One of our foremost aims in this podcast was to pique the interest of listeners to read the church fathers. As Augustine tells us in his “Confessions” that he heard a child singing in a garden, so we encourage you, “take and read!”

There are countless other important early Christian figures and documents that are important for understanding the development of the Nicene Creed and the significance of its theology; by no means is this list exhaustive. However, here are most of the texts we draw upon in Season 1 of Passages to tell the backstory of the Nicene Creed.

Reading early Christian literature might seem intimidating; sometimes these texts are indeed challenging, not least because early Christians lived and died in very different times and places from our own. So, having informed guides can be a tremendous help.

If you have never read anything at all from an ancient Christian, it might be helpful to start with Robert Louis Wilken’s “The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God,” which is a very accessible and enjoyable overview of early Christian devotion and spirituality, and will introduce you to key early Christian figures. Afterwards, take up “On the Incarnation” by Athanasius of Alexandria, and especially the SVS Press edition with a foreword by C.S. Lewis on reading ancient books, or Augustine’s “Confessions.” Afterwards, the other secondary sources below will provide a helpful, birds-eye-view of the landscape of early Christian history, so that you are then prepared to embark upon an adventure, travailing over the hills and valleys of these ancient texts.

A note on how this list works: We have created a list on Bookshop.org that includes all of these books as part of Mere O’s online book store. If you buy using this link, Mere O receives a commission from Bookshop.

If there is a specific edition we recommend that is not easily able to be acquired via the Bookshop list or that is not available on Bookshop, we have included a link below where you can buy the book. If there is no link, the book can be bought in the Mere O book store on Bookshop.

Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Often, older translations of these and many other ancient Christian texts can be found for free in several places online. But we especially appreciate the “Popular Patristics” series published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, which are affordable, readable, and tremendously enjoyable translations of both classic texts and texts that had never been translated into English before.

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Posted by Joshua Heavin

Joshua Heavin is from the flatlands of the Texas Panhandle, attended Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University, and wrote his doctoral dissertation at Trinity College Bristol, University of Aberdeen, on the Apostle Paul and Participation in Christ. 

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