The first edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints was written by Alban Butler between 1756 and 1759. Herbert Thurston, S.J., produced the Revised Edition of Butler's Lives in twelve volumes between 1926 and 1938. Butler's became an immediate hit and held the field until the appearance of the second edition in 1956. The work of an English layman, Donald Attwater, added more saints, which brought the total to 2,565, compared to the original 1,486. The underlying theme is that of Christian love, a love willing to undergo great sacrifices for the sake of God and neighbor. A theologian finds on every page living witness to the central truths of the Christian faith.