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Patristics/Early Church History

This guide identifies resources on patristics and early church history found in Pius XII Memorial Library. The guide is intended for use by both beginning or advanced graduate students and faculty.


The fundamental corpus of patristic (and medieval) Christian writings was published by Abbe J.P. Migne in the nineteenth century in two series:  Patrologia Cursus Completus:  Series Prima (Latin texts) and Patrologia Cursus Completus:  Series Graeca (Greek texts with Latin translations).  Pius Library owns two sets of each series;  one is in the Vatican Film Library; the other is in Lewis Annex.  The library provides access for Saint Louis University faculty, staff, and students to the online version, the Patrologia Latina Database.

Migne reprinted pre-exisiting texts that were often antiquated even at the time he published them and errors were sometimes introduced in the reprinting process.  Therefore, the scholar needs to consult a more recent critical edition if one is available.  There are several important ongoing series of modern critical editions of early Christian writings (such as Corpus Christianorum) with which the student of patristics should be familiar.  Basic information on these series can be found in Quasten's Patrology, vol. 1, pp. 13-16, Altaner's Patrology, pp. 38ff. (eighth German edition, pp. 38ff.), Poucet's Aux sources de l'antiquite greco-romaine, pp. 19-23 or Drobner's Lehrbuch, pp. xxxvii-xxxix or online information on Christian literary sources is available through the Bibliotheca Classica Selecta.  For information on important series of English translations, see the references from Quasten and Altaner above as well as Robinson, Early Church, pp. 36-38.

Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graecae.  3rd ed.  3 vols.  Brussels: Society of Bollandists. 1957.  Ref. BX394.B53 1957

Included in Clavis Clavium.  Listing of Greek hagiographical manuscripts and documents alphabetically by author.

Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latinae antiquae et mediae aetatis.  4 vols. Brussels: Society of Bollandists.  1898-1901, 1911, 1986.                            Ref. BX 4662.B53 1898

Included in Clavis Clavium.  Listing of all pre-sixteenth Latin literature on saints in alphabetical order by name.

Clavis Clavium.

Open access source from Brepols combining the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graecae, Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latinae, Clavis Patrum Graecorum, and Clavis Patrum Latinorum.

Dekkers, Eligius.  Clavis Patrum Latinorum qua in Corpus Christianorum edendum optimas quasque Scriptorum Recensiones a Tertulliano ad Bedam commode recludit.  3rd ed. Steenbrugis:  Brepols, 1995.
     Ref. BR66.5.D45 1995

"An extensive index to the published texts of the Latin church fathers" (Kepple, Reference Works) and the counterpart to the Clavis Patrum Graecorum (see below).  Serves as a catalog of the authors already included or proposed for the Corpus Christianorum:  Series Latina.  The first four chapters are chronological starting with the antenicene writers and ending with the Venerable Bede.  Subsequent chapters include listings for various genres and types of sources, e.g., grammarians and rhetoricians, lives of saints, etc.  Each entry (i.e. title) is numbered; these Clavis numbers may be used to search the Library of Latin Texts.  Four indexes:  patristic authors and titles, subject, saints, and first lines.  Concordance tables with other indexes (e.g. H.J. Frede's Kirchenschriftsteller, Verzeichnis und Sigel) or editions of texts (e.g. Migne's Patrologia Latina may be found at the end of the volume.

Epistolari Cristiani (secc. I-V): Repertorio Bibliografico.  3 vols.  Rome:  Benedictina Editrice, 1990.
     BR62.E65 1990

A guide to editions and translations of early Christian epistolary literature.  There are entries for both individual fathers and collections of letters pertaining to particular councils and synods.  Vol. 1 covers Greek and Latin letters from the first through third centuries; the other two volumes cover the Latin (vol. 2) and Greek (vol. 3) letters of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Geerard, Mauritius, ed.  Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 1992.
     Ref. BS2851.C538 1992

Index of published editions and bibliography on New Testament Apocrypha.

Geerard, Mauritius, ed.  Clavis Patrum Graecorum qua optimae quaeque scriptorum patrum graecorum recensiones a primaevis saeculis usque ad octauum commode recluduntur.  5 vols + supplements.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 1974-2003.
     Ref. BR60.C55 1974

Essentially does for the Greek fathers what the Clavis Patrum Latinorum does for the Latin fathers.  The first three volumes list writings in chronological order; vol.1 covers the first three centuries (Apostolic Fathers to Hippolytus);  vol.2 covers the fourth century (Athanasius to John Chrysostom); vol.3 covers the fifth through the eighth centuries (Cyril of Alexandria to John of Damascus).  The fourth volume covers church councils (from the Council of Ancyra (314 A.D.) to the Trullan Synod (691 A.D.) and catenae.  Included in the fifth volume are indexes of names and titles, bible and liturgy, first lines and concordance tables with other indexes (e.g. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca) or editions of texts (e.g. Migne's Patrologia Graeca).  A supplemental volume updating the information in the five earlier volumes was published in 1998.

Haelst, Joseph van.  Catalogue des Papyrus Litteraires Juifs et Chretiens.  Paris:  Publications de la Sorbonne, 1976.
     Vatican Film Library Ref. BR60.H32 1976

Listing of papyrus manuscripts for patristic authors as well as inter alia apocryphal, hagiographic, gnostic and magical writings.

Keller, Adalbert.  Translationes patristicae graecae et latinae:  Bibliographie der Ubersetzungen altchristlicher Quellen.  2 vols.  Stuttgart:  A. Hiersemann, 1997, 2004.
     Ref. BR66.5.K45 1997

A comprehensive bibliography of translations of works by early Christian authors through Isidor of Seville († 636) in the West and John of Damascus († 750) in the East.  Includes translations into German, English, French, Italian, and Spanish.  Arranged alphabetically by the name of the ancient author.

Kristeller, Paul Oskar.  Latin Manuscript Books Before 1600:  A List of the Printed Catalogues and Unpublished Inventories of Extant Collections.  4th ed. revised and enlarged by Sigrid Kraemer.  Muenchen:  Monumenta Germaniae Historica, 1993.
     Vat. Film Ref. DD3 .M84

Essentially a catalogue of manuscript catalogues.  This tool will not identify manuscripts of individual writers but identifies catalogues where such information may be found.  Four sections:  "Bibliography and Statistics of Libraries and their Collections of Manuscripts," "Works Describing Manuscripts of More than One City," "Printed Catalogues and Handwritten Inventories of Individual Libraries, by Cities," and "Directories and Guides to Libraries and Archives."

Sieben, Hermann Josef.  Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament:  ein Repertorium der Textausgaben und Übersetzungen, mit einem Anhang der Kirchenväterkommentare.  Steenbrugis:  In Abbatia S. Petri;  The Hague:  M. Nijhoff, 1991.
     Ref. BR60.A65 S53 1991

Lists homilies by the Church Fathers on New Testament texts with information on where they may be found;  arranged by biblical reference.  An appendix lists patristic New Testament commentaries arranged by biblical book.