Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Book Review: Patrology Vol I by Johannes Quasten

To review this book succinctly, I loved it and I'm not surprised.

Quasten is a first rate historian and what shines on every page is his love for the Church. Now if I told you of my mother, I could, with strict limitation, relate factual information of her and leave you thinking she was a bad person. But that's not what's going to happen if I ever tell you the story. There's a simple reason for this. It's the same reason why, generally speaking, if you read Church history from a Protestant, you'll come away with the impression that the Church has more bad characteristics than good. For most of these historians, it's not until we receive the step mothers of the 16th century that we have anything nice to say. Though yes, the first mother had good children here and there – she was more or less a witch (Substitute that w with something else if needed). It was more than refreshing to read Church history by one who loves the Church as mother.

Now this sort of disposition cannot be found at all in the fundamentalists. They hate the old wench. Presbyterians pretend to like her, but they convolute and twist everything she said. Old mother, they say, would get along just fine with the new step mothers. Anglicans & Eastern Orthodox are fairer to her and more fond. But neither of them are shy about casting doubt in strategic places. Neither of them speak of her with that certain confidence of continuity that Quasten does. Only a Catholic can speak of her in this way.

So much for my apologetic plug – onto the book.

The style was excellent and the scholarship commendable. I found only one or two small things which I would nuance any other way than his. It is a fine book of reference if you don't read it straight through. I would heartily recommend it as a must for anyone interested in Patristics.

4 comments:

Josh McManaway said...

On the first bit about writing a history about the Church with a love from the Church - in my Christian History 1300-Present class we're using the Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. McManners is the editor and his chapter on post-Reformation church history is ridiculous - The Catholics are always cast in a negative light as a foil to the ever-virtuous, ever-faithful Protestants.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Yup, that's how it goes. I saw that book at an art gallery recently and nearly picked it up. Guess its a good thing I didn't.

R. E. Aguirre. said...

Good thing you are putting the spot light on solid (balanced) Patrology Tim. A good understanding of the Patristics is a good understanding of our history.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Mr. Aguirre! Great to see you out and about on the blogosphere again. I hope you will resume posting on your blog.