This work represents a novel treatment of the mission of the Church fathers, the early Christian ascetics, and their disciples during the turbulent centuries that followed the passing of the apostles. Approaching a normally arcane subject largely through the interplay of character and incident, Outreach and Renewal provides a stirring account of the various ways in which spiritual leaders of the time promoted the Gospel message. Readers experience these leaders as they illuminate, strengthen, restore, or defend the faith, through their words and actions, of fellow Christians. Facilitating fresh insights and thought-provoking conclusions, the theme proceeds through the interaction of a varied cast of vital individuals engaged in lively and sometimes acerbic discourse, which is always aimed at the glory of God. With the careful attention the author gives to the early Irish church and its singular representatives, this work is a unique and valuable contribution to the study of the patristic era.
James McSherry is a retired teacher with a background in literary studies. His interests include late classical writings, the early medieval period, and Church history. The realization that these elements intersected so dramatically in the lives and times of the fathers led him to undertake the present study. In researching the triumphs and trials of the Church in the first millennium, the writer was gratified and humbled to discover the extent and nature of Ireland's role.