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HolyGround >> Classic Books of Christianity Outside Bible


1/22/12 9:01 PM
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OneScoup
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I believe in any given field there are certain influential books which in terms of influence and profound ideas are above all others. In reading these small numbers of classics one can most efficiently spend his time and learn an otherwise large and complex subject.

Outside the bible, what are the classics of Christianity?
1/24/12 1:04 PM
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zealot66
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 How far back do you want to go? If you want a profound scholarly study of early christianity up until the seperation between Rome and Byzantium, WHC Frend's the Rise of Christianity is the standard and is widely used as a textbook for most classes on the subject. 


1/24/12 9:32 PM
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Ali
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Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
Summa Theologiae (or Summa Theologica) by Thomas Aquinas
Confessions by Saint Augustine
Foundations of Christian Faith by Karl Rahner
1/24/12 9:42 PM
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OneScoup
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Those sound like good titles. What about classics of Protestantism?
1/24/12 10:22 PM
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gord96
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Edited: 07/27/12 4:07 PM
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1/24/12 10:39 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Pilgrim's Progress is definitely considered a "Protestant" classic albeit coming out of the Puritan tradition, which not everybody would consider Protestant.

 The classics of ancient Christianity would also include:

The Life of St. Anthony (probably the first Christian bestseller) by Athanasius

On the Incarnation by Athanasius

The apologies of Justin Martyr

The Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch

The History of Christianity by Eusebius is also a classic, but more in an informative rather than "spiritual" sense.

There are tons more classical Christian works of varying degrees of popularity and depth.  The following is a good site for many of them:

http://www.ccel.org/ 
1/24/12 11:35 PM
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TheStewedOwl
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I'd add the Philokalia, the Didache, and definitely the Catena Aurea by Aquinas, as well as St. Augustine's "The City of God", "On Christian Doctrine", and "On the Trinity", and more recently the "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux.
1/24/12 11:39 PM
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Ali
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OneScoup - Those sound like good titles. What about classics of Protestantism?


I suppose C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" passes for a modern classic in Protestant circles.
1/25/12 11:15 PM
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micmac
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Ttt Phone Post
1/28/12 12:56 PM
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Ridgeback
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 Yes, the Didache was a central early Christian text and was even considered for inclusion in the NT at one time.  It has always been held in high regard even if it ulimately didn't rise to the level of inspired scripture.  
1/28/12 12:59 PM
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Ridgeback
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Ali - 
OneScoup - Those sound like good titles. What about classics of Protestantism?


I suppose C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" passes for a modern classic in Protestant circles.

 Hard to say.  Lewis was a high church Anglican, and that tradition is sometimes called the "via media" between Catholicism and Protestantism.  If you have a baptist go to one of the services Lewis did in his life he would most likely say it was "too Catholic" but of course Catholic friends of Lewis didn't think he was Catholic enough.  

Probably Karl Barth will be the guy who most survives the century and whose books will be read for many centuries into the future by Protestants (if there are any left by that time).  That is just a guess though.
1/28/12 1:09 PM
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Ali
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It's not like there's a hard definition of "classic" in the sense used in the original question. I thin Mere Christianity is not at all a good book, personally, but it sure was the most-oft thing pushed at me when I was living in Nashville, and even my Catholic parents had a copy on the shelves when I was growing up (along with The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and the Narnia books -- and I'm sure some other Lewis).

I think "A Grief Observed" on the other hand, is a very good book. But that's a much more personal thing, not so much a book about Christianity as one particular Christian's response to a very difficult life experience.

Karl Barth is a good call -- I was trying to think of "real theologians" that I read in school. But I also think (not sure) the original question wasn't so much about the sorts of things I -- and others -- was recommending along those lines in the first place. And recommending Church Dogmatics in the context of this thread would likely be going way too far -- as was my recommendation of Summa Theologiae, no doubt.
1/28/12 1:43 PM
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Ridgeback
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 I agree that it is hard.  I think the way Lewis would have defined it is a book that survives its own time and goes on to be appreciated by other generations over a span of centuries.  I think he would be horrified to have his books considered classics of Christianity, at least this early on.

I am the biggest Lewis fan in the world, but I wouldn't give a person Mere Christianity as an introduction to the faith.  

"Grief" is indeed very good and his novel Till We Have Faces is his best writing imho.
1/30/12 2:43 PM
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reverend john
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The Cost of Discipleship is a classic to me, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Many that were mentioned here are classics. But that makes way more than you were hoping for doesn't it?

rev
1/30/12 3:02 PM
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gord96
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I'm just starting to read that now John. Sounds very interesting.
1/30/12 3:25 PM
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Ridgeback
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 There is an audio version of Cost of Discipleship out now as well for those who "read" their books on their daily commute.  

Not a classic, but there is a great Bonnhoeffer biography out there as well that really goes into his struggle with the "German Christian Church" and how it was nothing but an arm of Nazism.   
1/30/12 3:46 PM
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gord96
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Ridgeback -  There is an audio version of Cost of Discipleship out now as well for those who "read" their books on their daily commute.  


Oh yeah. I go through 3-4 books a month in my morning and evening commute. Although I am now listening to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and it is 57 hours so it may take up a whole month. It was the chapter in said book about how the Nazi's dealt with the church in Germany that lead to me start reading The Cost of Discipleship.
1/30/12 9:42 PM
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Ridgeback
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 The biography is called Bonnhoeffer by Eric Metaxis.  It is also in audiobook form.  Definitely the most thorough study of his life that I have come across.  
2/10/12 9:49 PM
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ocianain
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Imitation of Christ, by, Thomas a Kempis
2/11/12 2:06 AM
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yusul
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the lion, the witch and the wardrobe.
2/17/12 2:04 PM
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CJJScout
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reverend john - The Cost of Discipleship is a classic to me, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

rev

Abolutely, and Metaxes's biography of him was excellent.

Francis Schaeffer is always a good read.
3/20/12 7:08 PM
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stevarino
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The Complete Works of Josephus, while not Christian, is excellent as a historical reference. Phone Post
7/16/12 10:31 AM
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Lahi
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Ridgeback -   his novel Till We Have Faces is his best writing imho.

9/18/12 9:20 PM
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justin@gosscpa.com
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Justin Goss, CPA, MSA
"The Book of Concord" is a staple in the Lutheran circles.
9/20/12 5:32 AM
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DyingBreed
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