The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Vols 3 & 4)

These translations were made in the 19th century from the Oehler text, the standard Victorian critical edition. Since they were produced, additional and sometimes superior manuscripts have been discovered of some of the works (see manuscripts).  They have the reputation of being good, fairly literal, but somewhat old-fashioned translations.  The hardback volumes are available and in print, at $20 each from, but the typeface is ancient and the printing in dual columns makes them hard to read.  In my experience they are much easier to read if printed off in a modern typeface from your browser.  

These translations are a little old-fashioned, as the influence of the Authorised Version of the bible meant that translators felt obliged to use pseudo-Jacobean language, in order to carry credibility with their public. This makes them a little difficult to read today.  The text was based on the edition of Oehler.  For bibliographic information about this edition, see below.

There are footnotes online.  The 'Elucidations' deal with points too lengthy to fit in the footnotes of the original edition.

The texts have been taken from the master site for the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and were typed in by a public collaborative effort.  I have not reformatted them; rather they are in the same format that the master site has.  Please notify me of any typographical errors using the feedback form.

These documents (last modified February 03, 1998) were originally from the Christian Classics Electronic Library server, then at Wheaton College, with some editing and corrections from this site.

Bibliographic Information

This information is intended to be useful to those who need to refer to this translations with a specific bibliographic reference.

The translations were originally issued in 4 volumes by subscription for a series, The Ante-Nicene Christian Library, and then recollected and re-edited in a  superior 2 volume form as part of The Ante-Nicene Fathers.  I have a copy of the latter and was able to note the pages of the former in Cambridge University Library.

The Ante-Nicene Christian Library (ANCL)

The reference for this series is:

ROBERTS, Alexander and DONALDSON, James, eds., The Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, 24 volumes (T&T Clark, Edinburgh,1866-72)

Tertullian appeared in 4 volumes.  Here are the original volumes of the ANCL with their contents.

1.  ANTE-NICENE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY: Vol VII. Tertullianus against Marcion: The Five Books of Quintus Sept. Flor. Tertullianus Against Marcion.  Translated by Peter Holmes, D.D., F.R.A.S, Domestic chaplain to the Right Hon. The Countess of Rothes.  Published by T&T Clark 1868 496pp  (Checked)


Dedication v
Preface by translator vii-x
Introductory notice xi-xviii
Contents xix-xx
Book I 1-59
Book II 60-117
Book III 118-174
Book IV, chapters 1-43  175-364
Note on Book 4 364-367
Book V 368-478
Index of Scriptures 479-486
Index of Persons and Things        487-496

Note that the indexes were doubtless subsumed into vol. 9 of the ANF.

2.  ANTE-NICENE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY: Vol XI. The Writings of Tertullian Vol.1: ; T&T Clark 1869 506pp (Not checked)

I've not seen this.  These notes are from Quasten's Patrology II:

All these were translated by S. Thelwall except the Ad Nationes, by P. Holmes.

To the Martyrs, or Ad Martyras  1-7
The Shows, or De Spectaculis  8-35
The Soul's Testimony 36-45
To Scapula 46-52
The Apology 53-140
On Idolatry 141-177
On Prayer 178-204
On Patience 205-230
On Baptism 231-256
On Repentance 257-278
To His Wife 279-303
On the Apparel of Women 304-322
The Chaplet, or De Corona 333-355
De Fuga in Persecutione 356-378
Scorpiace 379-415
To the Nationes, or Ad Nationes  (Holmes)  416-506

3.  ANTE-NICENE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY: Vol XV. The Writings of Tertullian, Vol II: ; T&T Clark 1870 541pp (Checked)

These were also translated by Peter Holmes.

Dedication  (unnumbered, 1 page)
Preface  (unnumbered, 1 page)
Contents  (unnumbered, 1 page)
The Prescription Against Heretics  1-54
Against Hermogenes 55-118
Against the Valentinians * 119-162
On the Flesh of Christ 163-214
On the Resurrection of the Flesh 215-332
Against Praxeas 333-409
A Treatise on the Soul 410-541

* This work is marked in the ANF as 'translated by Dr. Roberts'.  Recheck against ANCL.

4.  ANTE-NICENE CHRISTIAN LIBRARY: Vol XVIII. The Writings of Tertullian, Vol III: with the extant works of Victorinus and Commodianus T&T Clark 1870 514pp (Checked)

"The writings of Tertullian contained in this volume are translated by Rev. S. Thelwall, Late scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge" (Commodian and Victorinus are by others).

Introduction vii-xix
On Exhortation to Chastity  1-20
On Monogamy 21-55
On Modesty 56-122
On Fasting In Opposition to the Psychics  123-153
On the Veiling of Virgins 154-180
On the Pallium 181-200
An Answer to the Jews 201-258
Against All Heresies 259-273
A Fragment Concerning the Execrable Gods of the Heathen  274-277
Jonah the Prophet 278-283
Sodom 284-292
Genesis 293-300
The Judgement of the Lord 301-317
Five Books in Reply to Marcion 318-384
[Other works] 385-474
Indices 475-514

The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF)

The reference for this series is (from the US Library of Congress):

COXE, A. Cleveland, ed., The Ante-Nicene fathers. Translations of the writings of the fathers down to A.D. 325. The Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., editors. American reprint of the Edinburgh edition. Revised and chronologically arranged, with brief prefaces and occasional notes, by A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D. (Buffalo, The Christian literature publishing company, 1885-96. 10 volumes)..

The separate volume titles are:

Volume III.  Latin Christianity: Its founder, Tertullian.  I. Apologetic; II. Anti-Marcion; III. Ethical.

Volume IV.  Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second.

The translators were the Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes, D.D., F.R.A.S., and the Rev. Sydney Thelwall.  (Name of latter in full from Bodleian online catalogue - only 'S. Thelwall' in the volumes).

The date of first publication is not stated anywhere in these volumes.  They have often been reprinted.

The texts given in the ANCL were re-edited by the American editor, A. Cleveland Coxe, and reissued as volumes 3 and 4 of his consolidated series.  These too are published by T. & T. Clark, and are still in publication.  The volumes are divided into various 'Parts' as shown.  The page numbers are as follows:

Volume 3.

Introduction  (No title or page no - 1 page)


Contents (No page number - 1 page)
Introductory Note 1-15
The Apology S. Thelwall 17-55
Elucidations 56-60
On Idolatry S. Thelwall 61-76
Elucidations 76-77
The Shows, or De Spectaculis  S. Thelwall 79-91
The Chaplet, or De Corona None given but 
probably S. Thelwall
Elucidations 103-104
To Scapula S. Thelwall 105-108
Elucidations 108
Ad Nationes P. Holmes 109-147
Appendix, Fragment  149-150
Elucidation 150
An Answer to the Jews S. Thelwall 151-173
The Soul's Testimony S. Thelwall 175-179
Elucidations 179-180
A treatise on the soul P. Holmes 181-235


Introduction by the American Editor 239-241
The Prescription against Heretics  P. Holmes 243-265
Elucidations 265-267
The Five Books against Marcion (Dedication & Preface by the translator)  P. Holmes 269-270
  Book I P. Holmes 271-295
  Book II P. Holmes 297-320
  Book III P. Holmes 321-344
  Book IV P. Holmes 345-423
  Dr Holmes' Note to book 4. P. Holmes 423-425
  Elucidations 425-428
  Book V P. Holmes 429-474
  Elucidations 474-475
Against Hermogenes P. Holmes 477-502
Against the Valentinians * 'Dr. Roberts' 503-520
On the Flesh of Christ P. Holmes 521-542
Elucidations 542-543
On the Resurrection of the Flesh P. Holmes 545-594
Elucidations 594-595
Against Praxeas P. Holmes 597-627
Dr. Holmes' Preface, Dedication. + Elucidations 627-632
Scorpiace S. Thelwall 633-648
Appendix. Against all Heresies S. Thelwall 649-654


On Repentance S. Thelwall 657-666
Elucidations 666-668
On Baptism S. Thelwall 669-679
Elucidation 679
On Prayer S. Thelwall 681-691
Ad Martyras S. Thelwall 693-696
Appendix. The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas - Introduction 697
Appendix. The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas  Rev. R. E. Wallis, Ph.D 699-706
Elucidation 706
Of Patience S. Thelwall 707-717
Elucidations 717-718
Part First - Apologetic.  Index of Subjects. 721-723
Part First - Apologetic.  Index of Texts. 725-727
Part Second - Anti-Marcion.  Index of Subjects. 729-732
Part Second - Anti-Marcion. Index of Texts. 733-737
Part Third - Ethical Treatises.  Index of Subjects. 739
Part Third - Ethical Treatises.  Index of Texts. 741-745.

* This work is marked in the ANF as 'translated by Dr. Roberts'.  Recheck against ANCL.

Volume 4.


Introductory Notice (dated October 1885)                                                                                                                     v-vi
Table of Contents 1
I.  TERTULLIAN.  On the Pallium S. Thelwall 5-12
Elucidations 13
On the Apparel of Women S. Thelwall 14-25
Elucidation 26
On the Veiling of Virgins S. Thelwall 27-37
Elucidation 38
To his Wife S. Thelwall 39-49
Elucidation 49
On Exhortation to Chastity S. Thelwall 50-58
Elucidation 58
On Monogamy S. Thelwall 59-72
Elucidation 73
On Modesty S. Thelwall 74-101
Elucidations 101
On Fasting S. Thelwall 102-114
Elucidations 114-115
De Fuga in Persecutione S. Thelwall 116-125
Elucidations 125-126
Appendix.  A strain of Jonah the Prophet S. Thelwall 127-129
A strain of Sodom S. Thelwall 129-132
Genesis S. Thelwall 132-135
A strain of the Judgement of the Lord S. Thelwall 135-141
Five books in reply to Marcion S. Thelwall 142-165
Elucidations 166


Tertullian. Part Fourth.  Index of Subjects  673
Tertullian. Part Fourth.  Index of Texts 674-678
[Indexes of others] 679-696


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