The Patristic (from Greek πατήρ pater father λόγος lógos word) called in theology the study of the life, writings and teachings of the Church Fathers. As a study of theological texts, they can be regarded as a branch of historical theology, as a literary history of ancient Christianity as part of the literature or of classical philology and the history of philosophy.

In contrast to the patristics, which deals with all relevant for theology texts from the time of the Church Fathers (including council acts, liturgical and poetic texts, Acts of the Martyrs and inscriptions ), the Patrology limited to the essential of faith writings of the Church Fathers and the so-called heretics.

The Patristic hand, using the methods of historical science, and literature.

Time frame

The literature of the Church Fathers covers the period after completion of the New Testament ( ie, starting with the so-called Apostolic Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp in the middle of the 2nd century AD ) to the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (ca. 7th century AD, as Isidore of Seville and John of Damascus ).

History and Development of Patristic as a science

A scientific review of the writings of the Church Fathers begins with the 17-18. Century During this time, large text editions, culminating in the first half of the 19th century in the issued by Jacques Paul Migne Patrologia cursus series of completus which, although scientifically inadequate, as to the completeness but unequaled arise; from the middle of the 19th century created text-critical editions by modern scientific standards as CSEL and Corpus Christianorum. In the present day proves v.a.a. the ecumenical relevance of Patrology that examines the literary heritage of undivided Christianity. Characteristic of the patrologische research of the 20th century is the tendency to interpret the texts in the context of a comprehensive study of late antiquity.