pronghorn ante lope

Ante-Nicene Fathers

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, subtitled "The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325", is a collection of books in 10 volumes (one volume is indexes) containing English translations of the majority of Early Christian writings. The period covers the beginning of Christianity until before the promulgation of the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea. The translations are very faithful, but sometimes rather old-fashioned.


The series was originally created by the presbyterian publishing house of T. & T. Clark in Edinburgh as the Ante-Nicene Christian Library and published in the 1860's. The volumes were edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. This series was published by subscription, and the editors were unable to interest enough subscribers to commission a translation of the homilies of Origen.

In 1885 a US firm, the Christian Literature Company, first of Buffalo, then New York, began to issue the volumes in a reorganised form, edited by the episcopalian bishop of New York, A. Cleveland Coxe. This was in fact piracy of the ANCL, and treated as such by T. &. T. Clark at the time. However there was little recognition of overseas copyright in the USA at this date, and Clark's were obliged to accept the situation. Coxe gave his series the title, The Ante-Nicene Fathers.

The contents are entirely derived from the ANCL, but in a more logical order. However Coxe took the liberty of adding his own introductions and notes, which were criticised by Roman Catholic reviewers. One approved the faithfulness of the translations, but wrote that Coxe:

"...deemed it his duty to distort the sense and purpose of the text by the addition of prefatory notices and footnotes, and to indulge in sectarian bigotry by endeavoring to explain away the evidence of Catholic doctrine taught by the Fathers... the notes of Dr Coxe abound in similar falsehoods and vile insinuations, and that no open-minded and honest student, Catholic or non-Catholic, of the Fathers, can profit by such interpretations of the Patristic books."


The volumes include the following:

Volume I. Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus

Writings. Didache

Volume II. Fathers of the Second Century

Volume III. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian

  • I. Apologetic
  • II. Anti-Marcion
  • III. Ethical

Volume IV. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume V. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume VI. The Fathers of the Third Century

Volume VII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries

Volume VIII. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries

Volume IX. Recently Discovered Additions to Early Christian Literature; Commentaries of Origen

See also

External links

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