The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) does what very few of today’s students of the Bible can do for themselves. The vast array of writings from the Church Fathers—including many that are 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.
Included in this series is the full commentary text of all 29 volumes from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS). Arranged canonically, each volume allows the living voices of the Church in its formative centuries to speak as they engage the sacred page of Scripture. Now even more accessible in digital format, this series will prove an uncommon companion for theological interpretation, spiritual reading, and wholesome teaching and preaching.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) 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 eight centuries gather around the text of Scripture and offer their best theological, spiritual, and pastoral insights.
Due to digital rights limitations, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) is not included in this product and does not automatically appear in this digital edition as it does in the print editions. Scripture texts are linked and will display the version you have set as your preferred Bible within the software. However, the Scripture version(s) available will depend on what Bible(s) you own. Also note, this product is the updated version of ACCS. Some content differs from the original edition. Pagination may slightly vary between the two editions.
Chronological snobbery—the assumption that our ancestors working without benefit of computers have nothing to teach us—is exposed as nonsense by this magnificent new series. Surfeited with knowledge but starved of wisdom, many of us are more than ready to sit at table with our ancestors and listen to their holy conversations on Scripture. I know I am.
—Eugene Peterson, James Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College
All who are interested in the interpretation of the Bible will welcome the forthcoming multivolume series, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Here the insights of scores of early church fathers will be assembled and made readily available for significant passages throughout the Bible and Apocrypha. It is hard to think of a more worthy ecumenical project to be undertaken by InterVarsity Press.
—Bruce M. Metzger, professor emeritus of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
Modern church members often do not realize that they are participants in the vast company of the communion of saints that reaches far back into the past and that will continue into the future, until the kingdom comes. This commentary should help them begin to see themselves as participants in that redeemed community.
—Elizabeth Achtemeier, Union Professor Emerita of Bible and Homiletics, Union Theological Seminary
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 Dulles, Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University
Few publishing projects have encouraged me as much as IVP's recently announced Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture with Dr. Thomas Oden serving as general editor. . . . How is it that so many of us who are dedicated to serve the Lord receive seminary educations which omitted familiarity with such incredible students of the Scriptures as St. John Chrysostom, St. Anathasius the Great and St. John of Damascus? I am greatly anticipating the publication of this commentary.
—Fr. Peter E. Gillquist, director of the Department of Missions and Evangelism, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
The Logos edition you can reap the maximum benefit from The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) by getting easier access to the contents of this series—helping you to use these volumes more efficiently for research and sermon preparation. Every word from every book has been indexed and catalogued to help you search the entire series for a particular verse or topic, giving you instant access to cross-references. Additionally, important terms link to your other resources in your digital library, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, theology texts, and others. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for because in Logos, your titles will automatically integrate into custom search reports, passage guides, exegetical guides, and the other advanced features of the software. You'll have the tools you need to use your entire digital library effectively and efficiently, searching for verses, finding Scripture references and citations instantly, and performing word studies. With most Logos resources, you can take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps, providing you the most efficient and comprehensive research tools in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
The rich tapestry of the creation narrative in the early chapters of Genesis proved irresistible to the thoughtful, reflective minds of the church fathers. Within them they found the beginning threads from which to weave a theology of creation, fall, and redemption. Following their mentor, the apostle Paul, they explored the profound significance of Adam as a type of Christ, the second Adam. Genesis 1–11 opens up a treasure house of ancient wisdom—allowing these faithful witnesses, some appearing here in English translation for the first time, to speak with eloquence and intellectual acumen to the church today.
Andrew Louth is a professor of patristic and Byzantine studies in the department of theology at the University of Durham in England.
Genesis 12–50 recounts the history of the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. From their mentors Paul, Peter, Stephen, and the author of the letter to the Hebrews, the early fathers learned to draw out the spiritual significance of the patriarchal narrative for Christian believers. The Alexandrian school especially followed Paul’s allegorical use of the story of Sarah and Hagar as they interpreted the Genesis accounts. The Antiochene school eschewed allegorical interpretation but still set about to find moral lessons in the ancient narrative. For all of them the events pointed toward the promises of the age to come, the new age revealed in the resurrection of Jesus.
Mark Sheridan is vice rector and dean of the faculty of theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome, Italy. With Jeremy Driscoll, he edited Spiritual Progress: Studies in the Spirituality of Late Antiquity and Early Monasticism.
From its inception the church has always had a Bible—the Jewish Scriptures. But Christians have not read these Scriptures in the same way the Jews did. They have read them in the light of what God did in Jesus the Christ. Thus the Jewish Scriptures became for Christian readers the Old Testament.
This commentary on Exodus through Deuteronomy bears ample witness to this new way of reading these ancient texts. Among the earliest interpreters whose works remain extant is Origen, who virtually single-handedly assured the Old Testament a permanent place within the Christian church through his extensive commentary and reflection. His 27th homily on Numbers is particularly noteworthy for his interpretation of the 42 stopping places in the desert wanderings as the 42 stages of growth in the spiritual life.
Joseph T. Lienhard is a professor of theology, serving on the faculty of the medieval studies program at Fordham University.
The history of the entry into the Promised Land followed by that of the period of the judges and early monarchy may not appear to readers today as a source for expounding the Christian faith. But the church fathers readily found parallels, or types, in the narrative that illumined the New Testament. An obvious link was the similarity in name between Joshua, Moses’ successor, and Jesus—indeed, in Greek both names are identical. Thus Joshua was consistently interpreted as a type of Christ. So too was Samuel. David was recognized as an ancestor of Jesus, and parallels between their two lives were readily explored. And Ruth, in ready fashion, was seen as a type of the church. Readers will find a rich treasure trove of ancient wisdom, some appearing here for the first time in English translation, that speaks with eloquence and challenging spiritual insight to the church today.
John R. Franke is an associate professor of theology at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. With Stanley J. Grenz, he is co-author of Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context.
The church fathers, as they did in earlier books dealing with Israel’s history from the time of Joshua to the united monarchy, found ample material for typological and moral interpretation in 1–2 Kings, 1–2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. As will be immediately clear to readers of this volume, they gave much more attention to 1–2 Kings than to any of the other books addressed here; whether this was due to a certain repetitiveness in the story line or other reasons is unclear. But the narratives of wise King Solomon, the construction of the temple, the prophets Elijah and Elisha, and the fates of various faithful and unfaithful kings and other powerful people were well suited to their purposes.
Marco Conti is a professor of medieval and humanistic Latin literature at the Ateneo Salesiano and lecturer in classical mythology and religions of the Roman Empire at the Richmond University in Rome.
The book of Job presents its readers with a profound drama concerning innocent suffering. Such honest, forthright wrestling with evil and the silence of God has intrigued a wide range of readers, both religious and nonreligious. The excerpts in this volume focus on systematic treatment of the text of Job. Among Greek texts are those from Origen, Didymus the Blind, Julian the Arian, John Chrysostom, Hesychius of Jerusalem and Olympiodorus. Among Latin sources we find Julian of Eclanum, Philip the Priest and Gregory the Great. Among Syriac sources we find Ephrem the Syrian and Isho‘dad of Merv, some of whose work is made available here for the first time in English. In store for readers of Job is once again a great feast of wisdom from the ancient resources of the church.
Manlio Simonetti, a widely acknowledged expert in patristic biblical interpretation, teaches at the University of Rome and at the Augustinian Patristic Institute in Rome. He is the author of several books and Bible commentaries, including Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church: An Historical Introduction to Patristic Exegesis.
The Psalms have long served a vital role in the individual and corporate lives of Christians, expressing the full range of human emotions, including some that we are ashamed to admit. The Psalms reverberate with joy, groan in pain, whimper with sadness, grumble in disappointment, and rage with anger. The church fathers employed the Psalms widely. In liturgy they used them both as hymns and as Scripture readings. Within them they found pointers to Jesus both as Son of God and as Messiah. They also employed the Psalms widely as support for other New Testament teachings, as counsel on morals and as forms for prayer. But the church fathers found more than pastoral insight in the Psalms. They found apologetic and doctrinal insight as well, as is attested by the more than 65 authors and more than 160 works excerpted in this commentary.
Craig A. Blaising is the executive vice president and provost of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as a professor of theology. He is the coauthor of Progressive Dispensationalism and a contributor to Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, and The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Spiritual Formation. He is also the co-editor of Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church: The Search for Definition.
Especially noteworthy in Psalms 51–150 was the church fathers’ use of Psalms in the great doctrinal controversies. The Psalms were used to oppose subordinationism, modalism, Arianism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism and Monophysitism, among others. More than fifty church fathers are cited in this valuable volume.
Quentin F. Wesselschmidt is a professor of historical theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
Among the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon were all thought by the early church fathers to have derived from the hand of Solomon. To their minds, the finest wisdom about the deeper issues of life prior to the time of God’s taking human form in Jesus Christ was to be found in these books. As in all the Old Testament they were quick to find types and intimations of Christ and his church which would make the ancient Word relevant to the Christians of their day. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon elucidates the theology found within these Old Testament books.
J. Robert Wright is St. Mark’s Professor of Ecclesiastical History at General Theological Seminary in New York, New York. A life fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London), he serves as the historiographer of the Episcopal Church. He has written or edited several books focused on history and spirituality that seek to recover the ancient heritage that all Christians have in common, including Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church. His articles have been published widely in journals such as Studies in Church History, The Lamp, Anglican Theological Review, The Messenger, Conversations, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, The Living Church, The Anglican and Ecumenical Trends.
For the early church fathers, the prophecy of Isaiah was not a compendium of Jewish history or theology but an announcement of the coming Messiah fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. As such, the prophet’s words were a rich source of theological reflection concerning their Lord and a vital aid in their defense against the objections of the Jews that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The interpretation of Jesus’ ministry in light of Isaiah’s prophecy was not a theological innovation on their part, but rather a following of the path blazed by the New Testament writers and Jesus himself, explains this volume.
Steven A. McKinion is an associate professor of historical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is also the author of Life and Practice in the Early Church: A Documentary Reader and Words, Imagery and the Mystery of Christ: A Reconstruction of Cyril of Alexandria’s Christology.
No book of the Old Testament is more frequently quoted in the New Testament than Isaiah, and no portion of Isaiah is more frequently quoted in the New Testament than the typologically fertile soil of Isaiah 40–66. Still, as interpreted by the church fathers, Isaiah presents a message that is far more soteriological than Christological, leading readers to a deeper understanding of God’s judgment and salvation. Isaiah 40–66 provides us with the closest thing the Old Testament has to offer regarding a systematic theology. The excerpts included in this volume offer us a rich array of differing styles, principles and theological emphases from Theodoret of Cyr to Eusebius and Procopius, to Cyril of Alexandria, Jerome, and Augustine. Readers will be enriched by the wide-ranging selections, some of which are translated here into English for the first time.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, prophesied for four decades under the last five kings of Judah—from 627 to 587 B.C. His mission: a call to repentance. Among the Apostolic Fathers, Jeremiah was rarely cited, but several later authors give prominent attention to him, including Origen, Theodoret of Cyr, and Jerome who wrote individual commentaries on Jeremiah and Cyril of Alexandria and Ephrem the Syrian who compiled catenae.
Lamentations, as might be expected, quickly became associated with losses and death, notably in Gregory of Nyssa’s Funeral Orations on Meletius. By extension the Fathers saw Lamentations as a description of the challenges that face Christians in a fallen world.
Over 40 church fathers are cited in the commentary on Ezekiel, some of whom are here translated into English for the first time, but pride of place goes to four significant extant works: the homilies of Origen and Gregory the Great, and the commentaries of Jerome and Theodoret of Cyr, thus bridging East and West, North and South.
A similar array of church fathers are found within the commentary on Daniel. Extensive comments derive from the works of Theodoret of Cyr, Hippolytus, Jerome and Isho’dad of Merv and provide a wealth of insight. Valuable commentary attributed to Ephrem the Syrian and John Chrysostom is also found here, though the authorship of these commentaries is indeed questioned.
Kenneth Stevenson is retired from his position as bishop of Portsmouth in England. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he is the author of numerous publications, including Worship: Wonderful and Sacred Mystery, The Mystery of Baptism in the Anglican Tradition, The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition and Rooted in Detachment: Living the Transfiguration. With Geoffrey Rowell and Rowan William, he edited Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness.
Michael Glerup serves as the research and acquisitions director for the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and as the operations manager for the Ancient Christian Texts series. He continues his research in the history of exegesis as the director of the Early African Christianity Projects.
The Church Fathers mined the Old Testament throughout for prophetic utterances regarding the Messiah, but few books yielded as much messianic ore as the Twelve Prophets, sometimes known as the Minor Prophets, not because of their relative importance but because of the relative brevity of their writings. Encouraged by the example of the New Testament writers themselves, the Church Fathers found numerous parallels between the Gospels and the prophetic books. Among the events foretold, they found not only the flight into Egypt after the nativity, the passion and resurrection of Christ, and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but also Judas’s act of betrayal, the earthquake at Jesus’ death and the rending of the temple veil. Detail upon detail brimmed with significance for Christian doctrine, including baptism and the Eucharist as well as the relation between the covenants. In this rich and vital resource edited by Alberto Ferreiro, you will find engaging excerpts from these esteemed Church Fathers.
Alberto Ferreiro is a professor of history at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.
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 25-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 59 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, presented by editor Manlio Simonetti, provides a bountiful and varied feast of ancient interpretation of the first Gospel—a continuation of Matthew 1–13.
This commentary on Mark, now in its second edition, offers thought-provoking theological and spiritual interpretation. In these pages, we enter the interpretive world that long nurtured the great pre-modern pastors, theologians, and saints of the church.
Christopher A. Hall is chancellor of Eastern University and dean of the Templeton Honors College. He is also an associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
For the Church Fathers, the Gospels did not serve as resources for individual analysis and academic study. They were read and heard and interpreted within the worshiping community. They served as sources for pastoral counsel and admonition for those who were committed to the Way. Although Matthew and John were generally the preferred Gospels at the time, Luke, because of his particular interests and unique contributions, took pride of place during the Christmas season as well as during Easter and other major feasts. Aside from sermons, we find that the Fathers addressed exegetical issues on the gospel of Luke in theological treatises, pastoral letters and catechetical lectures.
Arthur Just Jr. is dean of graduate studies and a professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He is also the author of a two-volume exegetical commentary on Luke.
The Gospel of John was beloved by the early church, much as it is today, for its spiritual insight and clear declaration of Jesus’ divinity. This Gospel more than any other was central to the Trinitarian and Christological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, and John 1–10 offers distinguished commentary that sheds lights on those early debates.
Joel C. Elowsky is an associate professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin.
In addition to the serial homilies of John Chrysostom, readers of this volume of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture will find selections from those of Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Cyril of Alexandria, and Augustine. These commentaries are supplemented with homiletic material from Gregory the Great, Peter Chrysologus, Caesarius, Amphilochius, Basil the Great, and Basil of Seleucia, among others. Liturgical selections derive from Ephraim the Syrian, Ambrose, and Romanos the Melodist, which are further supplemented with doctrinal material from Athanasius, the Cappodocians, Hilary, and Ambrose.
Editor Francis Martin collects patristic comment on the text of Acts in this volume of the ACCS. While at least 40 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.
Francis Martin is a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. He is a research fellow in Catholic biblical studies at the Intercultural Forum for Studies in Faith and Culture at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. He is also the spiritual advisor to the Mother of God Community in the Archdiocese of Washington.
This Ancient Christian Commentary on Romans collects the best and most representative of patristic commentary and homily on Romans, and it brings to the public some valuable material that has previously been unavailable in English translation. Outstanding among these commentators is “Ambrosiaster,” the name given to the unknown Latin commentator of the late fourth century, whose enduring worth is evident to all who read him. The extensive commentary by Origen, largely inaccessible to modern readers, is frequently and extensively presented here as well.
These commentators are joined by great figures such as John Chrysostom of Constantinople, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine of Hippo, Theodoret of Cyrus, and several lesser commentators, such as Diodore of Tarsus and Didymus the Blind of Alexandria. This commentary on Romans provides a rare opportunity to encounter the familiar Pauline exposition of the righteousness of God as it echoes in the great Christian minds and communities of the early Church.
Gerald L. Bray is a professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of research at Latimer Trust. He has written and edited a number of books on different theological subjects. A priest of the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.
Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church have left a mark on Christian Scripture in a way that could never have been predicted. Here the pastoral issues of a first-century Christian community in what Chrysostom identified as “still the first city in Greece” stand out in bold relief. How was a community shaped by the cross to find its expression in a city that Chrysostom knew to be “full of orators and philosophers” and that “prided itself . . . above all on its great wealth?” How was church unity to be maintained in a setting where prominent believers, bending truth and morality to their own advantage, divided the body of Christ? Here lay the challenge for the apostle Paul. And as the apostle writes, the fathers lean over his shoulder, marveling and commenting on his pastoral wisdom.
Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians have struck an indelible impression on Christian tradition and piety. The doctrines of Christ, of salvation and of the church all owe their profiles to these letters. And for patristic interpreters, who read Scripture as a single book and were charged with an insatiable curiosity regarding the mysteries of the Godhead, these letters offered profound visions seldom captured by modern eyes. Trinitarian truth was patterned in the apostle’s praise of God who is “over all, through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). This commentary offers an unparalleled close-up view of the fathers weighing the words and phrases of this panoramic charting of the Savior’s journey from preexistence, to incarnation, to crucifixion, to triumphant exaltation as universal Lord.
Mark J. Edwards is tutor in theology at Christ Church and university lecturer in patristics at the University of Oxford. Among his publications are Neoplatonic Saints, Origen Against Plato, John Through the Centuries, Constantine and Christendom, and Culture and Philosophy in the Age of Plotinus.
While patristic commentary on St. Paul’s shorter letters—Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Philemon—was not so extensive as that on his longer letters, certain passages in these letters proved particularly important in doctrinal disputes and practical church matters. Pivotal in controversies with the Arians and the Gnostics, the most commented-upon Christological text amid these letters was Colossians 1:15–20, where Jesus is declared “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” In other texts scattered throughout the Pastorals, the fathers found ample support for the divinity of the Son and the Spirit and for the full union of humanity and divinity in the one redeemer, the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). These early Christian commentators also looked to the Pastorals, where Pauline authorship was assumed, for important ethical and moral teaching, as well as explicit qualifications for choosing church leaders and guidelines for overseeing the work and behavior of widows.
Peter Gorday is a priest of the Episcopal Church and serves parishes in Georgia and North Carolina. A practicing marriage and family therapist in Georgia, he is also the author of Principles of Patristic Exegesis: Romans 9–11 in Origen, John Chrysostom and Augustine, as well as journal articles in the history of biblical interpretation.
The excerpts chosen in this volume range widely over geography and time from Justin Martyr and Clement of Rome in the late first and early second century to The Venerable Bede, Isaac of Nineveh, Photius, and John of Damascus in the eighth and ninth centuries. The Alexandrian tradition is well represented in Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Didymus, and Cyril of Alexandria, while the Antiochene tradition is represented in Ephrem the Syrian, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Severian of Gabala, and Theodoret of Cyr. Italy and North Africa in the West are represented by Ambrose, Cassiodorus, and Augustine, while Constantinople, Asia Minor, and Jerusalem in the East are represented by the Great Cappadocians—Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa—Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Jerome.
Erik M. Heen is a professor of New Testament and Greek at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Anton Fridrichsen (1888–1953): An Introduction and an Author Bibliography and many articles published in Semeia, The Review of Biblical Literature, Teaching Theology and Religion, Currents, Dialog, The Philadelphia Inquirer and others.
Because the Catholic Epistles focus on orthodox faith and morals, the Fathers drew on them as a means of defense against the rising challenge of heretics. This factor gave these letters a freshness and relevance to conditions in the fourth and fifth centuries that might otherwise seem surprising. Many of the Fathers unabashedly saw in them anticipatory attacks on Marcion and strong defenses against the Arians. They did so quite naturally because in their view truth was eternal and deviations from it had existed from the beginning. Above all, the Fathers found in the Catholic Epistles a manual for spiritual warfare, counsel for the faithful in the struggle between good and evil. In them was sound instruction in the ways of self-sacrifice, generosity and humility, through which evil could be defeated.
From early on, the book of Revelation was more widely accepted in the West than in the East. Indeed the earliest extant commentaries on Revelation in Greek date from Oecumenius’s commentary in the sixth century, which was soon accompanied by that of Andrew of Caesarea. Earlier Eastern fathers did, however, make reference to Revelation in noncommentary works. This volume, edited by William C. Weinrich, draws heavily on the two Greek commentaries from Oecumenius and Andrew of Caesarea to represent Eastern interpretation, while focusing on six other commentaries as primary witnesses to Western interpretation—those of Victorinus of Petovium, Tyconius, Primasius, Caesarius of Arles, Apringius of Beja and Bede the Venerable. Every effort has been made to give adequate context so that the creative use of Scripture, the theological interest and the pastoral intent can be discerned by readers today.
William C. Weinrich is currently rector of the Luther Academy, theological seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. Additionally, he is a professor of Early Church History and Patristic Studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Weinrich is author of Spirit and Martyrdom: A Study of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Contexts of Persecution and Martyrdom in the New Testament and Early Christian Literature and editor of The New Testament Age: Essays in Honor of Bo Reicke.
This last volume of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture offers commentary from the early church fathers on the deuterocanonical books of the Bible, with insights that will be of great benefit to preachers and teachers alike. Readers will find some ancient authors translated into English here for the first time. Throughout they will gain insight and encouragement in the life of faith as seen through ancient pastoral eyes. This volume overs the period from Clement of Rome (second century) to John of Damascus (mid-eighth century), and makes accessible the early Christian commentary on the Apocrapha.
Sever J. Voicu is Scriptor Graecus at the Vatican Apostolic Library and Guest Professor at the Augustinian Patristic Institute in Rome. He has published mainly in the area of Greek Patristics and New Testament Apocrypha.
Thomas C. Oden recently retired as Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the author of numerous theological works, including Thomas C. Oden’s Systematic Theology (3 Vols.).