PG Citations

An SBLHS user recently tweeted a question about citing PG.


For those unfamiliar with this work, PG is the abbreviation for J.-P. Migne’s Patrologia Graeca, a 161-volume* collection of early church writings in Greek. The set begins with Clement of Rome (late first century CE) and extends well into the fifteenth century.

As noted in SBLHS §, SBL Press treats Patrologia Graeca and Patrologia Latina (see our earlier posts here and here) as series titles, which are thus set in roman type.

The citation example given at §6.4.6 (shown above) shows the preferred way to cite PG. One first cites the ancient author and the author’s work in the usual way, then identifies the location in PG by volume, column number, and (if desired) section of the page. (For the following example, see the original PG page here.)

Methodius of Olympus, Symp. 2.4 (PG 18:52c)

This citation thus identifies the author Methodius of Olympus and his work Symposium (Convivium decem virginum), as well as the precise reference: oration 2, chapter 4. The PG citation identifies where in the printed volume this reference appears: volume 18, column 52, the c portion of that page. Note especially two aspects of the PG citation: (1) PG and PL are cited by column (two columns per page), not by page; (2) each page (and thus column) is divided into four strips, as it were: a across the top of the page, b across the upper middle, c across the lower middle, and d across the bottom (note the use of lowercase roman letters for the sections).

Thus to answer the original question that prompted this post, SBL Press prefers citing the column in PG references, provided that all of the other required information is included as well.


* SBLHS §6.4.6 refers to 162 volumes for PG, but the printing plates to volume 162 were destroyed in the February 1868 fire at Migne’s press, so the volume was never published. The total 161 is correct and will appear in subsequent editions of SBLHS.

5 thoughts on “PG Citations

    • The CPG abbreviation stands for Clavis Patrum Graecorum, which is a multivolume publication that lists “the whole range of Greek patristic texts, their editions, and their authenticity” (Brepols website). According to the Wikipedia article (here), text 7558 appears in volume 3.


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