Monday, July 12, 2010

Ancient Christian Commentary: Genesis I-II

Genesis 1-11 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament, Volume I)

The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a unique commentary series. Scholars and computer technology comb the writings of ancient Christian writers on particular books of the Bible. It is considered to be an ecumenical project with general editor Thomas C. Oden. It is an attempt to bring awareness and understanding to Christians concerning ancient beliefs.

Scholars familiar with ancient Christian writings offer hand-selected portions of these texts. I recently received my review copy on Genesis I-II, free of charge, from InterVarsity Press. There are 204 pages as it covers Genesis 1-11:32. Besides the commentary there is an introduction to Genesis I-II, chronology, biographical sketches, and an appendix of all the Early Christian writings cited.

Basil the Great, commenting on 1:5b, and the days of Creation suggests that “after the creation of the sun, it is day when the air is illuminated by the sun shining on the hemisphere above the earth when the sun is hidden.” Basil goes on to say, “Yet it was not at that time according to our solar motion.”

Oden, et al suggests that Genesis 1:26-27 are the “most commented on by the Fathers.” (pg. 27) Gregory of Nyssa, concerning “let us make man” says that “God deliberated about the best way to bring to life a creation worthy of honor.” Chrysostom likewise says, “’let us make man’ suggests deliberation, collaboration and conference…” (pg. 28) Clement of Alexandria, on “the image of God” says this “is his Word and an image of the Word is the true man, that is, the mind of man, who on this account is said to have been created “in the image” of God and “in his likeness,” because through his understanding heart he is made like the divine Word or Reason (logos), and so rational (logikos).

This commentary set can be appreciated by the layperson and the careful academic alike. This volume states, “The early chapters of Genesis had arguable the greater influence of the development of Christian theology than did any other part of the Old Testament.” (pg. xxxix) The first few chapters of Genesis cover such theological issues as Adam and Christ; Typology; Creation; Humanity in the Image of God and The Fall and Original Sin. Many problems and arguments today have been considered in the past. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

Genesis 1-11 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament, Volume I)

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