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The Patrologie (from Greek. Πατήρ Father Father and λόγος lógos word) called in theology the study of life, writings and teachings of the Church Fathers . As a study of theological texts, it can be viewed as a sub-area of ​​historical theology, as the literary history of ancient Christianity, it can also be viewed as part of literary studies or classical philology and the history of philosophy .

In contrast to patrics , which deals with all texts relevant to theology from the time of the church fathers (including council acts, liturgical and poetic texts, acts of martyrdom and inscriptions), patrology is limited to the writings of the church fathers and of the so-called heretics .

Patrology uses the methods of history and literature.


The literature of the Church Fathers covers the period after the conclusion of the New Testament (beginning with the so-called Apostolic Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp in the middle of the 2nd century AD) to the transition from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages (approx. 7th century AD, such as Isidore of Seville and John of Damascus ).

History and development of patrology as a science

A scientific review of the writings of the church fathers begins in the 17th and 18th centuries. Large text editions were also produced during this period, culminating in the series of Patrologia cursus completus published by Jacques Paul Migne in the first half of the 19th century , which is scientifically inadequate, but unmatched in terms of completeness; From the middle of the 19th century, text-critical editions based on modern scientific standards such as CSEL and Corpus Christianorum were created . In the present, the ecumenical relevance of patrology, which examines the literary heritage of undivided Christianity, is particularly evident. A characteristic of patrological research of the 20th century is the tendency to interpret the texts in the context of a comprehensive study of late antiquity .


Web links

Wiktionary: Patrology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations