book is comprehensively indexed and its 300-plus pages provide a scholarly resource.
Methodist Recorder

“Any reader who enjoys rich insights from early writers and seeks a deeper faith will benefit greatly from this book. One of the delightful aspects of Ferguson’s works is his translation of the ancient text. The writings of one who is attempting to speak of matters of faith can be properly translated only by one who lives the faith. Ferguson’s translation of the text allows the deep passion of the early writers to inflame the heart of faith of today’s readers. That is Ferguson’s greatest feat.”
Restoration Quarterly

“This excellent book will make the Church Fathers come alive.”
Acta Patristica et Byzantina

“For those wanting a first introduction to the goldmine of patristic sources, Inheriting Wisdom taps into the riches at our disposal. This book gathers some of the wisdom of the early Church Fathers into short and pithy extracts. The author orders these selections under five headings. He gives only brief introductions in order to allow the authors to speak for themselves. . . . Ferguson’s selection has the merit of presenting us with rich ruminations of ancient Christian writers on the most fundamental issues of life. Their reflections encourage us not simply to sit back and ponder, but to rise up and live differently.”

“Ferguson is one of America's foremost patristic scholars. . . In this book he offers the fruits of his five decades of immersion in the writings of the early Christians. Inheriting Wisdom contains hundreds of quotations, expertly selected, from the Christians of the first seven centuries. Ferguson organizes these according to five topics: Social Existence; Good and Bad; Conversion and Salvation; Life-Nourishing Doctrines: and Christian Living. Under each of these Ferguson provides a satisfying mixture of doctrine and practice. One can learn a great deal from the book about how the early Christians thought and approached practical issues-there is, for example, an excellent conspectus of early Christian statements about enemy-loving. . . . Lovingly, indeed, is the proper adverb to describe how Ferguson has approached this task. As one of America's premier classicists, he has lovingly retranslated the vast majority of the texts that he includes, even though many are available in other, often inferior, translations. This is an arduous as well as loving labor! It is also a beautiful book Hendrickson has produced it elegantly, and the typefaces are a pleasure to behold. Ferguson's editorial comments are not extensive, but they are useful.”
The Mennonite Quarterly Review

“A rich and finely ordered collection of excerpts from writings on early Christian life and thought.”
Vigiliae Christianae

"This book will be of interest to those who are looking for a sample of what authors from the early Church had to say about a wide variety of topics. It may be used in three ways: (1) it can be read from beginning to end and thereby provide access to the writings from the first eight centuries of Christianity and give a broad sense of the many themes that were addressed; (2) it can be used as a source for quotes or a quick reference on a wide range of issues; and (3) it can be used as a starting point for those wishing to do further study on a particular topic. Overall, this book is successful in what it tries to achieve. Readers will definitely recognise that the wisdom of the ancient Christian writers remains, in many cases, relevant in addressing the questions that continue to be important for us today."

Editor Bio

Everett Ferguson is the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Abilene Christian University. He has authored numerous texts including Early Christians Speak and Backgrounds of Early Christianity and lectures on patristics throughout the world.

Explore This Book

Table of contents
Sample Chapter

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