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GENERAL FOREWORD OHE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH* lived in an age when a new world, a Christian world, was emerging out of the civilization of Greco-Roman antiquity. Retaining all that was good in the ancient culture, they struggled not only against the various opponents of the Church, but also against the heresies which arose within the Church itself. Over against a decadent paganism they stressed unceasingly the ethical teachings of Christ's gospel. As spiritual leaders they confronted at first a hostile worldly power; they stood their ground with equal firmness when the state had turned Christian but was only too often inclined to infringe upon the rights of the Church. These manifold controversies and tensions have left us an unusually rich literature; monuments of far-reaching influence in the history of Christian thought, monuments to which Councils and theologians have turned at all times for guidance; monuments whose constructive value is being acutely realized in a special way today, at a time when so many social and philosophical systems have proved futile. Serious thinkers, therefore, are seeking to find in these writings the path by which humanity can perhaps retrace its steps to the solidarity it has lost. Accordingly, the demand for new translations of the works of the Fathers has been growing more insistent from year to year. The old translations are not only difficult to obtain, but frequently fail to convey to the reader, as they ought, the results of modern scholarship. • The Fathers of thl' Church. a title similar to !'figne's Patrologia, has been chosen as a collective name for this series of the works of the Early Christian Writers represented in the present project. GENERAL FOREWORD This series of seventy-two volumes will present outstanding patristic writings and include some works never translated before . The translations, although done by American Catholic scholars, are destined neither for scholars only, nor exclusively for Catholics, but for the entire English-speaking world. They will be kept as close as possible to the meaning and the spirit of the original as is compatible with the character of modern English. Introductions will familiarize the reader with the life and works of the authors. While all annotations will be brief, a select bibliography may serve as means for further study. In the summer of 1936 I first conceived the plan of publishing a series of the Fathers in English. In this venture I was encouraged by myoid teacher and friend, the great scholar A. Dyroff. I am well aware of the great responsibility I took upon myself in finally launching the project and of the great labor it involves. I cannot but be grateful for the splendid comments the announcement of the series has received in the secular as well as in the religious press. The assistance of a distinguished and experienced Editorial Board and the collaboration of eminent and competent men engaged in the translations encourage my hope that this series may become, with the help of Almighty God, one of the great monuments of Christian scholarship in America. March 12, 1946 LUDWIG SCHOPP ...