Corpus christianorum: Instrumenta lexicologica latina. Turnhout, Brepols, 1982- . v.

See also B158, B159, B160, B161

"Designed to supplant Migne's Patrologia (B169-173) with new critical texts of the best of those currently extant; the series follows the critical catalogue or prospectus of E. Dekker's Clavis patrum latinorum (B149)" (Library of Congress).

Almost thirty years ago, the Benedictine monks of St. Peter's Abbey, Steenbrugge, Belgium, in collaboration with the Brepols publishing firm, announced definite plans for "the issue… of a new collection of all early Christian texts, according to the best existing editions, more or less on the lines laid down by Dom Pitra and the Abbe Migne." This New Migne, stretching to the front edge of the Carolingian Renaissance and promising the best possible critical edition of every early Christian text (not only works specifically patristic, but also conciliar, hagiographical, and liturgical texts, burial inscriptions, diplomas, etc.) as well as pertinent non-Christian authors, was an audacious undertaking. But it was stimulated by an unsatisfactory situation, frustrating to student and scholar: some texts were out of print, others simply out of reach; even if obtainable, Migne (PL and PG), for all its value, was a century old; Sources chretiennes was in its infancy, and its first volumes could not supply a Greek text; earlier volumes of both the Vienna corpus (B164) and the Berlin (B168) were beyond acquiring, and even these admirable series are far from complete and are not in every instance satisfactory.

A division into three series-Latin, Greek, and Oriental-was considered imperative. The Latin series would be the first to see the light of day, beginning in 1951 (such was the hope; the first volume appeared in 1953), with ten years thought sufficient for the publication of the contemplated 120 volumes from Tertullian to Bede (the estimate of volumes was later revised to 160, then to 175, again to 180). The projected rate of publication has not been maintained. In the twenty-four years between 1953 and the end of 1976, 85 volumes have appeared (an average of 3.5 a year) and the enumeration of the volumes (e.g., 162, 162A, 162B) indicates that the total number of Latin volumes will exceed 200.

Happily, the general editors of CC have decided to launch the Greek series without awaiting the termination of the Latin. Once again it is a question of bringing together critical editions now scattered far and wide and of filling the lacunae of unedited and inadequately edited texts. A preliminary task was indispensable: to establish a Clavis patrum Graecorum, a kind of master plan corresponding to the Clavis patrum Latinorum (B149), the remarkable 640-page inventory of Latin ecclesiastical writers from Tertullian to Bede put together by Dom E. Dekkers. CPG's content and structure would stem from the same principles that commanded CPL: (1) list the patristic writings that have come down to us, including fragments; (2) mention for each text the most useful editions, with a special place for PG; (3) offer bibliographies on the tradition and establishment of the text; (4) list ancient translations, not only Latin but Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Coptic, and Arabic; (5) indicate questionable authenticity. At least three content-volumes are envisaged. Only the second has appeared, by Maurice Geerard, Scriptores saeculi IV (B150), a 708-page volume on the writers from Alexander of Alexandria to John Chrysostom; the third (fifth to eighth centuries) is in the press, the first (ante-Nicene) is in progress. A fourth volume may well be needed, to handle the Byzantine literature from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries. An indices-initia-tabulae volume is expected to conclude the Clavis. (Walter J. Burghardt, [ Theological Studies XXXVIII (December, 1977), pp. 765-67] .

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