For those familiar with the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS), you’ll know how helpful of a tool it can be when studying a passage of Scripture. The good news is that the publisher of the ACCS, InterVarsity Press, has recently launched two new series: Ancient Christian Doctrine and Ancient Christian Texts.
The former will consist of five volumes and will amount to a Patristic commentary on the Nicene Creed. As the General Introduction states, “Ancient Christian Doctrine is a five-volume collection of doctrinal definitions organized around the key phrases of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as viewed by the foremost ancient Christian writers.” Volume 1 (“We Believe in God”) and Volume 2 (“We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ”) are already in print, and like the ACCS, the format of the book consists of the creed being broken down into its constituent parts with a running commentary from many early Christian authors. For example, the section on the Nicene phrase “of heaven and earth” includes comments by Philus of Antioch, Origen, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Arnobius, Dionysius of Alexandria, Lactantius, Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil and more. The font and format are the same as that found in the ACCS.
The latter series will consist of at least fifteen volumes with the first volume already in print. This series’ purpose is to “present the full text of ancient Christian commentaries on Scripture that have remained so unnoticed that they have not yet been translated into English.” The first volume contains the commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians by the church father who has come to be known as Ambrosiaster. Other volumes will include commentaries by Origen (on Numbers), Cyril of Alexandria (on John), Ephrem the Syrian (on the Prophets), Eusebius (on Isaiah) and others. I welcome this new series though it is not necessarily unique in its goal. For nearly 100 years the Catholic University of America Press has been publishing commentaries as part of its The Fathers of the Church series. As well, Paulist Press has the Ancient Christian Writers series (which contains some translations of commentaries) and then there’s the series of Patristic biblical commentaries recently published by Holy Cross press. However, InterVarsity is to be applauded for finding commentaries that are still without an English translation and making them available in such attractive volumes, which also maintain the format and font of the ACCS.
I personally welcome these two series as they will continue to make available to scholars and non-scholars needful and helpful resources. By being published with InterVarsity they will more easily make their way into the homes, offices and libraries of evangelicals. This is a good thing! It is time that all of God’s people took a serious and devout interest in how God has worked through Christian history. These volumes will make this task much easier and I recommend them to the readers of Scriptorium Daily without hesitation.