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The early centuries of the Christian era were marked by a variety of theological ideas in differing stages of development. Numerous theologians emerged with proposals about what the Christian church should believe and how theological ideas related to each other. Some of these theologians gained more prominent status and their ideas became sources on which others built. Patristic theology is thus a formative period, a yeasty time in which theological doctrines took on many stages of complexity. This outstanding handbook by a leading specialist in Patristic Theology provides students and scholars with easy access to key terms, figures, socio-cultural developments, and controversies of this period, extending to the ninth-century. McGuckin's introductory essay outlines the main intellectual issues in the early church. His concluding Bibliographic Guide Essay and General Bibliography also features a Website Resources Guide to assist readers with additional ways to study this period. The entries are written to help those with no previous theological knowledge understand the major dimensions of each topic. The result is an eminently useful, reliable, and unique resource.
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