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
The Gospel of Matthew stands out as a favorite biblical text among patristic commentators. The patristic commentary tradition on Matthew begins with Origen's pioneering twenty-five-volume commentary on the First Gospel in the mid-third century. In the Latin-speaking West, where commentaries did not appear until about a century later, the first commentary on Matthew was written by Hilary of Poitiers in the mid-fourth century.
From that point, the First Gospel became one of the texts most frequently commented on in patristic exegesis. Outstanding examples are Jerome's four-volume commentary and the valuable but anonymous and incomplete Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum. Then there are the Greek catena fragments derived from commentaries by Theodore of Heraclea, Apollinaris of Laodicea, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Cyril of Alexandria.
The ancient homilies also provide ample comment, including John Chrysostom's ninety homilies and Chromatius of Aquileia's fifty-nine homilies on the Gospel of Matthew. In addition, there are various Sunday and feast-day homilies from towering figures such as Augustine and Gregory the Great, as well as other fathers.
This rich abundance of patristic comment, much of it presented here in English translation for the first time by editor Manlio Simonetti, provides a bountiful and varied feast of ancient interpretation of the First Gospel.
About the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series
he 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.
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