Bibliotheca Patrum, a collection of the works of the early ecclesiastical writers.
(I.) The title was first applied to the work which originated with M. de la Bigne, who formed the idea of a collection of the fathers with a view of opposing the doctrines of the French Protestants. This scheme met with the approbation of his superiors in the Sorbonne, and the first eight volumes appeared at Paris in 1575, and the 9th in 1579. It is entitled Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum et Antiquorum Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latine, and it contained about 200 writers. The 2d ed., somewhat improved, was published at Paris in 1589, 9 vols. fol. The 3d ed. (Paris, 1609, 11 vols. fol.) has the addition of an Auctuarium. In these editions the writers are classed according to subjects. The 4th ed., or, rather, a new work by the professors of Cologne, has the writers arranged in chronological order. It was printed at Cologne 1608, in 14 vols. fol., to which in 1622 a supplement in one vol. was added. The 5th ed. (or 4th of De la Bigne) was published at Paris in 1624, in 10 vols. fol., with the addition of an Auctuarium Greco-Latinum compiled by Le Duc (the Jesuit Fronto Ducceus), and in 1629 a Supplementum Latinum in two vols. was added. The 6th ed. (or 5th of De la Bigne), printed at Paris in 1634, in 17 vols. fol., contains the preceding, with the Auctuarium and Supplementum incorporated. The 7th ed. in 1654 is merely a reprint of the last.
(II.) In 1648 Francois Combefis published at Paris, in two vols. fol., Grceco-Lat. Patrum Bibliothecce Novum Auctuarium, and in 1672 his Bibliotheco Grcecorum Patrum Auctuarium Novssimum, in two parts.
(III.) In 1677 appeared at Lyons (27 vols. fol.) the Bibliotheca Patrum, which generally, and deservedly, bears the name of Bibliotheca Maxima Patrum Lugdunens-s. It contains nearly all the writers found in the preceding works, together' with many others (Latin only), chronologically arranged.
(IV.) After this gigantic undertaking, no similar work appeared until that of Andre Galland was published, under the title of Bibliotheca veterum Patrum antiquorumque Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorumpostrema Lugdunensi multo locupletior atque accurstior, in 14 vols. fol. (Venice, 1766, 1781). Galland omits many authors given in the Bibl. Max., but adds also 180 not given in it. There are many other collections of the fathers not bearing the name Bibliotheca. SEE FATHERS.