Pop art: Simon Webb on our whitewashed African roots

‘Their writings helped define the tradition that forms part of the background to modern Quakerism.’

A modern icon of Augustine of Hippo, in the Byzantine style

The church fathers were a group of theologians who lived from the early years of Christianity to around 750CE. Many Friends know little about them, but their writings helped define the background tradition of much of modern Quakerism. Some of their works are required reading for trainee priests in other traditions, where they even have their own subject: patristics. Patristic writings cover such subjects as the nature of Jesus, his connection to God and the Holy Spirit, and the way Christian communities should be organised.

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