A brief non-update on my Patristic Readers

[This post is mirrored from my other blog]

I was very glad to awake this morning and see that Geoffrey Steadman as returned to his Greek and Latin texts with Facing Vocabulary and Commentary projects with some very fine new additions.

It has reminded me that I do need to return to my inspired-by-the-above Patristic Readers. Really, my work on these ground to a virtual halt due to the twin pressures of a thesis and an infant child.

It also hasn’t helped that I have so far worked on relatively short texts which do not provide enough material for a print volume in themselves.

I do have hopes though! I have already made a decent start on the third Gregory of Nyssa text, and that should not take forever, which could see the three of them put together for a printable volume.

Also, teaching Gregory Nazianzus Oration 29 this week, I normally format my own teaching materials in the same style as the readers. So that would be a headstart there for a next volume. It would be nice to offer all 5 Theological Orations together.

Even after just a day of teaching with some experienced students, I’m reminded how great the gap is for those wanting to transition into Patristic texts. It is not easy, and good help is hard to come by. I myself have had recourse to ask more than a few questions about Gregory’s Greek to an associate.

Anyway, we live in hope, and particularly I hope to put this dissertation to bed in a few months…


A short update on progress

I thought I’d post a brief update on how some of these are getting along.

Firstly, the good news is that after long delays, we are actually moving towards a print edition. I managed to get the cover design done, and I’ve gone through a proof copy of the first volume (Perpetua and Polycarp). This means that I should be able to approve a print copy for purchase very soon.

At present I’m working primarily on a third text by Gregory of Nyssa, which given the other two shouldn’t be too onerous overall. It will bring the total page count and word count for the Gregory texts to a respectable size (enough to warrant another slim volume), and that will form a volume 2.

I have some other longer term projects bubbling away quite slowly, including something in Latin, and something in the Classical Greek range rather than Patristics, but all that will come in good time. Naturally, between doctoral dissertation writing and other duties, time is at a premium.

Look out for a post about the print version of volume 1 soon though.

Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Simplicium, De Fide

Today I’m releasing a short text, Gregory of Nyssa’s Ad Simplicium, de Fide.

This text is but a brief 1584 words, and provides a gentle introduction to one of the great Fathers of the Church. It also complements the longer Ad Ablabium nicely. Once I complete a third treatise of Gregory, I’ll combine the three into a nice little volume. Until then, enjoy this free pdf version.

If the page numbering seems odd, it is simply because the text will follow on from Ad Ablabium in a print volume. But, in the pdf version that should be irrelevant.

Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Ablabium – pdf release

I’m very pleased to release a pdf version of Gregory of Nyssa’s Ad Ablabium, On Not Three Gods today.

The text represents not only a significant Patristic work, but I dare say a real step forward; there are simply very little helps for Greek students wishing to transition from either Classical texts or Koine Greek to the later Church Fathers, and to my knowledge there are no real student or reader editions of this kind of material. With the release of this text, I think we are seeing something truly new for students of Greek, Patristics, History and Theology.


This release is almost certain to contain an error or three, and I would appreciate any feedback you have on the text, formatting, errors, etc..


I’ll go ahead and say that we’re getting closer to releasing some print editions.

For the next volume, I’ll be working on something in the Latin Fathers.

Update to the Passion of Perpetua

I have at last uploaded a revised version of the Passio Perpetuae which includes some corrections to errors, and some improved notes on grammar and historical context.


I am also pleased to tell you that work is on track for a new text, it is about 70% complete and should be finished in early May (later than I would have liked).

Update to the Martyrdom of Polycarp

I have uploaded a revised edition of The Martyrdom of Polycarp, current as of February 2015. I incorporated a number of corrections and expanded some of the commentary. I also ironed out a couple of formatting issues, though I think a few still remain.

In the next few weeks I will also update and revise the Passion of Perpetua.

Following that I hope to have a third patristic text online within a few months, and I am still working with a designer on a cover to bring some of these editions to print.

The Passion of Perpetua, pdf release

To coincide with the launch of my new website and blog at The Patrologist, I’m also pleased to announce the release of a pdf version of The Passion of Perpetua.


This is a reader’s version of the Greek text of this early martyr account, focused on Perpetua and her companions’ martyrdoms in North Africa in the early 3rd century. It is notable for including a considerable section considered to have been written by Perpetua herself, thus a very early text from a Christian woman. As well, one sees the development of the theology of martyrdom in the North African context, and hints of Montanist influence.


With this draft version complete, I will now be looking to release a print version of these first two texts together, sometime over the next 2 months. I have also commenced work on the next Patristic Reader text.

The Martyrdom of Polycarp, pdf release

I’m very pleased to announce today the beta release of a pdf reader-version of “The Martyrdom of Polycarp”. It is available for download immediately, just click on the above link in the header pages.


It is a short but delightful work, one of our earliest accounts of martyrdom. The Greek is not difficult, and anyone with a reasonable Koine knowledge will make good progress through the text. Even if you find it hard, don’t let this discourage you – the best path to improving your Greek reading is more Greek.

Introducing Patristic Readers

I am pleased to announce today the start of a new project.


I had long been a fan of the very fine work by Geoffrey Steadman and his Greek and Latin Texts with facing vocabulary and commentary.

When I first came upon these I examined the possibility of doing the same for Patristic texts, but at the time I was put off by certain difficulties and the labour. Recently I have returned again to this idea, and found the situation changed. Namely, I am feeling much more competent in Greek, there are more useful digital tools available to me, and I have benefited from some very clear instruction from Steadman about his own processes. This, along with tackling a short text first as a test, has given me renewed enthusiasm and confidence about the whole endeavour.


So I have released a first sample text, of Basil of Caesarea’s Epistle 361.


This is a proof of concept of what I’m doing and where it will go. The commentary aspect is very light on in this first sample, I will admit, but I expect that it will be considerably developed in my next one.




My aim is to provide a set of resources that will aid readers approaching Patristic texts for the first time, (or the hundredth time!) In my opinion and experience Classical programs tend not to deal with these texts, while Koine programs are often inadequate for the rigours of reading Church Fathers. Furthermore, there is considerably less in the way of supports and helps to readers of these texts. This project will help bridge that gap.




The texts follow very close Steadman’s layout. I am to provide accurate vocabulary notes on each page that will minimise time spent flicking back and forth to dictionaries, etc., and facilitate a faster reading of the text. Furthermore, grammatical notes help the reader with more unusual forms and constructions. In later, full-length texts I will include more commentary, as well as an introduction to the text.




The texts that this series will utilise are Church Fathers from the 2nd to 7th centuries. In every case I will draw upon editions that are in the Public Domain.


I have a long list of texts ready to work on. My intention is to begin with shorter texts, and then work on longer ones, as this is a more productive process. I will also tend to favour more mainstream and influential texts. The focus will primarily be Greek to begin with, but Latin texts are also in my scope, beginning with some Cyprian.


When can I expect to see more?


I produced Epistle 361 both as a sample for interested readers, as well as to familiarise myself with the workflow process. I had intended to do several more epistles and release them as a volume together, but problems with selection and obtaining texts has moved me to start elsewhere.


On current projections, I should have some full-length texts available towards the end of this year, and hopefully print volumes around the same time. The first two works will (very likely) be:


Vol 1. The Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis

Vol 2. Ad Ablabium (On not three Gods) by Gregory of Nyssa


I have already commenced work on the first of these, and am making good progress. I would say I am one-third of the way through the Martyrdom of Polycarp, which I will complete in full before doing the Greek version of PPF (not the Latin version).


This site is set up specifically for this project, and you will be able to download free pdf files of all publications, as well as additional resources as and when they become available.