in Christian literature before the end of the seven- teenth ccnturj'. The term Apostolic, however, was commonly vised to qualify Churches, persons, writings, etc. from the early second century, when St. Ignatius, in the exordium of his Epistle to the Trallians, saluted their Church "after the Apostolic manner." In 1672 Jean Baptiste Cotelier (Cotele- rius) published his "SS. Patrum qui temporibus apostolicis floruerunt opera", which title was abbre- viated to "Bibliotheca Patrum Apostolicorum" by L. J. Ittig in his edition (Leipzig, 1699) of the same WTitings. Since then the term has been universally used. The list of Fathers included under this title has varied, literary criticism having removed some who were formerly considered as second-century writers, while the publication (Constantinople, 1883) of the Didache has added one to the list. Chief in importance are the three first-century Bishops: St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, and St. Polycarp of Smyrna, of whose intimate personal relations with the Apostles there is no doubt. Clement, Bishop of Rome and third suc- cessor of St. Peter in the Papacy, "had seen the blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul] and had been conversant with them" (Irenipus, Adv. Haer., Ill, iii, 3). Ignatius was the second successor of St. Peter in the See of Antioch (Eusebius, Hist. EccL, III, 36) and during his life in that centre of Christian activity may have met with others of the Apostolic band. An accepted tradition, substantiated by the similarity of Ignatius's thought with the ideas of the Johannine writings, declares him a disciple of St. John. Polycarp was "instructed by Apostles" (Irena-us, op. cit.. Ill, iii, 4) and had been a disciple of St. John (Eusebius, op. cit.. Ill, 36; V, 20) whose contemporary he was for nearly twenty years. Be- sides these, whose rank as Apostolic Fathers in the strictest sense is undisputed, there are two first- century writers whose place with them is generally conceded: the author of the Didache and the author of the "Epistle of Barnabas". The former affirms that his teaching is that of the Apostles, and his work, perhaps the earliest extant piece of uninspired Christian literature, gives colour to his claim; the latter, even if he be not the Apostle and companion of St. Paul, is held by many to have written during the last decade of the first century, and may have come under direct Apostolic influence, though his Epistle does not clearly suggest it. By extension of the term to comprise the extant extra-canonical literature of the sub-Apostolic age, it is made to include the "Shepherd" of Hermas, the New Testament prophet, who was believed to be the one referred to by St. Paul (Rom. xvi, 14), but whom a safer tradition makes a brother of Pope Pius I (c. 140-150); the meagre fragments of the "Expositions of the Di.scour.ses of the Lord", by Papias, who may have been a disciple of St. John (Irenajus, Adv. Hoer., V, 331-334), though more probably he received his teaching at second liand from a "presbyter" of that name (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., Ill, .39); the " Letter to Diognctus ", the un- known author of which affirms his disciplcsliip with the Apostles, but his claim nm.st be takon in the broad sense of conformity in spirit and (I'lichiiis. In addition to these there were formeriv JMchulrd apocryphal writings of some of the abcive I'allicis, the "Constitutions" and "Canons of the Apostles" and the works accredited to Dionysius the Areopa- gite, who, thoiigh himself a disciple of the Apostles, was not the author of the works bearing his name. Though generally rejected, the homily of Pseudo- Clenient (ICpistola .sccunda dementis) is by some eoMsidcred as being as worthy of a place among the Apo.slohc I'athers, as is its contemporary, the "Shep- herd" of llermas. The period of time covered by these writings ex-
tends from the last two decades of the first century for the Didache (80-100), Clement (c. 97), and probably Pseudo- Barnabas (96-98), through the first half of the second century, the appro.ximate chronology being Ignatius, 110-117; Polycarp, 110-120; Hermas, in its present form, e. 150; Papias, c. 150. Geographically, Rome is repre- sented by Clement and Hermas; Polycarp wrote from Smyrna, whence also Ignatius sent four of the seven epistles which he wrote on his way from An- tioch through Asia Minor; Papias was Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia; the Didache was written in Egypt or Syria; the letter of Barnabas in Alex- andria. Tiie writings of the Apostolic Fathers are generally epistolary in form, after the fashion of the canonical Epistles, and were written, for the greater part, not for the purpose of instructing Christians at large, but for the guidance of individuals or local churches in some passing need. Happily, the WTiters so amplified tlieir theme that they combine to give a precious picture of the Christian community in the age which follows the death of St. John. Thus Clement, in paternal solicitude for the Churches com- mitted to his care, endeavours to heal a dissension at Corinth and insists on the principles of unity and submission to authority, as best conduci^•e to peace; Ignatius, fervent in his gratitude to the Churches which solaced him on his way to martyrdom, sends back letters of recognition, filled with admonitions against the prevailing heresy and highly spiritual exhortations to keep unity of faith in submission to the bishops; Polycarp, in forwarding Ignatian letters to Philippi, sends, as requested, a simple letter of advice and encouragement. The letter of Pseudo- Barnabas and that to Diognetus, the one polemical, the other apologetic in tone, while retaining the same form, seem to liave in view a wider circle of readers. The other three are in the form of treatises: the Didache, a manual of moral and liturgical in- struction; the "Shepherd", a book of edification, apocalyptic in form, is an allegorical representation of the Church, the faults of her children and their need of penance; the "Expositions" of Papias, an exegetical commentary on the Gospels.
Written under such circumstances, the works of the Apostolic Fathers are not characterized by sys- tematic expositions of doctrine or brilliancy of style. " Diognetus " alone evidences literary skill and refine- ment. Ignatius stands out in relief by his striking personality and depth of view. Each writes for his present purpose, with a view primarily to the actiial needs of his auditors, but, in the exuberance of primitive charity and enthusiasm, his heart ])oiirs out its message of fidelity to the glorious Apostolic heritage, of encouragement in present difficulties, of solicitude for the future with its threatening dan- gers. The dominant tone is that of fervent tlexotion to the brethren in the Faith, revealing thcdeptli an<l breadth of the zeal which was imparted to the writci-s by the Apostles. The letters of the three bishops, together with the Didache, voice sincerest praise of the Apostles, whose memory the writers hold in deep filial devotion; but their recognition of the una|)- proachable superiority of their masters is equally well borne out by the absence in their letters of that distinctly inspired tone that marks the Apostles' writings. More abrupt, however, is the transition between the unpretentious style of the Apostolic Fathers and the scientific form of the treati.'ies of the Fathers of the subsequent periods. The fer\onl. piety, the afterglow of the day of Apostolic spiritu- ality, was noti to be found again in such fullness and simplicity. Letters breathing such sympathy and .solicitude were held in high esteem by the early Christians and by some were given an autliorily little inferior to that of the Scriptures. The I'"i])istU' of Clement was read in the Sunday assemblies at