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Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Matthew (Sacra Pagina (Quality Paper)) Paperback – October 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


The book is written with Harrington’s usual depth and clarity, and will be a boon for pastors and catechists, those training for ministry, and graduate students of the Bible.
Catholic Library World

This resource is very valuable in reading and understanding the Gospel of Matthew.
Saint Mary’s Press

This is a balanced, well-informed, centrist commentary, with which the reviewer usually agrees and which he can heartily recommend.
Revue Biblique

About the Author

Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, is professor of New Testament at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has a doctorate in biblical languages and literatures from Harvard University. A past president of the Catholic Biblical Association, he has written many books on the Old and New Testament, including the New Collegeville Bible Commentary on The Letter to the Hebrews (Liturgical Press, 2006).

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Product Details

  • Series: Sacra Pagina (Quality Paper) (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814659640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814659649
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Roy E. Terry ( on August 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Daniel Harrington has produced a superbly readable commentary on Matthew's gospel. His mastery of current scholarship is evident (one would expect nothing less), and his interpretive insights are consistently on the mark. Although the Sacra Pagina series is an openly Roman Catholic project, Protestants will find that Harrington's treatment of traditionally "Catholic" texts is quite fair to all credible views, and his sincere effort to make sense of scripture on its own terms is admirable. This volume deserves a home in the library of every serious student of the First Gospel. Bravo, Daniel J. Harrington!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on January 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first became familiar with Daniel Harrington's commentary on Matthew's Gospel for the SACRA PAGINA series when I took a graduate class on the gospel. It was the text used for the course.I found it very informative, giving an excellent background to the gospel itself and leading to interesting class discussions. As I did exegetical work on various gospel texts, again I found the commentary helpful as a basis for research and a valuable in pointing to other sources for further study.

The commentary is set up the way that is similar to other volumes in the series. A brief introduction to the Gospel of Matthew is followed by the author's translation of the gospel text. The events of the gospel are broken into smaller units. For each smaller unit there is a line commentary which emphasizes important words and lines in the story. This is followed by an overall discussion of the text which highlights religious, historical, and social issues involved in the story. In many cases in this commentary, Harrington not only discusses the issues of the ancient world by adds how these issue can be of concern to us today.

I no longer use the book for formal research, but turn to it time and again for preparation for preaching and Bible studies groups. Here I have found the commentary most helpful. Harrington's book has scholarly value, but it is written in such a way that it highlights concerns in the text which still concern people today which gives it pastoral value as well. One small example which immediately comes to mind is Harrington's discussion of Jesus' Baptism by John.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Brad Shorr on April 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As someone just getting acquainted with the Scriptures, I found this book extraordinarily helpful. First and foremost, Harrington excels at putting Matthew in its historical context. By tracing changes within the Jewish community from Old Testament times through circa 70AD, he clearly shows how this Gospel was intended to solidify Christian identity and Scriptural validity after the destruction of the temple, when competing theologies were battling for the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. His extensive translation notes are also helpful, as they explain nuances of meaning that would go unnoticed by a lay reader using a thinly-annotated text.
Two other themes of this commentary stand out. First, Harrington takes great pains to demonstrate that Matthew is not an indictment of the Jewish race and has been totally misinterpreted by some as a call to anti-Semitism--an important message in any age. Second, he continually compares Matthew to Mark, pointing out virtually all similarities and differences. While this is interesting (and indirectly useful in understanding Mark), I'm not sure how important these distinctions are in terms of grasping the historical and theological significance of Matthew. On the other hand, presenting Matthew and Mark in this way does highlight the uniqueness of each Gospel--no doubt a worthy end in itself.
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51 of 64 people found the following review helpful By francisdesales on April 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have been looking for a "scholarly" Catholic commentary of the Bible for awhile. Navarre is limited in complex ideas, such as the justification question presented in Romans, and Collegeville is not detailed enough. Other commentaries, of course, come with a decidedly Protestant interpretation, watering down several key verses, such as Mat 16: 18-20.
As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on the Sacra Pagina series. The Romans book was outstanding. Matthew, however, is more concerned with the relationship with Mark and the Synoptics Problem. The author presents as FACT the common synoptic solution that Matthew copied Mark. While the author shows some of the argument of the "traditional" side (written in Aramaic/Hebrew for example), he limply explains it away. Father Raymond Brown did a much better job in presenting both view points, while not totally dismissing either side. I don't think the Synoptic solution should be presented as fact, as the author poorly refutes the "traditional" side, merely dismissing it. No one has yet been able to explain to me, for example, WHY someone would write an Aramaic/Hebrew gospel AFTER 70 AD to the Jewish diaspora, who spoke Greek. Many scholars seem to forget the massive destruction caused by the Roman punitive actions, virtually destroying the Jewish nation. Jews in Antioch were mostly Greek speakers, so why and to whom would Matthew be writing AFTER 70 AD in Greek? Perhaps this book needs a second edition, as scholarship of today is beginning to question the dating of Matthew to before 70 AD.
The book actually doesn't have a lot of theological use in of itself. For example, the Beatitudes is explored in a limited fashion.
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