Monday, January 14, 2008

What Can We Learn from the Early Church Fathers?

The other night, I was listening to the White Horse Inn, and one of the hosts mentioned that people should be reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers instead of only reading modern writings. Why? Because those people were the closest to Jesus' life on earth, and therefore less likely to be tainted by "humanness". So, I broke out Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1 in Libronix and started reading. Note: The red link indicates the item will be opened in Libronix, if you have Libronix and also have that particular book. If you click on the link but don't have Libronix or the resource being linked to, you will get an error.

It's a little tough going for me, not being the scholar that my husband is. The language, even though it's an English translation, is different than I'm used to, and I find my mind wandering even as my glazed eyes continue passing across the words on the page...

But, I found a way to keep myself on track. I made the text into a pdf file, then opened it in Acrobat (you can use a free pdf maker like CutePDF and open the file in Reader if you don't have the full version of Acrobat). Under the View menu in Acrobat or Reader is an option to have the text "read" to you. I listen and follow along in the document, and find I get so much more out of it than if I was just reading. Some of the words aren't pronounced correctly, but if you're following along, between listening and reading, you can get it all.

This method may not work for everyone, but since it worked for me, I thought I'd share it. I'll post more later about what I discover as I read the writings of the Early Church Fathers.

Blessings,
Lisa G.

1 comment:

John D. Chitty said...

So that's how you techies "read aloud" to yourselves! :)

I'm a fairly slow, and easily distracted, reader, but I love to learn theology and the historical contexts thereof, so I'm hooked. I often have to resort to reading aloud to myself to help me stay focused on what I'm reading. By the way, I heard once that J. I. Packer recommends reading John Owen's books aloud to yourself. Owen is a tough read. So is Edwards, but Calvin is a breeze to read most of the time!