I've spent my spare time over the past several days engulfed in Mike Aquilina's The Fathers of the Church (expanded edition). I rather enjoyed this book. It is close to the intellectual weight of the history books I'm used to reading for fun without all the copious footnotes. I think most people with a genuine interest in the subject material will find this book to be quite readable and engaging. This is not a book that I would classify as history light, as I have with others in the past, but I wouldn't put it in the "boring history book" category either (for the record, I have yet to meet a boring history book, but I have been told that some of the ones I read are boring).
The book has an introduction that lays a good foundation for the remainder of the book which is separated into four sections that categorize the Fathers. They are: The Apostolic Fathers, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Nicene Era Fathers and Post-Nicene Era Fathers. There is also a small section on the Mothers of the church at the end of the book. Each of these sections starts off with an overview of the time period that is being examined. After that, it is followed with sections on the individuals who emerged as the influential fathers of the period. Each Father is presented with a short biography and then excerpts from the Father's own works are presented.
In many ways this book illustrates how the Church was formed and forged over the first 750 years. By reading the works of the Fathers in their own words (translated into English, of course) you can see how the Church took shape over time. On several occasions, I found myself thinking about how this book filled in lots of the gaps that were left from another book I had reviewed not too long ago that essentially dealt with the highlights in the history of the Church.
In all, this book is a wonderful introduction to the influential Fathers who fortified the foundation of the Catholic faith. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and getting to know each of the Fathers.
This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. For more information on The Fathers of the Church, visit The Catholic Company.
As a reviewer for The Catholic Company Book Reviewer Program, I was given a free copy of The Fathers of the Church in exchange for my honest review.