Ante-Nicene Fathers

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The Ante-Nicene Fathers are those early Church fathers (and their associated writings) from the beginning of Christianity to the time of the creation of the Nicene Creed (the prefix "ante" means "before"). People in this category include Polycarp, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, Ignatius, Origen, and Clement.

The writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers are the subject of controversy within Christianity. Supporters contend that the positions held by the Fathers represent Christian doctrine of the first centuries after the New Testament, and are thus presupposed by certain Christian apologists to be uncorrupted by later distortions and departures introduced by heretics and apostates. When there was conflict about the truly catholic and orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures, theologians sought backing for their position in the writings of "the Fathers". By this they meant teachers of an earlier era who demonstrated how the apostolic scriptures were understood and applied by the apostles and their immediate successors.

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