With the prevalence of rationalistic norms of thought the language of faith as preserved in scripture has been open to innumerable distortions. Now we are offered the foundations of a Christian spiritual reading of scripture as reflected in the early church community. Long locked away in scholarly tomes, often not translated into the common tongue for generations, these earliest writing of the church were often vitally concerned with a prayerful appreciation of scripture have tragically fallen silent in the contemporary study, teaching and discussion of scripture. These works offer pivotal insights into the spiritual life of the early church and of theological appropriation of scripture often over looked in scripture study.
With this new series the modern church has an unparalleled resource for reading the scriptures in the light of the early church. Through the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture these interpreters now speak again.
The project Project at Drew University has been underway since 1994, InterVarsity Press (for the public) and Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers (for institutions) are both publishing the volumes over the next several years. MARK inaugurates this landmark series. Under the general editorship of Thomas C. Oden, an international team of scholars are producing three or four new volumes every year. When completed, the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture will fill twenty-seven volumes encompassing the entire canon of scripture plus the apocrypha. In each volume readers will find the scripture text in English placed in the setting of the finest commentary from the early church.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture seeks to do for the Christian community what the Talmud did for the Jewish memory of early interpreters of the Torah. It revives the early tradition of the glossa ordinaria, a text artfully elaborated with ancient and seasoned reflections and insights.
Todays readers of the Bible tend to interpret Scripture primarily through the lenses of modern-day rationalist inquiry. As products of Enlightenment modernity, contemporary readers are often limited by late twentieth-century interpretations of Scripture. Yet this has not always been so. Long before the rise of historical-critical methods of biblical interpretation, the church unabashedly read the Bible through the eyes of faith, with uncommon spiritual and devotional insight. Even Reformation commentators such as Luther or Calvin recognized the sterling value of the writings of early church leaders such as Ambrose or Augustine.
However, todays students of the Bible rarely access these writings. Thomas Oden says, "We have bright, intelligent, articulate New Testament scholars in our seminaries who have never once cracked John Chrysostoms homilies, who wouldnt know how to find them." Many such materials are not readily available to students of the Bible, and some have never been translated into English.
In recent years, many have sensed the need for a Christian faith that is more historically rooted. The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture provides an understanding of Scripture that stands in continuity with the pioneering Christians from the early centuries of the church. In the churchs pilgrimage to rediscover its ancient Christian heritage, the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a resource that reconnects the twenty-first century church with the wisdom of the ages.
Volume editors of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture together constitute an exceptional team of ecumenical and international patristic scholars. They are reviewing and selecting exegesis and exposition from ancient commentaries as well as the entire range of partristic writings, including sermons, homilies, letters and theological discourses. Material is being gleaned from writings from the second to the eighth centuries, including comments from well-known early church leaders as well as lesser-known commentators, some of which are being translated into English for the first time. In addition, experts in early Christian Coptic and Syriac texts are identifying pertinent exegetical material for inclusion in the commentary.
This foray into the past has been made possible by the technology of the present. "Prior to the technology of digital search methods and storage techniques, this series could hardly have been thought of, and certainly not accomplished short of a vast army of researchers working by laborious hand-and-paper searches in selected libraries around the world," says Oden. The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture project utilizes computerized searches of the ancient Greek and Latin patristic corpus to identify scriptural interpretation from which commentary selections are drawn.
Twenty-first century biblical scholars, exegetes, pastors, students and readers of Scripture will gain unequaled access to the finest exegesis of the early Christian centuries, including leading figures such as Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome and John of Damascus. Readers from Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions alike will benefit from the insights of their common Christian ancestors.
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture opens up a long-forgotten passage through post-Enlightenment critical interpretation and bears us along to a fertile valley basking in the sunshine of theological and spiritual interpretation. It provides timely service to the church and the academy by reclaiming classic Christian commentary of the whole canon for a postcritical age.
In the twenty-seven volumes to come, readers are invited into the interpretive world that long nurtured the great pastors, theologians and saints of the early church. Here the salient insight, rhetorical power and consensual exegesis of our early Christian ancestors meets the horizon of the third millennium.
Web sites: Fitzroy Dearborn
beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all
the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:2 7).
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 any judgment of their 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 Judass act of
betrayal, the earthquake at Jesus death and the rending of the temple veil.
Details brimmed with significance for Christian doctrine, including baptism and
the Eucharist as well as the relation between the covenants.
Twelve Prophets the reader will find excerpts, some translated here into
English for the first time, from more than thirty church fathers, ranging in
time from Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (late first and early
second centuries) to Gregory the Great, Braulio of Saragossa and Bede the
Venerable (late sixth to early eighth centuries). Geographically the sources
range from the great CappadociansBasil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus,
Gregory of NyssaJohn Chrysostom, Ephrem the Syrian and Hippolytus in the East
to Ambrose, Augustine, Cyprian and Tertullian in the West and Origen, Cyril and
Edited by Alberto Ferreiro, professor of history at
1-2 CORINTHIANS: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture edited by Thomas C. Oden ($40.00, hardcover, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers;ISBN: 1579580718)
Genesis 1-11 edited by Andrew Louth, University of Durham
Genesis 12-50 edited by Mark Sheridan, Augustiniam, Rome
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy edited by Joseph Lienhard, Fordham University, NY
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel edited by John R. Franke, Biblical Theological Seminary, PA
1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther edited by J. Ligon Duncan III, MS
Job edited by Anders Bergquist, St. Ablan's, UK
Psalms 1-50 edited by Craig Blaising & Carmen Hardin, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, KY
Psalms 51-150 edited by Quentin Wesselschmidt, Concordia Seminary, MO
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon edited by Robert Wright, General Theological Seminary
Isaiah 1-39 edited by John Sailhamer, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, OR
Isaiah 40-66 edited by Mark Elliott, Glasgow
Jeremiah, Lamentations edited by Dean Wenthe, Corcordia Theological Seminary, IN
Ezekiel edited by Editor to be announced.
Daniel edited by Carl Volz, Luther Seminary, MN & Thomas McCollough, Centre College, KY
The Twelve Prophets edited by Alberto Ferreiro, Seattle Pacific University, WA
Apocrypha edited by Sever Voica, Patristic Institute of Rome, Italy
MATTHEW edited by Manlio Simonetti, University of Rome & the Augustiniam of Rome Available March, 2000
MARK edited by Thomas Oden, Drew University, NJ &
Christopher Hall, Eastern College, PA Now Available
Luke edited by Arthur Just, Concordia Theological Seminary, IN
John edited by George Dragas, Holy Cross Seminary, MA
Acts edited by Francis Martin, Gaithersburg, MD
ROMANS edited by Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School Now Available
1-2 CORINTHIANS edited by Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School Available July, 1999
GALATIONS, EPHESIANS, PHILLIPIANS edited by Mark Edwards, Oxford University, UK Now Available
Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon edited by Peter Gorday, AL Available November, 1999
Hebrews edited by Philip D. Krey & Eric Heen, Lutheran
Theological Seminary, PA
James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude edited by Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
Revelation edited by William Weinrich, Concordia Theological Seminary, IN
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