Desiderata III: Prosopography of Individuals in Early Christian Literature in the First Three Centuries CE

In reading through some accounts of martyrs in the second and third centuries for a graduate colloquium recently, it struck me that it would be useful to have a prosopographical tool covering the literature and material remains of Christians for the first three centuries or so. As far as I can see, such a tool doesn’t currently exist, but I would be grateful if someone could point me in its direction if one does exist.

There are various prosopographical dictionaries of the later period, like the multi-volume Prosopographie chrétienne, which is arranged geographically and takes its start on the whole from the fourth century. There are also a few partial examples that supply an excellent example of how one might approach the task: Richard Bauckham, “Prosopography of the Jerusalem Church,” and Reidar Hvalvik, “Prosopography of Jewish Believers Connected with Paul and His Mission” in their contributions to the edited collection, Jewish Believers in Jesus. Or again, Jörg Rüpke’s Fasti Sacerdotum: A Prosopography of Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Religious Officials in the City of Rome, 300 BC to AD 499. Jeremiah Coogan rightly mentions to me Preisigke’s Namenbuch which covers some of this territory as well.

But I think none of these quite does what I have in mind. Ideally someone with a digital humanities bent could make this an online, open-access database. Anyone?


  1. #1 by Vincent S Artale Jr on June 4, 2015 - 11:19 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

  2. #2 by fellowsrichard on June 14, 2015 - 6:11 am

    Yes, someone should do for the early Christians what Tal Ilan has done for the Jews, and open access would be appreciated.

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