This volume presents a history of doctrines of the Early Church, written and arranged with exceptional clarity by a leading patristic scholar. J. N. D. Kelly describes the development of the principal Christian doctrines from the close of the first century to the middle of the fifth, and from the end of the apostolic age to the council of Chalcedon. The doctrines of the Trinity, the authority of the Bible and tradition, the nature of Christ, salvation, original sin and grace, and the sacraments are all extensively treated in these pages.
“Hence, when asked where the authentic faith was to be found, their answer was clear and unequivocal: in a general way it was contained in the Church’s continuous tradition of teaching, and more concretely in the Holy Scriptures.” (Page 30)
“The theologians chiefly responsible for this were, in the East, the Cappadocian fathers, Basil the Great (†379), Gregory of Nazianzus (†c. 390) and Basil’s younger brother, Gregory of Nyssa (†394), and, in the West, Augustine of Hippo (†430).” (Page 252)
“In allegorical exegesis the sacred text is treated as a mere symbol, or allegory, of spiritual truths.” (Page 70)
“By gradual stages, however, the Church both in East and West arrived at a common mind as to its sacred books. The first official document which prescribes the twenty-seven books of our New Testament as alone canonical is Athanasius’s Easter Letter2 for the year 367, but the process was not everywhere complete until at least a century and a half later.” (Page 60)
“Typological exegesis worked along very different lines. Essentially it was a technique for bringing out the correspondence between the two Testaments, and took as its guiding principle the idea that the events and personages of the Old were ‘types’ of, i.e. prefigured and anticipated, the events and personages of the New.” (Page 71)