Skip to Main Content

Patristics / Patrology -- The Early Church Fathers & Their Writings: Finding the Fathers' Writings: Quasten

Grounded in the teachings and passion of Jesus Christ, early Christian theologians studied Jewish thought, Greek philosophy, and Greek and Latin vocabulary in their endeavor to explain complex Christian theological concepts.

Johannes Quasten: Patrology

Although online resources play a big role, the traditional route to the Fathers is still to use a Patrology, a guide to Church writings. The most comprehensive one for beginning for students was compiled by Johannes Quasten.  Known simply as Quasten, this comprehensive four volume bibliography set  is a guide to early Christian literature. This work, produced for the English reader, updates the study of patristics to include recent discoveries and scholarship. The bibliographies list critical edictions, available translations and references to articles and books that treat the writings discussed. To use Quasten use these steps:

 1. Use appropriate Quasten volume (there are four)

Vol. 1 Beginnings of Patristic Literature

Vol. 2 Ante Nice after Irenaeus

Vol. 3 Golden Age Greek

Vol. 4 Golden Age Latin  (see links to catalog records below)

2. Find a Father's section and look for his works

3.. Scan descriptions. Check entry under Translations

4.The titles of collections are abbreviated (list at the front of volumes, except 2)

5. Look up the source title(s)

6. Be sure to check for more recent editions


Quasten Example

Here is part of a Quasten entry. Note Translations listed: ANF 4, which stands for Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 4.

Page from Quasten

The CCEL Early Church Fathers web site has these texts as well as UST Libraries.

Abbreviations for Major Patristic Series

Abbreviations for Major Patristic Series used in Library Indexes

Ancient Christian Writers (ACW) 

The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF)

The Apostolic Fathers

The Classics of Western Spirituality (CWS)

Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina (CCSL)

The Faith of the Early Fathers, 3 volumes

The Fathers of the Church

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers-Series I (NPNF)

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II (NPNF)

Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series Graeca (PG)

Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series Latina (PL)

Library of Christian Classics, (volumes 1-13)


J. Quasten

Johannes Quasten, author of Patrology, is second from the right