This article is incomplete and will be undergoing updates.(This is one of the areas of textual criticism about which I knowthe least.)As it stands now it comes from a limited list of sources and hasnot been checked. It is advised that the reader not place greatreliance on this information without confirming it elsewhere.
It should also be remembered that information about theFathers is perhaps subject to more disagreement than any otherarea in textual criticism. You can't expect everyone to agreeon everything!
If you have suggestions or can offer additional information,please contact me.
Contents: Introduction *List of Fathers Cited in NA27 or Merk *Where Fathers are Cited in NA27 and Merk *How to Use Patristic Testimony *References/Thanks To
The text of the New Testament, it is said, is attested by a three-fold cord:the Manuscripts, the Versions, and the Fathers (often called Patristic Evidence).
Of the three, the Fathers (as we call citations of the New Testament in thewritings of various ancient authors) are perhaps the most problematic. Althoughit has been said, not too inaccurately, that we could reconstruct the entireNew Testament from the surviving quotations, the task would be much more difficult.The Fathers' texts are often loosely cited, and they are not well-organized.
Still, the Fathers are vital for reconstructing the history of the text,for only they can give us information about where and when a reading circulated.Properly used, they can also provide important support for readings otherwisepoorly attested. A proper appreciation of their value is thus an importantrequirement for textual criticism.
The number of authors who have left some sort of literary remains is probablybeyond counting. Even if we omit most of them -- which we should; there isn'tmuch critical value in a comment in an Easter table by an unknown monk, or in abrief citation of the Vulgate in a twelfth century Book of Hours -- thereare still hundreds who have appeared in one or another critical edition.For reasons of space, this page is devoted primarily to the Fathers cited inthe editions of Nestle-Aland and Merk. Readers who wish to learn about moreobscure Fathers, or to learn more about the Fathers cited here, are stronglyurged to consult a Patrology.
One other note: Just like the New Testament itself, the writings of the fathersneed to be critically reconstructed. And the methods of reconstruction oftendiffer from those of NT textual criticism. Although the works of some fatherswere copied repeatedly, most survive in very fragmentary form. This makes thetask of reconstruction much harder. The tools of classical criticism are oftenmore useful -- and conjectural emendation is often necessary.
The list below gives the names of every Father reported to be cited in theeditions of Nestle-Aland27 and Merk. The first line of each entry lists the name of each Father, his date, the languagein which he wrote (not always the language in which the writings are preserved),and the abbreviations usedby Nestle and Merk. This is followed by a brief biography. For moreimportant fathers I have also tried to give information about the text-type(s)found in their writings.
For a fuller list of fathers (but usually with shorter biographies)and a list of references one is referred to theAland/Aland volume The Text of the New Testament or to a Patrology.
The most convenient English translation of many of the Fathers are to befound in the series The Ante-Nicene Fathers and its followers(major portions of which were at one time available on-line athttp://www.sni.net/advent/fathers/,though the site has moved and I have not found its replacement-- but it should be noted that these translations are often rather rough, that manyare based on non-critical texts, and that a number lack scriptural indices.In addition, the on-line versions were scanned from the printed texts, and inmany instances have not been proofread and contain significant errors.The student would probably be better advised to seek more modern translations.
Note: The table of fathers in Merk is extremely inaccurate. Some fathers(e.g. Beatus) are cited under symbols different from those listed in the table.Other fathers cited in the text (e.g. Bede) are simply omitted from Merk's list.There are also instances whereI have not been able to identify the father Merk is citing. I have done my best tosilently correct his errors (meaning that this table is a better referencefor his edition than is the edition itself!), but I have often had to simplytrust what his introduction says. (Sorry!)
For those who wish to check my sources, I am slowly adding them at the endof each item, enclosed in square brackets. A list of the sourcesconsulted is found at the end of the document.
Acacius of Caesarea. d. 366. Greek. Nestle: Acac.
Bishop of Cæsarea following Eusebius. [AA]
Adamantius. IV. Greek. Nestle: Ad. Merk: Ad.
"Adamantius" was an author who wrote under one of Origen'salternate names, although his opinions are often in conflict with Origen.The work De recta in deum fide survives in Greek and in Rufinus'sLatin translation. The Greek is clearly from after 325 (probablyfrom the 330s), which has led some to believe that the Latin isactually an earlier form. But this now seems unlikely. [US, AA]
Agathangelus. V. Armenian. Merk: Ag.
Agathangelus is one of the earliest Armenian authors.He claimed to be the secretary of the king Tiridates III(reigned c. 284-314) and is the author of an "Armenian History"covering the period 230-235, leading up to the conversion of Armenia by St. Gregory the Illuminator. Aganthanelus's writingsinclude a long section called "The Teaching of St Gregory,"containing allusions to the works of the Church Fathers of thefourth and fifth centuries. Many of his scriptural quotationsseem to be related to the Diatessaron. [JV, BMM1]
Ambrose. d. c.397. Latin. Nestle: Ambr. Merk: Amb.
Born probably in the second quarter of the fourth century (339?) in Trier,and given a classical and legal education, he was assigned to a governmentpost in the region of Milan around 370. In 373/374 he was baptised and madebishop (by popular demand and apparently against his will -- it is said a child criedout "Bishop Ambrose," and the crowd took up the call). In thatrole he was responsible for baptising Augustine of Hippo; he alsoexercised significant influence on several Emperors (among other things, heforced Theodosius the Great to perform penance for a massacre, and was anambassador between emperors in the interregnum preceding Theodosius's reign). Hismajor work on the New Testament was a commentary on Luke, and he alsowrote treatises such as De Fide ad Gratianum (to the new Emperor Gratian)and De Spiritu Sancto (381). He also may have had some influence onthe liturgy, and has even been credited with the Athanasian Creed. For all this,Ambrose is perhaps mostsignificant for the respect in which he was held (his writings aregenerally not very profound or original; De Spiritu Sancto, for instance,owes a great deal to Basil the Great. This causedseveral writers to have their works appear under his name --including Ambrosiaster,whose commentary on Paul is far more important textually than any ofAmbrose's works. Ambrose himself is thought to have worked with Greek originalsat times; his Old Latin quotations are thought to resemble those offf2, while in Paul his text is close to Ambrosiaster's. Paulinuswrite his biography. [20CE, AA, AS, HC, PDAH]
Pseudo-Ambrose. Latin. Nestle: Ps Ambr.
Ambrosiaster. fl. 366-384. Latin. Nestle: Ambst. Merk: Ambst.
Name given to an author ofthe time of Pope Damasus (366-384 C.E.) whose writingswere credited to Ambrose (also sometimes to Hilary and Augustine).(The name "Ambrosiaster" was proposed by Erasmus, whodemonstrated that Ambrose was not the author of the works.) It is thought thathe was a high civil official, and very strongly Roman, with adisdain for Greek learning. Ambrosiaster's most importantwork is a Latin commentary on the Pauline Epistles (excluding Hebrews),unusual for its lack of allegorical interpretations. It is probablythe single most important source of Latin patristic quotations. The larger part of theEpistles is cited. He clearly worked from an Old Latin text, but itis very primitive (Souter thought it close to the prototype for the Vulgate,but this is not borne out by the citations in Nestle-Aland). Of all the"Western" witnesses to Paul, this one seems to have the mostpeculiar agreements with P46 and B. Agreements between P46, B, D, G,and Ambrosiaster can therefore be regarded as very ancient if not alwaysoriginal. In the Apocalypse, Souter compares his text to Primasius and gigas.
A second work by Ambrosiaster, Quaestiones Veteris etNovi Testamenti, does not contain as many quotations and is lessimportant textually (though its opinions on Christianity and the monarchyhad great influence). [20CE, AA, AS, RBW]
Ambrosius Autpertus. Late VIII. Latin.
Abbot of San Vicenzo (Volturno). Author of a commentary on the Apocalypse based largely on Tyrconius, Victorinus as used by Jerome, Primasius, and Gregory the Great. It is not often cited, given its largely secondary nature. [HAGH]
Ammonius. III. Greek. Merk: Amm (also Ammon?)
The name "Ammonius" is the source of great confusion.The more important Ammonius is Ammonius, Bishop of Thmuis (in lower Egypt)around the time of Origen. He seemingly created theAmmonian Sections as anadjunct to his gospel harmony (built around Matthew). This was the systemthat Eusebius elaborated and improved in his canons.
Ammonius of Thmuis is often called "Ammonius of Alexandria" -- e.g.by Merk. This is not a good name, however, as there was another (thoughmuch less important) Ammonius of Alexandria in the fifth/sixth century.
Neither author has left us much. The earlier Ammonius survives mostlythrough the works of Eusebius, the later only in quotations in catenae.
Andreas of Cæsarea. VI. Greek. Nestle:(A). Merk: (An)
Archbishop of Cappadocian Cæsarea. Dated anywhere between c. 520 andc. 600. Most noteworthy work is a commentary on the Apocalypse (the earliestknown to survive) that became so popular that copies of it form a majorfraction of the surving tradition, being almost as common as the"strictly Byzantine" manuscripts. 1r,from which Erasmus prepared the Textus Receptus, is an Andreas manuscript,and certain of the marginal readings of the commentary wound up in the text.Andreas's commentary is also responsible for the 72divisions into which the Apocalypse is divided.[AA, FHAS]
Aphraates. IV. Syriac. Merk: Af.
In Syriac, Afrahat. A resident of Persia (known as the "Persian Sage")who wrote in Syriac. After Ephraem,the most important Syriac Father; his writings are among thoseused to reconstruct the Old Syriac of Paul. His basic text of the gospelsis the Diatessaron, though heperhaps also used the Old Syriac. Born probably in the second halfof the third century, his great works (the Demonstrationes) datefrom 336/7 and 344, and are considered the oldest extant writings inSyriac. His date of death is listed by Merk as 367, but theevidence is incomplete. His works have sometimes been falsely attributedto Jacob Nisibenus. [AA, AS, CH, EW]
Apostolic Constitutions/Canons. IV/V. Greek. Merk: Can Ap.
A collection of liturgical instructions from the late fourth century,sometimes credited to the Pseudo-Ignatius and possibly compiled in Antioch.To this is appended the Apostolic Canons, pertaining mostly to theordination of the clergy. The two books are believed to be roughlycontemporary. The whole is thought to be dependent on Hippolytus'sApostolic Tradition [20CE, AA, CH]
Apringius Pacensis. VI. Latin. Nestle: Apr. Merk: Ap.
Bishop of Pace (modern Beja, Portugal). His commentary on theApocalypse probably dates from shortly after 551.
Aristides. fl. c. 140. Greek. Merk: Arist.
Author of an Apology addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius(or possibly his predecessor Hadrian; so Eusebius; it should be noted, however,that Hadrianus was one of Pius's alternate names). It exists in an almost-completeSyriac version and Greek and Armenian fragments. The Greek text is preservedalmost complete, though probably in a slightly condensed form,as part of the romance of Barlaam and Joasaph. [AA, Eus, FKBA]
Arnobius the Younger. V. Latin. Nestle: Arn.
Called "the Younger" because there was an earlier Arnobius (whoreportedly taught Lactantius and wrote a defence of Christianity, Libri vii adversusgentes, during Diocletian's persecution). The younger Arnobius probably was born inNorth Africa but fled to Rome to escape the Vandals. In Rome, some timearound 455, he compiled a set of scholia on the Gospels.
Athanasius of Alexandria. d. 373. Greek. Nestle: Ath. Merk: Ath.
The great defender of orthodoxy in the age of Arianism. As a young manof about 26, he attended the Council of Nicea, and espoused its principles for nearly fifty years. Later chosen Bishop of Alexandria (from 328, succeeding the equally orthodox Bishop Alexander), he was driven into exile five times (the first time from 335-346, and not on doctrinal but practical grounds; thereafter usually for opposing Arianism). Despite being exiled by both monarch and church, he always managed to return. His works consist mostly of treatises against the Arians (many of these from the period after 350, when Arianism seemed to be threatening to destroy orthodoxy); the most important of these was probably On (the) Incarnation. He also penned some apologetic works and a handful of other writings such as the Life on Antony (Athanasius was friends with the saintly monk, and helped encourage monasticism in Egypt). He also, having spent many years in exile in the West, introduced a handful of Western practices into the Egyptian church, and seems to have tried to introduce a more natural, personal worship. Despite his time in the west, his text is generally regarded as Alexandrian (though not as pure as it might be). His text is not as useful as might be expected, however; he does not provide enough material and does not quote it exactly enough.
Athanasius is often credited with fixing the canon of the New Testament in one of his festal letters, but it should be noted that the church had already nearly settled on its official list of books before he was even born, and that extra-canonical books continued to be copied in Bibles for some decades after his death. His name is also attached to the Athanasian Creed, but in fact this is a Latin work which does not seem to have any connection with Athanasius.
In recent years, several works have examined the text of Athanasius. Gerald J. Donker's The Text of the Apostolos in Athanasius of Alexandria is deeply methodologically flawed (it uses fairly advanced statistical tools that the author flatly does not understand, and so applies them in inappropriate ways, plus it insists on trying to fit everything into Griesbach's text-types rather than actually looking at the data with an open mind), but the general conclusion seems pretty clear: Athanasius used a mostly Alexandrian text, although one suspects he quoted it primarily from memory and sometimes remembered texts from some other source. Not a very surprising conclusion, given his history! [AA, AS, GJD, HC, PDAH, RBW]
Athenagoras. fl. c. 175. Greek. Nestle: Athen.
A (self-described?) "Christian Philosopher." Little isknown of his life. During the periodwhen Marcus Aurelius and Commodus were co-Emperors (i.e. 177-180)he wrote an important Apology for Christianity. Unlikesome authors of the period, he appealed for understanding andharmony. His other known work is On the Resurrection. [AA, HC]
Augustine of Hippo. b. 354; d. 430. Latin. Nestle: Aug. Merk: Aug.
Born 354 in Thagaste in Numidia (North Africa), the son of a pagan father and aChristian mother (Monica). He hadearly Christian training, but initially rejected the faith. He became a Manicheanbefore finally turning Christian (under the influence of Ambrose).In his early years he taught rhetoric (moving to Rome for this reason in 382,then to Milan in 384),then underwent a conversion experience around 385. He tried to return to seclusionin Africa, but was made priest, then coadjutator bishop of Hippo in 395,and soon after became sole holder of the episcopal title. He died in 430as the Vandals besieged Hippo.His theology was extremely predestinarian and rigid (he was Calvin'sprimary inspiration), but his voluminous works werewidely treasured. His many quotations are in Latin (though he was awareof the importance of the Greek), and he is responsible for the famousremark about the "Itala" being the best of the Latin versions.His text does not seem to indicate which Latin type this is,however; while his Latin text is pre-vulgate (at least in the Acts,Epistles, and Apocalypse; Houghton says that he eventually shifted to theVulgate in the Gspels), it is clearly not theAfrican Latin of Cyprian, and does not seem to be purely "European"either. (In Paul, his text is considered to be close to r of theOld Latin -- but r is quite distinct from the other Latin witnesses.Souter lists his text in the Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Apocalypseas close to h.) Theologically, his two most important works are theCity of God and the largely autobiographical Confessions.[20CE, AA, AS, HAGH, HC, PDAH]
Pseudo-Augustine (=Quodvultdeus?). Latin. Merk: Ps.Aug
Barsalibi (Dionysus bar Salibi). d. 1171. Syriac. Merk: Bars
A member of the Jacobite Syriac church, he was bishop first of Mabbûgand then Amida. He wrote commentaries on the Gospels and some works ontheology. His text is essentially that of the Peshitta, and so has littleinfluence on our text.
Basil of Ancyra. IV. Greek. Nestle: BasA.
Bishop of Ancyra from about 335. In an era when Arianism was becomingever more powerful and ever more radical, he held relatively close to theNicene position, trying to keep the Emperor Constantius from adopting theArian position of Valens of Mursa during the 350s. Although by 360 itappeared that Constantius was committed to Arianism, Basil's followerseventually joined forces with Athanasius to maintain Nicene orthodoxy.Basil himself died around 374. [AA, HC]
Basil the Great of Cæsarea. d. 379. Greek. Nestle: Bas. Merk: Bas
One of the great "Cappadocian Fathers," he was the brother ofGregory of Nyssa. Born of a well-to-do family around 330, he studied in several citiesbefore becoming a hermit (358?) and did much to reform and organizethe eastern monastic rules. In the 360s he became a presbyter, then in 370Bishop of Cappadocian Cæsarea. Along with his brother and his friend Gregoryof Nazianzus, he was one of the great defenders of Nicene orthodoxy in themid to late fourth century, particularly after the death of Athanasius.He was probably around fifty when he died on the first day of 379, and althoughhe felt frustrated by the schisms which remained in the church(the Principate was still promoting heterodox causes, and Rome had rejectedhis claims), his work was important to the reunificationof orthodoxy which soon followed. He also made some changes in church order,and worked to keep the ascetic movement under episcopal control. He hasbeen called the "true founder of communal... monasticism."His book On the Holy Spirit was oneof the great writings of Nicene Christianity. He also wrote letters which illuminatethe problems of a bishop in those troubles times. Debate continues aboutthe authenticity of some of his minor works. Von Soden considers histext to align with the Purple Uncials;if true, this would make it almost but not quite purely Byzantine. [20CE, AA, AS, HC, PDAH]
Basilides. II. (Greek). Nestle: Basil.
Basilidies, a Gnostic, has left no direct literary remains (althoughOrigen credits a gospel to him). What little we know comes fromClement of Alexandria(who preserved some quotations), Irenæus,Origen, the Acta Archelai,and the Philosophumena of Hippolytus(the latter perhaps based on forged documents).The sources are extremely inconsistent, and differenteditors have preferred different interpretations. Irenæus andClement describe a complex divine scheme (including, e.g., 365different heavens!) similar to that of Valentinus. The universe has degeneratedfrom its lofty origins. The "Hippolytan" view is of ascent rather than descent,and involves fewer divine beings. The Acta Archelai implies somethinglike Persian dualism. [20CE]
Beatus of Liébana. VIII. Latin. Nestle: Bea. Merk: Be
A Spanish abbot, died probably 798, noteworthy primarily for hiscommentary on the Apocalypse. There were two editions of his work, the second appearing in 784. It is based larely on Tyconius, Jerome's version of Victorinus, and Apringius. He also commented on other books, but these commentaries are obscure and have not been published. [HAGH]
Venerable Bede. d. 735. Latin. Nestle: Beda. Merk: Beda
Born in about 672/3 in Northumbria (Britain), he wrote a wide varietyof works, including the famous history of the English church. He alsotranslated portions of the Bible into Anglo-Saxon (though no part ofthese translations survive), and is said to have just finished thetranslation of John when he died (May 735 or possibly 736).Less important are works such as the Lives of the Abbots,which have little textual value though they tell us something aboutBede himself (living as he did in monasteries from the age of seven)and the English church. His exceptional scholarship and piety areshown by the fact that he was made a deacon before the age of 25by the future SaintJohn of Beverly (this is significant as 25 was the normal minimumage). He became a priest at thirty, and spent the rest of hislife in scholarship. For textual purposes, Bede's mostimportant works are commentaries on the Gospels, Acts (for which heused the Codex Laudianus, E), and Apocalypse. His works generallytestify to the quality of Vulgate manuscripts used in eighth centuryBritain, as his text (except, of course, where he consulted E) standsvery close to the Codex Amiatinus.In terms of quantity, his works were said to be the most voluminous byany Latin church father since Augustine of Hippo, although (since it isestimated that only about 10% of the actual writing was his) theydemonstrate more learning than they do originality.He was eventually canonized by PopeLeo XIII, more than 1200 years after his death (and by which timeBritain was Protestant). [20CE, AS, BMM2, HAGH, LSP]
John Cassian. d. c. 435. Latin. Nestle: Cn.
Born in the third quarter of the fourth century, probably inRumania, he became a monk (first in Bethlehem, then in Egypt).Made a deacon by Chrysostom around the turn of the century, hewas in Rome around 405 and in 415 founded a monastery in Marsailles.His writings struck something of a balance between those ofAugustine (whose doctrine of predestination more or less deniedthe human power to do anything) and Pelagius (who could be interpretedas denying God's grace).
Cassiodorus. VI. Latin. Nestle: Cass. Merk: Cass
Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus was born late in the fifthcentury (possibly 478?) in Calabria. He was probably still in his early twenties whenhe became secretary to Theodoric the Great around 507. Despite eventuallybeing made a patrician, around 540 he withdrew to a monastery of hisown founding, where he did much to preserve the surviving remnants ofLatin literature. Much of his time in the monastery was devoted totheological writings; he also collected a large library which hedescribed in the Institutiones Diuinarum et Sæcularium Lectionum,which at some points discusses textual questions. He and his pupilsalso rewote the (anonymous) Pelagian commentary on Paul (this wasonce accidentally credited to Primasius). Cassiodorus may also havebeen a translator; at least, he preserved in Latin translation someof the writings of Clement of Alexandria(and probably other Greek writers). He lived to a great age andprobably died around 580 (CM says 573). The text of his commentary on Romans issaid to closely resemble Codex Amiatinus of the vulgate; his pupils,however, used texts with Old Latin readings -- as did Cassiodorushimself in certain of his other writings. [AA, AS, CM, R&W]
John Chrysostom. d. 407. Greek. Nestle: Chr. Merk:Cr
Called "golden-mouthed."Born in Antioch to a well-to-do family around 345, John chose a monasticcareer around 375 (having previously studied rhetoric under Libanius).His fine speaking brought him to highfavour (although he tried to avoid clerical promotion). He was a pupil ofDiodorus of Tarsus, but his orthodoxy was unquestioned.Appointed Patriarchof Constantinople against his will in 398, he quickly found himself in conflictwith the Empress Eudoxia (wife of Arcadius, the first Eastern Roman emperor afterthe final split between the two halves); he apparently regarded her lifestyle astoo luxurious, and was in any case anti-feminist. After several years of argumentand reconciliation, court politics resulted in hisdeposition and exile (403-404). A final brief reconciliation ended in 404, andChrysostom died in 407 while still in exile.
It should not be assumed that he was entirely innocent in these disputes;John Julius Norwich, in Byzantium: The Early Centuries (Knopf, 1996), pp.129-131, writes, "This saintly but insufferable prelate, by his scorchingcastigations of the Empress and her way of life, had made himself dangerouslyunpoopular at court; and in 403 his long and impassioned debate withTheophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, gave Eudoxia the excuse for which she had beenwaiting: Chrysostom was deposed and exiled to Bithynia. But however many enemieshe may have had in high places, he enjoyed considerable support among the people;riots broke out.... That night, moreover, there was an earthquake -- which sofrightened the superstitious Empress... that the exiled prelate was recalled andreinstalled. [But Chrysostom soon after was referring to Eudoxia as Herodias.]On 24 June the recalcitrant bishop was eiled for the second time; once again disasterovertook Constantinope.... Pope Innocent I... summoned a synod of Latin bishops...[which] called on Arcadius to restore Chrysostom to his see... Meanwhile Honorius[the Eastern Emperor] had addressed a stern letter to his brother, deploring thevarious disturbances which his mishandling of the affair had brought upon the capital....To this letter a deeply offended Arcadius sent no reply.... At last, in 406, adelegation was sent jointly by Honorius and Innocent to Constantinople.... [O]nceagain Arcadius made his attitude plain enough. The envoys were not even permitted toenter the city. Instead, they were clapped into a Thracian prison.... Thus, whenSt. John Chrysostom died ina remote region of Pontus -- probably as a result ofill-treatement by his guards -- in September 407, he left the Roman Empireprofoundly split." In fact, the two halves would never reunite, exceptbriefly when Justinian conquered the west.
Most of Chrysostom's surviving works (of which there are very many) are sermons (many of them spurious; many writers tried to add luster to theirworks by attributing them to the great orator). His text is generallyregarded as Byzantine, and is one of the earliest examples of the type, but --like most early witnesses to the Byzantine text -- he often departs from thedeveloped Byzantine text of later centuries, possibly in the direction of the"Western" text. [20CE, AA, AS, MG, PDAH]
Clement of Alexandria. d. c. 215. Greek. Nestle: Cl. Merk: Cl
Titus Flavius Clemens was born in the mid-Second century,probably of pagan Athenian parents. In the latter part ofthat century, after years of travel and study under a variety of masters, he met Pantænus, the head of the Catechetical School. Clement became aninstructor around 190, and eventually became the school's leader. He leftAlexandria around 202/203 as a result of the persecution under Severus, anddied a few years later (after 211 but before 217) in Asia Minor.
Clement was apparently a prolific writer; Eusebius lists ten bookshe wrote (the Miscellanies (Stromateis), the Outlines,the Address to the Greeks, the Pædagogus, anda series of shorter works). A few other works are mentioned by other writers.Of these, we have most of the Miscellanies (apparently nevercompleted; Clement himself called it "not a careful literary composition"and "notes stored up for my old age"), the Address,and the Pædagogus. Thelatter two were designed to introduce non-Christians to the faith; theformer is a collection of philosophical reflections and notes.
The text of Clement is diverse; it has readings of all known text-types.Presumably he gathered all these different forms in his wide travels andwide studies (W. Bauer thought he was at one point a Gnostic, perhapsa Valentinian, but it seems more likely that hesimply lived in a mystical climate). A few of the problems with Clement'stext may result from his own rather casual style of quotation.He is thus better used as an indication of how old readings are than as anindication of where they originated.
Clement of Alexandria should not be confused with Clement of Rome, whowrote 1 Clement and had assorted later works attributed to him. [20CE, AA, AS, Eus, PDAH]
Clement of Rome. c. 95. Greek. Merk: Clr
The name "Clement" is often associated with the oldest knownnon-canonical Christian writing, which we call 1 Clement. This anonymousletter was written from Rome to Corinth (then experiencing stronginternal dissent) around 95 C.E.,and was for a time held in such high esteem as to be considered canonical.As such it is found in the Codex Alexandrinus.
1 Clement was held to be the work of Clement, the third bishopof Rome (following Linus and Anencletus, and omitting Peter andPaul). This Clement was held, in turn, to be the Clement ofPhil. 4:3 (so Eusebius, H. E. iii.15, followingOrigen. Others suggested the Roman nobleman Titus FlaviusClemens, executed by the Emperor Domitian in 95 on apparent suspicion ofChristianity. All of this is, at best, speculation. Eusebiustells us that Clement was Bishop of Rome from the twelfthyear of Domitian (about 93) to the third year of Trajan (100/101),crediting him with nine years of service.
The importance of 1 Clement lies not so much in its quotations (fewof which are important for textual criticism; they are usually allusionsat best) as for what it tells usabout the canon. It appears to refer to a collection of Paul's letters,and it alludes to both Hebrews (which is in fact a major influence onthe letter) and 1 Peter, showing that both were in circulation by itstime. Interestingly, 1 Clement shows no particular knowledge of anyof the Gospels.
Such was the popularity of 1 Clement that a number of laterdocuments, including 2 Clement and the Clementine Homilies, werecredited to him. But there can be no doubt that they came from otherhands. [AA, Eus, MS]
Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. IV?. Greek. Nestle: Clhom. Merk: Clh
II Clement. II. Greek. Nestle: 2Cl. See Clement of Rome.
Cyprian. d. 258. Latin. Nestle: Cyp. Merk: Cyp(seemingly occasionally mis-cited as Cy)
Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus was born near the beginning of thethird century, probably in Carthage. He was well-educated, with a legalbackground (it has been speculated that this influenced his immenserespect for Tertullian), and taught rhetoric in the 240s. He became a Christian rather late in life, and was not baptiseduntil 246. Soon after (248/9), by popular demand, he became Bishop of Carthage.He fled Carthage during the Decian persecution of 249, and was subjectedto condemnation as a result. He nonetheless returned to his bishopric in 251.In the following years the Roman church split into factions under Cornelius(who was willing to forgive those who lapsed during the persecution) andNovatian (who was not). Cyprian argued strongly in favor of Cornelius, andhis arguments helped swing Catholic orthodoxy toward Cornelius.
When the Valerian persecution arose in 258, Cyprian decided notto flee again. He saw to it that he was arrested in Carthage, andwas executed soon after.
Cyprian's surviving works consist of a large number of letters andten or so treatises on church-related subjects. These includeOn Exhortation to Martyrdom, On the Lapsed, and On the Unity of the Church.The last is perhaps his most important work; unfortunately, two forms ofcertain key passages are in circulation.
Cyrpian derived many of his ideas from Tertullian, whom he called "the Master."His text is, not surprisingly,the African Old Latin, and is considered to be very similar to k of theGospels and h of the epistles.
Several pseudonymous works, such as de Montibus Sina et Sionand the Ad Novatianum,eventually circulated under Cyprian's name. Perhaps the most important wasde Rebaptismate,which led Eusebius to believe that Cyprian called forrebaptising those who fell into heresy, though in fact he held the oppositeposition. [20CE, AA, AS, Eus]
Cyril of Alexandria. d. 444. Greek. Nestle: Cyr. Merk: Cy
Born in the third century of a well-known Alexandrian family, he becamePatriarch of Alexandria in 412. His opinions are rather diffuse; much ofhis thought seems to come from Platonic philosophy, and his argumentsare often rather vague, poorly supported, and illogical. Thus he cannotbe regarded as a great Christian thinker, though he accomplished muchfor the church. Although most of his writings are exegetical, buthe played a vigorous role in the controversies with the Monophysites.He should perhaps be credited with finally vanquishing Apollinarianism.Nestorius accused him of making Jesus imperfectly human, but Cyril, apassionate debater, managed to out-maneuver and out-argue Nestorius atevery turn (both Cyril and Nestorius were temporarily deposed in 431, butCyril's deposition, while passed by a small group of bishops, was confirmedby the authorities simply to keep the peace. He was soon restored, whileNestorius's punishment proved permanent). Cyril died in 444, and was later canonized.
The text of Cyril, as might be expected, is Alexandrian, althoughan assortment of alien (including Byzantine) readings are found in it.[20CE, AA, HC]
Cyril of Jerusalem. d. 386. Greek. Nestle: CyrJ. Merk: Cyi.
Born in Jerusalem in the first quarter of the fourth century. He probablywas not much past twenty when he became a deacon in 325. In 345 he became apresbyter, and finally Bishop of Jerusalem from about 349. Repeatedly forcedinto exile, he died in 386/7. His surviving writings include a set of24 Catechetical Lectures for converts preparing for baptism.
According to Roderic L. Mullen, Cyril's text is mixed and varies from book to book butgenerally goes with the late Alexandrian witnesses (with some Byzantineinfluence). In Mark it appears to approach the "Cæsarean" witnesses. [VB, AA]
Cyrillonas. IV/V. Merk: Cyr.
Didache. II?. Greek. Nestle: Didache.
Also called The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, and as such largelyincorporated into the Apostolic Constitutions and the Didascalia Apostolorum.A short pamphlet concerning the Way of Life and the Way of Death, with othermaterial on forms of worship, surviving in a Greek manuscript from the year 1056,plus fragments, aswell as in Georgian ad fragments in other languages. Very conservative and legalistic(and possibly based on aJewish original), it seems to derive most of itsChristian material from Matthew. Its dateis usually given as early second century (based on the fact that the Letter ofBarnabas appears to quote it). However, the possibility should not be excludedthat both the Didache and Barnabas derive their material from a common source,probably a Jewish document on "The Two Ways" (so Goodspeed).Similarly, it is possible that the material in the Apostolic Constitutionscomes from a lost common source. On this basis some wouldregard the Didache as a later compilation of early writings. Dates as lateas the fifth century have been mentioned. We should note, though, that it ismentioned by Eusebius and used (perhaps even treated as scripture)by Clement of Alexandria;this argues strongly for an earlier date. Still,dates as late as 180 or so are quite possible (some have thought thatChapter 16 describes the persecution under Marcus Aurelius, which beganin 177; of course, Chapter 16 coud be a later addition).
Some have thought to connect the Didache with Montanism,but the evidence is relatively slight. Textually, the primary importance of the Didacheis in connection with the Lord's Prayer, for it citesthat writing in its full form, including the Doxology(oti sou estin... aiwnas).This is usually taken to mean that the longer form of the Prayer was circulatingin copies of Matthew's gospel no later than the early second century -- thoughthe possibility should not be discounted that the Byzantine copies of Matthewderived the doxology from the Didache, or that both received it from some thirdsource. [20CE, AA, FKBA, GG, MS]
Didascalia Apostolorum (Teachings of the Apostles).III. Greek. Merk: Didasc. Apostol.
This name is sometimes used for the Didache, but Merk seems tobe referring to the third century instruction manual which the Alands callthe Didascalia. Although only fragments survive in Greek, we have acomplete Syriac and a partial Latin version.
Didymus (the Blind) of Alexandria. d. 398. Greek. Nestle: Did. Merk: Did.
Didymus the Blind wasborn around 313. Despite his handicap (acquired probably as the resultof childhood disease), he became director of the CatecheticalSchool of Alexandria during the time of Athanasius, and retained the postfor some decades. Ehrman believes that he worked primarily as an individualinstructor rather than a lecturer, but in any case his prodigious memoryhelped to re-establish the school's reputation after a period of uninspiredleadership. He died verynear the end of the fourth century. His literary output consists primarilyof commentaries on various Biblical books (both OT and NT), though histheological works were important in thecontroversies of his day. The exact extent of his writings isunclear; the authorship of several works is in dispute. Many of his writingswere lost until 1941, when a large collection of writings was found at Tourain Egypt. This included several commentaries of Didymus's, along withother works which seem to have been transcribed from his lectures.
Didymus's text of the Gospels seems to be a form of the Alexandrian tradition(Ehrman notes that he lived at about the time the great uncials Vaticanusand Sinaiticus were produced), but with the sort of mixed readings oneoften associated with the later witnesses to the tradition. In the latter chaptersof John, this mixed element seems to become dominant. In the Catholics his textappears to be Alexandrian but with occasional links to the 1739 type. [AA, BE, RBW]
Diodorus of Tarsus. IV. Greek. Merk: Diod.
Born in Antioch, where he directed a monastery, he became Bishop ofTarsus in 378. He wrote commentaries on much of the New Testament. He wasalso active in the Christological controversies of his age, arguing thatJesus became fully human when he was born and distinguishing betweenthe Son of God and the Son of Mary (but without considering them distinct).As a result, Cyril of Alexandria later portrayed him as a Nestorian -- butDiodorus, who was dead by 394, was long since past such controversies.
Dionysius of Alexandria. d. 264/5. Greek. Nestle: (Dion). Merk: Dion.
Dionysus of Alexandria was born around the turn of the third century, and cameto Christianity from paganism and Gnosticism. He studied under Origen, and becamedirector of the Catechetical School when Origen's successor Heraclas becamebishop. Dionysus succeeded to the episcopate following Heraclas's death in 247.From that time on he went in and out of exile as a result of various persecutions.(He took a certain amount of glee in pointing out that, during the Decianpersecution, he simply stayed at home while the authorities searched everywherebut there.) Finally he died in 264/5 during the famines that followed the revoltof the Roman governor of Egypt.
Dionysus was a prolific writer, and he contributed heavily to the fight againstthe heresies of Paul of Samosata, Nepos, and Sabellius, as well as weighingin on the topic of rebaptism of heretics and the lapsed. Of this corpus,however, only a few letters have survived, supplemented by some fragments and quotations fromEusebius and others. We know, however, that he did acareful analysis which proved that the author of the Apocalypse was not the authorof the Gospel and Letters of John. [AA, Eus]
Pseudo Dionysus. V/VI. Greek. Nestle: (PsDion).
I believe this refers to theauthor who wrote under the name "Dionysus the Areopagite" -- although thePseudo Dionysus is not listed in the Nestle-Aland list of Fathers, so we cannot becertain. This author wrote between 475 and 550, but since his works were regardedas early, they were used during the Christological controversies of the seventhcentury to support the theory that God and Christ, whatever their distinctions, hadone "energeia."
Dionysus the Areopagite see the Pseudo Dionysus above.
Ephraem. d. 373. Syriac. Merk: Ef.
Born in Nisibis in 306, he became a deacon and fled to Edessa after that city was taken bythe Persians. He was the leading light of the school there, and produced a wide varietyof writings -- including a commentary on the Diatessaron which is our leading source forthat book. Although the larger share of his works are preserved in Armenian, Ephraemis our leading source of information about the Old Syriac outside the Gospels. He died in 373.
On a less distinguished note, the upper writing of C consists of treatises byEphraem. Sadly, these are among his less distinguished writings.
Epiphanius of Constantia. d. 403. Greek. Nestle: Epiph. Merk: Ep.
Burn in Judea c. 315, helater founded a monastery and became bishop of Salamis (Constantia) in Cyprus. He diedin 403. The author of various works, of which his volume on Heresiesis perhaps the most important. He also wrote De mensuris et ponderibus,a biblical "encyclopedia" now extant primarily in Syriac, andAncoratus, on trinitarian doctrine. His text is considered to beearly Byzantine, but is marred by his frequent paraphrases and extremelyloose citations. [AA, CH, SS]
Epistula Apostolorum. c. 140? Greek. Merk: Ep Apost.
This curious work is the subject of much speculation, as the Greek original islost and the primary translations (Coptic and Latin) are fragmentary. The fullesttext is Ethiopic.
Even if we had a more reliable text of the work, it is clearly not the productof a particularly knowledgeable author. Although he gives a summary of Jesus's lifeand teachings, as well as a warning against gnosticism, the list of apostles is trulycurious. To achieve a total of eleven apostles, the author includes not only Nathanaelbut also Cephas, who is distinguished from Peter.
Eugenius of Cathage. fl. 484. Merk: Eug.
Eusebius of Cæsarea. d. c.340. Greek. Nestle: Eus. Merk: Eus.
Born probably around 263, in Palestine,he studied under Pamphilius, and became Bishop of Cæsarea about the timeConstantine the Great became ruler of the whole Empire (i.e. c. 312/313).He was a friend and close advisor of Constantine, even though his theology hadan Arian tinge. His most important literary accomplishments were probably his ChurchHistory (he has been called the father of Christian History, althoughHegesippus was probably the first true church historian)and the canons which bear his name.But he also wrote the Preparationfor the Gospel, assorted commentaries, and a number of lesser works, manyof them lost. (In addition, Eusebius offered the creed which the Council ofNicea used as the basis for its doctrinal statement.) He died around 340.His text has been called "Cæsarean,"and certainly has the mixed character associated with that type, but it doesnot seem to preserve any type in a pure form. (His text is harder thanmost to analyse because he rarely provides long quotations.) Von Soden thought it a leadingrepresentative of the I text; Streeter places his text between the "Western"and Cæsarean texts. It should be noted, however (as Lake himselfpointed out), that Eusebius used a number of manuscripts, and notinfrequently can be found on both sides of a reading (the obviousexample being Mark 16:9-20). Nor should his text be considered identicalto that of Origen, even during Origen's "Cæsarean"period. [20CE, 4G, AA, AS, Eus, GZ, HC, PDAH]
Euthalius. IV. Greek. Merk: Euth.
Almost nothing is known of his life; we do not, for instance, know what role(if any) he had in the church. Nor are his dates firm; his edition has been datedfrom the fourth to the seventh (!) century, though the fourth century is most likely(this seems the earliest possible date, as he is dependent on Eusebius);he is reported as an Alexandrian deacon (so the prologue in 2004) and (later?)Bishop of Sulci (Euqaliouepiskopou Soulkhs; so the prologue in 181).We also know that he was a grammarian, and that hecreated a poetic edition of the Apostolos. Euthalius/Evagrius is also creditedwith a list of helps for the reader, including prologues, information aboutcross-references, chapter headings (which also serve as useful section divisions),and other material (see under Euthalian Apparatus).
Manuscripts written in Euthalius's sense-lines are very rare (Scrivenerbelieves they were too expensive in vellum). The apparatus, however, is common.
Various attempts have been made to reconstruct the Euthalian edition. Zuntz,regarding it as a "Cæsarean" continuation of the Alexandriantradition, sees it in von Soden's grouping 88 181 917 1834 1836 1912, plus Hand the upper writing of P. That is, Zuntz equates it to Soden's Ia1less the bilingual uncials D F G. He regards Euthalius as formulatingthe late texts of Cæsarea, but does not regard it as truly"Cæsarean." (Note that this is not a list of manuscripts withEuthalian material; we find all or part of his marginalia also in manuscriptssuch as 1 82 421 1162 1175 1244 1424 1874 1880 1888 1891 1894 1895 1898.)It has been theorized, with little evidence, that the 69 chapter divisionsused by Vaticanus in Acts are derived, with modifications, from Euthalius.It has also been theorized that the reason for the confusion about namesand such is that the Euthalian apparatus is actually composite -- a firstdraft made in the early-to-mid fourth century, a revision toward the end ofthat century (either of these might have been by "Evagrius;")and a final revision/publication by the seventh century Bishop Euthaliusof Sulci. [20CE, AA, BMM2, FHAS, JF, GZ]
Evagrius see Euthalius.
Filastrius. d. c. 390. Merk: Fil.
Firmicus Maternus. IV. Latin. Nestle: Firmicus.
Julius Firmicus Maternus was born in Sicily and pursued a career as a rhetor.After turning to Christianity (from a career as an astrologer), he wrote to the Emperor(Julian) to argue against paganism. He must therefore have died after Julian's accessionin 361, but we have no details. His work is called On the Error of ProfaneReligions. [MG]
Fulgentius of Ruspe. V/VI. Latin. Nestle: Fulg. Merk: Fulg
Born in Telepte, Africa around 467, he came of a senatorial family andserved for a time as a procurator. He then retired to a monastery. He wasbishop of Ruspe from about 507 (though he spent 508-515 and 517-523 inexile). Much of his work is directed against "semi-Pelagianism."He died some time around 530. His text of the Catholic Epistlesis reportedly similar to that of the Old Latin q (Codex Monacensis,Beuron #64; Nestle's r). [AA, AS, CH]
Gennadius I of Constantinope. d. 471. Greek. Merk: Genn
Patriarch of Constantinople 458-471. His surviving works consistonly of fragments of commentaries on the Pauline Epistles.
Gildas. VI. Latin.
A British monk who lived at the time of the Saxon conquest andcomplained bitterly that it was all the fault of the immoralityof the Romano-British. He was, frankly, such a whiner that his accountis of little use as either history or a source of Biblical quotes (hedoes seem to have been the first to mention King Arthur, as a Britishdux who resisted the Saxons at the Battle of Badon). It issuggested that his New Testament was Old Latin, as was his text of theMinor Prophets, but the rest of his Old Testament is Vulgate -- which,given that he wrote probably some time between 516 and 530, makes hima fairly early source for the Vulgate Old Testament. [HAGH]
Gospel of the Ebionites. II?. Merk: Ev. Eb
Also called "The Gospel of the Twelve," andsometimes erroneously labelled "The Gospel of the Hebrews."Now lost except for a few citations in Epiphanius. It appears to be a sort of harmonized gospel based primarily on the Matthew(in whose mouth portions of it are placed; the rest is creditedto the Apostles generally), with some modifications to suitthe views of the Ebionites. Epiphanius considers it to be a"Hebrew" work, but from its contents it seems likely thatthe original was Greek. [GG, CG]
Gospel of the Hebrews. I/II?. Merk: Ev. Hebr
Although Jerome claims to have translated this from the Hebrew,the Gospel of the Hebrews as we have it is clearly a Greekwork, written possibly in Egypt (where some small fragments believedto be part of it have been found). It is mentioned frequently --and often with respect -- byearly writers, but has survived only in fragments. It is quitepossible that our surviving fragments (quoted by various writersin several languages) actually come from multiple documents.It appears to have been a narrative gospel, with Matthew thelargest contributing element and Luke second. Given the confusionabout just what document this is, we really cannot say muchmore about it. [GG, CG]
Gospel of the Nazoreans. I/II?. Merk: Ev. Naz
This is another book often referred to as the "The Gospel of theHebrews." This one at least appears to have been composed inAramaic, probably based primarily on the Gospel of Matthew. Itseems to have been referred to by Hegesippus, dating it before180. It survives primarily in quotations from Jerome, with ahandful from Eusebius and perhaps one fromOrigen. [CG]
Gregory of Nazianzus. IV. Greek. Merk: Na
Born around 329/330, his father was Bishop of Nazianzus. In 362 hebecame a priest. He never actually became Bishop of Nazianzushimself. Rather, he was chosen Bishop of the small town of Sasima at theinstigation of his friend Basil the Great. This was part of Basil's attempt toplace as many orthodox bishops as possible in an area that had slippedfrom Basil's control. Gregory was reluctant -- and, indeed, the movebackfired when Gregory was transferred to Constantinople in 379/380.Bishops at this time were not supposed to change jurisdictions, andthe transfer was used as an argument against Gregory. Tired of thecontroversy, he retired in 381 and turned to writing an autobiography. Despite thecontroversy,,he was of immense service to the church in a troubled time. Alongwith Basil of Cæsarea and Gregory of Nyssa, he was one ofthe three great "Cappadocian Fathers" who helped saveorthodoxy against Arianism. He died around 390/1. Of his writingswe have a series of orations plus some letters and poems.Von Soden considers his text to align with thePurple Uncials. [AA, AS, HC, PDAH]
Gregory of Nyssa. d. 394. Greek. Nestle: GrNy. Merk: Ny
The younger brother of Basil the Great of Cæsarea, and anequally staunch defender of orthodoxy. He was appointed bishop ofNyssa by his brother in 371 (he was only about 35 at the time). Laterhe was moved to Sebaste in Roman Armenia. As well as producingassorted exegetical works, he argued strongly for Niceneorthodoxy against Arianism, doing much of his best work after Basil's death.Gregory died in 394. Von Soden considers histext to align with the Purple Uncials. [AA, AS, HC, PDAH]
Hegesippus. II. Greek. Merk: Heg
Very little is known of this author, although Eusebius believedhe was Jewish (since he knew Aramaic and/or Hebrew; also, he listedno fewer than seven Jewish sects) and that he"belonged to the first generation after the Apostles." Having travelledwidely, he wrote a book of Memoirs containing much churchhistory. This was probably completed during the papacy of Eleutherus(174-189), since Eusebius reports that Hegesippus lived in Rome fromthe time of Pope Anicetus to that of Eleutherus.
Hegesippus's book is now lost, but significant portions are quoted byEusebius and we find fragments in other authors such asEpphanius (though not cited by name). [20CE, AA, Eus, CH]
Heracleon. fl. 160. Greek. Merk: Her
A Valentinian Gnostic, he wrote a commentary on John (said to havebeen used by Origen despite its source). He also seems to have beenused by various fathers as a reference for the Preaching of Peter.
Hesychius of Jerusalem. V. Greek. Nestle: Hes.
Not to be confused with the author credited with an edition ofthe Septuagint. A monk who became a presbyter in Jerusalem sometime around 410-415, he wrote extensive commentaries (which, however,survive only in fragments). He seems to have been alive as late as 451.
Hilarius Arelatus. fl. 440. Merk: Hila
Hilary of Poitiers. d. 367. Latin. Nestle: Hil. Merk: Hil
Born in the first quarter of the fourth century to a pagan family (perhaps c. 315),he turned Christian and was appointed bishop of his home city of Poitiersaround 350. He was exiled to Asia Minor for a time, but continued tofight Arianism in Gaul. His major work is a commentary on Matthew; heis also credited with De Trinitate Libri XII, a commentaryon the Psalms, and some shorter works.Souter compares his text in the gospels with the Old Latin r (Nestle's r1).His scattered quotes from Paul are interesting; while often "Western,"they seem to show the same sort of intermittent affinity with P46 and B thatwe also find in Ambrosiaster. (This is not to say that the two have the sametext, but the influences seem to be similar.) [AA, AS, CH, CM]
Hippolytus. d. 235/6. Greek. Nestle: Hipp. Merk: Hipp
A student of Irenæus, Hippolytus was probably born around 170and spent much of his early life in Rome (Origen was among those who heardhim speak). In the early third century he openly voiced his disgust withthe laxity of the Bishops of the time. This led to a schism in the Romanchurch in 217, with Hippolytus appointed Pope in opposition to the officialcandidate Calixtus. He continued to oppose the various Popes until235, when both Hippolytus and his rival Pontianus were sent to the minesduring the Persecution of Maximin. He probably died there, althoughthere is a chance that he lived to return to Rome in 236. In any case,he was buried in 236. His death healed the schism in Rome.
A statue of Hippolytus lists his literary works and shows thathe was a prolific writer. Relatively little of this survives, however;we have portions of his Refutations of All Heresies in Greek(though some have thought this to be from another author, perhaps namedJosephus (not the Jewish historian); Photius credits Hippolytus's On theUniverse to Josephus), and various other works such as theApostolic Tradition in translation. Curiously for a Westernauthor, most of his works are preserved in Eastern languages(Georgian, Armenian, Old Church Slavonic). Eusebius, thoughfamiliar with a number of these works, did not know his history,for he describes him as "a prelate like Beryllus, though hissee is unknown." His text is described as "Western"(though this is based largely on translations), and Souter thoughthe might have consulted the Diatessaron. [20CE, AA, AS, Eus, HC]
Irenæus. late II. Greek. Nestle: Ir. Merk: Ir/Ir
One of the most important early Fathers, known almost entirely for one work, theAdversus Hæreses, "Against Heresies." This work describes a numberof heretical movements of which we would otherwise have no knowledge, and soprovides important historical and textual information about the early church.
Born in the early-to-mid second century, probably near Smyrna,Irenæus studied under Polycarp, thenmoved to Lyons, where he was bishop from 177/178. His great work was written around 185(At least, the third book lists popes up to the reign of Pope Eleutherus -- i.e.174-189). He probably died late in the second century, although CM offers the date ?202.Gregory of Tours (who wrote inthe sixth century) reports that he succeeded the martyred bishop Photinus,converted "the whole city" of Lyons to Christianity, and was thenmartyred himself (the first of many local martyrs; History of the Franks I.29).All of this would inspire more confidence if it had more confirmation, e.g. inevidence that Lyons actually did turn Christian.
Sadly for posterity, the Greek original of the Adversus Haereses hasperished almost completely. All that endures, apart from fragments (one on a potsherd!)and quotationsin authors such as Epiphanius, is a Latin translation, probably from the fourthor perhaps the third century (in Africa?), plus some material in Syriac. (Souter argues, based on the fact thatone quotation follows the Lucianic recension of the Septuagint, that the Latin translationmust be from the fourth century; however, we now know that Lucianic readings precedesometimes Lucian.) While the translation seems to preserve the outline ofIrenæus's text fairly well, one may suspect the scriptural quotations of assimilationto the Old Latin (the Greek text, insofar as we have it, often disagrees with theLatin).
The Latin text of the Adversus Hæreses gives its quotations in adistinctly "Western" form, perhaps most closely resembling the EuropeanLatin. Irenæus is one of the chief supports for the belief in the antiquity ofthe "Western" text.
One other work of Irenæus's survives, the Apostolic Preaching, preservedin Armenian. Comparison with the Adversus Hæreses seems to show two differentsorts of text, heightening the suspicion that at least one book has been assimilated tothe current local version. Eusebius also quotes from a variety of writings, andmentions letters such as To Blastus, on Schism and To Florinus, onSole Sovereignty, or God is not the Author of Evil. [20CE, AA, AS, Eus, PDAH]
Jerome (Hieronymus). d. 420. Latin. Nestle: Hier. Merk: Hier
Born in Dalmatia sometime around 350 (347?; others have offered dates as early as 331),Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymoussoon showed immense potential as a scholar. He lived for a while in Jerusalem,then was summoned by Pope Damasus in 382 to revise the Latin versions. The result,of course, was the Vulgate. He completedhis revision of the Gospels in 383/4, but seems to have largely abandoned thework to devote his energies to the Hebrew Old Testament. He died in 419/20.In addition to his translations (which include patristic works as well as theVulgate), he left a number of letters and assorted commentaries plus biographiesof "Famous Men."
The text of Jerome is something of a puzzle. The Vulgate gospels havean obviously mixed text, with many Alexandrian readings, a few "Western"variants (presumably left over from the Old Latin), and a very strong Byzantineoverlay. In the Epistles -- where Jerome's work seems to have been cursory --the text again has Alexandrian readings, this time with more "Western"elements but hardly any Byzantine overlay. The text of the Apocalypse standsfairly close to A and C.
Interestingly, the text used by Jerome in his commentaries often differsfrom that in the Vulgate. (Compare Souter: "In Luke he certainly used the[Old Latin] a type. In the Acts there are signs he used a type related to gig and p...but this was not the type he used as the basis of the Vulgate.")Some of these readings (e.g. the short reading in Eph.5:31) seem to belong to obscure traditions related to Family 1739 and theAfrican Latin. Taken as a group, they do not appear to belong with any particulartext-type. [AA, AS, BMM1, PDAH, RBW]
John of Damascus. VII/VIII. Greek. Merk: Dam
Born in Damascus after the Islamic conquest (probably around 650; certainly notmuch earlier, as his father was still working for the government in 685).His father served as a treasury official in the Islamic government. (It was common for Christians to hold such posts.) Fora time John also served the government, but some time around 695-707 he entered aJerusalem monastery. Later he became a priest, and turned to writing.His major work for our purposes is a commentary on Paul (which, however, islargely based on Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Cyril of Alexandria). He alsowrote concerning the heresies of his time, such as iconoclasm, and aboutIslam. CM gives his dates as 675-745[20CE, AA, CM]
Julius Cassanius. II. Nestle: Jul.
Justin Martyr. d. c. 165. Greek. Nestle: Ju. Merk: Iust
Born early in the second century in Palestine, but of a pagan family,he later turned Christian and apologist. He wrote extensively to justifyChristianity to pagans (he directed writings to the Emperors Antoninus Piusand Marcus Aurelius, as well as producing the famous Dialogue with Trypho),and is one of the earliest Christian writers whoseworks survive in large quantities. He alludes to scripture regularly, butrarely with precision; it is rarely possible (especially in the synopticgospels) to tell what his actual text was, or even which book he isquoting, as he is so given to paraphrase (it isbelieved he used the Gospel of Matthew most frequently).He was martyred in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. (Tatian, whoknew Justin, reports that this was at the instigation of the cynicphilosopher Crescens, who considered Justin to be showing him up.)[AA, AS, CH, Eus]
Juvencus. IV. Latin. Merk: Juv
Gaius Vettius Aquilinus Juvencus was an upper-class Roman citizen ofSpain. A presbyter but perhaps not a priest, he compiled a harmony of thegospels in Latin hexameters around 330 -- little of which, however, hassurvived.
Lactantius. d. after 317. Latin. Nestle: Lact.
Lucius Caecilius Firmanius Lactantius was born late in the first halfof the third century. Born a pagan, he seems to have been a publishedauthor before he turned Christian. He himself tells us that the EmperorDiocletian called him to Nicomedia to be a teacher. Whether he was aChristian at that time is unknown, but he must have converted by 303,as Diocletian's persecution forced him to limit his activities to writing.In 317 the Emperor Constantine called him to tutor his son Crispus. Thedate of his death is unknown.
Lactantius wrote over a dozen books, about half of which survive in wholeor in part. His most important extant works are the massive DivineInstitutes (of which we also have an epitome) andthe vicious little treatise On the Deaths of the Persecutors (sometimesdenied to Lactantius, but on rather weak grounds).
Lazarus Pharpensis (Lazar Pàrpetsi). V/VI. Armenian. Merk: Laz
Author of an "History of Armenia" covering the years 385-485.[JV]
Liber Graduum. IV/V. Syriac. Merk: LG
A set of writings on monasticism and asceticism. The date is uncertainand has been placed as late as the fifth century. The fact that it usesthe Diatessaron, however, argues for a somewhat earlier date.
Lucifer of Calaris. d. c. 371. Latin. Nestle: Lcf. Merk: Lcf
Originally Bishop of Cagliari/Calaris (in Sardinia), he was exiled in 355following the Synod of Milan. He turned to polemic writings, and died around371. His text supplies many interesting Old Latin readings, often of the mostradical character. Souter compares it to a in John, to gigas in Acts, and tod in Paul. [AA, AS]
Marcion. II. Greek. Nestle: Mcion. Merk: Mn
In some ways the most important of the Fathers, since his editorial workon Luke and the Pauline Epistles may have given an important impetus to theformation of the New Testament canon.
Marcion was born in the late first century in Sinope(on the Black Sea in Pontus). The son of a bishop, and himself apparently asuccessful businessman, he went to Rome at around 138, but was expelled fromthe church there in 144. He went on to form a rival church. His death date is unknown.
Without going into detail about Marcion's theology, we should note thathe separated the Gods of the Old and New Testaments. This may have led him todownplay the Old Testament allusions from his New Testament(which consisted only of Luke and the ten Pauline Epistles to churches);it is often claimed that he removed these referemces. However, in 1 Corinthianswe have evidence that he retained at least nine of eleven Old Testament citations.
Marcion's writings and his Bible text have not survived; we know themonly from citations by authors such as Tertullian andEpiphanius. This,combined with the fact that Marcion rewrote the documents he studied, makes itdifficult to recover his underlying text. (Nor are we helped by the factthat our best evidence about him comes from Tertullian, who wasquite capable of rewriting his sources). But all evidence seems to indicatethat his text was highly interesting and very early (e.g. it clearly omitted thereference to Ephesus in Eph. 1:1). Readings associated with him seemto have been transmitted in the "Western," P46/B, and 1739texts; they are rarer in the Alexandrian text. (Compare Souter, who writes --based on what we should note is incomplete evidence -- that "We find himin company with the Latin witnesses, especially the European Old-LatinMSS., but not infrequently also with the Old Syriac. He is never on the side ofthe great Greek uncials against both these versions.") Still, if Marcion canbe reliably determined to support a reading, and if it has good supportfrom other, less partisan witnesses, we may consider that reading tobe very ancient and significant. [US, RBW, AA, AS, GG, etc.]
Marcus Eremita. IV/V. Greek. Nestle: Marc.
A prolific author whose works have largely been lost, he was for a timein charge of a monastery in Ancyra. He later retired and became a hermit.He died some time after 430.
Marcus/Marcosians. II. Nestle: Mar.
Marius Victorinus. IV. Latin. Nestle: MVict.
Gaius Marius Victorinus moved from Africa to Rome in the fourth century.He became famous as a teacher of rhetoric, but, having turned Christian,he gave up the subject in 362 in response to a law of Julian the Apostate.His primary work was a commentary on the Pauline Epistles.
Maximus of Turin. IV/V. Latin. Merk: Max
The earlier of two Bishops of Turin with the name Maximus. His literaryoutput consists of nearly a hundred sermons. Of his life we know onlythat Gennadius reports that he died between 408 and 423.
Melitius of Antioch. d. 381. Greek. Merk: Mel
Originally Bishop of Sebaste, later translated to Antioch.Like so many in this period, he was sent into exile on severaloccasions. He died in 381 during the Council of Constantinople.
Methodius of Olympus. III. Greek. Nestle: Meth. Merk: Meth
A very shadowy figure, believed to have been the bishop of LycianOlympus (though even this is uncertain). He may have been martyred in311. He was evidently a prolific writer, and though we have onlyfragments in Greek, much of his work survives in Slavonic and othereastern languages.
de Montibus Sina et Sion. III. Merk: SiSi
One of hte vaious works falsely attributed to Cyprian. [20CE]
Naasseni (Naassene Gnostics). II. Merk: Naass
A group of Gnostics known primarily from Hippolytus. They arebelieved to have been active during the reigns of Hadrian andAntoninus Pius. Their theology is typical Gnostic, replete withodd dieties, flute players, and the like. They have been equated with theOphites, but the evidence is at best thin.
Nicetas of Remesiana. IV/V. Latin. Nestle: Nic. Merk: Nic (also Niceta?)
Nicetas was bishop of Remesiana (in what was then Dalmatia andis now Serbia). He died some time after 414. What little we know ofhim comes mostly from the writings of his friend Paulinus of Nola.
Nilus of Ancyra. V. Greek. Nestle: Nil.
Director of a monastery in Ancyra in Asia. He died some time around430.
Novatian. III. Latin. Nestle: Nov. Merk: Nov
Very little is known of this author's life; we know neither the dateof his birth nor that of his death. He probably was not born a Christian,as we are told that he received baptism on his sickbed. Other than thiswe know nothing of him till the time of Decius's persecution, when we findhim writing a letter to Cyprian on behalf of the Roman congregation.
Novatian's career reached its somewhat dubious height in 251, when theRoman church split over the question of whether to re-admit those who hadlapsed from the faith during the persecution. When Cornelius was electedBishop of Rome by those willing to forgive lapses, the stricter partyelected Novatian as a rival Pope. Thus, although entirely orthodox, hebecame one of the first schismatics of the western church.
Little else can be said of further career. That he at some point leftRome seems likely. The fifth century historian Socrates says that he diedin 257 during the persecution of Valerian, but there is some evidence thathe was alive in 258.
Since Novatian was a schismatic, his works were not prized for his name.Yet their intelligence gave them value. We are thus in the peculiar situationof having several works of Novatian preserved under the names of other authors.On the Trinity, for instance, was credited to Tertullian. Other worksare credited to Cyprian. Had it not been for a list of Novatian's writingspreserved by Jerome, we might never have known that On the Trinity andOn Jewish Foods are by Novatian. As it is, there are several booksHarnack considers to be by Novatian that we simply cannot be sure of. Souterconsiders his text to be similar to the Old Latin a in John, and close tod of Paul. [AA, AS, HC, GG]
Oecumenius. VI. Greek. Merk: Oec
Sometimes listed (falsely) as a bishop of Tricca and as of the tenthcentury. He wrote a commentary onthe Apocalypse. (The commentaries on the Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Paul whichcirculated under his name are listed by the Alands pseudepigraphal, though VonSoden did not so distinguish.)Trained in philosophy and known as a rhetor, Oecumenius was apparentlyalso a monophysite, as he wrote in support of the known monophysite Severus ofAntioch. [AA, CH]
Opus Imperfectum in Matthew. IV/V. Merk: OI
Opera Graeca. Merk: Ef
Ophites. Nestle: Ophites.
A Gnostic sect, also called the "Sethians" (after Seth, theson of Adam and Eve from whom they claimed descent). Much of what we knowabout them comes from Origen in Contra Celsum (Celsus had describedthe elaborate "Ophite Diagram" which he considered an orthodoxChristian artifact, and Origen of course counterattacked.) They had theusual complex Gnostic theology of aeons and divinities, with three ordersof the universe. They have been equatedwith the Naasseni, though the evidence is at best thin.[20CE]
Optatus of Mileve. IV. Latin. Merk: Opt
Of uncertain date, except that Augustine mentions him as dead in theyear 400. As Bishop of Mileve (in Numidia), he wrote to combat Donatism,and his writings (in six or more volumes) are one of the chief sourcesconcerning that schism. [AA, CH]
Origen d. 254. Greek. Nestle: Or (Ors refers to thecommentary on John 2:12-25 not by Origen). Merk:Wr/Or
Born of a Christian family in 184/5, his father Leonidas died in the persecution in the tenth year of Severus (202;Eusebius tells us thatOrigen wanted to be martyred at the same time but was prevented by his mother,who hid all his clothing to keep him from going out). Even at this early agethe formidably able Origen was already able to support his motherand siblings by teaching rhetoric. About a year later Bishop Demetriusappointed him to direct the Alexandrian Catechetical School, succeedingClement of Alexandria. Soon after this, ifEusebius is to be believed, he neutered himself to fulfill Jesus'scomment about those who made themselves eunuchs for the sake ofthe kingdom of heaven (Ecc. Hist. vi.8; the story of Origen occupiesa large portion of this book of Eusebius's history.
Origen left Alexandria during Caracalla's 215 persecution,and spent a few years in Cæsareabefore Demetrius called him back to Egypt and chastised him forpreaching without being ordained. In 230/1 he was ordained apresbyter while on a journey. Demetrius felt that Origen wasflouting his authority and managed to have Origen barred fromteaching in Alexandria. He left Alexandria for Cæsarea, where he spent therest of his life. He suffered during the Decian persecution, and this may havehastened his death, which took place in the reign of Decius (so Eusebius)or soon after (so most moderns).
Although Origen's views were later to be condemned (he believed, e.g.,in the pre-existence of souls), his scholarship during his lifetime wasunquestioned. He had trouble with the church hierarchy, but this seemsto have been due to jealousy rather than doctrinal reasons.
Origen was fortunate enough to have a wealthy patron, Ambrose(not the father of that name, but an Alexandrian whom Origen hadconverted to his way of thinking), who allowed him to devote hislife to writing and scholarship. (Epiphaniusreports that his writings totalled six thousand volumes -- i.e. presumablyscrolls -- although Rufinus, probably correctly, calls this absurd.Jerome gives a list describing 177 volumes on the Old Testament and114 on the New. Fewer than 10% of these survive in Greek, and the Latintradition is only slightly fuller.)
The catalog of Origen's works is immense. Unlike the majority ofearly Christians, he took the trouble to learn at least some Hebrew, and so was ableto comment on the Hebrew Bible and even compile his massive six-column"Hexapla" edition of the Old Testament (comprising the Hebrewtext, the Hebrew transcribed in Greek, and the four translations ofAquila, Symmachus, LXX, and Theodotion) -- a work which alone was largerthan most scholars' lifetime output. He also wrote massivecommentaries on large parts of the Bible -- often several times thesize of the original volume (e.g. his Commentary on Matthewcontained 21 books, that on John 32, and those on Romans and Galatians15 each). Alongside this were several apologetic and theologicalworks, although little of this has survived except the work Against Celsus(arguably the best Christian apology ever written, compiled in answer to arguablythe ablest assault on the faith). In addition, about 575 of hishomilies were transcribed (though, again, only a handful survive in Greek andfewer than half even in Latin). The sheer volume of his writings workedagainst him; it was almost impossible for any library to contain themall, and even Eusebius complained about the fragmentary state of manyof Origen's works.
The text of Origen is a complex riddle. Part of the problem is thespotty survival of his works. As noted, a large fraction of his output exists onlyin Latin (much of it translated by Rufinus, who often rewrote what hetranslated). These sections have at times been accomodated to the variousLatin versions. Even the portions preserved in Greek are often conformedto the Byzantine text, so that the lemmata of Origen's commentaries areonly to be trusted where they are supported by his exposition.
Aside from these difficulties, Origen seems to have used severalsorts of texts. In Alexandria, he apparently used a very earlyAlexandrian text (by no means identical to the later text of Sinaiticusetc., especially in Paul, although it is closer to Vaticanus and the papyri).Once he moved to Cæsarea, he apparently took to using local,presumably "Cæsarean," manuscripts for some books --but by no means all.
In the Gospels, Origen is considered the key witness to the"Cæsarean" text. Indeed, only Origen preserves itin anything like a pure form -- and even that only in part,since so many of Origen's works use Alexandrian texts. For example,Streeter claims that the text of Mark Origen used in hisCommentary on John is Alexandrian in books 1-5 (writtenwhile Origen was in Alexandria) and Cæsarean in the remainder(written in Cæsarea. For all the flaws -- and they are many --in Streeter's methodology, this conclusion seems reasonable). On the other hand, Origen seems to have used Alexandrian manuscriptsof John (closer to Vaticanus than Sinaiticus) for the entire Commentary -- andprobably to the end of his life. Streeter also believes Origen useda Cæsarean text of Matthew for his Commentary on Matthew.Elsewhere Origen falls closest to Family 1739,although (as Zuntznoted) his text is by no means identical to the 1739 text (or toEusebius, who is also said to have a "Cæsarean" text).Instead Origen seems to fall somewhere between P46/Band 1739, though noticeably closer to the latter. [4G, AA, Eus, GG, GZ, PDAH, RBW]
Orosius. IV/V. Latin. Nestle: Oros.
Paulus Orosius was born in what is now Portugal (Braga) in the fourthcentury. By 414 he was a priest visiting Augustine in Hippo, and in 415 hemet Jerome in Bethlehem. Returning to Africa, he wrote a history whichextends through the year 417. Charles E. Chapman describes this history as "of apronouncedly anti-pagan, pro-Christian character." Nothing is known of his life afterit was finished.
Pacian of Barcelona. IV. Latin. Merk: Pac
Bishop of Barcelona, respected by Jerome. He died around 380-390.
Pelagius. d. after 418. Latin. Nestle: Pel. Merk: Pel
Heretic, with a theology considered to place too much stress onhuman action and too little on God's grace. Born in the mid tolate third century in Britain, he moved to Rome (perhaps around 400) but left in410 to escape the sack of the city. He spent the following years North Africa,where he became a frequent target of Augustine's pen. Later he moved toPalestine. He was excommunicated in 417/418. He probably diedin the course of the 420s. His most important work is a commentaryon Paul (c. 409) which includes many important Old Latin quotations --of a type which perhaps preceded the Vulgate. [AA, AS, CE, HC, PDAH]
Polycarp of Smyrna. d. 156 (167?). Greek. Nestle: Polyc. Merk: Pol
Bishop of Smyrna. Born in the third quarter of the first century,he learned directly from apostles and others who knew Jesus. He inturn tutored Irenæus. He was martyred in 155 or 156 (so many moderns)or 167 or 168 (so, e.g., Eusebius, who dates the event to the reign ofMarcus Aurelius) or perhaps even later (one manuscript states that Irenæus hada vision of his death while in Rome -- i.e. 177 -- but if this were true,it would seem likely that Irenæus would have mentioned it). He issaid to have been in his eighties, and certainly he must have been veryold. Only fragmentsof his writings (notably a letter to the Philippians, though this is nowbelieved to be composite, with the final tow chapters coming perhaps from thetime of Ignatius and the rest being later) have beenpreserved, but he was held in such high respect that it is likelythat he influenced other writers -- notably, of course, Irenæus.We do have a description of his martyrdom; while it lacks theextravagance of some such stories, it still seems somewhatexaggerated. [20CE, AA, Eus]
Primasius. VI. Latin. Nestle: Prim. Merk: Pr
The bishop of Hadrumentum in Africa, his major work is a commentaryon the Apocalypse (based in part on that of Victorinus). He died after 552,probably in the 560s. His text is said to resemble the Old Latin h. (Note:References to a commentary on Paul by Primasius are the result of a modernerror; the commentary actually comes from the school ofCassiodorus.) [AA, AS]
Priscillian. d. 385/6. Latin. Nestle: Prisc. Merk: Prisc
Born in a well-to-do Spanish family, he became Bishop of Avila in 380.He was, however, heretical on his doctrine of the Trinity (which he didnot believe in). In 385 he was tried for his heresy and/or for magic,and executed -- the first execution carried out by the church, and onethat roused strong protests even from certain of Priscillian's opponents.(It was a troubled time in the late empire, the emperor Magnus Maximuswas trying to establish himself, and may have been trying to prove hisorthodoxy when he allowed Priscilliam to be executed.) Priscillian'sprimary writing is the Canones in epistulas Paulinas, whichnaturally includes many Old Latin readings (Souter equates his text withthat of Speculum in the Catholic Epistles, and considers it close to Gigas inActs) -- but Priscillian isdoubtless most noteworthy for originating the "Three HeavenlyWitnesses" in 1 John 5:7-8. [AA, AS, HC, MG]
Prosper of Aquitaine. V. Latin. Nestle: Prosp.
Prosper Tiro was a monk and lay theologian from near modernMarsailles. He corresponded with Augustine and supported hisrigid doctrines during the period from 428 to 435 when they weremost strongly under attack. Although he had received only lukewarmsupport from Pope Celestine, from 440 he served in the court of Pope Leo I.He died some time after 455. Previously thought to have written Depromissionibus, now attributed to Quodvultdeus.
Ptolemy the Gnostic. before 180. (Greek). Nestle: Ptol. Merk: Ptol.
A Valentinian, known from the writings of Irenæus (who cites hiscommentary on the prologue to John) and Epiphanius (who preserves his Letterto Flora). He taught that Christ had a soul and a "psychic" body,and that God is one, not two. This made him sort of a moderate by Gnostic standards.
Quodvultdeus. d. c. 453. Latin. Nestle: Qu.
Born probably in the late fourth century, and became Bishop of Carthage in437. He was banished by Geiserich the Vandal in 439, and died some years later.Believed to be the author of certain works once attributed to Augustine.His most important work, however (if it is truly his), is De promissionibus etpraedictionibus dei, a study of prophecies about Christ and the Church.
de Rebaptismate (Pseudo-Cyprian). III. Latin. Merk: Rebapt.
A sort of proto-Donatist tract, claiming to be by Cyprian (andsometimes included in his works) but in fact opposed to his doctrineson how to treat those who left the church during persecutions.
Remigius of Auxerre. c. 841-c. 908. Latin.
A relatively late commentator on the Vulgate about whom we know relatively little. Few critical editions cite him -- but he is significant for the history of the Vulgate (although not in a positive way) in that he allowed his opinions about what the Vulgate "should" read to influence his text, and because he wrote important glosses, his readings were often preserved. Most of his work was based on earlier fathers. He is said to have been a student of Heiric of Auxerre, which would place him roughly a century after Alcuin. Glunz, A History of the Vulgate in England, pp. 120-123, lists thirty readings particularly associated with Remigius in the Gospels. And Glunz, p. 153, suggests that Remigius's method of interpreting and handling the Vulgate text had a significant influence on the shape of the late medieval Vulgate. And his methods influenced Vulgate editors such as Lanfranc. [HHG, BMK]
Rufinus. d. 410. Latin. Merk: Ruf.
Tyrannius Rufinus was born probably shortly before 350 of aChristian family at Aquileia. He spent time there as a monk, but alsotravelled to Egypt (where he lived for six years) and Jerusalembefore returning to Italy in 397. He died in Messina in 410.Although he wrote some works of his own (on the Apostle's Creed; alsoon church history and biography), his primary role was as a translator(e.g. of Origen), but he oftenadapted what he translated, conforming scriptures to the Latin versionsand adding commentary of his own. Thus one must always be careful, inusing one of Rufinus's translations, to distinguish the original authorfrom the translator. Nonetheless his translations are very important,since his is the only substantial text (e.g.) of Origen's commentaryon Romans. [HAGH]
Sedulius. V. Latin. (Merk: Sed)
Author of a biblical epic called the "Paschale Carmen"(sometimes used for instruction), as well hymns such as the well-known"A solis ortus cardine." Not to be confused with theIrish priest Sedulius Scottus, also known for poetry, who wrote commentaries onMatthew and Paul and who worked in Liège around 845; much of his value isfor Pelagius. [CS, HAGH]
Serapion of Thmuis. IV. Greek. Merk: Sar.
After a time as head of a monastery, he became Bishop of Thmuis (in lowerEgypt) in 339. He is responsible for the Euchologion, a collectionof liturgical prayers. He died around 360.
Severian of Gabala. IV/V. Greek. Merk: Sev.
Bishop of Gabala (in Syria). He wrote a commentary on the PaulineEpistles which is now lost but which is quoted in various catenæ. He diedsome time after 408.
de Singularitate. III. Merk: Sing.
Socrates. V. Greek. Merk: Socr.
Although a layman, his importance is as a church historian (his workis considered the sequel to Eusebius). He was born in Constantinople probably around 380, and died around 439/40.
Speculum (Pseudo-Augustine). V?. Latin. Nestle: Spec. Merk: (cited as Old Latin m).
A collection of statements and precepts drawn from the Old Latin Bible (both Oldand New Testaments). It has been attributed to Augustine,but this is not likely. Alanddates it c. 427. Except in editions associated with the Alands, it is usuallycited as m of the Old Latin. In Paul at least, the text seems to be generallymore primitive than the European Latin of the bilingual uncials. In the Catholics,it has many links with the text of Priscillian.
Tatian. II. Greek/Syriac. Merk: Ta.
The problems of Tatian and his Diatessaron simply cannot be covered here;they belong in their own article (some additional information can be found in thearticle on the Versions under Diatessaron).In any case, Tatian is not truly a Father; ifhe wrote works about orthodox Christianity, they have not survived. Even his magnumopus has effectively disappeared in the original language (we can say thisconfidently even though we do not know what language it was!).
Tatian, a resident of Syria or Assyria, was born at an unknown date in the firsthalf of the second century. In the middle years of the century he moved toRome (where he knew, among others, Justin Martyr) and became a member of theChristian community. Around 167, however, he left the Roman church; most scholarsthink this was for doctrinal reasons -- and probably not entirely voluntary.Tatian has been regarded as the founder of the Encratites;in any event, he encouraged chastity and various other forms of self-disciplinenot accepted by the Orthodox. Jerome, for instance, describes him as "Tatian,who maintaining the imaginary flesh of Christ, pronounces all sexualconnection impure, [and] who was also the very violent heresiarch of theEncratites" (Commentary on Galatians; English translationfrom the Nicene Fathers series).
From Rome, Tatian returned to Syria, where he gathered followers,wrote, and at some point assembled his great work, the Diatessaron.
Tatian seems to have been the first to attempt something which has sincebecome very popular: He created a harmony of the Gospels. (It is generally believedthat he used only the canonical four, but the lack of knowledge about his texthas led some to speculate that he used the Gospel of the Hebrews or someother work in addition.) It is not certain whether the original language wasGreek or Syriac; whichever it was, the author soon turned it into the other.
That Tatian's work was very skilled can hardly be denied. But it was not thegospel, and it came from an apparent heretic. Most parts of the church refused to use it.
Not so the Syriac Christians. Perhaps lacking a Bible of their own, theyadopted the Diatessaron and clung to it for probably two centuriesbefore the organized church managed to substitute the regular gospels.
Despite this widespread popularity, the Diatessaron has been very poorlypreserved. No certain fragments of the Syriac version are known, and of theGreek we have only the single uncial fragment0212, from Dura. Our primaryknowledge comes from the Armenian version of Ephraem's commentary. Many othersources are quoted as having "Diassetaric" texts -- but the studentshould always be careful lest a gospel harmony be mistaken for thegospel harmony. Some of these harmonies (particularly the more recent versionsfrom Western countries) are probably independent.
The influence Tatian had on the orthodox New Testament is uncertain. VonSoden thought him responsible for many harmonistic readings (and this showsin the form of a massive number of alleged readings of Tatian in hisand Merk's apparati) -- but the simplefact is that most scribes could make up harmonizations on their own. Thereforeattributing variants to Tatian is a hazardous business. Even citing his supportfor a particular reading is rather doubtful; the student should be very carefulto check just which edition contains a particular reading. One shouldalso be very careful to make sure that the reading belongs to the gospel underconsideration....
Tatian wrote various other works; the most useful of these (at leastin the opinion of Eusebius) was The Greeks Answered, from whichwe have assorted fragments. [Eus]
Tertullian. II/III. Latin. Nestle: Tert. Merk: Tert.
Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus was born shortly after the middle ofthe second century to a pagan family in Carthage (his father was a Romancenturion). Early in life he practiced law in Rome, returning to his nativecity as a Christian shortly before the turn of the third century. His witand sprightly tongue made him a gifted controversialist, and he wroteextensively against the various enemies of the church. But -- like manyconverts -- the staid life of the official church was not sufficientfor him. He wanted a return to prophecy. After some years of trying andfailing to restore the spiritual nature of the Catholic church, he became a Montanist(c. 207. Jerome reportson this explicitly: "Remaining a presbyter of the church until... middleage, ...Tertullian was, by the envy and false treatment of the Romanclergy, driven to embrace the opinions of Montanus, which he has mentioned...under the title "The New Prophecy"). This inturn apparently wore thin for him, and in his last years he seems tohave tried to form an independent congregation. Last heard from around220, he probably died shortly thereafter.
No list of Tertullian's works is extant, but historians have identifiedat least 43 titles. Of these, all or part of 31 survive. Some of these, however,date from after he left the Catholic church. Even so, Cyprian called him"the Master," and made it a policy to read from his works every day.
Tertullian's text is somewhat problematic, as he wrote in Latin butapparently used primarily Greek texts which he translated himself. (So, atleast, some moderns; Sanday and Souter thought he used both Greek and Latin texts, butprimarily the latter, perhaps of a type similar to the Old Latin b.) Histext is therefore rather unique. It contains its fair share of "Western"readings, but also some characteristic of other types, and some that standalone (though these occasionally seem to have corrupt descendents in othertext-types). The extent to which these are truly readings that he knew(as opposed to paraphrases that sprang from his fertile pen) is hardto determine. In using his quotations from other authors, such as Marcion,it is always important to remember that Tertullian was willing to paraphrase,or even put words in his sources' mouths. Robert M. Grant notes,"He touched almost nothing which he did not exaggerate."[20CE, AA, AS, Eus, HC, GG]
Theodore of Mopsuestia. d. 428. Greek. Merk: Thd.
Born in Antioch around the middle of the fourth century, he studied rhetoric andliterature before devoting his attention entirely to Biblical studies. He becameBishop of Mopsuestia in 392. He wrote a number of commentaries and other works,but only a small fraction of these have survived, sometimes in catenae.The reason for this is nothard to find: He was later declared a heretic. Although no doubts were cast onhim during his life, Nestorius had studied under him, and the teacher was tarredby the brush applied to the student. (Theodore may have been a heretic, but theproblem was perhaps simply one of language.) Soon after his death in 428, we find MariusMercator calling him the father of Pelagianism (431). In 435,Hesychius of Jerusalem and Cyril of Alexandrialevelled charges. The Emperor quashed the suggestion at thetime, but Theodore continued to attract condemnation. His writings were formally castout at the Council of Constantinople in 553. [20CE, AA]
Theodoret of Cyrrhus. V. Greek. Nestle: Thret. Merk: Thdt.
Born late in the fourth century in Antioch, he became a monk and was reluctantlyconsecrated Bishop of Cyrrhus in 423 (he probably wasn't much past thirty). Relativelysoft on Nestorianism (he tried to avoid condemning Nestorius at the Council ofChalcedon in 451), he was the first vigorous opponent of Eutychianism. As a result,he was deposed without a hearing at the "Robber Council" of 449 -- onlyto be restored at Chalcedon in 451. In addition to writings on these subjects(which have probably been supplemented by pseudonymous works) he wrote a commentaryon the Pauline Epistles and on large portions of the Old Testament. He died around 466,although controversies continued to swirl about him for many decades.
Theodotus II. Greek. Merk: Thdot.
From the information in Merk it is not clear if this is Theodotus theGnostic, a Valentinian, or Theodotus/Theodorus of Byzantium, a developerof dynamic Monarchianism (who was excommunicated by Victor of Rome in 198).
Theophilus of Alexandria. d. 412. Greek. Nestle: Theoph.
Successor of Athanasius as Bishop of Alexandria,and like Athanasius, an opponent of heresy. His work was more politicalthan theological, however. Cyril of Alexandria washis nephew. His citations are too few to really characterize his text,although it would seem likely that it is Alexandrian. [20CE]
Theophilus of Antioch. II. Greek. Merk: Theoph (also Thph?)
Born in Mesopotamia, Eusebius lists him as the sixth Bishop of Antioch"from the Apostles."His only surviving work is the three-volume set To Autolycuswhich describes the rudiments of Christianity. (Of the surviving manuscripts,one is a copy of the other; another manuscript, examied by Gesner, in nowlost.) Eusebius describes him asfighting heresy (in part by authoring a work The Heresy of HermogenesAnswered) and writing instructional manuals. His theology was somewhatlimited, however, and tinged by gnostic elements. It placed relativelylittle stress on Jesus. [20CE, AA, Eus]
Titus of Bostra. IV. Greek. Nestle: Tit. Merk: Tit
Author of a commentary in the form of sermons on Luke. It survivesonly partly in quotations and catenae. He also wrote a work against the Manichaeans;this exists primarily in Syriac. Little is known of his life save that hewas Bishop of Bostra and died before 378.
Tyconius. IV. Latin. Nestle: Tyc. Merk: Ty (also Tyc?)
A member of the Donatists (the party that opposed lettingthose who lapsed from the faith during persecutions backinto the church on easy terms). He died some time after 390.He wrote a commentary on the Apocalypse that survives primarilyin quotations by Beatus, and a study of Donatism, BellumIntestinum. In addition, we have a Book of Rules.His text is Old Latin. [AA, CH]
Valentinians. II. Merk: Val
A Gnostic group founded by Valentinus in the second century.Valentinus spent time in Rome (c. 135-160), but the centerof the cult was in Egypt. Valentinus and his followers (such asPtolemaeus, Heracleon, and Theodotus) created a system whichbegan with "Depth" and "Silence" and involved thirtyaeons of which Wisdom was the youngest and the mother of Jesus. (Trustme, I'm not making this up, just expressing it in very short form.)Details vary, but the heresy was strong enough to have provokedreactions from Irenæus, Tertullian,and Clement of Alexandria. (Of course, the accuracyof those authors' discussions of the sect is questionable.)Much of their system is now known from the writings at Nag Hammadi.
contra Varimadum arianum. IV/V. Latin. Merk: Var
An anti-Arian work probably to be dated in the period 445-480.The compiler is unknown; Vigilius of Thapsus and Idacius Clarus ofOssonuba have been mentioned.
Victor of Vita. fl. 486. Latin. Merk: VictV
Bishop of Vita in Africa. His known work is the Historiapersecutionis Africanæ provincia.
Victorinus of Pettau. d. 304. Latin. Nestle: Vic. Merk: Vict
Victorinus was an inhabitant of Poetovio, Pannonia (now known asPettau, Styria). Little is known of his early life, but he is knownto have died in Diocletian's persecution. He wrote commentaries on manybooks -- mostly in the Old Testament; in the New, he seems to have writtenonly on Matthew and the Apocalypse. It is the last-named which hassurvived; it is also one of the sources used by Primasiusand Beatus, and a modified version was propagated byJerome. His Latin style is curious;several scholars think his native language was Greek.
Vigilius of Thapsus. V. Latin. Nestle: Vig. Merk: Vig
Bishop of Thapsus in Africa; died after 484. He wrote to combatvarious heresies. He has been mentioned as a possible author of thecontra Varimadum arianum. Several other works have also beenattributed to him by the "Pseudo Vigilius."
de vocatione omnium gentium. V. Merk: Voc
Zeno of Verona. IV. Latin. Merk: Zeno
A Mauretanian, Bishop of Verona from 362 to 371/2.
The table below is intended as a rough indicator of which Fathers are mostwidely quoted in the current Nestle text. (I say "rough" because thereare a handful of fathers -- e.g. Lactantius and Vigilius -- that NA27claims to cite, but I have been unable to locate the citations.)
The table below gives equivalent data for Merk. Unless marked L, figuresare for the Greek apparatus. Note that some writers are cited in both theGreek and Latin apparatuses.
The first problem in dealing with the Fathers is order: Except for a fewcommentaries, the Fathers don't quote the New Testament chapter by chapterand verse by verse. Instead, they cite passages as they are useful in whateverargument they are making. So we must endeavor to sort out their citationsinto an orderly whole. This is not really a problem with their texts, but itmeans that significant effort must be undertaken to use their witness.
The second problem is one of accuracy of citation. Most fathers did notrefer to manuscripts when they quoted scripture. They just used the wordingthey remembered. And they did not always remember accurately. Even if theydid recall the passage with precision, they might omit or paraphasepart of it for effect.
And, finally, there is the problem of transmission. We no more have theoriginal manuscript of Irenaeus or Tertullian than we have the originalautographs of the New Testament itself. Often the textual transmission ofthe Father's writings has been troubled. Before we can rely on theirtestimony, we must subject it to textual criticism itself.
Why, then, do we bother with such difficuly sources of information?Because the Fathers, unlike manuscripts or versions, can be so preciselylocated. In most instances, we know with fair precision both whereand when a particular author wrote. Thus, a judicious use of theirtestimony can allow us to localize particular readings and text-types.
In addition, many of the Fathers are early, and their texts predateall but our earliest continuous-text witnesses. They thus give us insightinto a periodwhere the history of the text would otherwise be completely dark. Theearliest Greek witnesses to the "Western" text, for instance,date from the fifth century and after. The earliest Latin witnesses comefrom about the fourth. But in the quotations of Irenaeus, Tertullian,Cyprian, and others, we have fragments of "Western" texts goingas far back as the second century.
Taking all this into account, we can establish the following rulesfor using the evidence of the Fathers:
It is hard to imagine a summation of both the strengths and weaknessesof patristic evidence more succinct than Ehrman's: "Patristicsources provide primary evidence for the history of the text but onlysecondary evidence for the original text itself" (Didymusthe Blind and the Text of the Gospels, p. 5).
Thanks to all the folks who came forward with information for thisarticle, including Ulrich Schmid, Jean Valentin, Christopher Eyton, and Vincent Broman.
Abbreviations used to indicate sources include:
Note: The larger portion of this work was completed before I startedlisting sources, and I am still reconstructing the materials. So for anygiven entry, many sources may have been consulted which are not listed.