166 Volumes of Greek Goodness!

Jacques Paul Migne’s Patrologia Graeca is a massive series of 166 print volumes of Greek writings from the 1st century through the 15th century. We’ve been asked many times if we’d consider making this indispensable set available, and we’re finally ready to give it a shot.

As you can imagine, digitizing 166 volumes of small Greek and Latin text—each volume ranging anywhere from 500 to 1,500 pages—is no small undertaking. Print sets are next to impossible to obtain. When we last looked into getting one, the price tag was in the $40,000 range!

Instead of trying to Pre-Pub the whole thing at once and putting it out of the range of just about everyone of our users, we’re going to release it in chunks. This will make it more affordable for you, allow you to pick and choose the sections you want, and make it so you don’t have to wait a decade for the completed project!

The first chunk, volumes 1-18 (20 print volumes), covers the pre-Nicaean period and features the writings of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Melito of Sardis, Papias, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and dozens of others.

Why Would You Want It?

That’s the million dollar question—actually, the $400 question. Allow me to take a stab at some reasons that you should consider placing your pre-order.

Greek Studies

Comparative Grammar

The Greek New Testament is a fairly small corpus of literature. There are hundreds of words, forms, and grammatical structures that occur only once in the whole GNT making it difficult to adequately evaluate them. Being able to compare NT usage—vocabulary, morphology, and syntax—to other Greek writings like the LXX, OT Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, the Apostolic Fathers, etc. is incredibly valuable. But even these bodies of literature don’t address all of the questions grammarians and exegetes have. Significantly broadening the corpus of Greek texts that can be compared to the Greek NT is a major boon to biblical Greek studies.

Textual Criticism

In many cases the writings of the church fathers shed light on which readings of the biblical texts are earlier and more likely to be original. If you’ve looked at a Greek New Testament apparatus, you’ll see references to the fathers on nearly every page. Being able to look up these references will allow textual critics to get one step closer to the sources—and even make advancements in the field of textual criticism.

Church History

Reading the Original

Have you ever been reading somewhere in Schaff’s ECF and wanted to see the underlying Greek behind the English? I know I have. Have you ever wished you could follow references to the Father’s in footnotes in commentaries and other academic literature? With our digital edition of Patrologia Graeca, this kind of study will finally be easily accessible.

Many people don’t realize that Philip Schaff’s 38-volume Early Church Fathers represents only a fraction of the writings of the church fathers. If you want to read some of the church fathers, reading them in Greek or Latin is the only option. Serious students of the history of the formative years of the church cannot afford to ignore this massive collection of writings.

History of Interpretation

Since Scripture references will be tagged, you’ll be able to evaluate all of the places where a certain passage of Scripture is discussed—a crucial part of in-depth study on difficult passages. Want to find out how the fathers handled baptism for the dead in 1 Cor 15:29? No problem. Add your Patrologia Graeca collection to your Passage Guide, use the Reference Browser, or run a search like bible = "1 Cor 15:29".

Convinced yet? Read more or place your order at the Pre-Pub page.

Comments

  1. I’m delighted that this may be coming available – it demonstrates once again Logos’ commitment to academic resources in fields related to biblical study.
    But I’m afraid I won’t be buying – simply because my Greek is inadequate. Now if it had morphological tagging, of course that would be another matter. I don’t suppose you guys have got automated tools that could do most of that for you, have you?

  2. Mark, we’re not making any promises, but we are exploring possibilities regarding morph and/or lemma tagging. If we do decide to do this, we’ll be sure to add it to the product page and make mention of it here on the blog.

  3. Marty Brownfield says:

    This is an amazing resource and is a bargain at the price, but my stumbling block is the amount of Latin in this work. Looking at the complete table of contents, it is clear that at leat half the extant text is in Latin and not available in Greek. The shortcoming, of course, is not with the work itself but with my own training, which is deficient in Latin. Maybe someday I will learn enough Latin to make this purchase worthwhile.

  4. Kenneth Murphy says:

    I’m actually the opposite. At first I thought this was greek only and my greek is only just now coming along. However, when I saw the table of contents and the sample pages I see now that many writings are latin only and much of the greek has latin translations and notes. As one who is wanting very much to improve my latin, this is a great boon as studying these works will benefit not just my Latin but my greek as well along with it being more fulfilling to me to read these works than a classical poets works for example.
    With the upcoming Oxford Latin dictionary and slowly growing support for Latin within Logos, it will add powerfully our ability to understand and learn from these writings.
    I know I put my pre-order in.

  5. Marty, I understand the concern, but keep in my that coupled with the Oxford Latin Dictionary, you’ll be able to look up the words you don’t know. When you’re ready to improve your Latin, you’ll want to consider adding the Collins Latin Dictionary and Grammar, An Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin, the Dictionary of the Vulgate New Testament, and the Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.

  6. Paul Larson says:

    I am concerned that the “chunks” are a little large. It will be interesting to see is you can get enough interest at $400. I am thinking that a smaller chunk at $200 would be more like it.

  7. Paul, maybe you could just view it as two $200 chunks. :) Thanks for your suggestion. We’ll see how it goes, and perhaps have to adjust our strategy.

  8. George F Somsel says:

    OK, OK, I was convinced when I saw the title, but there is a question which your blog raises. You say,

    Being able to compare NT usage—vocabulary, morphology, and syntax—to other Greek writings like the LXX, OT Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, the Apostolic Fathers, etc. is incredibly valuable. But even these bodies of literature don’t address all of the questions grammarians and exegetes have. Significantly broadening the corpus of Greek texts that can be compared to the Greek NT is a major boon to biblical Greek studies.

    This implies, more or less that Migne will be morphologically tagged though nothing is said regarding tagging. Is it or isn’t it?

  9. George, as I said to Mark above,

    We’re not making any promises, but we are exploring possibilities regarding morph and/or lemma tagging. If we do decide to do this, we’ll be sure to add it to the product page and make mention of it here on the blog.

    I realize my comments that you quote could be taken to imply morph (and even syntactical) tagging, but they were not intended to do so. Lexical, morphological, and even syntactical comparisons may be made (to a limited degree, of course) without tagging the text. You’d simply have to search on exact forms and exact constructions. This would be of considerable value, though certainly not as valuable as if we were to add lemma and morph tagging.
    So, in short, there is a chance that the final product could have additional tagging. But we’re making no promises on the front end. We’ll announce it as soon as we know for sure. You should make your decision as if you’re buying a text without morph tagging. If we add lemma and morph tagging, you’ll be getting a very nice bonus!

  10. Kenneth Murphy says:

    Would a compromise on lemma support be possible?
    I’m very new to Logos so I’m still learning the feature set. However, from the little I know it seems like it would be possible for some to code a script utility that could take greek/latin word that is selected and parse it down into it’s dictionary form and then pass that along as a dictionary search. If Logos or a creative 3rd party were to code that much of a small add-in it would make these works much easier to deal with but not require the massive work to tag this entire corpus. A utility may not be 100% but I would imagine you could get one that would correctly parse the majority of words.

  11. Jeremy Krieg says:

    Dear Phil,
    I too am interested in a tagged version. My question is, if you do decide to proceed with an untagged version, and then later come out with a tagged version, will there be an economical upgrade path for those who supported the project from its inception? My reasoning is that I don’t want to fork out $400 now, only to find out that I have to fork out another $400-$500 down the track when the tagged version renders my version obsolete. I think without some sort of guarantee like this you might find that there are people like Mark and myself who would support the project in pre-pub, but who are holding out in the hope that there will be a tagged version.
    As for the comment that Kenneth made about an automated parser – there is already an electronic parser for Latin in the public domain called “William Whitaker’s Words” (which you can download from http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/showcase/whitakerwords.html#download). Unfortunately I have found Words’ built-in dictionary often leaves something to be desired, but it seems to do an excellent job at parsing so in conjunction with a decent Latin dictionary I think it could work. There are probably some intellectual property issues involved in trying to adapt this to a commercial product. But at the very least it shows that something like what you suggested is feasible. Even if it isn’t, you can still use Words as a standalone (although that wouldn’t be as convenient as one that is built-in to Logos).

  12. Jeremy, if we are unable to add lemma/morph tagging in the first time around and later decide to add it, you will not have to drop another $400 or more on the new version. There’s a slight possibility that there could be an upgrade fee, but we normally don’t charge you twice for the same books, even though we may make significant enhancements to them. It’s far more likely that the new book files would replace the old ones and be made available to all owners absolutely free of charge. I can’t give you a definite answer on which route it would be, but I can assure you that you wouldn’t have to pay full price for the version with lemma/morph tagging.

  13. Hi Phil,
    With the first set of 20 (print volumes) priced at $400, it is reasonable to assume that this price will hold for the rest of the sets — which would place the total cost at about $3,200 for the series?

  14. Rob, thanks for your note. Pricing for future portions has not yet determined. We’ll reevaluate that based on the response to this first portion.

  15. Subdeacon R. says:

    This is great! I’ll snap it up as soon as it gets to Chrysostom. I think the response from Orthodox readers will be enormous….who has the time to go to library with the set? English translations are nice but there are times you need to know the Greek behind it. Blessings!

  16. Shaun Grunblatt says:

    Nice, Very interested. What would make this priceless would be for it to link to the critical apparatus. I am not sure if that is possible, but a man can dream.