Sayings of the Fathers, Prologue (cont’d)

Here is the continuation and end of the Prologue to the Apophthegmata Patrum, alphabetical series, which I was too tired to finish last night. You’ll note that the fifth century editor who wrote the prologue mentions that he has separated out the anonymous sayings and compiled them separately after the alphabetical collection. This is very likely a reference to the less well-known Apophthegmata Patrum, anonymous collection. I am not translating that collection here. In any case, we owe this editor our thanks for having arranged the saying under the name of each of the various Fathers, and further collecting these chapters based on names under each of the appropriate letters of the alphabet. The collection was formerly no doubt quite a chaotic one. Enjoy.

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But since a narrative by many authors is confused and disorderly, producing a certain confusion in the thought of the reader, the mind is not able to comprehend the multiple scatterings in the book. For this reason we have re-arranged it under a listing of letters, the order of which is better for clear and easy comprehension for those wishing to produce advantage. So, whatever is about Abba Anthony, Arsenios, or of Agathon, and those whose names begin with Alpha [are listed under Alpha. Basil, Bisa]rion and Benjamin are under Beta, and so on up through Omega. And since there are also other sayings and acts of the holy elders for which the names of those who spoke or did them do not appear, we have separated these into chapters after the the completion of those according to the letters. We have sought and found as many books as we were able to find, listing them at the end of the chapters, so that collecting from all of them the help of the Spirit, and delighting in the sayings of the Fathers, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb [Ps 18.11 LXX], and conducting ourselves properly in the calling with which God has called us, we may come to His Kingdom. Amen.

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