Ancient Wisdom Living Hope is a daily devotional book, designed to inspire personal reflection and inspiration from the writings of the early church fathers.
The book does a great job of allowing the original quotes to speak for themselves, without commentary or reflection. Over the course a year, the reader will get a peek at the teachings of the early church fathers including people like Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine, and Athinasius.
The book is great for people who wish to emphasise personal reflection over guided reading in their devotional life. Those looking for an in-depth "guided" devotional will undoubtedly be disappointed, but those desiring a more reflective and meditative form of devotion will certainly be inspired.
The biography section gives a brief overview of each author quoted, useful as most readers will not be aware of all of the Church Fathers featured. The bibliography/reference section is especially helpful for pastors and teachers hoping to dig deeper, and explore the context of the quotes.
Some will be concerned length of book overall, and the length of daily quote are typically only one or two sentences long, with no commentary or gloss outside of this. Indeed, the book is around 40% biography and bibliography. Some may also question the decision to list the references in a bibliography, and not simply print them in-line, and may resent having to flick to the back to find references every day
Sadly, this book is not for everyone, and unfortunately, will likely not win over newcomers to the writings of the Church Fathers. The lack of commentary or guided reflection may be a stumbling block for those who are not already familiar with the works and authors cited, who are not willing to dig deeper on their own, or who are not accustomed to reflective and meditative devotion, and the price will likely not reflect it's true value. But for those who are, it will be an inspiring and enlightening trip into the world of the first to third century church, and those who helped shape Christianity for us all.
Reviewer: Luke Hughes-Bunger