Review: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture – Apocrypha @Logos @IVPAcademic

This issort of a repost, although updated from the original 2010 posting. This volume is included in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture set now available from Logos. I’ve tweeted and shared via Facebook several entries from some of the books to be followed by extensive posts next week. Until then, I wanted to repost this. I’ve also included several pictures of what it looks like in Logos.

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One of the great services InterVarsity Press has given the modern Church is a wide range of collections centered on patristic Christianity. These series, such as the series on the Creeds and this voluminous set, provides for modern Christians a touchstone to the past, a hallmark of those who have gone before. In doing so, they shed light on modern beliefs that ‘have always been.’ Indeed, we get to reach back into the past to see how theology developed, and perhaps even develop our theology as well.

Billing itself as a ‘Christian Talmud’ (Oden, Introduction xii), it contains passages of scripture (pericopes) with commentary by the patristic writers. The passages are given in the Revised Standard Version (unless textual variants require the use of the Latin), following the order and the versification of the RSV. Further, the arrangement of the books in this volume follow the RSV as well. While not all books (such as 1st Maccabees) is included, namely because ancient writers rarely if at all quoted from them, the more well know are, such as Wisdom, Sirach and Tobit.

The importance of these volumes resides not in the introductions, overviews, and histories provided, but in the authors used. These volumes go beyond the normal theological superstars to include those Christians who are less known, but no less important. While we have the standards like Clement of Rome, Augustine, and Irenaeus we have as well those not commonly cited in the West such as John Cassian. We also have unknowns (to me) such as Hesychius, Isaac of Nineveh, a few pseudo’s, and even a quick quote or two from Fastidiosus. There are Elders, such as Salvian, and popes, such as Leo the Great. Victor of Vita and a few anonymous Italians join the list as well. As does Didymus the Blind and his teacher, Origen. The Julians Three make the list – of Eclanum, Pomerius and Africanus. Even the Spaniard, Leander of Seville makes the index of authors. And it goes on and on and on… with names that I would not dare to pronounce out loud and some I even give up on before I think it.

The volumes include pericopes of passages, overviews, and topical arrangements per book. For this volume on the Apocrypha (I still prefer the term Deuterocanon), a history of the Septuagint and an overview of the Apocryphal books are included as well. This serves to introduce, if needed, the readers to what they are about to read. It has not always been that these books were roundly excluded from Christian discourse, but have been used, some more than others, to help determine matters of the Church.

Each volume is large, and this one no different. Coming in at 540 pages worth of material, the fifteenth volume in the Old Testament series provides a much need review of early Christian writers and how they used the hidden books to bring to light Christian values, doctrines and dogma.

Here is a screenshot of the volume in Logos:

ACCS (IVPAcademic) in Logos 1

In Logos, not only do you get the added value of easy Scripture reference and look-up, but so too quick biographies for those Saints whom we have no clue about:

ACCS (IVPAcademic) in Logos 2

As you can see, having the electronic version of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture available in Logos is going to be a time saver, and frankly, makes it infinitely more usable. With the advent of new technology, having commentaries make the move to ebook format, or to have books included in existent software, will greatly increase their value because the reader then becomes a user, and having the books used more frequently will make the demand that much higher.

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