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The 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.
About the Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel volume:
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.
Among the most important sources for commentary on these books are the homilies of Origen, most of which are known to us through the Latin translations of Rufinus and Jerome. Only two running commentaries exist--one from Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the famous Cappadocian theologians, the other from Bede the Venerable.
Another key source for the selections found here derives from question-and-answer format, such as Questions on the Heptateuch from Augustine, Questions on the Octateuch from Theodoret of Cyr and Thirty Questions on 1 Samuel from Bede. The remainder of materials come from a wide variety of occasional and doctrinal writings, which make mention of the biblical texts to support the arguments.
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.