Patrology

                     The study of the writings of the Fathers of the Church, has more commonly been
                     known in England as "patristics", or, more commonly still, as "patristic study".
                     Some writers, chiefly in Germany, have distinguished between patrologia and
                     patristica: Fessler, for instance, defines patrologia as the science which provides
                     all that is necessary for the using of the works of the Fathers, dealing, therefore,
                     with their authority, the criteria for judging their genuineness, the difficulties to be
                     met within them, and the rules for their use. But Fessler's own "Institutiones
                     Patrologi" has a larger range, as have similar works entitled Patrologies, of which
                     the most serviceable is that of Bardenhewer (tr. Shahan, Freiburg, 1908). On the
                     other hand, Fessler describes patristica as that theological science by which all
                     that concerns faith, morals, or discipline in the writings of the Fathers is
                     collected and sorted. Lastly, the lives and works of the Fathers are described by
                     another science: literary history. These distinctions are not much observed, nor
                     do they seem very necessary; they are nothing else than aspects of patristic
                     study as it forms part of fundamental theology, of positive theology, and of literary
                     history. Another meaning of the word patrologia has come to it from the title of
                     the great collections of the complete works of the Fathers published by the Abbé
                     Migne (q.v.), "Patrologia Latina", 221 vols., and "Patrologia Græca", 161 vols.

                     For bibliography see:  FATHERS OF THE CHURCH.

                     John Chapman
                     Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter
                     Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ

                                       The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI
                                    Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company
                                    Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
                                 Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
                                 Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Catholic Encyclopedia:  NewAdvent.org