May 13, 2019 Richard Mansfield

NEW! Ancient Christian Texts

Ancient Christian Texts - 3D covers One of the most popular commentaries among Accordance users is the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) from Intervarsity Press. Any regular user of the ACCS will want to immediately take note of its companion series, Ancient Christian Texts (ACT), released today for Accordance Bible Software. 15 volumes currently comprise ACT, covering selected books in both the Old and New Testaments.

How is ACT different from ACCS? While the latter presents short excerpts organized by biblical chapter and verse order, ACT offers complete (or as complete as what is extant) commentaries on biblical books. Moreover, the priority of selections in ACT have been made for those texts that have been previously unavailable in English. That means, these texts are not merely more recent translations of works you might already have in a series such as Schaff’s Church Fathers. Odds are, you don’t have any of these texts anywhere else. Let me offer a couple of examples.

For years, I had occasionally heard of the Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum (Incomplete Commentary on Matthew) usually with a brief quotation, and often in Latin, which I cannot easily read. This is fourth or fifth century commentary on Matthew, by an unknown author, that is quite rich in insight on the first Gospel by any standard. In commenting on the Beatitudes, the writer spends a good bit of time explaining what certain statements do not mean, not only illustrating the meaning of Beatitudes by negation but also combatting false ideas that are amazingly still prevalent today. The writer offers explanation of the phrase “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt 5:13) in the context of the virtues that precede the verse:

It is as if the apostles were asking to whom he was speaking all these things, whether generally to the people or to them, and Christ, wishing to show them that he was chiefly speaking these things to them, added, “You are the salt of the earth.” That phrase “you are the salt of the earth” points to that which he said before, namely, that a teacher ought to be adorned with all virtues. He ought to be poor in order to rebuke greed with a free voice. He ought to be sighing and grieving, whether for his own sins or those of others, in order to confound those who do not hesitate to sin before they sin or are sad because they have sin after they have sinned. He should so sigh and weep in order to show thereby that the world is a grave and dangerous place for the faithful. He ought to hunger and thirst for righteousness in order by the word of God or the scourge of rebuke to be strong to stir up the idle toward good works or at least reading faithfully—more by example than by his voice.

There are two ACT volumes on Revelation—one with translations from Greek sources, representing the thought of the Eastern Church; and the other with translations from Latin sources from the Western Church. I recently listened to a lecture on Eastern understanding of the Apocalypse that mentioned one of the Greek commentaries found in one of the two ACT volumes on Revelation. The speaker noted that Revelation was so late in being fully received into the Eastern Church that, for the most part, it is not quoted in any of the standard liturgies still in use today because those were finalized earlier. However, the commentary on Revelation by Andrew of Caesarea (AD 563 – 637) helped firmly establish the Apocalypse’s place in the canon and represents the only New Testament book to find that final acceptance along with interpretation (which is somewhat ironic knowing that there are more varied interpretations of Revelation than any other book in the Bible).

ACT - Revelation (Greek) - macOS

When the editors say that these are “Ancient” Christian Texts, they are referring to…

The patristic period (AD 95–750) is the time of the fathers of the church, when the exegesis of Scripture texts was in its primitive formation. This period spans from Clement of Rome to John of Damascus, embracing seven centuries of biblical interpretation, from the end of the New Testament to the mid-eighth century, including the Venerable Bede.

Accordance users who value Patristic studies will find Ancient Christian Texts essential for their personal library. These volumes can be read by themselves since they include the biblical text, based on the Revised Standard Version, or in parallel with any biblical text or translation in Accordance.

On a personal note, I’m very excited to have this series available in Accordance. Along with ACCS, the Talmud, and a very small handful of other series, Ancient Christian Texts is one of the few series I’ve chosen to keep in print on my shelves, while generally preferring digital for ease of use and portability. However, now I get the best of both worlds being able to quickly search and access the ACT in Accordance regardless of where I am and what I’m doing.

The below sale prices are good through Monday, May 20, 2019 (11:59 PM EDT) and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Ancient Christian Texts (15 Volumes)
List Price $900
Regular Price $759

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Individual volumes also available at sale prices through Monday, May 20, 2019:

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