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.
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Manlio Simonetti is 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.