Order of Contents
Where to Start?
. Patrologies 10
. On Early Church Literature 8
. Brief Histories 9
. In-Depth Histories 20
. Constantine – Church & State 6
. Antiquities 6
. Eastern and Latin Churches 3
. Special Periods 9
Here is the harvest from the public domain on the history of the early Church, plus some more select newer resources.
The early Church will always be dear to the one to whom the Lord Jesus is dear to, as these early Christians came right off the heels of Christ’s commissioned apostles themselves. Here we see the faith of the early Christians, how they lived and how they died. Even more so, see how Jesus was with them from Heaven, guiding his infant Church through the sea of this world and prospering them by his Divine strength till this gracious leaven filled the whole earth.
Sometimes the early church, being so close to the apostles, is looked to as an intriguing standard of pure, handed-down, doctrine and practice. While their simplicity in Scriptural teaching and living is to be commended, and they set forth to us the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and the Person and natures of Christ (no small feat), yet there is sometimes a tendency to hagiography (saint-glorifying). The New Testament itself gives indications of the significant impurities in the Church in its own day, predicts the growth thereof, and warns against temptations natural to the human heart in every generation. In reading the early Church, one may find him or herself coming to the same conclusion as the famed Free Church of Scotland professor, John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan:
“It is a grand evidence of the inspiration of the apostles that the theology of the post-apostolic Fathers is so puerile.”
Yet, nonetheless, the history of these early Christians is our own, and just as we see they needed the Savior, so we find the same for ourselves.
* * *
Modern academia often devalues older resources as they are ‘not up-to-date’. While there is some relevance to this, it matters relatively less in history. While acknowledging numerous advantages that our contemporary setting gives us with regards historical scholarship, yet for the most part, the ancient sources have not changed. Sometimes older historians had access to documents we do not have, and they often had more life-long industry in their historical field, with the profound depth of knowledge that attends it, than many, or most, contemporary historians. It is unlikely that you will ever know more about history than the 1800’s American historian, Philip Schaff. If many of the resources below, based on a wealth of primary sources, were satisfactory for him, unless you’re doing a dissertation, they may prove adequate for you as well.
The great benefit of the many older (and newer) academic resources below is the mass of scholarly information and detail they shed upon the subject, which is not found nearly anywhere else. The great drawback to them, is that “not many wise men after the flesh… are called,” and hence a great morass of the material is colored, or sometimes interpreted through, presuppositions and historical paradigms that are antithetical to a natural understanding and development of those events consistent with a believing acceptance of New Testament history and the savor of godliness.
As this paradigmatic conflict increases the closer one gets to the New Testament, for the history of the 1st century, instead of many of the resources on this page, we recommend consulting conservative New Testament backgrounds, surveys and introductions, which will give you a faithful reading of that period.
While there are not many, there are a few doctrinal conservatives (and in this case, as strict as they come by) that have written early Church histories. David Welsh (1793–1845) was the moderator of the 1843 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland during the Disruption who read the Protest, laid it on the table, and walked out due to Erastian impositions upon Christ’s Church, along with 194 other elders in order to form the Free Church of Scotland. He was a professor of church history and wrote the following year, a year before he died:
Of the same spiritual rectitude was William Killen (1806–1902), a professor of Church history for the Irish Presbyterian Church. He wrote:
For those who are a bit further along and know some Greek and Latin, but have not yet attempted to jump into the 161 volumes of Greek patristic writings and 221 volumes of Latin patristic writings (which is not easy to do), but desire to make some progress herein, we have some easy directions and tools in our Primary Sources section that will allow you to do just this. It is the only place on the net that we know of which provides such a key to opening these treasures.
We hope these resources will be a blessing to you and that you will make great use of them. At the same time, may these words of ‘Rabbi’ Duncan also ring true for you:
“Believe not any man on his own mere word. Sacredly reserve your faith for the Word of the living God.”
Where to Start?
For a readable, engaging introduction to the Fathers and the early Church, see:
Haykin, Michael – Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church Buy 2011 176 pp.
Haykin is a reformed baptist church historian.
Wilken, Robert – The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God Buy 2005 398 pp.
For a brief, reliable, readable and cheap history of the early Church, try the eminent church historian, who was a Lutheran:
Bainton, Roland – Early Christianity Buy 1960 187 pp.
For a great place to start on the historical theology of the early Church, procure:
Pelikan, Jaroslav – The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine: vol. 1, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600) Buy 1975
Prestige, G.L. – God in Patristic Thought Buy 1936 301 pp.
A Patrology is a work that surveys the field through being organized around, and focusing on, the particular, prominent Church fathers and their writings. It is a great place to start to get familiar with the lay of the land.
“Among the Protestant patrologists are reckoned the Reformed theologians Cave (†1713 [Anglican]), and Oudin (†1717 [works]), a Premonstatensian monk who became Protestant in 1690. The Lutheran writers Gerhard (†1637), Hulsemann (†1661), Olearius (†1711), and others introduced and spread the use of the term ‘Patrology’…” – Bardenhewer, p. 9
Cave was an Anglican and was one of the main protestant historians of the early Church.
Schmid, Bernard – A Manual of Patrology 1899 350 pp.
Stearns, Wallace – A Manual of Patrology: being a Concise Account of the Chief Persons, Sects, Orders, etc. in Christian History from the First Century to the Period of the Reformation with Select Bibliographical References 1899 200 pp. This is laid out like a dictionary. The entries are very brief.
Bardenhewer, Otto – Patrology: the Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church 1908 700 pp.
Tixeront, Joseph – A Handbook of Patrology 1923 390 pp.
Tixeront was a Jesuit.
Cayre, Fulbert – Manual of Patrology and History of Theology, 3 vols. Buy 1936-40 Cayre’s work goes up through the 1500’s
Quasten, Johannes – Patrology, 4 vols. Buy 1950-86 To be supplemented with Angelo Di Berardino, Patrology: The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (750) Buy 2006 which acts as the 5th volume.
“By far the most valuable Patrology in English is Johannes Quasten’s work… it is an unusually valuable work because of its superb organization. Quasten offers basic information on the life and work of an individual, provides a comprehensive listing of extant editions and translations, and then discusses the various doctrines that the person wrote on, with relatively up-to-date bibliographies.” – Bradley & Muller, p. 99
Altaner, B. – Patrology Buy 1960 660 pp.
“A guide to the critical texts and recent studies of all the writers of the early church.” – Owen Chadwick
ed. Holweck, F.G. – A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints Buy 1924/1969/1991
“The quickest one-volume guide to hagiography. On a bigger scale, the only critical series of volumes is A. Butler… on no account use the pre-Thurston editions.” – Owen Chadwick
ed. Thurston, Attwater – Butler’s Lives of the Saints 1990 2,905 pp. complete in one volume This work is laid out by the Roman Catholic calendar throughout the year by saint’s days.
On Early Church Literature
Cruttwell, Charles Thomas – A Literary History of Early Christianity Including the Fathers and the Chief Heretical Writers of the Ante-Nicene Period, vol. 1, 2 1893
Cruttwell was a fellow of Oxford.
Kruger, Gustav – History of Early Christian Literature in the First Three Centuries 1897 470 pp.
Orr, James – The Early Church: its History and Literature 1901? 155 pp.
Orr was the influential professor in the United Free Church of Scotland.
Gamble, Harry – Books and Readers in the Early Church: a History of Early Christian Texts Buy 1995 350 pp.
Dopp, Siegmar – Dictionary of Early Christian Literature Buy 2000 640 pp. Goes up to the 8th century
Drobner, Hubertus – The Fathers of the Church: a Comprehensive Introduction Buy 2007 680 pp. Baker
Ayres, Young & Louth – The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature Buy 2007 568 pp.
Welsh, David – Elements of Church History, vol. 1, External History of the Church During the First Three Centuries 1844 The section on the post-apostolic early church is only 150 pp.
Welsh (1793–1845) was the historic moderator at the Disruption of 1843 who read the Protest to the Church of Scotland and lead the exodus out in order to form the Free Church of Scotland. He had quite the credentials in history and intended to write a 7 volume general history of the Church, but died after the first volume.
Blunt, J.J. – A History of the Christian Church during the First Three Centuries 1856 375 pp.
Blunt was a Cambridge professor.
Mahan, Milo – A Church History of the First Three Centuries, to AD 323 1860 450 pp.
Mahan was an American professor of church history, and an Episcopalian.
Crake, A.D. – History of the Church under the Roman Empire, AD 30-476, intended for Junior Students 1879 655 pp.
Crake was a fellow of the English, Royal Historical Society.
Hurst, John Fletcher – Short History of the Early Church 1886 150 pp.
Hurst was the very learned Methodist professor and historian who wrote a historical theology and a rather complete bibliography on Christian theology by subject.
Plummer was a liberal Bible commentator and scholar known for his exhaustive scholarship.
Backhouse, Edward – Early Church History to the Death of Constantine 1892 380 pp.
Bartlet, J. Vernon – Early Church History: a Sketch of the First Four Centuries 1894 160 pp. Religious Tract Society
Bartlet was an Oxford scholar.
Fisher, George Park – Periods 1-4 of History of the Christian Church, with Maps 1900 162 pp.
Fisher (1827–1909) was an American professor of Church History at Yale.
Messenger, E.C. – The Church in the Christian Roman Empire Buy 1949
“A conservative account of the fourth century is given in Fliche, A. and Martin, V. ed., Histoire de l’Eglise, vol. iii, 1939, part of which was translated by E.C. Messenger as The Church in the Christian Roman Empire.” – Owen Chadwick
Wand, J.W.C. – A History of the Early Church to AD 500 Buy 1951/1991 320 pp.
Chadwick, Owen – The Early Church Buy in The Penguin History of the Church, vol. 1 1993 314 pp.
In-Depth Histories 20
Cave was an Anglican and was one of the main protestant historians of the early Church.
Mosheim, Johann – Historical Commentaries on the State of Christianity during the first 325 years, vol. 1, 2 1753
Mosheim is considered by many to be the father of modern, scientific history. He was a moderate Lutheran. This work is different from his well-known 2 vol. Church history.
Gibbon, Edward – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1782 6 vol. ed. Scroll down the page a way where there is a full table of contents with links. See especially chs. 15 (Progress of Christianity), 16 (Conduct towards Christians), 20 (Conversion of Constantine), 23 (Julian, Persecution), 28 (Destruction of Paganism), 37 (Conversion of Barbarians) 51 (Christians under Islam)
Invaluable material from a classic, though Gibbon was anti-Christian. “Unsurpassed in the skillful use of sources and artistic composition, but skeptical and destitute of sympathy with the genius of Christianity.” – P. Schaff
Burton, Edward – Lectures upon the Ecclesiastical History of the First Three Centuries, vols. 1, 2 1839
Burton was an Oxford scholar. See the comments by the Free Church of Scotland professor, David Welsh, bottom of p. 51. Burton also made collections of ante-Nicene testimonies to the Divinity of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Neander, Augustus – General History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 1 (to 312), 1.5 (Doctrinal), 2 (312-590), 3-4 (590-814 / 814-1078)
Neander (1789–1850) was a liberal German scholar.
Gieseler (1792–1854) was a German historian. He copiously references sources and authorities and quotes original documents in full in the footnotes.
Schaff, Philip – History of the Apostolic Church, with a General Introduction to Church History 1854 820 pp.
This work is different from his larger-in-scope, History of the Christian Church.
Pressense (1824–1891) was a French protestant pastor who studied under German liberals.
Robertson, James Craigie – History of the Christian Church, vol. 1 (64-590) 1864 650 pp.
Robertson (1813–1882) was a Scottish, Anglican Churchman.
Baur, F.C. – The Church History of the First Three Centuries, vol. 1, 2 1878
“Among many authors of note [of German historians], the three most eminent are Neander, Gieseler and Baur… [with respect to Baur] The influence of Hegelian philosophy is manifest everywhere.” – G.P. Fisher
Wordsworth, Charles – A Church History to the Council of Nicea AD 325 1881 520 pp.
Wordsworth was an Anglo-Catholic, Scottish and English bishop and classical scholar.
Kurtz, Johann Heinrich – Church History, vol. 1 1889
Kurtz was one of the more ‘evangelical’ German liberals
Milman, Henry Hart – The History of Christianity… to the Abolition of Paganism in the Roman Empire, vol. 1, 2 189?
Milman (1791 –1868) was an English historian and Anglican ecclesiastic.
Moeller, Wilhelm – History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, A.D. 1-600 1902 555 pp.
Moeller was a German professor.
Harnack, Adolf – The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, vol. 1, 2 1908
Duchesne, Louis – Early History of the Christian Church from its Foundation to the End of the Fifth Century, vol. 1 (to 300), 2 (300-400), 3 (400-500) 1909 ff.
Duchesne was a French Oxford and Cambridge scholar.
“Long a standard Roman Catholic survey of early church history… For a later Protestant survey see Lietzmann…” – G.E. & Lyn Gorman
“A classical account by a master. The French original is wittier than the English translation.” – Owen Chadwick
Gwatkin (1844–1916) was a Cambridge professor.
Kidd (1864–1948) was an Anglican priest and historian. This work aims at “putting students into direct contact with the sources and enabling them to use the originals for themselves”
The Roman Primacy to AD 461 Buy 160 pp.
“This is an important work which concentrates on the history of ideas, and contains useful aids such as chronological tables, bibliographies and indexes. For the student of the period this provides a wealth of information.”
“Lietzmann’s four volumes… are an important modern (i.e. post-Schwarz) account of the early church, but to get the best out of them requires previous knowledge.” – Owen Chadwick
Constantine – Church & State 6
Gibson, James – The Church in Relation to the State 1872 220 pp. this book consists of a 170 page treatise written by Gibson in 1833 and a 45 page lecture given by Gibson in 1853, edited and compiled by James M’Naught
Gibson was a Disruption father in the Free Church of Scotland and a professor therein.
The first part of the book is a historical essay. It is often claimed that the establishment of religion instituted by Constantine in the 300’s was the major contributing factor to the later Romish and priestly domination of the Church. Gibson argues from history that the Church would have been much helped from the Establishment Principle under Constantine, but in fact it was due to the Voluntary Principle that the later Romish domination came about. This essay was highly recommended by the Doctors M’Crie and Cunningham, and (according to them) had not been answered.
Baynes, N.H. – ‘Constantine the Great and the Christian Church’ 1930 a lecture Here is a review.
Cambridge Ancient History 1936
Vol. 11, ch. 7, ‘The Rise of Christianity’, 70-192 AD
Setton, K.M. – Christian Attitudes Towards the Emperor in the Fourth Century Buy 1941
Jones, A.H.M. – Constantine and the Conversion of Europe 1948 310 pp.
“The best short account.” – Owen Chadwick
Greenslade, S.L. – Church & State from Constantine to Theodosius Buy 1954
King, N.Q. – The Emperor Theodosius and the Establishment of Christianity Buy 1961
Early Church Antiquities
Antiquities include the constitution, ministers, worship, discipline and customs of the early Church. While the topical arrangement is convenient, it does not lend itself to viewing the historical development and progression of the thing treated.
For instance, the table of contents may make the early church seem fully hierarchical and liturgical, as it became by the late 300’s and after, however it was significantly less so in the 200’s, and very little this way, if at all, in the 100’s. See also William Killen above and ‘Presbyterianism’ under ‘Specific Doctrines’ in the Doctrines subsection above.
Bingham, Joseph – The Antiquities of the Christian Church, vol. 1 (Titles, Offices, Revenue, Elections), 2 (Ascetics, Buildings, Geographical Divisions), 3 (Catechumens, Creeds, Baptism, Confirmation) 4 (Lay Baptism, Worship), 5 (Worship, Lord’s Supper), 6 (Discipline, Penance), 7 (Lord’s Day, Festivals, Fasts, Marriage, Funerals), 8 (Defense of Anglican Church, Sermons, Index) 1708-1722
Bingham (1668-1723) heavily defends the distinctives of the Anglican Church in this massive and very detailed work.
Coleman, Lyman – Antiquities of the Christian Church 1841 575 pp.
Riddle, J.E. – A Manual of Christian Antiquities, Particularly during the Third, Fourth and Fifth Centuries 1843 880
Riddle was an Oxford scholar and makes a plea for Episcopalianism.
Smith, W. & Cheetham, S. – A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities… from the time of the Apostles to the age of Charlemagne, vol. 1 (A-J), 2 (K-Z) 1908
Davies, J.G. – Daily Life in the Early Church Buy 1952 180 pp.
Specific Practices & Doctrines
Mortimer, R.C. – The Origins of Private Penance in the Western Church Buy 1939
Watkins, Oscar D. – A History of Penance: being a study of the authorities ,vol. 1 (to 450), 2 (450-1215) 1920
Lea was an American historian and political activist.
“Written to overthrow, but with vigor and learning.” – Owen Chadwick
Histories of the Eastern and Latin Churches
The Eastern Church
Neale was a high-church Anglican priest who was very sympathetic to, and involved with, the Eastern Church.
Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn – Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, with an Introduction on the Study of Ecclesiastical History 1883 500 pp.
Stanley was an English churchman, academic and religious liberal.
Tozer, Henry – The Church and the Eastern Empire 1900 240 pp.
The Latin Church
Milman, Henry Hart – History of Latin Christianity, including that of the Popes, vol. 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 1908 The first volume covers the first 600 years. The remaining volumes cover the Middle Ages up to AD 1455.
Milman (1791 –1868) was an English historian and an Anglican ecclesiastic.
Lagarde, Andre – The Latin Church in the Middle Ages 1915 620 pp. trans. Archibald Alexander
Newman, John Henry & Samuel Hinds – History of the Christian Church in the First Century 1862? 415 pp.
Newman (1801–1890) was an Oxford scholar and Anglican priest who became a Roman Catholic cardinal.
Burton, Edward – ‘Introductory Preface comprising a History of the Church in the First Century’ 1881 96 pp. in The Apostolic Fathers, Part 3, pp. 12-108
Burton was an Oxford professor.
Fisher, George – The Beginnings of Christianity, with a View of the State of the Roman World at the Birth of Christ 1911 600 pp.
Fisher (1827–1909) studied theology at Yale and was a historian.
Maurice, Frederick – Lectures on the Ecclesiastical History of the First and Second Centuries 1854 420 pp. Oxford
Burton, Edward – ‘Introductory Preface comprising a History of the Church in the Second Century’ 1881 43 pp. in The Apostolic Fathers, Part 33, pp. 7-50
Burton was an Oxford professor.
Kaye, John – Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries, illustrated from the Writinqs of Tertullian 1826 620 pp.
Kaye was an Anglican bishop.
Jeremie, James – History of the Christian Church in the Second and Third Centuries 1852 230 pp.
Jeremie was a Cambridge professor. “Very accessible patrological method. Select rather than exhaustive.” – Ernest Richardson
313-451 AD Nicea to Chalcedon
Bright, William – A History of the Church from the Edict of Milan, AD 313, to the Council of Chalcedon, AD 451 1881 450 pp.
Bright was an Oxford professor.
Carwithen & Lyall – The Christian Church from the Fourth to the Twelfth Century 1856 320 pp.
Early Church Doctrines
See also the Early Church sections of Historical Theologies that span the whole Christian time-frame.
Taylor, Isaac – Ancient Christianity and the Doctrines of the Oxford Tracts, vol. 1, 2 1839/42
The Oxford Tractarian Movement was a high-Church push by leaders such as John Henry Newman and E.B. Pusey to return to the claimed doctrines and characteristics of the early Church, though the publishing of tracts between 1833-41. Taylor was an English Independent and here seeks to overturn the historical claims of the movement on the Early Church.
Neander, Augustus – General History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 1.5, 2 1850 The 1.5 volume is wholly devoted to doctrine up till 312. The appendix of the second volume, 170 pp., is devoted to doctrine from 312-590.
Neander (1789–1850) was a liberal German scholar. See Philip Schaff’s commendation of his teacher, but also his fuller criticisms here. This work is in addition to his major historical theology on the whole span of Christian history.
Pressense, E. de – The Early Years of Christianity, vol. 2, Heresy & Christian Doctrine 1870
Pressense (1824–1891) was a French protestant pastor who studied under German liberals.
Killen, William D.
Killen (1806–1902) was a professor of Church history in the Irish Presbyterian Church.
This work is significantly different from that above. Only the first 60 pages are devoted to the first 300 years.
Banks, John – The Development of Doctrine in the Early Church 1900 225 pp. in Books for Bible Students
Bethune-Baker, J.F. – An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine to the Time of the Council of Chalcedon 1903 485 pp.
Bethune-Baker was a Cambridge professor.
“By a clear-headed Jesuit.” – Owen Chadwick
Prestige, G.L. – Fathers and Heretics Buy 1940
“Good reading for beginners.” – Owen Chadwick
Kelly, J.N.D. – Early Christian Doctrines 1958 510 pp.
“The best general survey.” – Owen Chadwick
ed. McGuckin, John – The Westminster Handbook to Patristic Theology Buy 2004 416 pp. WJKP is a liberal publisher. McGuckin is a priest in the Orthodox Church.
Specific Doctrines in the Early Church
Prestige, G.L. – God in Patristic Thought Buy 1936 301 pp.
Sellers, R.V. – Council of Chalcedon Buy 1961
The Word of God and Sola Scriptura
ed. King & Webster – Holy Scripture: the Ground and Pillar of our Faith, vol. 3: the Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura Buy 312 pp.
This is a massive collection of excerpts from the early fathers demonstrating the principle of sola scripture in the early church. It is not claimed that all of them, or all of those quoted, were protestants or consistent with this principle, but it is claimed that they did affirm the things they do in-fact say.
Doctrines of Grace & Others
Ussher, James – Answer to a Jesuit 420 pp.
Ussher surveys the early church and its development on: Confession, a priest’s power to forgive sins, purgatory, prayer for the dead, Christ’s descent into Sheol, prayer to the saints, images, of Free-will & of Merits.
Gill, John – Part 4 of The Cause of God and Truth 175 pp. Gill documents from the early fathers excerpts regarding Predestination, Limited Atonement, Total Depravity, Irresistible Grace & Perseverance of the Saints.
While this documentation should not be interpreted that this is all these fathers had to say, or that they were Calvinists, yet it is helpful in seeing where numerous of the fathers, reflecting Scripture, affirmed these Biblical truths, even if they were inconsistent in other places.
The documentation in these articles should be understood to be select out of an ocean of material, and should be combined with an overall survey of the fathers’ theology in the resources above. Consistency was not a prime virtue of many of the fathers.
See also under Antiquities: Specific Doctrines & Practices, below.
See also William Killen above.
Miller, Samuel – Chapters 4-5 of The Primitive and Apostolical Order of the Church of Christ Vindicated 1840 398 pp.
Miller was the second professor of old Princeton Seminary.
Smyth, Thomas – Book 1, ch. 1 & Book 2, chs. 1-4 of Presbytery and not Prelacy the Scriptural Primitive Polity
Smyth was a Southern presbyterian pastor in Charleston, near Thornwell and Girardeau.
Daley, Brian – The Hope of the Early Church. A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology Buy 2003 318 pp.
See also Antiquities above.
Duchesne, L. – Christian Worship, its Origin and Evolution: a Study of the Latin Liturgy up to the Time of Charlemagne 1910 625 pp.
Srawley, J.H. – The Early History of the Liturgy 1913 270 pp.
“The best introduction.” – Owen Chadwick
Woolley, R.M. – The Liturgy of the Primitive Church 1910 190 pp.
Woolley was an Anglican.
Warren, F.E. – The Liturgy and Ritual of the Ante-Nicene Church 1897 375 pp. in Side-Lights of Church History
MacDonald, A.B. – Christian Worship in the Primitive Church 1934 235 pp.
Macgregor, G.H.C. – Eucharistic Origins. A Survey of the New Testament Evidence. Bruce Lectures Buy 1928
Oesterley, W.O.E. – The Jewish Background of the Christian Liturgy 1925 245 pp.
Oesterley & Box – Religion and Worship of the Synagogue 1911 475 pp.
Dugmore, C.W. – Influence of Synagogue Upon Divine Office Buy 1945
On the Early Church Councils & Creeds
Reformed.org has the main early Church creeds
In Greek & Latin
ed. Schaff, Philip – The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 2 1896
A standard edition of most all of the early Church creeds, with the English and original languages on opposing columns. See vol. 1 below for historical background on these creeds.
Patristica.net is easy to use for the creeds in the original languages opposite an English translation. Scroll down, click on the bolded councils, click ‘English’, click ‘ok’.
ed. Percival – The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees, together with the Canons of all the Local Synods which have Received Ecumenical Acceptance in ed. Schaff & Wace – Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 14
In Greek & Latin
Here is an easy edition to consult for the first four councils:
The standard, older edition of all the councils in Latin from the beginning up to 1902 AD is:
ed. Mansi, et al. – Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, 51 vols. 1903-27 Paris
Secondary Sources on the Creeds & Councils Generally
Pusey, E.B. – The Councils of the Church from the Council of Jerusalem A.D. 51 to the Council of Constantinople A.D. 381, Chiefly as to their Constitution but also as to their Objects and History 1857 380 pp.
Pusey was a high-church Anglican who had a following named after him. He wrote an excellent scholarly defense of the book of Daniel.
Lumby, J. Rawson – The History of the Creeds 1873 280 pp. The work covers ante-Nicene creeds, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed & the Athanasian Creed
ed. Schaff, Philip – The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1 1896
This gives the historical background on the early Church creeds. For the creeds themselves, see vol. 2 above.
Hefele, Charles – A History of the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, vol. 1 (to 326), 2 (326-429), 3 (431-451), 4 (451-680), 5 (626-780) 1894/6
Landon, Edward – A Manual of Councils of the Holy Catholic Church, vol. 1 (A-N), 2 (O-Z) 1909 In a dictionary layout.
Turner, Cuthbert – The History and Use of Creeds and Anathemas in the Early Centuries of the Church 1910 120 pp.
Kelly, J.N.D. – Early Christian Creeds Buy 1950 450 pp.
Jedin, H. – Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church Buy 1960
An outline survey by a Roman Catholic historian.
Margull, Hans – The Councils of the Church; History and Analysis 1966 550 pp.
The Apostles’ Creed
King, P. – The History of the Apostles’ Creed, with Critical Observations on its Several Articles 1719 430 pp.
The Council of Nicea, 325 AD
Kaye, John – Some Account of the Council of Nicea, in Connexion with the Life of Athanasius 1853 320 pp.
Ayres, Lewis – Nicaea and its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth Century Trinitarian Theology Buy 2006 490 pp.
The Athanasian Creed
Waterland, Daniel – A Critical History of the Athanasian Creed 1723, rev. 1870 by King 320 pp.
Waterland (1683–1740) was a conservative Anglican.
Horne, Thomas Hartwell – A Concise History and Analysis of the Athanasian Creed 1834 35 pp.
Horne was a very conservative English theologian and librarian. His introduction and background to the Bible was long used at Princeton.
Dictionary & Encyclopedias
ed. Smith, W. & Wace, H. – A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects, and Doctrines 1877-1887 up to AD 814
This is a better edition than the later, 1911, abridged, 2 vol. edition of Wace & Piercy, as it covers a more extensive time frame up till Charlemagne (instead of only up to AD 600) and has longer, more detailed articles.
“The works of Smith and Wace is very useful, relatively complete, and generally reliable.” – Otto Bardenhewer
Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Buy 1990 1,252 pp. ed. Everett Ferguson
Encyclopedia of the Early Church, 2 vols. Buy 1992 Oxford
Fitzgerald, Allen – Augustine Through the Ages: an Encyclopedia Buy 1999 951 pp.
Primary Sources for the Early Church Fathers
Here is the Subject Index to the fathers before the council of Nicea, AD 325. Here is their Scripture Index. The Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers do not have a general index, though they have indices at the end of each volume.
In Greek & Latin
ed. J.P. Migne 1844-66
Patrologia Graeca 161 vols. to AD 800
These are the older, standard, mostly exhaustive editions of the early Church fathers in the original languages.
Here is a very helpful author index to their various works in and within various volumes. Here is an even more detailed author index which is good for lesser known figures mentioned within the volumes. The bold Arabic numbers are the volume number in the Greek series. The non-bold numbers to the right of the name of the work of the author are the column numbers in the particular volume.
Here is an Index to key Greek words in a smaller set of writings of the fathers. The reference 1 Clem. 4:10, for example, refers to 1 Clement, chapter 4 in any edition of 1 Clement. The 10 refers to the ‘verse’ of an antiquated edition and may be disregarded.
Helpful individual indexes to each volume in the Migne series are at the back of each of those volumes.
Helpful individual indices are at the back of each volume in the series. Many more helpful indices are in the last four volumes of the series: 218, 219, 220, 221. The first is full of general indices, the last three are special indices.
Here is an Index to key Latin words in a smaller set of writings of the fathers. The reference 1 Clem. 4:10, for example, refers to 1 Clement, chapter 4 in any edition of 1 Clement. The 10 refers to the ‘verse’ of an antiquated edition and may be disregarded.
BiblIndex allows one to search for all Scripture references and allusions in these Latin texts.
Meadville Theological School – Syllabus of Lessons & Lectures on the Creeds, Councils and Controversies of Christendom 1878 30 pp. Pennsylvania, USA
This is an excellent, detailed bibliography by specific subject of the older literature. While Meadville Theological School had some Unitarian influences at its founding, almost all of the references listed in the work are standard histories without such an influence.
Plummer, Alfred – ‘Ancient Historians’ & ‘Modern Writers’ 1888 2 pp. in The Church of the Early Fathers: External History
Plummer was a liberal Bible commentator and scholar.
Bardenhewer, Otto – ‘History & Literature of Patrology’ & ‘Literary Collections Relative to the Fathers of the Church. Collective Editions of their Writings. Principal Collections of Translations.’ in Patrology: the Lives and Works of the Fathers of the Church 1908
Richardson, Ernest – ‘Appendix’ of General Bibliography of 14 pp. & ‘Bibliographical Synopsis’ being bibliographies on all the church fathers in the volumes sequentially. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 10, ed. A. Cleveland Coxe 1917
Very full, from a standard work.
Tixeront, Joseph – ‘Main Works on Patrology and on the History of Ancient Christian Literature’ & ‘Principal Patrological Collections’ 1923 6 pp. in A Handbook of Patrology
Most all of his references are to Latin, Greek, German and French works.
Stewardson, Jerry – Bibliography of Bibliographies on Patristics Buy 1967
“This 52 page bibliography describes and lists the main bibliographical sources for patristics. Arrangement is by subject in fourteen sections, with some cross references. Asterisks are used to indicate particularly important bibliographies. The annotations are detailed, and the work includes periodicals.” – G.E. & Lyn Gorman
Robinson, Thomas – The Early Church, an Annotated Bibiography Buy 1993 522 pp. ATLA Bibliography Series