Mike Aquilina

Take the Spice Route South from Alexandria

Monday April 03rd 2006, 5:52 pm

And then go east, young patrologist. (By “young” I mean younger than, say, Polycarp at the time of his martyrdom. We readers of the Fathers keep our years well.) Christians in India are producing great studies and translations of the Fathers. What’s more, their books are affordable, even after air mail. The problem, for those of us in the States, is that Indian titles are almost impossible to track down. Most of them don’t appear on Amazon or any of the usual suspects. I found a good clearinghouse at Merging Currents. Their prices are great; the books usually arrive in less than two weeks; and the books themselves are marvelous. For example: there’s a fairly new edition of Aphrahat available in English. And I loved this study of the Syriac Fathers on the Holy Spirit. To me, all this is big news. Much of the Indian work focuses on the Syriac Fathers. The old patristic manuals often divided the Fathers into “Greek” and “Latin.” If that’s all you know, find out what you’ve been missing. (The only caveat about Merging Currents is that you have to do the sorting yourself. It’s a huge assemblage of everything religious and Indian, which makes for quite a curry.)