This site went "live" in September 2007. It is very
much the work of an individual "enthusiast" for the subject rather than the work
of a group or a company. The Webmaster plans to
develop the site further so that it becomes a valuable resource for information
about the Early Church and significant original language texts (with English
translations). It is hoped that the distinctive features of the site will be (i)
its wide range of links to materials about the Early Church and the Early Church
Fathers; (ii) its carefully presented Greek and Latin texts (with translations,
morphology and lexicon links, and textual notes); iii) its links to an extensive
collection of complete Greek and Latin early Christian texts (on external
websites) with the facility of reading English translations alongside them where
they are available. The carefully presented texts on the site itself will mainly be
extracts rather than complete works. The aim is to add one such new text every
month or six weeks, as time permits with other commitments, until the site has a set of
textual extracts covering a wide range of subjects. If you have any feedback,
ideas or maybe even requests for particular texts then do use the "Email
Webmaster" link. (The publicly available version of the website contains
all the texts and has morphology/dictionary links, but does not have the textual
notes and links to other web based resources.) The links to complete texts and
translations on external sites are "a work in progress". Such links are in
place to most of the Greek Christian writings of the first five centuries. The
links are to the texts in Migne's Patrologiae Cursus Completus, and
sometimes in other editions in the public domain if they have been found. It is
hoped that links to all of the Greek writings in Migne will be completed by the
spring/early summer of 2013 - many with English translations that can be read
alongside. Links to many complete Latin Christian works from the first
five centuries are also in place. It is hoped that this work on links to Latin
texts will be pretty much complete by the autumn or end of 2013.
The priority in the initial development phase was the completion of the site indexing system (Alphabatical, Chronological, Textual and Thematic) so that it could give swift access to texts, information and weblinks about the life of the Early Church. On the subscription version of the site there is an extensive set of links to information about most of the writers, leaders and main characters in the history of the Church during its first five centuries. There is, for example, information about the Ecumenical Councils and other early Church Councils (with links to the original language texts), Creeds, the major controversies, the Popes, the Bishops and the Roman Emperors throughout this period. Be aware that some of the public domain resources available through the links are far from being contemporary - e.g. Wace Biography, Catholic Encyclopedia, Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Smith Biography. (See "External links" link.) It will be helpful also to look at more contemporary publications (e.g. the books mentioned in the "Bibliographies") which may take account of more recent scholarship and textual discoveries.
All on-site texts have:- a) textual notes where available [subscription version of the site only], b) morphological links to the Perseus website, c) morphological links to a locally based version of the Perseus morphology, i.e. on the earlychurchtexts server, d) a brief introductory note [subscription version of the site only].
The Webmaster is a Christian Minister (Methodist) and it is hoped that this site will help people to explore the Christian Faith through study of the texts and resources which it contains. Another clear aim is to encourage and facilitate the study of early Christian Greek and Latin literature in the original language. Whatever the faith perspective of those visiting the site it is hoped that the materials to which it gives access are helpful for the study of Early Church History, and that the introductions to the texts on the subscription version of the site give accurate and concise information.
The priorities now are:-
- To add to the original language texts available on the Early Church Texts website itself, and also to add to the links to complete original language texts and translations which are available on other sites. Currently there are around 215 original language texts on the site. More will be added over the next months, covering important issues that faced the Church in the first five centuries of its life and extending the range of texts which are on the site. Information about recent updates can be found by clicking here. The best way of keeping up to date with the latest developments is to sign up for the site newsletter here, or to take advantage of the RSS feed whose link is in the URL address bar, under the "Home etc." menu at the top left of the screen, or in the column to the right if you are on the site homepage. Update information is also posted on a public Facebook page here.