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Apostolic Fathers

A group of early Christian writers believed at one time to have had direct contact with apostles. J.B. Cotelier's edition (1672) of the [[Epistle of Barnabas]], 1 and 2 Clement, the [[Shepherd of Hermas]], and the Epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp spoke of “the Fathers who flourished in Apostolic Times,” while L.T. Ittig published Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp as “[[Apostolic Fathers]]” in 1699. Severus of Antioch had used the phrase similarly in the sixth century. Other works have featured among later collections: the fragments of Papias and Quadratus, the Epistle to Diognetus, the Didache,* and the Martyrdoms of Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Recent editors have generally omitted Quadratus, the Martyrdoms except for Polycarp's, and often the Epistle to Diognetus. The designation “apostolic” is problematic in every case, but is most appropriately applied, if at all, to Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. As used today of the earliest noncanonical writings of the late first and early