Re: Opinions about Fathers article (I appeal especially to neophytes)
- Despite the justified criticism levelled against the "Fathers' article" there
seems to be a remarkable agreement among the *styloi* of TC that we possess good
patrological referrence tools. The praises of ST. JOHaNnes Quasten was almost
universally sung. Therefore, in principle I can see no obstacle against
compiling a list of short information on patristic sources found in the various
This information should include:
a.) Localization of the patristic sources in time and space; conflicting
evidence and/or insecure ascriptions should be noted,
b.) Bibliography (editions and secondary literature).
This information should rely on:
c.) reputable patrologies (e.g., J. Quasten), clearly indicating the referrence
It is hard to imagine that scholars like Bart Ehrman, author of (inter alia) a
NT introduction, and Bill Petersen, author of (inter alia) articles in the
Anchor Bible Dictionary, should firmly contest that (inter alia) _their_
publications can and should be used as referrence tools in order to gather solid
The actual performance of such a short list of information is open to dispute,
no doubt about that, but the possibility of compiling one can not be ruled out.
BTW-- Contemplating the history of encyclopedic enterprises in our disciplines
(Biblical studies, church history, theology) I am really puzzled. The Germans,
e.g., started the *Theologische Realenzyklopaedie* in 1977, published 26 vols.
so far, yet did not come to an end. Even more perplexing, the *Reallexikon fuer
Antike und Christentum* started in 1950, published 17 vols. so far, yet did not
come to an end. No doubt, the Germans want it all, but they don't want it now.
The ambitious German projects want to represent the actual state of the art as
well as covering research history as well as a making significant contributions.
In the end it turns out that when they reach the five vols. on the letter "Z"
the first 20 vols (at least) are partly outdated, for they represent the state
of the art from half a century ago (at best).
On the other hand, British-American projects, e.g., the *Anchor Bible
Dictionary* (prepared within six years, with nearly a thousand contributors,
published in six vols.) or *The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium* (prepared within
roughly a decade, published in three vols.), display quite different results.
No doubt there are differences between the mentioned encyclopedical enterprises.
However, the British-American scholars on the TC-list seem to incline more
towards the "German" encyclopedical attitude, whereas I find myself (moderately)
favouring the "British-American" encyclopedical attitude. Maybe we all tend to
prefer what we are lacking over what we actually have.
Ulrich Schmid, Muenster