Did you ever wonder how Eusebius felt when he first walked into the archives of Edessa?
I felt something similar when I surfed over to Archive.org last week. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, and in the meantime its keepers (I imagine rows of monks in a high-tech scriptorium) had amassed volumes of wonderful patristic titles. Some of it’s in PDF images and some in PDF text.
Check out The First Age of Christianity and the Church by the controversial nineteenth-century theologian Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger. It takes some time to download, but it’s worth the wait. Dollinger weighed in on the losing side of the infallibility debate, but resisted the temptation to join the schismatics, as many of his friends had done. Perhaps he was saved by his profound knowledge of history.
One of the great, but forgotten achievements of the Oxford Movement was Thomas W. Allies’ multi-volume history of the Church, The Formation of Christendom, which Archive.org has posted in its entirety. Allies, an Anglican clergyman, swam the Tiber (i.e., converted to Roman Catholicism) in 1850, at great personal and professional cost. It was after his conversion that he wrote his massive historical work.
Thomas Allies’ daughter (and biographer), Mary H. Allies, appears on Archive.org for her 1898 translation of St. John Damascene on Holy Images. The volume also includes St. John’s three sermons on the dormition. (You can read her encyclopedia entry on her dad here.)
There’s more in the Archive, but I’ve spent too much time in Edessa. Time to get back to the inkwell.