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Free Book

Bread and Circuses alerts the world to a 1913 Source Book for Ancient Church History from the Apostolic Age to the Close of the Conciliar Period, now posted online in PDF format. It’s a collection of primary texts in English translation, with minimal commentary, arranged by themes within the various periods. The book begins with Tacitus on Nero’s persecution and continues to the seventh ecumenical council, so we’re talking about the entire patristic era. The author is Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D., professor in the divinity school of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. B&C describes the book as “moderately useful,” and he’s probably right, since quite a few documents have turned up since 1913, and others have been identified, dated, and edited with greater accuracy. Still, this collection’s free, and it doesn’t take up space on your bookshelves.

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  1. Thanks.
    I just yesterday came across a smaller but similar sourcebook at the Fordham site — there were alos more recent documents there, such as the so-called “Ottaviani Intervention.”

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