Mike Aquilina

The Envelope, Please

Monday April 09th 2007, 3:05 am

A blessed Easter to all! And thanks to those of you (several thousands of you) who took the quiz to learn “Which Church Father Are You?” The quiz spread rather rapidly to many message boards and blogs, and Junior tracked its progress intermittently, sending me links to the more interesting discussions. I was amazed that certain blogs and boards tended to produce one type of Father — Jerome, for example, or Origen, or Justin. What’s amusing is that, no matter which Father turned up repeatedly, the quiz-takers concluded it was a fix. “Everybody comes up Origen.” “Everybody comes up Jerome.” “Everybody comes up Melito.” I think a run of Jeromes (or Justins, etc.) says more about their board than our quiz!

The most astute patrologists in the blogosphere saw the purpose of every possible answer and were able to blaze a quick trail to their favorite Father. (I’m thinking particularly of Danny Garland of Irish-Catholic and Dangerous.) Others confessed that they just kept taking the quiz till they got the guy they wanted. (Kind of like online dating, I guess.)

Which Father came in first? Melito of Sardis, and by far. It’s not surprising, since this is a patristics blog, and Melito was keyed to a love of history and tradition, a fierce loyalty to the ancestors.

Second place was, remarkably, almost a dead heat among Origen, Justin, and Jerome. There was minimal difference in their stats.

Tertullian groused in the depths of the cellar, a fact freighted, perhaps, with significance. (What’s way cool is that noted biblioblogger Dr. Jim West was one of those Tertullians, and proud of it.)

Even though it started as a lark, the quiz did lead to a fascinating discussion (in the commbox) about who is a Father and who ain’t. If you missed it, check it out.

If you’re eager to learn more, read the book!