A site promoting and storing research tools and texts for the study of the Church and its environment in the Fourth Century. The site is sponsored by the History Department of Wisconsin Lutheran College and by Asia Lutheran Seminary, under the direction of Dr. Glen L. Thompson. To get started, see the menu of options in the far left column or further down on this page. See also the Governing Principles below.

New to the Website:

The Anonymous Church HistoryThis church history was written in the late fifth century and has often been mistakenly referred to as the Church History of Gelasius of Cyzicus. It focuses on the reign of Constantine and especially the Council of Nicaea. Our translation of Book 1 begins the first English translation of this work. Our translation of Book 2 has already begun and chapters are available here as they are completed, with a translation of Book 3 to follow.

A Harmony of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret: With sections arranged chronologically and topically, this project places English translations of the three most important church histories on the fourth century side by side in parallel columns for ease of comparison. The sixth and seventh volumes of the Harmony have been posted, marking the completion of the Harmony project.

Governing Principles:

  1. The site will assist in undergraduate and advanced research by providing reliable reference materials, texts and translations that are not available elsewhere on the net.
  2. Every page will have its authors/contributors identified.
  3. Every text or translation will have its source/translator identified.
  4. We invite participation by the scholarly community in updating, improving or adding to the information provided.
  5. Although the site directors are Christian and Lutheran, every effort is made to present material as objectively as possible.

Any questions, comments, corrections and suggestions can be posted in the comments below or sent to Dr. Thompson at glen.thompson@wlc.edu.

We add new material often, and invite you to check the Recent Additions page frequently.

Website Contents:

What’s New
Recent Additions lists the most recent additions and updates to the Fourth-Century Christianity (FCC) website.
Contents contains the contents of the website.
Bibliographical Helps – a list of several dozen of the most important resources for the study of the fourth century, including the abbreviations used on this site when they are cited.
Chronological charts – links to some of the more important chronological charts and lists on the site.
Constantine the Great contains the first complete list of all of Constantine’s surviving works in chronological order.
Early Christian Councils contains a list of early church councils from A.D. 253-431.
Early Church Historians contains a chart with information about the historians who wrote about the early Christian church.
Early Egyptian Monasticism – A hypothetical map of a Pachomian monastery, listing the positions and areas of a Pachomian monastery, based on the rules of Pachomius.
Imperial Laws and Letters – A complete list of the over 500 surviving imperial laws and letters dealing with religion in the Roman Empire, dating between A.D. 311-431.
Patristic Abbreviations – Our first attempts at drawing together some standard abbreviations for the various works of patristic authors. This list is still incomplete.
Patristic Writers of the Fourth Century – Extensive lists of known Christian writers of the fourth century. Also lists of the surviving works of some of these writers.

Related Sites

Primary Texts
A Harmony of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret displays the three major church histories on the fourth century side by side for comparison.
Collectio Avellana page gives brief information on the Avellana, a link to download the Avellana from Google Books, and a summary of all the Avellana’s documents dealing with the fourth century.
Conciliar Creeds of the Fourth Century contains a list and translations of the known conciliar creeds from the fourth century
Documents Concerning the Meletian Schism contains a chart listing reference numbers, descriptions, ancient sources and English translations of the extant documents of the Meletian Schism from c. A.D. 303-335
Documents of the Early Arian Controversy contains charts listing reference numbers, descriptions, ancient sources and published English translations of the extant documents of the Arian Controversy from 318-333. Charts compare the chronology as argued by Opitz in his Urkunden (1934) and in the revised version of Athanasius’ Werke (2007).  Translations and brief notes are provided for each document.
Fourth Century Papacy contains material related to the bishops of Rome in the fourth century.
Marcellus of Ancyra Fragments contains translations of the surviving fragments of the writings of Marcellus of Ancyra.
Website Related
Abbreviations lists the abbreviations used in the website with bibliographic information.
Links to other websites with useful information relating to fourth-century Christianity.
Site Contributors lists information about the contributors to this site.

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