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Mark (The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) 02nd Edition

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0830814183
ISBN-10: 0830814183
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These are the first two volumes published in the "Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture" series intended for educated laity and the clergy, which aims to introduce the reader to the church fathers and their exegesis of the Bible. The scope of Mark is impressive and the format generally easy to use. It presents the gospel in its entirety in the Revised Standard Version, with each passage followed by an overview of selected comments from the church fathers of the first seven centuries and then by the full comments themselves. To find these comments, the editors ran computerized searches of the whole body of patristic literature in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Coptic; comments are limited to the church fathers, including nothing from the Arians or Gnostics, for example. Individual passages are fully referenced for easy location in the original, but while there is a list of writers at the end, there is no list of their works. From the appendix, it appears that far more passages were omitted than included, and a list of omitted passages would have been useful. Hall (biblical and theological studies, Eastern Coll.) has written a useful introduction to the series. He discusses the methods used by the church fathers in their exegesis of scripture, concentrating on Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, and John Chrysostom in the East and Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great in the West, then moving back in time to their predecessors. Again, no references are made to those outside mainstream Christianity. Little is said about rabbinic or philosophical influences on the church fathers' methods, and one might wish that the influence of the New Testament, and its use of the Old, had been more fully explored. Nevertheless, this book is thorough and informative on the methods and controversies of the church fathers. For public, academic, and church libraries.?Michael S. Borries, CUNY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


"This volume continues the valuable exploration of patristic interpretation." (Mark Bilby, Religious Studies Review, September 2009)

"A 'must' for all theological libraries." (International Review of Biblical Studies, Vol. 55, 2008-2009)

"A wealth of information for the classic Bible scholar." (Ravonne A. Green, American Reference Books Annual, 2006, Volume 37)

"Contemporary Christians would do well to draw the hermeneutical circle broadly enough to include not only cross-cultural voices from around the world but also the voices to be found in the Ancient Christian Commentary series. This is an excellent sermon-preparation resource for pastors." (The Christian Century, May 2, 2006)

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Product Details

  • Series: The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 02 edition (August 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830814183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830814183
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas C. Oden (Ph.D., Yale University) recently retired as Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and author of numerous theological works, including a three-volume systematic theology.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This volume (and I wager the rest of the series) is useful if one approaches it with the right perspective. Certainly, this book is not (and could never be) a substitute for reading and examining the Church Fathers and their considerations on Scripture. However, if one uses this work more for quick reference and leads, it can be most helpful. After all, the sheer volume of the Fathers' works prevents even the most learned patristics scholar from remembering who commented on what verse. As an example, I have used this volume to quickly find some comments on the verse regarding rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's - seeing some of the comments listed, I then went to the source and read the Fathers' comments in context. This volume, then, is a tool (perhaps a shortcut) to find certain texts that may be of use.
Is this volume comprehensive? No. But, even in its current state, it is over 200 pages (when the Gospel of Mark, in the New American version, is about 35 pages) - trying to collect all the commentary by the Fathers would extend the length much more. As such, it is a starting point, useful for quick reference. It should not be held to a higher standard than that.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This first book in a series of commentary on the scriptures is highly recommended. Many modern commentaries are concerned with historical background, sources, etc., which are useful in their way, but once you get past that and want to just dwell on what it means spiritually, this is a great way to do it. This book includes the text of the gospel of Mark in short sections, so you don't have to flip back and forth between the book and a copy of the Bible, but can just stay with one book. Underneath each section, the commentary proceeds verse by verse with selections from different early Christian writers. This structure makes the book easy to use in slow, meditative reading of both the Bible text and the commentary on it, so you can dwell on it a verse or two at a time, or you can go at a faster pace if you wish to. And while it's very good for devotional reading, it is not sugary or overly sentimental, as some modern devotional writing can be sometimes. It's just good, solid stuff from intellectual and spiritual giants who had pondered the meaning of the scriptures for a long time before they put their thoughts on paper. Some years ago, I had occasion to see a Jewish commentary on the first five books of the Bible that included sections of quotations from ancient Jewish rabbis commenting on the meaning of the passages. I remember thinking at the time that I wished Christians could have a commentary like that too, using ancient Christian writings. So it's wonderful to see this first volume and I'm looking forward to getting others in the series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Zampino VINE VOICE on March 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
. . .of an amazing series of commentaries.
This commentary on Mark's Gospel, from the perspective of the Fathers of the Church is a long-awaited and much needed reference for Christians eager to explore the Scriptures as they were seen by those who used them in the earliest days of the Christian faith. If the rest of the series lives up to the standard of "Mark", we have a lot to look forward to.
Only in the "Computer Age" could such a project be feasibly undertaken. Kudos to Oden and company for their effort.
Highly Recommended.
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41 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The ACCS is a unique achievement in the world of biblical scholarship. In an age in which legitimate scholarly commentaries seem to be limited to the "current" and "relevant," the ACCS reaches back to the roots of not just biblical scholarship, but biblical piety, and it is there where it makes its mark. With the ACCS, we read of the role of scripture in the lives of faith of great men such as Augustine and Chrysostom, and we thus come to realize that any "scholarship" done on the bible in their day was done out of faith. Anyone current in modern biblical scholarship can see how this is a far cry from the detached scholarship coming out of so many seminaries and graduate schools today. As a catechetical tool for parish religious education programs, the ACCS comes highly recommended as a means by which the believer can come into contact with the Christian past. However, the merits of the ACCS stop here, in the face of more than a few criticisms and obstacles which it ignores.
First of all, the commentary on Mark, and I might suspect the whole series, over-simplifies the Christianity which it seeks to present, giving the impression that the "Patristic period" was a time of consensual thinking void of serious conflict. Often, certain passages of Mark will be commented upon by church fathers who did not even consider each other as "orthodox" (a loaded term in need of qualifying), or who were only considered by many to be orthodox in their own time, or only years after their deaths.
The less critical reader may come away with the idea that patristic theology was a school of thought not unlike reformed or existential theology, which we know is not the case.
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Mark (The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture)
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