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Patristics and Early Christianity

Locating Primary Texts: Overview

Locating primary texts for Patristic authors can be confusing.  Citations often contain cryptic abbreviations such as PL, PG, SC, FC, NPNF, etc.  Experienced scholars in this area will usually know what these abbreviations mean, but for the researcher new to this area, it can be confusing.

Below we have presented abbreviations most often seen in the area of Patristics along with the work or series of work to which each abbreviation corresponds.  Click on the links for more information about each resource or series, courtesy of Yale libraries. 

PL Patrologiae cursus completus...Series Latina (Patrologia Latina)
PG Patrologiae cursus completus...Series Graeca (Patrologia Graeca)
PO Patrologia Orientalis
ANF Ante-Nicene Fathers
NPNF Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
FC Fathers of the Church
CC Corpus Christianorum 
ECF Early Church Fathers
SC Sources Chrétiennes

Patrologiae Cursus Completus...Series Latina (Patrologia Latina -- PL)

Patrologia LatinaBeginning in 1844, Jacques Paul Migne, a French monk, began publishing what came to be the 217 volumes that make up the Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, more commonly known as the Patrologia Latina (PL)The PL together with the Patrologia Graeca comprise the Patrologiae Cursus Completus.

The PL includes over 1000 years of Latin works from Tertullian to Pope Innocent III, in 217 volumes: volumes 1 to 73, from Tertullian to Gregory of Tours, were published from 1844 to 1849, and volumes 74 to 217, from Pope Gregory I to Innocent III, from 1849 to 1855.

Holdings:  SBTS Library General Collections

Online Access: Online access to the texts of the PL is available from a number of locations. The Patrologia Latina Database (PLD) is a comprehensive electronic version.  Free online access to PDFs of page images is available from Documenta Catholica Omnia.  Links to individual volumes of the PL in Google Books are available at http://cyprianproject.info/PL.htm.

Patrologiae Cursus Completus...Series Graeca (Patrologia Graeca -- PG)

Patrologia GraecaBeginning in 1857, Jacques Paul Migne, a French monk, began publishing what came to be the 161 volumes that make up the Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca, more commonly known as the Patrologia Graeca (PG). The PG together with the Patrologia Latina (see above) make up the Patrologiae Cursus Completus

The PG comprises the works of the Greek Fathers from the first century (pseudo-Clement) to 1478 (Calliste), and also all major and minor Greek authors and the most important texts of Christian Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Among the works will be found (in reference editions for many of them) : Irenæus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus Confessor, John Damascene, Georgius Pachymeres, Symeon Metaphrastes and many more.

Holdings:  SBTS General Collections.

Online Access: Online access to the texts of the PG is available from a number of locations.  The Patrologia Graeca database provides links to page images of the work; it is not the easiest database to navigate however.  Index of /pgm/PG_Migne is organized by author, not volume, and provides links to downloadable searchable PDFs of the text of the PG, but not actual page images (and page numbers are not included.)  Links to individual volumes of the PG in Google Books are available at http://cyprianproject.info/PG.htm.

Patrologia Orientalis

The Patrologia Orientalis is an attempt to create a comprehensive collection of the writings by eastern Church Fathers as a complement to the Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca.  In includes writings by eastern Church Fathers in Syriac, Armenian and Arabic, Coptic, Amharic, Georgian, Slavonic. It was started in 1897 as the Patrologia Syriaca, was discontinued in its original form and replaced by the Patrologia Orientalis. The collection began with those liturgical texts that touch on hagiography. Since then critical editions of the Bible, theological works, homilies and letters have been published.

Holdings:  SBTS General Collections

Online Access: Online access to some (not all) of the texts of the Patrologia Orientalis is available from the Internet Archive.

Ante-Nicene Fathers

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, subtitled "The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325", is a collection of books in 10 volumes (one volume is indexes) containing English translations of the majority of early Christian writings. The period covers the beginning of Christianity until before the promulgation of the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea.

Online Access: Online access to Ante-Nicene Fathers is available from a number of locations.

A free web version of the Ante-Nicene Fathers is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library website, available as part of the Early Church Fathers database.

Other web sites providing access to the Ante-Nicene Fathers include: 

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

 

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF), is a set of books containing translations of early Christian writings into English. It was published between 1886 and 1900.

Online Access: Online access to Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is available from a number of locations.

A free web version of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library website, available as part of the Early Church Fathers database.

Other web sites providing access to the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers include: 

Fathers of the Church

Fathers of the Church is a series published by Catholic University of America (CUA) Press. 

All 123 volumes from the holdings of the SBTS Library can also be browsed in Worldcat.

 

Corpus Christianorum

Corpus ChristianorumCorpus Christianorum is a series published by Brepols.  The goal of the series is "to produce critical editions of texts by Christian authors from Late Antiquity till the end of the Middle Ages."  There are a number of subseries within the Corpus Christianorum, including Series Graeca, Series Latina, Series Apocryphorum, and Continuatio Mediaevalis.  For studies in early Christianity and Patristics, the texts within the Series Graeca and Series Latina are probably most relevant.  More information on the project is available on the Corpus Christianorum website.

Holdings: SBTS Library

Indexes: The Clavis Patrum Latinorum serves as an index to the writings of the Latin patristic authors and can be used to locate writings in the Corpus Christianorum: Series Latina. Authors and writings are arranged chronologically and a variety of indexes assist in locating material by title and type of work.  These provide correspondences between the Clavis numbers and the numbering or pagination of seventeen collections or lists of Latin writings. The Clavis numbering is the basis for the publishing programme of the Corpus Christianorum Series Latina.  

Early Church Fathers -- Series

The Early Church Fathers is a series published by Routledge that makes available translations of key selected texts by the major Fathers of the church.  More information on the series is available on the Routledge Early Church Fathers web page.

Sources Chr├ętiennes

Sources Chretiénnes (SC) is a series comprised of patristic texts and published by the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes.  The holdings of the SBTS library for this massive series are incomplete, but to see libraries which hold volumes from the series beyond just what we hold, simply change the search limits from "SBTS Library" to "Libraries Worldwide."