Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why I Read the Church Fathers

Scott Cairns wrote the following in an introduction to Athanasius' Life of Antony. He says more effectively than I could ever do how I have come to feel about the leaders of the early church and the writings they've left behind:
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... C.S. Lewis makes the claim that our continued attention to the "old books" is absolutely necessary if we are to avoid the hubris of thinking that our contemporary views are without error. It is not so much that the old authors didn't also make mistakes, Lewis notes, as it is that their mistakes are not our mistakes; without having recourse to "the old books," we become blind to our own disabling premises.

2 comments:

Cami said...

This is also what I credit my nearly 24 year marriage to: my parents' "mistakes are not our mistakes." Yep, there's a lot to be said for staying behind as you watch someone venture through a mine field! Occasionally, there is an Isaiah, a Daniel, a John the Baptist and a Peter in the contemporary; people like C.S. Lewis enrich our lives by translating so well what they observe, but oh, it is a hard road for the pioneer and the prophet!

I.I. said...

Yes, we are supposed to learn from those who have gone before us ...