The AnTrAF Project (the Ancient Translations of the Apostolic Fathers), explores in various ways the reception of the this corpus in the manuscript cultures of the languages in which they were translated, which makes for a peculiar and very intricate chapter of the History of the Book.

  • The moniker ‘Apostolic Fathers’ designates a modern collection that gathers some interesting if motley early Christian writings, composed in Greek roughly around the second century. While the Greek text was edited several times in the last decades, the ancient translations are sorely neglected, despite important punctual exceptions. They are, however, windows into very interesting reception contexts.

In 2020 Dan Batovici was awarded a three-year Project Grant from Fritz-Thyssen Stiftung, based at KU Leuven (2021-2024), to work on the Syriac and Coptic reception of the corpus, and a one-year postdoctoral grant from UCLouvain (Mandat FRS Chargé de Recherche) to work on its Armenian reception (2020-2021). The first half of 2022 Dan was Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College, Oxford, for which he was awarded a long-stay abroad grant from the FWO (Research Foundation – Flanders). The project has further been supported by one-month fellowships at Academia Belgica (December 2021), the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (July 2019), and Dumbarton Oaks (August 2019).

In 2019, a generous conference grant from the Fritz-Thyssen Stiftung was awarded to Dan for the first AnTrAF conference. Organised in May in Leuven at the Irish College (The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe), it featured papers on the AF transmission in Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Slavonic, Middle Persian, Ethiopic and Arabic (conference report here). The proceedings are now published as a journal thematic issue, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 98.3 (2022), co-edited with Joseph Verheyden. Furthermore, a second thematic dossier on new witnesses of Ignatius of Antioch in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, and Old Slavonicis in preparation for Le Muséon, stemming from the same conference.

1Clement.VMR: A Digital Edition of All Witnesses

In July 2020 a collaboration started with David Downs (Oxford) on the digital project 1Clement.VMR, hosted on-line in the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room of INTF Münster, which aims to produce digital transcriptions for all manuscript witnesses of 1 Clement. The letter was composed in Greek and there are four witnesess in this language known to date, two of them being partial. Beyond the Greek, there are two papyri with 1Clement in Akhmimic Coptic, an isolated Latin medieval witness, and – so far – five Syriac manuscripts. This is meant as a first exploratory step towards a future broader project of digitising the ancient versions of the AF.

Related Publications

The volume is reviewed by Matthieu Cassin in Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 106.1 (2022), Joseph Verheyden in the Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 74.3-4 (2022), Yuliya Minets in Church History 90.1 (2021), and Bernard Coulie in Le Muséon 133.3-4 (2020).

For further details and AnTrAF conversation please get in touch at

Ign 309

Detail of HMML CFMM 309, from the vHMML Reading Room.