Skip to main content
Banner Image

Early Christianity / Patristics: Primary Texts

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 link to find information on these resources and how to locate them at the 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 (see below) make up 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.

Location:  Yale Divinity Library, Room L7 (located on the G Level, it is the alcove to the right of the Pope Seminar Room), Call Number: BR60 .M54.

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.

Location:  Yale Divinity Library, Room L7 (located on the G Level, it is the alcove to the right of the Pope Seminar Room), Call Number: BR60 .M53.

Other locations: Sterling Memorial Library, Call Number BR60 M53 Oversize.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Location:  The volumes of the Patrologia Orientalis are shelved separately by title.  To locate a volume, do an Advanced Search in Orbis by the title or author and the series Patrologia Orientalis.  For example, if you wanted to search for writings by Severus of Antioch in the Patrologia Orientalis, you would construct your search as follows:

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.

Location: Yale Divinity Library, Call Number: BR60 A62 A5 1978;
Pope Seminar Room (G-Level), Call Number: BR60 A62 A5 1978;
Trowbridge Reference Room, Call Number: BR60 A62 A5 1978;
Stack Reference (does not circulate), Call Number: BR60 A62 A5 1885

 

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

Within the Divinity Library, the Libronix edition of the Ante-Nicene Fathers is available on Workstation B in the Trowbridge Reference Room and on Workstation D in the Pope Seminar Room (G-Level).  To access, from the Start menu, click Libronix Digital Library System, then click on the My Library button at the top; scroll down to access Ante-Nicene Fathers.

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.

Location: Yale Divinity Library, Call Number: BR60 A62 S4 ser.1 1978 (series 1); BR60 A62 S4 ser. 2 1978 (series 2)
Trowbridge Reference Room, Call Number: BR60 A62 S4 ser. 1 1978 (series 1); BR60 A62 S4 ser. 2 1978 (series 2)

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

Within the Divinity Library, the Libronix edition of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is available on Workstation B in the Trowbridge Reference Room and on Workstation D in the Pope Seminar Room (G-Level).  To access, from the Start menu, click Libronix Digital Library System, then click on the My Library button at the top; scroll down to access Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

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. 

Location: Most of these titles are available in the Yale Divinity Library stacks, beginning with call number BR60 F3 A4 (which is the volume on Ambrose of Milan).  This series can also be searched through the Orbis catalog by using the Advanced Search as follows:

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.

Location: Most of the volumes of the Corpus Christianorum series can be found in the Yale Divinity Library, beginning with Call Number BR60 C47 for the Series Graeca and BR60 C49 for the Series Latina.

Online Access: The complete Series Latina of the Corpus Christianorum is available online through the Library of Latin Texts database.

Indexes: The Clavis Patrum Latinorum, located in the Trowbridge Reference Room, Call Number Z7791 D45 1995, 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 and also serves as a reference tool in the electronic Library of Latin Texts (CLCLT).  

 

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. All of the titles within the series are available at Yale, and many are available electronically as well as in print.  More information on the series is available on the Routledge Early Church Fathers web page.

*Please note that the Early Church Fathers database located on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, is not related to the Routledge series Early Church Fathers.

Current titles within the Early Church Father series are:

Ambrose Jerome
Athanasius John Chrysostom
Cyril of Alexandria Leo the Great
Cyril of Jerusalem Maximus the Confessor
Early Christian Latin Poets
  • Early Christian Latin Poets
    Location: Yale Divinity Library
    Call Number: PA6053 W47X 2000
    Also available online
Origen
Evagrius Ponticus Severus of Antioch
Gregory of Nazianzus Tertullian
Gregory of Nyssa Theodore of Mopsuestia
Gregory the Great Theodoret of Cyrus
Irenaeus Theophilus of Alexandria

Sources Chr├ętiennes

Sources Chretiénnes (SC) is a series comprised of patristic texts and published by the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes.  To locate texts within this series, use the Advanced Search in Orbis to search as follows:

  • In the first search box, type in Sources Chretiénnes, select as a phrase, and Search in Series.
  • Connect to the second search box by checking AND.
  • In the second search box, type in the name of the patristic author.

As an example, you see the following citation for a work by Gregory of Nazianzus:

Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. 32, SC318.

To find this work, you would search as follows:

 

 

 


Yale Divinity Library

Suzanne Estelle-Holmer
Contact:
Yale Divinity School Library
409 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

L-203
203-432-5292