An Intriguing Idea,
This review is from: From Darkness to Light (Paperback)
The early Church, especially the Ante Nicene period is a favourite subject of mine, and so I will read anything on that subject. This book is certainly about the early Church, however, I bought this book expecting something different from what I got, since I only had the title and subtitle to go by. It's about the Post Nicene period, and is basically a reconstruction of the catechesis (a 3 year pre-baptismal, pre-conversion period of instruction of a potential Christian) of that time. People in the early Church were not told to simply pray a prayer and they were in, it was something more serious than that. This book, more than just telling us how that happened, reconstructs from actual homilies (sermons) of famous pastors, bishops and theologians of the 4th and 5th centuries what was taught their catechumens (students or disciples).
Here is the blurb from the back of the book:
"I went down into those life-giving waters and was born again, a new man. All my doubts vanished. I could see what had been hidden from me. I could do what had been impossible.
St. Cyprian, A.D. 246
In the early centuries of the Church, baptism was a profound experience of personal conversion and redemption. Thousands of converts found in the baptismal waters what St. Cyprian describes-a new source of life, confidence, and power.
Anne field, an accomplished translator of early Christian writings, has reconstructed the teaching and rites that brought new Christians to this moment of grace. By carefully editing and paraphrasing texts that survive from fourth and fifth centuries, she takes her readers back through a course of instruction designed to change lives. St. Augustine teaches them how to pray the Lord's Prayer, St. Ambrose opens up the spiritual meaning of Scripture, St. John Chrysostom proclaims the message of salvation. Readers can follow the converts of old through all the dramatic rites of exorcism and consecration-right up to the awesome moment of their rebirth as children of God."