I've finally begun to do some serious reading for my MA assignment on the language of leadership in the later New testament and the immediate post-New Testament writings, often known as the Apostolic Fathers.
I'm discovering all sorts of things I don't know, such as 'what constitutes the later New Testament?' since, depending on one's view of authorship and dating, any of the books in the collection could be later than others. This normally wouldn't matter but if one is tracing the development of leadership structures and language through the first century, it's fairly important to have a view about which order your sources arrived in.
When we get to the Apostolic Fathers, this issue becomes even more pressing. Did 1 Clement predate the Didache? Do Ignatius and Clement agree on how churches should be led? Do any of these sources really argue for a single authoritative bishop in each town or city or are later generations of Episcopalians just reading their preferences into the sources?
It's all absolutely fascinating. One thing I am discovering is just how little I know about the post-New Testament world.
In the midst of this, we're making plans for Christmas - surprisingly smooth so far - and looking forward to welcoming Nick Lear for our anniversary morning service on Sunday (in the evening, we're having a party with balloons, games, party food and lots of fun - so if you're passing drop in).