Searching the Fathers of the Church Series in Logos Bible Software

What do the church fathers have to say about this passage? It’s an important question that we should ask often, and The Fathers of the Church (144 vols.) series in Logos is an ideal resource to turn to for answers.

In this post, I want to show you how to search the Fathers of the Church (FC) series in Logos by scripture reference. There are multiple ways to do this, but I think the ancient literature feature is the best way to search FC. The way Logos utilizes their ancient literature dataset is my very favorite feature of the software, and I want to show you why.

This is the second post of a series focusing on the Fathers of the Church (144 vols.) in Logos Bible Software. You can check out the other posts here.

Ancient Literature Intro

Logos has a helpful introductory video on the Ancient Literature feature here. The video is two minutes and fifteen seconds that are well worth your time. In addition to that video, I want to point out three things below:

  1. The ancient literature feature is based on the ancient literature dataset.
  2. It’s a section of the passage guide.
  3. You can open it as a standalone guide or integrate it within your own custom guide, as I have done.

Let’s walk through each one of these points in the next three sections.

Ancient Literature Dataset

The “ancient literature feature” of Logos Bible Software is based on the hard work Rick Brannan and Ken Penner put into developing the ancient literature dataset. Here is how the dataset documentation describes the feature:

The Ancient Literature Guide Section is a curated and classified index of ancient material relevant to Bible passages with the goal of bridging the gap between canonical material and other ancient literature.

This dataset allows Logos to provide the most robust, helpful cross-referencing system I have ever seen. Within the dataset, links have been established between scripture references and a host of extra-biblical literature, such as:

  • Ancient Near-Eastern Material (Ugaritic material, Context of Scripture, Ancient Near-Eastern Texts, Amarna Letters, etc.)
  • Apostolic Fathers
  • Church Fathers
  • Dead Sea Scrolls (Sectarian Material)
  • Judaica (Babylonian Talmud, Jerusalem Talmud, Mishnah, Mekhilta, etc.)
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
  • Nag Hammadi Codices
  • New Testament Apocrypha
  • Works of Josephus
  • Works of Philo

Ancient Literature in the Passage Guide

The passage guide is perhaps the most-used features of Logos Bible Software. It’s a unique feature of Logos that helps them do what they do best: pull together a ton of information scattered throughout your library and organize it around a single passage of scripture. The ancient literature dataset has its own dedicated section within the passage guide. If you scroll down far enough, you will see a section titled Ancient Literature. In my passage guide, it is right underneath Cultural Concepts. I might have moved it from its default location at some point; I can’t remember.

If you aren’t familiar with the various sections of the passage guide, you have two great options:

  1. Logos made a short, four minute and twenty second video introducing it here.
  2. You can also check out this nearly twenty minute introduction by Fr. Devin Roza. This video is a part of the Verbum 360 training, which is fantastic.

Ancient Literature in a Custom Guide

The passage guide is a great place to start in order to familiarize yourself with the various guide sections available to you. Once you familiarize yourself with what tools you have access to, you might want to create your own guide to use as your go-to. I simply named my custom guide Reference, and I put a quick link to it in the toolbar — it looks like a little grey book. You can see all the sections I currently have included here:

I keep two sections of this guide open: commentaries and ancient literature. If I’m studying a passage in depth, I will usually work through commentaries and ancient literature one at a time.

It’s also nice to split the left side of the screen between the guide and scripture, leaving the right side of the screen for opening resources from the guide. Here, you can see that the commentaries section is collapsed so we can focus on the ancient literature section:

You can check out a video here about how to create your own custom guide. Now let’s take a look at how this guide gives you unprecedented access to FC.

Fathers of the Church in the Ancient Literature Section

In the screenshot below, I placed my Reference guide over of the scripture text, and I ran a search for Genesis 1:1. I collapsed each section so you can see the types of extra-biblical material you have access to here:

Let’s focus on the church fathers section:

Notice that the references are categorized into three types: Quotation, Allusion, and Topical. Notice also that the Quotation and Allusion sections can be expanded even more. If I click “more” on both of these sections and open the guide in its own window, there are so many links you still can’t see them all in one screenshot.

Here’s the rest of the list:

Data Deep Dive

Let’s take a closer look at exactly what this massive list of hyperlinks offer us and exactly how much of it relates to FC. I counted the number of links in each portion of the church fathers section:

  • There are 61 links to the church fathers in the Quotation section,
  • 144 links in the Allusion section,
  • and 4 links in the Topical section.

For Genesis 1:1, the ancient literature guide gives us 209 links to the church fathers.

You might wonder how many of these links open in one of the 144 FC volumes. If FC is prioritized in your library (more info on prioritizing resources here) and the work is available in the FC series, you should be able to click the hyperlink and open the relevant volume in FC. I clicked each link, and 87 of them opened an FC volume.

How many different FC volumes do those 87 links open? 27 separate volumes.

Finally, here is a bibliography of the 27 FC volumes included in the ancient literature section for Genesis 1:1, organized by ancient author:

Ambrose

  • Ambrose of Milan. Hexameron, Paradise, and Cain and Abel. Translated by John J. Savage. Vol. 42 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1961.
  • Ambrose of Milan. Saint Ambrose: Letters. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Mary Melchior Beyenka. Vol. 26 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954.
  • Ambrose of Milan. Saint Ambrose: Theological and Dogmatic Works. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Roy J. Deferrari. Vol. 44 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1963.

Augustine

  • Augustine of Hippo. Confessions. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Vernon J. Bourke. Vol. 21 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1953.
  • Augustine of Hippo. On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; And, on the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by Roland J. Teske. Vol. 84 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1991.
  • Augustine of Hippo. Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons. Edited by Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Mary Sarah Muldowney. Vol. 38 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959.
  • Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Books VIII–XVI. Edited by Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Gerald G. Walsh and Grace Monahan. Vol. 14 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1952.
  • Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Books XVII–XXII. Edited by Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Gerald G. Walsh and Daniel J. Honan. Vol. 24 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954.
  • Augustine of Hippo. The Retractations. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Mary Inez Bogan. Vol. 60 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1968.
  • Augustine of Hippo. The Trinity. Edited by Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Stephen McKenna. Vol. 45 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1963.
  • Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John 11–27. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by John W. Rettig. Vol. 79 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1988.
  • Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John 1–10. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by John W. Rettig. Vol. 78 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1988.
  • Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John 28–54. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by John W. Rettig. Vol. 88 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1993.
  • Augustine of Hippo. Treatises on Various Subjects. Edited by Roy J. Deferrari and Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Mary Sarah Muldowney, Harold B. Jaffee, Mary Francis McDonald, Luanne Meagher, M. Clement Eagan, and Mary E. DeFerrari. Vol. 16 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1952.

Basil

  • Basil of Caesarea. Against Eunomius. Translated by Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz. Vol. 122 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2011.
  • Basil of Caesarea. Exegetic Homilies. Translated by Agnes Clare Way. Vol. 46 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1963.
  • Basil of Caesarea. Letters (186–368). Edited by Roy Joesph Deferrari. Translated by Agnes Clare Way. Vol. 28 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1955.

Caesarius of Arles

  • Caesarius of Arles. Saint Caesarius of Arles: Sermons (1–238). Edited by Hermigild Dressler and Bernard M. Peebles. Translated by Mary Magdeleine Mueller. Vol. 31, 47, 66 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press; Consortium Books, 1956–1973.

Eusebius

  • Eusebius of Caesarea. Against Marcellus and On Ecclesiastical Theology. Translated by Kelley McCarthy Spoerl and Markus Vinzent. Vol. 135 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2017.

Hilary of Poitiers

  • Hilary of Poitiers. The Trinity. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Stephen McKenna. Vol. 25 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954.

John Chrysostom

  • John Chrysostom. Commentary on Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist: Homilies 1–47. Translated by Thomas Aquinas Goggin. Vol. 33 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1957.
  • John Chrysostom. Homilies on Genesis 1–17. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by Robert C. Hill. Vol. 74 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986.

John of Damascus

  • John of Damascus. Writings. Edited by Hermigild Dressler. Translated by Frederic H. Chase Jr. Vol. 37 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1958.

Justin Martyr

  • Justin Martyr. The First Apology, The Second Apology, Dialogue with Trypho, Exhortation to the Greeks, Discourse to the Greeks, The Monarchy or The Rule of God. Translated by Thomas B. Falls. Vol. 6 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1948.

Origen

  • Origen. Homilies on Leviticus 1–16. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by Gary Wayne Barkley. Vol. 83 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990.

Epiphanius

  • St. Epiphanius of Cyprus. Ancoratus. Translated by Young Richard Kim. Vol. 128 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2014.

Theodoret

  • Theodoret of Cyrus. Commentary on the Psalms: Psalms 73–150. Edited by Thomas P. Halton. Translated by Robert C. Hill. Vol. 102 of The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001.

FC alongside Other Ancient Literature

Let’s review right quick: How did we get to those 27 FC volumes?

  • We ran a guide on Genesis 1:1
  • We looked in the ancient literature section
  • We expanded the church fathers section
  • 87 of the 209 links in the church fathers section linked to those 27 volumes

There is, however, so much more ancient literature packed into that one guide. All those FC links are seamlessly integrated alongside other works of the fathers, such as:

And all those church fathers links are right alongside links to other ancient literature, such as:

To give you a sense of how links to the church fathers are integrated alongside other ancient literature, a couple final pictures: Here’s what the ancient literature section looks like with the church fathers portion collapsed. Again, it takes two screenshots to show all the links:

I find using the ancient literature section much more helpful than directly searching the FC volumes themselves, which of course you could do. More often than not, what I want to do is search my entire digital library for references to a passage of scripture. I want links to FC alongside links to all the other relevant books in my library, and this is exactly what the ancient literature feature gives me.

Conclusion

There is nothing like the Fathers of the Church (144 vols.) series combined with the Logos ancient literature feature. Logos makes it so easy to move from the passage you are studying to an in depth exploration of the most important ancient literature related to scripture. With FC in Logos, when you turn to the church fathers, you don’t get snippets or mere selections of ancient authors. FC provides access to full works, and having this series in Logos means you don’t have to sacrifice ease of access or portability.

I hope this gives you a better idea of why the ancient literature guide is my favorite feature of Logos. FC is a massive collection, and Logos has done a great job breaking the set down and integrating portions of it into their base packages. You can take a look at several of the individual FC bundles here. If you are interested in checking out Logos for the first time, a basic version of Logos 9 is available for free here.

This post is part of a series focusing on the Fathers of the Church (144 vols.) in Logos Bible Software. You can check out the other posts here.