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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.


On the term "patrology," its various meanings, and the history of patrologies, see the essay "Modern Patrologies" by Angelo Di Berardino in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics, pp. 51-67 (BR60.A65 W55 2015)

Altaner, Berthold and Alfred Stuiber.  Patrologie:   Leben, Schriften und Lehre der Kirchenväter.  8th ed. Freiburg, Basel, Wien:  Herder, 1980.  Ref. BR67.A37 1980

_____. Patrology.  transl.  by Hilda C. Graef (based on 5th German ed. of 1958).  Freiburg:  Herder and Herder, 1960. Ref. BR67.A37 1960A

The eighth German edition is more up to date in its bibligraphies than the English translation of the fifth edition; otherwise, the text is basically the same.  For descriptions of the English edition see Kepple, Reference Works , p. 135 (#BB1); Robinson, Early Church, p. 33 (#3.1).

Bardenhewer, Otto.  Geschichte der Altkirchlichen Literatur.  2 ed. 5 vols.  Freiburg im Breisgau:  Herdersche Verlagshandlung, 1913-1932.  BR67.B3 1913

An older but still useful patrology.  The first volume's coverage extends to the beginning of the fourth century;  the second volume's from the end of the second century to the beginning of the fourth; the third volume covers the fourth century with the exception of Syriac writers; the fourth volume covers the fifth century and includes Syriac writers of the fourth century; the fifth volume covers the sixth to the eighth centuries and includes material on the earliest Armenian writers.  

Dopp, Siegmar and Wilehlm Goerlings, eds., Lexicon der antiken christlichen Literature.  3rd ed.  Freiburg; Basel; Vienna: Herder, 2002.  Ref. BR66.5.L48 2002

This latest incarnation of the Altaner-Stuiber Patrology (listed above) has quickly established itself since the first edition was published in 1998.  Articles remain brief and are intended to give an initial impression of the subject's personality and oeuvre and to provide bibliographical guidance only to the most important text editions and secondary literature.  In addition to the prospographical articles, there are articles on various literary-historical subjects and genres.  An English translation of the first edition, the Dictionary of early Christian Literature is available at Ref. BR66.5 .L4813 2000.

Drobner, Hubertus R.  The Fathers of the Church: a comprehensive introduction. Peabody, Mass.:  Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. Ref. BR67.D7613 2007

The most up-to-date one-volume patrology in English is a translation of the first German edition of Lehrbuch der Patrologie (1994) (BR67.D762) with "corrections, additions, updates, and improvements" and thoroughly updated bibliographies (preface).  A third edition of the German title is now available (Ref. BR67.D762 2011) which incorporates significant changes in the second German edition of 2004 (not included in the English translation) and a bibliographic supplement covering the years 2004-2011 (pp. 521-562). The library also owns Italian (BR67.D76216 1998) and French (BR67.D76214 1999) revised translations. 

Moreschini, Claudio and Enrico Norelli.  Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature:  A Literary History.  2 vols.  Peabody, Mass.:  Hendrickson Publishers, 2005.  Ref. BR67.M73 2005

A more discursive treatment of early Christian literary history which, however, still retains much of the bio-bibliographical arrangement of the standard patrologies.  Bibliographies are "deliberately left scanty;" listing only "fundamental or recent works" in addition to critical editions and translations.

Quasten, Johannes.  Patrology.  3 vols.  Utrecht:  Spectrum, 1950-1986. Ref. BR67.Q3 1950

Vols. 1 and 2 were later translated into Italian as vol. 1 of the Italian title listed below and vol. 3 as vol. 2 of the Italian edition.  More detailed than the one volume patrologies listed here; however, the one volume patrologies will have more up-to-date bibliographies.  See Robinson, Early Church, p. 35 (3.7), Kepple, Reference Works, p. 135 (BB2).  

Quasten, Johannes and Angelo di Berardino.  Patrologia.  5 vols.  Genoa, IT:  Marietti, 1967- .  Ref. BR67.Q316.

In Italian.  Vols. 1-2 are translations of the 3 vols. of Quasten's Patrology (see previous title).  Vol. 3-5 appeared originally in Italian.  Vol. 3 appeared subsequently in English as Patrology:  The Golden Age of Latin Patristic Literature from the Council of Ncea to the Council of Chalcedon (Ref. BR67.Q3 1986); vol. 5 appeared as Patrology:  The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (†750) (Ref. BR67.Q32 2006).  Vol. 4 covering the period from the council of Chalcedon (451) to Bede has not been translated.

Young, Frances, Lewis Ayres, and Andrew Louth.  The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature.  Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press, 2004.  Ref. BR67.C25 2004

Even more "discursive" than the title by Moreschini and Norelli listed above, this book offers a series of essays by fifteen different scholars on major figures, authors, ancient schools of interpretation, and major controversies in the early church.  The aim is "to provide a coherent focus, and to concentrate on the literature, its interpretation and significance, and its context, historical, social, philosophical."