Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The words “patrology” and “patristics” are derived from the Latin noun pater (“father”). In early Christianity, this word was used to refer to the bishops as being primarily responsible for the teaching of the faith (Altaner, 1960). From the 4th century CE onward, the term was no longer exclusively reserved for bishops. Vincent of Lérins (d. before 450 CE), in his Commonitorium (Memoriale), summarizes th…

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van Geest, Paul, “Patrology/Patristics”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 29 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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