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Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series

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#1 Guest_Kempis

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 02:35 AM

Has anyone read or seen the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series? Does it represent the Orthodox view? If not can yo suggest one that does?

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:59 PM

Dear Kempis,

I have not heard about the Ancient Christian Commentary so I cannot say anything concerning its Orthodoxy. However the Explanation by the Blessed Theophylact (Chrysostom Press) on each of the four Gospels is trustworthy relying heavily on the commentaries of St John Chrysostom.

On the komboskini: to some of your questions probably others can answer in a better way. The wool rope and Russian old-believer are the most traditional; it could be other types are proper; all I can say is to pay attention that the physical construction of the rope does somehow affect your ability to concentrate on the prayer; tradition comes after much prayerful experience of the holy monastic fathers. Prayer rope during Orthros? I have normally seen it used in Orthodox monasteries during services to recollect concentration; but some I have heard argue that the Jesus Prayer distracts from paying attention to the service. As in all things: 'ask your father and he will tell you.'

Toll houses-a topic that provokes heated debate; some claim the whole idea is pagan; others follow a very literal explanation of numbers of toll houses and the purpose of each. The Church does teach that after our physical death we will be in a spiritual state that corresponds to our behaviour while in the body; note that this occurs before the Final Judgement. There is a testing of the soul immediately after its seperation from the body; the testing corresponds to the sins & passions we have not repented of i.e. how much we are still slaves to particular sins. Many saints have witnessed visions of the toll houses which correspond to each of these sins and whether we 'pass through them' or not. Personally I would say that since so many saints have witnessed to the toll houses we can be assured that such a reality exists; on the other hand it is a fact that many of the descriptions about the toll houses differ in major or minor ways; some saints do not mention anything about toll houses at all. A nice example of the differences found in the Lives of Sts is found in the Life of St Niphon Preacher of Repentance who witnessed an angel successfully defend a sinner from the demons. Also the fact that we serve Memorial services (Panichidas) for the departed would seem to mean that the toll houses do not have total control over a person, they do not reflect a final absolute judgement that cannot be changed. Adding this all up I personally believe that while there is a sort of relative judgement for all after death, the lack of clarity about the exact nature of the toll houses actually reflects the fact that the state we come to immediately after death is not absolute; ie it can change due to the prayers and efforts of others.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#3 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 03:45 PM

Blessed Theophylact.

The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact A fundamental, patristic, New Testament commentary of the Orthodox Church. This is the classic Orthodox commentary written in about the year 1100 A.D., by a brilliant and saintly Byzantine churchman. In language that is profound, powerful, and direct, Bl. Theophylact distills the teachings of the earlier Church Fathers, and especially of St. John Chrysostom, into a verse-by-verse very readable commentary of the entire Gospel text. All volumes are available in hardcover. EACH hc $35.00

Volume I: St. Matthew CCP403 pb $22.50
Volume II: St. Mark CCP404 pb $17.00
Volume III: St. Luke CCP406 pb $25.75

All prices in Canadian money.

I found this on this page:


Scroll down a bit, youll find it.

Glory to God forever.

#4 Guest_Jonathan Tallon

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 10:54 AM

I have a number of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. First of all, they do NOT represent an Orthodox viewpoint. They are produced by InterVarsity Press, which is an evangelical protestant publishing company. The two editors are Gerald Bray, an Anglican professor in the USA, and Thomas Oden, who is Professor at a theological college in New Jersey, USA.

Secondly, they contain excerpts from writers who are not considered to be Orthodox by the Orthodox. For example, the commentary on Romans contains excerpts from Origen, Pelagius and Theodore of Mopsuestia. Thus, they show the broad range of ancient thinking on a topic, and not just the Orthodox.

Having said that they are not explicitly Orthodox, they do contain excerpts from people such as St John Chrysostom and St Ignatius, and of course much of the writings of people such as Origen and Theodore still contain much that can benefit us (I suppose, use with caution).

However, overall, I found them a little disappointing. Sometimes, they seem to miss the point of what the Father was trying to say. At the start of each section is an overview of what the passage 'means' and what the Fathers as a whole said about it; again, sometimes I personally found this misleading. And of course, the selection can imply (by omission) a universality of thought among the Fathers which is again sometimes misleading.

I hope this information is useful.

Yours in Christ,


#5 Tom Neufeldt

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:42 PM

I'm new here, so I don't know if this thread is too old to reply to...

Does anyone have any updated opinions on this series?

I am an Orthodox Inquirer. I would really like to see what the Church Fathers have said about many passages in the cannon, but I want to be able look on a verse by verse basis.

Does anyone use this now that it's been out for a while? Is it possible that somebody could tell me which commentators (Origen, perhaps?) to ignore and then I could just use the material that is worthwhile?

I hate to buy this if it more heterodox than not, or if it's too confusing to separate the Orthodox from the rest.

Is anyone benefitting from it? I think it's best to read straight from the Fathers, but there is so much there, and I'm trying to find a starting point since I didn't grow up Orthodox.

Thanks in advance!


#6 David Lindblom

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 06:20 PM

I have Bl. Theophylact's commentaries on the Gospels, Galatians and Ephesians.  They are very good and summarize the thinking of the Fathers...even when they disagree.  I think he relies most on St. John Chrysostom.  There is also the commentary series on the whole NT by Fr. Lawrence Farley who I believe relies heavily on the Fathers and he is also a rather witty, funny guy.  I think it too is a vs. by vs. explanation but not too deep and scholarly.


I have the Ancient Christian Commentary on Romans.  My church has the whole series.  Personally, I would not buy the whole thing.  Some of the comments at the opening of Romans by a Protestant scholar directly contradict what the quoted Fathers say about some passages like Rom. 6 on baptism.  A little ironic.


There is also the whole Popular Patristics series from St. Vladimir's Press.  It's not a commentary series but modern translations of famous writings of the Fathers.

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