I am a self-learner and am really interested in the writings of the Christian fathers during the Ante-Nicene period. I found an great e-book for a few dollars titled "The Complete Ante-Nicene Church Fathers Collection [9 volumes]", and I also found a set of books called "The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes." I'm just not sure whether either of these contains all of the writings found during that period or just a selection of them. What I'd really like to have is a list of all of the writings discovered during this period, but I can't seem to find it. Are any of you aware of such a list? I hope this isn't too loaded a question.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. I, too, would be interested to know if there is such a list, or if it is a loaded question, what are the various lists. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Jan 22 '17 at 18:12

It's not free, and it's not complete, but The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation is the closest thing to a complete set of the writings of the church fathers that I've seen in English. It includes over 120 volumes of writings, though many of these relate to the post-Nicene period. It's frequently cited by other works, like the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

I've often turned to it when the out-of-copyright Ante-Nicene Fathers simply doesn't provide the material I'm looking for, like Origen's Commentary on Romans. And I find that the translation is usually better, both in accuracy and readability.

As mentioned, the volumes aren't free online, but thankfully many pages are accessible through Google Books – Origen's commentary linked above can be previewed on Google Books, at least in the USA.

  • I got an error on your link (cua.edu forwards to catholic.edu, but the cuapress subdomain does not resolve). I found a Chinese Orthodox web page (orthodox.cn/patristics/frchurchnewtrans_en.htm) which lists volumes 1 to 45 of a set, apparently all linked to archive.org. Is this the set? My guess was that at least volumes 1 to 45 are out of copyright, and now available online in some form.
    – Bit Chaser
    Mar 26 '18 at 16:48
  • @disciple Thanks, I've fixed the link. The site you give refers to the same books, but they aren't out of copyright... if I click on the links to archive.org, I get a "this book is restricted" message. Perhaps there's a way to use archive.org to read them, but they aren't out of copyright yet. Mar 26 '18 at 17:07
  • I can't find a neat list anywhere, and using your link it's quite hard to find the oldest volumes. I tried Amazon with the old name, and if I add a single volume number, it apparently can find any volume up to 65. Would sure be nice to have an in-order list.
    – Bit Chaser
    Mar 26 '18 at 18:10
  • @disciple Yeah, not sure why they display it like that. Logos provides a list broken down by era, but it's still not in publication order. Mar 26 '18 at 18:26

Unless I am mistaken, there has never been an English translation set that encompasses absolutely all the ante-Nicene writings. Most people use ccel.org to read the Ante-Nicene Fathers edited by James Donaldson and Alexander Roberts which, unless I am mistaken, is the most comprehensive English translation set of the ante-Nicene writings. If you want to compile a list of all the ante-Nicene writings, you would probably need to resort to reviewing Jacques Paul Migne’s Patrologiæ Cursus Completus: Series Græca (161 vol.) and Series Latina (220 vol.), but of course, you need to know Greek and Latin.

  • Thanks! Yes I've been there, glad to know it has credibility. I would definitely like to find a list of all, whether they have been translated into English or not, just to have as reference. In the process of learning Greek by the way! I can pronounce decently, but I have a long way to go with grammar and definitions. Im alsi fluent in German, so perhaps I could find some of these other writings translated into German even if they aren't in English. Just want a master list for reference. Thank you for the other references. I'll look into those.
    – EliT
    Jan 23 '17 at 2:26

They are available for free with the free download of e-sword:


This is an excellent tool with many free resources included.

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