Acts: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
Editor Francis Martin collects patristic comment on the text of Acts in this volume of the ACCS. The Acts of the Apostles–or more in keeping with the author’s intent, the Acts of the Ascended Lord–is part two of Luke’s story of “all that Jesus began to do and teach.” In it he recounts the expansion of the church as its witness spread from Jerusalem to all of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
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In the desert of biblical scholarship that tries to deconstruct or get behind the texts, the patristic commentators let the pure, clear waters of Christian faith flow from its scriptural source. Preachers, teachers and Bible students of every sort will want to drink deeply from The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, president of Religion and Public Life and editor-in-chief of First Things
Composed in the style of the great medieval catenae, this new anthology of patristic commentary on Holy Scripture, conveniently arranged by chapter and verse, will be a valuable resource for prayer, study and proclamation. By calling attention to the rich Christian heritage preceding the separations between East and West and between Protestant and Catholic, this series will perform a major service to the cause of ecumenism.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S. J., Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University
About the Book
While at least forty early church authors commented on Acts, the works of only three survive in their entirety–John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles and a long Latin epic poem by Arator. In this volume, substantial selections from the first two of these appear with occasional excerpts from Arator alongside many excerpts from the fragments preserved in J. A. Cramer’s Catena in Acta SS. Apostolorum. Among the latter we find selections from Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephrem the Syrian, Didymus the Blind, Athanasius, Jerome, John Cassian, Augustine, Ambrose, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Theodoret of Cyr, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Cyril of Alexandria, Cassiodorus and Hilary of Poitiers, some of which are here translated into English for the first time.
As readers, we find these early authors transmit life to us because their faith brought them into living and experiential contact with the realities spoken of in the Sacred Text.
About the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture does what very few of today’s students of the Bible could do for themselves. With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the Church Fathers–including much that is available only in the ancient languages–have been combed for their comment on Scripture. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating and introducing it to today’s readers. Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is an ecumenical project, promoting a vital link of communication between the varied Christian traditions of today and their common ancient ancestors in the faith. On this shared ground, we listen as leading pastoral theologians of seven centuries gather around the text of Scripture and offer their best theological, spiritual and pastoral insights.
Today the historical-critical method of interpretation has nearly exhausted its claim on the biblical text and on the church. In its wake there is a widespread yearning among Christian individuals and communities for the wholesome, the deep and the enduring. The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture does not seek to replace those excellent commentaries that have been produced in the twentieth century. Rather, it supplements them, framing them with interpretive voices that have long sustained the church and only recently have fallen silent. It invites us to listen with appreciative ears and sympathetic minds as our ancient ancestors in the faith describe and interpret the scriptural vistas as they see them.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a postcritical revival of the early commentary tradition known as the glossa ordinaria, a text artfully elaborated with ancient and authoritative reflections and insights. An uncommon companion for theological interpretation, spiritual reading, and wholesome teaching and preaching.