Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 9, “The Teachers of the Church.” Loc. 1583-1885
In the earliest Christian writings we find texts which directly address specific problems. As we move beyond the immediate “apostolic fathers,” “toward the end of the second century the challenge of Marcion and the Gnostics required a different response” (Gonzalez 2010, Loc. 1597). At this time, teachers of the Church wrote detailed explanations of the Christian faith.
Irenaeus, born around 130, was from Asia Minor (Ibid., Loc. 1600). He became well known in Lyons and was eventually bishop there until his death in 202. His two surviving works, Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching and Against Heresies, explain Christianity as opposed to other religious views (Ibid., Loc. 1613). Gonzalez surveys Irenaeus’ philosophical emphasis in brief.
Clement of Alexandria likely came from Athens. After his conversion he eventually settled in Alexandria where he became a Christian instructor. He had to leave Alexandria due to persecution in 202, dying later in 215 (Ibid., Loc. 1663). Clement’s writing is more philosophical than Irenaeus’. Using Greek philosophy he demonstrates that only the true God gives any truth. He views the Scripture in a very allegorical manner (Ibid., Loc. 1694).
Tertullian, a native of Carthage, was converted in Rome at about age 40 (Ibid., Loc. 1713). As a lawyer and rhetorician Tertullian makes evidential cases for various Christian doctrines. He famously demonstrated that the Scripture belongs to orthodoxy so heretics cannot appeal to it (Ibid., Loc. 1731). About 207 Tertullian became a Montanist, a heresy Gonzalez describes in brief (Ibid., Loc. 1765).
Origen of Alexandria, young in 202, escaped persecution in Alexandria and a few years later began teaching catechumens (Ibid., Loc. 1816). After some years of this he founded a school of Christian philosophy governed on a Greek model. Before his death in Tyre at about 70 years of age, Origen wrote an enormous amount (Ibid., Loc. 1822). Among other works, he is well known for a scholarly edition of the Old Testament in Hebrew and in various Greek versions. He wrote many commentaries and other works as well (Ibid., Loc. 1828). Some of his works take on a clear bias of Platonic philosophy (Ibid., Loc. 1854).