The Répertoire des traductions françaises des Pères de l’Église (RTF) is an indispensable tool for identifying and finding the translations of the works of Church Fathers. The about 12,000 index cards dedicated to the French translations of Latin, Greek and Eastern Fathers are the work of Father Jacques Marcotte of Saint-Wandrille Abbey.
The RTF is a unique source of information for the religious literature of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Although some scholarly editions list the French translations (and those in other languages as well), none of them take into account the partial translations. The database offers for the first time a methodical census. Because of its scale, the RTF has no equivalent either in the French-speaking world or in any other linguistic region.
Professor Benoît Gain (Université de Grenoble Alpes), having read this repertoire in its entirety, has devoted himself to its promotion in order to facilitate scholarly research. In order to make its use easier, he has established a list of acronyms and abbrevations, and he has written a general presentation of the whole database.
Who are the Church Fathers?
Under the term “Church Fathers” we understand all Christian writers of the first centuries AD – more than 700, including anonymous writings – whose works are preserved in Latin, Greek, Syriac or other languages of the Christian Near East. It is thus the broad definition that has been retained for the present Répertoire des traductions françaises des Pères de l’Église (RTF). The chronological limit extends to the beginning of the ninth century.
What types of text are referenced in the RTF ?
With regard to languages, the translations of indexed texts were originally written in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic (several dialects), Armenian, and in very limited numbers for the period in question, in Georgian, Ethiopian and Arabic.
Regarding the nature of the texts, it involves literary texts, by far the most numerous, in many literary genres of prose and poetry.
- In prose: treatises on theology, homilies and sermons,letters, catecheses, didactic works.
- In poetry: epics, hymns, epigrams (notably epitaphs), some texts for the stage.
Canonical and legal texts are listed (laws and regulations of the Roman emperors), as well as the few Gnostic texts discovered before 1945, along with the thirteen codices found in Nag Hammadi.
We should also list all the literary genres representative of hagiography, liturgy, geography, chronology and computus. There are also the “apocrypha”, the term understood in the sense of “intertestamentary writings” and “Christian apocrypha”,the Christian “hand” being sometimes limited to interpolationsin texts that are Jewish or Judaizing in origin.
Fr. Marcotte has followed here the two Claves (Clavis Apocryphorum Veteris Testamenti and Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti).
- An irreplaceable research tool for the study of the texts of the Greek, Latin and Eastern Fathers (from the second to the beginning of the ninth century)
- Gives all the references to complete translations of a work and translations of excerpts
- Contains 12,363 sheets:
- Greek Fathers: 6180
- Latin Fathers: 3836
- Eastern Fathers: 1700
- Apocrypha: 647
- Search screen with several searchable fields (author, title, reference), allowing a precise search
- Search interface in two languages (French – English)
French version (PDF)
English version (PDF)
English version (PDF)
See also the Library of Latin Texts, the Database of Latin Dictionaries, the Patrologia Orientalis Datababase, Sources Chrétiennes Online, the Index Religiosus and Clavis Clavium.