Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Early Church History

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Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


  • Patrology.  Quasten. (4 Volumes) This series places at the disposal of the English reading public a solid introduction to early Christian literature.

    Reference BR67 .Q3 1986

  • Wiley Companion to Patristics. 2015. This comprehensive volume brings together a team of distinguished scholars to create a wide-ranging introduction to patristic authors and their contributions to theology, spirituality, philosophy, ecclesiology, linguistics, hagiography, liturgics, homiletics, iconology, and other fields.

  • From Nicaea to Chalcedon: A Guide to the Literature and Its Background. 2nd ed. 2010. This book sets out to be a companion to standard textbooks, providing background material, an introduction to the characters involved in early church disputes, to the literary sources, and the critical questions which they pose.

  • The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. 2008. This Handbook provides an introduction to the academic study of early Christianity (c. 100-600 AD) and examines the vast geographical area impacted by the early church, in Western and Eastern late antiquity. It is thematically arranged to encompass history, literature, thought, practices, and material culture.

    Reference BR121.3 .O99 2008

  • The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Apocrypha. 2015.  This Handbook addresses issues and themes that arise in the study of early Christian apocryphal literature. It discusses key texts. Part One consists of authoritative surveys of the main branches of apocryphal literature (gospels, acts, epistles, apocalypses, and related literature) and Part Two considers key issues that they raise.

    Reference BR121.3 .O99 2008

  • Patrology. The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (750). DiBerardino, Walford and Quasten.  Instituto Patristico Augustinum. This work brings together in an accessible and digestible form the current status of scholarship on the writings of the Eastern Fathers in the period between the Council of Chalcedon and the death of John of Damascus.

    Reference BR67 .Q33 2006

  • The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction.  2007.  Hubertus R. Drobner brings patristics scholarship up to date in this traditional introduction. His work is sufficiently broad to be a useful summary of early Christian history and the expansive strokes of doctrinal debate and development and provides a clear presentation of early Christian thought.

    Reference BR67 .D7613 2007

Journals and Databases

ATLA Religion Database  Online through EBSCOhost. Contains over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles, essays in books, and book reviews in the field of religion. Also contains some full-text access to articles.

Find these Journals in here:

  • Journal of Early Christian Studies  Focuses on the study of Christianity in the context of late ancient societies and religions from C.E. 100-700.

  • Vigiliae Christianae  Contains articles and short notes of an historical, cultural, linguistic or philological nature on early Christian literature written after the New Testament, as well as on Christian epigraphy and archaeology.

  • Zeitschrift für antikes Christentum/ Journal of Ancient Christianity  A refereed academic journal that aims at encouraging the dialogue between scholars of church history, history of religion, and classical antiquity with all its subdisciplines.

  • Journal of Ecclesiastical History  Publishes original research articles, scholarly reviews, review articles, notes and documents, relating to all aspects of the history of Christianity. The journal's scope extends to cultural, institutional, intellectual, political, social and any other relevant form of history; to all periods from ancient to modern; and to all regions of the world.

Print Only Journals

Studia Patristica.  The journal is the official publication of the Oxford International Conference on Patristic Studies.

Understanding Source Citations

Many times references to the works of the Church Fathers can be confusing, filled with abbreviations for common primary sources. Below is a list of some of the most common abbreviations with their sources.

PL Patrologiae cursus completes … Series Latina
PG Patrologiae cursus completes … Series Graeca
PO Patrologia Orientalis
ANF Ante-Nicene Fathers
NPNF Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
FC Fathers of the Church
ECF Early Christian Fathers
SXC Sources Chrétienes