Basel, then, began the work with credit. Zurich produced somewhat similar publications, between 1546 and 1572, under the auspices of Conrad Gesner and Simler. But the productions of the two Swiss cities were surpassed, if not superseded, by the issue in 1575 of the first edition of the Paris Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum. Its editor was Marguerin de la Bigne, and the collection appeared in eight sections or classes arranged according to the character of the writings in each. In the first, for example, were Epistles, in the sixth Commentaries, and so forth. A supplementary volume was issued in 1579. Something over 220 writers of all ages, from the first to the sixteenth century, are represented altogether; and the whole work is in Latin. It was dedicated to Gregory XIII. In 1589 came a second edition, in nine volumes, increased by the addition of a good many treatises, but marked also by the omission of several which had called forth the censure of the authorities. Among these were the works of Nicholas de Clemanges, whose animadversions on ecclesiastical matters had seemed to surpass the bounds of fair criticism. So dangerous, indeed, did the collection appear to some minds that the Jesuit Possevin declares that it is impossible, salva conscientia, to keep either of the first two editions of the Bibliotheca on one's shelves, and more than one detailed censure of the book was issued. In the editions of 1610 and later, efforts were made to remedy the faults that had been noted; and in 1624 appeared the first of a series of publications in which the Greek texts of some of the authors hitherto only published in Latin were given. This first auctarium was edited by the Jesuit Fronton le Due (Ducaeus). The final and largest form of de la Bigne's Bibliotheca was issued in 1644, in seventeen volumes. It contained writings of about two hundred additional authors.
A rival to the Paris Bibliotheca soon appeared, in the shape of the Magna Bibliotheca of Cologne. The first fourteen tomes, with preface by Alard Wyel, were published in 1618: a fifteenth by Andreas Schott in 1622. Their appearance provoked the publication of an auctarium to the Paris collection by Gilles Morel at Paris in 1639. A noticeable point about the Cologne Bibliotheca is that its contents are digested in chronological order, each volume comprising the writers of a century. Similar arrangements were adopted in most of the subsequent Bibliothecae. Cologne did not continue the rivalry; and the last great work of the seventeenth century in this department was again the product of a French press. It was the Maxima Bibliotheca, issued at Lyons in 1677, in twenty-seven parts. The next century witnessed the appearance of a still more comprehensive corpus of patristic literature in the shape of Gallandi's Bibliotheca (Venice, 1766); but the publication of Migne's enormous Patrology-never likely to be surpassed in extent-in the middle of the nineteenth century has largely superseded the earlier collections which we have been reviewing.