"This is meant to produce the texts of the Church fathers in a handy edition, to recommend them as reading material and to promise the reader profit from so doing." So begins the preface of Norbert Brox to the new edition of some of the works of the Library of the Church Fathers. For the same reason some volumes of the BKV are made available here in electronic form. It requires work to transcribe so much text into an electronic form. The selection of the works which have been done is therefore a product first of all the needs of our own reading. However if you have a work that is a special favorite of yours, which you think should be scanned, then your cooperation is always welcome!

What is "Bibliothek der Kirchenväter"?

The "Bibliothek der Kirchenväter" (BKV) is a series that made a large selection of patristic works accessible in German translation to an interested public. It was published by O. Bardenhewer in two series. Series I comprises 61 volumes and appeared in the years 1911-31. Series II contains 20 volumes and was published in the years 1934-38. Although since then newer translations of many works have appeared, and the BKV from many viewpoints no longer satisfies modern needs, it still today offers a useful German translation, sometimes a little antiquated, and for many works it is the only German translation. On the other hand the introductions and commentaries and footnotes in these volumes are less useful, and have been omitted.

  • List of all works published in the BKV..
  • List of all volumes of the BKV published.

How to use the site.

Click on "Werke" (Works) in the top strip to get a list of texts online. If you then click on the link for an individual work, the first chapter of that work will be displayed. A hyperlinked index of the contents of the work appears on the right, allowing quick navigation. However for a long work this will only show the first twenty chapters, with a link to the remainder ('mehr') at the end. To get the next chapter, click on 'Weiter' (Forward) in the strip at the bottom of the page. To back to the previous chapter, click on 'Zurück' (Back). You can return to this page from any page by clicking 'Start' in the top strip. The texts can also be viewed or downloaded and edited in RTF format.


Our Newsletter will inform you when new texts are added.


For questions, suggestions, offers to help or corrections, please write to me at:

Dr. Gregor Emmenegger
Département du Patristique et Histoire de l'Église
Departement für Patristik und Kirchengeschichte
Miséricorde 5215
Université Fribourg
CH-1700 Fribourg
Tel.: ++41/26/ 300 74 00
Fax: ++41/26/ 300 97 53


The texts accessible here are useful for a quick reference or casual browsing. However, they cannot and are not intended to replace modern editions: anyone who wants or needs to work in a scholarly way with these texts must consult modern translations and editions, for which these are no substitute. In particular those studying should resist the temptation to use these texts instead of a trip to the university library.
The texts of the BKV are out of copyright and are therefore in the public domain, and may be used freely for any purpose.
This site, the "Bibliothek der Kirchenväter on the internet," has been reviewed by the H-Soz-u-Kult internet forum of the "Institutes für Geschichtswissenschaften der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin" (The Institute for Historical Scholarship at Humboldt University in Berlin). Read it here.

Special Thanks

To all who have helped to make this Site a reality - and to Roger Pearse who translated this page. His exceptional Tertullian Project contains Full Text Sources of Early Christian and Late Antique pagan authors in English and includes volume introductions, notes, and also additional material for select authors to be found here.


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Contact: Griechische Patristik und orientalische Sprachen - Miséricorde - Av. Europe 20 - CH-1700 Fribourg
Letzte Änderung am 20.12.05 .
Gregor Emmenegger