Early Church Father Resources

Hello, I recently finished reading When the CHurch was Young by Marcellino D’Ambrosio. FAscinating book.

Anyways I made a list of all the early documents of the church fathers that were referenced that interested me. I’m going through amazon right now and adding them to my wish list but I was wondering if anyone has a resource where all of these can be found? I’m envisioning something like an encyclopedia set that has many of these writing inside. Obviously nothing will be ALL inclusive, but just wanting to see what is out there before buying everything individually. Below are the items I’m looking for:

The 1st and 2nd Apologies of Justin Martyr
The Didache
The Maryrdom of St. Polycarp,
The epistle to Diogn
Letters of Ignatius
Gnostic gospel of Thomas
Against Heresies
Origen de principiis
Apostolic tradion by Hippolytus
LIfe of Antony
Ambrose letter to the theodosius
Augustine confessions
John Henry Newman Apologia pro vita sua
John’s homilies
Protoevangelion of St. James
Jerome on the Perpetual virginity
Vulgate of Jerome
Gregory the Great Pastoral Care

Try the link under Fathers at Newadvent.org. They have tons of writings from the early Church Fathers, along with pseudo-gospels and Gnostic texts.

Also, if you have a Kindle there are some free versions of these books that are in the public domain.

Barring that you may look up the project Gutenberg site, which has a bunch of public domain books available. Or you can also try archive.org which has public domain stuff for free too.


Thanks a bunch!

I was going to recommend archive.org. There are plenty of older works that are really cool. This one, for example, has the Didache, plus a lot of Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Barnabas. Often times, the original Greek is put down, in addition to the English.

Or here, you have an audiobook version of Pastoral Care.

Whole hours disappear at the archive.org site. It’s a dangerous place. :smiley: It’s also bad for me thinking, “Wow, that was great. I’d like to go buy a hard copy of this one… and this one… and this one, too…”

Christian Classics Ethereal Library, www.ccel.org, also has a large online collection of Early Church Fathers as well as other writings.

Add to your list someone I’m currently reading:

The Hexaemeron

by St. Basil the Great

Here ya go.

Assuming you already have a Bible and a catechism, it is the best 40 bucks on books you’ll ever spend!


Early Christian Writings


The above online resources are excellent. Some additional writings can be found in Jurgens’ 3-volume Faith of the Early Fathers.

Wow you guys are all awesome. Thanks so much!

so archive.org is only online reading? can’t purchase anything? I’m not a huge fan of running off of a screen but I will check it out. DO they have an app for ios by any chance?

This series is with more modern scholarship and was done by Catholics in the 20th Century and have an Imprimatur:

Vol 1.* The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch **(Ancient Christian Writers)*

These volumes are the ones that you find on many websites and were edited by Protestants, Philip Schaff and Alexander Roberts, in the 19th century. The commentary can at times be biased but the content is fine. They can be bought in 3 separate sets, some of the series is in single volume or you can purchase a complete set of 38 volumes:

The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes
Enjoy your reading


Latin Vulgate

This not a Catholic Edition of the Bible. Some of the books are only in the Orthodox canon.

Jerome’s Latin Vulgate

This not a Catholic Edition of the Bible. It contains some books included in the Orthodox Canon.

I use the information to track down books from book vendors. So, for example, say I’m reading “A History of Penance” by Oscar Daniel Watkins, and I like it enough to go get my own hard copy for my shelves. I see it was published in 1920. I look it up on Amazon, and find one, possibly two, copies of the original 1920 edition, plus about seven POD editions. I’ve had bad luck with sloppy POD editions, so unless it has good reviews, I generally stay away from those. Then I double-check it against AbeBooks, and use the “advanced search” filter for all editions prior to, say, 1930. Then I check eBay, which currently displays two POD versions, but also brings up “A New History of Penance” (2008, ISBN 9789004122123), which I mentally file away to investigate. I make my decision based on price, condition, etc, and go buy something.

Alternatively, I’ll use in the information to request a hard copy through my library’s Interlibrary Loan system, but I can’t always get through the book before I need to return it. If the book is sufficiently obscure or old, some libraries are reluctant to send them out on loan.

This is awesome! exactly what I had in mind. I’ll have to pass on to my wife for a bday or xmas present.

Have you purchased any of these volumes? Is it straight text or are there commentaires as well? When you say it has an Imprimatur does that mean it is approved by the church?

I have not purchased any hardback copies but I have the 38 volume set on my computer.

Both the Catholic version and the Protestant one have commentary at the end of the text, actually I would call them notes, to put it better, but like I said the 38 vol. set does have biased commentary/notes against Catholicism in some places and is from the 19th century.

This is only my opinion, but if I were to start purchasing books of the Church Fathers I would begin with the Ancient Christian Writers series by Catholic scholars, first because it is from the **20th century **and new texts are taken into consideration and second, the notes are Catholic so there is no need to worry. Added to that, I checked out the index of the first volume at Amazon and these are some of the entries that I found:

  1. “Eucharist” with 7 references in the volume

  2. “Christ in the Eucharist”

  3. “Bishop” with 31 references

4)“Authority in the Church” with 9 references; “Baptism”, “Priests”, “Church of Rome” etc…

So if you start buying these you are getting the Church Fathers from a Catholic perspective which is great because the Fathers were Catholic!

You can always research the Protestant 38 Vol. series online if you choose, but you will always have the most recent scholarship in hand with the *Ancient Christian Writers series *.

The Imprimatur means the book contains nothing contrary to faith and morals. The link goes into more detail.

BTW here is the complete list of volumes from the Ancient Christian Writers series, the volumes of which seem to be cheaper at Amazon.

Hope this was a help


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