As patristic science is called in Christian theology and philosophy, which deals with the time of the church fathers, that is, with the era of the early church from the first century to the 7th or early 8th century at the latest.


While the Patrology primarily concerned with the relevance to the (Catholic) faith writings of the Church Fathers, the patristic busy with all extant theological writings from this period, including the writings of heretics and with impersonal text products such as council records and liturgical texts.

The Patristic used inter alia methods of language and literature, so is literary history. It is a branch of church history and goes with the history of dogma hand in hand.


The apologists of the second and third centuries, such as Justin Martyr and Tertullian (c. 155-220 ), described Christianity in the phraseology of the Greek philosophy, borrowing from Plato and Philo, Stoicism and Neoplatonism, because this was prerequisite for to reach the educated.

Church Fathers sat down - partly polemical - with Christian teachings apart that did not meet the consensus of the Church, and formulated the doctrine of the Church precisely to delineate this consensus of other teachings. Irenaeus of Lyons, fought in the second century Gnosticism, Athanasius of Alexandria and Basil of Caesarea in the fourth century, Arianism, Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century Pelagianism and Donatism. In addition, all forms of non-Christian religion were fought sharp.

For these disputes, the early Christian creeds originated from the 1st century to the 4th century as the foundations of church doctrine. On this basis, was then developed in the period from the 4th century to the 8th century dogmatics, which to this day is the dogmatic basis of all major denominations substantially.

The Church Fathers argued mainly with the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. The essential foundation of Christian doctrine was the Scriptures, designed in the tradition of the apostles for them. It developed various hermeneutics, especially the allegorical interpretation of Alexandria, for Origen (c. 185-254 ) is exemplary, and the literal - grammatical interpretation of Antioch, which represents, for example, John Chrysostom. Many church fathers continued Bible interpretations are obtained.

The patristic era ends in the West with Isidore of Seville, in the east with John of Damascus, which are each the last church fathers. But some are still Beda to the church fathers.


Many of the early Christian theologians were active also on the area of ​​philosophy and are therefore considered ( from this point ) as a philosopher, but were primarily theologians. The primacy of theology before philosophy was self-evident. Reaching consequences for the development of Western philosophy, the influence of non-Christian philosophers was (especially Plato and the Neoplatonists ) to the Christian writers of the patristic period. The Church Fathers were still works of ancient philosophers available that are lost today, but can be partially inferred from the patristic writings. A strong after-effect achieved Calcidius, the Plato's Timaeus translated in the 3rd or 4th century into Latin and commented.