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The Ante-Nicene Period

The Ante-Nicene Period (literally meaning "before Nicaea"), or Post-Apostolic Period, of the history of early Christianity spanned the late first century to the early fourth century, with the end marked by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Christianity during this time was extremely diverse, with many developments difficult to trace and follow. There is also a relative paucity of available material and this period is less studied than the preceding Apostolic Age and historical ages following it. Nevertheless, this portion of Christianity history is important, having a significant impact on the development of Christianity.

Christianity throughout the second and third centuries have generally been less studied than the periods that came before (Apostolic Age) and after it (First seven Ecumenical Councils). This is reflected in that it is usually referred to in terms of the adjacent periods with names as such "post-apostolic" (after the period of 1st century formative Christianity) and "ante-Nicene" (before the First Council of Nicaea). However, the second and third centuries are quite important in the development of Christianity.

There is a relative lack of material for this period, compared with the later Church Father period. For example, a widely used collection (Ante-Nicene Fathers) includes most second and third century writings in nine volumes. This includes the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Apologists, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen of Alexandria and the New Testament Apocrypha, among others. In contrast, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (consisting mainly of Augustine, Jerome and Chrysostom) fills twenty-eight volumes.
source: Wikipedia
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