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Biblical Archaeology Review 48:4, Winter 2022

Epistles: Define Intervention: What Is “Patristics”?

Biblical Archaeology Review

1. Study of shepherds and herders

2. Study of tribal forefathers and leaders

3. Study of the early church fathers and their writings

4. Study of rural landscapes and poetry

Answer: 3

Patristics is the study of the early church fathers and their writings. The Patristic Age spanned much of the first millennium C.E., from c. 100 to 451 (Council of Chalcedon) or 787 (Second Council of Nicea). Some well-known church fathers include Ignatius (c. 35–108), Polycarp (c. 69–155), Irenaeus (c. 120–202), Tertullian (c. 160–225), Jerome (c. 347–430), and Augustine (c. 354–430). Patristic works recount early Christian theology and Church history. Texts by the second–third-century theologian Hippolytus even elucidate the traditional date for the conception and birth of Jesus (see T.C. Schmidt, “Calculating Christmas,”).

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