Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Preface
We present a volume widely differing, in its contents, from those which have gone before; it contains the works of the great founder of Latin Christianity, the versatile and brilliant Tertullian. Not all his works, indeed, for they could not be contained in one of our books. This book, however, considerably overruns the promised number of pages, and gives three complete parts of Tertullian’s writings, according to the classification of our Editor-in-chief. The Fourth volume will begin with the fourth class of his works, those which exhibit our author’s ascetic ideas and the minor morals of the Primitive Christians, that collection being closed by the four treatises which were written in support of a defined and schismatical Montanism.
The Editor-in-chief has been in active correspondence with representative men of divers theological schools, hoping to secure their co-operation in editorial work. As yet, however, the result has not enabled us to announce more than one additional collaborator: the rapidity with which the successive volumes must be furnished proving an almost insurmountable obstacle in the way of securing as co-workers, divines actively engaged in professional duties and literary tasks. The sympathy and encouragement which have been expressed by all with whom a correspondence has been opened, have been most cheering. To the Rev. Dr. Riddle, of Hartford, well known as one of the most learned of the AmericaHærn Revisers of the New Testament, we are indebted for his consent to edit one of the concluding volumes of the Series, accompanying it with a Bibliographical Review of the entire Literature of the Patrologia of the Ante-Nicene period: supplying therein a compendious view of all the writers upon this period and of the latest critical editions of the Ante-Nicene authors themselves. The editor-in-chief will continue his annotations and the usual prefaces, in Professor Riddle’s volume, but will be relieved, in some degree, of the laborious and minute attention to details which earlier volumes have necessarily exacted.
It is needful to remind the reader that he possesses in this volume what has long been a desideratum among divines. The crabbed Latin of the great Tertullian has been thought to defy translation: and the variety and uncertain dates of his works have rendered classification and arrangement almost an equal difficulty. But here is the work achieved by competent hands, and now, for the first time, reduced to orderly and methodical plan. We have little doubt that the student on comparing our edition with that of the Edinburgh Series, will congratulate himself on the great gain of the arrangement; and we trust the original matter with which it is illustrated may be found not less acceptable.