The Christian Catacombs of Rome
Information and history about the ancient underground cemeteries used by Christian and Jewish communities as burial sites from the second century through the fifth. Did you know Christians never actually sought refuge from persecution by taking up residence in the catacombs? That's a popular fiction. But they did sometimes worship there to escape their tormentors. Read all about it in this well-designed Web site.
Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha and Sacred Writings
"Holy" writings of questionable pedigree. Note: The Book of Mormon is heavily promoted on the Web site at this link. Mormonism is a type of latter-day gnosticismand in that sense the Mormon apocrypha fits well on this page. Most scholars, however, would probably regard the inclusion of Mormon works on this page (The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Doctrine and Covenants) as malapropos.
Eusebius of Caesarea: Church History
This is the only surviving account of the church from the first 300 years of the Christian era. It is a crucial work, written by the Bishop of Caesaria, from the time of Constantine the Great. (Eusebius wasn't the most discerning fellow, though. he was known to have sympathies with Arius at the beginning of the Arian Controversy.)
The following documents are links to The Christian Classics Ethereal Library. These documents are the fruit of much labor from The Electronic Bible Society, and are one of the most valuable resources on the World Wide Web. Thanks to Harry Plantinga and CCEL for making them available.
The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325
- Volume I. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
- Clement of Rome, Mathetes, Polycarp, Ignatius, Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus
- Volume II. Fathers of the Second Century
- Hermas, Tatian, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria
- Volume III. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
- Three Parts: I. Apologetic; II. Anti-Marcion; III. Ethical
- Volume IV. The Fathers of the Third Century
- Tertullian Part IV; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen
- Volume V. The Fathers of the Third Century
- Hippolytus; Cyprian; Caius; Novatian; Appendix
- Volume VI. The Fathers of the Third Century
- Gregory Thaumaturgus; Dinysius the Great; Julius Africanus; Anatolius and Minor Writers; Methodius; Arnobius
- Volume VII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
- Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, Liturgies
- Volume VIII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
- The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementia, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages
- Volume X. Recently Discovered Additions to Early Christian Literature; Commentaries of Origen
- The Gospel of Peter, The Diatessaron of Tatian, The Apocalypse of Peter, The Visio Pauli, The Apocalypses of the Virgin and Sedrach, The Testament of Abraham, The Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, The Narrative of Zosimus, The Apology of Aristides, The Epistles of Clement (Complete Text), Origen's Commentary on John, Books I-X, Origen's Commentary on Mathew, Books I, II, and X-XIV
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
St. Augustine Volumes
- Volume I. Prolegomena: St. Augustine's Life and Work, Confessions, Letters
- Volume II. The City of God, Christian Doctrine
- Volume III. On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises
- Volume IV. The Anti-Manichaean Writings, The Anti-Donatist Writings
- Volume V. Anti-Pelagian Writings
- Volume VI. Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels
- Volume VII. Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies
- Volume VIII. Expositions on the Psalms
St. Chrysostom Volumes
- Volume IX. On the Priesthood, Ascetic Treatises, Select Homilies and Letters, Homilies on the Statutes
- Volume X. Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew
- Volume XI. Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the
Epistle to the Romans
- Volume XII. Homilies on First and Second Corinthians
- Volume XIII. Homilies on the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
- Volume XIV. Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
- Volume I. Eusebius: Church History from A.D. 1-324, Life of Constantine the
Great, Oration in Praise of Constantine
- Volume II. Socrates: Church History from A.D. 305-438; Sozomenus: Church History
from A.D. 323-425
- Volume III. Theodoret, Jerome and Gennadius, Rufinus and Jerome
- Volume IV. Athanasius: Select Writings and Letters
- Volume V. Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises; Select Writings and Letters
- Volume VI. Jerome: Letters and Select Works
- Volume VII. Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen
- Volume VIII. Basil: Letters and Select Works
- Volume IX. Hilary of Poitiers, John of Damascus
- Volume X. Ambrose: Select Works and Letters
- Volume XI. Sulpitius Severus, Vincent of Lerins, John Cassian
- Volume XII. Leo the Great, Gregory the Great
- Volume XIII. Gregory the Great II, Ephriam Syrus, Aphrahat
- Volume XIV. The Seven Ecumenical Councils
Didache (date unknown; possibly as early as A.D. 60. But some scholars argue for a date as late as 150)
"The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the Twelve Apostles." This is a very early manual on doctrine and morals. It contrasts the two waysthe Way of Life and the Way of Death.
First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (ca. A.D. 96)
A rare first-century document. This epistle gives instructions to the churches. Peter and Paul are both mentioned here as martyrs.
The Epistle of Barnabas (ca. A.D. 130)
It is unlikely that the author of this epistle was the Barnabas of Acts. Nonetheless, the first part of this epistle echoes the aposte Paul's warnings against the legalistic errors of the Judaizers in the early Church. The second part reads much like Didache (below), contrasting the two ways of knowledge and doctrinethe way of darkness and the way of light.
Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (ca. A.D. 150)
The actual author is unknown.
The Shepherd of Hermas (ca. A.D. 150)
The identity of Hermas is a matter of some debate. According to the Muratorian Canon, he was a brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome. According to the opening section of his work, Hermas was a Christian slave set free in Rome by a benevolent woman named Rhoda. The work is a series of visions Hermas claimed to have, and its title comes from an angel he says appeared in one of his visions as a shepherd.
The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (ca. A.D. 130?)
Polycarp's exhortations to the church at Philippi.
The Writings of Ignatius
The Works of Tertullian:
Athanasius: On the Incarnation.
The classic defense of the deity of Christ and the Trinity. Complete with C. S. Lewis's preface to the modern English edition.
The Writings of Augustine: