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Ancient Christian Commenary on Scripture2 min read

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Commentary Man, this site is feast or famine – five days without a post?

Anyway, I just started this program of receiving one volume every 2 or 3 months of the Ancient Commentary on Scripture series from IntverVarsity Press.  You know the deal, if you join the "continuity program", you get the first volume (Commentary on Mark) for $10 plus a free gift, a paperback version of Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers.

But after reading the review of this first book from First Things (a premier journal of Judeo-Christian thought), I think I may pass on this series.  Check out these scathing excerpts…ouch.

It holds that patristic exegesis does not fall prey to the ills of contemporary biblical scholarship, but "is a communal act rather than a private, individualistic endeavor."… it is combative, as demonstrated by the subsequent chapters of Hall’s book, which attack modern biblical criticism and modern Western thought generally. But worse, it manifests the intellectual and spiritual vice of nostalgia. This is unfortunately a besetting sin among many (including non–evangelical) Christians, and it is based on the delusion that a former age, usually the age of primitive Christianity, was far superior to all subsequent ones, perhaps most especially the one now experienced. From such a vice, fantasy, not history—and certainly not prudent exegesis—is born….

The old temptation to concoct a single mind of the fathers, who are then made to speak in a convenient chorus, is implausible on historical grounds—as any straightforward reading will show—and it is also unhelpful in the practice of Christian life and learning….

ACCS attempts to form a community by creating a "Christian Talmud" (in the words of Hall) out of the various writings of early Christianity. This is a dubious aim….In fact, there was no "Christian Talmud," and how contemporary Christian communities—Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic—would make use of one is an inscrutable question.

The overarching problem with the ACCS, a problem probably not solely attaching to that series, is that it seeks a univocal patristic interpretation of the Bible that never existed.