This first volume in the series Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is skillfully conceived and artfully presented in fulfillment of its three goals: the renewal of Christian preaching based on classical exegesis, the intensified study of informed laity “who wish to think with the early church about the canonical text,” and the stimulation of Christian scholarship on the scriptural interpretations of early Christian writers. The product is worthy of highest praise. Scriptural passages (pericopes) are accompanied by noteworthy remarks by important “patriarchs,” early Christian interpreters from the second through the eleventh centuries. This book is an edited “commentary” on Genesis 1–11 from a vast database, presenting the comments of representative writers and preachers on important issues.
Excellent introductions by Thomas Oden, series editor, and Louth, professor of patristic and Byzantine studies at the University of Durham, launch the book. Louth’s outstanding work includes an introduction to theological issues, including a survey of typology, creation, humanity in the image of God, the Fall and original sin, and the archetypal importance of Genesis for the church fathers. Especially interesting are the comprehensive views of ancient Christian commentators about the Trinity and Jesus Christ. Appendixes present cited documents, biographical sketches and chronologies. George Dragas reviewed the book as follows: “The fathers of the ancient church were enabled, by the grace of God, to interpret the divine Scriptures in a way that integrates spirituality and erudition, liturgy and dogma, and generally all aspects of our faith which embrace the totality of our life. To allow the fathers to speak to us again, in our contemporary situation, in the way that you have proposed in your project, provides a corrective to the fragmentation of the faith which results from the particularization and overspecialization that exists today in the study of the Holy Bible and of sacred theology” (outside jacket). A better opinion could hardly be expressed.
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