The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Faith Database

I purchased this a while back through Ignatius publishing, although I only just recently installed it. (They were supposed to send me a Mac version, since that’s what I use at work, but only sent me a Windows XP version which I had bought for use at home. I have Microsoft Virtual PC and WinXP installed on my Mac, so I eventually put it on here, but naturally it runs quite slowly so I still don’t use it much.)

The company’s website is ; and as a comprehensive collection of early Christian writing, plus a very strong selection of Western Catholic material, it would be tough to beat for the price. There are over 1500 works, some of which are as large as the Bible itself (in several translations, of course), and the creators are constantly updating and including new material. A one-time purchase gets all this installed on the computer (with free online updating–in fact, internet access is required for the install process, which shouldn’t be a problem for anyone reading this recommendation.)

Added bonuses, of special interest to Catholics, are the full bodies of work of the most popular (free access) apologists, including (a major draw for me) G. K. Chesterton. But the collection also features the full works of Luthor and Calvin, and even a translation of the Qu’ran. Any of these can be printed out in various formats for ease of reference away from the computer. Plus there are several full encyclopedias.

I knew I had scored a major reference purchase when I discovered that a very impressive (if not entirely full) set of ancient heterodox texts (spurious epistles, acts, Gospels and similar tracts) had also been included. While the collection is clearly geared to serve Roman Catholics (of which I am not one, though I respect them), it makes a good bid to be a written history of chief opponents to Catholicism as well. (Specifically Eastern Orthodox authors, unfortunately, are notably absent at this time, as are most works still under original copyright for obvious reasons.)

Universalists or non-universalists, trinitarians or non-trinitarians, Christian or non-Christian, anyone interested in the history of Christianity and looking for a relatively inexpensive resource base, could do a LOT worse than picking up this handy software.

Somehow, the forum code was trying to count the semicolon of the sentence as part of the web-address. This has now been fixed. Thanks, Justin, for noticing this!

Pretty much every Christian author (orthodox or otherwise) from before the formal East/West schism is fully represented in surviving works, where English translations are freely available. Of course, some of these works only survive as partial (even if extensive) references by other authors; there is no collection of works by Didymus the Blind translated into English available as free reference, for example, but some Popes cite him and the (orthodox) Church historian Socrates Scholasticus (whose work is available in English as a free access resource) has a long laudatory paragraph about him.

(Didymus the Blind, for those who don’t know, was a student of Athanasius the Great who expounded Ath’s ideas in an arguably clearer and systematic form in the late 300s, thus opposing the Arians of that time; as well as combatting the so-called Macedonian/Pneumatomachian party (who affirmed a notion of the Holy Spirit less than the full distinct personhood of full monotheistic deity affirmed by the Orthodox party); and launching attacks against the Manicheans and their cosmological dualism. Didymus was a busy guy. :mrgreen: He was head of a (maybe the?) catechetical school during the second half of the 300s, and his works were considered a standard accepted resource by the Orthodox/Catholic party during the theological debates of the 400s and afterward, and were translated into Latin by Jerome on the direct order of Pope Damasus. He was also a universalist of more-or-less Origen’s type.)

English translations of Origen’s work: “Africanus to Origen” (obviously this was a letter from the historian Africanus, not by oOrigen himself, but it talks about his work); “Origen to Gregory” (2 of these letters); “Origen to Africanus” (the other side of that correspondence); “de Principiis”; “Contra Celsus” (against the great pagan anti-Christian apologist of the preceding generation); and Commentaries on GosJohn and GosMatt.

English translations of Gregory of Nyssa’s work: “Against Eunomius”; “Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book”; “Funeral Oration to Meletius”; collected brief “Letters”; “On ‘Not Three Gods’” (addressed to Ablabius); “On Infants’ Early Deaths”; “On Pilgrimages”; “On Virginity”; “On the Baptism of Christ”; “On the Faith” (addressed to Simplicius); “On the Holy Spirit” (against the so-called Pneumatomachians); “On the Holy Trinity, and of the Godhead”; “On the Making of Man”; “On the Soul and the Resurrection”; and “The Great Catechism”.

Even I would get tired trying to type out a list of post-canonical Christian authors (ortho-trin or otherwise) and their works included in this collection prior to the 1000s. :wink: (And that’s only half the authorial categories!) The editors hardly go out of their way to flag which ones are universalistic or not, of course, but neither are they sorted by any other doctrinal point. (Other than when they are definitely non-Catholic, like Luthor and Calvin. Post-schism EOx authors, as noted, seem extremely under-represented.)