The Early Church by Henry Chadwick
Chadwick moves on to consider some of the most important of the Church fathers: Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. What is most striking, of course, is the way in which each of them appropriates Greek philosophy — each in their own way — to combat what they saw as heresies and to describe and defend Christian belief. Also interesting, of course, is the growing insistence on a canon of New Testament writings to form a basis from which to argue against such heresies. Another interesting development, with Irenaeus in particular, is the introduction of something like the idea of `apostolic succession’.
It strikes me as I read the accounts of the various doctrinal disputes of this era that much of what I think to be self-evident upon reading Scripture is clearly not so. At the very least much of what appears self-evident to me was clearly not self-evident to many Christians in the second and third centuries. It is another stark reminder that all of our readings of Scripture (and everything else besides) are prejudiced by our preconceptions and cultural setting.