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Products>Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, Volumes 1 & 2: Genesis, Exodus through Deuteronomy (Fathers of the Church) (2 vols.)

Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, Volumes 1 & 2: Genesis, Exodus through Deuteronomy (Fathers of the Church) (2 vols.)

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Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 376–444) is best known for his defense of orthodoxy at the time of the Nestorian controversy over the nature of Christ. However, by far the larger part of Cyril’s literary output consisted of commentaries on books of both Old and New Testaments, written before the Christological debate was sparked off in 428. One of these works, of major proportions, was the so-called Glaphyra (“elegant comments”) on the Pentateuch. This comprises a total of thirteen separate “books,” or volumes: seven on Genesis, three on Exodus, and one each on Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The comments primarily concern the narrative portions of the Pentateuch, hence the greater space given to Genesis, though a number of the legal prescriptions are also treated.

Please note that these two volumes will display as a single resource in your digital library.

  • Offers a translation of the whole Glaphyra for the first time in English
  • Provides theological and pastoral insights
  • Explores the mystery of Christ hidden beneath the surface of the Old Testament text
  • Title: Glaphyra on the Pentateuch
  • Author: Cyril Of Alexandria
  • Translator: Nicholas P. Lunn
  • Series: Fathers of the Church
  • Publisher: Catholic University of America
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Volumes: 2
  • Resources: 1
  • Pages: 672
  • Christian Group: Catholic, Orthodox
  • Resource Type: Commentary
  • Topic: Pentateuch
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Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376 – 444) was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the First Council of Ephesus in 431, which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    A colleague is doing his doctorate on Cyril, so when this new volume came out from “the Fathers of the Church” series, I thought I would give it a read - and I have enjoyed the journey. First, I found the translation to be very readable - in comparison to early Christian writings that have been translated in to English in the late 19th and earlier 20th Century. I also note there is not a lot of Cyril available in good modern English so I applaud the editors of the series for this addition. Second, I enjoyed the first volume that concentrated on Genesis more than the second volume that covered the other 4 books of the Pentateuch. The latter volume only briefly looked at a selection of passages, often not in any order that I could work out - nor did I really grasp the reasons why the passages were chosen over others. However, Vol 1 more than made up for this :) I still have much work to get my head around 5th Century Alexandrian Hermeneutics - though especially with the handling of Genesis, I found Cyril to be closer to Paul (in Galatians) with his use of allegory. I struggled more with the allegorical approach in Vol 2. I liked that Cyril is not dismissive of the natural (“literal”) interpretation of the passages, he just puts more emphasis on the “deeper” meaning. However in his allegorical approach he is explaining New Testament Theology, he is tying things especially to Paul and John. This is different from the allegorical approach later in the Middle Ages (which I don’t enjoy - or rather don’t properly understand). I did struggle with his strong dislike of the Jews. Whilst I do realise that in his writing there is an apologetic element - given that at the time it seems Alexandria was about 1/3 Christian, 1/3 Jewish and 1/3 pagan - I still struggled with his attacks at times. However if you can pass over them, you then find a very strong understanding of who Jesus is, as well as some good insights into the Holy Spirit.