We had such an incredible turnout for our March eAcademy that we're offering a special one-day eAcademy event to be held on April 14!
TITLE/THEME: “Power Searching and Extra-biblical Resources in Accordance!”
This Accordance eAcademy will offer live, web-based teaching on many extra-biblical resources found in Accordance including what they are and how to use them! We’re also presenting training on how to study more effectively in Accordance using “Power Searches” to find what you are looking for more efficiently!
EVENT: Live web-based Accordance eAcademy event!
DATE: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
LOCATION: Live Webinars; all you need is internet access. (Attend from Home or Anywhere You are!)
SPECIALS: Affordable and Deeply Discounted Accordance Specialty Starters
for 1st timers, or Academic Purchase Programs for students. Plus, savings on all of the recommended titles from the presenters.
Find What You are Looking For --“Power Searching” in Accordance!
Targums? Talmud? What are the Hebrew resources in Accordance?
Using Accordance with the Church Fathers!
For more information, a list of presenters, and descriptions of topics, and to register, please see our April 2020 eAcademy page.
Registration is free, but space is limited, so sign up today!
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).
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
Individual volumes also available at sale prices through Monday, May 20, 2019:
- Commentaries on Genesis 1-3 (Severian of Gabala, Bede the Venerable)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Homilies on Numbers (Origen)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Commentary on Isaiah (Eusebius of Caesarea)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Commentary on Jeremiah (Jerome)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Commentaries on the Twelve Prophets (2 Volumes) (Jerome)
(Regular Price $109)
- Incomplete Commentary on Matthew (2 Volumes) (Opus imperfectum)
(Regular Price $109)
- Commentary on John (2 Volumes) (Cyril of Alexandria)
(Regular Price $109)
- Commentary on the Gospel of John (Theodore of Mopsuestia)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Commentaries on Romans-2 Corinthians, Galatians-Philemon (2 Volumes) (Ambrosiaster)
(Regular Price $109)
- Greek Commentaries on Revelation (Oecumenius and Andrew of Caesarea)
(Regular Price $54.90)
- Latin Commentaries on Revelation
(Regular Price $54.90)
There has been a tendency in the modern era to overlook biblical commentary, theology, and thought from previous generations—especially anything pre-Enlightenment. Priority is often given to whatever is most recent in scholarship with an assumption that whatever is new is inherently superior. Fortunately, in recent years, we have seen somewhat of a reversal in this prejudice with numerous works and series that take older—and even ancient—voices seriously. Today, we are releasing two such series from Eerdmans Publishing, which our users will surely appreciate having in their personal Accordance Libraries.
The Church’s Bible presents voices from the Early Church on the biblical books of Isaiah, Matthew, John, Romans and 1 Corinthians. The volumes on Isaiah and John also include contributions from medieval writers.
From the publisher:
In the early church all discussion of theological topics, of moral issues, and of Christian practice took the biblical text as the starting point, resulting in a substantial library of biblical commentaries and homilies. Unfortunately, this ancient body of writings is now known only in bits and pieces if at all. The Church's Bible series brings this rich classical tradition of biblical interpretation to life once again. Compiled, translated, and edited by leading scholars, these volumes draw extensively from early and medieval commentators, illuminating Holy Scripture as it was understood during the first millennium of Christian history. Designed for clergy, Bible teachers, men and women in religious communities, and all serious students of Scripture, The Church's Bible will lead contemporary readers into the inexhaustible spiritual and theological world of the early church and hence of the Bible itself.
Accordance users may ask how The Church’s Bible compares to a series such as the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series (ACCS) from IVP. Whereas ACCS follows an almost rabbinic model, offering short snippets (without necessarily including full context) from Early Church writers, The Church’s Bible focuses mostly on texts that were actually commentaries to begin with, and offering much longer excerpts from those older works. In this sense, The Church’s Bible from Eerdmans finds a midway point between a series like ACCS and IVP’s other series, Ancient Christian Texts (coming soon).
In Accordance The Church’s Bible can be run in parallel with any biblical text or translation or read by itself since each volume includes a biblical translation. The New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) is used as the basis of the Isaiah volume, while the Revised Standard Version (RSV) is the primary translation for the New Testament volumes.
The Church's Bible (5 Volumes)
List Price $266
Regular Price $164
Sale Price $109
When it comes to reading historical primary texts, the Early Church and Reformation writers often get the most attention. As stated in the preface to The Bible in Medieval Tradition series, “Compared to patristic material, relatively little medieval exegesis has been translated.” This series seeks to correct this lack of attention by providing fresh translations of commentaries by medieval church writers to the modern reader.
The Bible in Medieval Tradition currently covers the books of Genesis, Jeremiah, Romans, and Galatians. Individual chapters offer commentary by different medieval writers. For instance, the Romans volume features an anonymous Cambridge commentator on ch. 1; William of St. Thierry on ch. 2; Peter Abelard on ch. 3; Peter of John Olivi on chs. 4-6; Thomas Aquinas on chs. 7-8, 12; Nicholas of Lyra on chs. 9-11, 15-16; and an anonymous commentator of Mont St. Michel on ch. 14.
Note, however, that the Galatians commentary has overlapping coverage by different writers. By default, when a commentary is placed in parallel with a biblical text or translation, Accordance syncs to the last occurrence of a particular verse reference. To keep sections of the commentary from being overlooked, we have added a separate index at the end of the Galatians volume that lists each verse and each commentator on that verse.
The editors target the series for a wide audience: academic study, spiritual formation, preaching, discussion groups, and individual reflection. If you have not read many medieval writers, this is the perfect beginning point in your Accordance Library to become acquainted with these often-neglected, but very important historical voices.
The Bible in Medieval Tradition (4 Volumes)
List Price $160
Regular Price $119
Sale Price $79.90
We were saddened to learn that Thomas C. Oden died yesterday at the age of 85. Many of our users have long enjoyed Oden's works in their personal Accordance Library. If you are not among them, there's still time to learn from one who once said he hoped his epitaph would read, "He made no new contribution to theology." By this, Oden meant that he had no desire for contributing to innovation in theology, but rather hoped to continue introducing new readers to the "Classic Christianity" handed down to us from the Early Church. And he did just that.
Much of the renewed interest in patristic studies in recent years can be attributed to Oden's own rediscovery of the monumental figures of the first centuries of Christianity. Although we will miss having Oden with us to give us new material with "no new contributions," we enjoy the thought that he has now gone to be with the Church Fathers who delighted him, and in turn us through his efforts, so much.
If you're not family with Oden and his story, we commend to you the post "Died: Thomas Oden, Methodist Theologian Who Found Classical Christianity" from Christianity Today.
In honor of Thomas E. Oden's life and work, we offer the following works in the Accordance Library at discount for a limited time.
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Complete 29-Volume Set)
The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Updated Edition) does what very few of today’s students of the Bible could do for themselves. With the aid of computer technology, the vast array of writings from the church fathers—including many that are available only in the ancient languages—have been combed for their comment on Scripture. From these results, scholars with a deep knowledge of the fathers and a heart for the church have hand-selected material for each volume, shaping, annotating and introducing it to today’s readers. Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.
Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity (3 Volumes)
The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity covers eight centuries of the Christian church and comprises 3,220 entries by a team of 266 scholars from 26 countries representing a variety of Christian traditions. It draws upon such fields as archaeology, art and architecture, biography, cultural studies, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology.
Ancient Christian Devotional (3 Volumes)
By helping you to read holy writings with ancient eyes, the Church Fathers offer you a deep drink from the only water that can give true life. These three guides to prayer and reflection combine excerpts from the writings of the church fathers as found in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture with a simple structure for daily or weekly reading and prayer.
Ancient Christian Doctrine (5 Volumes)
This exciting five-volume series follows up on the acclaimed Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture to provide patristic commentary on the Nicene Creed. The series renders primary Greek, Latin, Coptic and Syriac source material from the church fathers in lucid English translation (some here for the first time) and gives readers unparalleled insight into the history and substance of what the early church believed.
Last week, I read a blog post which called for Christian theologians to focus anew on articulating the doctrine of the Trinity in response to recent challenges. In recent years, many Christians from non-liturgical traditions have shown renewed interest in more liturgical forms of worship. Modern society's can't-stop-for-breath pace has many people looking for ways to achieve greater simplicity, a deeper sense of community, a more thoughtful spirituality, and a more profound appreciation of the sacred. These are all areas where contemporary Christians can benefit from greater familiarity with the early church fathers. After all, they were the ones who first articulated Christianity's central teachings, established the church's liturgical practices, and wrestled with how best to live out their faith in the world.
Of course, the challenge of looking to the early fathers for guidance is knowing where to begin. The most familiar collection of their writings is a whopping 38-volumes! Few of us have the time or wherewithal to work our way through that body of literature systematically, and while Accordance's powerful search capabilities now make it easy to explore, it can still feel like you're visiting an alien world of unfamiliar people and ideas.
Thankfully, there are now some helpful resources to guide you in your discovery of the early church fathers. Not long ago, I blogged about the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS), which arranges excerpts of patristic teaching into a running commentary on the text of the Bible. I compared the experience of reading this commentary to "attending a group Bible study and listening to the interplay of different perspectives." Consult this commentary a few times and you'll come to admire the fathers' Scriptural knowledge and exegetical skill—even if you don't always agree with their take on a passage.
The ACCS can give you various fathers' commentary on specific passages of Scripture, but two brand new resources offer a more topical introduction to the fathers.
Learning Theology with the Church Fathers, by Christopher Hall, offers a fascinating look into how the church fathers wrestled with the difficult theological controversies of their day. I started reading it the other day and frankly couldn't put it down. Hall goes beyond merely discussing historical theology; he manages to reveal the principle motivations and concerns of the people involved. The result is that one begins to see them not as esoteric philosophers discussing obscure points of theology, but as dedicated pastors who felt compelled to articulate what they understood to be the teaching of the apostles and of the Bible. In short, they become more human, and far more three-dimensional.
Worshiping with the Church Fathers, written by the same author, does much the same thing with respect to worship, prayer, and the sacraments. I haven't read as much of this one yet, but Hall's discussion of "the sacramental mysteries" in Chapter One is extremely helpful, not only for understanding the fathers, but also for understanding the way various Christian traditions differ in their view of the sacraments. After the sacraments, Hall turns to the fathers' teaching on prayer and personal discipline. The latter section deals with the desert fathers and early monastic movements, and from the bits I've skimmed looks absolutely fascinating.
In both of these books, Hall acts as a guide to the early fathers, helping modern readers understand where those early Christians were coming from. Hall is an effective guide precisely because he himself does not come from a tradition which places much emphasis on church history. As he puts it in Learning Theology with the Church Fathers:
The model of exegesis I had received and practiced as a young Christian was a highly individualistic affair. … I was shockingly unaware of the Christians who had read, pondered and interpreted these texts before me.
In other words, because Hall understands the assumptions of those who know little about the fathers, he does an excellent job of communicating the fathers' importance in a way they can understand and appreciate.
As you can see, I'm pretty excited about these resources. The contemporary church can learn much from the early church, and these new resources make it easier than ever to do so.
If you'd like to begin exploring the early church fathers yourself, all the resources I've just mentioned are on sale from now through March 15th. Be sure to take advantage of the discounted prices.