"Patristic theology is primarily pastoral. Yet often the study of writings from the first six centuries of the church is pursued in ways that make the polemical, philosophical, and political aspects stand out. But if one reads around those texts that are profiled in these ways, the pastoral concerns will emerge. Even contemporary interests in social, economic, and deconstructionist approaches locate much of the data for their questions within or near texts that also can be looked at for the descriptions of shepherding the flock. Thus it is likely that any who read ancient Christian literature will find this volume helpful. The introduction is masterful. No other volume known to me does that so well through the translated words of ancient leaders. Whatever historical surveys one finds helpful, they cannot replace this guide. It is done with such competence and flair that specialists who are historians with no particular interest in ministry other than its being a feature of the early church will need to consult it. Those, however, who as believers and ministers are attempting to serve contemporary congregations will devour this book. No seminarian should be without it."
-Frederick W. Norris, Second Century: A Journal of Early Christian Studies